Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 to 3 hours, or it can actually cause the skin more harm than good. However, no one really has the time or patience to wash their face and re-do their entire morning routine multiple times throughout the day. Thus, it's a no-brainer that reapplying sunscreen is especially a hindrance for those of us who wear makeup and don't want to ruin it.

But, there are sunscreen products out there which can alleviate this problem. Spray-on sunscreen, which comes in liquid form and is packaged with either pump bottles or aerosol cans, is easily obtainable at the drugstore and can be stashed in your purse for quick mists. Some brands that offer spray sunscreens are Coppertone, Banana Boat, Neutrogena, and La Roche Posay. Another option is mineral sunscreen, which comes in powder form and needs to be brushed onto the skin. So far, I have not seen mineral sunscreens at the drugstore except in mineral makeup like L'Oreal Bare Naturale, but Peter Thomas Roth has two mineral sunscreens, one with SPF 45 and the other with SPF 30. Additionally, Bare Escentuals has its own bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen, also a mineral sunscreen, which is what I'm reviewing today. It comes in a white plastic tube dispenser with a brush on the end, contains 0.14 oz of product, and retails for $28. You can buy it at Sephora,, or any retailer that carries Bare Escentuals. There are 3 different skin tone shades, but no transparent or clear. I received mine in light when I purchased the RareMinerals Active Mineral Skincare System--a great value if you're interested in trying all 4 products at a decent price. (The set is still in stock today, so get it with the Friends & Family discount while you still can!)

The Bare Escentuals mineral sunscreen is very simple to use. The powder is housed inside at the base, and you can actually see it because the plastic at the very bottom is clear. After you pop off the cap, twist the base to push the brush up out of the tube as well as slide open the dispenser underneath. Turn the tube upside down so the brush is pointing at the floor, tap it several times into the back of your hand. This helps get the product, which is distributed through three holes, into the the brush. Then, with your face tilted toward the ceiling or sky (as upright as possible), brush the sunscreen over your face in small circular motions.

Bare Escentuals claims that their bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen is oil-free, preservative-free, and contains 12% micronized Titanium Dioxide (micronized means the UV physical blocker has been broken down finely so it won't irritate the skin). Also, the powder supposedly contains Vitamins A, C, and E, aloe vera extract, and antioxidants to nourish the skin.

When I received this product, I noticed immediately how soft and nice the white brush is--it does not irritate my skin at all. The sunscreen also does not have any strange smells or fragrances; and since it only contains mineral, or physical UV blockers, rather than chemical, it is perfect for people with sensitive skin. This sunscreen does not accentuate any dry patches on my skin either. My T-zone develops shine various times throughout the day, so I prefer to blot my face before applying this sunscreen so as to prevent my skin's oils from contaminating the brush as much as possible. The powder has a bit of coverage but is still translucent enough that it matches with my skin tone. Also, I like that after applying it, my skin has a nice matte finish. I have not broken out or developed clogged pores from using this powder. It is convenient to toss into my purse and whip out for touch ups, and the packaging design ensures that the sunscreen never unscrews itself and releases a bunch of powder into my purse (I've read that the Peter Thomas Roth mineral sunscreen packaging does this).

However, as with any product, there are various cons:

1. Since the brush is attached to the product and you can't take it out, you'd have to probably purchase or use a special brush cleaner spray if you want to clean the brush every so often.
2. Although the sunscreen doesn't accentuate my dry patches, I don't recommend using it if you have dry skin. Though it claims to nourish the skin, it probably doesn't have many beneficial properties.
3. I know the product is coming out because the brush is stained darker with the powder from where the dispersing holes are located, but I cannot actually see the powder coming out itself. No matter how many times I shake or tap it the tube over my hand or a flat surface, there is no powder falling out from the brush. How much is really getting distributed on my skin, and am I protecting my skin sufficiently? I have no idea.
4. Since it isn't a cream or lotion, the mineral sunscreen is probably not rub or sweat resistant (forget being water resistant). I have to be extra conscious of not touching my face, like resting my chin in my hands, so I don't ruin my SPF coverage.
5. 0.14 oz means that this sunscreen actually doesn't contain a lot of product in it. Because the base is clear plastic, you can see the powder, but you can't see how much powder you've used up. Thus, you'll have no idea when you need to repurchase it until one day you don't see anything settling at the base anymore.
6. If you wear powder blush or foundation, you still might face the possibility of ruining your makeup anyway when you brush this sunscreen on.

Out of all these cons, the one that bothers me the most is #3. I am a little obsessive compulsive about protecting my skin from UV rays, so not being able to know how much product is coming out is rather annoying. However, I did use this product on my face on a little outing to the beach during the summer; and though I tanned, I did not sunburn. So maybe it really does a secretive, magical way like that of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus? Hmm.

I do not think I'll repurchase this product, but I do think it's a good option to have around, such as for when you're breaking out and don't want to mess up your concealer/foundation by reapplying a liquid or cream sunscreen.

Hope this helps!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Anastasia Brow Powder and Highlighting Trio Brow Kit

Today's review is on a product I've actually been using for many months now, but completely forgot about since my main preoccupation is always with skincare. The Anastasia Brow Powder and Highlighting Trio kit has become one of the staples in my everyday makeup routine. It retails for $32, and you can purchase it at Sephora or Nordstrom. However, I would suggest you purchase yours from Sephora, since theirs comes exclusively with a mini clear brow mascara which is great for a makeup bag.

Everyone has one cosmetic product they cannot leave the house without applying, and for me, other than skincare, it would be eyebrow powder or pencil. I have very light, sparse eyebrows and I've been filling them in since high school. Before I knew anything about makeup, I used to get this brunette eyebrow mascara from Maybelline, but I'd over apply, and you could see the dried brow mascara on my skin rather just my eyebrow hair. A year or two later I turned to Wet 'n' Wild dark grey or brown eyebrow/eyeliner pencils, but since I still had (for the most part) unshaped, untweezed eyebrows, I still didn't look so great. Fast forward a couple years, and my new method was tapping leftover black cream eyeliner on my angled brush from lining my eyes on my eyebrows. This wasn't a good look for me either--my eyebrows didn't look natural or complement my hair color.

Enter Anastasia. The brand has been around for quite a few years but I always thought the brow kit was too expensive to purchase. None of the stencils really fit my eyebrow shape, and other than the powder and two-ended brush + spoolie, everything else in it could be easily obtained at a drugstore or for cheaper. I tried a couple samples of the brow powder and really liked it, but couldn't justify spending $75 on the kit or buying the few items I wanted separately.

But, when Anastasia launched this Brow Powder Trio early this year, I was willing to buy it because it seemed like a much more economical product. First, there were 3 brow shades in it instead of 2; second, it also contained 3 highlighting shades which could be used on the eyes, brow bone, cheeks, or anywhere else on the face; and third, everything was packaged in a nice little magnetic compact with a mirror on the inside cover--perfect if you're running late and want to apply your makeup on-the-go (the brow shades can double up as eyeshadow and the pink highlighter shade can be used as blush). Also, this product will definitely last me over a year or two, so I don't have to worry about constantly repurchasing (unlike brow mascaras and pencils, which have a short life expectancy).

The reason why I like Anastasia brow powder in general is because the colors are all perfect variations of ash. Thus, they do not clash with your skin tone or hair color and look great in all different sorts of lighting. However, I prefer this trio over the regular powder duo because it comes with an extra shade. Although I (currently) have black hair, I do use the blonde ash, the lightest shade on the left. For the most natural look, I apply all three shades. First, I start off with the blonde ash from the inner first halves of my brows to the middle (where the arch is). Then, I apply the middle grey/taupe ash halfway past where my brows begin to a little past the arch. Lastly, I apply the darkest brown ash shade from my arch to the ends of my brows. While I am applying these shades, I make sure to blend everything together with an angled brush and spoolie so the colors seamlessly darken, and I don't look like I have color blocked eyebrows or anything. I find this method to look the most natural and flattering on me, and it shows up very nicely in photos. The shades work for me because I have dark hair, but those with blonde or red hair might not have any use for this product--I'd suggest trying the Brow Powder Duos.

