Showing posts with label Skincare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skincare. Show all posts

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. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders


I first discovered Ole Henriksen products at the beginning of the year with a few sampler sets and have since fallen in love with several of the products from the line. I've found Ole Henriksen serums and moisturizers to be gentle for my sensitive skin but strong enough to make a visible difference in overall texture and brightness of my complexion. I've been a huge fan of the Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation moisturizer so when Ole Henriksen invited me to experience their 3 Little Wonders Set with a 7 day trial pack I happily said yes. The 3 Little Wonders is a trio of easy to use skincare products for morning and night. It includes the Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Sheer Transformation Moisturizer and Invigorating Night Treatment. Today I'm sharing the results of my 7 day experience.



One of the things I like best about the 3 Little Wonders is that it is really simple to use. You basically have two items to layer in the morning, and two at night:
  • AM: After cleansing, apply Truth Serum, leave to absorb and then apply Sheer Transformation Renewing Crème on top. The serum provides a protective layer on the skin and helps to draw in the moisture from the cream. The two layered together leave the face feeling well moisturized which is perfect for this winter weather.
  • PM: After cleansing apply Invigorating Night Treatment, leave to absorb and then apply Sheer Transformation Renewing Crème on top for added moisture. The Night Treatment is a skin re-texturizing product that helps improve skin texture overnight.
There are seven packet sets, each which have four individual packets of product. There is quite a bit to sample, often times I felt I could stretch one packet into 2 uses.


The Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster is a brightening serum that smooths out lines and helps seal in moisture when used in conjunction with a cream moisturizer. Many people think they can just use a serum alone for morning. You definitely can do the one-step serum routine if you're not a makeup wearer, but many serums have a thin gel-like texture which doesn't work well against foundation or powders so I find it essential to add a lotion or cream on top. The Truth Serum has a slight citrus scent with a gel texture. The scent fades after a few minutes. I recommend working this into the skin quickly in sweeping motions so it applies evenly and absorbs into the skin. (Ingredients listed here.)


The Sheer Transformation cream is an oil-free moisturizer. It has a very smooth texture that absorbs nicely into the skin. It's been really good for my dry skin with the dry weather even though it has a super lightweight texture. It has a cream finish that absorbs quickly into the skin. I like that it's a simple no-fuss kind of moisturizer. There's no detectable scent, it's not heavy, and it truly feels weightless after you apply it. It's designed to even out texture and tone skin while protecting it from environmental toxins. I find it lasts nicely all day without making my skin feel greasy by afternoon (Ingredients listed here.)


The Invigorating Night Treatment is new to me. It's a gel formula that you apply all over the face before you go to bed. I was a bit nervous about trying this one because it's a resurfacing treatment and my skin is super sensitive. The first two nights I used this, I felt a tingling sensation and a tightening effect. The tingling did disappear after 10 minutes. It has a slightly sticky texture so blending quickly is key. A little bit goes a long way so you only need a tiny bit. I tried this alone and also with the Sheer Transformation layered on top like it was suggested. I found that it really helped as a resurfacing treatment. This year I've had repeated issues with acne on the chin and have some scars. After seven days of using this, the texture of my chin area has improved tremendously. It's like getting a very gentle peel each night. My skin hasn't cleared up to perfection, but it has improved significantly since I started using this. This has been a game changer for my complexion. (Ingredients listed here.)


A snapshot of my bare face in the morning with the serum + moisturizer below. If you look closely, you can see some scars on the temple, forehead and chin area right below the corners of my mouth. A good foundation and concealer works magic to conceal the dark spots, but I've been working on my skin for quite some time. The three items in the Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders has really done wonders for my skin. Overall texture has improved with the use of the three items consistently.


I'm really pleased with the results. The morning and night routine is very easy to use. If you're like me and like skincare that is simple and quick, the 3 Little Wonders can be incorporated into your daily skincare routine very easily. I like that the products are gentle but effective. I do like special treatments in moderation so I think for me the night treatment can be used every other night instead of nightly or as a treatment for problem areas rather than the whole face. It is gentle on my super sensitive skin.

