Sunday, May 27th, 2012


Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser

Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser ($60.00 for 125ml) is a quicker, almost like a lightweight, version of Eve Lom’s signature Cleanser, which I reviewed earlier here. Unlike the original, this one doesn’t require such a regimented cleansing routine: you don’t need to rinse multiple times, and there’s no nuslin cloth required. The idea is that you don’t need quite as heavy of a product in the morning as you would in the evening (to get rid of the daily dirt and grime, as well as makeup). The brand advises to warm a dab of cleanser between your hands and massage onto dry skin with circular movements, then leave on for two minutes, and finally rinse with water.

I think of all things to note with this product is the scent: it does not have mass appeal. I’m in the “I like herbal” scents camp, so overall, it’s tolerable, and I’m not bothered by it–but I probably have a much higher scent tolerance than others. So long as I can’t smell it for the rest of the day, it’s not a deal-breaker. I want to describe the scent as cloves, fruitcake, and grapes over a lightly medicinal backdrop. I only notice the scent when I’m applying it, but it doesn’t linger once I’ve rinsed the product off.

The consistency is thick and not quite greasy but there’s a oiliness that gives it good spreadability; feels almost like what you’d expect out of a mask product or slightly less thick compared to a balm. It’s not as thick or as heavy as the original Cleanser, but it’s definitely thicker and less viscous compared to your typical gel cleanser. There are papaya enzymes in the formulation, which help to gently exfoliate the skin (and this seems really, really mild, so it also seems in line with being appropriate for daily use). The Morning Time Cleanser does not have any small grains (which the original version has).

It does what it advertises: it’s a gentle, lightweight cleanser that refreshes the skin and leaves it feeling soft and ready for the next step in your routine. I wouldn’t recommend it as a substitute for the original Cleanser if you wanted it to remove heavier things like makeup, because what I noticed when I was using it was that it had a tough time cutting through sunscreen. I’ve been playing tennis in the morning, which means I don’t take a shower and get into my morning skincare routine until post-game, but I slather on a generous helping of thick sunscreen. This cleanser and that sunscreen (Shiseido SPF 55 Face Cream) were like oil and water: turned it to sludge and just did not want to cut through it at all.  On the other hand, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, which is also a gentle cleanser, cuts through the majority of it with little effort.

On days when I didn’t play tennis, I used this and enjoyed the way it made my skin feel. It always left my skin feeling almost lightly moisturized, which was such a lovely effect when I used this during the early spring.  While it was nice to use, there wasn’t enough about it that would make me repurchase it at this price point.  I’d rather leave more room in the budget for serums, creams, and the like, rather than a cleanser that’s not on the skin for very long and gets rinsed off.

The packaging is nifty: it comes in an opaque squeeze-tube, but the cap locks and unlocks the cleanser, so a dollop of cleanser will be squeezed out of a single hole if you twist it one way. It makes for a much more travel-friendly cleanser! Note, however, that when you lock it in place, it will push out additional product, so it’s best to lock it back into place and then swiping what’s been squeezed out for use.

Ingredients

HYDROGENATED POLYDECENE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, LANOLIN OIL, STEARYL ALCOHOL, CETEARETH 20, PHENOXYETHANOL, PAPAIN, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER OIL, HUMULUS LUPULUS (HOPS) EXTRACT, EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS LEAF OIL, EUGENIA CARYOPHYLLUS (CLOVE) LEAF OIL, EUGENOL, LIMONENE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, ETHYHEXYLGLYCERIN, DAUCUS CAROTA SATIVA (CARROT) SEED OIL, DAUCUS CAROTA SATIVA (CARROT) ROOT EXTRACT, BETA-CAROTENE, ASCORBYL PALMITATE.

Saturday, May 26th, 2012


Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom Cleanser ($80.00 for 100ml) is the brand’s iconic product, and there are numerous raves for it, so I was very curious to try it. It’s supposed to cleanse, tone, and exfoliate by using a “powerful blend of Egyptian chamomile, hops, clove, and eucalyptus oil together with cocoa butter.” It purports to remove “even the most stubborn makeup and eye makeup.” It comes with a muslin cloth that’s intended to be used (in fact, a key piece to using this product) alongside the cleanser.

