Monday, June 21st, 2010

Korres Watermelon SPF 30

Sunkissed Without the Risk: Korres Watermelon Sunscreen

Just in time for summer vacations, I’ve been roadtesting several face sunscreens over the past couple of months, and the first one I want to talk about is Korres Watermelon Sunscreen SPF 30 ($28.00 for 1.69 oz.), which contains the active ingredients Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, and Zinc Oxide. (Learn more about sunscreen basics.)

Is it a broad spectrum SPF?

Yes! It includes active ingredients that cover the entire spectrum of UVA and UVB (290-400nm).

  • UVA Protection: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
  • UVB Protection: Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide

Ingredients: Aqua, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Isocetyl stearoyl stearate, Dipentaerythrityl hexacaprylate/hexacaprate, Isononyl isononanoate, Isodecyl neopentanoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside,Tribehenin PEG-20 esters, Tridecyl Salicylate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Callophyllum Inophylum Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Behenyl Alcohol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Isostearic Acid, Citrullus Lanatus (Melon) Extract, Glycerine, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Palmitoylproline, Magnesium palmitoyl Glutamate, Sodium Palmitoyl Sarcosinate, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Zinc Sulfate, Alumina.

After testing so many sunscreens these past several weeks, I’ve actually grown surprised at how few exclude silicone-based ingredients, so it is a nice to see Korres eliminate the silicones in this product! This sunscreen didn’t break me out, and it didn’t aggravate my skin whatsoever, but it wasn’t particularly comfortable to wear. It has a thicker texture, which makes it feel a bit heavy on skin initially, but I didn’t find it heavy overall.

It takes a solid fifteen to twenty minutes to absorb, but even then, it’s still a bit greasy and even a little sticky. I don’t think those with oily skin types would find this suitable for their skin, and those with drier skin types may find the greasiness is not very noticeable. However, with my normal-to-dry skin, I did have noticeable greasiness and a slight tackiness to the finish.

It doesn’t smell like sunscreen, though, and it has more of a watermelon scent that does a good job of masking it. I also didn’t get a white cast on my medium skin tone, which is always important to me, and it was easy to rub into skin (so it didn’t look white), but it just took awhile for it to fully sink in. Between the slow absorption time and the residual tacky/greasy feeling, it’s definitely not a favorite sunscreen, especially if you intend to wear makeup over it.

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

  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you don’t mind a little tackiness and are on the hunt for a silicone-free sunscreen, Korres Watermelon SPF 30 may be worth looking into.

Availability: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15 ($150.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a rich, luxurious anti-aging cream designed to be used during the day time, and the texture and name suggest its better for normal to dry skin rather than oily skin. Chanel’s description of this moisturizer is all about the elemi PFA, which “stimulates the production of tensin, improving the quality of skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, and helping to improve their bonds within the skin to create a firm supportive network.” The description goes on to say that the cream is “luxuriously textured and delicately scented, delivers a very soft, matte finish, with ultimate comfort, for a visible lifting effect.”

Chanel has a whole website dedicated to the Ultra Correction Lift line, which includes more information about the ingredients, science behind the line, and all that good stuff. The line also includes Day Fluid SPF 15 (lighter weight moisturizer) ($150.00 for 1.7 oz.), Total Eye Lift ($100.00 for 15 grams), Lips & Contour ($85.00 for 15 grams), Night Cream ($165.00 for 50 grams), and Concentrate ($165.00 for 1 oz.).

My Skin: I’m 23 years-old with some fine lines around my eyes, slight but noticeable lip lines when I smile, and a nasty canyon ever-deepening on my forehead. My skin type is normal-to-dry in the fall/winter and mostly normal in the spring/summer. I am acne-prone and suffer from minor breakouts but generally nothing major.

My general feeling for this day cream is, “I LOVE IT!” but I don’t know if I’d shell out $150 quite yet for it–I think I want to explore more of Chanel’s skincare line-up before committing, you know? It’s only the second Chanel skincare product I’ve tried (the other being their Exfoliating Mousse), so I think I’m going to look into trying some of their other products before making any hasty decisions.  Besides, can you really imagine me committing?

It feels absolutely heavenly on skin. It’s rich, but it doesn’t have the negative characteristics often associated with heavier, richer creams. It has that rich, luxe texture that’s instantly hydrating and soothing, but it absorbs in under a minute. I’ve never encountered such a rich-in-texture cream that soaks in that quickly!  As far as sun protection goes, it contains Avobenzone (3%), which covers the UVA spectrum, and Octinoxate (7.5%)., which covers the UVB spectrum.  (See our Sunscreen 101 post for more.)

