Archive for category Phyto

Working Hard or Hardly Working: Yes, I’m Still Downsizing!

The past couple months has been a slow one for using up products it seems – like anything else, when it rains it pours, but in those in-between times, it seems to be a bit of a drought.  I’m just on the precipice of finishing a handful of products, but before that happens, I want to round up all the items that I finished before I began my beauty challenge – I want to be fair and transparent (lol can you tell I work for the government?), so when the time comes to match products used to products bought, I’ve got clear evidence to show you that I’m still following the guidelines.  Meticulous to a fault, eh?The list of products below are pretty boring, I have to say – most weren’t very memorable and I wouldn’t repurchase the majority of them.  There are also a handful of samples that seemed to take AGES to finish, despite some being tiny.  Anywho…enough chat – let’s hop to it!Phyto Phytheol Intense Shampoo and L’Oreal Total Repair conditioner.  The former is an anti-dandruff formulation which I had hoped would help with my seasonal dry scalp, which I thought was dandruff.  Turns out, its more likely dermatitis, as per my dermatologist – surprize, surprize, the girl with eczema has one more skin issue to worry about.  Yay…. :(  Anyway, this didn’t do a lick for my scalp, but since I don’t seem to have dandruff, I can’t really give it a fair rating.  I think there are probably treatments out there though that are more effective and far cheaper than this.

L’Oreal’s Total Repair conditioner was OK, but absolutely nothing to rave about and to be honest, I just stopped using it a few weeks ago and already I don’t remember what it was like.  It wasn’t as hydrating or as smoothing as I wanted it to be, so there’s that.  I can tell you that I already enjoy my current conditioner, an Infusium23 product, wayyyy more.  I bought this because it was on sale.  End of story.Philosophy’s Purity cleanser.  I’m sure everyone and their dog has tried this basic product at some point.  It’s a good standby and I didn’t have any issues with it, but jeez louise this size lasts AGES.  I know that’s a great thing for some, but for Miss ADHD here, I get bored halfway through and am just dying to use something else.  I always feel that there could be something better.  This cleanser didn’t irritate my skin, but I didn’t find it soothed it either, and right now while I’m fighting tooth and nail to keep my skin under control (this cold, cold Winter is doing a major number on it!), this just isn’t going to cut it.  Great for slightly sensitive skin or, of course, non-reactive skin in general though. The Body Shop’s Wise Woman Eye Cream, Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum, and a mini jar of Vaseline (though apparently I took the label off…?).  The Wise Woman eye cream was nice, decently hydrating but nothing crazy either way, so if you’re super oily/dry, you’ll probably need something else.  It didn’t help with my dark circle, which was one of it’s claims, and I’ve had other eye creams that kept my undereye area more supple.  But for $24CAD, it was a decent price and lasted me a good year or more.

I’m not going to talk anymore about Ole’s Truth Serum – I know you’ve heard enough!!!  If you haven’t though, or need a refresher, see my original post here.  I’m on my second bottle of this now.

Ah, Vaseline.  A medicine cabinet must, even though overall I’m not a fan of petroleum.  But I use this on my lips every night before bed and my pucker stays nice and hydrated for the most part, so for the couple bucks it costs, and the length of time it lasts (seriously, like 2-3 years for this tiny thing…crazy), I’ll keep on buying it!Another Vaseline product – Intensive Rescue Soothing Hand Cream.  I really liked this a lot – it wasn’t as occlusive as the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, but it softened my hands big time and kept them moisturized for hours.  It even helped with some of my eczema patches, which is always a bonus in my eyes.  It had a relatively thick consistency but abosrbed fairly quickly and didn’t leave my hands greasy.  I can’t remember the price but it was something like $8.99 – around the same as Norwegian Formula etc. Here’s a sample size of Aveda’s Smoothing Body Polish.  I haven’t owned a body scrub in a while – in keeping with staying away from abrasive products as a whole, I’m sort of off the scrubs – but I picked this up in the Fall and used it sporadically here and there.  It had a fairly good granular quality though I never felt that I left the shower super-smooth, so not sure what that was about.  It worked better on damp skin than fully wet.  I wouldn’t buy the full size.More samples!  I’ve had the Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel for years, but finally got on finishing it last year.  It was pretty great, actually – the scent made me nervous, kind of floral and pretty strong – but it didn’t seem to irritate my skin that I noticed.  It comes as a fine powder, with you put in the palm of your hand and add water, then it foams and you apply it to your face for 30-60 seconds and the enzymes exfoliate.  It did make my face feel really smooth afterward, and this sample, if I had used it consistently (say, every 2-3 days) would have lasted me a few months – you only need a bit of powder each time.  If there were no fragrance, I’d pay the $60-odd dollars for the full-size of this; crazy price, but it was pretty lovely.

