Archive for category Body Care

The Most Expensive and Glorious Body Product I Own: Lina Hanson Global Body Serum (Review)

Last month I lost my mind and ordered a $64CAD body oil.

!!!!!!!!!

I mean, OK, so I am a bit obsessed with cosmetics and maybe this doesn’t seem all that crazy to you.  But I mean, $64 for a 100mL bottle of Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum was a little bit steep, even for me.  If used regularly, it’d probably last me a month, tops.  And I do NOT make enough money to spend $768 a year on a body moisturizer (that’s $64 x 12 for those of you paying attention) – especially with my needy, dry, eczema-prone skin.  Nuh-uh, no way.

…But godDAMN if it isn’t the most luxurious, wonderful, $64 I’ve spent in a while!!!! :D

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Ok, so here’s the deal.  I kept reading over and over about how awesome this oil was, seeing photos of the sleek and classy black bottle, and how delicious it smelled (the rumors are true – JUST like an orange creamsicle, except in the most chic, sophisticated way possible), and I kept stalking it on Fresh Faced, waiting for it to come back in stock just to torture myself.  I mean, the product is hand-blended in small batches and is free parabens, artificial fragrance (yay!), silicone and other baddies – how could I resist?  Finally, one day while going through my routine ‘click on product, see it’s out of stock, regain sanity, repeat’ cycle, it happened – it was in stock and waiting for me to throw my wallet at it.

So I did.

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Oh happy day :)

Designed to relieve dryness and improve elasticity and skin circulation, the oil is slightly thicker than say, jojoba oil, but spreads relatively easily.  However, I can’t make the claim that a little goes a long way – I need a good 3-4 pumps to cover one arm, hence how I could go through this bottle in a mere month.  How I’ve been enjoying it without powering through it is adding a pump or two to my usual Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter, reaping the benefits of it’s amazing scent and nourishing ingredients (more on that in a minute).  On special days I’ll use it alone, mostly on my arms and shins, to bask in it’s glorious fragrance and really treat myself.  I find that used alone, it offers adequate hydration though I could use just a touch of something more in drier areas.  Paired with a moisturizer is really the best way to go for my skin anyway, at least during the colder months, and I don’t find I lose much of it’s efficacy that way so it’s a win-win.

Ingredients, for your perusal!

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If you’re at all familiar with various oils that are common to organic products, you’ll know that the line-up here is relatively basic but still full of superstar ingredients.  As I’ve been in the habit of reading labels for what seems like forever, upon reading this list I was pleased to see oils such as avocado, camellia, pumpkin seed, and rice bran, all of which are occlusive and protective to the skin – which is imperative for eczema sufferers like myself, as it keeps environmental triggers from coming in direct contact with the skin.  Additionally, most of these oils are anti-inflammatory, and there is a good mix of oleic and linoleic acids to both moisturize the skin and provide barrier support to retain that moisture as well.  Cool beans.

My only beef (aside from the painful price!) – and it’s not with the brand, but rather with the e-tailer – is that the ingredients listed on the Fresh Faced site are not the same as what is listed on the box.  It appears that they have replicated the Global Face Serum ingredients for the body serum, which may be a small error, true, but I purchased the oil based on the fact that I was intrigued by the marula and baobab oils, of which there are none in the actual product ~shrugs~  Happily, the product is still great and effective, so no harm no foul…but it’s something to be noted, to be sure!

If you’re feeling spend-y (as I have been lately) and are looking to tie in both hydration as well as a fabulous scent, look no further than this serum.  It’s definitely not a necessity, but the added touch of luxury has certainly made both my bathroom counter as well as my bod look just that much better ;)

What is the most expensive skincare product you’ve purchased before?

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My Summertime Skin Saviors

The past few days have been insanely, impossibly, stinkin’ (on the bus…literally :S) hot.  I mean H.O.T.!!  Tempuratures have soared into the low 30s with a humidex of near 40 degrees since Wednesday, and barely go lower than the mid 20s in the evening.  I don’t like to complain, because before that we had days upon days of rain, but….DUDE.  It’s frickin’ crazy up in here.

Since the sun has been beaming its beautiful yet harmful rays down hard over these last days, sunscreen and skin repair has been heavy on my mind.  Thankfully, even though half of our summer has been spent enduring overcast, rainy skies, I’ve been prepared for the eventual more seasonally-appropriate weather since May, with an arsenal of serious-business sunscreens as well as antioxidant-laden treatments to stave off any damage occurred from those times I do venture out into the heat.  I’m having enormous success with these products so I just have to tell you about them!

Sun Saviors (2)Clockwise from left: Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion Face SPF60, Vichy Capital Soleil Sheer Lotion SPF45 Bare Skin Feel Face and Body, MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

I have pretty high requirements when it comes to sunscreens.  It needs to be non-greasy (especially for face), fragrance-free, and gentle enough for my sensitive, eczema-prone skin – which often means physical sunscreens, except they generally leave a whitish cast that is super-noticeable on my darker skin, especially once I’m tanned.  These demands don’t seem that serious, but it is a TRIAL to find physical sunscreens that leave a trace behind.  I finally caved this year and picked up two products that do contain chemical sunscreens to avoid this problem, but both are extremely forgiving to my finnicky skin.  Additionally, they are both exceptionally light-feeling and are fragrance free.  The products in question are La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion Face SPF60 ($27CAD), and Vichy’s Capital Soleil Sheer Lotion SPF45 Bare Skin Feel Face and Body ($30CAD).

Vichy and La Roche-Posay sunscreenLa Roche-Posay Anthelios on left; Vichy Capital Soleil on right

Let me just say now how madly in love with these products I am!!  Neither cause any irritation to my skin whatsoever – yahoo!!!!! – and disappear without a trace once rubbed in.  They both have a thin consistency, especially the La Roche-Posay, which is very liquidy and rubs in so easily on my face.  The Vichy product, a new formulation this year, is thicker but still very silky to the touch, and is invisible once rubbed in with zero stickiness or heavy feel.  Both are absolute superstars in my books and I’m really pleased to have discovered them.  I purchased both from Shoppers Drug Mart and managed to score them both on sale too, for around $21CAD.  They aren’t cheap but for me they’re well worth the cost.

Ingredient lists for your reference:

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

Vichy Capital Soleil

Vichy Capital Soleil

Next, we have damage control.  I mentioned to you a couple weeks ago that I picked up MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel ($47CAD) and was quite liking it.  The sentiment still stands – this product is awesome!  The texture is VERY thin, and quite watery, so move quickly.  However, one pump will do your whole face and neck, and it sinks in instantly, feeling like I put nothing on.  I love that I can use this every single morning without worrying it might cause excess shine due to the humid, hot weather.

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

Of course, as it’s preventative with no real treatment, I can’t see the effects of it’s hard work, but it is absolutely one the loveliest products I’ve had the pleasure to use on my oily skin. It is designed to moisturize the skin as well, but I can’t comment on that because my skin isn’t currently dry in the least – so for someone who required extra moisture, this might not be for you.  But for you other oily or normal-combination skins out there, I highly recommend this product if you’re looking to prevent the aging effects of the sun.  I plan on picking up the Antioxidant Spray next!

Ingredient list:

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel

Finally, I make sure that my body is well looked-after.   To resist aging everywhere else, any time I spend a longer than normal time in the sun, I use Clinique’s After Sun Rescue Balm.  This product feels glorious on sun-parched, over-heated skin, and is terrifically soothing if you’ve accidentally gotten a bit of a burn.  The high aloe content and other moisturizing properties help soothe and minimize peeling, and the ingredients boast antioxidants to combat any crazy free-radicals trying to prematurely age you.

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe (2)

The texture is sort of reminiscent of a gel-cream, and it leaves a bit of a glow behind which absorbs fairly quickly (see photo below) and does not feel sticky at all.  Even on my sensitive skin, this product is exceptional, and I’d use it as an everyday body lotion all summer long if I had the cash (it costs $24CAD, which isn’t horrendous, but its not cheap either).

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe

Ingredients for reference:

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, PEG-8, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Stearic Acid, Tribehenin, Micrococcus Lysate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cholesterol, Isostearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sucrose, Polysorbate 60, Tromethamine, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linoleic Acid, Squalane, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Beta-Sitosteryl Sulfate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hexylene Glycol, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Green 5

I’m really feeling full-on prepared for summer, and I have to say it feels pretty darn good!  I don’t burn easily or often, but I like to think that’s because I take precautions to avoid that happening.  I think that high-powered sunscreens, in conjunction with repairing products, will keep me looking good throughout the summer and beyond (I hope!).

