Archive for category Cleanser

Amie *Naturally Kind* Skincare – Now at Shoppers Drug Mart!

I know Tracy just reviewed this brand, but that’s what happens when you’re a blogger in Canada – there is bound to be overlap! And I always feel that each person can offer a different take on products, due to different skin types etc. A well-rounded view of a product is always a bonus :)

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In this neck of the woods, I’m loving all these new skincare brands landing at Shoppers these days! Launched in Canada on August 11th, the newest kid on the block is Amie Naturally Kind Skincare, which is an award-winning, gentle skincare line that uses high-quality, naturally-derived plant and botanical extracts in their formulas. They have a range of products, from cleansers, to masks, to moisturizers – and a few things in between (toners, exfoliants, and even a makeup remover!).

I received a nice array of products to test out, and unsurprisingly I got right to it! Here’s what I received, with it’s description along with a few of my thoughts:

IMG_3608Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash and Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask

Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash

“Gentle enough to use every day. Contains green apple, lemon and exfoliating blueberry seeds. Soap-free, oil-free.”   This daily wash is exceptionally gentle on the skin. I’m not sure how truly ‘exfoliating’ it is through the blueberry seeds so just a heads up if you’re looking for a nice scrubby feeling – but I guess the inclusion of green apple offers some chemical exfoliation through it’s acids. It foams up quite a bit, but I found that it left my skin feeling really nice – clean but not stripped in the least. The only real issue I had was that it didn’t rinse away too easily; the gel sort of stuck to the skin a bit so it took a bit of elbow grease to wash it all off.

IMG_3597Itty bitty scrubbies

IMG_3611Ingredients

Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask

“A wonderfully refreshing deep-cleansing treatment that draws out dirt, oiliness and impurities leaving skin feeling clear, clean and smooth.”  The first time I tried this mask, I was terrified – a minute after application, there is this SERIOUS cooling sensation that bordered on burny-tingly, and I worried I was going to have a terrible reaction. However, after a few more minutes, the sensation dulls considerably and it’s just nice and refreshing. When I rinsed it away after 10 minutes, my skin felt lovely – fresh and smooth. I didn’t experience any adverse reaction to it at all, despite the scary-intense feeling at the beginning.

IMG_3600Thick clay texture

IMG_3612Ingredients

Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser

“Controls oiliness and shine, while hydrating and keeping skin soft. With rosehip, bilberry and Vitamin E.”  A beautifully light moisturizer, that absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave the skin feeling sticky or greasy. I found that this minimally controlled oiliness and shine on my combo-oily skin, but honestly – nothing has been working on my skin to keep the oiliness at bay on my t-zone, so I wasn’t surprised. If nothing else, it’s a great light hydrator that would work particularly well with combination to normal skins. And I gotta say, I love that rosehip is included in the ingredients!

IMG_3593Texture was somewhat gel-like – and beside the swatch, I rubbed some in; you can see how it didn’t leave my skin shiny or greasy

IMG_3614Ingredients

Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturiser

“Keeps skin soft, smooth and nourished all day long. Rich in rose extract, rosehip seed oil and mallow.”  As this sounded a bit heavier than the Morning Dew moisturizer, I used this in the evening. Again, it was nice and moisturizing without being heavy at all. It didn’t dry as ‘matte’ on my skin as the Matte-Finish moisturizer, but I still think it would be ideal on combo-normal to even slightly dry skins.

IMG_3595Slightly richer texture – and you can see it has a bit of sheen on my skin where I rubbed it in

IMG_3613Ingredients

I’m going to be up front with you: these products are all quite scented. It’s a wonderful scent – clean and fresh and quite pleasant, truly – but for this scent-adverse gal, it freaked me out A LOT and made my testing of these products somewhat limited. With the exfoliating wash and deep cleansing mask, I didn’t mind too much because they washed off, but I felt very uncomfortable wearing the two moisturizers, the scent of which I could smell on my skin all day long.  I only tested them a couple times each, because I just could NOT get past how scented they were. If you’re into scent in your skincare, or if it doesn’t bother you, I’d say these are great products to check out – affordable and free of paragons, sulphates, mineral oils and animal extracts. I don’t know if I’d recommend them for sensitive skins, as they say, due to the fragrance – but not all sensitive skin is sensitive to fragrance, so if scent doesn’t seem to irritate you, you should be fine.

