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The Surgery-Free Makeover – Botox, Restylane, & More

The Surgery-Free Makeover by Brandith Irwin ($24.00) seemed like it was going to be a very interesting and helpful book. When I read the introduction, I thought I was going to learn all about which ingredients are good, which ones are bad, what treatment options I had to combat different skin problems, etc. I couldn’t wait to read it! For a book this length, I shouldn’t be able to summarize it in less than a page. It should be so filled to the brim with knowledge that I couldn’t possibly reiterate it all for you in a review, thus inducing you to purchase your own copy.

It is just not the case. The book is well-written, and there is definitely plenty of knowledge in it, but I feel like it is not quite the book I was expecting. The author pretty much recommends Botox, Restylane (fillers), and laser treatments for nearly every skin concern. I don’t know about you, but when I think surgery-free, I mostly think about creams, peels, etc.–not so much Botox, Botox, Botox. This is the message I get from the book. So, on the otherhand, if you’re interested in these types of treatments, this book is worth checking out. She gives a lot of information about how each treatment works, how it works as applied to a particular skin concern, the risks, etc. In that aspect, it is informative. I understand I went into the book with a different idea as to what constitutes surgery-free, so perhaps it makes it harder for me to be objective, but it won’t stop me from trying!

Find out what else I learned (like what over-the-counter cream is best), and why you might be interested in this book!

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Philosophy Never Let Them See You Shine Collection

Shiny skin got you down? You should check out Philosophy’s Never Let Them See You Shine line. The line is a trio of products, consisting of a primer ($20.00), a cleanser ($20.00), and a scrub ($20.00).

The primer feels smooth, velvety – it sinks into the skin and helps keep your makeup looking fresher all day. The primer both mattifies and keeps oil away throughout the day, which allows you to reduce the shine and oily appearance on your face. My skin is pretty normal, but on occasion my forehead might get a touch oily. I found this never happened when I wore the primer.

Let me tell you about the cleanser and exfoliating scrub!

Somme Institute – Skincare Backed By Science

Somme Institute Mobile Travel Kit ($85.00) is the best way to try out Somme Institute’s 5-Step System without breaking the bank (plus, it is TSA compliant). The kit includes their Nourishing Cleanser, Transport, Serum, A-Bomb, and Double Defense products.

To get to where they are today, they evaluated and tracked ingredient efficacy in over 3,000 products from drugstore to private label to determine what works and what doesn’t. During their research, they used ultra violet photography to see skin damage not visible to the human eye. Their system uses technology called MDT5 (Molecular Dispersion Technology), which is supposed to allow the products to get into the deepest layers of your skin. MDT5 is a blend of six vitamins (A, C, E, D, B3, and B5).

Of the five products, I recently tried the Double Defense Day Moisture SPF30 alongisde with their Eye cream. The Somme Institute has caught me at a good skin week (well, month), so my results can never be shown to be dramatic. However, I have noticed a bit of wrinkling beneath my eyes though (which I have to say a big SAY WHAT? to), so I started using the Eye cream twice daily (AM and PM) on my under eye area. With consistent use, the line started to minimize and not appear as deep as it originally was. Though, stopping the routine has seen not a total reversion, but some.

I also used the Double Defense Day Moisture SPF30 each morning, and I liked it for its lightweight texture and the fact that is waterproof. It has both UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection, which is a total must for me. You also know that I prefer my moisturizer to have SPF in it, thereby eliminating an additional product. I love me a good multi-tasking product!

I haven’t been able to use the actual 3-step core system nor the complete 5-step system, so my results don’t speak very loudly about the line either way. At the moment, I’m not too tempted to try a whole new system (because my skin has been behaving), but if it starts acting up again, I think I might go this route.

To read more for yourself, check out www.sommeinstitute.com.

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MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Makes You Feel Amazing!

Last week, when I shared with you what I kept in my shower, I briefly told you of the merits of MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($19.00). It’s such a great product that it deserves its own, official review. Volcanic Ash is both a foaming and exfoliating scrub, which makes it different from the typical exfoliator (most do not have any foaming action). The exfoliants the product use are the volcanic ash and sugar crystals. The volcanic ash is from the island of Vanuatu, and it contains minerals and sulfur from “deep within the earth.”

While all that fancy-speak may or may not be marketing (or some combination of marketing and truth), one usage and the results speak for themselves. The exfoliators dissolve as you gently massage it into your skin, and when you add a little more water, the cleanser will foam up. I personally like that they dissolve, because it helps you time your cleansing; plus, you don’t get little grains or beads stuck on your face post-use. The only downside of the product is that it is a messy/dirty product in the sense that it is black ash that you put on your skin, so it’ll turn your face a dirty gray/black. This in turn makes it difficult to wash over the sink sometimes. I tend to use mine in the shower, because then I don’t have to worry about dirtying up my sink area. It’s really a minor point, because after a few usages, you get pretty good at rinsing and not making a mess.