The CoverFX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum was another sample that lasted quite a while considering its just a little packet.  I normally don’t include those types of samples, but because it lasted so long I thought it was worthwhile.  If I recall, Liz did a post on this a few months back, that was pretty thorough.  I don’t remember it too much, but I think it was nice enough – definitely more like a treatment serum than a primer, as Liz noted.  I think there are a bunch of different formulations of these, and they aren’t cheap, something like $39CAD?  I wanted to buy one but the packing is sooo tiny for that price!  Funny the things I’ll shell out for and those I won’t eh?

That little sample jar on the right was the Philosophy Help Me that I tried out.  I still maintain that it worked quite nicely considering my skin is almost always flared up and red these days – it didn’t add to the irritation – but the fact that the retinol in the ingredients is soo far down the list concerns me.  Obviously that would contribute to why it didn’t irritate my skin, but at the same time – do I want to pay $59CAD for a product that doesn’t really do what I bought it for???  The sample lasted almost a full week using it nightly though, so it seems to go pretty far.Finally, some makeup!!  Though sadly, only one product here is full-size; the others are all sample sizes.  Nonetheless, I got through them!  Here you see a random eyebrow comb that broke (both ends – the comb part you still see is just attached for show) which I included just because.  Then we have a Clinique Lash Doubling mascara sample – this is probably my second fave mascara by the brand after High Impact.  Gives nice volume and some length, but doesn’t clump at all.  Then below it, is one of Clinique’s Vitamin C Lip Smoothie’s in Strawberry Bliss.  The lip smoothies have antioxidants in them to help keep the lips healthy and more youthful looking.  This shade was just a dark but sheer pink shade, but it was really nice and I think the color would look good on almost anyone.  However, this sample went fast – I didn’t use it all that often and even so, it was gone in two months.  I also found that the texture of the gloss is a bit thicker than I’d like – not a big issue, just something of note.

Underneath the lip smoothie, we have a Long Last Glosswear SPF15 by Clinique, another sample size, in Knockout Nude.  Nice cool shimmering beige-nude shade that looks good on most skintones, but I find the newer glosswears with SPF get sticky faster than the old ones without sunscreen.  And they get funky after a while and develop this nasty plastic-type smell.  No thanks!  You can see I didn’t finish it – and I don’t plan to! I also didn’t finish the L’Oreal On-the-Loose shadow pot in Five Alarm below it – if you recall I swatched this with my new L’Oreal Infallible shadow I bought a few weeks ago, and realized how much nicer and more pigmented the newer one was.  And also, I had to bite the bullet that this old shadow was over 10 years old, so it HAD to go.  It’s still got about a 1/4 of the container left, but…oh well!

Lastly, we have a sample jar of a MAC Pro Longwear concealer (shade NC42).  I included this because this was another sample that lasted forever – I had this for several months and was using it on my undereyes almost every day.  It was ok – it covered my darkness but didn’t completely erase it.  I’m terribly fussy with undereye concealers and have yet to find one that lives up to my expectations, to take my review with a grain of salt – for some, this might be total love, as it does conceal better than some and is buildable.  However, the pump dispenser on the full-size is irritating because it gives too much product (you only need a small dot), so that’s a turn off.  I wouldn’t buy the full-size, which retails for $21CAD.