For someone who loathes to spend time in the evening on their skincare routine, this is not the product for you. Just stop reading right now, because this is a cleanser for someone who has made their night time skincare routine a ritual and enjoys it. Eve Lom instructs you to massage the cleanser onto face and neck, then soak the muslin cloth in hot water, press the cloth against the neck for a few seconds–and repeat up to three times–before working the muslin cloth against the skin in small, circular movements to remove the cleanser. The brand recommends rinsing the cloth in cool water and pressing against the skin as a final step. It doesn’t take twenty minutes (think three to five), but it’s not a thirty-second cleanser, and it really needs a couple of minutes to do its job effectively.

Within all the instructions, there is talk about the hot cloth opening pores and the cold cloth closing pores. I was peeved with this, because pores do not open and close like a door. The way heat, or a hot cloth, and steam works is that it actually loosens any build-up and makes it easier to remove. I haven’t yet read anything about what cold water will do (since you can’t close your pores) other than feel refreshing. This is a common myth, but I hate seeing it on a skincare product, particularly from a brand that wants to create simple, highly effective products to market. (I don’t think I’d categorize this product as all that simple, given the extensive ingredient list and routine.)

Using this product really does feel like you’ve brought the spa home with you, both because of the slower, more methodical approach to cleansing, but also the general consistency, feel, and post-cleanse results. It has a thick, waxy consistency, like a balm, but it does spread easily enough (I’ve actually come across some body balms that feel like a tub of cold butter, which are a pain to spread). There are tiny granules in it, and these feel lightly exfoliating on the skin when you actually start removing the cleanser, but they do make applying to areas like the eyes less palatable.

The warmth of the cloth against the skin helps to melt the cleanser, which in turn seems to help it breakdown your makeup without having to scrub. I was skeptical, but it actually removed all traces of makeup wherever I applied it.  I just never liked the way it felt on the eyes, so I wasn’t exactly getting it on my lash line, you know? I ended up using a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover for removing along the lash line. Once you’ve rinsed off the cleanser, skin feels soft, smooth, and there is a feeling of very light hydration (I imagine from the oils and cocoa butter). I have read a few customer reviews from oily-skinned folks that skip moisturizer as a result.  I had no problems with breakouts, dry spots, or the like while using this over three weeks.

It has a very distinct scent of cloves, fruitcake, and grapes, with an overall medicinal flavor. The scent doesn’t linger or overwhelm, but it’s there. I’m more tolerant of scents, particularly ones that aren’t just a big blast of perfume (think Lancome), so I’m not bothered by it, but it was a little off-putting when I first started using the product. It comes in a plastic tub with a screw-top lid, so you’ll want to wash hands before dipping your paws into this (or using a clean spatula).

It’s an experience more than it is a cleanser, I’d say. There are plenty of cleansers that do just as excellent of a job removing dirt and makeup in half the time (I’m thinking along the lines of cleansing oils in particular) and leave skin prepped and ready for serums and creams. You could use a muslin cloth with any thicker cleanser for gentle exfoliation to get more of an experience out of your cleanser of choice. I’m anticipating that the ingredient list is not going to appeal to skincare enthusiasts, because of mineral oil, some of the natural oils included (like clove), and having five different paraben-based preservatives in it. I’m not knocking this–it works and feels great–but it’s pricey and more often than not, I reach for a shu cleansing oil over this when I’m wearing a lot of makeup.