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Have you seen Amie Skincare in Shoppers yet? How do you feel about scented products?

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

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Clean up your act with One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

Though not necessary for everyone, I personally prefer to use a different cleanser for day vs night – opting for a gentle wash in the morning and something more targeted to makeup removal in the evening. For a while I was doing the double-cleanse at night, using whatever two cleansers were in my arsenal, but I’ve been able to stop that practice recently when I purchase Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil, $39CAD (what a mouthful!!). It cleanses the skin so effectively that unless I’m wearing a full face of makeup (which is rare these days), I don’t require a second go-around. Anything that simplifies the ritual is a winner in my book!

One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

Though I like the idea of using a cleansing balm or oil and wiping away the day with a soft cloth, I really LOVE the feeling of splashing my face clean at the end of the day – and going through so many face cloths was starting to drive me nuts. This cleanser does not require a cloth for removal (one of the few that offer that luxury); simply massage a pump or two of the medium-thick textured oil all over dry skin, splash a little water in there to emulsify, then rinse clean. DONE! The ease of use is what really sells me on this cleanser and all but ensures that I’ll be repurchasing once I run out.

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You may recall that I sampled this back at the end of last year, and I wasn’t a fan of the smell - tropical with a heavy dose of pineapple in there (due to the papain and papaya enzymes). Though I’m still not in love with the scent, it fails to bother me at all now, and some days breathing in the tropics isn’t such a bad thing (Calgon, take me away!). The rest of the ingredients are somewhat plain but nonetheless effective: caprylic/capric triglyceride is just another name for fractionated coconut oil, which is coconut oil that is made more stable, more disinfecting, and has a bigger boost of antioxidants all while having a much longer shelf life than regular coconut oil; and sunflower see oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory and full of vitamin E.

One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil ingredients

Though I have heard some say that oil cleansing dries their skin out a bit, for my skin type (slightly oily) this formula is just perfect – it thoroughly cleanses yet leaves skin feeling comfortable, soft and smooth. An all-around staple for me, I must say! Sometimes it’s not just what’s IN a product that appeals to you, but how the product will be used and if it suits your purposes. The OLO Cleansing Oil is perfect for me, both efficient and effective – what more could a gal ask for?

What is your makeup removal process? Do you use a cleansing oil?

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Green Beauty Regime, Take One – Pai & Stark Skincare

So it’s been almost a month since I started using nearly all green / organic beauty products and guys – it’s been sort of KICKASS.

This could get really rambly, really quick – so I’m gonna jump right in because otherwise we’ll both be here all night.  First, let’s start with the cleansers that have been keeping my skin fresh and clear over the past little while.

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Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm ($40CAD) was the first full-on green purchase I made back in September.  I ordered directly from the brand’s site, as they were having a promo I think, and also picked up my konjac sponge at the same time (though, I don’t use the sponge with the balm because I worry that the thickness of the balm will gunk it up <– obviously not a scientific determination).  I was nervous at first because it smells REALLY GOOD, kinda citrusy (but not in a fake way, in a MMMMMMMmmmm way), and you know how scared I am of fragrance – but, awesomely, I’ve had ZERO problems with this product.  I even took it on a trip to Newfoundland a few weeks ago as both my cleanser and moisturizer (as it is designed to handle both tasks) and was pleasantly surprized at how great my skin was the entire time, which is a feat in itself (travel can be rough on my touchy skin).

IMG_0479 - Version 2

The balm itself is quite lovely – it has a smooth, buttery texture, with little bits of raw cocoa butter that sort of get massaged in with everything else.  Truth be told, I don’t love these little bits, only because they don’t dissolve as fast as I’d like, and sometimes fall in and around my sink – but that’s just me being nitpicky.  In fact, they’re the ONLY thing I don’t love about the balm – everything else is fan-freakin’-tastic :)  You just massage a small amount into the skin, wash it away with a soft cloth, and voila!  Clean skin (that truly does feel clean) which also feels hydrated and cared for.  I use it mainly for this purpose – as a cleanser – and I am exceptionally impressed that this creamy balm removes all traces of makeup, dirt and oil AND hasn’t caused one breakout or reaction.  SOLD.

