Friday, October 25th, 2013

Lush Holiday 2013
Lush Holiday 2013

For the holidays, Lush has plenty of offerings to tempt you. Here’s a quickie overview of some of the products I recently tried:

Melting Snowman ($5.95 for 2.1 oz.) is a bath melt, which are supposed to be used either in halves or wholes and tossed into the tub as you fill it with warm water. They’re supposed to add a hydrating element to your soak. He smells of chocolate, cinnamon, and orange. The “chocolate chip” eyes don’t fully melt and tend to float and smear on the tub (not so sexy to look at), and I did find myself needing to scrub those bits away post-bath. It’s definitely hydrating and makes the skin feel softer afterward.

Cinders ($4.95) is a bath bomb that also has “crackling vegan candies,” so you’ll actually hear it crackle and pop a bit once the majority of the bath bomb has fizzed away (about a minute). It smelled like spiced cider, not too sweet or too spicy, and it really was like splashing around in a vat of cider. You can hear the candies crackling here and there for about five to ten minutes. This was my favorite of the bath bombs I tried this season. It turned the water yellow, and I think this might have worked better if it turned the water orange or tangerine? in terms of aesthetics.

The Christmas Penguin ($7.45 for 3.5 oz.) is a bubble bar shaped like a penguin–and he’s a rather pricey bath bomb as a result! Crumble his little penguin body into a hot bath for some bubble action. When used, it will turn the bath water a light blue. It had a slightly tart, slightly sweet mix of citrus going on–a little fizzy and lemon-lime like.

Golden Wonder ($6.95 for 7.8 oz.) is a larger bath bomb that has a treat inside–if you shake it around, you’ll here something rattling inside. It’s golden and has gold glitter on the exterior, and it fizzes away in about a minute and a half. It had a very strong, somewhat synthetic, sweet orange. I didn’t love it–it didn’t give me a really fresh orange fragrance, more cloying and syrupy sweet. Spoiler alert: the portion inside is a vibrant turquoise-blue and did leave some bluish residue along my tub, so be sure to scrub and wash down accordingly.

Luxury LUSH Pud ($6.95 for 7 oz.) is supposed to be a lavender-scented bath bomb. When placed in a hot bath, it turned the water a muted, magenta pink with some foaminess. It took about two minutes for the entire bath bomb to fizzle away. It smelled like a mix of sweet vanilla and lavender.

Sandy Santa ($9.95 for 4.5 oz.) is a body buffer in the shape of Santa. It uses sand and sugar to exfoliate dead skin sells, plus it’s in solid form, so it also contains coconut oil and shea butter for softening and hydration. I wouldn’t say it hydrated all that much, and it really melts very, very quickly. I highly recommend breaking off just a small piece, going over the skin lightly, but then rubbing what you’ve melted off in with your hands, not the bar itself, as you’ll just waste most of it. It smelled primarily of orange oil with a little lemon, and for me, it read synthetic. Breaking him into pieces, I was able to get three scrubs worth of mostly legs and arms but not much else. I was surprised at the price point, given how few uses I was able to get out of him.

Let the Good Times Roll ($12.95 for 3.5 oz.) originally launched for the holidays but made it into the permanent range due to its popularity. It smells like incredibly sweet sugar cookies with a very, very subtle cinnamon spice. It contains maize flour and corn meal, so it is a gentle exofliator with fine bits that leave skin feeling soft but never raw, dry, or red. As a gentler exfoliant, I really liked it, and I’ve been feeling like there’s a void in exfoliators/scrubs in my routine lately, so this has been filling that void nicely. Of all the products I tried this holiday season, this was the only one I’d consider buying.

Celebrate ($29.95 for 7.7 oz.) smells of champagne and citrus–primarily orange–and has a slightly whipped consistency that makes it seem lighter than it is, but it is a rather rich product, because even after two hours of my legs dangling (open to the air!), my legs still felt greasy and slippery. I ended up toweling off what wasn’t absorbing so I could go to bed. I tried it again, and I used the smallest amount possible, and I still felt somewhat greasy after an hour. I would actually say it could make a nice massage lotion, since it never seems to really absorb, so there’s a lot of slip, which is great for massaging! I will also mention that my husband really didn’t like this scent–he found it overwhelming (and he can barely smell, I swear). Like his reaction is encompassed by this scenario: I take one step into his office, and then he says, “What is that smell?” with this face that says, “Please step back.” It had an almost medicinal quality to the orange/citrus in it for me.