Not only is it incredibly hydrating without being greasy or heavy, it holds up throughout the day–it actually has really helped keep my skin from getting oily towards the end of the day (mostly in the t-zone).  I’ve noticed that some of my fine lines seem to be less prevalent, too.  I only notice them when I’ve gotten less than four hours of sleep, and then I just look ragged, period (ha!).  This is actually the first time I’ve ever noticed a moisturizer doing anything visibly apparent on the subtle signs of aging I have. It does have a near-matte finish–it’s feels lightweight and has a soft, matte finish that’s soft, smooth, and not at all shiny or greasy.

I’ve been using it since late March, and I just finished the jar yesterday. (I also found out that the boyfriend has been stealing some periodically!) It’s important to me to look at the value of a product, not just the price tag–all in all, 1.7 oz. of the day cream lasted for about 2.5 months worth of daily application (just in the morning, since it has SPF). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: if you find the skin care products that work for you and they’re pricey, I really think the investment is worth it (as long as it doesn’t leave you on the street, of course–everything in moderation with a dose of common sense!).

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Based on my experience, it’s definitely worth looking into and grabbing a sample, if you’re able to, at your local Chanel counter.  I think it is best suited for dry and normal skin.

Availability: Chanel, Nordstrom

See more photos! Continue reading →

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Philosophy Hope In a Jar

The Tech Guy Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, continues to enjoy his romp here on Temptalia! He’s twenty-seven with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).  I couldn’t take Hope In a Jar (too greasy!), so I passed it onto poor, poor Shaun…

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan. Or maybe not! He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes to being my shoulder to cry on.

LET THERE BE… SHAUN! Yes, it’s me–the tech guy–and my ego has continued to grow enormously. I now find it hard to manage standard doorways, so I have to have Christine insult me a few times to lessen my ego enough to get through the door. She enjoys this, so it’s win-win!  Christine also found out about my ExoliKate fiasco and put alcohol into my contact solution. Touché, Christine… Touché.

If you don’t believe in aliens or extra terrestrial life, then you probably haven’t taken a look at the gelatinous ooze that is Philosophy Hope In A Jar SPF 20 ($18.00). It is the oddest form of life I’ve ever come across. I don’t know whether to eat it, wipe it on my face, or take it to the CIA for testing. This stuff is bizarre.

When you first open up the jar, you kind of think you’ve been duped: whatever was supposed to be in this thing had obviously passed its prime. I asked Christine and she said that nothing was wrong with it and told me to take out the trash. I proceeded to stick my tongue out at her and told her to take out the trash herself! She then kicked me in the shin, and I then hobbled to take the trash out.

After a week of shin icing, I slowly gathered up the courage to take another look under the cap of the Hope In a Jar. It still looked the same. I jiggled the container, and it almost jiggled its way out at me causing me to drop it and run out of the room. I came back to see if it had eaten its way out of the bathroom and on its way to torment Tokyo, but it was still there… Waiting… Biding its time…

I finally touched this part-liquid, part-solid form, and it felt weirder than you can imagine. It felt like what you think Flubber would feel like. Anyone remember Flubber? No? Darn you kids!

You touch this stuff, and it kind of feels like a solid mass. You don’t really understand how you are supposed to use it. Eventually you realize you can pierce it so it becomes more of a cream. It’s hard not to take too much because you have to grope at it to get it to unlock from its solid form. Once you get pass the initial shock and rub it on your face you come to find that it’s a solid moisturizer. I tend to prefer moisturizers that dry quickly and this is not one of those. I assume this could have something to do with the SPF that is added, or the fact that it is a living organism and it doesn’t want to be absorbed into your skin. Whatever the case, it takes a good deal of working into the skin before it fully absorbs.

The other odd thing about this moisturizer is that it apparently, uhh… Bleeds? And the blood is… Yellow… I don’t know what it is, but I eventually opened it up and noticed a yellowish liquid in the jar. If this is not more proof that this form is alive, then I don’t know what is.

Recommendation: This does a good job moisturizing, but getting a guy to sit there and rub his face for a few minutes to get it to absorb thoroughly might be difficult. Having a moisturizer with added SPF is always a plus, though.

See more photos… Continue reading →
Friday, May 21st, 2010

Alford & Hoff Moisturizer

The Tech Guy Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, has been kind enough to grace us with his first beauty review!  He’s twenty-seven with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan.  Or maybe not!  He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes to being my shoulder to cry on.

