Friday, February 27th, 2009

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17.00)

The Drying Lotion is designed to be used as a spot treatment. It uses a combination of calamine and salicylic acid. (So when my boyfriend called me “Calamine-face”, he was actually correct!) Mario Badescu makes several different acne spot treatment products, each designed to combat a different type of acne. The Drying Lotion works best on whiteheads.

Since the spot treatment is pink, this is not something you apply before you leave the house! The best time to apply is shortly before bed. I have dark sheets, so I don’t really notice it smearing off at all while I’m sleeping, but those with lighter sheets (or sheets you don’t want this stuff on), just lay down a towel. I do find that this treatment works better and more consistently than other over-the-counter spot treatments I have tried. I wouldn’t say that it completely gets rid of your pimple overnight, but it does significantly reduce what you have.

You apply this product by dipping a q-tip into the glass jar, going all the way to the bottom (where the pink stuff lives), and then pulling it out. Apply it to any spots you need to treat, and you don’t really worry about rubbing it in or anything. It’s pretty easy, and the product dries within a few minutes, and it doesn’t come off that easily–it’ll take more than an oops moment to do it.

The product does smell like some real deal medicine/chemicals. If you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see a lot of heavy hitters like isopropyl alcohol, calamine, camphor, sulfur, salicylic acid, and so on. It works, and it doesn’t aggravate or cause the area to get worse, so I have no cause to complain.

This product IS drying, so use it with some discretion. I wouldn’t advise constantly treating the same spot over and over again. I do want to say that most acne spot treatments are drying, as this is the way they typically work, by drying the pimple so it goes away. I use Mario Badescu’s Hydrating Serum, which is like a super concentrated, clear moisturizer, on any areas that I feel are overly dry. I don’t find I get dry patches or noticeable dryness unless I’ve used it three nights in a row on the same spot (hence why I’ve learned and can tell you it’s better to alternate!). Hey, you do some crazy things when you want to get rid of your acne!

Next up in our Mario Badescu reviews… Buffering Lotion!

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…

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

It’s Mario Badescu Week here on Temptalia!! :) I’m finally reviewing the products that have taken my skin from omg-total-pizza-face to minimal acne/near clear. In just a week, I saw a noticeable difference; within two and a half weeks, it was 80% cleared. After a full four weeks, it was at 90% clear. I’d say I’m around 93% clear these days, with some minor flesh-colored bumps (still figuring those out, sigh!). But I think we can chalk the residual acne up to diet, hormones, or stress (or a combination thereof) for now.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser ($15.00)

This acne cleanser is designed to help prevent and heal your existing acne by using a salicylic acid-based formula. The product also contains aloe vera and chamomile to help reduce acne inflammation. First, I have to comment on the overall cost effectiveness of Mario Badescu products. This cleanser goes for $15 for 6 oz., but I can tell you right now that I fully expect my bottle of cleanser to last me at least three months (used both AM and PM), if not five or six, but I’ll be conservative. $5 a month? I can swing that for the sake of my skin!

It’s kind of a gel-based cleanser, but it isn’t super thick or anything. It is better for combination and oily skin (as recommended by the website), but I have normal-to-dry skin (drier after using acne products, surprise, surprise!). My skin does, however, get normal-to-oily towards the end of the day most of the time. It’s clear, and you only need a pea-sized drop to cleanse your face.

The cleanser doesn’t smell medicinal, but it doesn’t really smell medicinal. I think you can scent some of the chamomile from it at best. I don’t particularly look for a cleanser that smells good or bad, I just need it to do its job (I’d prefer no perfume in a cleanser, actually!).

I do find it removes makeup quite well, especially when used in conjunction with my Clarisonic. Whenever I wear heavy eye or lip makeup, I do make a point to remove makeup in those areas with a makeup remover wipe or Lancome Bi-Facil (on a cotton round). This helps ensure I don’t smear a bunch of eyeshadow and mascara all over the rest of my face, which is what would happen if you just did an all-over-cleansing, you know?

This cleanser does not foam up very much. In fact, I might even call it non-foaming, actually. One thing I notice is my skin is clean after using it, but I don’t get any residual tightness of skin. (You can always test a cleanser’s efficacy by taking a makeup remover wipe or toner on a cotton round and going over your skin — either will pick up dirt and makeup leftover.)

How do I use it? I run warm water, then splash my face to dampen it. I apply a pea-sized amount into my fingers, then apply it to my face. I use my fingers to gently massage the cleanser all over my face for about ten seconds or so. I run my Clarisonic through water for half a second, and then I use the Clarisonic over my face for two minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat my face dry.

