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, Bliss.com 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!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I am slowly dying...

I'm putting reviews on a hiatus because of finals! I have about 40 pages to write in the next 9 days; I don't know if that's humanly possible for me but I'm going to try my best...my school doesn't have a 24/7 library, which I find extremely annoying.

Besides turning me into a zombie, not sleeping is also causing my allergies to go haywire. I have a problem with rubbing my itchy eyes until they burn in pain and lately I've noticed little fine lines appearing underneath my eyes O___O NOOOO!!!!! Any beauty bloggers who have massive allergies too? TIPS?! I'm too young for wrinkles...especially if they're self-induced!!!!

Anyway, see you all in June--I just want to graduate already!

Monday, May 11, 2009

L'egere White Multi Blemish Balm Cream vs. Skin79 DermaRX BB Cream

Since I prefer BB cream over foundation, I finally caved and purchased the L'egere White Multi BB Cream, which has been given rave reviews by various beauty bloggers. You can find this BB cream on ebay by searching "Legere BB Cream" or at websites like imomoko.com and bobodave.com. It usually retails for about $27.00 USD and up, and comes in a 1.69 fl oz tube. This BB cream is made in Korea and very popular in Taiwan (recommended by the show Nu Ren Wo Zui Da). This post is a comparison of the L'egere White Multi BB Cream against Skin79 DermaRX Beblesh Balm. You can read my initial post about the Skin79 DermaRX BB Cream or an intro to BB creams in general here.

I found out that l'egere, or légère in French, means light. And I am not surprised that this name was chosen for the brand because of this bb cream's relatively short list of ingredients.

L'egere White Multi Blemish Balm Cream Ingredients:
Arbutin, Cyclomethicone, Jojoba oil, Polyglyceyl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Beeswax, Tocopheryl acetate, Propylparaben, Sorbitan sesquioleate, Petrolatum, Titanium Dioxide/Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)/Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butylene glycol, Magnesium sulfate, Methylparaben, Sodium hyaluronate, Marine collagen, Rose water, Centella asiaticacosides, Water, Fragrance.

On the other hand, Skin79 definitely contains more ingredients...some beneficial, and some which have scared people off from trying it. I thought it was interesting how both products use the same mineral pigment shades, but that Skin79 comes out with a greyish cast.

Skin79 Derma RX Beblesh Balm SPF 15 Ingredients:
Water, Beeswax, Butylparaben, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1-Dimethicone, Sorbitan Isostearate, Calcium Stearate, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Silica, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cyclomethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Titanium Dioxide, Talc, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Phenyl Trimethicone, Arbutin, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Allantoin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Caviar Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria)Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Ubiquinone, Fragrance.

Anyway, Skin79 makes a ton of different BB creams, while L'egere only has the White Multi Blemish Balm and the Shiny Pearl Blemish Balm. It can be hard to choose the right Skin79 BB cream, especially for those of us who do not live in Asia and have limited access. I bought the DermaRX Beblesh version nearly two and a half years ago and have stayed faithful to it since. Skin79 was one of the first brands to make BB cream, and the DermaRX is one of their first launches. It might be safe to guess that the DermaRX BB cream was the first one they ever formulated since it's so basic. On the other hand, L'egere is much more recent. Since Skin79 was one of the first to make BB cream, you could say their brand has more expertise. However, a recent brand like L'egere can benefit from understanding the flaws or mistakes other BB Creams have and come up with new ingredients or technology for a better formula.

Anyway, enough speculation. On to fundamentals--what are their actual differences?

Consistency, Texture
L'egere and Skin79 are both very creamy going on, but Skin79 is definitely thicker. They both feel like moisturizers rather than foundation.

Skin79 smells pretty medicinal. I described it before as a kaolin clay type of smell, others have noted it smells like tea tree oil. The L'egere smells very faint, but like rosewater and ginger and white tea. It smells very similar to the Dior HydrAction moisturizer I reviewed a couple posts down.

L'egere is easier to blend onto the skin because it is less thick. You can make Skin79's easier to blend by adding some of your favorite daytime moisturizer. I mentioned before in my earlier post that my personal favorite is Oil of Olay Complete SPF 15.
However, if you use a sunscreen that dries matte underneath your makeup like I do, you may find that both BB creams are not very easy to blend. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on your skin type.