Sun Saviors

Are you prepared for summer? What are your go-to products?

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OMG INTERNET HOW I MISSED YOU (Plus, The Scents of Summer!)

Anyone who has gone a long while without internet (who wasn’t jumping out of planes, getting tattoos, and throwing themselves off bridges) knows how much its ridiculously missed, and how sad it is to see how attached they are to instant gratification.  My new roommate moved in Sunday and as such, we upgraded from basic internet only to the full meal deal – that means FiberOp, Cable, AND a landline (whoa, dudes).  However, the geniuses at BellAliant jumped the gun and fooled up my internet early, and I have been web-free since Friday :S  Thankfully, after getting everything installed today it seems I am rejoining the electronically-informed populace…AMEN TO THAT.

Along with my inter-connection woes, I’ve also been SUUUUUPER busy with events and prep for my friend’s wedding in a couple weeks.  The bachelorette party was last Saturday (at which I got far too boozy…oops) and coordinating that plus the new roomie was quite the feat.  I haven’t even had time to buy new makeup, ya’ll!  Which is probably a good thing, because I went WAY overboard in April as it is.

Summer Scents

As tends to happen this time of year, several of my purchases had a recurring focus: the smells of summer.  Though I’ve mostly turned my back on scented products due to my eczema, once the sun comes out and the heat goes up, all (well, MANY) bets are off, as all I wanna sniff and smell like is summertime.  My general go-to is usually coconut – as a gourmand scent lover, it totally captures my foodie-loving heart, and reminds me of the way Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen *used* to smell (anyone else noticed it’s changed over the years? Not a fan).  Every year I stock up on beachy-themed products; namely, conditioner, perfume, candles, and sometimes even hand cream if I’m feeling daring.  This year has been no exception.

Summer Scents (6)
First I picked up a few candles from B&BW, and the one I’ve got stuck in my bathroom is Coconut Leaves.  This is an awesome rendition as it’s not too cloying as coconut -scented products can be, and I love that this mini candle still has great throw without even being lit.  Perfect for smaller spaces like the bathroom.

Summer Scents (7)

When I stocked up on my Aether Pumpkin Butter’s from Haus of Gloi, I also picked up a few of their seasonal scents – the Komodo Pumpkin Butter (mangosteen, Tahitian vanilla bean, dragon’s blood resin, faded tropical blooms), Lassi Sugar Exfoliant (fresh mango cream, orange blossom water, black ginger, green tea, lime juice), and Selkie Soft Bubbling Scrub (evocatively described as ‘the break of waves, gurgling sea foam, kelp, rain-tinged air, sand smoothed driftwood, and wild sage).  Sadly, Komodo is not at all what I hoped, the the tropical blooms being far too floral and sort of ‘old lady’* for my taste.  However, Lassi is all sorts of lime-y deliciousness and smells just like sweet tarts, and Selkie makes me feel like I’m at a spa in the Caribbean.  If I could have bought large sizes of these (they were out of stock) I would have – SO. YUMMY.

*A thought – as sweet, fruity fragrances are the trend now, are they going to be considered old lady scents when we are in fact, old ladies??  Hmmm…

Summer Scents (10)Summer Scents (11)
Next, I nabbed an Organix body wash in Coconut Milk Hibiscus which smells a lot like the B&BW candle – it’s pseudo-coconut to be sure, but again it’s so too sweet and smells really delicious in the shower.  Definitely envokes Calgon-take-me-away type feeling for sure.  Additionally, it’s not too drying and fragrance is far down the list of ingredients – so far, so good.

Summer Scents (8)
Finally, last week while at Sephora I started sniffing a few scents, as it’s been SO long since I’ve bought one (and after *finally* finishing ‘The Perfume Lover,’ I’m kind of obsessed with fragrance now!!), and I stumbled upong BCBG’s Max Azria eau de parfum (released in 2011).  It’s a tasty mix of wild strawberry, black cherry, and ‘French Kir Royale cocktail’ (black currant liqueur & white wine), which develops into jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, and violet, and is grounded by iris root, musk, and sandalwood.  No coconut here, but it still totally pulled me in and made me think of berry picking and the easy times of summer.  Unfortunately, I find the longevity of the fragrance weak, not more than an hour or so – though this might not be a bad thing once the temperatures start to rise.  The sillage is is also soft, which again probably isn’t a bad thing in this case.  So, while I love the scent, I am disappointed to some degree.  At least I only purchased a rollerball (which could be the issue, too), so it’s entirely likely I’ll be finished the scent by the end of summer – just the way I like it :)

Though we’ve had some sunny days, and even a few warm ones, its still feeling like early spring for the most part here on the East Coast, so getting that little extra sunshine boost from these products goes a long way to nudging summer to my doorstep!

What’s your fave summer scent?  And also – I MISSED YOU GUYS!!

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Silky Smooth with eos Skincare

Even as a total beauty addict who spends a major investment of both time and money into looking and feeling good, there are some beauty no-no’s I’m totally guilty of.  I haven’t gotten my hair professionally cut in about three years.  I don’t always floss (gasp! I know).  I sometimes bite my cuticles (don’t judge!).  But probably one of my most cringe-worthy bad habits is that I rarely shave – even in the summer.  I’m a total lost cause, huh?

eos

I think the issue started with shave gels that with all their scents and chemicals, would make my eczema freak out on my legs, which progressed to me skipping the process it altogether.  In the winter, I probably shave my legs once a month (haha…I’m baring my soul here now lol); summer, probably once every two weeks.  Thankfully, my hair is so fine and due to my darker coloring, it’s generally not noticeable unless you’re looking for it.  But we all know that nothing beats a nice smooth leg!!

eos Shave Cream

If you recall, I questioned the necessity of shaving products way back when, and since then I haven’t purchased nary a  one.  However, having been kindly sent a shave cream by eos (Evolution Of Smooth) skincare, I decided to give them another go.

eos Shave Cream (2)eos Shave Cream (5)eos ingredients (2)There are several qualities of eos’ Shave Cream that are quite appealing to me.  First off, it smells lovely (though…I can’t seem to see fragrance on the ingredient list…strange) – the scent I received was Pomegranate Raspberry, and YUM!  So nice, but not sickening or too floral, which isn’t my taste.  Second, it’s a cream, which in my experience is always far more hydrating and usually leads to less nicks and cuts as it’s texture allows the blade to glide so smoothly over the skin.  Third, it’s got these freakin’ sweet grooves in the sides to allow you to grip the product oh-so-easily in the shower, and the bottle is recyclable plastic – bonus!  I love that little added extra :)

eos Shave Cream (3) eos Shave Cream (4)

The formula itself is also lovely and boasts vitamins E & C, natural aloe and oat extract, and shea butter; is paraben-free; and claims to moisturize your skin for 24hours after a shave (even after rinsing).  I found while using it in the shower (yes, I DID actually shave my legs!), a couple of pumps allowed me to coat my leg perfectly, and due to the more dense texture (vs a slippery gel) it stayed put and I was able to get my whole leg done quickly and easily, which is a must not only because I’m clearly shaving-lazy, but also because the less time a product sits on my skin, the less chance I have for potential irritation.  When I was finished, my legs felt soft, smooth, and not dry in the least.  All around I was quite impressed, and amazingly I’m actually looking forward to shaving my legs again – like, within the same week! O_o

eos Hand Lotion (2)

Next, I got to check out the CUTEST hand lotion ever, by the brand.  The scent is ‘Berry Blossom’ which I find quite similar to the shave cream, and I’m totally OK with that as I like it :)  Fragrance IS noted in the ingredient list here, but it’s quite low down on the list and I don’t feel as uncomfortable using the product as I am sometimes when fragrance is listed in the first ingredients.  I won’t use this frequently, but as a purse or work hand moisturizer I’m good to go.

eos ingredients

The texture of the lotion is fairly dense but just shy of being a full-blown cream.  It absorbs quickly but not so fast that I’m left feeling like I need more, you know?  I have dry hands from my eczema and I hate when I put on a lotion only to find that I feel like reapplying several minutes later.  I don’t want to feel greasy but I want to feel like I’m actually using an effective product.

eos Hand Lotion (3) eos Hand Lotion

Overall, I’m really happy with both of these products – I feel like a reasonable member of the clean-shaven society now, and I’m always happy to have a perfectly size hand hydrator to stash away in my purse or leave at my desk.  The Shave Cream comes in another fragrance – Vanilla Bliss – or in a Sensitive version that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, an option which makes me HAPPY to see available.  It retails for $3.99CAD and is available at quite a few spots – Rexall, Loblaw’s/Superstore, and I believe Walmart as well.