Here is what the 3 Little Wonders Set looks like, there is also trial-sized Mini 3 Little Wonders set available as well:

Right now, Ole Henriksen is hosting a sweeps for US residents. You can enter by posting a selfie to Instagram and tag it with @ole_henriksen and #3LWSweeps for a chance to win a year's supply of 3 Little Wonders full size product. Sweeps entries will be collected through December 30th and announced shortly after (more details here). Or you can upload your selfie directly through Ole Henriksen 3LW Sweeps here to enter.

Have you tried Ole Henriksen products or the 3 Little Wonders? What are your favorite items?

Many thanks to Ole Henriksen for sponsoring this post. For more information you can refer to my Disclosures.

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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tatcha Travel Kit


It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Tatcha skincare. It all started with the discovery of their Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm earlier this year and since then I've been hooked. I've ordered many items from Tatcha over the past few months and have been incredibly impressed with their service. If you've ordered from Tatcha's website you know first hand how much they value their customers. They pay extra attention to all the little details which makes opening your package a truly beautiful experience. All Tatcha products are packaged in exquisite boxes and the packages that come in the mail themselves are packed with extra care along with beautiful personalized hand-written notes. If you're new to Tatcha and unsure of where to start their Travel Kit ($125) is a perfect introduction to the line. In addition they have a number of individual Travel/Trial Sized items for purchase which are budget-friendly but have enough product to give their skincare a serious test-drive before committing to any of the full-sized versions.


The Travel Kit comes in a TSA friendly zip pouch with a clear front. It's big enough to hold travel essentials (the pouch itself measures about 8.7 x 9.4 in). Inside the kit:

  • LUMINOUS Deep Hydration Lifting Mask – 20ml | 0.68oz (mini review)
  • LUMINOUS Dewy Skin Mist – 40ml | 1.35oz
  • LUMINOUS Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask – 5ml | .16 fl. oz.
  • INDIGO Soothing Silk Hand Cream Travel Size – 10ml | .34 fl. oz. (review, also here)
  • PETAL FRESH Original Aburatorigami – 30 sheets (review)
  • GOLD Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm – 8ml | .28 fl. oz. (review)



I've tested all the items in the kit before although I haven't reviewed the Dewy Skin Mist or Deep Hydration Eye Mask. Both are very good for dry skin or if your face needs an extra boost of moisture. With the past month of hot and humid weather, I've skipped both from my weekly routine and opted for using just the Deep Hydration Lifting Mask once a week for my facial moisture boost needs. I have used the Deep Hydration Eye Mask during dry/cooler weather, it really helps to soothe the eye area when I get irritation and puffiness from weather changes.

A peek at my travel bag contents from a few weeks ago:
Highlighter: Edward Bess Sunlight
Tumi Villa Tote (old style/color, similar white version here)


All the items are available for purchase individually, but the set does give you a slight price break. Purchasing all the items individually would cost around $151 (not including the pouch). I love that the pouch helps keep everything flat and compact. There is enough room to add a few more items in addition to what comes in the kit which is nice. Definitely a huge thumbs up from me. You can find the Travel Kit for $125 on Tatcha.com (all items available for individual purchase as well).


Do you have any favorites from Tatcha?

Many thanks to Tatcha for sending the Travel Kit for review consideration.


Monday, September 15, 2014

L'Occitane Divine Youth Oil


L'Occitane's latest skincare addition to the Divine Collection in skincare is their new Divine Youth Oil ($96 for 30 ml/1 fl oz, made in France). It's an extension of their Anti-Aging line all of which contains a unique blend of natural ingredients that help the skin's regeneration process and give it a radiant glow. I was lucky to get an early preview of L'Occitane's fall releases back in August and received a sample of the Divine Youth Oil to try. I've been testing this oil for almost one full month and have been really happy with the results.

