Friday, February 27th, 2009

Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion ($15.00)

After I use the Acne Facial Cleanser, I pat my face dry (with a towel used *only* to dry my face). I squeeze a little bit of the Special Cucumber Lotion onto a cotton round, and then I use apply it to my face. You basically apply it the same way you might remove makeup. I wait about 30 seconds or so, and then I splash my face with ice cold water.

The Special Cucumber Lotion is considered an astringent, which means it’s designed to dry up existing acne. It contains sulfur, which has been known to be used to help fight acne. I find this acts like my toner, and I like that it has alcohol in it, because it helps sanitize my skin. I don’t feel like this particular product is drying, either, despite having alcohol in it. It also doesn’t burn or sting on any healing or irritated areas on my face, which lends me to believe the alcohol content has been quite diluted (compared to grabbing your bottle of isopropyl alcohol from your medicine cabinet).

Again, Mario Badescu recommends that this product is best for combination and oily skin. I’ve had no issues with it drying me out whatsoever, and it doesn’t make my skin feel tight either. I don’t necessarily know if this is an essential step in my regimen nor if it’s actually doing the majority of prevention against acne or not. (It’s hard to know since I’m using multiple products as a system vs. just one product.) Like the cleanser, it costs the same and will last you just as long, so I’m willing to hedge my bets and keep using it.

Next to be reviewed is their famous Drying Lotion…

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch ($40.00) is an often celebrated product for concealing and hiding under eye circles. Technically, it is called a luminizing pen that is used to help brighten and highlight the skin. They recommend using it between the eyebrows, along the sides of the nose, and even on the chin and around the lips. It’s available in four shades: 1 Luminous Radiance (fair/light/medium with pink undertones), 2 Luminous Ivory (fair/light/medium with yellow or golden undertones), 3 Light Peach (warm/golden beige), and 4 Luminous Toffee (deep).

I bought shade #2 during Sephora’s Friends & Family sale last November, and at first, I worried it was far too light for me–but it was perfect. These are designed to run lighter than your skin tone, so don’t expect to try and color match it to your foundation! The whole point of the product is that it lightens areas that are normally darker or more pigmented, like your undereye circles, scars, hyperpigmentation, etc. So I expect this is part of the reason only four shades are available, because most people will find one that lightens to their specification.

The product itself is housed in a pen that has a brush at the end. You click the other end to get the product out onto the brush tip. When you first purchase, expect to do a lot of clicking! I had to click so many times, I swore I had a broken one! But alas, eventually, I finally hit pay dirt. I like the way the product is packaged, because you don’t need a separate concealer brush, nor do you have to worry about getting more concealer than you need. One or two clicks is plenty.

The formula of Touche Éclat is creamy, smooth, and designed to go on sheerly. It really does help disguise my undereye circles/bags after a week or two of not having slept well. I don’t use concealer on a regular basis, but when I need it, I really need it. I’ve found great results with Touche Éclat, and one of the best things about it is that it doesn’t sink into fine lines or creases underneath your eyes during or after application. It also doesn’t ball up when I’ve used it on top of an eye cream, which is a definitely plus. It is also nice to use to highlight the inner corner near your eye, too.

For the high price tag, you get a concealer that’s travel-friendly, easy to use, and will last you quite awhile. It’s not as if I have to replace it on a monthly basis. For me, it should last me at least a year. There’s quite a bit of product stored in the pen, so for me it’s worth it since it works quite well.

You can find yours at Sephora.com!

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner ($7.95 to 17.45) is designed to re-hydrate dry skin while restoring your skin back to the correct pH balance. What I really love about all of Lush’s toners is that they come in handy spray-bottles. You can spritz on the go, on your face, or on a cotton pad–whatever you like–and you know you’re going to get the same amount. I find two spritzes onto a cotton pad to be perfect for half my face, then I repeat on the other side of the cotton pad to finish my face. One bottle seems to last forever–it’s definitely not a product you have to buy more than once or twice a year.

