Showing posts with label Face Mask. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Face Mask. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2015

Korean Beauty + Sephora

Korean Skincare is something that I've been interested in for a long time but found very complex and somewhat challenging for me to understand with the numerous steps and options. My friends have been raving about skincare items such as essences, pore packs, watery creams, overnight masks and sheer coverage balms and creams for a long time. Right now, Korean Skincare is trending now at Sephora and thanks to articles and shopping guides, they've now made the 10-step Korean Beauty routine easier to understand. As a beauty blogger I find it easy to navigate through cosmetic options, but for skincare, understanding the uses and benefits of creams, solid oils and masks are foreign to me. Sephora has an easy-to-follow Korean Beauty Guide with recommendations that I've found incredibly helpful. It's helped me figure out when and how to incorporate new items into my skincare routine. I've teamed up with them to share my thoughts on 10 Korean skincare items I've been testing.

I've split the items I've tested into category type. As always I would love to hear about your recommendations and loves. I purchased the Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Oil Free Essentials Set based on your recs and have been really loving it so far (review to follow once I've used it up).

Double Cleansing is a something standard in Korean beauty rituals. I usually double cleanse with a wide variety of cleansing oils, makeup removers or cleansing waters as the first step before using a traditional gel, liquid or cream cleanser because it is really the best way to remove all traces of makeup from my skin. I tried the Erborian Solid Cleansing Oil ($39) which is a solid balm cleanser that transforms into a oil when it comes in contact with your face. It comes with a small spatula to remove product. You massage it all over the face and then rinse with water and it turns into a milky lotion. It has a fresh almost green tea spa scent but isn't too strong. It does a pretty good job at removing makeup but I still think a follow up with regular cleanser is necessary. This leaves the skin feeling moisturized and clean. There's no film residue.

Another cleanser I tested was the Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Soap Facial Cleanser ($20). This is a whipped egg white mousse cleaner with egg yolk extract. It's a super gentle cleaner and the way it foams up makes it super fun to clean the face. The egg yolk combines milk proteins and amino acids to cleanse skin. It's supposed to dissolve oil while leaving the skin smooth and moisturized. I found it to be a really good gentle cleaner suitable for my sensitive skin. I like using it in the morning - it leaves the skin clean without stripping the skin and it also makes the face glow without looking greasy. I've found the way it cleanses my skin is really nice - skin feels more balanced throughout the day.

Next up is the May Coop Raw Sauce ($14-$43) which is an essence. This is similar in concept to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. You use this on the skin applied with fingers or a cotton pad after cleansing and toning. I always feel this is an unnecessary step in the skincare routine but I am really impressed every time I am disciplined enough to use an essence. It adds moisture and glow to the skin and is supposed to prep the face better for skincare serum and moisturizer absorption. This is made of maple tree sap and cruelty-free. After testing this for a few weeks I have to say I am impressed. This far exceeded my expectations in terms of how it has transformed my skin. I don't use it everyday but it's made the skin feel more hydrated. Dry patches have disappeared. Skin does indeed absorb moisturizer better. A little goes a long way. I think it will be a staple for winter.

Another line I just started testing is belif. The True Cream Aqua Bomb ($22 - $38)is a lightweight gel cream moisturizer that is oil-free. It has a bounce to it. In general I really do not like gel moisturizers (I have made a few exceptions) because I feel they end up feeling sticky and too dewy. The belif True Cream Aqua Bomb has made it into the exception category. It's supposed to be designed for all skin types. For my normal, sensitive combo skin, this is a really nice lightweight moisturizer. I like that it really feels weightless. Skin feels smooth and there is no stinging sensation (I get that with a lot of gels).

Masks are a big deal with Korean Skincare. I tested three. First is the Dr. Jart+  Water-Max Sleeping Mask ($48). I prefer night creams to night masks because I usually don't like the feel of product on my face when I sleep. The Dr. Jart+ however is a super lightweight mask. It is a gel formula but doesn't feel sticky or leave any residue. It feels more like a lightweight lotion. I tested this on 1/2 of my face for a week to see if I could notice a difference between use and non-use. I can. You apply it at night and leave it on then rinse in the morning. The side I used it on looks more refreshed, smoother, plumper and more glowing.

