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

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

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Lather Up: Chanel Mousse Exfoliante Purete

Chanel Mousse Exfoliante Purete ($45.00 for 5 oz.) is a creamy cleanser/extremely mild exfoliant that cleanses, controls oil, and lightly exfoliates without ever missing a beat. If the name as you a little confused, the English version is Exfoliating Cleansing Foam Purity + Anti-Pollution.

Don’t let the sticker price fool you, this product does its job amazingly well and one tube will last you at least six months, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it lasted longer. It took me several tries to figure out just how little I needed–no more than a pea-size amount for face and neck. It foams up with little water and goes on thickly (but doesn’t feel heavy). All I know is I didn’t expect to fall in love with a Chanel cleanser, but I definitely did! This has quickly become a Temptalia household staple.

There are small exfoliating beads in this product, and I really do mean small. They’re small and sparse enough to make it incredibly mild in exfoliation, so you can easily use this product once or twice a day (AM/PM). It smells clean, that’s the only way I can describe it, and really does an excellent job at leaving my face clean.

It’s not the best at removing more lasting makeup like eyeliner and mascara and will leave a few traces behind, but I find most cleansers to do this (particularly since I don’t want to exfoliate my eyelids or anything!). Whenever I wear heavy eye or lip makeup, I use a separate makeup remover to handle those before I get into the facial cleansing anyway, so for me, it’s not a make or break point.

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

Recommendation: If you want a cleanser that feels luxurious AND delivers and still holds value… consider Chanel’s latest addition to the Precision skincare line-up.

Availability: Nordstrom

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

See size comparison photoContinue reading →

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Get Silky Smooth Skin with Lush Ocean Salt Cleanser

LUSH Ocean Salt Cleanser ($18.55 for 4.2 oz.) is an exfoliator that uses both fine and coarse sea salt to exfoliate the skin.  It also contains vodka and lime as well as avocado butter.  This scrub leaves skin feeling incredibly clean and smooth.  It smells kind of like a margarita to me, a little sour.

While the sea salt can be coarse, the best part about the product is you can always add a little more water to dilute the scrub and make it better for your skin.  I didn’t find I needed to do more than wet my face prior to using the scrub.  Do make sure you mix-up the scrub when you get it, though, as all of the salt mixture lies on top when you initially purchase the product.

For me, I feel like my skin looks and feels smoother, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been dried out either.  It’s soft, hydrated, and looks and feels smooth.  No breakouts or reactions, nor irritated skin in the least bit.  One pot of this stuff will last you quite awhile (I’d probably opt for the smaller size), because a little goes a long way.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you have normal skin and are in the market for a new exfoliating product, look into Lush’s Ocean Salt. I think the grit of the sea salt might be a bit too harsh for more sensitive skin, though adding more water will help to dilute it.

Availability: LUSH Cosmetics

Have you tried Lush’s Ocean Salt before? What did you think?

See more product photosContinue reading →

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