Showing posts with label Cleanser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleanser. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder (Travel Size)


Tatcha's latest is the new Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder, available in two forms: $65 for the Full Size Version (60 g / 2.1 oz.) or $15 for Travel Size Mini (10 g / 0.5 fl. oz). This is the most gentle rice enyme powder they've released to date with rice bran, indigo extract, colloidal oatmeal + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex. Based on my testing of the Classic, Gentle and Deep, the new Indigo is the best one yet. It's strong enough to give the skin a proper cleansing but gentle enough for days when your skin is extra sensitive. Even though it seems like the winter season never really arrived in Southern California (it's in the high 70s this week), the weather has been dry making my skin react like a roller coaster. The Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder is the perfect exfoliant for those who don't like traditional scrubs. If you're like me they are almost always too harsh or if they are gentle they leave a film on the skin. The Tatcha cleans the skin well leaving it soft and residue free.

In case you are new to the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders, these are soft powder exfoliant cleansers that are activated with water. They come in a sturdy canister with a clever opening that helps dispense small amounts of powder into your hand. It prevents the product from getting all over the place when you use it and also makes sure that the product stays inside the container in case you travel with these. There are three types of the Polished Rice Enzyme Powders designed for different skin types: Classic is for normal skin, Gentle is for dry skin and Deep is for those with oily skin. You can see my previous review on all three here.

I use these as a double cleanse. First I use a cleansing water or oil to remove all traces of makeup. Then I follow with a regular cleanser or one of the Rice Enzyme Powders. These are the perfect mix between a cleanser and exfoliator. For me traditional face scrubs often end up tearing the skin and cause break outs (no matter how gentle they are). There is a learning curve to figure out the right mix of water to powder to create the right thickness in texture. I usually have one hand wet with water, then I'll sprinkle about a tablespoon of powder into the palm. I'll take the other hand (also damp) and rub together to create a paste.

Some more close ups of the Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder, featured here is the travel size:



Classic Full Size vs Indigo Travel Size:



Ingredients: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polygonum Tinctorium (Japanese Indigo) Leaf/Stem Extract, Indigofera Tinctoria Leaf Extract, Colloidal Oatmeal, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Algae Extract, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Carbonate, Titanium Dioxide, Tin Oxide, Mica, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol.

The Indigo line is created for sensitive skin. I've been a huge fan of the Body Butter and Hand Creams because they really do work wonders for the skin when it's dry or irritated. I love that they've added more to the Indigo line because the items smell incredibly good (although the Rice Enzyme Powder has no detectable scent). I'm secretly hoping they will release a shower gel or body lotion in the future.

If you're new to Tatcha they have a large selection of Travel/Trial Sized items which makes it nice to try things out at a lower price point before investing in the full sized options. Out of all the Rice Enzyme Powders the Indigo is my new favorite followed by the Classic version. Tatcha kindly sent me the travel size to try out. I have the full size version in my online shopping cart right now and will be purchasing it after I hit publish on this post. The travel sized version will be traveling with me on a few trips I have in the upcoming months.

Bottom line highly recommend. You can find the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder in two sizes. The Full Size (60 g) retails for $65 and the Travel Size (10 g) retails for $15. Note there is still a promo code available: receive complimentary Aburitorigami Beauty Papers ($12 value) with any order over $20. Use promo code TREAT2015 at checkout to redeem. Offer may not be combined with any other promotions. Valid 3/5/2015 to 3/31/2015.

The travel sized Indigo rice powder was provided courtesy of Tatcha for review consideration.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Glamglow Cleansers: Supercleanse and Thirstycleanse


Glamglow recently expanded their mask line to include new mud to foam cleansers. I'm a huge fan of their face masks so I knew I had to try the recently released cleansers. I purchased two of the new cleansers in the Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser ($39 for 5 oz) and Thirstycleanse Daily Treatment Cleanser ($39 for 5 oz) from Sephora the week they launched back in January. Today I have a review of both to share after extensively testing both.

Both the cleansers are designed for daily use. I found them to be gentler versions of their mask counterparts. The scents are identical to the mask formulas which I find soothing and refreshing. They both come cased in a hefty cardboard cylinder which keeps both of the cleansers in tact inside - a huge plus especially if you order online, you can rest assured that these are well protected. The cleansers come with a pump dispenser. I usually use two pumps of product although some may need three.