Please make me feel less weird – do you shave infrequently?  Do you bother using a shave product, or not?

*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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So Many Goodies, So Little (Personal) Time

I’m feeling very overwhelmed tonight at the sheer amount of fun things I want to post about, and the very little time I have lately to do it.  Some of these things aren’t truly pressing (well, to be honest – nothing is life or death in the beauty world, is it?), so I’m trying to figure out how to prioritize which to present first.  For the moment, let’s have a gander at what you can look forward to, eh?

eos

eos Hand Lotion and Shave Cream* for smooth legs and hands – I haven’t owned a shaving product in years but I gotta say, this cream makes me want to change my ways!

Haus of Gloi

Just received my third Haus of Gloi order today and I’m so stoked – along with two Aether Pumpkin Butters, I ordered one in the Komodo scent (mangosteen, Tahitian vanilla bean, dragons blood resin and faded tropical blooms) as well as a small size of a Bubbling Scrub in Selkie (smells like the sea!) and a Sugar Exfoliant in Lassi (reminds me of sour candies :P).  They all smell SO GOOOOOD.

Clinique (2) Clinique

I got my semi-annual gratis today from Clinique*, along with a couple other items, I selected the Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask as I needed a new purifying mask; a Lash Power mascara, which is sort of old news now but still a great product; an Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector, which I haven’t yet had a chance to try but lord knows these poor old eyes need it; and the brand new Even Better Compact Makeup which we played with in school but I forgot my shade, so I ordered by guessing – I think this will be OK once I get a bit tanned, it looks a touch dark for me right now.

The Perfume Lover

When I received a copy of The Perfume Lover and a sample* of the resulting fragrance Denyse Beaulieu created with L’Artisan Parfumeur, I wasn’t convinced I’d be into it all.  Consider me converted – not only am I LOVING the book (I’m about 2/3’s of the way through and totally want to buy ALL OF THE FRAGRANCE now) but I actually kind of dig the scent as well.  It’s not in my comfort zone, not being a huge fan of orange blossom (one of the top notes), but something about it pulls me in.  Expect to read my review on both for SURE.

So….aside from the multitude of lippies I still have to show you, now I have all this to add to the pile.  Oh yea.  I’ll get right on it.  *eeks!*  Maybe you can help me out and let me know which product(s) you’d like to see first?!?!

*Items noted were provided by the PR company/brand.

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A Stupidly Large Empties Post (Prepare Thyself)

I’m just going to start by letting out a huge ~GROAN~ before beginning this post.  OMG dudes.  I’ve been putting this off for AGES and it’s going to get crazy.  I suggest getting comfortable with multiple snacks and a beverage of your choice.  Let’s get ‘er done.

Empties #1 2013 (2)Bustin’ out my empties bag!

Part of the reason I’ve taken so long to post this is because I have had so many products thisclose to being finished, and just when its used up, another takes it’s place.  I’ve got a handful sitting on my counter that are probably going to be done in a week or so, but I can’t wait any longer – and honestly, I’m in the business of entertaining you, not wasting all of your time and punishing your eyes and scrolling fingers.  So here we are!

Empties #1 2013

I’ve said this far too many times and not held my word, but seriously – I’m going to keep the wordiness to a minimum.  Let’s start with makeup this time, since that’s always what I find most difficult to finish:

Empties #1 2013 - Makeup

OK.  The good: I finished 4 eyeliners!  UD’s 24/7 in Crash (shimmering eggplant), Lise Watier’s Gold Eyeshine (which is so old that it kept smushing down into the pencil so I’m turfing it), and two black shades (Tarte Starry Night and MUFE 0L, both which were fine, but smudged more than I’d like).  I’ve since bought Chanel’s Noir Intense waterproof liner to replace the two blacks, and so far so good.  Also good is Clinique’s Bottom Lash mascara, which seems SO gimmicky but which is actually awesome.  The Chanel bi-phase remover is a sample and was good but nothing crazy.

The bad (or just OK): MUFE’s Star Collection gloss in S4 – smooth and not too sticky, but it has this weird cast to it that could make me look dead if worn to heavily.  The Revlon lip butter in Peach Parfait still has enough that I could eke out a few more uses, but I won’t.  HATED the gritty shimmer in this!  The white tube is a primer by Jay Manuel’s line (which I have no idea if it exists anymore or not), that I never used at all.  Toss!  Lastly, the MAC Haute & Naughty mascara I bought while en route to NZ.  For the first month, this was great, albeit a little clumpy due to so much product on the brush.  I found as time passed, it got worse, and ended up that the brush looked like this:

MAC Haute & Naughty (2)

ICK.  Pass!

Anyway, not bad as far as things go, eh?  Next, let’s look at facial skincare:

Empties #1 2013 - Facial Skincare

I’ve reviewed the 100% Pure eye cream, Pangea Organics masque, and Shiseido toner previously and my thoughts still stand on those (which is to say, overall good impressions), but I won’t repurchase.  The Clarins Sun SPF30 eye cream is my 2nd or 3rd tube, and as always I think it’s great.  I don’t know if I’ll repurchase, just because I might just start using sunscreen around my eye area (I use only physical sunscreens, like the ones in the Clarins, which cause less irritation I find), but you never know!  Speaking of physical sunscreens, this is also my 2nd or 3rd tube of the Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25, and I’ll continue to use it unless I can find something similar that doesn’t make oily in summer – I find this still *slightly* heavy.  The Clinique Super Rescue cream for combo-to-dry skin is a nice moisturizer, but I find it only gives hydration (and antioxidants – can’t beat that!), and I like something that will aid in smoothing my skin as well, as I tend to have slight roughness from my eczema. I have another tube but probably won’t open that till next winter.  The Boscia Make Up Break Up remover is nice enough and effective, but I probably wouldn’t get a full size, as I still use a cleanser afterward because I find it can irritate my skin a little otherwise.  The Clinique Even Better Lotion SPF20 is actually a lot nicer than I gave it credit for before I tried it.  It’s hydrating but not oily and it made my skin look really good while I was using it.  My skin is still doing well but I don’t think it’s AS nice as it was since using this up.  I might order this on my next gratis.

Some samples:

Empties #1 2013 - Samples

I bought a handful of these MaskerAide masques before Christmas and used one per week.  I really liked them – they were easy to use and gave great hydration without breaking me out or being too heavy.  I’d definitely buy them again.  The Elizabeth Grant Eye Power Pads were one of those random beauty items I get from my aunt, and I’ve had them for ages.  One day I decided to use them, and it was nice!  I didn’t notice a big difference in anything, as I don’t have much in the way of wrinkles yet, but it was a treat and they were hydrating.  The Kniepp muscle gel was great for tired legs after working a shift at Clinique or a hard run, and if I was feeling spendy one day I’d probably buy it to have on hand.

