Monday, September 7th, 2009

Clarisonic MIA

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($149.00) is the latest launch from Clarisonic. It is a miniature-sized version of the original Clarisonic, and it is also $45 cheaper. It’s also available in pink.

You may wonder how this possibly can be part of Money Saving Mondays… because I know the Clarisonic can be a hefty investment for some who really want it, this does offer you a way to get it for less. It is also just as effective as the original, more expensive Clarisonic, so it represents true savings.

First, Clarisonic has a really useful comparison chart for the four models: Mia, Classic, PLUS, and PRO. The Clarisonic Mia is about an inch and a half to two inches smaller the the original,and it doesn’t feel as bulky. The Mia comes with a pLink charger whereas the Classic used a cradle charger, which makes it a lot more compact. The Mia brush head is the same size as the Classic, so you don’t lose anything in how well it cleans or the area it cleans.

Surprisingly, the Mia feels heavier compared to the Classic, but not by much (note that neither are, by any means, heavy). When you opt for the Mia, you have only a single speed setting, whereas the Classic provided you with two. Since I’ve used the Classic forever now, I can say that it’s not a big deal, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t even know you had two speeds on yours! The Mia also only lasts twenty minutes on a full charge compared to the Classic which lasts thirty minutes. Again, this is not really an essential difference to me; twenty minutes is still ten or so uses, which is plenty on a single charge.

I recommend you read my original review for the Clarisonic to get a more in-depth look at why I really love the cleansing system and recommended it even at $195. In brief, it is an easy, efficient way of cleansing the skin. It helps with skin turnover and keeps my skin clearer and smoother looking overall. I’m not often sold on advertising claims, but the Clarisonic is one beauty gadget I can’t live without!

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation: If you want to get your skin its best shape, the Clarisonic can help. It gives skin a softer, smoother appearance while deep cleansing every time you use it without irritating even sensitive skin. If $145 is still out of your budget, consider looking out for F&F sales at Sephora where you can save another 10-15%. Or put it on your wish list!

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

LUSH Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask ($7.95) has all of the ingredients and benefits that I’d want in a face mask. There’s just one major problem — the scent! Oh, my goodness, it is a mix of garlic and tea tree oil, which are both incredibly powerful scents. The garlic is what really gets me, I think, because I’ve used tea tree oil before and don’t mind the smell. This is a mask I only want to use when my allergies are acting up, because I can’t really smell! (I’m actually using it while I write the review!)

So if you can a) handle the scent or b) can’t smell very well, you might still want to consider this mask, because it does feel amazing. Cosmetic Warrior is designed for acne-prone skin. It has garlic that acts as an antiseptic agent, tea tree as an astringent, and eggs and honey” This mask is kind of like a deep-cleansing mask that’s designed to help lift oil out of the skin. Deep cleansing kaolin and fresh grapes help get that freshly clean feeling down pat.

I will say that the scent fades a bit as the mask dries, and after using it a few times, my nose seems to have gotten used to the scent so it’s not as jarring as it was the first time I used it. I definitely suggest giving a pot a shot, and if you can use it a few times, you might find it’s well worth the five or ten minutes you breathe your mouth ;)

Just a reminder, LUSH Fresh Face Masks are only available in-store and cannot be shipped (at least not in the U.S.) due to the freshness-factor. These last about three weeks and must be in your refrigerator during that time. I like to have two masks on hand at any given time, just because I like to switch it up. I usually alternate between a mask like Cosmetic Warrior and then another mask just because (like BB Seaweed).