The Glossover

product

Melting Snowman

The "chocolate chip" eyes don't fully melt and tend to float and smear on the tub (not so sexy to look at), and I did find myself needing to scrub those bits away post-bath. It's definitely hydrating and makes the skin feel softer afterward.

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!
product

Cinders

It smelled like spiced cider, not too sweet or too spicy, and it really was like splashing around in a vat of cider. You can hear the candies crackling here and there for about five to ten minutes. This was my favorite of the bath bombs I tried this season.

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
product

The Christmas Penguin

Crumble his little penguin body into a hot bath for some bubble action. When used, it will turn the bath water light blue. It has a slightly tart, slightly sweet mix of citrus going on--a little fizzy and lemon-lime like.

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Click to Reveal More Glossovers!

See more photos! Continue reading →

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Moisturizer
Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Moisturizer

Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Moisturizer ($41.00 for 1.7 oz.) is supposed to be an anti-aging, daytime moisturizer for combination and dry skin that’s oil-free with UVA/UVB protection. I bought this a couple of months ago after seeing several readers rave about it, and I’ve been trying to find a daytime moisturizer that I can settle on for awhile. The most important things to me were that it be hydrating, lightweight, quick-absorbing, and have sunscreen.

The consistency was thicker, more like a medium-weight cream with a lot of air in it. It was not quite like a whipped cream (reminded me of a body souffle), but there was a lightness to it that isn’t there with other creams I’ve seen with a thicker consistency. It spread well across the skin, and it took about ten to fifteen minutes totally absorb. The moisturizer didn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or oily afterwards or later on during the day. I found it moderately moisturizing, so it was good on most days, but if I had drier spots or any areas that had some flaking, it didn’t keep up with it. I didn’t have any issues with this if any of it gets in my eyes–no burning or irritation. Makeup wore well on top of it, and it didn’t seem to shorten the wear of anything I put on it. It had a light citrus and white tea scent (a little herbal but not strongly so).

I didn’t notice any anti-aging-related changes in my skin as far as I could tell, and for me, my signs of aging include primarily fine lines around my eyes and some smile lines around the corners of my mouth. I really liked this and would be more than happy to continue using this, but I’m not quite ready to settle down and commit. My impression of it was it’s a nice, hydrating cream that works well for daytime use, underneath makeup; it’s not an aggressive anti-aging product, so it’s not reversing the hands of time at all, but it’s helping to prevent some of it!

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), octisalate (5%), octocrylene (2.7%)
Inactive Ingredients: Water; citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower water, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower water ∙ butyloctyl salicylate ∙ ethyl macadamiate ∙ methyl trimethicone jojoba esters ∙ butylene glycol ∙ lauryl peg-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone ∙ peg-100 stearate ∙ glyceryl stearate ∙ citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil1, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil1, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil1, cinnamomum camphora (camphor) bark oil1, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil1, magnolia acuminata flower extract, iris pallida (orris) root extract, rosa damascena (rose) extract, citral, linalool, limonene ∙ camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract ∙ pinus pinaster bark/bud extract ∙ arabidopsis thaliana extract ∙ ascorbyl tocopheryl maleate ∙ oryzanol ∙ ergothioneine ∙ triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract ∙ hordeum vulgare (barley) extract ∙ cholesterol ∙ caffeine ∙ mangifera indica (mango) seed butter ∙ butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) ∙ potassium cetyl phosphate ∙ cetyl alcohol ∙ ethylhexylglycerin ∙ linoleic acid ∙ squalane ∙ sodium hyaluronate ∙ caprylyl glycol ∙ dehydroxanthan gum ∙ silica ∙ ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer ∙ citric acid ∙ sodium stearate ∙ sodium dehydroacetate ∙ phenoxyethanol ∙ mica

The Glossover

product

A Perfect World SPF 25 Moisturizer

The consistency was thicker, more like a medium-weight cream with a lot of air in it. It was not quite like a whipped cream (reminded me of a body souffle), but there was a lightness to it that isn't there with other creams I've seen with a thicker consistency. It spread well across the skin, and it took about ten to fifteen minutes totally absorb.