The Glamglow cleansers are mud to foam cleansers. A Sephora rep did a small demo on the back of my hand in store with the Supercleanse to show how it works. I was amazed at how it really smoothed the skin and also removed redness. A comparison of a treated hand to one that wasn't treated showed a noticeable difference. The way you use these is pretty self explanatory and there are easy to use instructions on the packaging. Apply the mud on dry skin and massage into the face. Leave it on for as long as you would like (it was recommended a couple minutes at most). Then add water to your hands and massage it into the product to create a foam. Since these are thick mud cleansers, I found there wasn't really a traditional foaming result with just a tiny bit of water, but it did create a creamy lather with water added. I found the foaming action to be very subtle. Then rinse off completely.


Deciding on which one to buy will depend on your skin type. I will say upfront that I prefer the Supercleanse to clear the skin and clean out pores. Although these are gentle and designed for everyday, for my skin I think these are still too strong for daily use. For me they are better suited for every other day use. More thoughts on each below.

The Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser is based on the Supermud Clearing Treatment Mask. It's designed for problem skin and helps remove pore-clogging debris and impurities. It claims to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections and create a mattified, super clear complexion. I found all to be true. It works as an excellent clearing treatment cleanser and really does work to draw out impurities. Some have reported that it caused breakouts or a purging period. After using this I did have a few breakouts surface on the chin (3 to be exact). But none on other areas of the face and there were no additional breakouts after a week. The Supercleanse has a slightly cool feel on the skin but it's not tingly. After using it I found it does give the skin a slightly tight feel with a matte finish.

These are described as being able to remove all traces of makeup. I found this to be true except for eye makeup since you don't really want the mud to get into the eyes, I recommend removing eye makeup with a cotton pad and your go-to eye makeup remover first, then follow with this cleanser.

I like using this one at the end of the day or after a work out. It calms and cleanses the skin thoroughly. I found daily use didn't dry out my skin although it did start to feel a bit too tight. I like this one every other day at most.



Ingredient listing:

-TEAOXI® Technology (Eucalyptus Leaf Powder): Delivers natural eucalyptol, natural linalool oil, and powerful flavonoids to soothe and treat skin.
-K17 and Mediterranean Clays: Detoxify, refine skin texture, and balance problem-prone skin.
-Bamboo Charcoal: Provides balanced replenishment to the skin with essential bamboo minerals.
-Black Cumin Seed Extract: Provides antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to help provide a more clear complexion.

Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Kaolin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Nigella Sativa Seed Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Carbon (Bamboo Charcoal), Propanediol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Powder, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

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The Glamglow Thirstycleanse Daily Treatment Cleanser is a designed for dry or dehydrated skin but I found this to be quite drying on my normal combination skin. The product description details that it is formulated with ingredients to boost skin for intense hydration, replenish skin, and restore the skin barrier function. It's supposed to create a hydrated, silky, and dewy fresh complexion. After using this I found the skin to feel more tight compared to use with the Supercleanse. It did leave the skin feeling silky and smooth but there was no dewy look and it definitely did not feel hydrated.

I didn't experience any reactions or breakouts although my skin did feel slightly irritated after using this. The Thirstycleanse does an excellent job at removing all traces of makeup just like the Supercleanse but for something that is designed for dry skin I would have liked to feel more moisture. For this one I would recommend try before you buy. If you are in search of a moisture treatment, I'd recommend you opt for or stick with the Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment Mask instead. I have sensitive skin and have had no issues with the mask (it's one of my favorites). The cleanser on the other hand didn't work so well for me mainly because I didn't find it hydrating and it also left my skin feeling tingly after rinsing. It's too bad that it didn't work as I had hoped since it smells amazing (like coconut and almonds) and feels amazing when it's on the skin too. It's the after part that doesn't feel so great.



Ingredients:

-TEAOXI® Olive Leaf Powder: Micronized to deliver natural linoleic acid to maintain moisture.
-Rare Brazilian Yellow Clay: Helps remineralize the skin and rinse away impurities, leaving skin softer and smoother without stripping moisture.
-Pure Green Coconut Water: Naturally high in vitamins and amino acids to immediately boost and replenish skin for intense hydration and lasting moisturization.
-South Pacific Plumeria Flower Blossom Extract: Rich in omega 3, 6, and 9 to restore the skin barrier function.

Water, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Withania Somnifera Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Kaolin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Montmorillonite, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Plumeria Acutifolia Flower Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Powder, Allantoin, Mica, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Coumarin, Linalool.

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Bottom line is I think they are both worth looking into. I've already ordered a backup of the Supercleanse because I know I'll run out of my first bottle within the next month. Both are available now at Sephora and Glamglow. They are also releasing cleansers to match their other masks as well but I have not yet seen or tried them yet.