The Erborian Waterlock Mask ($43) is another hydrating mask treatment. This also is a gel formula that feels like a thick jelly. There are a few ways you can use this. I used it as a 10-minute mask then rinsed off. This is one of the most gentle feeling face masks I've used that gives instant hydration. The moisturized feeling lasts after it washes off but there is no residue. It has bamboo sap and fibers designed to lock in hydration. There is a slight cooling feel that is very relaxing and soothing. It's a refreshing moisture mask that I have fallen head over heels in love with.

The third mask I tried was the belif First Aid Transforming Peel Off Mask ($34). This is the first peel off mask I've tried that peels off with water. I really like peel off masks but often time they are messy and don't peel off completely so I end up having to scrub residue off. This one you leave on for 15 minutes. When you rinse with warm water the dry mask turns into a peel off gel that easily peels off. It has lemon balm and white willow bark, which is a natural salicylic acid, which helps to clarify and soothe skin. After using this my pores disappear, skin feels ultra firm and smooth. I'm obsessed.

Pore Packs are new to me but I think if you try one new thing out of this roundup, pore packs should be one of them. Tony Moly Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm ($18) comes in an egg-shaped container. The bottom portion of the egg is filled with product. It's a self-heating balm designed to target blackheads by opening pores with the heat and then remove dirt and oil. I think it's a really good gentle treatment that makes a huge difference in cleaning out pores around the nose and mouth. It's not a dramatic kind of facial treatment. I like to use this sometimes in conjunction with a clarifying mask or regular cleanser after this. The Egg Pore Balm helps open up pores. When I follow with a mask it draws out impurities even more. The heating element is noticeable but super gentle.

The Caolion Pore Pack ($30) is a stronger treatment. If you have sensitive skin you might want to try it on spots first. I used it all over the face and while it was perfectly fine and left my skin looking so much better, it does feel extra tingly. Some might find the tingle too strong. The top half is a dark mask that is the hot portion called Premium Blackhead Steam Pore Pack. This is a stronger version of the Tony Moly and cleans out pores and exfoliates dead skin. It made my nose pores disappear almost 100%. Pores along the cheeks and sides of the nose were noticeably smaller.

Step two is the cool portion which is the Premium Pore Original Pack. It has a menthol element that tightens pores even further and soothes the skin. I have extremely sensitive eyes and the first time I used it, I applied the menthol too close to my eyes which made them tear. It didn't sting but the menthol is pretty strong. You can really feel it working on your skin and I was worried my face would be red and blotchy after I washed it off, but it left the face looking super smooth with all redness gone. If you have extra sensitive skin I would recommend using this more as a spot treatment on troubled areas.

Last but not least are two items called lightweight finishers. I've reviewed the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact ($60) before and still love it. It has SPF 50 and protects against UVA and UVB. This is a very natural glowy product that melds into the skin unlike any other foundation I've tried. A huge bonus is that each pack comes with a refill so the price point to me is really reasonable. It's a your-skin-but-better kind of product. I do think you need to set with a powder.

I also tried the Dr. Jart+ BB Beauty Balm ($39) which comes in two colors, 01 Medium Light and 02 Medium Deep. This is a one-step beauty balm that gives natural coverage and evens out the skin. It's more pigmented than a lot of other beauty balms I've tried. I am a match to 02 Medium Deep which is on the greyish side but adjusts to my skintone right now. I think the downside to this product is the two colors make it hard to find a color match. If you can find a match, it's a nice smoothing product. It makes my face and skin look more youthful without being overly dewy.

I hope you found this roundup helpful! There's a lot I've tested and covered so I hope the categories helped break down the options by product type. My top three favorite items I tested in this round include the Dr. Jart+ Water-Max Sleeping Mask, Tony Moly Egg Pore Blackhead Steamer Balm and Erborian Bamboo Waterlock Mask although I did discover a lot of new things to love.