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos! Continue reading →

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Cream
Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream ($62.00 for 1.7 oz.) is one of the newest releases from Kiehl’s, and I really don’t leap to test skincare, let alone anything that makes as many claims as this one. What intrigued me the most was that it promised visible results in two weeks–not four, not six, not eight, a mere two–and the skeptic in me immediately thought, “Well, then maybe you’d actually see visible results in four or six weeks at least…” The exact claim is that “Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream is clinically demonstrated to simultaneously lift, firm, visibly redefine skin contour and re-texturize skin within 2 weeks and double efficacy within 4 weeks.” According to Kiehl’s, their chemists selected Jasmonic Acid (supposed to be “highly effective … for its ability to support epidermal renewal … smoothing and retexturizing the skin’s surface”), Beech Tree Extract (said to “improve skin firmness and visibly improve plumpness and density”), and Fragmented Hyaluronic Acid (listed to “reinforce skin’s natural short and long term moisturization … improve skin elasticity while reducing skin roughness”).

Kiehl’s is basing its claims on a clinical test of 50 women (described as multi-ethnic and those experiencing multiple signs of aging). It’s rare to receive so much specific information from a brand, so I would have loved to see the full ingredient list posted on their website as well. I’ve been using it for just over two and a half weeks now.  I’ll update this post after I’ve finished the jar (probably around four or five weeks of use).

It feels like a lightweight cream, though the texture is thicker but not heavy. There’s a very faint herbal scent, though it is touted as fragrance-free (I expect it is just from the ingredients themselves), and I didn’t notice it once applied and mostly only caught the scent if I sniffed the jar. It absorbs for the most part within five minutes, but it takes a full fifteen minutes to really sink into the skin. The cream never feels sticky on the skin, and it doesn’t look greasy. The one thing I can say with absolutely certainty is that it is nicely hydrating, and it remedied some lingering dry patches I was contending with.   I’ve worn it underneath makeup, and I haven’t had any issues doing so–as long as you give it proper time to absorb.

I’ve been looking for visible signs of, well, anything, since I hit the one-week mark, and after a week and a half, the one thing I kept noticing was my under-eye area seemed less shadowed, slightly less puffy. I don’t have major, major bags and shadowing, but my lack of sleep has become more noticeable over the past year. It hasn’t reversed it, and it is only minor improvement, but it’s something I’ve kept remarking on each time I’ve taken a moment to note what visible results I’ve seen. I haven’t seen the fine lines around my eyes really smooth out or become improved in any visible way. The general clarity and evenness of my skin’s tone has seemed to be slightly better.  I don’t expect to be able to weigh in on firmness/lift, as my current signs of aging are the fine lines around my eyes.  I’m quite impressed with how hydrated my skin is, and it does feel… plumper? in a way as my skin can when it’s really getting the hydration it needs.  It’s not quite a miracle cream after using it for two weeks, though I like it and it is majorly hydrating, so we’ll see how it stacks up after more prolonged use.

Kiehl’s says to use this twice a day (morning and night), but without SPF, it’s just not a feasible daytime solution–putting a sunscreen on and this will feel and be too much for most. To clarify:  When I know for sure I’m not leaving the house, I’ll skip the SPF and just use this in the morning, but on days where I need SPF, then it can take a couple of hours before the skin feels ready for makeup (this, of course, will vary depending on what product you use in combination–I’m using Origins’ A Perfect World, and I did try one day with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial and experienced similar results as when I used my Origins). I’d love to see a complementary product with SPF for this product or else a version with SPF.

Update: The final verdict is that this is a great cream for hydration. I think it helps to give skin a healthier, smoother, and clearer look overall, but I didn’t notice any fading, softening, or diminishing of the fine lines around my eyes or forehead.

See more photos! Continue reading →

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes
Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes

Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes ($6.00 for 30) are designed for gently cleansing skin and “[reviving] skin and [removing] dead cells.” Pacifica says they can be used to remove makeup, but “[they] do not use chemical solvants, [so] they will not remove the most water-proof make-up.” I appreciate the honesty there, though I did use it to remove regular makeup and felt it did an excellent job moving all bits and traces of my foundation, eye makeup (including mascara), and lipstick. None of what I’ve worn is really waterproof (except maybe eyeliner), so whether it has a place in your routine will depend on whether you want it to break down waterproof makeup, too.

Each wipe was extremely saturated with cleanser, even though the package had been sitting face-up so the first wipe was the top wipe, which was still saturated and wet. A lot of times, I store makeup wipes upside down so that the first wipe you remove has been on the bottom staying its most moist, but with these, I didn’t need to do that. I’ve been using these here and there for the past three weeks, and I’ve used a third of the amount in the package. These also had a harder, plastic “seal” over the resealable plastic flap, so they should stay wet.  They smell like lightly sweetened coconut, but the scent doesn’t linger.

