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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum


Hourglass Cosmetics launched their first skincare products in January of this year with two items in a line they call Equilibrium. There are two items both are available in limited quantites at the Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store) and Liberty (London, in store).

Equilibrium Day Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($115 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a daytime treatment that is designed to give radiant, supple and healthy-looking skin created from within. From Hourglass:
  • This is designed to complement the evening treatment, and shield skin from the sun with SPF 30. It contains a plant-derived phosphatidylglycerol, which improves skin’s texture and tone. The light, luxurious fluid also contains a blend of four organic chemical compounds providing broad spectrum SPF 30 to shield the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum ($350 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a rebalancing product intended for night time use only. Description per Hourglass:
  • This revolutionary nighttime re-balancing treatment contains a powerful family of ingredients designed to counteract the visible signs of aging - resulting in radiant, healthy-looking skin created from within. The serum is created using an ultrasonication process, producing microscopic oil droplets which deliver the ingredients into the skin at the most optimal level.

Equilibrium at the Abbot Kinney store opening last September, more on the beautiful store here

Hourglass kindly sent me a sample of the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum for review back at the beginning of the year and I've been putting it to the test for 50+ nights. This is a resurfacing and rebalancing night time treatment that comes in a black pump bottle. The bottle is made of Miron violet glass to protect the contents from harmful light. The product description recommends use of the product for 40-56 days (after a full cellular turnover cycle) to see full results. I wanted to give this a thorough test drive in order to provide as detailed a review as possible on using this.


In testing the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum I saw results in two weeks. If you've followed my skincare posts, you know that ver the past year and a half I've had fluctuations with skin issues. I've discovered a number of products that have helped to rebalance the skin and bring it back to it's normal state. Testing skincare is usually touch and go - you have to really test things over a long period of time to see if they end up working as you hoped. The biggest issue I've had with my skin included texture issues all over the face, breakouts on the chin area and scarring. The items I've tried and tested from Ole Henriksen, Tatcha, SK-II and regular go-to's have helped with the texture and breakouts.



The Hourglass Equilibrium Serum has helped keep my skin clear and removed my chin breakouts and has worked remarkably well in fading scars. This is a fluid type of product that is very gentle on the skin and has a moisturizing feel without any detectable scent. It absorbs nicely into the skin so it doesn't feel like there is product that is just sitting on your face that will slide off once your head hits the pillow. It feels very soothing on the skin which is a huge plus for my sensitive face. The results have been incredibly good. My skin has noticeably (and dramatically) improved in texture and clarity. 


There are three other night time treatments that I've used over the past couple of years that I will offer a comparison to.

1) Chanel La Nuit de Chanel is part of the Resynchronizing line. I bought this and used it up entirely. I found consistent use helped keep my skin clear but wasn't strong enough to help with serious scars or texture issues. I used it up and really liked it, I will probably go back to this once my skin returns to it's normal state. If you have normal sensitive skin that needs basic and simple hydration at night, I highly recommend this.

2) The SK-II Skin Refining Treatment is something I used and love. It improved my skin's texture significantly after several months of use. This one is gentle on the face and after using this I noticed better skin texture, clearer complexion and a glow. The Hourglass by comparison exceeds the SK-II in terms of giving you results faster more dramatic improvement in skin. Both are good and over time they will give you a similar result (better complexion and texture), the SK-II will take a bit longer to give you the same results.

3) I've also written about and used the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment (reviewed here). This one also improved my skin's texture and reduced breakouts on the chin area. This one isn't the best for those with sensitive noses because it is fragranced. If you have super delicate skin you find this one tingles too much. I found the scent to be ok, but many have commented they found it too strong.

So out of the four night-time treatments I've tested, my top two picks include the Hourglass and SK-II. I didn't want to fall in love with the Hourglass one due to the hefty price tag but it truly delivers results and performs exceptionally well. My husband has commented on how much my skin has improved after I used this and asked "what are you doing differently?" It's gentle enough for nightly use - in testing this, I would recommend using this almost every night to get the best results (skipping this for 3+ nights resulted in breakouts coming back after testing some other products). I give this a super huge thumbs up.