So there’s the rundown of what I’ve used up in the past while, up to January 20th.  Moving forward, anything that I finish now counts toward a new purchase – remember, its one for one in skincare, and two for one in makeup.  Sometimes this seems like no biggie, other times, I find myself just about to pull the trigger on a new product…..only to be reminded that I gotta use ‘em to buy ‘em!  Rats.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!!!  If you get out shopping, make sure you let me live vicariously through you OK???

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A Proud Moment: Downsizing at it’s Best

This post has been a long time coming, as I’ve got quite a few empties to show you that have been piling up over the past weeks.  I kept putting it off as I had a handful of makeup items that were nearing completion and I wanted them to be included.  Even still, I have about three more that are thisclose to being finished, but I couldn’t wait any longer.  This is gonna be a doozy, so let’s get right to it.  Note: In an effort to keep my inherent wordiness down, I won’t be giving my usual lengthy descriptions of each – otherwise you’ll be here till Christmas :P  But, if you do want further details on any product mentioned, don’t hesitate to ask!

First up, we have the hair products.  From left to right: Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm, Phyto Phytolactum+ Intelligent Shampoo, Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Relaxing Balm (sample), Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist (sample), and Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother (sample).

Joico Moisture Recovery:  I bought this at Chatters for something like $17CAD.  It has good reviews on MUA and I wanted something to hydrate my parched hair.  I don’t heat style for the most part, or do any coloring or other treatments to my hair, so it’s pretty healthy but bone-dry.  I don’t like Joico much but this worked fairly well – though I wouldn’t repurchase.

Phyto Phytolactum+ Intelligent Shampoo: I picked this up from Sephora last March (see how often I shampoo?) and had high hopes it would sooth my dry scalp and not strip my hair.  Mistakenly I thought this wouldn’t contain sulfates (it does) – though it was pretty gentle nonetheless.  But it did nothing for my dry scalp, so I wouldn’t repurchase.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Relaxing Balm: I was in a buying mood when I picked up this travel size sample at Chatters – I don’t know why I get these ‘smoothing’ products because it’s really meant for people who blow out their hair, which isn’t me.  I know you’d like that smoothing might be helpful to tame my curly hair, but I really find it doesn’t do much of anything.  This product smelled lovely but that made me nervous (due to my eczema) so I was glad when it was finished.

Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil: I had just read a couple good reviews on this and then they offer this as a 100-point perk at Sephora so I got it to try out.  Again, pointless product for my hair type.  Also contained fragrance so I was happy to finish it and be done with it.  Can’t comment on it’s effectiveness, unfortunately!

Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep: ANOTHER smoother.  I know.  Anyway, this actually ended up being quite a gem – if I used this after I applied my usual styling creme, it really kept my hair soft and frizz-free.  I’m not a huge fan of the herbal Aveda scent, but it’s also not a deterrent either.  I probably wouldn’t buy the full size though; I find Aveda products so expensive!Next – Hand and body creams.  Left to right: Aveeno Eczema Care Cream, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (frag. free), Eucerin Aquaphor.  I’ve discussed all these in length here and here respectively.  I’m using a different body lotion right now and I can’t wait till it’s done, it doesn’t measure up to Aveeno’s cream at all.  Sometimes you should just stick with what works.  I have a new tube of the Norwegian Formula at work – I really like this a lot – but I don’t think I’ll buy the Aquaphor again, it was a bit too thick and contained …. so I’d just rather not.Facial products.  Left to right: Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus (sample), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF15, Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild (sample).

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus: I extolled the virtues of this product here, and I still stand by my view – it was a great serum that make my skin feel uber soft and look radiant.  However, now I’m onto Ole’s Truth Serum (though it’s almost finished, waaaah!) and I think I’d opt for that over this just because 1) I LOVE the scent of the Truth Serum, 2) Ole’s is slightly cheaper (by about $3CAD), and 3) I think Ole’s serum is more targeted for my age, whereas I was really using Clinique’s serum prematurely.  I still think it’s great though!