At this price point ($0.20/each), they’re comparable or cheaper than wipes by brands like Aveeno ($0.28/each), Neutrogena ($0.28/each), and Almay ($0.24). Ponds has a value pack, which brings down the cost to $0.16. I normally use MAC’s Makeup Removing Wipes ($0.29/each), and I seriously have six 100-packs in my house at all times–they’re my go-to for removing swatches, but I can’t use them on my eyes often (on my cheeks and lips are fine), so I really like that I can use these all over.

Ingredients

Purified Water, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin (vegetable), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract , Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Extract , Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance (all natural).

See more photos! Continue reading →

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash
Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash ($11.00 for 5.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “gentle, sulfate-free foaming cleanser that removes daily toxins and makeup.” Skincare seems to be a new venture (well, beyond body creams) for Pacifica, which I’ve personally known primarily as a fragrance brand, so I didn’t have high expectations for this. I’ve been loving all things coconut-scented lately, though (it’s the summer–coconut always reminds me of warm summer days spent at the beach), so I figured I’d give it a try.

I actually quite love it! It has been surprisingly great as a cleanser, and even better? It’s very budget-friendly. It has a gel-like consistency that’s clear, but it lathers into a creamy, kind of milky-like, lather and really breaks down all bits and bobs of my makeup–even heavy eye makeup and mascara. I work it into my entire face, and I have no issues with my eyes burning, stinging, tearing, or clouding when using this. Every time I’ve used it, I’ve reveled at how remarkably gentle it is, and Muse, who is more discerning about her skincare than I am, felt the same way. My skin felt soft and clean but never stripped, tight, or dry. It smells primarily of coconut, but there’s a little citrus and zest to it.  The purity of the coconut, though, smells a lot like raw coconut oil to me.

Ingredients: purified water, cocomidopropyl betaine (coconut source), sodium cocoyl glutamate (coconut source), sodium cocoyl sulfoacetate (coconut source) sodium cocoamphoacetate, decyl glucoside (corn source), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin (vegetable), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin (vegetable), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, glycol stearate, carica papaya extract, lemon bioflavanoids, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) water, citrus acid, tocopherol acetate, panthenol, NaPCA, allantoin, nori extract, garcinia mangostana peel extract (mangosteen), camelia sinensis leaf extract (white tea), sea algae extract, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance (all natural).

See more photos! Continue reading →

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum Light Wrinkle Plumper
Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum Light Wrinkle Plumper

Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum Light Wrinkle Plumper ($165.00 for 1.6 fl. oz.) is supposed to hydrate skin while minimizing the appearance of wrinkles. According to Guerlain, after 30 hours, 72% hydration and 27% reduction in wrinkles were apparent. It is also supposed to be a lighter version (in terms of texture) of their Super Aqua-Serum, so it is more suitable for normal to combination skin types.

In the late spring and summer, my skin tends to be closer to normal than normal-to-dry (just as in the winter, it is drier rather than normal), so I reached for this when I needed something in the evening. I liked it a lot, and a lot of what I loved came from two things: 1) the fine lines around my eyes (which are, at present, my “major” signs of aging) look softer the next morning after using this on a consistent basis, and 2) the texture is incredibly lightweight and thin but not watery or runny. The texture is thin, like a lotion, and absorbs very quickly (within a minute of applying).

It is actually very hydrating–so hydrating that I really didn’t need to use a moisturizer afterwards, but you may find you can stretch a bottle further by using and applying it as a serum (so less, or only on some areas) and following up with moisturizer. I also tried it as more of as-needed product for near fine lines, around my nose, and the tops of my cheeks (all areas I tend to be a bit drier), and it worked nicely as a spot hydrator.  It doesn’t top my go-to for dry spots, but Guerlain’s has a nicer texture and faster absorption (and will work better under makeup).  It has a floral fragrance–not the strongest I’ve come across, but it’s not light; it’s on par with Guerlain’s skincare range in general and strong enough that there is a lingering scent even after it has absorbed.

The benefits last about as long as you keep using the product, but it’s not correcting signs of aging, just camouflaging them by “plumping” the lines so they look less visible.  It worked well for me, and it did all the things it was supposed to, and it did them with a really lovely, quick-absorbing texture while still delivering great hydration.  That being said, a good smoothing primer (usually something with silicones in it) can also work well for smoothing out fine lines–at least for a few hours (as compared with a day or so with this). While I liked it, I’m not sure it’s the one and will continue to see what else is out there before committing to this price point. (I’m also not very bothered by the fine lines I do have, so naturally, I’m less inclined to pay a lot to minimize something I don’t notice often.)

See more photos! Continue reading →