Almost done, are you still with me!?  Let’s move on to body products:

Empties #1 2013 - Body Cream

This is my most triumphant success in terms of empties.  The Hawaiian Tropic Aftersun and the B&BW Vanilla Bean Noel lotions I’ve had for SO EFFING LONG – the B&BW lotion was my very first swap EVER (back in 2008).  Because they’re so scented, I didn’t wear them often, or in very specific, less sensitive areas like my feet and chest (which isn’t sensitive somehow!).  I finally finished them both last month and I’m so stoked – I now have NO scented lotions kicking around, and I don’t plan to ever again!  I’ll just go the much safer route and just wear perfume.  Sweet :)

The iconic Kiehl’s Creme de Corps lotion is always a nice luxury to have, and it was effective as ever, though FAR too pricey for my needy body.  I would repurchase is my budget allowed it though!  Although in saying that, I’ve found my holy grail body moisturizer in Haus of Gloi’s pumpkin butter in Aether – honestly, I can’t see myself buying anything else.  It smells good for being non-scented, and it works like a dream on my finicky skin.  I love it with all my heart.  Aveeno’s Moisturizing Lotion used to be my go-to, but I’m SO over it now.  It just doesn’t work as well!  The Clinique Deep Comfort hand cream is quite nice and if you’re looking for a great moisturizer to tote around, this is a great option – hydrating, absorbs well after a few minutes, and lasts.   And it’s unscented :)

Empties #1 2013 - Shower

The last time I ordered a few Aether pumpkin butters, I also picked up a couple 2oz jars of Haus of Gloi’s Bubbling Scrubs.  This one in Satyr was lovely!  Its a sweet, warm, edible scent which some may not like but is right up my alley.  And it gives a nice light exfoliation on my sensitive skin, which I usually avoid, but which I can indulge in with these scrubs.  Yay!  The Hugo Naturals body wash smelled lovely (natural scents) but something about it I didn’t like, so I wouldn’t repurchase.  The star here is the Organix Macadamia Oil conditioner, which is absolutely PERFECT for my crazy-curly, mega-dry hair.  I hate that it comes in a smaller container, as I went through it pretty quickly, but I would repurchase even though it’s $8 and lasts only a month or so for me.  I usually buy jumbo sizes of conditioner because I need so much, but this is worth the cost, as it really hydrates, and is a bit heavy (so, those with fine hair steer clear) which is just what my hair needs.  LOVE.

Ok.  Wrapping things up, I have a couple fragrance samples!

Empties #1 2013 - perfume samples

I got Angel as a sample when I got my mom’s bottle refilled for her birthday last year.  I know it’s a hate it or love it scent for most, but for me I actually am in the middle.  I don’t think it’s ‘my’ scent, but I do like it – I think because of the associations with my mother.  It really works on her and when I smell it I feel cozy :)  The Lancome fragrance however, La Vie Est Belle, IS ‘my’ fragrance – it’s got the same tones with vanilla being predominant (I’m definitely a Gourmand fragrance wearer), and smells FANTASTIC on me.  Initially I wasn’t sure if I liked it enough to buy a bottle, but over the past couple weeks I had three men tell me I smelled good (in an almost surprized way, like “You smell really good” and looking sort of shocked like, ‘oh wow, yum’) so I’m taking that as a sign.  Its the first fragrance I’ve found in a while that really does it for me.  FYI the notes are: black currant & pear (top); iris, jasmine, & orange blossom (middle); tonka bean, vanilla, praline, and patchouli (base).  I think the reason I was initially unsure is that I’m not a huge fan of orange blossom in fragrance, but the inclusion of vanilla and iris (iris being in 3 of my favorite scents, interestingly) end up making it a winner.  I’m just finishing up my second sample of this and will buy a bottle as soon as I’m able.

So there you have it!  In the past three months, those are the products I managed to finish.  Not too shabby, huh?  My skincare for face and body particularly has been seriously streamlined, and I don’t have anything ‘extra’ in either.  Makeup of course is an ongoing battle to use up products I’m not madly in love with, but I’m getting there!  It’s an ongoing process, and you are all probably familiar with.  Moving forward I hope to post these monthly to keep on top of things!

Empties #1 2013 (3)

Have you tried any of these products?  What are your thoughts?  Any skincare products you’ve found to be absolute winners?

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18 Comments

A Post for When You Want to Post But Not Actually Do the Work (AKA My Current Skincare Regimen)

I’ve got an issue, guys.  I really feel like doing a review/showing swatches of a product, but I don’t want to actually have to do the work.  That’s kind of a problem, right?  And it’s not entirely true…I want to write about the product, but I don’t want to have to take any photos.  If I do a skincare product, I have to take boring shots of the bottle (you bloggers know what I’m taking about – product photos in containers are SO dull to snap :S).  If I feature a makeup product, I like to show face swatches too. I’m not avoiding showing my face, because my face is looking pretty darn good these days.  Seems I’ve found ‘THE‘ regimen for my skin, at long last – even for my body!  …Oh, ok, you want to hear about it?  Hmm… maybe if I do a few collective shots of what I’m using, it won’t be such a snore for me…  …OK!  Right-o!  We’re on ‘er now :)

Take Time Out for Beauty

Let’s work from the bottom up (not literally!).  Every year, I get a mysterious rash-type thing, that is NOT eczema but some sort of dermatitis that no one can explain.  I went for a biopsy last year to get it checked and it came back negative for all of the possible things it could be.  My derm is an idiot who can barely open his eyes (for some reason, he squints constantly – so annoying!), and didn’t offer any other solutions to figuring out the problem, so I have been essentially left to deal with it on my own.  This summer, I got another mystery rash on my arms, big-time (which made swatching impossible), and it was unlike anything I’ve had before.  Of course.  Anyway, when I went to NZ I hoped the fresh, clean air would heal me up, but this was not the case.  However, while there I bought this crazy Eumovate cream and it cleared it up in about two days.  To perfect smoothness.  Heck YES I was excited!  But then I read the fine print that said ‘Do not use for more than 7 consecutive days’ and I knew it was some heavy shit, so I stopped and of course the rash came back – not to the full strength, but nonetheless it still plagued me.

Creams

Speaking of plagued.  I wrote a poem once about my skin issues (seriously guys…it freakin’ drives me NUTS), and titled it ‘Plague’.  Check out the height of my lameness my mad skillz:

What lasting plague upon my house,
My body, mind & soul;
What constancy lives in my heart
That soon shall take it’s toll.
What ravages this skin, yet leaves
No evidence, no trace,
Of how to rid oneself of it,
Will it never erase?
A mystery, the cause of such
Destruction, that has made
A mockery of such a thing
That God so proudly laid.
Too long this body’s suffered so,
Too long without a cure;
Too soon it’s life comes to an end
Of this we can be sure.

Dudes.  I was way serious back in the day.  I wrote poetry all the time, because obviously sad poetry is WAY easier to write than happy stuff.  I did write a few cheerily optimistic poems the last time I was in the groove (about 4 years ago)…maybe sometime I’ll share (or not…this is a beauty blog, after all! :P).

Moving along…

Anyway, when I got home my GP told me that it was good to stop using the hardcore stuff I got in NZ, as it was pretty intense.  He hooked me up with a regular corticosteroid, which I do generally try to avoid but figured I had to do something, and BAM!  Problem fixed.  See, with eczema you have to treat that shit first…I kept trying all these plain creams to make it heal on it’s own, but that’s just silly.  I used the prescription for about five days and haven’t had to use it since.  Once I got my skin back to normal, THEN I could manage it with preventative measures.  Which are:

- Shower at night: This way you rinse away all the bad crap that comes in contact with your skin throughout the day, and your moisturizer has a better chance of absorbing and keeping your skin hydrated.

- Wash with a soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser: Anything that lathers is generally NOT a friend of those with eczema.  I’ve been using a body wash by Hugo Naturals that has vegetable glycerin and a natural surfactant derived from coconut and it’s been lovely and gentle on my skin.  You do NOT want to strip any of your precious natural oils!  You need those!

- Go for the heaviest creams you can tolerate: Right now I’m using Haus of Gloi’s Pumpkin Butter ($9US for 6oz)  in Aether (non-scent), and I am in fucking love.  Sorry for the potty mouth but seriously that is how good this stuff is!  It has a natural odor that I’m not quite sure I would call ‘pumpkin’y’, but its nice and for someone who has renounced almost all use of anything fragranced*, this is very exciting.  It also contains shea butter as the second ingredient, which is pretty much the holy grail of hydrators for dry skin.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Another good option (though pricey) is Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($37.50CAD for 250mL).

*Steering clear of fragrance is also very important.  Even take note of your shampoo/conditioner/hair styling products.  I’m using a fragrance-free shampoo and low-fragrance conditioner (it’s the last ingredient on the list), and a non-fragranced hair oil – the end.  I swear it helps!

- Reapply often: This is why I go through SO many creams and lotions, but it’s worth it if my skin stays hydrated – it keeps your moisture barrier intact and therefore less irritating things from the outside world can penetrate the skin and cause flare-ups and problems.  I keep a moisturizer by the bed, at work, in my purses…its a constant job.  But totally worth it!

