Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I will be the first to admit that I am not a toner person. In fact, I didn’t even know what toner did until I started this blog! Since then, I have learned that adding a toner to your skincare system can be more beneficial than you think. Toners are used to help balance the pH level of your skin after you’ve cleansed it. They also help add moisture so long as they are alcohol-free, when used before applying your moisturizer.

If you’ve been a long-time reader, one of my favorite products is Renee Rouleau’s AHA/BHA Cleanser–it is an absolute staple in my skincare routine, and I would not give this up! (And gah!, I’m almost out!) I recently tried out Renee Rouleau’s Balancing Skin Tonic ($30.50), which is designed for oily/problem skin. RR has six different types of toners formulated for various skin types, which is great because it lets you customize your skincare system a bit more (who doesn’t want that?). The Balancing Skin Tonic helps to reduce acne-related bacteria, manage oiliness, and calm the skin–plus, it’s alcohol-free, so it shouldn’t dry out your skin like some other toners might.

I’ve been trying to include toner in my morning and evening routine, especially when I’ve been wearing a lot of makeup. So far so good. I’m really enjoying the Balancing Skin Tonic after I’ve used my AHA/BHA Cleanser, because it helps make my skin feel moist and refreshed. I also like that it helps take off any last bits of makeup I might have missed during the cleansing process. Best of all? This toner doesn’t dry out my skin (which, now that I’m more beauty-smart, I know is the result of its alcohol-free-ness!).

Now, while I adore my RR cleanser to bits, I can’t say that the toner has miraculously changed my skin or anything. It feels lighter than some other toners I’ve tried, and it does work well when I’ve applied moisturizer while this is still damp on my face (it’s a tip they give you). Maybe I’m not experienced enough in the vast world of toners to determine what makes an amazing toner stand out amongst the rest. What I can say is I think this is a good product, and it does its job–restores my skin’s pH level (assumedly, lol, no pH testing strips here…) and reduces acne-related bacteria.

Find your perfect Renee Realeau Toner at www.reneerouleau.com!

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Alima Cosmetics is an all-mineral makeup brand. In their introduction, they state that their products are free of irritants and are 100% natural, thus suitable for all skin types and shades. One of the great things about Alima is that they even have a 101 section for beginners. When you have a brand that is solely about mineral makeup, the selection is much larger–this is something I really liked. I also like that they provide ingredient lists to their products that aren’t buried within the site. Also, when you look at swatches, they have some of the better swatches I have seen overall–the colors seem fairly accurate and true-to-color.

Some products I enjoyed:

Satin Matte Foundation ($18.95) is a lightweight loose mineral foundation that gives decent coverage for a powder foundation. It also has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (which are both SPF ingredients), while the mica minimizes lines and imperfections. The finish is matte, which is makes it more suitable to normal-to-oily skinned users, but I didn’t find this too drying or even too matte that it wouldn’t work on those with slightly dry skin.

For those of you who like more traditional cosmetics and may not feel like hitching your wagon to the mineral makeup trend, there are still great ways to enjoy it that don’t include replacing your liquid foundations and foundation brushes! I really liked their Illuminating Shimmer Powders ($14.00), because they’re super finely milled highlighters that look so natural and glowy. My favorite was Nectar, described as a “luscious apricot-gold.” There’s about nine different ones to choose from–ranging from very light (Luna) to bronze (Cafe).

Need a face primer? Alima has you covered with their Balancing Primer Powder ($14.00), which helps your mineral foundation stay on better throughout the day–especially if your face gets oily.  They also have Color Balancing Powders ($14.00) to fix certain problems or cancel out pigmentation in the skin (like redness).

Other products you may be interested in: Mineral Finishing Powder ($14.00), Luminous Shimmer Blush ($14.00), Satin Matte Blush ($14.00), Pearluster Eyeshadow ($8.50), and their brushes (varies in price).

What could they improve on? Nothing really. I suppose wanting to be able to see everything in-person, before you buy, is a dream. Besides, you can get samples of just about everything for no more than $1.00, which makes trying the brand infinitely easier.

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Make Up For Ever HD Powder ($30.00) recently launched this past May, and it is a translucent finishing powder that is meant to work on all skin tones. It can be worn over foundation to set or alone, and it gives what MUFE calls a “soft focus” effect to the skin. It uses ultra fine, spherical micro-particles that are made up of 100% mineral silica powder. If that confuses you, just know that they reflect natural and artifical light, softening lines and imperfections on the screen and in person.