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle: I’ve used this a few times in the past, and while I really like it – it leaves the skin really smooth – I think my sensitized skin can’t handle the retinol any more, which is pretty bad considering this is a very low dosage.  But, for some one with hardier skin who’s looking for a great, cost-effective (it’s around $24CAD) moisturizer with SPF and anti-aging benefits, I highly recommend this.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild: I got this in a GWP or something I’m sure, and hung on to it because it’s great for travel.  But then I realized I had all these samples and they were starting to annoy me so I began the ‘war on samples’ to mega-reduce my stash.  This isn’t really the best formula for my skin, as I’m more oily, but it does the trick for an AM wash, especially in the cooler months.  It contains emollients so that it doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry, so that’s a nice perk.

Now, get excited…here comes the makeup portion!!!!Mascaras etc. Top to bottom: Benefit They’re Real!, Clinique High Impact, Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill, Diorshow Maximizer Base (sample), and Clinique Bottom Lash.

Benefit They’re Real!: See my initial review here.  I really enjoyed this mascara and may even repurchase in the future.  It was easy to use and gave me nice looking lashes.  ‘Nuff said.

Clinique High Impact: Still one of my favorite mascaras – lots of volume and some length, and makes my lashes stand out.  Also very easy to use.  I wouldn’t recommend to those who want a really natural look however, as I’ve heard complaints of it getting clumpy (though personally I’ve never experienced this).  And the $18CAD price point is much more reasonable than any other department store brand!

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill: I have been waiting to re-review this, as I have some sad news – this is the root cause of all my eye sensitivities and irritation!  I’m makes me slightly disappointed (since it was great….but tres expensive, hence why I’m only slightly disappointed), but mostly really pissed off, because my eyes have been a trial ever since I used this.  I blamed it on the cat (as I’m allergic), and while I am still very careful of Vegas (the cat – yeah baby!), this mascara is the real reason my eyes aren’t like they used to be.  I had stopped using it in August because I fell in love with Benefit’s They’re Real, and my eyes improved – then I realized that it was going to dry up and be wasted, so I started using it again, only to find my eyes get totally itchy and messed up!  I stopped using it immediately, and while my eyes aren’t as bad, they still get irritated pretty easily ever since.  SO not cool.  I couldn’t find the ingredients online anywhere so I don’t know the offending irritant, unfortunately.  In any case, all I’m saying is that I recommend trying this out somehow first before fully committing!!

Diorshow Maximizer Base: I got this via a coupon code at Sephora.com.  Meh.  It made my mascara harder to apply and I didn’t see any maximizing whatsoever.  I wouldn’t waste the $$.

Clinique Bottom Lash: Awesome.  Seemed like the most gimmicky thing in the world, but ended up being really great.  For $12CAD, you get this mascara with a mini brush that makes it ridiculously easy to apply mascara to your bottom lashes.  It only removes with warm water, so you can cry your heart out with it on (or swim, or sweat) and it won’t budge.  It lasted for AGES too (I know you’re not supposed to use mascara for longer than 3-4 months, but this seemed like an exception :P).Lips and cheeks! Left to right: Clinique Superbalm in Currant, Lancome Juicy Tube in Simmer (sample), Cover Girl Wetslicks in Guava Splash, Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick in Rosy.

Clinique Superbalm in Currant: I love these balms!  They’re a bit thick and very glossy, and wear pretty well while keeping my lips mega-hydrated.  I’ve had this for like, 4 years now so while I’m a little sad to see it go (the shade is neutral and goes with everything!), I’m mostly glad it’s finally done!  Having anything for more than like, two years just seems like too much to me!