Ingredients of Stark Cleanse + Hydrate Balm: Shea fruit butter, virgin coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, soybean butter, candelilla wax, camellia seed oil, sweet almond oil, arrowroot powder, orange peel wax, vitamin E, pure essential oils.

Pai’s Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50CAD) was a freebie I received when I put in my Fresh Faced order for a few other Pai goodies late last month.  I wasn’t interested in it as my skin isn’t really dry (as this seemed best suited for), but figured I’d try it out nonetheless.  Winter is coming, after all.  Surprizingly, I quite enjoy it, and similarly to the Stark balm, it’s thick, creamy texture – that feels a bit heavy, like it might not cleanse and then wash away properly – is actually quite effective.  I have been using this as my second cleanse after the Stark balm (also wiping it away with a washcloth), and again, I’ve had no breakouts whatsoever – and in fact my pores are more cleaned out than ever!  Interestingly, it contains castor oil, which in my research I’ve discovered is anti-bacterial and a great humectant (binding water to the skin), and despite being a thicker oil is almost entirely non-comedogenic.  So that’s probably why I haven’t experienced any breakouts!

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Overall, it’s a great gentle cleanser that great for all skin types, even despite it’s thickness.  The only drawback I’ve found is that it doesn’t quite remove tenacious eye makeup – but for that, we have removers, right?

Oh, and it smells divine too – faintly like lemons (I think that’s the geranium in there!) :)

Ingredients of Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser: Organic rose water, water, organic camellia oil, organic castor oil, organic sweet almond oil, coconut- and corn-derived emulsifier, organic shea butter, organic vegetable glycerin, natural vitamin E, corn extract, basil extract, organic lavender oil, organic geranium oil, organic may chang oil, organic rose oil, natural lactic acid (from sugar beet).

Next up, we have the hydrators.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I still have a few non-organic items I need to get through, but overall these are my go-to items that I have been wearing daily.

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Pai’s Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream ($48CAD) was seriously designed for me.  It’s formulated to clear and rebalance oily and combination skin, and my goodness does it ever do it well!!  This is the perfect day cream for my often ‘glistening’ skin – it absorbs quickly, leaving a velvet-like finish, and I don’t see any shine until nearly the end of the work day (when normally I’d need to blot by about 11am).  It contains Borage oil, a dry oil loaded with antioxidants that is one of the best oils for barrier repair, and which also helps reduce collagen destruction (woot!).

IMG_0496IMG_04972nd picture – after being rubbed in.  No shiny!

It also seems to give me that elusive glow that I’ve been trying to achieve all summer in vain (glowing goes quickly to greasy when you’re an oilier skin type), which is awesome.  Again, I’ve had absolutely NO adverse reactions to this moisturizer – it hydrates perfectly without being too heavy for day, and I haven’t had a single bout of eczema since I started using it.  BAM.   The scent of this one doesn’t blow my socks off – it’s kind of earthy with a slight lemony twist (again, the geranium)- but it’s not offensive in the least so there’s no problem there.  I would (and will) repurchase this in a heartbeat.  That is a rarity ’round these here parts – even great products usually get replaced for shiny new ones – so that’s saying something!

Ingredients of Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream: Purified water, organic jojoba oil, coconut- and corn-derived emulsifier, organic thistle oil, organic borage oil, natural vitamin E, organic vegetable glycerin, corn extract, manuka oil, basil extract, organic geranium oil, organic juniper oil, organic lavender oil, natural lactic acid (from sugar beet).

Another product that is HIGHLY worth the repurchase is Pai’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($35CAD).  Rosehip oil is a dry oil notorious for its ability to heal and repair the skin; it also contains trans-retinoic acid, which is converted to vitamin A in the skin to boost the healing process.  The function is similar to retinol, but with less irritation.  The oil is supposed to help improve the appearance of scars, sun damage, and fine lines.

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Now let me tell you.  I had two rather large pimples sprout up on my right cheek a few weeks back – they started as tiny clogged pores, and I stupidly tried to squeeze them ~d’oh~.  I was bummed that they were going to leave a scar (as acne usually does for me), especially as I was going to a wedding in a couple weeks.  Well lo and behold, no word of a lie, but not only did those full-on pimples run their course in record time (I’m talking like, three days MAX), but the scars also significantly faded before the day of the wedding – so much so that all I needed to cover them was a bit of foundation.  Truly, I was shocked at how quickly the turnover was, as it usually takes months before my acne scars disappear.  Miracle product?  I’m thinking YES.