As for the highlighting shades, I don't use them frequently--and if I do, I prefer to use a finger to pat them into my skin for a more natural look. The shimmer particles are rather large, and they don't seem to take well to brushes.

Now, I do not know if the powders in this kit are pure minerals, but Anastasia claims that they do contain minerals and natural botanicals which are good for the skin and won't clog the pores. I haven't broken out from this product, but I haven't noticed any benefits from it either--since it's a makeup item, I wouldn't count on it improving your skin or hair.

While the Sephora Friends and Family sale is still going on, I highly recommend you pick up this item if you've been on the fence about it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sephora Friends and Family 2009 - Calling All Sephora Employees!

So a lot of you are aware of this already: Sephora is having their annual Friends and Family sale starting October 19th and ending November 2nd. During this time, everyone is entitled to getting 20% off on any item, excluding gift cards, ONLINE with code FF2009.

What I was wondering if any of you lovely people out there who also work at Sephora would happen to have an actual Friends and Family card that you wouldn't mind sending to me. I am always on a budget, and I've been making my Friends and Family wishlist since (believe it or not) last year, 2008. If anyone has a spare card they wouldn't mind sending to me, please let me know! I want to be able to continue purchasing great products to review for all of you and a couple of extra bucks always helps :-) Of course, I would definitely send you a little something in return to show my appreciation!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

RoC Multi-Correxion Update

Hi everyone! I'm so sorry for neglecting this blog. I've started working (unpaid, sadly) and my hours are so hectic that I am deadbeat by the time I get home every day. I will try to update more often (I know I keep saying this) so please continue to stop by!

Anyway, I wanted to give a little update on my experience with RoC Multi-Correxion products since I last wrote the previous review. During the initial stages, after I purchased the Skin Renewing Serum, I used the product basically every day until my skin started feeling a little dehydrated and sensitive. As you may or may not remember, I was using it daily because the one time I stopped initially, the tiny fine lines under my eyes came back. So I wanted to really give my skin more time to reap its effects.

However, what I didn't realize until after I wrote my first review was how terribly drying daily RoC use became for my skin. After about 3 weeks of daily use, I developed massive peeling and flakiness on my neck, and my skin burned every time I applied product to it after cleansing. I had no choice but to gently exfoliate and patiently apply a moisturizing serum and cream to my skin every night. I also had to temporarily switch sunscreens, since my normal one dries matte so it can be drying. During this time, I did not completely stop using RoC--I probably applied it at night either once or twice a week.

Now, my skin has completely recovered, and it has definitely experienced lasting improvements. When I stop using RoC for a couple of days, my skin, especially around my eyes, still looks well rested, plump, and creaseless. Thus, I definitely do think that using RoC or products with retinol can afford you REAL results, not just a temporary allusion.

So, with this I conclude that RoC Multi-Correxion is definitely a wonderful product-line to add into your skincare regimen. However, be sure to proceed with caution. I was overeager when I saw the good results and used the products too frequently at first, and wound up irritating and drying out my skin. If you have oily, non-sensitive skin, you are probably lucky in that you don't need to acclimate your skin to retinol first. However, for everyone else, make sure you start out slow with RoC--even if it means it'll take a longer time before you see any results.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

RoC Multi Correxion Products

Lately, I've been hitting the drugstore frequently in search of quality skincare and makeup products. Sometime back during spring, I picked up the RoC Multi Correxion Night Treatment and Eye Treatment. RoC is one of the few drugstore brands that utilizes retinol in almost every product. I've talked about the benefits of retinol before in my review on Skinceuticals 0.5% Retinol, but you can also read more about why retinol is so highly acclaimed here, here, and here. I'm personally a huge fan of retinol, but I can't afford to constantly purchase high end brands like Skinceuticals. Thus, I decided to try RoC.

Prices vary for RoC from drugstore to drugstore, but on my latest visit to CVS, I saw that the Multi Correxion products were priced at $24.99 and below. The Multi Correxion Eye Treatment comes in a 0.5 oz tube, and the Night Treatment comes in a 1.0 oz tube. The products are definitely not cheap despite being from the drugstore, but if you compare RoC to other brands with retinol such as prescription skincare the price is definitely fair.

The Multi Correxion line claims to "diminish the multiple signs of aging." The Eye Treatment is supposed to "visibly diminish dark circles and wrinkles," and the Night Treatment is supposed to reduce "brown spots, wrinkles, and the appearance of pores." Both contain "pure RoC RETINOL to visibly smooth wrinkles and help stimulate sin renewal," "antioxidant vitamins to help neutralize skin-damaging free radicals," and "Vitamin C to help rejuvenate skin tone." The back of the boxes says that testers of the product saw "dark circles visibly diminished, skin tone and luminescence noticeably improved" in 4 weeks, "brown spots and the appearance of pores visibly diminished" in 8 weeks, and "fine lines and wrinkles visibly diminished, skin firmness and elasticity improved" in 12 weeks.

When I first started using the Night and Eye Treatment, I applied them sporadically--sometimes once or twice a week, sometimes even less often, but usually when I had acne or congested skin. (I only use retinol products at night because I don't want to weaken my skin against UV rays during the daytime.) Though they are both called treatments, they are actually face and eye creams. Both creams are white in color and smooth over the skin very easily without feeling greasy. After cleansing and toning my skin, I would skip applying an anti-aging or moisturizing serum (unless it was the Bliss Peeling Groovy Serum) and apply both creams. If my skin was dehydrated, I applied my regular moisturizer over the RoC after at least 20 minutes (allowing time for the retinol to absorb). If my skin was especially congested, I applied another layer of the Night and Eye Treatment again. However, because I used the products sporadically, I didn't see any immediate results. After awhile, I forgot about the products and stopped using them during finals period. Also, what made me shy away from prolonged use of the products was their scent. They contain a perfume-like fragrance that I found entirely too strong and chemical-smelling, especially the Night Treatment. Applying it gave me a headache, and I felt as if I were breathing in chemical fumes. (If anyone at RoC is reading this, I hope you remove the fragrance from your products!)

However, I started using the two again a little over a month ago--starting at once a week, then building the frequency up to as often as three or four times weekly. Sometimes, I applied the Skinceuticals 0.5% Retinol Cream onto my skin first, and then applying the RoC treatments for added moisture. This time, I started to notice a slight difference in my skin. It was looking a bit more bright and even. However, the results weren't anything too spectacular.

Then, on another recent trip to CVS, I decided to pick up the RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum as well, which comes in a very sturdy 1.0 fl oz pump bottle. Serums are more potent than creams or moisturizers, so combining a product line's serum and moisturizer or cream should bring you the best results. The Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum's texture surprised me. It is a pale beige color and very creamy and silky. It does not feel sticky or greasy and absorbs quickly, but leaves a hydrating barrier on the skin. Perhaps I'm already used to RoC's chemical perfume-y scent, but I didn't notice it as much with the serum. Although the product is not supposed to be used in the eye area, I've been applying it there and I haven't had any eye irritation problems. (But if you have sensitive skin, don't do this!) I apply the Renewing Serum all over my face and neck after cleansing and toning and using an exfoliating serum or tea tree oil spot treatment. Then, I apply the Night and Eye Treatment over everything. (This is part of my new skincare regimen, please see previous post for details.)

I am absolutely impressed and blown away by the results I have seen since I started regularly using RoC the past month. Adding in the serum has made a HUGE difference in how my skin looks. Within just two nights, my pimples, clogged pores, and redness around the nose dramatically reduced, the fine lines under my eyes completely disappeared, and my skin tone became brighter and clearer. The lines on my neck also looked less obvious.