Have you tried these Glamglow Mud to Foam Cleansers? What did you think? If you're a Glamglow fan, which is your favorite mask to use?


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sephora Favorites - The Great Cleanse Set (Limited-Edition)


I picked up the Sephora Favorites The Great Cleanse Set ($48 for 12 items) while I was in store the last week of 2014. I went in for one hand cream and of course left with more than I intended. I've been putting several new cleansers to the test and when I saw this set had some that I had been wanting to try for a long time I decided to give it a try. This set has deluxe sizes of 11 cleansers, I like that they are larger than the usual freebies you can occasionally find which means you can give each one a serious test drive to see whether or not you like it. There are two items in the set that I've already tried, purchased and loved which include the Caudalie Cleansing Water and Ole Henriksen Foaming Cleanser. The remaining items are new to me and in the past couple of weeks I've given each item a test 2-3 times.


I have some initial thoughts to share although I will have to do more testing to give a thorough review. Since it does take time for skincare to show how effective it is, how long do you test a face cleanser before deciding whether or not it works for you? For me if there is irritation on the skin or if the scent is unpleasant, I usually don't go past the first use. In addition to these cleansers, I'm currently testing a few others, I think by the end of the month I'll be able to have a good idea of how they all work and I'll have a roundup post on what worked and what didn't.

Back to the Sephora Favorites Great Cleanse set. Sephora has created a set that has a variety of cleansers to try. They've split the items into categories like Remove Makeup, Cleanse Skin and Cleanse and Treat. Some overlap with each other. I'll list the sizes of each item and my initial thoughts. If you have tried any of these I'd love to hear about your testing experience as well. There are a couple that I know I don't like - if you love them tell me what you loved so I can figure out what it is that I'm doing wrong. For reference Sephora.com has the ingredients listed for each item in their set in the set product listing.



  1. Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water 3.38 oz is a long-time favorite. It's gentle but effective at removing face makeup without stripping the skin. I love the soft scent and soothing feel that leaves my skin refreshed and soft. It won't remove waterproof eye makeup but for the face and lips it's reached holy grail status for me.
  2. Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil 1.7 oz is new to me but has been on my list to try for ages. I was thrilled to see a mini in this set. I found it went on the skin smoothly and emulsified nicely. It removed all traces of makeup (although I did remove eye makeup with a cotton pad and eye makeup remover first because I don't like oil getting in my eyes). It left the skin feeling residue-free without stripping.
  3. Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Nourishing Cleansing Oil 0.5 oz is another one I was really excited to try. I have almost bought the full size on numerous occasions because of all the raves. After trying this one I am glad that I did not. This one didn't work for me. Several customer reviews indicated this one just sat on the skin and didn't emulsify. This was what I experienced. I applied it on dry skin and then tried to rinse off with warm water. The oil just thickened and my face was covered with a thick paste of foundation, powder and oil and just sat there. I had to use cleansing water and a second cleanser to remove everything.
  4. Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser 1.5 fl oz is a long-time favorite. It cleans the skin really well and has a lightweight feel. (A more detailed review here).
  5. Origins Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash 1 oz is a foaming cleanser. It has a super lightweight texture and foams up really nicely. It smells minty like toothpaste which I wasn't a huge fan of. I found it a bit too strong for my skin, it left my face feeling super clean but there was a tight almost dry feeling afterwards. It didn't make my skin peel, but I suspect for right now with the dry winter weather this will be too strong. If you have oily skin and need something that does a super cleanse, this one is worth looking into. I'll be putting this to the test a few more times before deciding for sure, but the scent alone is making me not love this.
  6. Glamglow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment 0.5 oz is one of the newest masks from Glamglow. I tried a sample packet before and it left my face feeling a bit irritated. It didn't burn, it just felt like there were tiny areas of slight irritation around my face after use. I gave it another try twice (the small tube will last about two, maybe three uses if you use it sparingly). This time there was no irritation, but I found it didn't really do much for my skin. I prefer the Youthmud and Supermud to this one.
  7. Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover 1.69 oz is a dual-phase eye makeup remover. It is very gentle and does remove regular eye makeup, but I found that it wasn't really effective with waterproof or long-wearing cream shadows and mascara. For example it didn't take off the NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks, By Terry Ombre Blackstar or Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof with two swipes of a soaked cotton pad. I'll keep testing this with other brands of makeup.
  8. Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser 1.5 oz is a unique cleanser that turns into an oil when you massage it into the skin. It is on the thicker side and there is a scent to it that smells almost like almonds. If you have super dry skin this might be a good one to try. I found it a bit too moisturizing and rich for me, but it did take off all traces of makeup and left the skin feeling moisturized after rinsing with water.
  9. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser 1.7 oz has been a miss for me in the past. It was a miss again. If you love this please tell me what I'm doing wrong. I find it is a lightweight cleanser in texture but I don't find it effective in cleansing and it leaves a film on my skin.
  10. Philosophy Purity Made Simple 2 oz is another popular cleanser that I always thought was over-hyped. I tried it for the first time and think it works ok, but I will have to test it more to see how I really feel about it. It left the skin clean without stripping, irritating or leaving any film. So far it seems to be a good one but I'll have to test it a few more times.
  11. Boscia Tsubaki Oil-Infused Exfoliating Powder 0.36 oz is water-activated powder cleanser. It foams up nicely and lathers well, but as many others have noted, the packaging makes it quite messy. It comes in a jar with a lid, but unlike Tatcha's Enzyme powders, there is no dispenser or small opening to help control how much powder you pour out. I've tried this with bare hands and also tried pouring this over the Boscia cleansing sponge. Either way, it does take a bit of work and I found that it was hard to get just the right amount and I ended up wasting product because of over pour. That being said, it does clean the skin really well. For right now it's too stripping for morning use (probably because of dry weather) but I do like this in the evening. I've tried this as a single cleanser and it does take off all the makeup.
  12. Boscia Mini Konjac Cleansing Sponge is an interesting item. Dry it is quite stiff, but it softens when you rinse it with warm water. I was worried it would be too rough for my sensitive skin but it really is just the right texture to exfoliate the skin. It's not as harsh or rough as a washcloth but not too soft to feel like your bare hands. The one that comes in the set is small, I'm not sure if the one sold individually is larger but if it is, it's something I would seriously consider purchasing. 