Body Care

And that’s essentially it, for body!  I do nothing else and I don’t need to.  Scrubs are abrasive and therefore can exacerbate the problem (though I did just order a Bubbling Scrub sample size from Haus of Gloi…because I just can’t help myself), so I wash, pat dry, hydrate, the end.  And my body is loving me right now :)  PRAISE THE SKIN GODS!!

As for the face – which has also been darn near glorious over the past month – here’s what I’ve been using/the routine I’ve been following:

Morning -

1. Splash face with water, pat dry then swipe Shiseido’s Pureness Balancing Softener all over skin

2. Apply Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer to dry areas of face (for me, its around the mouth)

3. Apply Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment around orbital area

4. Apply Clinique Even Better Lotion SPF20 all over face & neck

When I wear foundation, which I almost don’t have to right now, I wear the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder, which actually doesn’t dry my skin out, even in this cold weather, and almost allows me to skip powder altogether on my slightly oily skin (as it’s mattifying and oil-free). It doesn’t contain fragrance or any other funny business I usual avoid.

I will note that I’m careful with any blushes/bronzers I use – the Chanel, Benefit, and Burberry blush I have all have fragrance, so I try to use them sparingly.  NARS powder blush contain lanolin, which I’m allergic to and which is very unfortunate as I have 5 shades.  So, they get used semi-infrequently as well.  But, I find as long as I’m not wearing them every day, things are alright.

Facial Skincare - AM

In the evening, here’s how I roll:

1. Remove makeup with Boscia’s Make Up Break Up Cleansing Oil (which I *just* finished tonight and will be replacing with Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm)

2. Wash face with Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash

3. Apply Derma-E’s Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel all over face & neck

4. Apply 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream around orbital area

5. Wait 5 minutes, then pat Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil into face and neck (review forthcoming, because this stuff is GOLD!)

058

The end.  That’s it!  It’s not a long process, and the results have been really good.  I think the biggest thing is keeping my skin MORE hydrated as opposed to trying to always control the oiliness.  Not washing my face in the morning, combined with using two hydrators (spot treating in the AM and all over at night), has actually not made me more oily but has lessened how shiny I get throughout the day, and my eczema is nearly non-existent – all that’s left is slight pigmentation scarring from when it wasn’t under control.  I also think that for once, following a regimen and using the same products every day has had a huge hand in keeping my skin happy.  Changing it up all the time leaves it in a constant upheaval; I was doing it for the ‘right reasons’ – trying to use up products – but it was causing me grief overall.  So YAY to getting my shit together!

There are still a few tweaks I want to make here and there, especially with respect to anti-aging – I still want to try a retinol product (I want to use up the Derma-E Vitamin A gel first before I purchase one), and I plan on replacing the almost-finished Shiseido Softener with one of Bioderma’s miscellar waters – but otherwise I think I’m good!  When the time comes to buy replacement products, I’ll be sure to do my homework.

I know that this process will not be helpful for some of you – not everyone has my tempermental skin – but I find that when I’m looking online for solutions to my eczema problems, there’s not much around except the usual treatments.  And since it’s wintertime for many of us, some of the same logic applies in terms of keeping the skin hydrated, so hopefully not all is lost!  Stay tuned for my post on the Tarte oil though, truly – it’s absolutely wonderful and I think everyone can use it! :)

How involved in your skincare routine?  Do you have finnicky skin?  What is the difference maker for you?

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17 Comments

Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month Three – And a Little Tweaking

Well, hello dolls!  Ready for your monthly installment of what I’ve been buying vs tossing?  I’m pretty chatty in this post, so sit down, get comfy, and let’s jump right in!

Used Up (Mar. 20-Apr. 19):

Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance Free Body Wash  and Moisturizing Body Lotion

As boring as these two products are, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be using this duo for the rest of my natural born life – the body wash is the only one that doesn’t irritate my skin and keeps it soft and smooth, and the Aveeno lotions and creams work miracles at keeping my eczema at bay.  Since I’ve finally committed to using these continously, I’d had a lot less (body) skin issues, so dull and boring it is!

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF15

I’ve been using Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen for years, and I love it (even though it IS a chemical sunscreen, which I try to avoid as they can cause irritation in sensitive skin).  They changed the scent when they changed the bottle a year or two ago, which I was disappointed in at first, but now I’ve come to like the new scent as it’s less overwhelming and it doesn’t compete as much with any fragrances you wear (though its still beachy-smelling).  I can’t comment on if this causes any breakouts anywhere (it doesn’t say oil-free or non-comedogenic anywhere) – I didn’t experience any, but I didn’t use it on my face and my body doesn’t usually have that issue.  I used up the rest of this bottle when I was in Jamaica, and was bummed when I had to switch to the other sunscreen we had, Coppertone.  When that runs out, I’ll likely pick up another bottle of this!

BedHead TIGI Foxy Curls Contour Cream

This is my second bottle of this stuff…the last time I bought one was back in May 2011 – so this lasted almost a full year!!  Holy moley.  I love the smell of this – like Skittles – but sadly that’s why I won’t be repurchasing in my effort to go as fragrance-free as possible.  It works well though, and you only need a tiny bit (clearly!) to do the trick :)

Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this loads of times before.  Great exfoliating product that doesn’t irritate the skin whatsoever.  Makes my face feel nearly like a baby’s bottom!  This bottle seemed to go faster than normal – I only got about two months out of it and I was only using it at night.  I’m glad it’s done though, because I’m eager to start using my new Kate Somerville Quench Serum (more on that later)!

Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Cream 10% Glycolic AHA Anti-Wrinkle

I got this in a swap ages ago, as I read in the MUA reviews that it was awesome.  Interestingly enough, the glycolic acid in this didn’t mess my skin up – it definitely tingles to the point of almost burning upon application, but the sensation dissipates within a minute and there’s no residual irritation afterward or the next morning.  To be safe, I only used it every few days or so (and not in conjunction with the Clinique Concentrate, but it did make my skin feel lovely!

Ole Henriksen Truth Revealed Super Creme with SPF15

I reviewed this product previously, and my thoughts still hold – it was thick and hard to spread, and generally just didn’t feel very nice on my skin (though it felt lovely).  I used this on my neck until it was gone so as to not waste it.  I’m SO glad to toss this!

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Lip Butter / Nova Scotia French Vanilla Lip Balm

I bought The Body Shop lip butter back when I had a boyfriend who really liked grapefruit (how silly!) – except the taste of this is like ASS (well…not really, but you know…).  GAH, it’s horrible!  Somehow I managed to make a big dent in this but I haven’t touched it in years so it’s really pointless to keep it.

The Nova Scotia balm, well, I got this at our Pride Parade several years ago and I guess they just slapped a Nova Scotia label on it.  It’s nothing special.  It had SPF in it which has since expired, and I have other lip balms, so it’s time this kicked the bucket.

CND Cuticle Eraser AHA Cuticle Treatment

I think I read on All Lacquered Up that this was Michelle’s cuticle treatment of choice, so I picked it up to try it out about a year ago.  I found that while it might have kept my cuticles smoother, it irritated my skin (but the AHA cream above didn’t – go figure), so I used it very sporadically.  It caused little bumps on the skin just under my nails – whether that was an eczema reaction or not, I’m unsure, so I can’t say if this would happen to anyone else.  I love my Burts Bees butter so I think I’ll just stick to that :)

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Anti-Chip Top Coat

I plan on doing a round-up of a few base and top coats in the future, so I won’t get into too much detail about this – just suffice to say, it was like Seche Vite in the fact that once it got half finished, it got majorly goopy and hard to use.  I can’t deal with screwing up my manicures, so out this goes!

Here are just some samples I finished up – nothing too stand-out.  Bioderma’s Sebium AKN, which is supposed to ‘restore the skin’s natural clear aspect’ – I used this as a spot treatment, but didn’t find it did much in that capacity.  It might be much more effective if used as an all-over face lotion.  Clinique’s 7-Day Scrub, which is too creamy for my oily skin and leaves a slight filmy feeling, which would be nice for dry skin but just feels unclean on mine.  However, it DOES exfoliate well, and gently!  I used Korres Yogurt Cooling Gel down South, and it was OK, but it was such a small sample that I can’t really give a fair evaluation.  I mainly used Clinique’s After Sun, which was admittedly AWESOME, so that doesn’t help.  Lastly, I used the sample of Ojon’s Instant Restorative Hair Serum while in Jamaica as well, and it left my hair feeling lovely and hydrated after penetrating in the sun all day.  It wasn’t too heavy or greasy-feeling either, or too strong-smelling as some Ojon products have been in the past. I’d consider buying this for the Summer to protect my hair from the sun and add a bit of shine.