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum ($30.00) is my go-to for ultra hydrating spot treatment. Sometimes when I use acne treatment products, my skin dries out in certain spots, so to counteract the drying factor of many acne treatments, I always have this at the ready. I use it in conjunction with my usual moisturizer for an extra boost of hydration. I really feel like it “locks” in the moisture. According to Mario Badescu, the Hydrating Serum is good for all skin types, and it can be used as a lightweight hydrator for oily skin as well. A little goes a long way, so for me, the price tag is well worth it!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

LUSH Cupcake Fresh Face Mask ($7.95 for 2.6 oz.) is one of Lush’s quick and easy face masks that you can purchase in-store (because they’re just *that* fresh). Cupcake is designed for oily, more acne-prone skin. According to the label, Rhassoul mud cleanses and soothes skin, while several other ingredientsh elp to soften it. Several essential oils make it a relaxing experience while you wear the mask for five to ten minutes. I wear mine for about ten minutes, and then I turn on the faucet for warm/tepid water. I wet my hands, and then I gently massage the scrub away in small circles. I find this just seems to relax me (because it’s kind of a facial massage), but it also makes me feel like it’s deeper cleansing. Just rinse any remaining residue off by splashing your face.

The only downside to the mask is I do find it tends to leave a little bit of residue behind, so I like to use either a cotton pad and my toner or a light cleanser to make sure everything is off. (I just can’t risk *any* bad things getting into my skin these days, so no chances for me.) Otherwise, this mask makes me feel relaxed, my skin feel fresh and rejuvenated, and since starting to use Lush face masks, I swear my skin has been happier!

Oh, and I did I mention this smells like extra rich hot chocolate? Yummy!

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Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Mario Badescu Drying Cream ($12.00)

When it comes to small, flesh-colored acne, this is the king for me. Whenever I spot any that crop up, I’ll smear a little of the Drying Cream on the area before I go to bed. In the morning, they’ve totally vanished, and I mean vanished! I’m pretty skeptical about acne spot treatments, especially how their ability to work quickly, but this one delivers (at least for me).

In fact, I noticed a few small fleshy bumps last night, put this on the area, and voila–no troubles this morning. I find this to be less drying than the Drying Lotion, which means I can use it more often and without fear of getting dry patches in exchange for clearer skin. (The Drying Lotion is fab, but I find I need to use it every other day or two to avoid drying my skin out too much!) This is also my go-to acne spot treatment if I “feel” one coming on.

Mario Badescu offers several acne spot treatments, and so far, I’ve liked all of them and found them to work on different types of acne. I know some of you would rather an all-in-one spot treatment, but in a way, knowing that each one is designed to work with specific types of acne makes me feel like they’re more efficient.

For $12 you got a big tub of Drying Cream–seriously, this will probably lose efficacy before you finish using it. I would prefer tube-packaging over an open jar, but it’s cheap enough where I don’t feel I’m breaking the bank rebuying it after a few months, you know? So any issue with packaging isn’t enough to keep me from loving this product.

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion ($17.00)

The Buffering Lotion is formulated to help you cope with deep, cystic acne. It’s sulfur-based coupled with allantoin (helps with inflammation). Mario Badescu recommends using this before/after their Drying Mask as well. It’s good for combination and oily skin, and being normal-to-dry (and sometimes normal-to-barely-oily), it’s worked just fine for me.

What I like about the Buffering Lotion is it’s essentially clear. You shake it up, and put a drop or two on your finger, then massage over the blemish. You can lay makeup under or over it as you need to, so when you’ve got a painful bugger… you can treat him while you do your day-to-day activities. (Both the Drying Cream and Drying Lotion are less daytime friendly, if you’re actually leaving the house!)

I find I don’t use this very often, compared to the Drying Cream and Drying Lotion, which I use regularly. I think it’s because I prefer to treat mostly at night, and I’m often working at home for most of the day, so if I need to do some daytime treating, I’m not worried about pink patches on my face. (Though, I’m sure the UPS man wonder…)

It’s also harder to judge the efficacy of the Buffering Lotion simply because it’s treating nastier pimples that normally linger for at least a week, if not two (and sometimes take several days just to surface!), you know?

I personally suffer less from deep, painful pimples, too (less chances to try, LOL). However, the last time I had one, I would say that using this product in conjunction with the other acne spot treatments, it seemed like the painful pimple wasn’t painful for long and was gone within a week–which I was happy enough with. So it seems to work, but it’s not as quick as the other two, but it does have more work to do!