The Equilibrium line is available at select locations: Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store), Liberty (London, in store). More online at Hourglass Cosmetics. Have you tried any of the Hourglass Equilibrium products? If not, what do you currently use at night?  

The Equilibrium serum was provided courtesy of Hourglass 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?


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Skincare Treats and Splurges


Following this month's theme of "treat yourself," today I'm sharing some of my favorite skincare treats and splurges. I'll highlight some items I view as game-changers based on what I've tested focusing on things I believe are worth the splurge to pamper the skin. For a bit of background on my skin, I have normal but sensitive skin. This winter it leans on the slightly dry side, but still is relatively normal. I'm in my early 30's right now and a year ago, my skin went through some changes with major break outs causing some scars and texture issues. I spent the last year working to streamline my skincare routine and am really thankful that it's returned to it's normal state over the past few months. I'll be sharing more about my skincare routine later, but for today I want to highlight items I feel are good for pampering. 


Up first is sunscreen. I've always hated wearing sunscreen on the face because of the strong sunscreen scent or greasy feel. I don't like wearing layers of product under my foundation and powder and since I've always spent the majority of my day indoors I thought it was pointless to wear extra sunscreen. So many have emphasized the importance of protecting your skin and wearing sunscreen has become a priority. Unfortunately, I since I can't tolerate the sunscreen smell, I have had to splurge on sunscreen for the face. Three that I really like that won't turn the face white and that don't have that traditional sunscreen smell include:

1 / Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Day Screen SPF 40  ($41 for 1.7 oz) is my latest sunscreen discovery. It's a lightweight white fluid that has a semi-matte feel. I picked this up because of recommendations from friends and also wanted to take advantage of the Nordstrom gift with purchase going on right now (details here). I like that it doesn't feel runny or have that greasy fluid feel. It stays put and doesn't feel like you have anything on the skin. Straight out of the bottle there is a very faint fresh linen-like scent but once on the face, there is no detectable scent. I love that it doesn't turn the face white.

2 / Chanel UV Essentiel Complete Sunscreen UV Protection SPF 50 ($55 for 1 fl oz) is something I've used for years. Chanel has three different sunscreens with SPF 20, 30 and 50. This is a lightweight product that is very fluid. The color is also white but it's transparent on the skin. I've used and repurchased this numerous times because it layers well over moisturizer and under foundation. My husband and I have shared this for years. This one is heavily fragranced though, so if you have a super sensitive nose and can't wear fragranced skincare products, you may want to skip this one.

3 / Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 43 ($32 for 1 fl oz) is something I discovered a couple months ago. I adore Shiseido as a skincare line, but was really disappointed to find almost all their facial sunscreens left a white cast on my skin. Since I wear medium to full coverage foundation daily, it didn't really matter in the end, however, I prefer sunscreens and skincare that doesn't leave a white residue on the skin. This one comes in three colors which makes it the perfect tint + sunscreen in one. The color selection is pretty limited but the color is sheer enough to be quite forgiving on the face. I found Shade No. 2 to be the best match although for an exact match I'm really in between No. 2 and 3. It's a lightweight sheer coverage tint that can be worn as a base for your regular makeup. 


Next up includes facial cotton and cleansing water. Both of which aren't really necessities but these three have been life-changing for me.

4 / Cle de Peau Beaute Cotton ($20 for 120 pads) is hands down the best facial cotton I've tried. It comes in a box which keeps the cotton's shape in tact. I used to use Shiseido's facial cotton for years, but a friend insisted I try the ones by Cle de Peau and the difference is really noticeable. The Cle de Peau is sturdier and larger in size compared to other cotton. It's soft, silky, doesn't separate and glides on the skin without leaving any cotton remnants or fibers on the face. It's the ultimate luxurious splurge for the skin and I can't recommend it enough.

5 / Caudalie Cleansing Water ($14 for 3.38 fl oz) is a classic favorite for me. This refreshes the skin and cleanses it gently. I wouldn't recommend using it in place of a cleanser on a regular basis, but I like to use this to remove all my makeup at the end of the day and then follow up with a regular cleanser if I have long-wear foundation or powder on. It doesn't irritate the skin and does a good job at removing makeup (not eye makeup/mascara though). 