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On top of all that fabulosity, I find that this oil is, again, perfect for my oilier skin, and I can use this as my sole hydrator each evening without requiring an additional moisturizer.  It sinks in fairly quickly, and the scent – which to me smells sort of like green tea – dissipates within minutes as well.  And again, no breakouts, only great skin!  What’s not to love?  I haven’t noticed any anti-aging effects yet, but I mean…I don’t really have a lot of ‘aging’ to fix just yet, so…yea.  But overall, I absolutely love this oil and will repurchase in a heartbeat.  And at $35??  Ummmm it’s kinda the cheapest one around guys!

Ingredients of Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil: Organic rosa canina (rosehip) seed extract, organic rosa canina (rosehip) fruit extract, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E).

So Pai is sort of knocking it out of the park for me.  Both the moisturizer and the oil were also Beauty Award Winners according to Bazaar magazine in 2011.  I usually take those ‘award’ thingys with less than a grain of salt (editors are basically paid to talk up certain products), but turns out in this case the awards were well justified!

As you can order samples from Fresh Faced for $0.75 each, I put in an order a couple weeks ago to try out most of May Lindstrom’s line (quick synopsis: meh on The Youth Dew {which is great – saves me $125!!!}, enjoyed The Cleansing Dirt and The Problem-Solver…but not enough to purchase at the moment), as well as a couple products from One Love Organics (the Easy Does It cleanser is lovely and a multi-tasker for face, body, and hair – I MUST buy for travel; and the Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum is quite nice!).  I love this option, as I can decide just what I want items from my massive list I want to spend my money on….though truth be told I’d kinda like to own one of everything! :D

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I’ve been having such a great time experimenting and trying out new products, more so than I ever have in the past.  It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to just jump right in with something new and not have to worry about how my skin will react.  So far, I haven’t had one set back in all the items I’ve tried, and my skin has honestly never looked or felt better.  Even in circumstances like traveling where I’m not in my usual surroundings (which means, bedsheets washed with fragrance free/dye-free-everything-free detergent; no pets; etc), I’ve found my skin’s resilience has improved ten-fold, and I have hardly had a blip on the radar in terms of skin’s reactivity.  I’m not knocking ‘regular’ products in the least – I think they have some great technology out there, and in some cases are more effective than organic skincare products – but for me, the reduction in inflammation (which additionally can speed up aging) and the freedom to try anything without fear, is an absolute dream.  Plus, I have been having more fun with my skincare rituals that I ever have, and washing and treating my face has never been so enjoyable :)

Aside from the brands I’ve mentioned, are their any other green/organic lines I should be investigating??

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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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My Skin Saviors: Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil & Consonant Organic Foaming Face Wash

So I mentioned in my previous skincare post that my skin has been kicking some serious ass lately.  I think aside from finally figuring out the tricks to dealing with eczema (also mentioned in that post), the two star products in the line-up are my facial cleanser, Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash, and my nighttime facial oil, Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil.

Super Skincare (2)

I was gifted the face wash by my aunt, who often buys big blockbuster skincare and makeup bags with a bunch of various products by various brands, via The Shopping Channel :P  Sometimes there are standout items, and sometimes…not so much.  I didn’t end up using the Consonant wash until about 6 months after receiving it, when I ran out of my previous face wash.  Initially, I didn’t think too much of it.  Its a foaming…soap…for the face.  But there is no denying the fact that somehow this product both gently cleanses while absolutely NOT stripping the skin of moisture (due to nourishing botanicals like grapeseed oil), and leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth, and blemish-free (it also contains teatree oil!).

Consonant Organic Foaming Face Wash (2)

It feels really silky once you rub it into your skin, and dissolves within seconds, which initially made me think it wasn’t cleaning properly.  However, 1-2 pumps of product really does remove all the dirt, oil, and makeup I abuse it with wear daily.  If your makeup is particularly tenacious, it may require a separate makeup remover (I used Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm), but in a pinch this will wash away almost everything without the added step.  It’s even designed to help eliminate uneven skin tone, which is a problem I suffer with, and it’s pH balanced (so no need for toner).  I’m not one to usually stick with one type of product after it’s used up, but I actually will repurchase this – it works and it’s relatively inexpensive at $18CAD.