The Sephora Korean Beauty Guide and Posts on their blog The Glossy have helped me understand all the options better. Once I started to look at each product individually and incorporate them one at a time into my skincare routine it's all started to make more sense. The process of using Korean skincare still contains a number of steps, some of which are more complex than my basic routine right now, but I can see a difference in clarity, texture and overall glow.

Sephora has been kind enough to give me extras of some items to giveaway. You can enter via the widget below. Due to liquid restrictions, this is open to US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. Items in the giveaway to 1 lucky winner will include the following:

Eborian Solid Cleansing Oil, Eborian Bamboo Waterlock Mask, Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask, Dr. Jart+ BB Beauty Balm, Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, May Coop Raw Sauce, Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Soap Cleanser, Tony Moly Egg Pore, Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb, Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo, Shiseido Facial Cotton (selected winner will be able to select the colors for the foundation and bb beauty balm)

Enter via the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find a wide selection of Korean beauty products online and in stores at Sephora. I'm really thrilled with the selection and hope they continue to expand the brand offerings. Right now for a limited time you can get 1 of 4 K-Beauty Minis at checkout with code KBEAUTY with orders of $25 or more. In case you're hesitant to splurge on the full size, there are a number of value sets available with trial sizes you might want to look into.

If you have any Korean Beauty favorites, please let me know!

Many thanks to Sephora for teaming up to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Caudalie Mask Wardrobe: Instant Detox, Purifying, Moisturizing and Glycolic Peel

Caudalie launched four facial masks in their skincare line: Glycolic Peel Mask, Instant Detox Mask, Purifying Mask, Moisturizing Mask ($39 each for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz). Although I'm a huge fan of Caudalie, this is my first experience with their masks and I am thoroughly impressed. There are four masks each designed for different needs - you can mix and match masks to can create your own custom mask treatment. The options allow to to tailor your treatment to each area of the face. For example, if you're looking for skin clarity, your T-zone might need oil absorption while the cheeks might need brightening. In this case you would use the Purifying Mask in the T-zone and Glycolic Peel on the cheek areas. The concept is quite clever and I tried all four of their pairing suggestions (you can find the face charts on the Caudalie website). Here is an overview of the four options:

Each mask retails for $39 each for 75 ml/2.5 fl oz, all Made in France. They come packaged in a beautiful sleek squeeze tube.
  • Glycolic Peel Mask is a non-irritating exfoliant that activates cellular renewal for fresh, bright and even skin. It's recommended use is to leave on for 10 minutes then rinse off, 2x per week. Main ingredients are glycolic acid, papaya and Viniferine (ingredient from grapevine sap for dark spots and radiance, said to be 62 times more effective than Vitamin C).
  • Instant Detox Mask is designed to eliminate impurities and toxins to tighten pores and renew skin texture. Recommended use is 5-10 minutes and rinse, 2x per week. Main ingredients are pink clay, grape marc and coffee.
  • Purifying Mask is a non-drying mask that eliminates impurities and absorbs excess sebum for clarified and even skin. Recommended use is 10 minutes, then rinse off. It contains white clays, sage and zinc.
  • Moisturizing Mask is created to provide intense moisture and relief for dehydrated skin to feel comfortable, supple and soft. This one is recommended to leave on for 15 minutes and remove excess, or as an overnight treatment. Main ingredients are grape oil, Vinolevure, and Hyaluronic Acid.
Below you can see the texture is slightly different for each mask:

My thoughts on each mask after testing them. I do think to see long-term results one needs to put skincare products to the test for an extended period of time, but in the two weeks that I've tested these, I can say that after each use, you can definitely feel a difference in skin texture and overall feel.  I have already seen some improvements in my skin from these. Each mask has a different purpose, texture, consistency and feel, but are gentle on the skin. None of them irritated, dried out or broke out my skin. If you are one who found the Glamglow masks a bit too strong for you, the Caudalie ones are extra gentle but still effective.