Have you tried any of the Sephora Favorites sets? This is the first one I've tried although I always find them tempting when I see them in stores. The sampler minis are so appealing but I try not to buy unless I think I'm going to try 75% or more of it. I'll have a more detailed review with thoughts on all the cleansers I've been testing recently at the end of the month. For now, I hope you find this introductory post helpful. As always I'd love to hear what you think or if you've tried any of these.

The Sephora Favorites Great Cleanse Set retails for $48. Online and in stores now, it is listed as limited-edition. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders


I've fallen in love with the Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($65 for 60 g/ 2.1 oz) ever since I ordered it back in July. It's a unique water-activated enzyme powder cleanser and exfoliator in one product. This is a great alternative to traditional scrubs which I find can be too harsh for my sensitive skin. The Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powders are designed to be used on skin without makeup. I find it's effective even with makeup on, but prefer to remove makeup at the end of the day with a Cleansing Oil first (favorites here). After I purchased the full size, Tatcha released a Travel Size version ($15 for 10 g/ 0.35 oz) which they kindly sent to me to feature alongside the full size option.

These cleansing powders are really easy to use. Pour a small amount into wet hands and add a tiny bit of water to lather up the product into a creamy foam. Apply on the face and massage like a regular cleanser for about 20 seconds and rinse.


The packaging is designed really well - it has a clever opening on the top with a small push back cap for the product. The small opening at the top prevents you from over pouring powder into your hand and also seals the packaging shut making these ideal for travel. There's no worrying about liquids or creams leaking and the size of both the full size and travel options are compact enough to carry with you in a small bag. One of the things that keeps impressing me with Tatcha is that the packaging design of the travel sizes matches the same quality as the full size.

On the nails, Formula X Wonderous

More packaging details, travel size versus full size shows similar packaging design:


Both have the same cap design with the clever push back cap opening:


I bought the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder version (and love it) but Tatcha has also released two additional options for different skin types. There is the Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder (pink powder) and Deep Rice Enzyme Powder (green powder) - both also available in the Travel/Trial sizes. With any online Tatcha order you have the option of selecting samples, these powders are often in the lineup. These packets have also been featured in several special edition kits they've released.

Tatcha sent samples of the Gentle and Deep versions for me to put to the test. Aside from the color difference, the formulas are all equally gentle but I could definitely feel the difference between each option. The Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder is designed for dry sensitive skins. After using this one, my skin felt noticeably more moisturized. The Deep Rice Enzyme Powder is recommended for oily skin and does make the skin feel more clean. I wish I had discovered this one earlier in the summer when we had really hot humid weather, it would have been perfect when my skin was more oily. After testing each, I still prefer the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder for my combination skin type.



Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ingredients: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain (Papaya Extract), Dextrin, Red Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein,  Phenoxyethanol.


Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder ingredients: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Papain, Dextrin, Red Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cl 73360, Iron Oxides (Cl 77492).


