Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Summer Cleaning with Renee Rouleau — The Freshness!

Renee Rouleau Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel ($35.50) is a minty-fresh cleanser that leaves skin feeling refreshed. I’ve been using this as my AM/PM cleanser (not makeup remover, though) for the past three weeks, and I really just like the way it leaves my skin feeling, which is cooled and refreshed. It’s particularly been lovely for me as my seasonal allergies have been acting up!

Key Ingredients: Licorice Root Extract – anti-inflammatory properties, Peppermint Oil – vaso-dilator that increases circulation to bring fresh nutrients to the skin, Rosemary Leaf Oil – antioxidant skin energizer, Spearmint Leaf Oil – invigorating, circulation-boosting.

The texture is also thick without being heavy. It’s thick and gel-textured, so you don’t need much — really, you don’t — just one little squeeze and a pea-sized portion later and you have enough. Despite using it for three weeks, I’d say I’ve only used up about half an inch’s worth thus far, which means I anticipate a solid six months or more of usage out of this. It’s not a makeup remover, so while it removed my tinted moisturizer, it’s not going to get off long-wearing eyeliner.

I love Renee Rouleau, the woman behind the brand, even though I have never met her in person. (But seriously, sometimes I just want to go visit Texas so I can book an appointment at her spa so I can meet her.) She is inspiring as a female entrepreneur, but she gives real, meaningful skincare tips on her blog–actually written by her, gasp!–and it feels genuine.

Just for Temptalia readers, get Free Shipping with code TEMPTALIA from May 25th through the 31st.

The Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel is recommended for those with oily/combination skin and not for those with severe redness or rosacea. It contains no artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or sulfates for those concerned about ingredients. I have normal-to-dry skin typically, but in the summer I do get a little more normal-to-oily. I like this after a day spent outdoors or after a workout–very invigorating but not burning, stinging, or irritating–refreshing.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For those with oily/combination skin looking for a no-fuss, easy-to-use cleanser that cleans skin well while leaving you feeling fresh, I think you may like this one.

Availability: Renee Rouleau

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Mild Cleanser: Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser ($22.50 for 5.0 fl. oz.) is described as a mild, foaming, deep cleansing formula for normal to oily skin types to “purify and thoroughly cleanse” without stripping skin. It uses “Amazonian White Clay and finely crushed diatomaceous earth particles to gently remove surface debris, toxins, and oils.” It purports to help minimize the appearance of pores (read: it does not actually minimize them, just minimizes the appearance of them) as well. There are also a few additional products from the Rare Earth line-up: Pore Refining Tonic, Pore Minimizing Lotion, Pore and Cleansing Masque.

It’s a thick, slightly creamy, mostly white (perhaps, a little grayed white) cleanser that you squeeze out of the tube. I use about a dime-size amount of product, and I find it’s more than enough to thoroughly cleanse my face and neck during my morning shower. It lathers up just enough to give you the “it’s doing something” feeling, and my skin definitely feels clean post-shower, but it doesn’t feel dry, stripped, or tight.

This is probably one of the more gentle cleansers I’ve ever tried that’s also supposed to exfoliate. It has diatomaceous earth as its scrubby bits, but I found I could hardly feel them. If I wasn’t trying to think about all the nuances of the product for a review, I might never have really thought about it as an exfoliator whatsoever. I would certainly have to agree with Kiehl’s claim that it is a mild and gentle cleanser.

Bottom Line: I liked it a lot, and if I wasn’t regularly trying out new skincare products for review, I would consider repurchasing it. It’s a very mild cleanser that’s effective without being harsh. It doesn’t have too many frills, which is something I like – less frills, less over-the-top claims.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a gentle cleanser, you might like Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser!

Availability: Nordstrom

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Affordable Skincare: Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser ($6.99 for 5.5 fl. oz.) is a foam-based cleanser that feels lightweight, doesn’t dry out skin, and removes most makeup.

This review is one of those short and sweet kind, because the product itself is really simple.  Like many Aveeno products, it’s not about frills, it’s about meeting a need.  If I had to compare this to another high-end brand, I’d consider this similar to Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (Foaming).  This one comes in a bottle-shaped container with a pump to distribute the foam cleanser.  I find one or two pumps is all I need to feel clean.