Color, Pigmentation
As my skin has gotten lighter, I do notice that Skin79 has a bit of greyish cast to my skin after initial application. When I was darker, this did not bother me so much. I would recommend Skin79 to MAC skin tones NC25 and above only. It seems to have cool or neutral undertones.
L'egere comes out a bit dark from the tube but matches my skin tone after I spread it out. The shade looks somewhat tan, and has a warmer undertone as opposed to Skin79. The L'egere actually works for MAC skin tones NC15 and up.

Oxidization, Shine
I do not get any oxidization with Skin79 at all, but I do notice a little oxidization with L'egere on my T-zone between my eyebrows. The amount of oxidization really depends on the products you use underneath the BB cream. For me, the L'egere actually oxidizes more over a matte sunscreen than a regular moisturizer. With a matte sunscreen, my combination skin does not get oily. However, if I use normal moisturizer, my T-zone gets oily. The L'egere creases into the little lines underneath my eyes a little bit sometimes, I have to apply it very carefully there.

Beneficial ingredients
Skin79's DermaRX is SPF 15, while L'egere White Multi does not specify its SPF, even though it claims to have sun protection.
Skin79 contains arbutin, adenosine, caviar extract, Nano-Coenzyme Q10, and other great ingredients (will post them if I find my box)
L'egere contains arbutin, jojoba oil, Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), sodium hyaluronate (hylauronic acid), marine collagen, rose water

Coverage, Finish, Skin Type
Skin79 provides a matte finish. It is very pigmented. I like this BB cream very much because it can also double up as a concealer since it is so pigmented (very good coverage), and it always makes my skin look smooth no matter what problems it is going through (flakiness, acne, etc.) without being cakey. This is very important because I have combination skin that tends to extremes--it can be super oily or dry.
L'egere provides a slightly less matte finish. It cannot double up as a concealer and provides light to light-medium coverage. It does tend to crease or cake a little around dry patches if you use a matte sunscreen underneath. With a more moisturizing sunscreen, L'egere has a more glowy finish. This BB cream looks best on me when I have smooth, problem free skin. I think L'egere would work better for people who do not suffer from much acne or dryness, but again, the finish would really depend on what you use to moisturize and protect your skin underneath.

Although Skin79 claims to be anti-microbial, it actually does seem to clog my pores a bit. I notice little bumps appearing from time to time with this, though nothing bad like with Skinfood BB creams, which really clogged my pores.
This is where L'egere really wins. This product does not clog my pores at all! It's like applying moisturizer on the skin, not makeup. I'm guilty of falling asleep a couple of times with it on, and my skin did not break out. This is perfect for work days or finals period when I have to pull all nighters.
Both products made my pores look smaller, but Skin79 does a better job at concealing them.

Both products have their pros and cons. Personally, I find that I get the best result with these products by using them in conjunction. I use the L'egere as a foundation, and then apply the Skin79 as a concealer on any of my blemishes, redness, and underneath the eyes. The combination works pretty well and it doesn't look like my skin has multicolored foundation at all. Skin 79 does have more versatility than L'egere because the pigmentation is so concentrated, though, and it leaves a great finish when mixed with moisturizer or a light sunscreen (not matte, but hydrated and radiant).
I think that people who have uneven skin (acne, dry patches) should go for Skin 79, and people who only have pigmentation problems (scars, unevenness, dark circles) should go for L'egere.

If you have any questions, please comment or email and I will respond as best I can.

On a side note, does anyone want to swap BB creams with me? I have Skinfood Aloe Shade #1 and Skinfood Mushroom Shade #2. I only swatched the Aloe, but I used about half of the Mushroom. I don't want to throw them away because that'd be a waste, and I know a lot of people actually like Skinfood. I've been wanting to try Missha Perfect Cover, or any other Skin79 brand. Comment or email me and let me know!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dior HydrAction Deep Hydration Rich Creme

I'm reviewing the Dior HydrAction Deep Hydration Rich Creme today. It retails for $54.00 for 1.7 oz. You can find it at most department stores that carry Dior skincare like Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom, as well as Sephora.