Though I initially was using RoC products infrequently, after purchasing the serum I have since increased the frequency to daily use. If you've read my posts before, you know that I try to rotate my skincare products every now and then so my skin doesn't become tolerant to them. Thus, I did try to skip using RoC one evening, especially because my skin felt a little dry and irritated from all the exfoliation I was doing and needed a break. Sadly, the next day I noticed my skin was looking less bright. The day after that, the tiny hair lines under my eyes had reemerged. Perhaps I haven't been using RoC long enough and my expectations for its anti-aging properties were too high. I've gone back to using the serum and treatment creams every evening, but it took twice as long for the wrinkles under my eyes to disappear this time.

This might be one of the downsides to using RoC, or any retinol products--when I run out of product, or I cease using RoC after the trial 12 weeks, will my skin lose its new clarity? Will my fine lines come back? What about other testers who have wrinkles and deeper fine lines? I haven't figured this out yet, but I will definitely give an update when I finish the products and let you all know whether or not RoC enabled any long term benefits. But, although my skin hasn't reaped any permanent results yet, I can definitely assure you that this product line is extremely effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes or redness. Whether you're in your early twenties like me, or in your fifties, you should give RoC Multi Correxion a try.

One thing that I would not recommend purchasing for anti-aging purposes is the cleanser. I didn't purchase it myself, and if you have a cleanser you're happy with, there is no need to waste your money on a product that is only meant to cleanse and not treat your skin. Save it for the serum or treatments instead.

Lastly, I believe that these products are designed for normal to oily skin, so if you have dry skin, you may want to limit application to once a week, three times at most. Let me know if you have any other questions or anti-aging recommendations!

RoC Multi Correxion Night Treatment Ingredients:
Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Steareth-2, Ascorbic Acid, Dimethicone, Cetyl Palmitate, PEG-8, Sorbitan Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Steareth-21, Cyclopentasiloxane, Retinol, Copper Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Panthenol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Caprylyl Glycol, Methylparaben, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Bisabolol, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sucrose Cocoate, Squalane, BHT, Tocopherol, Polysorbate 20, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Polysorbate 60, Lactoferrin. May also contain Sodium Hydroxide.

RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum Ingredients:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethyllenediamine, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Nylon-12, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Retinol, Tocopherol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Copper Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Titanium Dioxide, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Laureth-23, Bisabolol, Laureth-4, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Polyacrylamide, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, BHT, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polysorbate 20, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Laureth-7, Mica, Fragrance

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer / Fall Skincare Routine

I haven't posted a routine since the beginning of the year since I've been dealing with constant skin issues. Now, my skin has finally calmed down in what feels like ages, and I can get away with wearing little to no foundation or powder. I thought I'd post a routine for those of you who suffer from hormonal or genetic acne and are still struggling with choosing the right products. This has always been a challenge for me because I risk dehydrating and irritating my skin while treating the acne, and then causing more acne and oil when treating the dryness and flakes.

I've heard from many sources that birth control is an excellent way of managing acne, but I'd prefer to ingest hormones as a last resort. So far, this routine is helping aplenty.

My skin type: Normal-Combination, sometimes dehydrated and flakey, slightly oily on T-zone area by mid-day.
Prone to deep cystic acne, blackheads, enlarged pores, and comedones


1. Wash with DHC Mild Soap (any light, non-drying soap will do) or rinse with only warm water to take off the impurities and oils from during the night.
2. (Optional) Dab tea tree oil or acne medication on blemishes. I personally do not dilute my tea tree oil before applying, but most people prefer to.
3. A moisturizer that contains SPF. I've been rotating high-end and drugstore brands; anything will do as long as it is moisturizing. I prefer to use only products with SPF during the day, but you are welcome to use a moisturizer that doesn't contain sun protection properties.
4. High coverage sunscreen for face and eyes. My current favorites are Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 55 PA+++ and Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 32 PA+++. Wait a few minutes for everything to dry before applying makeup.

Because my morning routine is very simple, I cram in all the treatment and renewing steps at night.


1. Wash off all the day's dirt, pollution, makeup, and oils from the face and neck with a cleansing oil. I use DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.
2. Cleanse with a tough duty cleanser to clean off any remaining dirt or makeup and residue from the cleansing oil. I recommend using liquid facial soap, cleansing pad/cloths, or foaming facial cleanser formulas. I am currently rotating between Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub and Dove Daily Hydrating Cleansing Cloths.
3. A couple times a week, exfoliate with a salicylic acid scrub. A good sign you need to exfoliate is when blackheads appear. I recommend using an aspirin mask (instructions easily found through Google) or St. Ives Medicated Apricot Scrub for Oily/Acne Prone Skin.
4. Tone with a gentle toner. Try not to use toners with alcohol. Any brand will do, even one from the drugstore.
5. (Optional) Use an exfoliant serum like Bliss Peeling Groovy, Clinique Turnaround Concentrate, or Estee Lauder Idealist Skin Refinisher. This helps your skin absorb the other skincare products as well as slough off dead cells.
6. Wait a couple minutes, then apply a moisturizing, anti-aging, or renewing serum. I like to use Jurlique's serums for brightening the skin.
7. Apply tea tree oil on any blemishes or pimples. Dilute with water if pure tea tree oil is too strong.
8. Apply a face and eye cream containing retinol. A great drugstore choice is Roc.
9. (Optional) Apply an additional moisturizer over the retinol cream. I am currently rotating between Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Egyptian Magic Cream, and DHC Virgin Olive Oil.

You do not have to use a retinol moisturizer every night. I started out with using retinol maybe once or twice a week, and then increased the frequency to 3 or 4 times a week. However, the combination of tea tree oil and retinol along with salicylic acid exfoliation is what helps really bring the acne down, so be sure to stick to it!
Of course, also pay attention to your health. Drink plenty of water, get enough exercise and sleep, and eat as many fruits and veggies as possible.
Hope this helps! Let me know if it works for you!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Victoria's Secret VS PRO Lasting FX Eyeshadow Primer

For the longest time, the makeup section at my local Victoria's Secret was empty. The other day, when I went, they had finally added new products!

One thing that caught my eye which they didn't carry before was the new VS PRO makeup line. Supposedly these are all products that are used backstage at the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and now made readily available for the public. I am running out of Urban Decay Primer Potion (and I'm not the biggest fan of it either), so I really wanted to try the new VS PRO Lasting FX Eyeshadow Primer. What made up my mind was the realization that this primer is only $8 for 0.28 oz. EIGHT FREAKIN' DOLLARS! Compare that to Bare Escentuals bareVitamins Prime Time Eyelid Primer, which is $16 for 0.05 oz, or Too Faced Shadow Insurance, which is $17 for 0.35 oz, or everyone's favorite, UDPP, $17 for 0.34 oz. Though the latter have slightly more product, they cost over twice as much. Nothing at Sephora can beat the Victoria's Secret price.

The primer comes in a nice plastic tube with a narrow point. The product itself is a light nude color and has a very creamy, non-greasy consistency. A little goes a LONG way with this product, and it dries to a smooth, matte, nearly invisible finish--unlike Urban Decay Primer Potion, which can feel rubbery and unevenly dispersed on my eyelid. The shade of the primer matches with my skin shade (MAC NC20ish, not sure about the exact shade since I've gotten paler since I last went to MAC) and seems to have a some color correcting properties.

I primarily use eyeshadow primer to prevent my eyeliner and mascara from smudging because my eyelids are pretty oily. Secondly, I use it to keep my eyeshadow from creasing on my folds. To really test it out its eye priming abilities, I lined my upper and lower waterlines with black eyeliner, used non-waterproof mascara on my upper and lower lashline, and applied dark eyeshadow before going out at night. The primer really held up my eyeshadow all night, and I had no smudging underneath my eyes from the mascara. Also, I thought that it helped my eyeshadow look more vibrant than usual, and it did prevent creasing. As for the eyeliner on my lower waterline, it ran a little bit, but I still have to test this primer out some more under multiple situations.