Ingredients

paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil), cetearyl alcohol, peg-30 lanolin, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, aluminum stearate, theobroma cacao (cocoa butter), peg-75 lanolin, chamomilla recutita (chamomile oil), eugenia caryophyllus (clove oil), eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus oil), humulus lupulus (hops oil), phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, p-chloro-m-cresol, eugenol, isoeugenol

Monday, March 12th, 2012


Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($5.79 for 3.8 fl. oz.) is a dual-phase remover, which means there are two layers of product and once the bottle is shaken, it can be used.  You can put a little bit on a cotton pad or cotton cloth, then press against the eye area, and gently swipe away the makeup.  Whenever I use a product like this, I like to press against the lid, wait a couple of seconds (not long at all, just not instantly attempting to remove), and then proceed to remove.  This remover nearly removes all traces of eye makeup for me, but it does struggle a bit against waterproof mascara.

I found that it can and will remove waterproof and long-wearing products, but if you’re wearing a full eye of makeup, you’re going to need to go back a second time and focus on removing the waterproof mascara.  It seems to take a little longer for the remover to breakdown waterproof mascara, and I’ve been able to eliminate the second step if I press the cotton pad against the lashes for about 5-10 seconds and then move to the eyelid.  I also like dipping a cotton swab in this formula and rolling it along the lash line to get every last trace of eyeliner off (it’s more effective than rubbing a cotton pad against the lash line, which often causes excess remover to get into the eye).  This can also work to remove lipstick and lipgloss (if I have bolder lip color or thick lipgloss on, I always remove lip products separate!).

Despite the claim “no oily residue,” there is a definite oily film left behind.  It’s not a full-on oiliness, akin to that of using jojoba or olive oil as a remover, but there’s something there.  On the flip side, it is better than a tight post-cleanse feeling that can often leave skin feeling stretched and dry.  I’m not bothered enough by it that I feel a second cleanse is necessary, but I suspect that some will.  I would recommend this product as an eye or lip makeup remover followed by a facial cleanser.

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012


Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($7.99 for 25 or $0.32 each) are pre-soaked cloths that are designed to remove makeup, including waterproof mascara. Neutrogena says there’s no need to rinse after using one of these to remove your makeup. This kind of product is great for on-the-go removal (say at the gym), overnight bags/weekend trips (where you may not want to use liquid makeup remover or have it clogging up space in your quart-sized carry-on liquids’ bag!), or if you’re someone who isn’t so good at removing makeup before going to bed.

Generally, I use a liquid makeup remover to take off my makeup at night, because I usually enjoy my night time skin care routine, so it’s not a chore for me. However, I always pack wipes with me when I travel on short trips, whether by plane or car. I also use makeup wipes for spot makeup removal and if I’m wearing a really strong lip color, then I’ll use one to remove the majority of makeup and finish with a regular cleanser.

There are a lot of times where I will do several swatches in a row–say blush–and a wipe is easy and fuss-free to just remove the area I applied blush in. This keeps the rest of my face looking the same, and then I can just reapply foundation and then the blush on top. Neutrogena’s Towelettes do an excellent job at removing makeup and leaving the surface mostly matte and ready for the next swatch. The towelette is soft to the touch, and it’s thick enough to hold plenty of moisture (the cleanser) and stretches easily without tearing. I love that my skin doesn’t feel dry or tight after using it.

What’s shown in photos is technically a refill package, and you are expected to purchase your first batch of wipes in a plastic container ($8.99 for 25 plus the case). If you don’t use wipes often, you’ll want the case or to store these in a zip-top plastic bag to ensure they stay moist. I usually don’t have issues with the refill packaging staying sealed (it is adhesive), but over time, the adhesive can weaken. One thing I like to do is to store them upside down, because this helps to ensure the wipe that’s next in line to be used is very moist. If you do have a wipe that’s dried out or not as moist as it should be, you can add a little bit of your favorite cleanser or even just water to rejuvenate it a bit!  These are also heavily scented with a fresh, clean floral-like scent.