Glycolic Peel Mask is a gentle non-irritating exfoliant. This is the most gentle peel mask I've ever tried. I think with many peel masks you can expect some kind of tingling sensation but there was no tingle or burn with this one. This one will show results over time rather than overnight but it is a really good treatment to help remove dead skin from the surface in the gentlest way possible. By comparison, I adore the Ole Henriksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel Mask. It's the only other peel mask that I've liked enough to use multiple times. The Ole Henriksen is a stronger version in a gel form while the Caudalie is creamier and feels more gentle on the skin. My skin does look brighter and the texture is more even. It's very lightly scented, if you're familiar with the Caudalie Cleansing Water, this mask smells like that one. Three main ingredients:

- Viniferine: Diminish the appearance of dark spots and delivers radiance.
- Papaya Enzymes: Provides immediate radiance.
- Glycolic Acid: Delivers non-irritating peeling.

Full list of ingredients: Water, Glycerin*, Isononyl Isononanoate, Sorbitan Stearate*, Glyceryl Stearate Se*, Glycolic Acid, Cetyl Palmitate*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Panthenol, Squalane*, Cetyl Alcohol*, Dimethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Bisabolol*, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60*, Sodium Pca*, Caprylyl Glycol, Arginine, Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract*, Tocopherol*, Carbomer, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Phytate*, Papain*, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Algin. *Plant Origin.

Instant Detox Mask is the strongest treatment of the four. It's like a traditional clay/mud mask that will draw out impurities, oils and tighten pores. This one shows instant results, I found a thin layer dried within 6 minutes (although you can leave it on the skin up to 10). This comes in a pink clay color that will dry and tighten after you apply it. As it dries you can see small dark spots where it's drawing out the oils from your pores. I have never seen a mask shrink and tighten pores like this one does. It's non-irritating and leaves the skin feeling super clean. If you have dry skin you may want to leave this on for a shorter period of time or just use this on spots.

Main ingredients:
- Grape Marc: Detoxifies and drains.
- Pink Clay and Coffee: Purify.
- Papaya Enzymes: Delivers immediate radiance.
- Eight Essential Oils: Nourish skin.

Full ingredient list: Water, Bentonite, Glycerin*, Acacia Senegal Gum*, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Alcohol*, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Sodium Citrate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract*, Coffea Robusta Seed Extract*, Citric Acid*, Papain*, Cupressus Sempervirens Oil*, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil*, Commiphora Myrrha Oil*, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil*, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil*, Petroselinum Crispum (Parsley) Seed Oil*, Carbomer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Algin, Limonene, Linalool. *Plant Origin.

On the nails, Formula X Extraordinary (also swatched here)

Purifying Mask is one of the most gentle purifying masks I've tried. This one comes in a white paste. A little goes a long way and it smells like the Beauty Elixir spray from Caudalie, but is still very gentle in terms of fragrance. It has a similar effect to that of the Instant Detox Mask, but is a gentler version and not quite as potent. I prefer this one to the Instant Detox for right now because my skin is normal/combination, although once the warmer and more humid weather arrives, I think the Instant Detox will be really good. Main ingredients:

- White Clays (Bentonite and Kaolin): Purify.
- Cypress, Sage, and Lavender: Astringents.
- Chamomile Extract: Soothes.
- Zinc: Regulates sebum.

Full ingredient list: Water, Kaolin, Glycerin*, Olus Oil (Vegetable Oil)*, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Glyceryl Stearate*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Bentonite, Cetyl Alcohol*, Ceteth-20 Phosphate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Benzyl Alcohol, Dicetyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil*, Caprylyl Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax*, Dehydroacetic Acid, Cupressus Sempervirens Oil*, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil*, Sodium Hydroxide, Commiphora Myrrha Oil*, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil*, Sodium Phytate*, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil*, Petroselinum Crispum (Parsley) Seed Oil*, Zinc Pca, Silica, Limonene, Linalool. *Plant Origin.

Moisture Mask is a creamy gentle white mask. I usually prefer sheet masks for hydration because I find creamy ones too rich, but this one by Caudalie is really amazing. Reports indicate this is the same formula as the original moisture mask, just in improved packaging. I didn't try the older one so I can't compare, but this works wonders on my forehead (above the T-Zone) and also cheek areas which tend to get dry. It gives the skin a nice boost of hydration and helps calm down areas that are irritated or red. It has a light and clean refreshing scent. Main ingredients:

- Vinolevure: Strengthens and soothes.
- Grape Seed Oil: Nourishes.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Moisturizes.