This product is formulated for dry skin and claims to improve your skin's ability to replenish and retain moisture by "creating an invisible veil that limits water evaporation on the skin's surface" and an "in-depth action on irrigation." The little pamphlet it comes with uses a lot of complicated terminology to explain this moisturizer. I'm just going to type some of it up here for you...

"- Instantly, your skin looks beautifully radiant. The revolutionary Aquacapt complex increases and reinforces the impalpable invisible water reserves at the surface of the epidermis. Skin is immediately fresh and moisturized.
- In the long term, your skin is more supple, lastingly comfortable. Aquaporin technology contributes to a cutaneous irrigation system which helps promote better water circulation between cells. It improves water movement allowing the deep reserves to move towards the skin's upper layers for extreme and long lasting comfort."

I'm assuming that Dior means to say this moisturizer has two purposes--to trap water and hydrate the skin's outer surface, and also improve the skin's ability to retain moisture....but by moving water from inside your body to the surface of your skin? I don't think any moisturizer is capable of doing that...sounds quite gimmicky.

This moisturizer comes in a huge oval glass jar with a plastic cap. It is very bulky and heavy. I don't like the cap that much, and it doesn't always twist back on properly because of the shape. I would probably like this better if it were in a round jar, but Dior's oval packaging is their signature, so I don't see this changing anytime soon.

This moisturizer is not that heavy, considering it's a cream. It smells absolutely amazing, very much like rose petals. The texture of the cream is very creamy and well blended. A little moisturizer goes on a long way and it spreads very nicely. If you dot a pea size on each section of your face and blend it in, it will absorb very quickly. The cream feels extremely luxurious and comforting when applying it to your skin, and it smells so wonderful that I feel like I'm pampering my skin in a fluffy blanket of moisture, haha.

I've been using this as a day and night cream. At night, I like my moisturizer to be a little thicker, so I apply a thin layer first and wait for it to completely absorb. Then, I apply another layer of the cream so I can feel it actually sitting on my skin. I apply it twice because I've noticed that in the morning, when I wake up, all the moisturizer has been absorbed into my face (or maybe mysteriously rubbed off in the night), and my surface skin actually feels dry and unsmooth. When I rinse my face in the morning, I can feel remnants of it being washed off, but I don't like how it doesn't keep my skin fully hydrated and plump during my 8 hours (or less) of sleep.

I've been using this for about a month. I originally bought this cream because I was having trouble with dryness and I saw this cream had really great reviews on Sephora, Makeup Alley, and other places on the internet. As I get older, my skin gets drier and is prone to a lot of little flakes. I have been hunting for a moisturizer that isn't too thick, but will still get rid of the flakes, since we're moving into the summer season soon. I don't think this moisturizer got rid of my flakes at all. If anything, I have to credit my other products like the Laura Mercier Face Polish for getting rid of my dry patches and flakes. I also don't notice any long term benefits occuring with this moisturizer. My skin doesn't look any more radiant or glowy, like it did with the Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer. The Dior HydrAction Deep Hydration Rich Creme doesn't seem to help my skin's ability to "retain moisture" either.

I have to be one of the few naysayers and say I believe this product is only intended for people who want an "instant quenching" effect, because this cream really does feel so nice when you're putting it on, and I do experience a little bit of plumping. So I do agree with the first bullet point I copied from the product description. However, the second bullet I disagree with, because there are no palpable long term benefits. My skin isn't getting firmer, it's not feeling increasingly hydrated all the time, and it doesn't look more radiant. I wouldn't buy this moisturizer unless you're someone looking for a cream to use as a temporary mask for sunburns, windburns, sensitivity, and things like that. I also would not recommend using this around the eyes. It does sting my eye and I teared quite a bit when I tried to double it up as an eye cream. I think this product would better suit people with actually oily to oily combination type skin, despite it's dry skin type labeling. This product also doesn't have any ingredients listed on the box or anywhere online...I wonder if it contains any beneficial ingredients at all?

Ultimately, I'm going to be returning this cream, because it's really not worth the money for what I'm looking for. I'll look into some other moisturizers and hopefully find something that works much better.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Laura Mercier Face Polish Gommage Facial

Review on the Laura Mercier Face Polish Gommage Facial today. You can get this at any department store that carries Laura Mercier skincare, Sephora, or LauraMercier.com. It comes in a 3.5 oz tube and retails for $30.00.