I will report back with my final conclusions on my next post, but I just wanted to share the good news immediately!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Jurlique Product Reviews

Today I have just some short reviews on a couple Jurlique products I tried out awhile back!

First up is the Herbal Recovery Gel. The bottle is 1 oz and costs $67 or you can choose a 3.3 oz version for $134 on the Jurlique website. Jurlique says that it is a "potent anti-aging concentrate" that "firms, hydrates, revitalizes the skin."
The first thing I noticed was that this gel has an intense strange, pungent musty dried-up wildflowers that have been fermenting in aloe vera. Didn't like the smell, but had high hopes for the product since I've read so many good reviews. The gel feels semi-watery, but has a slightly sticky finish. It reminded me of a serum or the essence from paper facial masks. Smoothed easily over the skin and absorbed immediately. I only used this at night, so I applied a thick cream or facial oil over it right after.
When I first tried it, I didn't think it did anything for my skin. However, I went back to it a couple of weeks later and it seemed to help my skin retain moisture better and slightly brighten and firm up the skin. I like this product and I think it does do what it promises, but the results aren't mind-blowing enough for me to spend $67 on it.

Ingredients from
Water, Glycerin, Alcohol, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Rosa Gallica Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Viola Odorata (Violet) Extract, Viola Tricolor (Heartease) Extract, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Black Elder) Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Linalool*, Geraniol*, Citronellol*, Eugenol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Limonene.* *From Natural Essential Oil (Chamomile - Chamomilla Recutita, Rose - Rosa Centifolia).

To be used in conjunction with the Herbal Recovery Gel is the Herbal Recovery Eye Gel which you can get at Sephora or on the Jurlique site. This isn't cheap either--the 0.5 oz bottle costs $48. (They used to sell a 1 oz version which cost $85, but that has been discontinued.) Jurlique says that it is an "antiaging concentrate for the eye area" and is "deeply hydrating, easily absorbed, firming, brightening."
This product is pretty much on par with the Jurlique Herbal Recovery Gel, except they've exchanged a few products. It doesn't contain licorice extract for brightening, instead it uses eyebright. The other newly added/substituted ingredient is arnica for cooling and soothing.
The texture and consistency and scent felt practically the same as the Herbal Recovery Gel, but the eye gel is slightly more emollient. As for the results, since I basically only used this on my eye area, it was hard for me to tell whether or not this product helped much. I thought it plumped my skin up a bit, but I didn't think it really brightened the eye area. Also, this product stung my eyes a lot. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, I would just use the Herbal Recovery Gel also on the eye area and be careful not to over apply or open my eyes until the product has completely dried, since the two are very similar, and the regular Recovery Gel contains better ingredients.

Ingredients from
Water, Glycerin, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Alcohol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract, Rosa Gallica Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, Viola Tricolor (Heartease) Extract, Viola Odorata (Violet) Extract, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Lactic Acid, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Lecithin, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Allantoin, Citral*, Geraniol*, Linalool*, Limonene*.
* From Natural Essential Oil (Chamomile - Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria)).

I'm not really an eye makeup remover user since I like to remove all my makeup with cleansing oil, but I thought I'd try Jurlique's Eye Makeup Remover out anyway. You can get it at Sephora or on the Jurlique site. It comes in a 1.4 oz tube which costs $25. What interested me in this makeup remover was that it's a "moisture based cream," so I thought it might be more nourishing for the eye area.
I was quite surprised this makeup remover only costs $25 when compared with Jurlique's other pricey skincare offerings. Well, I can tell you that this product is cheap for a reason--it is not anywhere as effective as any of the other eye makeup removers out there like Lancome Bifacil or Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover. It did not remove my cream eyeliner or mascara completely, and it wasn't emollient enough on my lids--I felt like my skin absorbed the product too quickly, so the cotton pad I used to wipe off the excess remover and makeup was tugging at my eye area. It even made my eyes (corneas) feel slightly sore and uncomfortable. I ended up using the rest of this product as a base for an aspirin mask (since I'm allergic to honey). Unless you wear extremely little eye makeup, I do not recommend this.

Ingredients from
Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Viola Odorata Extract, Viola Tricolor Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Root, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, Prunella Vulgaris Leaf Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Totarol, Ethylhexylglycerin, SD Alcohol 40-A (Alcohol Denat.), Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.* *From Natural Essential Oil.

Biodynamic Beauty Serum / Purely Age-Defying Facial Serum - 1 oz for $75.

Jurlique's Biodynamic Beauty range is being renamed to Purely Age-Defying, in case of any confusion. From the long winded explanation on the site, I'm gathering that they have to rename the line to make it less confusing for customers which products are for anti-aging, since all of their products are biodynamic anyway (see Wikipedia for definition).
The consistency of this serum is much more emollient than the Herbal Recovery Gel. It also doesn't have much of a scent, which I like better. It smoothes on really nicely and absorbs extremely quickly and feels muh more moisturizing. However, in terms of results, I don't really notice any anti-aging differences between this serum and the Herbal Recovery Gel. In fact, I think the Herbal Recovery Gel might be even more effective in other ways, depending on what results you're looking for. I don't have fine lines yet so I can't make any assessments on wrinkle reduction, but I think that this serum is better suited for people who want their skin to look plump and well-rested, while the Herbal Recovery Gel helps to keep the skin looking bright and clear.
Again, I'm not sure this product produced results worth the $75, but if you're a huge fan of organic/biodynamic skincare, then I'd definitely try this line out.

Ingredients from
Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Coco-Glucoside, Coconut Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rosa Gallica Flower Extract, Viola Odorata Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Faex, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Viola Tricolor Extract, Althea Officinalis Root Extract, Algae Extract, Glucosamine Hcl, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Ectoin, Urea, Totarol, Dextrin, Ethylhexylglycerin, SD Alcohol 40-A (Alcohol Denat.), Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance/Parfum*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Limonene*.
*From Natural Essential Oil.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sunscreens with Light SPF Short Reviews

I've been trying out various high end sunscreens on the lower range of SPF lately. All of the following sunscreens were tested alone on bare, clean skin, without any makeup applied over it for honest results. I won't go into too many details and just let you in on my personal thoughts or experiences. I didn't really go into what the product is supposed to accomplish to keep things short--if you like, you can read some of the specs on the product websites below.

If this post was helpful, please let me know what kind of short reviews you'd like to see in the future. I might write one on drugstore sunscreens with high SPF or light SPF, haven't decided yet!

My skin type: normal-dehydrated combination, T-zone prone to comedogenic acne, cheeks prone to hormonal acne and clogged pores, as well as the nose
Current Climate: warm to hot, sunny, little to no humidity

Cosmedicine Medi-Matte Oil Control Lotion SPF 20 - 1.35 oz for $42

Very light and fluid, easy to spread. Texture is very smooth, a little goes a long way on the skin. I'm reminded of Giorgio Armani's Face Fabric Foundation in terms of how light and silky this lotion is. Skin develops a slight shine but not much oiliness. Absorbed completely and quickly into the skin. Scent is light and pleasant.
The product claims to "eliminate excess oil and clogged pores" via yeast extract which helps
with turning over dead skin cells as well as other various antioxidants. I didn't notice any particular improvement in the look of my skin, but I liked how it helped to mattify and smooth the skin a bit, due to the ingredient dimethicone (basically silicon, used in most makeup primers). Might be ideal for those who have normal to combination skin or oily skin and desire the "no sunscreen" feeling. Not sure about the oil controlling properties for people who have oily skin concerns.

Ingredients as taken from Sephora website:
Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Water/Eau, Glycerin, C12-14 Pareth-12, Butylene Glycol, Punica Granatum Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Root Extract, Sorbitol, Squalane, Yeast Extract/Extrait de Levura, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Glucosamine HCl, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Polysorbate 60, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben.

Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF 15
- 0.5 oz for $12, 1 oz for $27

I thought the consistency of this was thicker than expected for a low SPF moisturizer. When first squeezed out it actually seemed a bit intimidating because it slightly clung to my fingers in strands like mucus, or egg whites. It also feels like a moisturizer mixed with serum in terms of consistency. However, it spreads decently on the skin (not as well as Cosmedicine). It doesn't have much of a scent. Unlike the Cosmedicine, this does not absorb completely--I can clearly feel it sitting on my skin throughout the day, but not in a greasy, sticky, or oily way. It's almost as if it creates a barrier of water and feels very hydrating. I recommend this product to those with dry to normal skin in drier climates, since it did not really prevent oiliness.

Ingredients as taken from Sephora website:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract, Bishydroxyethyl Biscetyl Malonamide, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hydrogenated Rapeseed Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sclerotium Gum, Aluminum Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide.

Lancome Primordiale Skin Recharge Visibly Smoothing and Renewing Moisturizer SPF 15 - 1.7 oz for $65

The consistency of this sunscreen seems to be infused with water but doesn't have any stickiness or clinginess on the fingers. Otherwise, it actually reminds me a lot of the previous Boscia sunscreen. It creates a similar hydrating "barrier of water" on the skin that isn't oily or sticky, but you need more product with each application since it is less easy to spread. I don't experience much oiliness on the T-zone with this product, my skin just feels very hydrated. However, the difference between the Boscia sunscreen and this one is that this has a definite plumping, tightening effect on the skin so it is better for mature skin. Also, it has a light fragrance. I would only recommend this product to people with normal to drier skin. This product also claims to supposedly help with cell turnover but I have not noticed it helping with decreasing clogged or large pores.

Sorry, I don't have ingredients for this product but will post them if I find them.

Mario Badescu Aloe Moisturizer SPF 15 - 2 oz for $22

This sunscreen feels very creamy and nourishing on the skin. The color is interesting--it looks like the green in mint chocolate chip ice cream. It has a thick, cream-like consistency but feels more like a night-time moisturizer than a daytime moisturizer. It does not have any scent and blends very easily on the skin with just a little product. However, it never absorbed and my skin felt oily from the time of application to when I washed it off. I would only recommend it to those with dry skin in arid climates.

Ingredients as taken from the Mario Badescu website:
Deionized Water, Parsol MCX, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Polyglycerylmethacrylate, Aloe Vera Gel, Glyceryl Stearate, Isopropyl Myristate, Squalane, Myristyl Lactate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Ceteareth-20, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Propylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea

Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme Ultra Firming Creme SPF 15 - 1 oz for $70

This cream is formulated especially for mid-life skin and helps to make it tighter and less dull. The texture and consistency of this sunscreen is very smooth and it feels exactly like a night cream--in fact, I even got confused and thought it was my night cream for a couple days. It has a warm beige color but has a pretty heavy perfumey fragrance that I actually don't really like. It looks and feels heavy in the jar, but isn't gloppy or overly thick if you just glide your fingers over it to apply rather than scooping it out, kind of like a cream eye shadow. I love how buttery smooth and soothing it feels going onto the skin, but unfortunately it doesn't absorb completely on my combination skin. The Estee Lauder site specifies this sunscreen is only for dry skins and they also have a very dry skin formulation. I definitely recommend this for dry skin, but even so it's probably not the best thing to use in the summer because it doesn't have any oil controlling properties--save it for winter instead.

Estee Lauder DayWear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15 - 1.7 oz for $38.50

This sunscreen feels sort of like a gel creme--in the jar, the consistency seems more watery and jelly-like compared to the other sunscreens, but it smoothes over the skin with the texture of a cream. You only need to use a little bit with each application, so be careful not to over-apply lest you experience the oilies. I didn't get too oily with this sunscreen, but I don't think it has any oil controlling properties. It also provides a hydrating barrier effect on the skin but less so than the Boscia and Lancome Primordiale since this sunscreen is creamier and the other two feel more like a serum. I recommend this to people with normal to combination skin. It has a fresh scent that reminds me of cucumbers. Contains anti-oxidant ingredients like white tea, South African Red Tea, grape seed extract, and Vitamins C and E.

Active Ingredients:
Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, Avobenzone 2.00%.

Korres Wild Rose 24 Hour Moisturizing and Brightening Cream SPF 6 - 1.4 oz for $32.50
(also available at

This moisturizer doesn't have enough SPF for me to even recommend using it as your only sun protection from the sun, but I would definitely recommend using it in place of a daytime moisturizer under your sunscreen. It has a light feel but is very creamy at the same time. You only need to use a little bit for it to go a long way on the skin. Dry skinned girls can apply it with a heavier hand, but if you have oily or combination skin, I would be very careful not to over apply. It dries to a matte finish but still feels very hydrating. I can see this product being very effective if mixed with foundation, but I do not see any special brightening or healing properties. I also do not like the scent of this cream. Rather than smelling like fresh roses it smells like potpourri, which kind of reminds me of old grannies--not something a 20-something year old wants to smell like, haha.

Aqua (water), C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Glycerin, Hexyldecanol, Hexyldecyl Laurate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Pentylene Glycol, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Myristyl Esters, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Olea Europea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Alcohol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Alumina, Aluminum Stearate, Arginine, Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Citric Acid, Citronellol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhezylglycerin, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Isodecyl Salicylate, Parfum (Fragrance), PEG-8, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Phenoxyethanol, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Phytate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Xanthan Gum

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Estee Lauder Hydra Bright Skin-Tone Perfecting Moisturizer Creme

With the 90+ degrees weather Southern California has been receiving in the past couple of weeks, my skin has been needing a break from my usual assortment of heavy nighttime moisturizers and creams. Thus, I've been using Estee Lauder's Hydra Bright Skin-Tone Perfecting Moisturizer Creme to give my skin a break every few nights. It comes in a 1.7 oz jar with two types (one for dry and one for normal-combination skin) and retails for $40. You can purchase this at the Estee Lauder website or any department stores that carry Estee Lauder. I have been using the one for normal-combination skin.

When I first started using Hydra Bright, I didn't have very high expectations. I thought that this would be like any other moisturizer that I've tried in the past. However, at first glance, the consistency of this white cream seemed unique. It's a cross between a gel and a cream (a gel-cream, if you will) and felt very light and pillowy to the touch. The fragrance does not bother me, and I even thought it smelled slightly like bananas, though I'm sure that was not Estee Lauder's intention. Unlike most gel moisturizers, this cream requires more product to spread evenly and thoroughly over the face, so I've gone through the tub pretty quickly. After applying it to the skin, it feels very hydrated but non-greasy or slippery.

Estee Lauder claims that this "ultra hydrating moisturizer banishes first signs of aging uneven skintone, dullness, and fine dry lines." The ingredients in the moisturizer like the hydrating "Encapsulated Moisture Cells" have also been broken down "to the molecular structure so skin can asborb it more easily." You are supposed to use it both day time and night time before the repair serum. I actually only use this product at night because it doesn't dry matte or non-sticky, so it's not a good product to use underneath your daily sunscreen. (However, Estee Lauder's Hydra Bright Collection contains a SPF 15 Moisturizer so I would assume it'd be better underneath sunscreen, though I personally have not tried it.)