My Mario Badescu skincare routine revolves around:

1) Cleansing with Acne Facial Cleanser
2) Toning with Special Cucumber Lotion
3) Oil-Free Moisturizer in AM/Hydrating Serum in PM
4) Buffering Lotion/Drying Lotion/Drying Cream (I pick one) as spot treatment as needed
5) Drying Mask 1-2x a week as needed

I will be reviewing the entire Mario Badescu skincare system I used to help restore my skin over the next week, and I will be reviewing in the order that I use the products! Stay tuned :)

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 →

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment ($6.99) is a product designed to treat acne problem areas. You have that raging zit that just won’t quit? That’s what a spot treatment is for. Spot treatments are generally known for also speeding up the zit-be-gone process. For those who missed it, I broke out something awful when I used a silicone-based primer, and to clear everything up is a challenge. I finally caved and went to the drugstore to get a spot treatment product (for some reason, there are no drugstores that close by–I’m so used to not having to drive more than a few minutes, not 10 or more–so spoiled).

While I was browsing the shelves laden with acne “miracle” products, I landed on Clean & Clear’s. I’ve used one of theirs in the past, and it seemed to work OK. I don’t really expect any spot treatment to be miraculous and reduce a monster zit to nothing in an hour or even overnight for the most part. I had already used 10% benzoyl-peroxide to no avail, and I think I must draw the conclusion that my acne always responds better to salicylic acid over benzoyl-peroxide. Most acne products contain either of these ingredients. 2% salicylic acid products are about as high as you can get over the counter, I believe, and this one is that.

The rest of the ingredients are harder to pronounce, and judging from the list, I’d say it’s probably not a great combination of ingredients. But my skin is made of tough stuff other than that terrible reaction to silicone (totally new experience for me–the worst kind, of course), so I got it anyway. The key with this product is to apply it in a thin area, and the product does say apply it one to three times a day. I opted for two, since it made the most sense; once before bed, and then once after I showered and put on makeup.

Beyond pimple reduction, this product also helps to reduce redness, which for me was a major concern. The last thing I want to do is put foundation on my face when it’s trying to clear itself up and heal, but at the same time, I don’t relish walking outside without it! So I usually end up with a light layer of foundation on. This helped make it easier to go out and not worry about how red those zits were. This product also did not dry out my skin at all, which is a huge plus. Many acne spot treatments will dry your skin out, but it is still important to use a good moisturizer along with the spot treatment to ensure you don’t dry out.

Sometimes the product seemed to work, sometimes it didn’t do anything. This product does seem to speed up the process, though. I would say that most pimples were reduced over two or three days, depending on their original size. Larger, angrier pimples may make it easier to see efficacy with this product, but I only had one or two of those. For the price, I’d recommend having one of these on-hand just to combat those pimples that just crop up. I don’t recommend spot treatments as a general rule for those who suffer constant breakouts, because at that point, it is more important to find a skincare routine that can really clear up your face. This is a temporary solution; a way to salve your self-esteem when a product has made your skin angry.

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

LUSH Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser ($9.95 for 3.5 oz.) has been my go-to morning cleanser lately, because it’s a mild exfoliating cleanser that’s perfect for both sensitive skin and everyday use. If you’re new to Lush, this might be a little more adventurous product type than other products they offer, just because it feels very natural/organic.

It’s sort of a gummy roll of product, which you take a pea or two peas-sized dollops out of. You add a little water, then rub it between your hands until it starts to break down into almost a paste consistency. Then you apply it like your usual cleanser–gentle, circular motions. Rinse, then pat your face dry, and you’re all done. Of course, you can choose to follow up with toner and/or moisturizer if you so desire.

Angels on Bare Skin includes the following ingredients: Ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis), Glycerine, Kaolin, Water (Aqua), Lavender Oil (Lavandula hybrida), Rose Absolute (Rosa centifolia), Lavender Flowers (Lavendula hybrida), *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume. The Rose Absolute is supposed to tone, while the Lavender Oil soothes your skin. I list the ingredient list so you can see what’s in the product, but also so you can have an idea as to why this product has a shelf life of a mere three months. This is not a product to stock up on! That huge chunk of product in the photo will surely last me at least three months!

The scent of Angels on Bare Skin reminds me of going out in the woods or a field–it’s not that compost heap “natural” smell or anything, but more like the invigorating scent of nature. I don’t mind it, though I know a few are put off by the scent of this. I don’t feel this removes makeup 100% (especially not eye makeup–hello, it does have ground almonds in it, aka not going near my eyes), so I prefer to use something else in the PM or else I’ll use something else to remove makeup, then follow-up with this cleanser in the PM.

Overall, I recommend trying this product, because it’s worked well in recuperating from my silicone-based break out. It hasn’t caused any additional acne, and I believe it has helped in reducing inflammation of those stubborn pimples (thus, making them appear less red and making me feel less self-conscious!). I’ll be posting more about my favorite Lush skincare products soon!