…..Wow, right?  This is just pitiful.  Two products!?  Oh man.  I sincerely apologize for my miserable turnout this month!  What’s worse, I didn’t realize I did so crappy until RIGHT NOW.  I almost scammed you guys by accident and included three ‘tossed’ beauty products that I had already accounted for last month.  I guess I felt bad about throwing them out when there was so much product left, and kept them in the empties bag.  Oops!  Double-oops too because I thought I wasn’t doing THAT bad getting rid of makeup…shoot.  Oh well – maybe next month :D

ANYWAY, what’ve we got?  NYC’s Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder in All-Over Bronze Glow, which I mentioned last week, for one.  I tried to make it work in Jamaica and it just didn’t do much.  I’m done trying to make it work; no matter if I’m tanned or not, it just doesn’t seem to do it for me.  Second, we have Stila’s Smudge Pot in Black, a surprize toss.  I happened to open it up to use it last week and realized that it was pretty dried out and had pulled majorly from the sides (like a few millimeters!).  Er, yea, time to go!

So that’s what we have for this month downsizing efforts – 11 full-size skincare products, 4 samples, and 2 makeup items.  Not too shabby, though I’m a little let down with the meager makeup empties.  Hopefully that’ll mean next month will be quite respectable!

Moving on to the scary portion of the post, lets take a look at what I purchased in the past month.  In fact, aside from two items, everything I picked up I bought in the span of a week.  Ah snap.

Purchased (Mar. 20-Apr. 19):

Yea.  All of these items I bought in one week.  Oh dear.  Oh, well the three items in the front right were part of a deluxe sample set I got for free from Sephora.  But the rest…no excuse.  Here’s the list:

- Hugo Naturals Shower Gel in Vanilla & Sweet Orange $9.99
– (ANOTHER) Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance Free Body Wash $8.99
– TRESemme Flawless Curls Curl Hydration Conditioner $3.99 (on sale)
– Kate Somerville Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Serum approx. $66 (15% off reg. price  – $78)
YSL Glossy Stain in #12 Corail Aquatique approx. $29 (15% off reg. price, $34)
– MUFE #17 Eyeshadow (matte brown) approx. $19 (15% of reg. price – $22)
– MAC Crosswires Lipstick $17.50

I know that I just preached a bunch about going fragrance-free, and that the Aveeno Body Wash is my HG…but it doesn’t mean I LIKE it, so I picked up the Hugo body wash in the ‘green’ aisle at the grocery store, as the fragrance is all-natural – so I’m hoping I’ll find a loophole in my own rule :)

To add to the above, I also picked up:

- a-England Nail Polish in Princess Sabra (Tristam Eyes) approx. $10 (30% off reg. price, approx. $14)
– Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait $7.99 (on sale)

And to round it all out, I also bought two blushes from Illamasqua, Lover & Hussy (approx. $13 each [half off reg. price - approx. $26]). *I have yet to receive these in the mail

BAM.

So yea…I had a busy month.  As you can see, I got some pretty excellent deals on almost all of my purchases, which is partially why I went a little crazy.  Sephora definitely reeled me in with the 15% off, and when I received the email about the Easter Egg Hunt sale from Illamasqua, I had to check it out (the day we were leaving for Jamaica, I got the one about certain blushes being half off, so I thought I’d take a look – I totally expected it to be unpopular shades, but each of the 5 shades were some of their top sellers!  How could I NOT buy Lover and Hussy!?  It would have cost me $65CAD to buy them full price (incl. shipping) and instead it came to $40 (with shipping).  Sa-weet!!).  So yea.  A bad month according to my guidelines, but kind of a great month too!  And it gives me LOTS of material for upcoming posts :D

However.  In light of my spectacular failure to adhere to ANY restrictions regarding my purchasing, I have decided to restructure my guidelines.  It just doesn’t make sense to me to pretend to follow a low-buy when in fact I seem to be on a ‘grab all you can’ buy.  I still need some structure, but I need to tweak it a bit.  So here’s the new rule for makeup (all other guidelines remain unchanged):

- 10 makeup purchases per season (previous: max of 3 LE purchases per season; non-LE items on a use two, buy one system)

Now, before you go and think that I’m being entirely too easy on myself (if I wasn’t already before!), let me explain why I’m making these changes.  First of all, to be clear: while part of this low-buy is to weed through my stash, over the past couple months I realized that it’s not necessarily to scale it back, but to eliminate items that just don’t really ‘do’ it for me.  I’ve come to grips with the fact that in being a beauty blogger, and being as obsessed as I am with beauty, the plain truth is that my makeup collection is going to continue to grow – there’s just no way I’m going to be able to use everything (c’mon, blushes last for YEARS) and I’m certainly not going to stop shopping until I do.  What I really want to do is make sure that everything I own I love, and I’m really making headway in that area, so I think that’s an achievement!

I have to be honest with you as well, that the other part of the low-buy is definitely related to cash flow.  While I’m managing my addiction fairly well, I do think that maintaining some sort of guideline is a smart thing to do, so that I don’t get too crazy or wrapped up in wanting everything – I find since blogging I want to be able to review every product that comes on the market, but I just can’t afford to!  This way I can make sure that I have ‘controls’ in place so I know when I’m nearing a reasonable limit.  AND it helps to ensure that whatever I’m purchasing, I absolutely love – which relates back to the first point!  It’s a win-win in my books :)  (ALSO…with Jamaica behind me, I have to get my butt in gear to save more $$ for New Zealand – definitely a huge priority!)

Fiordland, New Zealand *Photo courtesy of PacificIslands.com

You may think that it’s almost pointless to have any guidelines at all, since many others who are on a no- or low-buy are quite restricted in their purchasing.  However, I do find it difficult not to just buy every single thing I’d like, so I think the above restructure of the guidelines allows me to have some fun while still keeping me in check.  When I initially created the ‘Limited Edition’ rule, I had actually done so to make sure that I indulged in some of the great LE items, as I often missed out on them in the past.  Well, I think I’m definitely over that behavior (LOL!), and a purchase is a purchase, so I just lumped all makeup spending together and made it a number that seemed reasonable.  Again, if I get the urge to shop just for shopping’s sake, and buy something I don’t really love, that still counts as one – so I’ll be more likely to avoid doing that if I know my purchasing power has a limit.

Oh the silly things we do!  I’m sure some of you find these kinds of rambles terribly boring, and I don’t fault you for it :)  I just know that if I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable, I could go all sorts of crazy and buy everything I laid my hands on (I feel that urge more often than not!).  And since I know some of you are going through similar bans of your own, I hope that on some level you can relate.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m bailing on my original terms or that I’m making things too easy on myself.  This plan IS easier in the fact that I don’t have to bust my balls trying to find products I can use up or toss, which just started to feel ridiculous to me, but it is more in line with my true feelings about makeup.  While I still get overwhelmed at how much I have and the impossible notion of how to use it all, I am actually developing a collection of products that I simply adore, and I can only get rid of so much before I am just basically throwing away money for no good reason.  The low-buy has really opened my eyes and I feel SO much more at peace with my stash and all the connotations that come with it!  That in itself to me is the best achievement I could ask for :)

I will continue to do monthly updates on my progress, as I still plan on challenging myself on holding back from making any ‘unnecessary’ purchases, and also because it’s a great way to give you an overall picture of my beauty world – what I’m using (up) and what new items I’ve been enjoying.  I can’t wait to read about everyone else’s progress as we continue to push forward – I support each of you in your own reasons for your no/low-buy, and hope it’s going well.  For you and anyone else engaging in a beauty challenge, I wish you good luck and hope you stay strong!!

END RANT.