What I really like about this moisturizer is that it actually does live up to its name and really brightens the skin. Within half an hour of application, my skin looked much more radiant and bright. The effect was different than what I've experienced with other moisturizers like Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer--which instead made my skin look more healthy as if it were glowing from within. My skintone also looked more even and light. The only complaint I have is that the brightening effect didn't seem to last for 24 hours (I only use it during night). This brings me back to my earlier point--perhaps it is necessary to apply this during the morning as well to achieve that brightening effect. For this reason, I'm not positive this product is a must have for skin brightening, but I think it's great to keep on hand if your skin needs a quick fix, especially for special occasions, as the results are quite immediate.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, DI-C12-15 Alkyl Fumarate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Petrolatum, Butyrosperumum Parkii (Shea Butter), Steareth-21, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Steareth-2, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Coffea Robusta Seed Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Opuntia Tuna Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Flower Extract, Sea Salt/Maris Sal/Sel Marin, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Seed Butter, Fish (Pisces) Collagen, Sucrose, Jojoba Wax PEG-120 Esters, Acetyl Glucosamine, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Phytantriol, Yest Extract/Faex/Extrait de levure, SOdium DNA, Isohexadecane, Caffeine, Cholesterol, Phenyl Methicone, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Capryuc/Capric Triglyceride, Stearoxytimethylsilane, C30-45 Olefin, Polysorbate 80, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Acetyl Carnitine HCL, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phospholipids, Linoleic Acid, Terhalose, Linolenic Acid, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Carbomer, Sodium Carbomer, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 32 PA+++

Thanks to Javy at Scarlett Empress, I am able to review this product, the Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 32 PA+++. You can get this at Sephora, Macy's, Nordstrom, and any other department store with a Shiseido counter. The tube contains 0.507 ounces of product and retails for $31.

I have previously reviewed the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++, which is the light sunscreen in the same brand line suitable for both face and body. Shiseido also makes an Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++ but I haven't been able to try that out yet so unfortunately I can't make comparisons between it and the eye cream.

Since I like to keep the layers of product on my face light, particularly in the summer, I decided that the Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++ was too heavy for every day wear. Most importantly, I want my skin to feel like it can still breathe, yet be hydrated. So I was slightly skeptical of trying out this eye cream. It's very difficult to find products that hydrate the eye area without being too heavy or drying. However, the reviews on this product were very good.

Shiseido's eye cream is different than all the other eye creams I've seen out there because it offers the maximum UVA protection. As someone who suffers from allergies (including itchy eyes), I have a bad habit of rubbing my eyes brutally until they sting from irritation, so UVA protection is essential to prevent further aging. Shiseido also claims that this eye cream contains "light diffusing powder to make the eye area look brighter" and "rose leaf apple extract" which is an antioxidant--I don't think I've ever seen this ingredient in other products, though. Like the Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion, this eye cream also contains Xylitol, to help exfoliate the skin.

I really like the sturdy packaging of this eye cream--it won't unscrew itself and spill into your bag, and the tube is affixed with a plastic funnel type applicator to help control the amount you squeeze out while also keeping the product sanitary. The white cream is lightly scented with the same fragrance as Shiseido's other Sun Protection products and it is slightly thick but very easy to spread all over the orbital area. After it dries, it has a matte finish, yet it does not feel powdery or dry to the touch at all even though it contains light diffusing powder. It does not completely absorb into the skin, but leaves a barrier of moisture. Because it is non-greasy, it is possible to even skip using eye primer if you have normal or dry skin. For me, I don't need to use eye primer over it unless I'm wearing eyeliner or more than 3 shades of eyeshadow. But most importantly, this eye cream does not sting my eyes whatsoever. I've gone so long without using SPF eye cream because I always thought I could obtain the same protection by spreading my normal sunblock over my eye area. Besides unnecessarily tugging at the skin, it also stung my eyes like crazy! Believe it or not, even baby shampoo stings my eyes more than this eye cream!

Although I was wary of this eye cream, I must say it has completely surpassed my expectations and I will definitely repurchase when I run out. I am now very eager to try the Ultimate Sun Protection Cream...if the finish is anything like the eye cream, I know I'll love it as well. I am now definitely adding this product to my list of holy grails.

Active Ingredients:
Octinoxate 4.9%, Zinc Oxide 9.3%
Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Titanium Dioxide, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethicone, SD Alcohol 40-B, Xylitol, Methyl Gluceth-10, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Myristate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Ononis Spinosa Root Extract, Ectoin, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Dextrin Palmitate, Isostearic Acid, Aluminum Distearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Alcohol, Trisodium EDTA, Butylated Hydroxytoulene, Tocopherol, Syzygium Jambos Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Facial Mask

Apologies for the scant reviews lately, but they're coming--I promise! Today's review is on the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Facial Mask. It comes in a sleek white plastic pump 3.4 oz bottle and retails for $52. You can purchase this at Sephora, the Bliss website, and any department stores that carry Bliss products.

I wanted to try this mask because I really loved Bliss' Peeling Groovy serum (previous review here) and I've heard good things about it from various beauty gurus like Pursebuzz, Phyllis at Makeupforlife, and Queenie at Youtube. Furthermore, Bliss reports that this mask is one of their best sellers, and it's been featured in countless other magazines. Tons of people love it!

You're supposed to apply this mask to a clean, damp face. As I pumped the product out, I noticed it looks a lot like a shaving gel (it's also a creamy orange color with a pleasant scent). It took quite a few pumps to get it covered amply all over my face and neck (I'd estimate about 10 pumps total). Basically, you slather it all over the skin just like you do with shaving gel on your legs, and it even foams up a bit like a shaving gel does at first. Then, the mask becomes more and more bubbly and frothy on the skin as time passes, and less like a thick foam. You wash it off after 3-5 minutes, and the directions say you can use this mask up to 3 times a week. (Not sure why you can't use it more often--perhaps your skin becomes tolerant to it.)

The product claims to "brighten" and "lighten" your complexion and help your face look less "dull or tired" with "the most active powerful form of Vitamin C available." Also, the oxygen bubbles are supposed to help deliver more antioxidants to the skin through "innovative Fluid02 technology." Since I'm a fan of anything with antioxidants or skin brightening and lightening, I was really eager to try it.

However, after I rinsed off the mask the first time, I felt like my skin felt pretty clean and smooth, but I didn't notice any difference. Unconvinced, the next time I tried it, I used it on half of my face to really test it out. Both sides of my face looked identical despite using the mask on only one side. So then I tried it on a single spot on the back of my hand. Nothing. My complexion was the same color in that one spot, and it didn't get lighter or brighter at all.

People rave about how this product is like a spa in a bottle, but I think the luxurious pampering feeling they get from it is an overly hyped, placebo-like effect. This mask really doesn't do anything for me. It's just like an expensive bottle of shaving gel for the face that happens to turn into foam. Maybe it does help with free radicals and cell damage, but I can think of a ton of other products out there (not necessarily masks) that do a better job. As for the (many) people who see genuine results after using it, I say good for them, but if you haven't tried this yet and are thinking about purchasing, I highly recommend getting a sample first to see if it even works for you. I have to say I'm very disappointed--I guess Bliss' products are either hit or miss.

Ingredients (as taken off the box):
water (aqua), methyl perfluoroisobutyl ether, sorbitol, cocamidopropyl betaine, methyl perfluorobutyl ether, sodium laureth sulfate, chondrus crispus (carrageenan), cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, fragrance (parfum), cyclohexasiloxane, limonene, phenoxyethanol, benzyl alcohol, potassium sorbate, xanthan gum, coco-glucoside, sodium PCA, tocopherol, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, camellia sinesis leaf extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, gynostemma pentaphyllum extract, panthenol, polyhydroxystearic acid, hydrolyzed soy protein, benzoic acid, PPG-1 trideceth-6, citric acid, tetrahedexyldecyl ascorbate, ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol manganese chloride, ethylhexyl isononanoate, mica, linalool, isononyl isononanoate, sodium cocamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate, citral, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), yellow 5 (CI 19140), red 40 (CI 16035)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Updated Skin 79 BB Cream Posts

Hey guys,
Just to let you know, I've updated my BB Cream posts on Skin 79 to include the list of ingredients. I got home and found the product box so I was able to get them all typed up.

You can read my first post on Skin 79 BB Cream here and the comparison with L'egere here.

