Estee Lauder’s Take It Away Makeup Remover Towelettes ($17.50)
Fast, effective and incredibly convenient. Portable, pre-moistened towelettes quickly remove makeup and freshen skin without water. Advanced cleansing emulsion hydrates, softens skin. Ophthalmologist-tested. Do your skin a favor: never go to bed with makeup on. Clean skin is healthy skin. Sweep over entire face. Firmly reseal package.
What makes it worth it: I am not one to fall prey to high-end brands with makeup removing sheets when I can purchase them for much less at my local drugstore. However, Estee Lauder’s take on the makeup remover towelette has me reconsidering my position. These feel luxe, soft, and delightfully gentle against my skin when I use them to remove my makeup. Unlike my drugstore finds, Take It Away makes removal effortless and a feel-good remedy for my skin on lazy days or when I need a quick remover. The scent that lingers behind is a subtle, clean aroma. I also feel like my skin doesn’t need instant rehydrating after using these, which I do notice is an issue when I use drugstore versions. I do like that they give you an actual package that is resealable, whereas many drugstore versions are tougher to reseal and may end up drying out the top one or two sheets (yes, you can get a container or ones that are meant to reseal, but those often are $7-10!).
Why you might pass on it: Budget. This is really the only reason to skip these, because they’re effective, luxurious, and effortless to use. If you’re looking to skimp somewhere, opt for drugstore makeup remover wipes and pick up Estee Lauder’s DayWear Plus (what, I love it! I must proclaim my new found love all the time!) instead.
Find this product at Estee Lauder locations, www.esteelauder.com, and www.nordstrom.com.
John Masters Organics Linden Blossom Face Creme Cleanser ($19.00)
Non-foaming, this is the gentlest cleanser available for the face. The softening properties of rose and linden blossom essential oils mixed with a light facial creme gently clean away dirt and make-up.
What makes it worth it: All John Masters Organics products must be 75-100% organic with no petroleum or non-carbon based products. They use as much organic ingredients as they can manage in their products, which means this is a line and product that is perfect for those wanting to protect the environment and still get their dosage of beauty. They also do not test on animals, use environmentally-friendly harvested ingredients, and no artificial colors/filters/fragrances can be used in their products. This is to be used as an extremely mild face wash for sensitive skin, and it is also great for removing makeup. For those who need extra moisturizing, it can be left on the face for an additional five minutes. This is so gentle that it is safe for babies! I like this product for its environmental stance, and I do like that it’s incredibly easy on the skin.
Why you might pass on it: I personally found the scent of this to be a bit too organic/natural for me. I could use a stronger note of citrus or something to subdue the scent of the natural ingredients. If you’re not into organic beauty, you might find the price point a bit too high for your liking.
Find this product at John Masters Organics boutiques and www.johnmasters.com.
Pacifica Candles’ Soy Candles ($13.95), Pillar Candles ($15.95), Soaps ($6.95), Perfumes ($19.95), Body Butters ($15.95)
Each Pacifica candle is made by hand, using century-old techniques to ensure the highest quality. We combine our exclusive Pacifica Wax Blends, in your choice of food-grade paraffin or vegetable-based soy, with the highest quality lead-free cotton wicks, essences, and essential oils in order to create the perfect candle. Our fragrance oils and candles are made in small batches, allowing us to test our products regularly to guarantee perfection. We believe that if a candle isn’t burning well, quality ingredients are being wasted. Regardless of the wax, whether it is soy or paraffin, there must be a perfect balance between the wick size and the fragrance to create a safe, healthy, and smokeless candle.
What makes it worth it: This is not an organic line per se, but it definitely has the right feel and attitude about the environment, natural ingredients, and being a responsible member of its community. Pacifica uses soy and food-grade paraffin in its candles, while they make sure to use natural essential oils rather than artificial fragrances. They have excellent employment policies, are working towards becoming a carbon-neutral company, and take inspiration from culture around the globe.
- Soy Candles: I tried Tibetan Mountain Temple (a spicy, woody scent of Patchouli, ginger, and orange) and Bourbon Island Vanilla (another spicy scent with lots of vanilla). I enjoyed both scents, but my boyfriend adored the latter. I felt like Tibetan Mountain Temple reminded me a lot of the holidays and the cinnamon-y goodness you find in so many holiday baked goods.