L'Occitane fall preview (more on the Bonne Mere soon)


The new Divine Youth Oil is a lightweight face oil that I've found to be really lovely for sensitive skin. It's a moisturizing oil that absorbs quickly into the skin that doesn't feel heavy or greasy. The Divine Youth Oil is made with 100% natural oils. According to L'Occitane, it contains the "anti-ageing properties of immortelle essential oil from Corsica, soothing and regenerating properties of the borage, evening primrose, camelina, echium, sea buckthorn, apricot and rose hip oils." All of these ingredients combined have been formulated to give the skin a smoother and more radiant look. The oil comes in one size right now, packaged in a glass bottle with a push pump at the top to dispense product through a dropper. The oil is a very light weight fluid where a little goes a long way. I only need one small drop to cover the entire face.


When it comes to testing beauty oils on my face I usually proceed with extreme caution. I've found several that have a luxuriously moisturizing feel that does wonders for the skin, but many have an extremely strong herbal scent which I have not been able to tolerate. L'Occitane's body products have been a go-to for me since many of their items are extremely gentle for sensitive skin (and noses) so I had high hopes for the oil and was relieved to find that the Divine Youth Oil has a very pleasant and gentle scent. The oil has a light soothing floral smell that did not irritate my sensitive nose. For those sensitive to florals, this one is not a super strong floral, it has warm notes that smell like honey to me.


The Divine Youth Oil can be used for both day or night, but it's recommended mainly to be used at night when the skin is least exposed to environmental toxins and stresses so the skin can absorb it better. My skin had recently gone through another break-out episode for the past few months (from foundation testing) so I stopped all of my night time treatments to let the skin breathe and take a break from everything. The breakouts increased sensitivity to everything and I stopped using moisturizers at night because they would sting my skin. There were several days (and weekends) where I skipped makeup and moisturizer entirely during the day. I started to get dry patches but didn't want to use anything that might irritate my skin further or clog pores. I was very nervous about trying this oil even after some of the spots had healed, but given my luck with the other items from their line combined with the reviews on the oil from the UK website about the regenerative properties, I decided to try this in spots before applying to the entire face and I've found it to be perfect for my sensitive skin.


For the past month I've been using this at night 2 to 3 times per week and my skin has improved tremendously. A little drop goes a long way and I like the way it absorbs quickly into the skin. It hydrates the skin without feeling heavy or greasy but you do need to make sure you use only a tiny bit. It leaves the skin glowing and healthy looking. If you're a fan of beauty oils and use them regularly you can definitely use this during the day. I prefer to use a cream or a gel moisturizer for day since I find oils to be a bit too heavy and rich for my normal-combination skin. I really liked how it helped restore my skin.

Some close ups of the bottle and packaging, the cap has a push pump to draw and dispense the oil:



Ingredients:




The oil is bottom line another winner from L'Occitane. A little goes a very long way and absorbs into the skin quickly so the bottle will last a long time. The Divine Youth Oil launched in the US last week  online and in stores and retails at $96 for 1 fl oz.

Right now, L'Occitane has a special offer where you can register to receive a deluxe sample mini of the Divine Oil by registering here (valid through October 1st or while supplies last). I highly recommend you make a visit to your nearest L'Occitane store soon to test this in person.


Have you tried the new Divine Youth Oil? If not, do you have any L'Occitane favorites? Their Shea Butter Extra Gentle Body Lotion and Hand Creams are at the top of my list for go-to hand and body products. When my friends have baby showers, I usually bring something extra for the mom-to-be and the items are usually from L'Occitane (the Mom & Baby line is usually a big hit). The hand creams are always great add-ons during holidays and special occasions too.

For more on L'Occitane, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter @Loccitane and Instagram @Loccitane (for more reviews and features search using #DivineYouthOil). 

Many thanks to L'Occitane for sponsoring this post. More information on my Disclosures page.

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.



Ingredients:


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.



Ingredients:


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 Firstaidbeauty.com. 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.

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? 

 

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