Full ingredient list: Water, Glycerin*, Isononyl Isononanoate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Sorbitan Stearate*, Peg-100 Stearate*, Glyceryl Stearate*, Ceteth-20*, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane*, Cetyl Alcohol*, Cetyl Palmitate*, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol*, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Sodium Dehydroacetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 60*, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopherol*, Carbomer, Sodium Phytate*, Sodium Hydroxide, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract*, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol. *Plant Origin.


As one who loves masks, I can say that I'm thoroughly impressed with each of these. I had just used the last of my Aesop Parsley Seed Mask which is something I will definitely repurchase, but the Caudalie Masks were released just as I was getting to the end of my Aesop and I decided to try something new and I am glad I did. Normally I wouldn't have splurged on four skincare items without being able to test, smell or see in person first, but given the fact that I've loved every Caudalie skincare and body care items I've tried, I knew there was a good chance that I would really like these.

I purchased mine from Sephora individually but there are also a couple of minis in the Prep for Radiance ($49) and Founder Favorites ($79) sets. There are still a few more days of the Beauty Insider Event so you may want to take advantage of the discount if these interest you.

My top two picks include the Purifying Mask and Glycolic Peel Mask, however the concept of mixing different masks on the face at one time is something I had never tried before. I really like using the Moisture in areas that need that hydration boost while using the Purifying one on the T-zone. The Instant Detox Mask is something I think will be extremely popular, especially for those with oily skin, it's potent but still very gentle on the skin and won't irritate or sting like some other lines will.

You can find each mask individually for $39 at Sephora, Nordstrom and Caudalie. Have you tried these yet? What did you think? If not, what are your favorite masks right now?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Night Time Treatments: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask and La Nuit de Chanel

I'm usually very picky when it comes to night time skincare treatments whether it's for the face, eyes or body. I don't like the heavy feel of product while I sleep. Scent also plays a big part in what I can tolerate for night time treatments as well, if it's too strong I find it interferes with my sleep. I've tested a number of minis and samples and due to the sensitivity of my skin and nose, I stopped using most of them after two uses. Two night time facial treatments I've fallen in love with that work wonders for my sensitive skin include First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Overnight Mask and Chanel's Le Nuit de Chanel.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask ($38 for 1.7 fl oz) is a super hydrating facial treatment that brightens and nourishes the skin overnight. It has a white gel-like texture that feels on the thick side but blends into the skin smoothly. If you feel it being goopy or sticky on the face you've applied too much. It took a few tries for me to get the right amount without overdoing it. It has a wonderful fresh clean skincare-like scent. After using this I wake up with amazing skin like I just had a facial. The morning after my skin glows, looks brighter and feels smoother and looks well hydrated. It's good for my super-sensitive skin. It's gentle enough to use nightly but I've used this 1 to 2x per week for the past month. It's the only thing I've tried that gives me that perfect skin look when I wake up.


Chanel La Nuit de Chanel ($85 for1.7 fl oz) is something I've been using for over a year now. Even after regular use I still haven't used up a full bottle. For those new to this, the La Nuit de Chanel is part of their Resynchronizing Trio. It's a night time treatment designed to recharge the skin. It has frankincense extract to calm the skin and hyaluronic acid and shea butter to moisturize the skin. It works wonders on my face to calm flare ups, fix any dry spots, and helps clear up the skin. It has a white cream texture that blends in well with the skin. This one is scented (it's hard for me to describe) but it smells good and doesn't interfere with my sleep. I use this one almost every night. I like the pump it comes with which makes it super easy to dispense and mess-free.