Break out your buffer brush (182, I love you), like MUFE’s Kabuki Brush ($39.00), which will be available this August, and buff this powder into your skin. A little goes a long way, so you can stretch your value as well as keep your skin feeling lightweight. I prefer using this over my foundation, as it seems to give me a better appearance thusly. I am somewhat reminded of MAC’s Invisible Set. HD Powder does seem to help my foundation look good throughout the day, and it doesn’t let it settle into my fine lines as easily.

What do you think of makeup designed for HD? Do you feel like it makes a difference?

Friday, May 30th, 2008

CoverFX Natural FX ($37.00) is a water-based foundation that contains SPF 15 that was developed to be long-wearing. It is a light to medium coverage, highly blendable foundation that leaves behind a dewy, soft finish and evens out skintone. CoverFX has made this particular foundation more water resistant than other foundatinos on the market, which makes it great for summer and humid climates.

I found that it wore throughout the day with no smudging or melting, and I didn’t feel like I needed any touch-ups, either.  I liked how blendable the foundation was, because it gave me plenty of time to buff it into my skin for flawless coverage.  It is also great, because it is liquid enough that you can sheer it out for light coverage, but buildable enough that you can make it medium coverage, as well.  The only real downside to this product is its price tag, which is a bit higher than the average foundation.

They have twenty shades to choose from, broken down into four series. The B series is for golden brown to ebony skin tones; the C series is for Caucasian skins with mostly pink undertones; E series is for Caucasian skins with both pink and yellow undertones; and the M series is ideal for those with yellow and olive undertones.

Get yours at www.coverfx.com.

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

What’s my new favorite product to use in the shower? Clean & Clear’s In-Shower Facial ($6.99). When I initially used this product, I was immediately reminded of my Prescriptives Instant Gratification must-have. It gives me very similar results (though I do feel that Px’s is a bit more intense and the effect of soft skin lasts longer, but it is also much, much more expensive).

The In-Shower Facial is a gritty gray scrub that you apply to your face, let it sit for a minute, and then gently scrub for about thirty seconds and rinse off with warm water. It’s designed to be used in the shower, so that the steam and heat help the product to work. Clean & Clear boasts about its usage of glycolic acid, which is an exfoliant to help in cell turnover, matched with clay that helps to remove dirt and oil out of skin and pores. They have also opted for a moisturizing complex that is designed for younger skin, which makes this product great for teenagers (although I love it, and I’m out of my teen years, even if I feel 12 most of the time!).

This product is meant to be used once every other day or so, between one and three times a week. I used it as much as three times per week, and my skin didn’t have any adverse reactions, so it’s definitely worth using that often. At $5.99, I consider it a skincare bargain, but the truth is, you don’t need more than a pea size or so amount to cover your face, so this product lasts. I think mine has been in my shower for about two months now, and I do use it regularly. It has definitely earned its spot in my shower caddy (which is overflowing, so only the best of the best make it in there!).  Because of its bargain price, I have to urge you to at least give it a shot.  Your skin will feel like the smoothest silk!

Have you tried this product?  What did you think?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

EXUVIANCE is a brand I was recently able to check out, and one of my favorite products amongst the three I tried was their CoverBlend, which is a “concealing treatment makeup” that has SPF20 and is designed to really hide any skin imperfections from tone to ine lines. It is a smudge-resistant cream that lasts throughout the day. It is also water-resistant and non-creasing, which makes it great for even oilier skin types.

I can definitely appreciate a waterproof foundation in the summer months, just on the fact that I’m outdoors, and even if I’m not, I’m likely to sweat between the car and my destination anyway. Something that won’t break down immediately is so appreciated! I don’t know if I’d necessarily sport it to the beach and expect to walk out of the ocean with flawless foundation despite it being water-resistant, though. I interpret water-resistant to simply mean that you can splash your face without any noticeable damage, which is all I really need!

It comes in fourteen shades, and I always point out the availability based on range because it allows for more people to find an appropriate shade that matches them. And I bet you think this is pricey (I don’t know about you, but “Exuviance” as a name conjurs up connotations of luxury!), but it isn’t–get CoverBlend for only $22.50!

I also tried their Evening Restorative Complex ($30.50), as well as the Vespera Bionic Serum ($55.00). I really felt like the serum woke up my face, which is probably the result of all of the anti-oxidants found within this serum. Like most serums, it is pricier because it has more “good” ingredients. Serums are more intense than regular creams, they’re usually in a higher conentrate of the active or helpful ingredients.

Their Evening Restorative Complex was gentle enough for me to use on my skin without any problems, and it has a light scent of apple-citrus that is tolerable. It’s harder for me to judge the effectiveness of this product as I don’t have too many noticeable fine lines or wrinkles. I like that they label this as “Evening”, though, because nothing is better than when a brand takes the guess work out of skincare!

Learn more about or purchase Exuviance products at http://exuviance.com/.