Consonant Organic Foaming Face Wash

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Calophyllum Tacamahaca, Melaleuca Alternifolia, Allantoin, Algae, Camellia Sinensis, Salix Alba, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Zingiber Officinale, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera, Comfrey, Chamomilla Recutita, Symphytum Officinale, Cucumis Sativa, Vaccinium Myrtillus, Saccharum Officinarum, Acer Saccharum, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Citrus Medica Limonum, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.


Does not contain: Phthalates, Petroleum Ingredients, Sulphates, Silicone, Synthetic Colour, Synthetic Fragrance or Paraben Preservatives.

Tarte Maracuja Oil

The other superstar in my skincare routine has GOT to be, Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil ($55CAD).  This was one of the rare impulse buys I make every few months.  I was in Sephora, and as the staff know me there, I asked what was one of the standout must-have products I should try.  No less than THREE SA’s turned me toward the Maracuja Oil (between the ages of 20-50), insisting it had totally changed their skin.  I wasn’t in the market for a moisture product, but what the heck!  I had a $20 coupon to burn in which I needed to spend $50 or more.  DONE.

Tarte Maracuja Oil (2)

I usually steer clear of skincare via brands that are more known for makeup, and especially gimmicky-type products in general.  But honestly, I have been shocked at how much this has improved my skin!  It’s smoother, more even-toned, less oily, more hydrated, and I swear it’s made my pores less noticeable and all but eliminated the small fine lines around my eyes.  Apparently, maracuja oil is chockful of Vitamin C – which aids in brightening and radiance – and essential fatty acids, which are necessary for healthy skin to rebuild and repair itself  It’s also anti-inflammatory, which is ideal for someone like myself with eczema (or if you have sun damage!).  How I use it, is right after washing my face, a put a dropperful in my hand, rub them together to disperse, and then press it into my skin all over my face and neck (this product replaces my nighttime moisturizer).  I don’t know where I got the ‘pressing’ part but I think I heard somewhere that it helps oils penetrate the skin better (and probably a lot more gentle than vigorous rubbing!).  It absorbs a bit slowly, about half an hour to fully penetrate, at which time my skin just feels plump and hydrated and not at all greasy, filmy or sticky (which was a big reason why I did not like argan oil – too heavy!).  Some people have noted a slight smell to the product, but I detect next to none – at least nothing discernible, even if I stick my nose right up to the bottle opening.

Tarte Maracuja Oil (3)See…it’s so thin that it started spreading just from the small droplet on my hand!

The only ingredient in this product is maracuja oil, which contains none of the baddies like parabens or fragrance.

And now for a very revealing photo (after cleansing and applying the oil, sans makeup, with plenty of freckles/moles for your viewing pleasure):

Clean, Bare SkinI’m no model, by any means – but I’m pretty darn happy with how clear my skin is, and how well my pigmentation damage has faded on my forehead!  Too bad about those dark circles…

If you’re in the market for either (or both) a cleanser or hydrator, I highly recommend both of these products, for essentially all skin types except serious problem skin.  Both products are gentle and effective, truly have made such a huge improvement in my skin that I didn’t even realize I was lacking.

What is your absolute must-have skincare product?

You can purchase the Consonant Organic Foaming Face Wash here, and the Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil here.

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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 Two

Well…I’m pretty much sucking at this whole low-buy thing.  You’d think, a gal who could give up buying cosmetics altogether during Lent last year could do a silly low-buy that consequently enables her to ALSO buy up to 5 nail polish a month and 3 LE items per season?  Er, no.  Seems I can’t.  I am simply struggling to finish enough products in order to justify the amount I’ve purchased!!  I tell you, it’s becoming impossible.  There are just too many awesome products out there, it’s *sooo* not my fault!~Boo Hoo~ Enough with the whining I guess…you want to see the damage, I take it?  Check out what I bought/swapped for in the last month (reviews for products will be eventually forthcoming):

1) Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive Skin (bought)

2) Neutrogena Moisture Oil Free Sensitive Skin (bought)

3) Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eyeshadow in Corinthian (bought)

4) Milani Liquif’Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencil in Aqua (bought)

5) Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Warm Beige (bought)

6) Laura Mercier Full-Blown Volume Mascara (bought)

6) MAC Refined Golden bronzer (swapped for*)

7) MAC Pigment in Melon (swapped for*)

8) Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick in Nectar (swapped for*)

9) Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee in Shimmering Sands (LE) (bought)

10) Zoya Cho (bought)

11) Nfu-Oh #51 (bought)

12) Nfu-Oh Aqua Base (bought)

*For the swapped items, I exchanged for my MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot, MAC Electra and Strike a Pose eyeshadows, Urban Decay Zero 24/7 eyeliner, the Fyrinnae Shinkirou eyeshadow, and a Marc Jacobs perfume and a handful of perfume samples.  So that totals to 5 makeup items.