It is advertised as a makeup removing cleanser, not just a cleanser, and it’s unfortunate, because it doesn’t quite remove all makeup.  Whenever I have a makeup remover, I test it against the long-lasting power of MAC Fluidline.  This removed some, but it didn’t remove all.  It does remove the majority of my makeup (eyeshadow, non-waterproof mascara, foundation), but it’s not necessarily the best choice for heavier or more long-wearing products.

I do, personally, prefer to remove heavier makeup with an oil-based makeup remover (like Lancome’s Bi-Facil) before I do my nightly cleanser, so it’s not a big deal for me.  It’s just something that does take away from this product’s score, since it doesn’t completely live up to its claims.

It smells like something soft and clean and a little sweet–it reminded me of baby shampoo, to be honest.  When I was trying to describe it, all I could think of was baby shampoo as my descriptor.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable cleanser that works well for daily dirt and grime and light to medium makeup.  If you’re looking for a cleanser to remove heavy eyeliner, you may want to look elsewhere.   I actually really liked it, and I was pleasantly surprised by it overall.  I’ll probably be switching over my boyfriend over to this from Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple when he runs out.  (Well, I’m going to have to see if Aveeno offers a foaming cleanser in this product line that doesn’t have “makeup remover” on it!)

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For an easy, lightweight cleanser that works well on daily dirt and build-up, this one is worth checking out!

Availability: ULTA

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Warm Up Your Mornings: Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub

Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Warming Scrub ($9.29 for 4 oz.) is a gentle exfoliator with a warming feel.  It uses shiitake mushrooms in it (this is where you might find your “anti-aging” properties).  Like most thermal products, it heats up when it comes into contact with water.  It has very fine, sand-like exfoliating beads that slough away dead skin without being overly abrasive nor too fine that you’re not sure if it’s doing the job right or not.  I’m not going to discuss the anti-aging claims, because even if they worked, I’d unlikely to be able to tell since I’m 23 and don’t have too many signs of aging yet (thankfully).  The skeptic in me doesn’t really feel that a scrub that you rinse and wash off in a few minutes is likely to turn back the hands of time in a truly significant way either.

I was really, really impressed by Aveeno’s Warming Scrub, and it’s definitely a new favorite and easily in line to become a shower staple.  As someone who pretty much lives and breathes new products, it’s always difficult to actually stick with a staple–but for the sake of argument, if I was a normal consumer, this would totally be a buy and buy again product.  It smells kind of like a more natural version of baby shampoo.  I couldn’t think of a better description for the scent other than that; it’s kind of clean, lightly sweetened, kind of natural.  I liked the scent quite a bit, just because it was soft, pleasing, and relaxing.

The exfoliating bits and bobs in this product seem gentle enough to be used several times a week, and I’ve encountered no problems using it about three or four times a week.  I use mine in the shower, so typically in the AM, so I don’t have to worry about getting off any makeup.  I’ve been a long-time user and fan of Aveeno products, so I’m happy to see this one work out for me as well.  I think I’ll have to pick up a tube and pass it along to my sister and see if she likes it.  (We both grew up using Aveeno skincare products.)

For a very long time, my favorite thermal scrub was Prescriptives’ Instant Gratification ($45.00), with Clean & Clear’s In-Shower Facial coming close as a more affordable option.  Instant Gratification is much more of a mask kind of product, because it’s not something you’re meant to use on a daily basis (I used mine about once a week or less), and it’s more abrasive than both the In-Shower Facial and Warming Scrub.  I really like that I can use the Warming Scrub more often, because I love that thermal/heat sensation that comes along with it.  It doesn’t last long (20 seconds or so), but it’s so relaxing and a great way to start your day off.  Smooth, soft, and radiant skin, courtesy of $9 well-spent!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  For an affordable, thermal exfoliating scrub, Aveeno has you covered!

AvailabilityDrugstore.com

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Review

MAC Style Black included two pieces of limited edition skincare — the ever-raved about Volcanic Ash Exfoliator and previously-mentioned-but-finally-released Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask.

I’ve been a big supporter of MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator since it released.  I loved it.  I sparingly used it so it would last as long as I could manage.  I managed to make two tubs last me a year or so (it was launched in 2008).  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for it to be re-released with Style Black!