Lancome Juicy Tube in Simmer: I read once that Denise Richards liked this lip gloss in this shade…she commented that it ‘looks good on everyone.’  While that may be true, I didn’t particularly like this shade for some reason.  I used to love Juicy Tubes but thankfully grew out of that stage – it seems like one of those things to buy when you’re just getting into high end makeup so I guess the memory of being a newbie turns me off a bit lol.  Nonetheless, these are nice glosses that wear well, but for me their time has come and gone.  And this one in particular has had it’s time – I’m sure I’ve had this for well over 7 years!  Yikes!

Cover Girl Wetslicks in Guava Splash: I bought this after seeing a makeup shot in Allure in which they suggested this gloss to re-create the look.  It was pretty close, so good call by them – but I really didn’t like the formula of this at all.  It was soo thin and slippery, I had to reapply it constantly!  Blah.  I’ve only had this gloss a year so the fact that it’s already gone is a testament to how quickly it wears off.  Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick in Rosy: I got this as a gift from Clinique a couple years ago, and wasn’t enamoured with it as it seemed too light for my skin.  However, I reintroduced it in my rotation this Fall and realized I was missing out!  It gave me cheeks the best natural flush ever.  I am partial to cream formulas because I like the way they leave the skin glowing, and this one was nice because it wasn’t greasy at all.  It had OK wear time – nothing terrible but not spectacular either – so I wouldn’t repurchase, but I sure did enjoy it while it lasted.  It went with every makeup look I’d try – can’t beat that!Unfinished but still must go.  Clockwise from left: Revlon Streetwear Double-Ended Liner (discontinued), Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Blackened Sapphire, Lancome Color Focus Eye Shadow Quad (sample), Rimmel Metallic Eye Gloss in Equinox (discontinued).

Revlon Streewear Double-Ended Liner: I brought this product up in my eyeliner post, and committed to tossing it, so here goes!  I’ve definitely had this for over 10 years, I don’t know what I was waiting for!

Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner: Also discussed this in the eyeliner post.  My mother has this too, and when she wears it (usually on her bottom lash line),  it looks awesome – but since I’m too ~fragile~ to wear liners on my bottom lashes now, I just don’t get a good effect from this liner.  On my top lashes its just kinda blah.  So, time to go!

Lancome Color Focus Eyeshadow Quad: The shades are Daylight (the pale cream), Contrast (deep purple), Blink (khaki shimmer), and Peep (pale pink).  I’ve also had this for way longer than I want to admit, and I never use it, so it’s really gotta go.  I’m not really a fan of sample eyeshadow palettes anyway, they annoy me – when I get them from Clinique I always give them away.  I want the real thing, darn it!

Rimmel Metallic Eye Gloss: Do you remember when eye gloss was a ‘big thing’ back in the day – around 8-10 years ago?  Yeah, this was bought then.  Oops!  I couldn’t get it to work without creasing like crazy so I may have only tried it a handful of times.  Fun idea, but just not easy to translate into real life.  Toss!Honorable Mention.  Seche Vite’s Dry Fast Top Coat.  This bottle isn’t finished, though you can’t really tell from the photo.  There’s about 40% left, but you KNOW how goopy and impossible it gets around that time!!!  I kept it in my drawer, hoping for a miracle, but it’s time has come.  Begone, you most-awesome-of-top-coats-until-that-time-when-you-become-absolutely-NOT-awesome-and-in-fact-a-total-nightmare top coat!!

PHEW!!!!!  OMG I’m so sorry to submit all of you to that uber-lengthy post, but it had to be done.  25 items (though 8 were samples, to clarify)!  Are you proud of me or what?!  I have been chomping at the bit to get this out so you can all revel in my awesome downsizing abilities.  What’s that you say?  I have in fact replaced many of these products with new ones?!  Oh, well, forget that part then, will you?  The whole purpose to reduce is to buy more, is it not??  No?  Huh.   Well, I will keep trying, in any case.  Looking at this post alleviates some of my guilt at least. ‘Till next time!! :D

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