- Pillar Candles: I tried Roman Frankincense (a blend of Frankincense, Myrrh, a touch of mandarin, and I’d swear some lime) and Vietnamese Ylang Ylang French (a lovely blend of ylang ylang, lavendar, and a touch of vanilla). I’m totally reminded of Sprite or 7UP with Roman Frankincense, but I like the scent – pleasing, very masculine. The Vietnamese Ylang Ylang French pillar candle is a much subtler scent, entirely feminine and just lovely.
- Natural Soaps: I tried Spanish Amber (deeply woody, amber scent) and Wild English Clary Sage (a great clean scent with clary sage notes). Spanish Amber definitely takes me back to a few moments of my childhood; it’s a strong scent, distinctly masculine. Wild English Clary Sage is also a bit masculine in its scent, but it’s such a clean scent that I know it’s a must-have for any family or couple who shares soap.
- Perfumes: I tried Waikiki Pikake (a blend of jasmine and sandalwood) and Tuscan Blood Orange (sweet orange and mandarin scent with a touch of strawberry). I found both of these scents to be pleasing, and they come in these petite containers. They make great stocking stuffers!
- Body Butters: I tried Sandalwood (rich Indian sandalwood that’s very woody with top notes of sweet orange) and French Lilac (a delightful spring scent of fresh lilacs and magnolias). Sandalwood is a very rich, heady scent, which reminds me of seduction. I felt like French Lilac makes a great spring scent, because it’s light and airy and utterly floral.
Why you might pass on it: You can’t. They have a wide variety of products, scents, and the prices are perfect for this holiday season. Everything feels a bit luxe and rich, and I really can’t wait to wrap these up and hand them out to my family and friends this year.
Find Pacifica products at www.pacificacandles.com and www.nordstrom.com.
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk ($24.00)
Gentle, milky makeup dissolver removes even long-wearing facial makeup and sunscreens, then tissues off or rinses away with water. Residue-free formula leaves all skin types soft, comfortable. Massage over dry face with fingertips, avoiding eye area; rinse or tissue off. Residue-free formula leaves all skin types soft, comfortable. For all skin types; ideal for drier skins.
What makes it worth it: It feels ultra gentle on skin, which makes it a viable option for those with sensitive skin prone to irritation with harsher cleansers and makeup removers. Clinique’s line of skincare is absolutely a great bet for those with sensitive skin as well as those who just want to start treating their skin better It offers a full line of fully tested and effective products at a lower price point than most high-end beauty lines. You get a fairly large bottle for the price you pay, and it would definitely last you over a month, if not over two. It broke down some of my makeup, but I felt like it didn’t really get all of it. (How do I test this? I use the cleanser or makeup remover, and then I take a makeup removing wipe to see what was left behind!)
Why you might pass on it: I don’t feel that this product breaks down my makeup as well as it could; I guess I would prefer something with a richer lather with a thicker, creamy texture.u The texture of the Cleansing Milk is really that of milk. It has a lot of liquidity and it runs thinly across your face. It feels a bit messy because of how thin the product is. To be honest, I’d much rather go with their Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm or one of their Foaming Creams instead.
Find this product at Clinique counters, boutiques, as well as www.clinique.com and www.nordstrom.com.
Who doesn’t love a little facial pampering? And who doesn’t love to beat the price of an at-spa treatment with a do-it-yourself one? Earthen’s InstantPeel is a non-irritating exfoliant that does it gently and quickly to remove impurities and residue from the skin to give it a lovely texture and renewed vibranchy. Each box contains six single-use packets, which might not sound like a lot, but it just depends on your skin type. If you have oily skin or normal skin use this once every other week or so; and for dry skin, use it once every three weeks. It is an all-natural exfoliant, and it is hypoallergenic, which makes it excellent for those with sensitive skin. No burning, scratching, or harshness whatsoever; it is a gentle exfoliant that does its job!
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Our first cleanser on the chopping block is Renee Rouleau’s AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel, which was actually the winner of Allure’s Best of Beauty 2007 “Editor’s Choice” award. I was skeptical about a cleanser with jojoba beads really working as a makeup remover, but it’s actually quite efficient in doing that task.
The AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel is a soap-free, sulfate-free, non-drying gel that uses AHAs, BHAs and gentle Jojoba beads to smooth the skin and fade post-breakout marks while clearing clogged pores. The AHA/ BHA Cleansing Gel is great for polishing tired-looking skin and combating clogged pores. Recommended for oily or acne prone skin types.
- Salicylic Acid – an antiseptic and exfoliator
- Grapefruit Oil – contains Vitamin C, antioxidants, and is an astringent
- Jojoba Beads – gentle skin polisher
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