Deep Rice Enzyme Powder ingredients: Talc, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Polyethylene*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran, Papain, Dextrin, Red Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Houttuynia Cordata Extract (Dokudami), Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ultramarines, Iron Oxides (Cl 77492)


I highly recommend these. My personal favorite is the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder option. I use it in a double cleanse method (cleansing oil first, then rice enzyme powder. The powder is a gentle but effective cleanser and helps to improve skin texture for those with sensitive skins. It's suitable for everyday use but I tend to alternate cleansers on a regular basis and use this 2-3 times per week. These work well to clean and gently exfoliate. They are non-irritating and don't dry out the skin either.

The Travel Sized options are perfect to put these to the test before committing to the full size which I find is on the pricey side. The full size is fairly large though and a little goes a long way so it will last you a long time. If you're new to Tatcha you may also want to look into the Ritual Discovery Kit ($59 each) which comes in Normal, Oily, Sensitive and Dry Skintype options. These are really nice starter kits with enough product to give you a two-week trial introduction to the line. Another useful tool is the Tatcha Online Personal Skin Consultation which is a questionnaire designed to help you pick items that suit your skin type.

You can find Tatcha products online at Tatcha.com and Barneys New York, stockists listed here. I  highly recommend ordering from their website. Tatcha takes great care in their packaging and sample offerings, everything is delivered beautifully wrapped.

P.S. Right now there is a promo code for a complimentary deluxe sample of the Tatcha eye cream (valued at $45) with any Tatcha.com purchase - use code EYECREAM at checkout, it expires on 10/31.

Tatcha sent the mini powder and sample packets courtesy for review. The full size purchased by me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dior Beauty Favorites + A Few New Discoveries


Several new readers have e-mailed telling me they have just started to explore higher end cosmetics asking for advice on where to start building their makeup wardrobe and what I recommend for them to buy. Many are open to trying new brands and products but often prefer recommendations from one single brand to simplify their makeup routine. I personally like to mix it up with different brands each day depending on mood but for those who want to stick with one single brand, Dior is one of a few lines I've tried that I would feel comfortable using exclusively for everything from foundation, skincare, makeup and tools. I've partnered with Nordstrom to share some of my Dior Beauty favorites with you today.

I've been using Dior beauty since my college days (early 2000's). Over the years they've revamped almost all formulas for every product. I always panic anytime I hear "reformulate" thinking why change something when it's already really good? Dior has revamped their products for better though. Their nail polish keeps getting better, the Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer is the latest and it has a lush glossy look with rich pigment that applies flawlessly. Their Addict Lip Gloss is a classic favorite for a super glossy natural tint. It comes in a diverse range of colors from pales, brights and darker shades.



A few of my favorites which I highly recommend for anyone whether you're getting into Dior or higher end lines include:
Dior's Purifying Foam Cleanser is one of my top cleanser picks out of all that I've tried. I've repurchased this countless times. There are several different formulas of Dior cleanser, the Purifying Foam is for Normal/Combination skin. It is really effective at cleansing the skin but is still gentle. My husband loves it as well. It foams up nicely and leaves the skin feeling really clean without making it tight or leaving a film.


Diorskin Airflash Skin Foundation is one of the longest wearing foundations I've tried. There is a learning curve for application though. The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray. Hold it about 5-6 inches away from your face and close the eyes before you spray. You have to make sure your face is completely relaxed or else it will apply unevenly and miss spots. I spray in a Z motion twice from top to bottom. I don't always get a flawless application with the spray but it is easily fixable with a brush or sponge. I set with a sheer loose powder and it stays put all day. If you find yourself getting oily or shiny from this, you've probably applied too much. It is long-wearing and has fuller coverage, so to take it off, I recommend you use either a Cleansing Water or Cleansing Oil combined with your regular facial cleanser.


Dior has a good range of gloss options. The Addict Glosses are sheer, shimmery and add the perfect tint to the lips. My favorites are Nuit Boreale (a pale iridescent pink with some blue and green shimmer), Bed of Roses (a soft pink rose) and Diablotine a sheer but bright coral. If you're one that likes more pigment, the new Dior Addict Fluid Stick is incredible. They have super rich pigment and they glide onto the lips really nicely. Blend it and the color melds with your lip flawlessly. It's a hybrid lipstick and gloss so it has that lush gloss look but pigment of a lipstick and stays put relatively long.