More reviews coming apologies for being a bit slow lately! I blame summer vacation...haha.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++

After I finished my tube of Clinique Derma White Super City Block SPF 40 PA++, I was looking for a lighter sunscreen with higher UVA protection. The first product that I definitely wanted to try was the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++. As far as brand name sunscreens go, it is one of the most economical since you get more product for your money. It is also one of the consistently most top rated sunscreens.

The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion comes in a 3.3 oz plastic bottle that's fairy light weight. There is a cartridge inside the bottle to help evenly mix up the sunscreen when you shake it before each use. The snap-on cap flips up very easily but is durable so you don't have to worry about it spilling out into your purse or bag. This product is made in Japan which means it is definitely quality.

This sunscreen is also:
- water resistant, perspiration resistant (notice it says resistant rather than I don't think it's meant for actual heavy water or sweating activities)
- extremely concentrated, protects against UVA and UVB (3 +'s means you get the maximum UVA protection there is out there, and UVA rays are the ones that cause wrinkles)
- highly nourishing, contains "Xylitol" to "retexturize, counteract roughness, and keep skin looking soft" and the "antioxidant Thiotaurine" (I have never heard of these ingredients being used in other products so I don't know much about their effectiveness)
- can be used on face and body.
- can be applied repeatedly and still be invisible on skin
- no sticky or filmy feeling

I think many beauty bloggers have probably already tried this sunscreen before. Although I'm relatively new to trying out high-end sunscreens (remember my disastrous bout with MAC Prep and Prime SPF 50 last year?), I have pretty high standards for what I consider a good sunscreen. I want one that has all the lightness and consistency of a SPF 30 or under sunscreen, but with SPF 40 or higher and maximum UVA protection.

When I first started using this product, I was amazed that it actually had the consistency of a liquid. I had not known it was possible for a high SPF sunscreen to come in this form at all! In terms of spreading over the face, I found it much easier than the sunscreens I had previously tried. It's not heavy, dries quickly, and doesn't leave a greasy or oily feeling. Within the first couple days, I definitely thought this sunscreen was "holy grail" material and I immediately stocked up on an extra bottle when Sephora had a 15% off sale.

However, I don't really find that this sunscreen is as "non-sticky" or "non-filmy" as it claims to be. Though it's pretty light and has a whitish color, and dries to a matte finish after applying it over my skin, I can still definitely feel it covering my skin in a liquid-powdery sort of film, if that makes sense. The finish is not very different from MAC's Prep and Prime SPF 50 in actuality, so some people might not really be bothered by it. However, I don't think it absorbs as well as a sunscreen with less protection. Like many sunscreens, it does help a bit with concealing redness and blemishes on your skin before makeup, but I think this is only because it has a slight whitish cast. Over a month ago, when I was at school, my skin was going through a dry, dehydrated phase and this product did not help at all. It probably made my skin even drier. Thus, I developed a habit of putting on a lighter, more moisturizing SPF underneath it (Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 for Dry-Combination skin was amazing). Since I don't have naturally smooth, patch-less skin in the first place, that made it even harder for me to apply foundation or powder over the sunscreen. Since the finish already created a film on my skin, it wasn't that great to reapply over makeup. By the end of the day, I felt like I had a layer of sunscreen cake on my face and I couldn't wait to wash it all off with cleansing oil.

I am not trying to dissuade any of you from buying this product because I really do think it is quite good, and a lot of people like it, but it just simply falls short of my expectations. I want a sunscreen that feels more moisturizing, is more fluid, but still maintains the same high level of protection. I think this sunscreen is great for extremely hot days where you know you'll be sweating a lot, or a day at the beach (if you won't spend too much time in the water). Whether or not it works for you just really depends on your lifestyle. For someone like me, who spends most of her time running around between work, school, and home, it's a bit unnecessary as a daily sunscreen. So I'm currently debating whether I should return my extra bottle and try out a different sunscreen. I'm considering the Clarins UV Plus SPF 40. Have any of you tried it?

Anyway, here are the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++ ingredients.

Active ingredients: Octinoxate (7.4%), Zinc oxide (13.9%)
Inactive ingredients: Water, cyclomethicone, butylene glycol, dimethicone, polymethyl methacrylate, trimethysiloxysilicate, polybutylene glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, dimethicone copolyol, dextrin palmitate, xylitol, methyl gluceth-10, glutathione, zinc myristate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, thiotaurine, scutellaria baicalensis extract, ectoin, cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, acrylates/dimethicone copolymer, aluminum hydroxide, isostearic acid, stearic acid, disteardimonium hectorite, silica, alcohol, trisodium edta, BHT, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethyparaben, fragrance, titanium dioxide

With the impending summer, more people are getting concerned about sun protection. A couple weeks ago, I was surfing the internet on some downtime and came across these articles. Hope you find them as equally interesting as I did.

Daily Green - Reformulation of European Sunscreens to meet new UVA standards

Newsmax - Broccoli Juice as a Natural Sunscreen?

Also, there quite a few summer contests going around! Luluchinadoll is holding a giveaway in celebration of her 100 followers--there is still a little time to enter!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Huge DDF Haul

I was excited when I got my email from Hautelook, an exclusive, invitation-only private sale site, this morning because one of the brands on sale was DDF (Doctor's Dermatologic Formula)! Everything is 50% off; this is awesome because DDF is such an expensive brand. I've heard pretty good things about it so I jumped on this immediately.

What I bought:
- Cellular Revitalization Age Renewal Cream
- Mesojection Healthy Cell Serum
- Glycolic 10% Toning Complex
- Glycolic 10% Exfoliating Oil Control Gel
- Intensive Holistic Lightener Serum

Damage: ~$200

I kind of wanted to purchase more, but I didn't want to spend an exorbitant amount, although I feel like I spent way too much already. The items are all final sale so hopefully they'll work well for me. If not, you'll definitely hear about it here in due time :-)

Has anyone ever tried these before? Any thoughts on how well they worked for you?

I really wanted to also get the RMX Essential Packets since they contain colustrum (Makeupalley tells me this is produced in human mother's milk!) and I can't find them being sold anywhere else anymore, but the description didn't say how many were in the box, which costs $100 even with the discount. Plus, I couldn't find the ingredients. That's just way too much for me to spend on something that might not even work or be returnable..

Anyway, if any of you are interested in buying DDF at Hautelook or just browsing the site, feel free to leave a comment with your email address if you don't have membership. I will send you an invite, never fear! ;-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Caudalie Vinoperfect Night Correcting Cream

I'm actually posting so soon, and feeling pretty diligent! This product ends my trial period with Caudalie. In conjunction with the Caudalie 1st Wrinkle Serum, I decided to get their Vinoperfect Night Correcting Cream. We've all heard over and over again how you have to use a company's line of specific products in order to achieve the best result. (I suspect this is an advertising or marketing ploy sometimes.) While these two products aren't under the same umbrella of result (brightening vs. energizing), Caudalie uses similar ingredients in all their products anyway, so I thought I would still be getting the maximum Caudalie benefits.

You can get this at Sephora or on the Caudalie website. The cream is for all skin types, and costs $68 for 1 oz. All Caudalie products seem to be made in France, but there might be a couple exceptions...I'm not completely sure.

I got this cream to try because it promised to deliver results that seemed too good to be true. The cream is supposed to "diminish dark spots while renewing skin," "tighten pores," and "make your skin more radiant." Instead of containing the usual anti-oxidants from the grapes themselves, this product has "500 ppm titration of pure Viniferine" taken from"grapevine stalks" which supposedly has much more concentrated anti-oxidant effects than the normal anti-oxidant product. I don't understand much of the scientific language, but since the Viniferine is patented, you'd think it means the product is even more amazing.