I really like these, and if you aren’t someone who uses wipes often, they’re a good, easy-to-find, budget-friendly option. I don’t buy these regularly, just because I like MAC’s Wipes better for my purposes (removing swatches usually), and I go through them frequently, so I buy the Bulk Wipes ($28.00 for 100 or $0.28 each). I prefer MAC Wipes for removing swatches, because they are more moisturizing, and when you’re removing makeup from the same patch of skin 10-20 times over a couple of hours, regular wipes often leave the area dry, scaly, and irritated. But what’s funny is that MAC Wipes do leave behind a slightly slick feeling after use–not really oily or slick per se, but what keeps my arm hydrated during a major swatch session is a noticeable feeling on the face, which you may or may not appreciate. I also can’t use MAC Wipes on the eyes (and they’re not recommended for use on the eye area last I checked!) without the skin feeling like it’s on fire.

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($15.00 for 1.7 oz. / $38.00 for 5.1 oz.) is recommended as a daily cleanser for all skin types as an “ultra-gentle face wash” that also contains “nourishing amino acids, rich soy proteins, and soothing botanicals to hydrate, calm, and tone.” According to Fresh, despite being a gentle cleanser, it “effectively removes every last trace [of makeup], even around the delicate eye area.”

It’s taken me months to flesh out this review, because I like this cleanser overall, but it’s hard to quantify why. (I usually jot down notes as I test products, then do some summary points at the end to later write a review with.) I wouldn’t say it’s the best cleanser I’ve ever tried yet I reach for it whenever I’m in-between cleansers. I think those who go heavier on the eye makeup will find it lacking in comparison to cleansing oils or dual-phase removers. I don’t find it breaks down longer-wearing products like eyeliner well enough to warrant skipping the eye makeup remover–good but not perfect.

As a general cleanser, I love it–it feels gentle and leaves my skin clean without being dry. It does do a good job of breaking down face makeup like foundation and tinted moisturizer, though. When I use my toner, it’s easy to see how effective the cleanser is, because there is really nothing left behind, except for around the hair line (which I don’t always get cleanser far enough up, just because I don’t want it in my hair, ha, so that’s more user error!). One of the best things about this cleanser is that it is incredibly gentle on the eyes; no burning, clouding, or stinging at all for me.

Fresh describes it as a creme gel formula.  It’s a semi-opaque gel that squeezes out of the tube, and while it foams, it doesn’t foam as much as your typical gel cleanser would. It’s more like a cross between milkiness and full-on lather. I’ve heard some complain about the scent, but I really like it–it smells like fresh cucumbers to me with a little hint of soy. It comes in two sizes, and honestly, I wouldn’t bother buying the larger size (at least not initially), even though it is less expensive by the ounce. It’ll take you several months to work through the 1.7 oz., and it might be better to 1) see how long it takes to get through a tube and 2) be able to get a fresh tube more regularly than using the same one 3 or 4 times as long. I use about a pearl-sized drop of product each time.

ingredients: Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian Rose) Distillate, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Water, Water, Coco Glucoside, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Xanthan Gum , PEG 120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Glycine Soja Germ Extract (Soybean), Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Cucumis Sativa (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Borage (Borago Officinalis) Oil (Borago Officinalis), Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Extract, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Helianthus Annuus Oil (Sunflower), Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polymethyl Methacrylate, PEG 40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Methylparaben, Sodium Propylparaben, Polysorbate 20, PEG 35 Castor Oil, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, BHA, BHT

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover
MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover ($18.00 for 3.4 fl. oz.) is touted as a gentle eye makeup remover that is “mega-effective” but will still “calm, hydrate, and soothe skin.”  It’s gentle, all right!  While it’s a dream to apply–no stinging, burning, or cloudiness–there’s not much else it does well.

As a makeup remover, it just doesn’t do an effective job at removing eye makeup, even just regular mascara and eyeliner prove to be too hard to handle for this remover. On waterproof/long-wearing products, it doesn’t cut through it at all. I’ve pressed a cloth soaked in the remover against my eye for thirty seconds or longer, but I wasn’t able to get much product removed. It seems to be okay for eyeshadow, but it doesn’t remove eyeliner, mascara.   Given that it’s an eye makeup remover but doesn’t excel at that task at all, I definitely do not recommend this product.

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