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 up...my 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 proof...so 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!