6 / Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water ($39 for 10.15 fl oz) is the best cleansing water I've tried. I've tried lots of different cleansing waters from NARS, Dior, Lancome etc. and the Koh Gen Do is my most repurchased cleansing water. I've found it's the most effective but is still very gentle on the skin. It's definitely worth the splurge.


Testing out masks can be very expensive. For me it's hard to splurge on a $50+ box of sheet masks or any mask in general unless I can test a small sample first, so I've relied on online reviews and blog reviews heavily before splurging. Four skin pampers I adore:

7 / Kiehl's Clearly Corrective™ Clarifying & Hydrating Intensive Treatment Masque ($58 for 6 sheets, 0.85 oz each) is a surprisingly good sheet mask that I think is highly under-rated. I don't know why it's a limited-edition product or exclusive to Nordstrom because it's amazing. I've tried a number of sheet masks and this one is very gentle but makes a visible difference in the texture, appearance and clarity of the skin. After use your face is left hydrated and super soft.

8 / SK-II Facial Treatment Mask ($17 for 1 sheet, or $135 for a 10 pack) is something that has reached cult-status but is an extremely expensive splurge. I resisted buying the box for a long time because I couldn't justify spending that much on a mask without having tested it. I took the plunge a year ago and have no regrets. Due to the price tag, I do try to limit use to one per month. If you've been interested in this but didn't want to splurge without testing, the good news is that they now offer this mask in a 1 sheet option for $17. There are a number of good sheet masks on the market, the SK-II is my favorite in terms of how it leaves the skin glowing.

9 / Glamglow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz) is something I discovered last August. It's one of my top picks for clarifying masks that is super effective at drawing out impurities from the pores. I like that you can feel it work on the face but it's still gentle enough for my super sensitive skin. I've repurchased this four times since my initial purchase - it's that good. Use for this one varies for me from 1 to 3 times per week. I like that it's non-irritating.

10 / Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz) is something I discovered thanks to my readers. I had a couple mini sample packets from gift with purchase events but was a bit nervous about testing this one. A number of readers recommended that I use the Supermud first and then follow with the Thirstymud right after for the ultimate at-home facial treatment. I tried this and it's pure genius. It seemed a bit odd to apply something to dry out the skin and then apply something right after to put the moisture back in the skin, but the combination is really quite amazing. To those who recommended this tip to me, THANK YOU!!


For face mists, I've used the MAC Fix+ for years but it is extremely lightweight. It's a good basic refresher for mid-day or even to prep the skin for foundation but there are others I've tried that are better in terms of how they impact the skin.

11 / Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18 for 1 oz) is the ultimate spa-like facial mist. Spraying it on the face instantly lifts the mood and makes you feel like your skin has gone through a mini facial. It is heavily fragranced with a minty touch so I know it won't appeal to all. I personally really like it. It cools and refreshes the skin and pores will tighten with this spray. I like that it doesn't interfere with your makeup. My mom really likes this one too.

12 / La Mer "The Mist" ($65 for 3.4 oz) is an amazing facial spray. It dispenses a fine mist that is fragrance free. It's really good at calming any redness or irritation and suitable for super sensitive skin. The packaging makes this well worth the splurge - the spritzer dispenses a perfect spritz of mist evenly over the face. If you're in the market for an unfragranced face mist that refreshes the face, this is a good one to look at.

13 / Chanel Hydra Beauty Essence Mist ($90 for 1.7 oz) is something that has been on my radar for a long long time. It's used on me at almost every Chanel makeover I've had. I couldn't bring myself to splurge on it. For me it's the best thing you can splurge on for a face mist - but it's still quite a splurge. If this were priced at the $60-$65 price point I would say hands down "you need this." At the $90 price point it's a stretch and for me it was hard for me to part with that much money for something this size. This is one of those products I really adore but I do believe it's overpriced. Am I happy I bought this? Absolutely yes. Will I repurchase? I don't know.

I hope you found this roundup of skincare treats and splurges helpful. As always I'd love to hear about your skincare favorites. What do you like to use to pamper or protect your skin to give it that extra love and care?



This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All items purchased by me. For more information refer to my disclosures.

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.

 

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