(So sorry if you stuck with me through the whole thing!  I try not to do too many of these lengthy posts :S)

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17 Comments

Update Time! Beauty Low-Buy Update: Month One

Well, we’ve successfully finished month one of the low/no-buys to which myself and several other fantabulous beauty bloggers have chained dedicated ourselves!  I have to admit, when it started, I thought it would be a piece of cake – my guidelines felt tough but reasonable, and left me a fair bit of leeway so that I wouldn’t go out of my mind from the challenge.  However, once I was well into week two, I found myself becoming maniacal with respect to listing all the products I was *going* to buy as well as figuring out what products I could get rid of so I could make said purchases.  I spent hours daily planning what I would do in order to be able to buy a new lippie or blush, in a way that would allow me to stick to the plan but get my ~fix~  Crazy, right?  Thankfully, the feeling passed near the end of week three, and now as I move into the second month, I feel stabilized and am spending more time enjoying what I have rather than obsessively plotting my next purchase.  Just like any craving, it passes if you don’t give into it I guess!

I’m going to combine my usual ‘downsizing’ post with my new ‘monthly purchases’ posts, since one directly affects the other.  No shady business here!  I promise to be truthful about what I pick up each month – if I slip, I’ll let you know about that too.  Keeps me on the straight and narrow :)

So, here are the products that I managed to finish/part with since my low-buy began:

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer
Good hydrator for dry to combination-oily skin, but honestly I wasn’t wowed by this.  I find the Turnaround Concentrate, a serum, far out-performs this moisturizer, and I would recommend going for that plus your favorite basic moisturizer, rather than using this alone.  Just didn’t exfoliate as well as I wanted it to!

Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Moisturizer SPF25 (Combination Oily to Oily)
I really loved this moisturizer with SPF, until I started learning about how any beneficial ingredients in products get lost when exposed to open air.  Jars have got to be the worst packaging anyway, majorly unhygenic!  So, while the idea of this product is AWESOME (helps to repair the moisture barrier so skin stays hydrated; helps treat and prevent fine lines and wrinkles via antioxidants and sun protection), I suspect a lot of the good-for-you ingredients are gone within days.  Boo.  But, if you’re looking for a nice moisturizer with sunscreen, this is a pretty good choice!  It keeps skin feeling supple – though unless your very oily/do not need extra hydration, I’d probably opt for the dry to combination version as I found I could have used it this Winter.Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Facial Cleanser (travel size)
I liked this cleanser – it smelled lovely and rinsed away nicely without stripping the skin – but I always wondered if it was causing a bit of sensitivity in my skin.  I think the fragrance, while enjoyable, made me nervous.  It certainly didn’t soothe my skin at all.  For ladies with less sensitive skin, I think you’ll enjoy this – though it requires a second wash (or a makeup remover) to get rid of all traces of heavier makeup.  I’m not a fan of self-foaming cleansers as I find they run out more quickly, so that’s something to consider as the full size of this product is $38CAD.

B.Kamins Bio-Maple Suncar Sunscreen SPF30 (sample)
I used this while I was camping last year in Gros Morne, and didn’t experience any problems, it absorbed easily and a little went a long way – as I still had some left after 10 days!  I used it up the past few days just to get rid of it.  Nothing special, just seems like a basic physical SPF (it’s tinted pink and opaque and reminds me of Pepto Bismol…hmm), and shielded my skin from the sun.  Would be a good product for ladies with oily skin as it imparts no hydration or greasiness whatsover. Complex 15 Face Lotion/Complex 15 Body Lotion
Super basic face and body lotions that would be ideal for someone with sensitive, oily skin, or for really hot, humid days.  They both contain humectants such as glycerin to bind water to the skin, without being greasy AT ALL, but for me I need to also have products which act as a barrier so that I can retain that moisture.  Neither of these were enough for my eczema-prone skin, but I could see them working in a pinch for those who don’t have those issues.L’Oreal Nutri-Shimmer Shine Detangling Spray
I liked this leave-in spray – it detangled my hair and left it very soft without being weighed down – but I noticed that my scalp itched a whole lot less once I ran out of it.  Odd, because perfume was the last ingredient listed, but I have read studies that say that linalool (which is sort of in the middle of the ingredient list) can cause allergic reactions and inflame eczema, so I’m thinking that’s the culprit.  Soo…I won’t be buying this again.  But it was a good, light-weight leave-in all the same – and did make my hair quite shiny!Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen in 04 Beige Moyen
So. Glad. This. Is. Gone.  Remember how I said last week that I don’t believe in undereye illluminators?  Yeah.  I paid upwards of $40CAD to learn that lesson!  I tried to use this every which way – under concealer, over concealer, without concealer…the only real use I found for it was a subtle brightening of the inner eye area.  Other than that, it was a total bust and just didn’t do it for me at all.  If you have hardly any undereye darkness, by all means, give this a shot – I’m sure it’ll brighten the area just enough and its sheer enough that it looks quite natural.  But if dark circles are an issue for you, don’t waste your money.  Also – shade range is kinda crappy, this is the darkest they had and it’s still a touch light for my skin, and would be entirely useless once I’m getting sunshine on the regular.MUFE Smoky Lash mascara
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this mascara.  There were times when I really liked it, and then times when I REALLY didn’t.  I think the issue was that it was kind of dry to begin with, which makes avoiding clumps and flakes much more difficult.  I think the brush itself was pretty decent, so really it was the formula they need to tinker with.  All in all, I was glad to put it in the ‘finished’ pile.

Wet N Wild Color Icon Eye & Brow Pencil in Dark Brown
I got this from Walmart for like, $1.99, and it was a great pencil – just the right shade and was quite a large size to begin with, so it lasted ages.  I can’t comment on the lasting power because I never really pay attention to whether my brows are still looking good at the end of the day – I guess because my brows don’t *need* to be filled in, just polished up a bit.  I’d buy it again if I came across it, but it wasn’t so good that I’m going to seek it out, either.MAC Lustre Lipstick in Freckletone
Ugh.  Worst nude lippie (on my skintone) ever.  It was much too peach and looked far from nude on me.  I’ve had this for several years now, and I’m sooo happy it’s finished (though I just realized you can’t tell from the photo – oops!).  I had to mix this with a ton of other shades in order for it to work.  I like the lustre formulation, just not this color. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain in In the Buff
This product isn’t ‘finished’, because I’ve only used it a handful of times, but it seems like it is bone-dry – to get any color from this (which is supposed to be a muted berry) is damn-near impossible.  It barely gives off anything at all.  So today I decided I’m done with this.  What’s the point of keeping something that doesn’t do anything?

Helena Rubenstein Stellars Gloss in Star Camellia
When I did my ‘Beauty Stash’ list, it was a process for me to find the actual name of this gloss, let me tell you.  The name on the end of the product is impossible to read, and I bought this about 8 years ago in Portugal, so I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was.  I found a picture and a swatch online that seemed to match, but I could be wrong.  In any case, I don’t think they even make this anymore so no worries!  In the package you can see that there is still product left, but the wand simply won’t get at any of it!  The brush on the end of the wand is itty-bitty, first of all, and the way the tube is shaped you just can’t get at what’s left.  Oh well, after 8 years I’m totally over this bright sparkly coral shade!  It was fun while it lasted :P

Fresh Sugar Plum Lip Treatment SPF15
I’m embarrassed, yet sort of proud, to say that even though this was essentially done in December (as Liz can attest to – she took photos!), I scraped and scooped out every last bit before officially calling it quits.  It wasn’t just that I liked the product – which I very much do, as well as loving the deep berry color this time of year – but for $22.50CAD, I just felt like I should make sure I get every bit of my money out of the product.  Which I did :P  I still have the Sugar Honey and the original Sugar Lip Treatments to enjoy – but don’t expect to see them finished any time soon!Clinique Glow Crazy Powder Highlighter in 03 Gold Dust (sample size)
GAH.  I don’t know how old this sample is – Glow Crazy powder has been gone for some time now – but finally! I finished it!  It’s too bad it was a sample size (of which I kind of have issue with as a general rule), because this was actually a beautiful highlighter (or eyeshadow!), but it had to go.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (sample size)
I got this in one of my free GWP’s from Clinique.  Black Honey is our 2nd most sold product on the counter; the subtle reddish-berry looks good on everyone! ….Everyone except me.  On me, this shade is god-awful.  That sounds dramatic for a sheer lipstick, I know, but honestly, I can’t get down with this tone on my lips in any way, shape or form.  I’ve had this for so long just because there was nothing wrong with it.  Then, a couple weeks ago, I pulled it out to try it out again after the resurgence of the Almost Lipsticks, and it broke right at the base.  Woohoo, out it goes!  Bye BYE!!