I take on this task with an open heart and an empty stomach because Christine won’t feed me until it’s complete.

I’ve been using Alford & Hoff’s Moisturizer for what feels like a year but is more likely about two to three months. It’s a very thin moisturizer and goes on smoothly. It dries as quickly and easily as it goes on and requires very little working into the skin. By the way, I’m just making up all of this terminology as I go, so forgive me if I’m sounding pompous.

What’s great for us guys is that the packaging is lightweight and easy to use. It’s simple… yet sophisticated. You also have to twist the top to get the pump to appear, so I played with that for a half hour before my first use. The most miraculous thing about this particular packaging was when I sadly finished the bottle.

I pulled and pried on the top of it to see if there was a precious morsel left in the bottle, but I found that it was COMPLETELY EMPTY. I don’t know what kind of space age science they used when creating this bottle, but it didn’t leave anything left. And when I say it didn’t leave anything left, I mean the thing was bone dry! I was prepared to take a hacksaw and saw it in half to get the precious bits left at the bottom, but to my amazement it was all gone.

I’ll give this moisturizer one critique–and it’s not so much a critique than a warning–if you’ve just shaved and plan to put this moisturizer on then you might want to reconsider. It BURNS!!!! If you aren’t used to using aftershave or some equivalent then be prepared for your skin to feel like it was pressed into a waffle iron. And what guy can’t relate to having their face pressed into a waffle iron? Am I right?!

The most painful part about this moisturizer isn’t the post-shave sizzle–it’s the price tag. It’s hard enough to get us guys to put on moisturizer but paying 75 bones for it will be nearly impossible. This is where the ladies come in!  If you want your man to moisturize, don’t show him the price tag. Just buy it and sneak it next to the toothbrush. You may also want to chip in the extra 5 bucks for the version with SPF, because a lot of times I had to choose between this moisturizer and a moisturizer with SPF and the SPF version almost always won unless I was moisturizing at night.

Recommendation:   While reluctant to conform to my “review structure,” I (Temptalia) was able to weasel out, “I liked it, but I can’t justify $75!”

Availability: Alford & Hoff

See more photos! Continue reading →

Monday, January 11th, 2010

My Winter Skin Savior from Origins

Origins Make a Difference Ultra-Rich Rejuvenating Cream ($36.00 for 1.7 oz.) has been my go-to night cream for the past month!  It has just enough richness in texture (it is most definitely a cream–thick, viscous) to leave me feeling like I’m really treating my skin right during the drying winter season, but it’s not so rich that it never sinks in.

As per usual, I tested this cream out for a full four weeks (I’m actually still using this, though–haven’t decided what to try next!).  I typically spend anywhere from two to six weeks trying out skincare products, but usually four to six weeks for creams and the like (cleansers, toners, etc. I don’t feel obligated to try for as long–particularly since I don’t review for anti-aging efficacy).  It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed any Origins products, but I’m really glad Origins thought to send this to me as a possible way to combat my dry, winter skin.

According to Orgins’ website, “Tested on the driest of skins. Clinically proven to instantly satisfy the deepest of thirsts. This rich, quenching cream owes its endless hydration to the drought-resistant resurrection plant, The Rose of Jericho. But there’s more. Reviving Trehalose virtually erases visible dry lines to restore smoothness. And oceanic Padina Pavonica rebuilds skin’s barrier to help keep moisture levels up to 100% all day. Discover why when it comes to renewing and refreshing dry skin, only nature can Make A Difference™.”

It’s recommended for dry skin, and I’d definitely say it’s meant for dry skin.  I have normal-to-dry skin, and I love the way it feels and keeps my skin moisturized all night.  I don’t think it’s too heavy for me at all, but during the winter, I can get dry patches if I don’t use the right moisturizer.   I think this is a moisturizer that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles–it’s not claiming to turn back the hands of time by 40 years, that it has all these funny patent-pending technologies that do this and that, etc. etc.  The only claim the product really seems to make it is it’s going to restore your skin’s hydration level.  The copy says “erases visible dry lines to restore smoothness,” but note it says dry lines so I don’t interpret that as aging lines, but merely more like the cracked-skin-look that dried out skin can have.