For nails, Dior has always been a favorite. The formula has been revamped several times over the year and it just keeps getting better. There are a lot of limited-edition shades released each season. They often don't do repeats of the trendy shades although sometimes they will release something similar at a later date. I've been a collector for years and have amassed a sizable collection. If you're just starting to get into higher end nail polishes, Dior is a great option. I am one who really believes there is a difference in formula. The ones by Dior glide on seamlessly. The pigment and coverage is phenomenal these days. The brush is chiseled at the tip for easy two-swipe application. The colors are rich and range from classic to neutral to trendy. I love the Gel Top Coat over other Dior Polishes. I can get up to 7 days of wear without any tip wear or chipping. If you're looking to start with color, my top three can't-go-wrong picks are Incognito for an everyday classic neutral, Wonderland for a brightening pink and Nuit 1947 for a classic vamp with a jelly finish.


Painting on Nuit 1947 with the Gel Top Coat




The Diorshow Brow Styler is something I discovered mid-July. One of my favorite Dior artists recommended this for me. I was skeptical since the Brow Styler only comes in one shade in the US in Universal Brown 001. It's a light taupe brown that actually works for my lighter brows and dark black brown hair. Often times an exact match to my hair makes my brows look too intense and sharp. I like to opt for a color that is lighter but doesn't contain any red or isn't too ashy. The Universal Brown appears to be really universal from what I've seen.



above, wearing Nuit 1947


For lashes, my go-to lash primer is the Diorshow Maximizer Lash Pluming Serum. It's a white base you apply to your lashes as a primer. It helps add volume to the lashes and makes them look thicker without clumping. The trick to this one is to not let it dry completely before adding mascara. You can still add it, but applying your mascara while this is still a bit wet helps the product glide on better. The mascara will adhere to the primer and if it's completely dry, I find it tugs a little. You don't need to rush application, but I wouldn't wait a long time.

For mascaras, I've tried almost every Dior mascara made. They have the best mini samples each time a new one is released. I've developed a couple really good relationships with Dior reps at my Nordstroms so they always call me when they have samples. My favorite is the regular Diorshow for the plush bristles and rich color (and it doesn't flake or smudge). Nordstrom sent me one of the new ones for review which is the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. It has a curved comb which helps get all the lashes in a few strokes, no need to angle it in weird ways. It's supposed to help curl lashes. For my super straight lashes I always need a lash curler, but I find this one does keep the curl well. After testing it, I found it doesn't flake or smudge. I did need to wipe off the brush with the first application (I use a piece of paper to wipe off excess) but I usually need to do that with most mascaras.

above, wearing Wonderland

For eyeshadow, Dior has so many options. Their 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette also keeps getting a makeover in formula, color options and packaging. They've retained the same navy rectangular compact but the newer ones keep getting sleeker in design. Nordstrom sent Bar 056 (one of the five new fall options) for review. I normally cannot wear greys on the eyes as they turn out to be too cool-toned. Bar offers a lovely classic subtle palette of greys I can actually wear without looking washed out. If you're looking for an everyday neutral, Rosy Tan 754 is hands down one of my favorites. I jus opened my backup a few months ago after going through one entire palette.



For those new to Dior or new to higher end lines, I hope you found this helpful as an introduction to Dior Beauty. There is a lot to explore within each product family for eyes, lips, cheeks, nails, tools, lashes etc. Even though I like to mix up brands in my daily beauty routine, I find Dior is one of the few that can really be a one-stop shop. I've fallen in love with their lipsticks, blushes and bronzers (although many are limited-edition ones). If you click on the Dior tag at the bottom you'll see more Dior reviews I've featured over the years. If you're a Dior fan, I'd love to hear what your favorites are. I'm always up for discovering new things.

Shop my favorites from Nordstrom:



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. The Dior Bar Quint and Iconic Overcurl Mascara were provided for review. All other items purchased by me. For more information, please refer to my Disclosures page.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cleansing Oil Testing | Tatcha, MAC, Shu Uemura, Josie Maran, Chanel and Dior


I've used cleansing oils for years but just recently started using them on a regular basis. I have been really impressed with the long-wear formulas brands have been releasing in foundation, powder, blush and concealer. Who doesn't want their makeup to last all day without touching up or fading? For me, the long-wear factor has had one downside: it doesn't come all the way off with a regular cleanser and leads to clogged pores and breakouts. Using stronger cleansers tend to irritate my skin.

I have my local Chanel artists to thank for recommending that I add a cleansing oil to my daily skincare routine. I did quite a bit of research, pulled out some samples, looked for online promo codes for minis with purchases and bought a few small trial/travel sized oils to do some extensive testing.

