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

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