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 →

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Guerlain #847 Kiss Kiss Gloss

Quick Reviews:  Guerlain Champagne Pearl Kiss Kiss Gloss, La Mer The Hydrating Facial Mask, Urban Decay Razor Sharp Finishing Powder

What are quick reviews? I’m glad you asked!  Quick reviews are products that I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing but either photographed, swatched, and/or tested.

Guerlain Champagne Pearl (847) Kiss Kiss Gloss ($30.00) is a sheer, sparkly peachy beige with champagne and gold shimmer. It’s definitely a sheer wash of color on lips, but it provides tons of sparkle. I like it better over a lipstick, because it can bring out the depth of a lipstick that way, rather than just being a wash of shimmer on lips.  Rating:  B+

La Mer ‘The Hydrating Facial’ Mask ($250.00 for 6 applications) is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like I’m getting a spa facial at home. Granted, I’ve only had about two facials in my entire life, but I felt like I might have spent a little time on cloud nine when I relaxed with this on. There are two parts to the mask–an upper and lower zone–and together they infuse skin with moisture. My skin felt as amazing as it looked, and I definitely wished I had more than one mask to try, ha! The price is steep, but it’s La Mer–not surprising. I still find it completely funny that my Mom, who is not a beauty junkie, LOVES La Mer and says she can tell the difference when she uses something else I’ve given her. At least every gift giving occasion for Mom is easy :)  RatingB+ — love the product, value drags it down a bit.

Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder ($30.00) is a nice, translucent powder to help set your makeup, but I really hated the delivery system. It annoyed me so much that I only used it twice and completely forgot about it. It’s a sponge that goes over the “nozzle” that disperses the powder. It just strikes me as particularly unsanitary, but aside from that, I much prefer a brush for a delicate, soft application. I feel like this presses more product onto the skin than necessary to set, but it can also smudge or over-blend your makeup if you’re not careful. I tried to twist/pry off the whole contraption on top, but to no avail, and thus why it’s taken me three months to review.  Rating:  B- — the product itself is decent, the packaging drives me batty.

See product photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Temptalia is extraordinarily pleased to be able to bring you an exclusive review of the Clarisonic by renowned skincare esthetician and expert Renée Rouleau! It’s a very informative and thorough review and read with invaluable information for improving your skincare routine and ensuring it is doing the most for your skin.  You can visit her blog for more skincare advice and tips!

Is Clarisonic harmful or helpful? Renée Rouleau gives a review….

Let me start by saying that I normally don’t do reviews of other skin care products. I use my blog as a place to talk and share my thoughts on what I know to be true about skin from being an esthetician for 22 years, but I leave product reviews for all of the great beauty bloggers out there.

My reason for doing a review on Clarisonic is because I have observed changes in my client’s skin that use the brush, and some of the changes have not been beneficial to the health of their skin. Since my goal is to offer helpful skin care tips to allow you to become a smarter skin care consumer, I feel that this is important information to share.

Read all about proper exfoliation and how to use your Clarisonic to avoid damaging your skin! 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

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

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