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)