OK.  So I am at a surplus with my polish allowance – all good.  I’m already down one for my Summer LE quota (which I can already forsee is going to be a HUGE problem with all the amazing items coming out!!!).  Otherwise I picked up 2 skincare products and 7 makeup items.  Hmmm…let’s see how I did in the *purge* category.Last month I was kickin’ butt at using up my makeup, but this month hasn’t been so successful.  I did get rid of a couple of straggler products overall, but still…I’m disappointed.  Take a look:

Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel

Suddenly, this was finished this weekend – I had no idea I was on my last pump, but I am SO happy about it!  Shave gel = useless product.

Live Clean Moisturizing Body Wash

I used this to soak my feet in after realizing I wasn’t a fan of the generic soap-scent.  Worked well in that area, at least!  It foamed up really nicely.

Redken Real Control Crema Care (50mL)

This is a great styling lotion if you’re looking for a travel product – it holds and softens hair at the same time, but it’s a bit sticky feeling.  I wouldn’t buy the full size version.

butter London Nail Foundation ($20CAD)

I enjoyed this for the first couple months, loving how *flawless* it made my bare nails look, and how it helped eliminate VNL, but it didn’t adhere my polish any better than any other base coat, and it got thick fast.  I added thinner to no avail.  For that price tag – bye bye!

Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 (200mL) ($15CAD)

I know a lot of people have issues with the Clarifying Lotion.  I don’t dislike it, but I’m not necessarily a fan, and if you have sensitive skin it can be a pretty harsh exfoliant.  I’d recommend the mild version for most skins, which I may try some day.  For now, I’m glad this is gone.  I got it for free, so you know I *had* to use it.

Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Wipes ($10CAD)

I have yet to have luck with any wipes which don’t seem to harm my skin in some way.  The first time I used these, I loved how soft they made my face feel (and still with that lovely orange-y scent, yum!).  But then the next day my face seemed to be extra-reactive, and I think these may have been the culprit.  There were only 10 wipes, so I just used them on the nights when I was just TOO lazy to wash my face.  All done now :)

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (50mL) ($17.50CAD)

Travel size of this cleanser.  I bought it to check it out, and when I realized it wasn’t much of anything, I used it to travel with.  However, I’ve been slowly running out of cleansers and I am trying to use them all up before buying more, so I started using this in the shower daily.  It’s pretty fragrant so I worry about the effect it has on my skin – seems OK but I’m always suspicious.  I wouldn’t buy this again.

Josie Maran Argan Oil (15mL) ($18CAD)

I sadly can’t get behind the hype of this product; it didn’t do anything amazing for my skin, and I was SO prepared for it to!  I might be great in the warmer months for a nighttime product, but during the Winter days and nights, it was both greasy and yet not quite moisturizing enough some how.  Fail.

NARS Sheer Glow in Syracuse ($55CAD)

I finished a foundation!!  I can’t remember the last time I did that :)  I’ve spoken of this one before – I really liked it; the color match was superb, the coverage just right (sheer to medium) and it didn’t irritate my skin in the least.  I could use this on the sensitive skin around my mouth and it never caused any problems, and actually hydrated it a bit.  I can’t use this in the Summer because it’s a bit too much for my oily skin, but in the cold Winter month it was just what the doctor ordered.  I’d even potentially buy this again next year!

Clinique All About Eyes Concealer in Medium Honey ($20CAD)

- This used to seem like the perfect shade for me…but lately I found it to be a bit grey, for whatever reason.  So it was a good thing that it was nearing it’s end.  It’s pretty old too, probably 4 years+, and the sides are cracking so that I’d get concealer on my fingers when I squeezed too hard.  How annoying.  Time to go!