Do you use any night time facial treatments? Or masks? What are your favorites? I'll be sharing some other hydrating and clarifying mask favorites in the upcoming weeks. You can find First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask in stores and online at Sephora and also at Chanel's La Nuit de Chanel can be found at all Chanel retailers, I purchased mine from Nordstrom.
 photo FirstAidBeautyFacialOvernightRadianceMask_zpsa894b91c.jpg photo LaNuitdeChanel_zpsb232dc40.jpg

First Aid Beauty provided press samples for review consideration. For more information, refer to my Disclosures.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weekend Pampering - The Extras

I've been to spas on a few occasions in the past and each occasion was beyond amazing (four visits to be exact, La Costa Resort and a few Four Seasons locations). However they can be extremely pricey and take up an entire day, so they are a luxury I cannot justify splurging for on a regular basis ($ or time wise). While nothing at home can replicate a resort spa, there are a few simple things I consider to be pampering extras. Bubble baths, luxurious face masks, beautiful candles and moisturizing lotions. It's my simplified version of a DIY spa treatment. Do note I have sensitive skin so I'm careful when it comes to trying shower gels, bath soaks and facial treatments. While I'd like to do this every day, I usually have a pampering night once every other week to once a month. I do try to use the face masks more frequently. My favorites:
  • Moisturizing Face Masks - Koh Gen Do is becoming one of my top picks for skincare. Their Macro Vintage Face Mask ($110 for 6 sheets) is the best I've ever tried. Most face masks did not do anything for my skin. This one by Koh Gen Do (reviewed here) left my skin feeling hydrated and soft like baby's skin. I split my pack of 6 with 3 friends to try, all confirmed that it was beyond amazing.
  • Clarifying Face Masks - Koh Gen Do's Brightening Moisture Mask ($75 for 3.53 oz. / 100g) is equally amazing. It's called a moisturizing mask, but to me it feels more like a clarifying mask. It is a clay mask that contains "6 botanical extracts in the mask will heal your tired skin, helping your skin to calm and reduce inflammation and redness." MAC's Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask was one of my favorite masks for clarifying and removing impurities. I was so sad that it was limited edition. Koh Gen Do's Brightening Face Mask is the closest thing I've found in terms of effect/benefits on my skin (minus the heating element on the skin). I highly recommend you visit their website to learn more. They have helpful diagrams and often have promotions/specials on their website.
  • Bubble Baths - L'Occitane makes some of my favorite bath and body products that are suitable for sensitive skin. I am currently loving the L'Occitane Shea Foaming Cream Bath ($32 for 16.8 fl.oz). The scent is very subtle and soothing. It bubbles up in a way that is very relaxing. It doesn't dry out the skin or leave any residue. There are reviews on their website which I found useful.
  • Shower Oils - I'm new to bath oils and shower oils. I've tried Jo Malone in the past and love them. L'Occitane had a gift with purchase promotion recently (for those who sign up on their mailing list) to launch their new Amande Almond Line. One of the gifts was a mini Shower Oil (see the details on the full size Almond Shower Oil here). It's a softening oil that foams up when combined with water and leaves the skin feeling smooth and moisturized without having that oily feeling. The scent is soft and subtle (but still noticeable). The effect is amazing. I'm not sure I'm 100% in love with the scent although it is extremely soothing and pleasant.
  • Hand Care - Thanks to a few of my readers who recommended I try Lush's Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter ($14.95 for 1.5 oz). I love it. The scent is a highly citrus lemon (smells a bit horrid to me) but it does fade a bit after a while. I use this more as a once a week treatment rather than everyday and it has improved the cuticle area for my hands. (For everyday I rely on L'Occitane Hand Creams they smell great and feel nice). I'm again going to refer you to the company website - I love it when brands and stores have sections with useful customer reviews. Also check out Daly Beauty's recent review (she sums it up perfectly!).
  • Candles - I love almost any scented candle Jo Malone, Diptyque, Henri Bendel, Tommy Bahama make my favorites. Occasionally you can get a free mini candle in gift with purchase events. A simple candle can add that extra oomph to the home or bath to make it feel more soothing.
What are your pampering extras?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Koh Gen Do Macro Vintage Essence Mask

I recently discovered Koh Gen Do at Barneys last month (see my review on the Maifanshi Lipsticks here) and was amazed how many raves and recommendations I received via comments and e-mails about this brand. I have taken note of all your recommendations so I know what to look for on my next trip to Barneys. I was fortunate enough to receive samples of Koh Gen Do's Macro Vintage Series. This line of skincare products have been designed to keep your skin healthy by increasing "elasticity, vitality & moisturization" that one's skin already possesses naturally. Although I am a minimalist when it comes to skincare, given the glowing reviews I've read, I was anxious to investigate further.