The re-released Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is slightly different than the original in a few key ways, though the product still feels, smells, and does the same (for me!) as the original version did.  This release of Volcanic Ash Exfoliator uses both sugar (sucrose, specifically) and silica for exfoliating, whereas the original release only used sugar.  Before, when you scrubbed your face with the exfoliator, the sugar particles would eventually dissolve, but with the addition of silica, you’ll notice a slightly gritty texture the whole time.

From what I can tell, MAC was attempting to address some of the problems/concerns the product created when it was originally launched.  The tub packaging was both unsanitary and was not shower-friendly (which is the most convenient place to use this, because it can be messy).  The tub seemed to get a lot of water in it when I had it in my shower, which kind of resulted in the sugar dissolving faster than I’d like–and the heat of the shower also caused some of the sugar to dissolve, I’d imagine.   Since silica doesn’t dissolve, it also makes it a more shower-friendly ingredient when it comes to exfoliation!  The new tube packaging now makes it more hygienic and shower-friendly, as well.

Considering I ended up having half a tub of exfoliator without any exofliating properties because all the sugar dissolved, I’m happy it’s in a tube!  I also think that while it feels thicker, it’s also hard to judge, because before you were scooping it out of a jar so the two processes are different enough.  I also don’t have any of the old stuff left to compare.  It does, though, feel a little thicker.

In the end, it applies and feels like the original.  I’d say it’s a little grittier than it previously was, with the addition of silica, but it still doesn’t feel like a harsh, aggressive exfoliator.  It’s fairly gentle, and it should be used once or twice during the week, depending on how your skin takes to exfoliants.

Product value on this could be better, because they took out about an ounce of product and tacked on an additional fifty cents.  I can handle the slight price increase, but I’m less than impressed with the decrease in the product itself (particularly since it’s 3.4 oz.), since it represents about 20-25% decrease in how much you get for your money.

Bottom line: It’s a mild exfoliator that has an earthy, ashy smell that’s not unpleasant (at least not to me), nor is it like ohhh, yummy! , it’s just kind of the scent I’d expect from it.  It leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and may even give you a lil’ bit of that glow.  I still love it, but I’m not quite as in-love as I was originally (I think that’s more because of all the other exfoliators that I also love).  I definitely still recommend trying it out–ask for a sample if you’re unsure–because it is a fantastic exfoliator!

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you liked the original, I think you’ll still like this slightly reformulated version!  It’s a good, mild exfoliator!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Korres Materia Herba Toning Cleansing Foam ($27.00 for 5.07 fl. oz.) is a foaming cleanser that’s touted as being very natural/organic for you. Korres lists it as having 98.9% natural content, suitable for vegans, and doesn’t contain a whole slew of purported bad-for-you ingredients like mineral oil, silicone,s parabens, sulphyates, SLES, synthetic dyes, fragrances, or petrochemicals.

The cleanser is designed to use naturally derived salicylic acid to break up oil, bacteria, while providing mild exfoliation and controlling blemishes, according to the brand. As far as a cleanser goes, I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s a very no-frills kind of product. The packaging is simple, the product itself is simple. You pump the foam in your hands, apply to face, and massage the product into the skin to dissolve and remove daily build-up. The foam itself is white, and there’s no real scent to it – kind of reminds me of something light and airy but not fragrance-y. It just smells “natural” to me.

I like using this as a morning cleanser, because I only need a lightweight cleanser in the AM. It does a decent job at removing makeup, but it’s not excellent at removing heavy makeup (like longwearing eyeliner, mascara, etc.), so that’s yet another reason I use this in the morning rather than in the evening. It leaves my skin feeling clean without any tightness, though it can be a little on the drying side if you already have drier skin. It is great on combination and oily skin, though.

The packaging is functional, clean, and really just simple. The value of the product seems high to me, because I only need one pump of foam to cleanse my entire face. I suppose the only problem with solid packaging like this bottle is not having any idea when you start getting close to the bottom. I point this out because Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (the foaming version) is clear, so you always have an idea of when you need to buy more.

All in all, it’s a decent cleanser, and if simplicity is your style, this may be more suitable for you. For a morning cleanser, it moves up to pretty good, because it just gives you that nicely clean and refreshed feeling without being more powerful than you need.

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

Recommendation: If you like natural/organic lines and are looking for a simple cleanser, Korres Materia Herba may be something to consider.

Availability: Sephora