This year I've explored more in skincare than I have previous years and have found it's all a slow learning process for me. I am not an expert with skincare ingredients - I know many of you are passionate about skincare and know much more than I do about specific ingredients, formulas and what to avoid. I rely on the product specialists I talk to with various brands, online reviews and personal testing to determine what works for me. As always, I share what I've experienced personally - due to different skin types, your mileage may vary.


You might be wondering if you really need a cleansing oil. If you wear long-wear makeup like me and find yourself with small areas of clogged pores, I will say yes. To see how effective your current cleanser is, take a cotton pad soaked with cleansing water or a wipe and swipe your face after your normal process. You might be shocked to see remnants of product transfer to the cotton after you wipe your face down which means you didn't clean it enough. I've found Cleansing Oils and Cleansing Waters help break down long-wearing makeup for cleaner skin. I've found the best way to use these is to apply them to a dry face with dry hands and massage all over. Rinse with warm water to activate the foaming quality and emulsify to cleanse the skin. Some are designed to cleanse the skin fully and claim to have no film leftover so you don't need to double cleanse. I still prefer to use the two step method of a Cleansing Oil + Foaming Cleanser.

I've put 9 different cleansing oils to the test with various minis, samples and travel-sized options. I wish more brands would offer sampler/trial sets for skincare. I would be more likely to try new products and brands if sampler sizes were offered.

I've tested each oil for a minimum of 6 uses each over the past few months. With all of these, the best way to use them is to apply to a dry face with dry hands right on top of the makeup and massage it in circular motions all over the face.
  • Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil ($12 for 1.9 oz) I purchased the small travel size online based on the 4.2 out of 5 star rating on Sephora. I found this one to be my least favorite of all the oils even though I had high hopes. It has a very thick texture that feels goopy on the skin. It does a very effective job at cleaning and removing makeup, but I couldn't get past the texture. The scent is also too sweet for my taste and the flip open cap of the mini leaked product all over the place. It also made my skin feel a bit too tight after application.
  • Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($12 for .08 fl oz or $48 for 5.1 fl oz) I was really pleased to find out large the trial size was after ordering it online from the Travel Sized beauty category. I was also happy to see the small version come with a good pump and also with good packaging. Sometimes minis are cased in cheap containers but the Tatcha is very well designed. This turned out to be one of my favorites. It has a medium-thin texture which applies well to the face. Massaging the product emulsifies on the skin. It cleanses well with water and gave the skin a moisturizing feel without any residue feeling. It has the signature Tatcha Camellia scent which is soothing and gentle.
  • MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) has been a long-time favorite of mine. I like to keep the mini bottle and refill it for travel although it comes in the mini size. The $10 price seemed very affordable for a trial (when I first tried it many years ago). This is the best one for removing all trace of waterproof eye makeup without stinging the eyes.
  • MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil ($10 for 1 fl oz) was a purchase I made after reading so many rave reviews, I liked the texture and soft scent, but found it less effective compared to the regular version. If you have super sensitive skin or want something more gentle this is a good option for you.
  • Chanel Le Blanc Immediate Brightening Oil-Gel Makeup Remover (mini sample shown, $60 for 5 oz) is something that has been used on my at several Chanel events. It's a clear gel that turns into an oil as you work it into the skin. It's lightly scented which might bother some of you, but it is extremely effective. It's the only one that will remove all traces of mascara and eyeliner. The upside of the gel texture is that it's slightly thick so it doesn't run into the eyes if you work it on the eye area. Even though it's thicker, it's not goopy and is very emollient once massaged but not greasy. This is the most unique formula I've tried.
  • Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Oil (green sample gwp shown, $37-$77 for full size) has had so many raves online. It cleansed well and I found it emulsified nicely too. I couldn't get over the scent. It smells like green tea with an emphasis on the herbal side. I liked that it left no residue on the skin but it left my skin feeling a bit tight.
  • Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil (brown sample gwp shown, $42-$90 for full size) is most like a traditional cleansing oil. It reminds me of the older versions Shu Uemura used to have. It's gentle yet very efficient leaving skin feeling clean.
  • Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Cleansing Oil (blue sample gwp shown, $38-$81 for full size) is a brightening oil, this one has the best scent out of all the ones I've tried, it's a refreshing clean scent, kinda like dryer sheets, but not quite as sharp. This one emulsified really well and is more gentle compared to the Ultime8.
  • Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil (mini gwp shown, $36 for 6.7 fl oz) is one I had high hopes for. So many have raved about this one too. I did not like this one. It has a slightly sticky feel making it a bit hard to massage over the face. It didn't tug or pull, but didn't emulsify quite as well as the other more fluid options. After cleansing with water the skin felt sticky.
Here are how the minis size up next to each other and compare in packaging design, some of these were samples, some purchased. The packaging of the full size versions are usually better in quality and typically come with a pump.