So – yay!  Managed to get some makeup items in there, woohoo!  And I wasn’t just trying to get rid of stuff in order to buy more (I know you were thinking it! :P); either they finished or they were products I really didn’t care for in the least and was hanging on to them for no good reason.  Out you go!

Now, lets look at the purchases I made in the past month, and see if I stuck to my guns:

1) Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel $74
I bought this the very next day after the low-buy began.  See how I started out strong?  I’m still very much in love with it, and I’ve never had a moment of doubt about the cost.  I am nervous to see if it’ll still show up once I’m tanned, but here’s hoping it’ll make a great highlighter if nothing else!  If not, then – till next Winter, my dear :)

2) Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Exfoliating Facial Wipes (25 wipes) $8.59
Since I tend to run on most of my lunch breaks, I was starting to feel like I really should be removing and reapplying my makeup on those days.  Though I leave my run till later in the afternoon, I still feel uncomfortable at the thought of my makeup mingling with sweat and possibly causing clogged pores and irritation, even in the two hours before I get home and can properly cleanse.  So, I picked up these wipes on a whim, as they contain aloe, vitamins, and no perfumes or dyes – while also being safe for sensitive eyes, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.  Bonus!  The ingredient list is shorter than most as well, which always gives me comfort.  I’ve used them a handful of times to no negative effects – I’m not sure how effective they are at cleansing, but I still feel better at putting in an effort.

3) Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush in #12 First Kiss $29
Newly minted blush fiend that I am, I saw a photoshoot in the recent issue of Glow which showcased a delicate redhead with a gorgeous peachy flush.  The look I was hoping for with Torrid just doesn’t cut it, as it’s more pink-based than orange.  This bright apricot shade seems to do the trick, and I’m often partial to cream/liquid formulas because I find they give a more believable glow. 

4) Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm $24
I picked this up in anticipation of our Jamaica trip.  It’s supposed to help soothe and hydrate sun exposed skin and help prevent any damage that the UV rays cause.  I have wanted to try this product for AGES as I’ve heard so, so many good things about it – but amazingly, I’ve never had the opportunity!  I find it difficult to actually *purchase* Clinique when I get so many for free, but the time was right so I finally gave in.  I’ll be sure to report back once I’ve given it a go!

5) OPI ‘A Roll in the Hague’, and ‘Dutch’Ya Just Love OPI?‘ $9.99 ea.
I had long planned to grab ‘Hague’ once OPI’s Holland collection came to town, but I was pleasantly surprized to find that I ended up enjoying ‘Dutch’Ya’ as well! 

6) Boscia Restorative Day Moisture Cream SPF15 $58
This will replace my Superdefense as my daily moisturizer with SPF.  I bought it because my skin’s been tempermental with the Winter weather lately, though after the past week or so with unseasonably warm temperatures, I’m hoping this isn’t too heavy.  The cool thing I’m excited about is the inclusion of Magnolia Bark extract, which apparently has cortizone-like effects.  I’m hoping this will help with any eczema issues I have on my face and help keep any irritation under control.  Fingers crossed!

7) Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara in Black $22.50
I’ve been meaning to buy this for ages but just haven’t taken the plunge for one reason or another.  It has great reviews on MUA and sounds like the perfect formula for my sensitive eyes.  I hope its as volumizing as it claims!

8) MAC Tendertone Lip Balm in Purring $18
I fell for all the hype about these Tendertones returning, and not wanting to miss out, I scooped up this sheer orange one this past weekend.  So far, I’m not terribly impressed, but I’m going to give it a fair shake before making my final judgement.  It’s not the sheerness I’m disappointed with (though it is very sheer), but the moisturization.  We’ll see how it fares in the end.

Not too shabby, eh??  If you recall, my guidelines were use one-buy one for skincare/haircare/essentials like foundation and concealer, and use two-buy one for everything else (ie. makeup).  Note that sample sizes are considered a half-one, so two = one in the ‘use one’ category.  Also, remember that I’m allowed 5 nail polish purchases a month.  Here are my totals for this month:

USED – 4 full-size skincare, 2 travel-size skincare, 1 full-size haircare, 1 concealer, 6 full-size makeup items, and 2 sample-size makeup items.

ALLOWANCE – 4 skincare items, 1 haircare, 1 concealer, 3.5 makeup items; 5 nail polish + 2 brought over from January.

BOUGHT – 3 skincare items, 4 makeup items; 2 nail polish.

So…let’s count the MAC balm as a .5 product, eh?? LOL.  I came pretty close!  All in all, not too bad.  It’s certainly gotten easier as time has passed – most of those purchases were made in the first two weeks LOL.  I will admit, there is a lot of things to remember, but thankfully I have lists upon lists just about everywhere I go reminding me, so it’s been doable for the most part.  Gotta keep on keepin’ on!

Have you put any restrictions on your own shopping habits?  If you have, how are you making out?  If you haven’t, what’s your secret to keeping yourself in check??

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Nothing Beats a Good Deal: Review of Fresh’s Sugar Lust Set

Ok, enough of my whining about having no control over myself sometimes!  I’ve made my plan, I’m working on my Beauty Resolutions, so that’s that.  You’re here to read about products, and so that’s what I’ll give you :)

One of the items I picked up last night in my haul was Fresh’s Sugar Lust set, which contains a 3.4oz tube of the Brown Sugar Body Cream (full-size is 6.8oz); a full-size Sugar Lip Treatment SPF15  (0.28oz), and a 0.15oz Limited Edition Sugar Lip Polish (full-size is 0.6oz) –  all of which smell like lemon cookie (yum!).  I’ve already tried both the Plum and Honey Lip Treatments, so it was nice to try the original version.   The real reason I picked up this set is because I desperately wanted to try the Lip Polish, as my lips tend to get flaky every few weeks and I’ve never tried a lip exfoliant to keep them soft and smooth.  I hemmed and hawed, but once I realized that the Lip Treatment SPF that was in the set was full-size, I couldn’t NOT get it – as the Lip Treatment itself is $26CAD, for $32CAD, you’re getting the half-size body cream and mini lip polish for $6!!  That constitutes as a pretty good deal in my books.I have tried the Brown Sugar Body Cream on various occasions, devouring the scent (I’m really into sweet lemon/verbena smells) but never taking the plunge to buy.  With my eczema, it doesn’t make scents (hehe) to spend $40CAD of something I would only wear on special occasions and in certain areas (my chest seems to have less sensitivity than everywhere else).   But to have a smaller scale version of it for cheap, well that I can justify.  It’s supposed to leave skin “super soft and supple” due to ingredients like apricot kernel, sweet almond, evening primrose, and jojoba oils, as well as shea butter.  Paraben-free, it also contains Vitamins E & C and brown sugar (for its antiseptic properties). Unfortunately, the scent doesn’t linger very long (which sort of defeats the purpose), and I can’t comment on it’s hydration abilities because I’m too scared to use it anywhere dry.  I did try it just on the palms of my hands, it soaked in well without being greasy, and seemed to keep them soft and moisturized for several hours.As for the Lip Polish, I eagerly tried it out last night and it was a relative success.  It is composed of real brown sugar crystals which are supposed to help slough off dry flakes, and contains oils of meadowfoam seed, jojoba seed, and grapeseed, along with shea butter, to nourish the lips with long-lasting moisture.  I found it gently buffed my lips to smoothness, with a delicious scent and sweet taste, and kept them feeling hydrated even after I preceded to wash my face.  Only time will tell if it’s truly effective at keeping flakiness as bay, and whether or not I’ll have a reaction, but I’ll keep you posted!

Despite my skincare/eczema fears, overall this is a great set that is well worth it’s price (also, the red bag that everything comes in is pretty much the only cosmetics bag I’ve ever gotten that I totally want to keep!!).  If you’re buying this mainly for the body cream and it’s scent, you might be disappointed with its swift dissipation – but if you’re grabbing this for either of the other two products, I think its a sound investment.  I do recommend figuring out just how much you love the Lip Polish however; seeing as it’s supposed to be limited edition, you’ll be sorry if you wait only to find that it’s since disappeared on you!

What do you think of the set?  Are you a fan of the Sugar Lip Treatments?  Which sets have you found this season to be a great value?

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