If you've read any of my prior skincare reviews, you probably know that my skin needs exfoliating practically daily. My pores get clogged very easily, I break out quite frequently, and what's worse, my skin is always dry and flakey. I use white sugar as an exfoliant but it's not always effective. As fine as white sugar may seem, it's still not safe to use everyday on the skin, because it can wear and tear at delicate collagen. My skin hasn't shaken off the dryness from winter even though we're approaching spring/summer. I can see little white flakes on my skin during the daytime after I put on my sunscreen, especially in my under eye area. Also, my sunscreen dries matte, so when I apply undereye concealer or foundation, the little flakes become even more emphasized. The condition of my skin is really affecting my foundation/makeup application. No point in concealing my flaws if makeup just brings out others.

The Laura Mercier Face Polish claims to be a gentle facial scrub for all skin types, and can also act as a calming astringent. What really stood out to me was that the website claims it can be used daily for normal to oily skin and every other day for dry or mature skin. Daily exfoliant dilemma solved.

When you squeeze it out, the scrub has a pale, creamy orange color and average consistency--it feels a bit like a light face cream. The scent is pleasant and faintly smells a bit like an orange creamsicle. Of course, it contains tiny exfoliating granules, and what I like about the particles is that they are the perfect size--smaller than sugar particles, but large enough so they can more closely slough the skin and get into all the little crevices, like around my nose.

I tacked this face polish onto my skincare routine as the third step in cleansing. After washing my face with cleansing oil and a face wash, I squeeze about a dime or nickle sized amount for my entire face. As I apply the polish on my still wet face, the polish does not foam up; itspreads out and feels like a gel-cream cleanser. The scrub particles do not feel harsh on the skin whether I apply light or deep pressure. After rubbing my face for about a minute, I rinse everything off and my skin feels instantly baby soft and smooth. The results are even better when used after a shower.

Though this can be used daily, I actually don't use this face polish everyday because I don't want my skin to become tolerant to it as it has with some other products. Despite using it only about three times a week, this Laura Mercier face polish does help. In conjunction with some of the other products in my rotation right now, it has helped me get rid of my residual acne and dry flakes. Notice the key word: helped. It's not a miracle or holy grail product because my skin hasn't experienced "instant" results, but your skin will get better with time and patience.

Below are the ingredients. As you read through, you can see the product contains various oils, such as sunflower seed oil, macadamia ternafolia oil, and jojoba oil, which help protect the skin from over exfoliation. It also contains stinging nettle extract, which is an ingredient that lends it "astringent" properties. Stinging nettle is a plant with medicinal, anti-inflammatory properties. A quick Google search will show you that it has been used to treat many ailments since medieval times.

Again, it's not like the product contains a special secret ingredient, like diamond powder, so don't expect your skin problems to instantly go away. But I do really like this product and will consider repurchasing when I run out. I definitely recommend it if you have skin like mine that needs to be exfoliated every day or every other day, but you don't want to overstrip or wear out your skin.

Water (Aqua), Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sodium C12-15 Pareth-15 Sulfonate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-3 Cocamide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Macadamia Ternafolia Oil, Triethanolamine, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Polyquaternium-39, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Ethylparaben, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernal Flour, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Butylparaben, Propylene Gylcol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Salvia Officianlis (Sage) Leaf, Rose Canina Fruit Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Red 4 (CI 14700), Yellow 5 (CI 19140).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Massive NYX Haul

What am I doing?!?! So much for my no-buy....which technically ended last week with that other Sephora haul...hahaha! Sigh...

I purchased off of Cherryculture.com and used code NYX50 to get the 50% off my purchase. If you purchase $40 and over you get free shipping.

What I got:

1. Concealer Stick in Green
2. Concealer Stick in Lavendar
3. Silver Glitter Eyeliner
4. Falsies galore-- #101(x2), 116(x2), 119, 121, 125, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132(x2), 141, 142, 143, 149

I had put some other falsies in my cart yesterday but I waited until today to purchase and they were already sold out! Boo. Well at least I got the Concealer Stick in Green, it ALWAYS sells out whenever Cherryculture has a sale.

Will let you guys know what I think about the products as soon as I get them.