Samples I purchased below: Tatcha, Josie Maran, MAC. Online samples with codes: Shu Uemura. Samples at the counter: Dior and Chanel.


To summarize my thoughts:
Best at removing all traces of makeup 
Tatcha One-Step, Chanel Le Blanc Oil Gel and MAC Cleanse Off Oil

Most gentle 
 Shu Uemura Whitefficient and MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off
Most moisturizing 
Tatcha and Ultime8
Best scent 
Tatcha and Shu Uemura Whitefficient

Top picks
1) MAC Cleanse-Off Oil
2) Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
3) Shu Uemura Whitefficient

I hope you found this roundup helpful. I've found that adding a cleansing oil to my routine has helped clean my skin better and has significantly decreased the amount of clogged pores and tiny bumps on the face. Do note that your mileage may vary depending on your skin type. I have normal but sensitive skin. If you are oily or dry you might find different oils work better for you.

What are your experiences with cleansing oils? Do you have any favorites or stories you'd like to share on what worked for you or what didn't work out so well? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clarisonic Aria - The Beauty Look Book 6 Week Update


I've been using the Clarisonic Aria for about 6 weeks now (first thoughts at 3 week mark here) and I am happy to report that it really works. In six weeks time with regular use my skin has visibly improved. I've been using it every other day one time per day in the evenings although these are designed with brushes gentle enough for 2x per day usage. Improvements I've seen:
  • Deep recurring pimples along the temple area and chin have disappeared
  • Acne scars have started to fade (they are still visible but I'm hopeful with the results so far)
  • Overall skin texture has improved, with smoother skin
  • Tiny bumps along the face that aren't acne, red or pimples, but those small bumps that are clogged pores have started to disappear
I've tested with a variety of different cleansers. The Clarisonic cleanser minis I've tested proved to be too strong for my skin. After several days of consecutive use I started to develop tiny allergic bumps all over the face. I immediately stopped use and switched back to my go-to's SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser and Dior Purifying Foam Cleanser (the Dior is the only one my husband likes).


After evaluating all the different Clarisonic options (comparison chart) and using the Aria for several weeks I'm really happy with my decision. There are three speeds with the Aria. I started with the slowest speed but have been alternating between the default speed 2 and slower speed 1 (you can control the speed with the arrow buttons). I alternate depending on how sensitive my skin feels. There is a battery indicator that changes color to let you know when you need to recharge. I just recharged at the end of the 5 week mark (the light was red).

I like that it's super easy to use, just wet the brush with warm water, apply cleanser straight to the brush and then start using it on the face.




I'm really thrilled with the way this has cleared up my skin. Last week though I made the big mistake of working out a couple times without taking my makeup off before hand so I have several break outs on spots that are healing. The skin isn't broken so I can still use my Clarisonic without having it tear the skin or aggravate sensitive/tender areas. I've still been using the Sensitive Brush that this comes with and find it gentle enough for my sensitive skin. You can definitely feel the bristles though and while they are soft, they aren't super soft. I suspect those with super sensitive skin will need a softer brush. My husband has tested the Clarisonic and really likes it. In a couple weeks I'm going to try a different brush. Based on recommendations from my original post, I want to try either the Deep Pore Brush Heads or Luxury Brush Heads.


Some overall thoughts based on my experience:
  • Even though this is a cleansing tool, you do need to start with makeup-free skin, if you use this with makeup on, you'll get the brush dirty and it will be spreading your makeup around, start your routine by either removing makeup with a Cleansing Water (I like Caudalie or Koh Gen Do) or Cleansing Oil (I like MAC or Tatcha)
  • As with any skincare routine, if you have sensitive skin you shouldn't do anything drastic, for this tool I was super nervous about how it would work with my skin, I eased into it by using it only a few times first and then increased usage according to my comfort level, I also started using it with my go-to cleansers
  • It will take time to see a difference, for the first 2 weeks I felt an improvement in texture but didn't see any visible results, by Week 3 and now Week 6, I've seen a visible improvement, but depending on your skin conditions, it might take longer
  • Don't use this on broken, raw or tender skin areas, I like that you can spot clean if you have specific areas you want to avoid
I purchased mine from Nordstrom for $199 (now in a new Radiance Brightening Solutions Set for $249). Also at Sephora, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Net-a-Porter and Selfridges.

I'll mark my calendar for a 3 month update. Have you tried Clarisonic? Which ones? Do you have any favorite brush heads or cleansers?
 
 

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