Some of the ingredients in the Vinoperfect Night Correcting Cream as taken from the Caudalie website are Viniferine in 500 ppm titration (improves radiance, complexion enhancing and anti-oxidant on the upper layers of the skin), grape acid (provides mild exfoliation), olive squalane, shea butter, cassia angustifolia, grape extract & sodium hyaluronate (all are nourishing & moisturizing), camomile extract (soothing), sweet orange, tangerine, orange blossom water, petit grain, galbanum, ylang ylang (provide relaxing scent?)

This cream is supposed to be applied only at night, but I also used this morning and night. I don't think there's any harm in doing that. The cream is a little hard to squeeze out from the tube. It comes out in a very precise, small little stream of cream, so you're not in the danger of squeezing out too much but you might get frustrated trying to get it out when you're almost done with the tube. (Tip: I cut all my tubes open in sections to get the leftover cream out!) The smell isn't as pleasant as I thought it would be...maybe I had a defunct tube, but the scent made me think of medicine with a faint tinge of grapes.

The texture of the cream is very smooth and it melts down very easily when you rub it between your fingers. It has a medium thick consistency--not too thick as far as creams go, so people with dry skin can probably use it during the warmer months. The cream is buildable, you can use a little for a tiny bit of moisture, or a couple additional layers for a more hydrating effect. When I added on more layers though, it did not absorb very well into my skin. Some of you might enjoy that effect though if you want your cream to maximize the efficacy of serums or other products you've used underneath. It actually also has a bit of a tendency to ball up if you rub your face after application or put any other moisturizers on top.

As for results, I'm not sure if this product helped with my pores. I can't tell if it made their appearance any smaller since my skin has been gradually improving lately anyway, but I haven't had any major clogged pores or break out issues. Also, as for brightness and radiance, I think the cream does a so-so job. I've used products that have given me more radiance before, so I don't think this is the product for that. My acne scars don't look any lighter either. It's really a pity because Caudalie always has such great ingredients, but for some reason the two products I've tried just haven't really done much for me, especially with how expensive they cost. Perhaps dry skin types might want to check this out, but as for everyone else, I'm sure a good retinol product like Skinceuticals 0.5 or 1.0 Refining Night Cream will do a better job. I did a review on the 0.5 version in case you're interested in my opinion.

Anyway, I'm going to be going home pretty soon, so let's see if the change in environment causes my skin to completely go crazy again...I will have to change all my products again!

P.S. Join Mayaari's giveaway to win some great products! You blogger ladies are all so generous!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee 1st Wrinkle Serum

I bought this recently to try out because my skin is really craving hydration, and I wanted to try some anti-aging products. It retails for $59 and is 1 fl oz. You can buy it at Sephora or on the Caudalie website.

This serum is advertised as being "full of anti-oxidants" and is supposed "to fight the early/first signs of aging." The website says that it contains beneficial ingredients such as: stabilized grape-seed polyphenols (an anti-oxidant), plant biovector (anti-wrinkle), hyaluronic acid (moisturizing), fern (lifting), ginger, ginseng, royal jelly, echinacea (all energizing), and orange pulp scent, like freshly squeezed orange with a zest of carrot and iris butter (for scent?). Since it had so many amazing ingredients I decided to give it a try even though I don't have any wrinkles (yet...never hurts to prevent).

The bottle is very light and I think the packagin is quite pretty. One things I did notice was that the plastic cap kept falling off in my makeup bag when I brought my toiletries with me to camp out in the college buildings overnight, so that was annoying. Though the serum didn't get everywhere, it's definitely not a travel safe product!

One of the first things I immediately noticed about this serum was its scent. It smells exactly like Japanese green grape bubblegum, the kind you find in Asian markets in little packs or balls. Since I have loved that smell since I was a kid, I was seized by a savage instinct to eat it (but I controlled myself!). It looks like a very thin and watery, white moisturizer, and the texture feels also like a very light, fluid moisturizer rather than a serum. Unlike normal serums, which have a sticky after-effect, after smoothing it over your face, it instantly silkens or "mattifies" to your skin. Your skin feels very smooth and you don't have a leftover film of moisturizer on your skin. This serum is designed to be used during the mornings, but I apply it both at night and in the morning, hoping to get the maximum effect.

As for the results, to be quite honest, I didn't see much difference in my skin. There were no immediate results; my skin didn't feel much tighter or lifted, it didn't look brighter, didn't help or worsen my acne or pores...just didn't do much of anything! To be fair, it might've helped with my dryness a bit, this product is definitely not moisturizing enough on its own to really produce any positive results.

I will try to get up another Caudalie review this week, but things are still a little crazy with my upcoming graduation, so no guarantees :-) I've missed you all!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bliss Peeling Groovy Serum

(OK, I know I should be working, but in my defense I typed up most of this review before finals anyway, hehe)

I have found my new holy grail exfoliant serum!

1 ounce costs $65...I almost cried when I purchased it, haha. Luckily, was doing a promotion in February where you received a full size Love Handler for free with any purchase which persuaded me.

You can purchase this at Bliss or Sephora. It comes in a thick glass bottle with a sturdy plastic pump. I hate products with crappy pumps, and I actually like that it's in glass because that means I can store the product longer (plastic packaging = chemicals leeching into your product and shorter shelf life).

I always assumed Bliss skincare products weren't effective because the ingredients never impressed me, but this product makes me understand why they have such a cult following. My former holy grail serum Estee Lauder Idealist stopped working for me early in 2009 (I think my skin became tolerant to it) so I was desperately looking for a similar product.

My skin was immediately glowing upon the first application and it looks absolutely flawless. I'm even brave enough to go outside with no concealer, foundation, or powder. My cheeks are also naturally blushing. Amazing!

This has helped all my other skincare products work better. Before I finished my Clinique Derma White products, I could definitely see the difference the Peeling Groovy Serum made. In only a couple weeks, my skin already looked brighter and lighter than usual. As someone who has tried the Clarisonic in the past, which similarly claims to make all your skincare products absorb more and thus work better, I say ditch the Clarisonic and just buy this if you didn't think the Clarisonic was anything special either. The Clarisonic didn't minimize or clean my pores as promised, but this stuff really works.

Unfortunately, the downside to this product is that it stings a lot when you first apply it to your skin for about a minute. Oily skinned, non-sensitive types may not feel anything, but I don't even have particularly sensitive skin and I definitely felt a burning sensation when I first started using it. At the time, I had super congested skin. Now, my skin has calmed down a lot and I don't feel any pain or burning at all. However, in the words of Singaporean blogger Xiaxue, to me the sting is "tolerable for beauty's sake," but I understand some people may not have as high a pain threshold as I do.

This product is not intended to moisturize. After properly cleansing and toning your skin, I smooth a couple squirts onto my entire face and neck, avoiding the eye area. A little goes a long way. Make sure you wait 3-5 minutes before applying any other skincare products, like serums, moisturizers, or creams. I think eye creams are fine to apply as you wait since you're not applying the Peeling Groovy Serum on your eye area. When I first started using this, I had no idea I was supposed to wait before applying moisturizer, but I still saw a difference in the texture and vibrancy of my skin. I do think it's important to wait a little bit, but if your skin starts feeling tight because the water that was absorbed while cleansing your face disappears, go ahead and apply your lotion; exfoliation is important, but hydration is even more so.

I first started using this product around that "time of month" and it did dry my skin out pretty badly. My skin has improved so much lately, and I hardly need to use this anymore. I'll probably only whip it out once every two weeks, or when I feel my face breaking out. Since my skin is doing so much better lately, it seems unnecessary for me to use this all the time. In the event that my skin does start acting up again (which will inevitably happen), I will update you and let you know how well this works then. But though this product costs $65, I have a feeling I won't even be done with my ounce bottle after a year.

This product has really piqued my interest in some other Bliss products I hope to add to my medicine cabinet eventually, like the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Face Mask. Do you folks have any other Bliss recommendations? Let me know!