I received a sample of the Macro Vintage Essence Mask. This comes packaged in a metallic box with 6 individually packaged face sheets and retail for $110 for the set. Each sheet contains 0.81 fl. oz. / 24ml of product. Those interested in this brand, note that there is a 20% promotion on the Macro Vintage Series on which expires on May 31st. See their website for more details.

Product Description: The face mask comes in a sealed pouch soaked into a thick sheet which you apply directly to the face. The ingredients work to hydrate going deep into the layers of your skin. According to Koh Gen Do, these masks contain plant essence gels:

"The unique ‘Moisturizing Skin Ingredients’ increase immunity, boost regenerating and anti-oxidizing powers by calming the skin and preventing moisture from being lost ...Micronetting created by nano-technology in the gel perfectly resembles the structures of the skin, allowing the moisture molecules to attach and hydrate deeper into the skin."

Product Ingredients:

Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methyl Gluceth-10, Delinoleate, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Acrylated/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Polianthes Tuberosa Polysaccharide, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Lecithin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Glucosyl Hesperidin, PinusPinaster Bark Extract, PVP, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Beta-Glucan, Algae Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Algae Extract, Fullerenes

The mask with cut outs on the sides for easy adjustment to your face size and shape:

Product Application: Recommended usage is 1-2 times per week, but I see myself using this maybe once a month.

  • Fit mask over dry face
  • Leave on for about 10 minutes
  • Remove mask and blend unabsorbed emollient into the skin
  • Apply remaining emollients in packet onto eyelids, neck or décolleté

My Product Thoughts:
I am a huge skeptic when it comes to face-sheet masks. I've tried a few in the past which I found irritated my skin resulting in red splotches or left my skin overly-moisturized. Most I've found did nothing to improve the texture or feeling of my face. Yet, I received so many raves via e-mail about the one from Koh Gen Do I was hopeful for better results.

I applied this after I had cleansed and dried my face with Clinique's Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser. The mask seemed a bit large for my face but there were cut sections on the side which allowed for adjustment. The upside is your face is covered entirely, no spot is missed. The sheet was soaked with a heavy gel making the mask feel like it would fall off but it stayed put the entire 10 minutes I had it on my face. The scent is hard to describe, but I would call it a very light and clean refreshing scent. It covered my entire face and lids.

After ten minutes, I took the sheet off and rinsed my face with water to remove the excess and then gently dried with a towel. The results were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I have normal but sensitive skin that has recently started to look tired due to stress and neglect. (Yes, I'm not the best with my skin.) This mask gave me baby soft skin and left me feeling refreshed and moisturized yet perfectly clean. The gel left no heavy residue or sticky feeling. I've only had 2 spa facials before. This mask made my skin feel just as good as the Four Seasons facials. I see this as being useful for all skintypes. There was still quite a bit of excess product in the package - Koh Gen Do's recommendation is to use this for other parts of the face and neck. I discarded the excess both times I've used this, but I will have to keep that in mind the next time so I don't waste any good product.

This definitely makes the list of beauty-life-changers for me. The recommended usage is once per week. I only intended on using this once per month, but I've already used this mask twice since I received it. Once last week and once this evening. I can see that this might become an expensive habit.

I highly recommend you explore - there is a wealth of information on the brand history, product lines, how-to's for skincare, links to reviews and features from various editors and bloggers - all the goodies one would want to see about a brand, right on the brand website. I have not yet ordered online yet, my experience was at Barneys NY in Beverly Hills, but there seem to be quite a few promotions that are tempting me right now.

Have you tried Koh Gen Do's skincare before? I'd love to hear more thoughts on your experiences with this brand as I am anxious to make another run to Beverly Hills soon, maybe in the next couple months.

This product was provided to The Beauty Look Book without charge for review.

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