I was using a few other moisturizers during the late fall/early winter, and I noticed I was still getting dry periodically, but I haven’t had a single dry patch since using this cream, so my experience has been really pleasant.  It has this slightly citrus-y scent that has the smell of freshness.  I use this as a night cream, because it is a heavier cream and works best for me at night time, since I can really let it sink in and not worry about whether my makeup will work with it or not.  I find it sinks in within fifteen minutes or so; I always apply it about a half hour before I go to bed (which is typical of my night time regimen) or whenever I remove makeup–whichever comes first.  By the time I get into bed, it’s sunk in and my skin feels happy.

I’ve been loving it, and this is the first time in awhile that I’ve liked a skincare product enough not to want to switch over to something else to test out for you all!  I only wish it came in pump-packaging rather than a tub, but I can deal with it. I’ve been using it for a full month now and it’s maybe a third through (definitely not half-way, though), so I think each jar should easily yield two, if not three, months of daily usage–just keep in mind I only used this during the evening, so just once a day.  Also note that skincare is very personal, so my experience may not be the same as yours; your mileage may vary!  (Such is the nature of skincare, sigh!)

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: 3/5

Recommendation:  If you have dry skin, you may want to check this cream out.

Availability: Origins

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

For Normal-to-Dry Skin: Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer

Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer ($32.50 for 1.40 fl. oz.) is designed for normal-to-dry skin types and contains SPF 6. It’s supposed to give skin “24-hour intensive moisturiz[ation].” According to Korres, this moisturizer also contains Wild Rose oil, which “diminishes fine lines, hyper- pigmentation and resurfaces skin, revealing a soft and radiant complexion” along with vitiamin C to “inhibit free radical damage and brighten skin” and Phytic Acid, “a natural skin lightener.” Two other ingredients Korres calls out specifically are Grape Seed extract (rich in VItamin E) and olive oil. (You can see a full ingredient list at Korres’ website.)

Korres is a brand that considers themselves natural, and this product (based on Korres‘ website) has 85.1% natural content, and it does not contain petrochemicals, mineral oil, silicones, parabens, sulphates, or synthetic dyes. It does contain fragrance, alcohol, and nuts. It is suitable for vegans and contains no animal by-products or undergone animal testing. Also, even though it talks about diminishing fine lines, it doesn’t contain any retinol or AHAs (it’s purely from the vitamin C).

I started using Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer immediately after I finished testing their Thyme & Honey Cream, which I liked but didn’t love. I definitely liked the feel, scent, and results of Wild Rose better than the Thyme & Honey Cream. I felt like this had a very subtle scent of rose, but it was much less cloying (even when you sniff directly from the jar) than the honey scent from the other moisturizer.  I didn’t mind the honey scent since it didn’t linger, but it wasn’t exactly my favorite.

My favorite part about this moisturizer it is it applies very quickly, feels lightweight, and it does provide good hydration throughout the day. I don’t typically feel dry with this moisturizer at all, which is a great thing. However, I’ve noticed as I’ve concluded my testing phase (five weeks), I do have some drier spots–in the same places where I typically get them–so I think it’s about time for me to switch to a more moisturizing night-time moisturizer. While I was using this, I also felt like I wasn’t as oily at the end of the day, either.

I was using this AM and PM (I’ve been too lazy to come up with a dual regimen, I fail!), and it lasted me approximately five weeks. With the SPF (even though it’s minimal) in this product, I would consider it more of a morning moisturizer, and if it’s used strictly during the morning, you’ll find a jar lasts you two to three months, which is typical of a 1 oz. jar (from my experience). As far as pricing and value go, I think it’s about on par with mid-range skin care, and I get enough usage out of one jar to merit the $32.50 price tag.

I really like the Korres’ brand, and I like their mission and how they identify certain products. They also have a great labeling system and make it easier to understand what you’re getting (or not getting!) in your skincare. I do wish they’d use an airless pump (or perhaps a tube) for their moisturizer to keep it more hygienic, but I’ve personally been able to change my behavior and be sure to use open-jars more hygienically with a clean spatula.

I had a good experience with this moisturizer, and it kept and made my skin look smooth and like it had a glow from within. I’m not sure if I’ll repurchase this in the future, even though I liked it, because it didn’t do anything for my acne (it didn’t make it worse–it just didn’t eliminate it). It’s not technically supposed to, but it’s definitely something I’d love to find in a daily moisturizer so the hunt continues!

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: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you have normal-to-dry skin and are looking for a fast-absorbing, lightweight daily morning moisturizer, you may find Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer to be right up your alley.

Availability: Beauty.com, KorresUSA.com, Sephora

Page 4 of 9« First23456Last »