Maybelline One by One Volum’ Express Mascara in Blackest Black

- I know some people really enjoy this mascara, and the first time I used it I LOVED how long it made my lashes look – but it quickly got dry and super-clumpy, and I never felt like I had enough product on the brush since it comes in the package with the brush separate from the mascara tube to begin with.  I dunno.  It got old quick, literally :P

Buxom Mascara in Blackest Black (sample)

- I received this back during the Sephora opening, and only started using it about two months ago.  Could be because it was older, but it just never gave enough *oomph* for me.  It was absolutely AMAZING for getting every lash and for not clumping, ever, but it almost somehow faded throughout the day and my lashes seemed to get more and more puny as the hours wore on.  I’m not into the au naturale look with lashes so this is not for me.  And NOT Buxom by any means!

Clinique Surge of Color Lipstick Palette

- I got this in a gratis or through a school or something…and it’s SO not for me!  Not only am I not a huge lipstick wearer, I don’t wear ANY of these shades, and I get irritated having to use a lip brush every time I want to apply it.  No thanks man!  I had this in a drawer at work just collecting dust – it’s time it kicked the bucket.

Annabelle Lipliner in Spice and Smashbox Sheer Lip Pencil in Smashing Content

- I think I picked up the Annabelle liner looking for a recreation of MAC’s Spice liner, which I heard a lot about.  Whether or not they’re dupes, I dunno…I barely used this because a) I just don’t use liner, and b) it was a muddy color on my lips.  Boo.  I’ve had this for like, 10 years – why am I keeping this kind of crap!  BEGONE.

The Smashbox lip pencil, well…it’s sheer, and its a lip pencil.  Not. For. Me.  TOSS.

MAC Gleam Lipstick ($17.50CAD)

- I went through this kick a few years back where I wanted that pale nude-lavender lip look (see my post with Keri Hilson’s look) and this was the shade I picked up thinking it could help create it.  Uh, no.  This is like a pale silvery-beige-purple sheer lippie that makes me look dead.  I tried mixing it with other shades to make it work, and I could, but good gosh – I don’t want to have to work so darn hard!  It’s going, I can’t deal with it any longer.  And it looks ugly in the tube.  I hate when my makeup gets ugly-looking. GET OUT OF MY LIFE.

MAC Venetian Lustreglass ($17.50CAD)

- A couple years ago I had my makeup done at MAC for a Christmas party, and this was part of the look.  It looks fantastic then, and then…never again.  It’s too much of a blue-based red, and because it’s more on the sheer side, it looked weak as well.  I am the most proud of this getting tossed – I mixed this with every friggin’ lippie I could to get rid of it, and hallelujah – success!!  I could probably get a couple more uses out of it, but NO.  NO, I REFUSE.  I AM DONE WITH YOU.

So….yea.  Getting a bit angry there, sorry!  It’s just that those items that were long overdue to get the boot and it was driving me insane that they were hanging around forever.  I hardly have any of those kinds of items left now though, sa-weet!  …Except that means that I have very few products that are going to get used up any time soon, which means…very little allowable purchases for awhile (supposedly – hopefully I get some willpower this coming month).  DANG.

Anyway, lets do the tally:

Limited Edition (Summer) – 1 of 3

Acquired – 9 (2 skincare, 7 makeup)

Got Rid Of – 22 (7 skincare, 1 hair, 14 makeup)

Skin- and haircare don’t even really warrant discussing – I think I’m always going to have more going out than coming in (although…how is that even possible?  Hmm…eventually it’ll be one to one I guess) – but on the makeup side, I managed to achieve my use 2, buy 1 guideline by the skin of my teeth.  I’m going to be up-front – I pretty much ransacked my stash to see if there were any items I didn’t want or even like and got rid of them just so I could ring in on the level.  I know I need to strap down and really take this more seriously; the whole point of engaging in this challenge was to use and appreciate what I have…and lately I feel like I’m just chasing after the next thing and the next, and barely even registering what I’ve gotten.  Which is a terrible habit to get into, and more than anything else I want to stop that cycle.

Next month, I PROMISE to do better!  And hold me to it – there’s no point in engaging in another 9 months of this if I’m just going to continue on the same way I always have.  My arse needs a good kick sometimes!

How do you keep your purchases in check?  What are your suggestions on how to truly slow down and appreciate what you already have, and resist the siren call of new products?

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