While some cleansers have made toning unnecessary, it’s still an easy step to keep to your beauty routine. I find that they are really helpful to ensure you’ve gotten every last vestige of your makeup off. If you have acne-prone skin like mine (which is terrible right, ugh!), you definitely do what you can to minimize the chance of setting off a breakout by keeping that skin clean before you go to bed! I also like that this toner really does not dry out your skin whatsoever or make it feel tight at all. It is a toner more suitable for those with dry skin, because it helps to soothe it.

The one thing I dislike about the toner is that there is perfume in the ingredients’ list. I really don’t know why it’s necessary, and I’m not sure why there isn’t a more natural way to make it smell acceptable. I just worry when perfume is listed anywhere but in the very last portion of an ingredients’ list!

Ingredients: Spring Water (Aqua), Fresh Sea Water (Aqua), Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis), Perfume, Carrageenan Extract (Chondrus crispus), Rose Absolute (Rosa centifolia), Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin), Rosemary Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis), Seaweed Absolute (Fucus vesiculosus), *Limonene, *Linalool, Methylparaben.

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Lush Coalface Cleanser ($10.95 for 3.5 oz.) is a solid bar that has licorice root as its main ingredient (supposed to help the skin “heal naturally”) and powdered charcoal to exfoliate the skin.  The first noticeable characteristic of this product is it has a distinct smell.  I couldn’t quite tell you what it is, but I know some find it unpleasant–it’s kind of like out in the woods, around the campfire kind of scent.  I’m not one of them, but it’s not a scent that I’m going ga-ga over either!  Regardless, the scent doesn’t linger–it rinses off as soon as the product does.

I find Coalface to work really well at reducing acne breakouts.  It’s great for oily skin, especially because it can be a little drying on the skin.  If you find it drying, make sure to follow-up with a good moisturizer or try a toner.  Coalface gives me that “squeaky clean” feeling at the end, which is not really my bag, but often I follow with Sweet Japanese Girl so that “squeaky clean” feeling is minimal.  The product lathers up really well, and the gritty charcoal powder bits are rough enough to really get your scrub on.

Overall, I really like this product, and it’s definitely part of my shower time routine! Have you tried Coalface?

Here’s the ingredient list… Continue reading →

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

I got a chance to get an early sneak peek at some of YSL’s Spring 2009 treats comin’ at us this February! :) I played with Palette d’Artiste for the Complexion ($62.00), Gloss Pur #4 (Pure Raspberry), Rouge Pur #146 (Romantic Pink), and Nail Touch #5 (Tender Pink Touch).

I’m really lovin’ the Gloss Pur formula–it’s creamy, pigmented, and not sticky at all. I love me a good pigmented gloss! I’m not positive whether all of the Gloss Purs have no shimmer, but it’s nice to see a gloss that’s just gloss and shine without the shimmer. The creaminess of the lipstick is lovely, and the shade is a more wearable shade of bubblegum pink.

The Nail Touch #5 is an interesting product, as it was my first time trying out a nail polish pen. I liked the experience, and it makes for a great on-the-go nail polish. This shade in particular is incredibly sheer, coming out mostly as a sheer pink–nice for the office or for those looking for something super subtle.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of this collection when it launches this spring!

Check out product photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

LUSH Sweet Japanese Girl Cleanser ($10.25 for 1.2 oz.) is quite possibly my favorite LUSH product of all-time. It’s a “facial massage and exfoliation bar.” I don’t really say it’s a massage bar (though you could, since it’s grooved), but I love it for how it hydrates skin with a buttery goodness feel while gently exfoliating. I prefer to use mine at the end of my shower, so my skin is warmed from the hot water; this product just melts into the skin. I rinse with splashes of warm water, then gently dab my face dry at the end. My face feels moisturized and so, so smooth. Just ridiculously silky soft!

Ingredient List: Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Palm Kernel Oil (Hydrogenated palm), Ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis), Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus), Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), Juniperberry Oil (Juniperus communis), Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), *Citral, *Limonene, Perfume,.