I love this product so much, I wish I could use it everyday, but alas, you are only supposed to use it one to three times per week. You can use this product on your face or body, which makes it a multi-tasker. To be honest, I love it too much (and it’s sold out everywhere near me), I save it for my face. It’s a good-size tub of product (4.5 oz), but if I started using it for my body, I’d go through it much too fast. I really hope MAC brings this back and makes it permanent–it could be such a cult product, I know it.

Bottom line, this stuff makes your face feel soft as buttery silk. Get it if you can get your hands on it! (C’mon, $19? It’s a total steal!)

Olivella Cleansing Tissues Make Laziness a Thing of the Past

Olivella

The first time I wrote about Olivella, I had tried their Moisturizer Oil. This time I want to tell you about their Cleansing Tissues ($7.50/pack of 30), which are make-up removing towelettes. I know a few of you using the Oil Cleansing Method, so this might be an option for those who need a quick and easy method from time to time. I always advocate getting a package of makeup removing wipes to anyone who has lazy days–days where you don’t want to spend the time to properly remove your makeup. Wipes make it easy, and they make it ridiculously quick. You can do it while you’re promptly passing out on your bed at 1AM. Not only that, but they’re portable, so you can take them with you whenever you’re heading to your girlfriend’s place for the night.

Olivella’s Cleansing Tissues feel remarkably gentle on skin. A lot of times I want to use a wipe, because I get lazy, but then I don’t like how some of them feel on my skin. This is not the case with Olivella. They feel soft while you use them, and they leave your skin feeling refreshed and clean. There’s not much of a scent, either, which most wipes do have. The wipes contain 100% virgin olive oil (part of the philosophy of Olivella), which has proven to be incredibly beneficial to skin. Plus, I know there are quite a few international readers–Olivella is based in Italy, so they have a much larger distribution than some other brands I have reviewed.

So, not only are these better than the cheap drugstore ones I have laying around, they aren’t expensive. You get thirty in a package, and the price is $7.50–that’s 25 cents a wipe. I can afford that! By the way, makeup removing wipes are also fabulous for quickly cleaning brushes in-between applications; they’re so multi-functional, so they definitely have a place in my limited bathroom space!

Renee Rouleau – Balancing Skin Tonic Toner

I will be the first to admit that I am not a toner person. In fact, I didn’t even know what toner did until I started this blog! Since then, I have learned that adding a toner to your skincare system can be more beneficial than you think. Toners are used to help balance the pH level of your skin after you’ve cleansed it. They also help add moisture so long as they are alcohol-free, when used before applying your moisturizer.

If you’ve been a long-time reader, one of my favorite products is Renee Rouleau’s AHA/BHA Cleanser–it is an absolute staple in my skincare routine, and I would not give this up! (And gah!, I’m almost out!) I recently tried out Renee Rouleau’s Balancing Skin Tonic ($30.50), which is designed for oily/problem skin. RR has six different types of toners formulated for various skin types, which is great because it lets you customize your skincare system a bit more (who doesn’t want that?). The Balancing Skin Tonic helps to reduce acne-related bacteria, manage oiliness, and calm the skin–plus, it’s alcohol-free, so it shouldn’t dry out your skin like some other toners might.

I’ve been trying to include toner in my morning and evening routine, especially when I’ve been wearing a lot of makeup. So far so good. I’m really enjoying the Balancing Skin Tonic after I’ve used my AHA/BHA Cleanser, because it helps make my skin feel moist and refreshed. I also like that it helps take off any last bits of makeup I might have missed during the cleansing process. Best of all? This toner doesn’t dry out my skin (which, now that I’m more beauty-smart, I know is the result of its alcohol-free-ness!).

Now, while I adore my RR cleanser to bits, I can’t say that the toner has miraculously changed my skin or anything. It feels lighter than some other toners I’ve tried, and it does work well when I’ve applied moisturizer while this is still damp on my face (it’s a tip they give you). Maybe I’m not experienced enough in the vast world of toners to determine what makes an amazing toner stand out amongst the rest. What I can say is I think this is a good product, and it does its job–restores my skin’s pH level (assumedly, lol, no pH testing strips here…) and reduces acne-related bacteria.

Find your perfect Renee Realeau Toner at www.reneerouleau.com!

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