We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
  • SaksEarn a Gift Card up to $900* with code AUG2017, ends 8/17.
  • Sephora4X points for Rouges (early access 8/11), 3X points for VIBs, and 2X points for BIs on all purchases, starts 8/11 and ends 8/19.

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

Finally Permanent: MAC Volcanic Ash

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($28.00 for 3.4 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “foaming, cleansing, and exfoliating scrub” that combines volcanic ash with sugar crystals that is supposed to “leave skin feeling soft and comfortable clean.”  I’ve been using this exfoliator on and off since it originally debuted in 2008.  Why any brand rolls out limited edition skincare (or other basics, like eyeliners) is beyond my comprehension, but MAC has continued to re-release this exfoliator since 2008 in limited edition quantities.  However, it is now part of the permanent skin care range!

It’s a great sugar-based exfoliator that spreads evenly, easily, and foams and lathers up as you massage the granules against the skin.  It definitely leaves skin feeling softer and smoother in a few minutes.  I prefer using this in the shower–still, even after all these years!–because it also has black ash that creates a gray lather, so it’s easier to make sure it all washes off and doesn’t stay on the counter in the shower.  I haven’t used it in awhile, but I used it last night, and it is really a nice exfoliator.  It’s simple, effective, and is fun to use.

I was looking back on my previous reviews, though, and I was surprised to see the price of this change $8.50 over the past three years ($9.00 over the past four years, plus after it re-released the first time and they put it in a new tube and did some reformulation, quantity went down by about 25%).  It’s more observation than anything else, as I so rarely repurchase skincare that I’m not certain how much other brands increase skincare prices year-to-year.  MAC says it can be used on both face and body, but at this price point, it’ll just be a facial exfoliator for me!

See more photos!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream Review

Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream
Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream

Just Hydration — by Lancome

Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream ($45.00 for 1.70 oz.) is supposed to have 24-hour hydration with a greaseless formula and contains SPF 30. For sun protection, the active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0% (UVA I) Octisalate 5.0% (UVB), and Octocrylene 7.0% (UVB), so the formula does not protect against the UVA II portion of the spectrum.

I tested this moisturizer out, because I was looking for something with sun protection (ideally, you’d get full coverage across both UVA and UVB ranges, but many sunscreens miss UVA II part of the UVA range) and didn’t want a juiced-up, hopped-up, anti-aging-injected moisturizer.  I just wanted something that would 1) hydrate and 2) offer sun protection.  I’ve really tried to reduce the amount of skincare products I accept for testing, particularly those that are high in price and (supposedly) high in anti-aging benefits, only because I don’t feel I can adequately test the efficacy of most anti-aging products to ever justify a three-digit price tag. Check back with me in a few years 🙂

It’s a thicker cream, but I felt like it was rather airy–so it didn’t feel too heavy in the jar, and it had great spreadability on the skin.  It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to absorb and really sink in, but after that, it didn’t feel greasy or look oily.  I wore it under makeup numerous times, and it did not interfere with the longevity of my foundation, blush, and the like.  It hydrated incredibly well; my skin never felt dry or parched in the evening, and some lighter-weight moisturizers can leave me anxious to take off my makeup and apply my night cream.

The elephant in the room is the amount of fragrance Lancome puts into their skincare range.  Bienfait Multi-Vital was tamer compared to other Lancome moisturizers I’ve tried, but it was still heavily scented with a nondescript floral perfume.  Because of the scent, amount, and that it’s not a scent I want to tolerate, I wouldn’t purchase a jar.

I only tested this product for three weeks or so, because Shaun was also using this (mostly) daily in the morning as well–much to my dismay, of course.  If I don’t give him his own moisturizer, he will steal whatever is my section of the bathroom counter!  I did ask him for feedback, and he didn’t have much, other than it has a strong scent but otherwise worked well for him.

NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer Review

NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer
NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer

Lightweight, Quick-Absorbing – Better for Oily Skin Types

NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer ($58.00 for 1.8 oz.) is described as a “aqua-rich gel-cream that hydrates, revitalizes, and fortifies the skin.” It’s supposed to improve water retention, keep skin feeling supple, and soften fine lines. It is “synthetic fragrance-, paraben-, alcohol-, and oil-free,” according to NARS.

In the past, I’ve used the previous version of the Aqua Gel, and I really liked it and found it hydrating enough for my skin type (normal-to-dry; more normal when I was testing this, as it was during the summer). It was actually a go-to product for when my skin was getting dry.  A lot of what was great about the original is true here:  it’s lightweight, feels and glides on like a gel-based moisturizer, and it sinks into skin quickly.  There is a little tackiness, though, even if it doesn’t look or feel oily/greasy.  It has a pleasant smell, though it is hard for me to articulate the scent; it’s not quite herbal, but it seems natural enough–not perfume-y or anything like that.  During the summer, it was lovely against the skin, because it felt cool when applied.

This moisturizer is much more suitable for combination to oily skin types; it was not hydrating enough for me with normal skin.  I would use it at night, but my skin really need more moisture.   NARS says it is ideal for normal to combination/oily skin types, but it was not hydrating enough for when my skin was normal. I went through the jar in a month, only using it at night time.   I didn’t notice an impact on minimizing or softening fine lines.

Ultimately, this is a lightweight, quick-absorbing gel moisturizer that will be most suitable for oilier complexions.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser Review


NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser

A Truly Gentle Cleanser

NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser ($29.00 for 4.2 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “gentle, non-drying cream cleanser with a luxurious lather designed to pamper the skin while washing away makeup and surface impurities.” NARS says it is best for normal, dry, and seasonally dry skin, and it is “synthetic fragrance, paraben, and alcohol” free.

I’ve been using this for the past two and a half months as my morning cleanser (though I have also used in the evenings on occasion). It’s lightweight, incredibly gentle, non-drying, and a little goes a long way. I don’t even think I’m half-way through the tube, even though I consistently use it every morning. It lathers up quickly, but it’s not at all drying. I tend to have normal-to-dry skin, which is more normal than not during the spring/fall, but it gets drier as we head into winter. What I like most about the cleanser is really how genuinely gentle it is; there’s no stinging or burning sensations if this gets into your eyes at all. It doesn’t cloud your eyes or anything like that either.

It cleans well, and for something marketed as “gentle,” it is surprisingly effective at removing makeup. It won’t get long-wearing products off fully, but it did break down my liquid foundation well.  I like how it leaves my skin post-cleanse, which is soft and supple–my skin never feels stripped or dried out. Given how long I’ve been using it, and how much is left, the price tag stretches out a bit.

I have one complaint, though, and for me, it’s enough to look for something else:  the packaging.  It looks sleek, and just looking at it, everything seems in order.  Using it, however, is another matter.  It leaks cleanser, mostly into the cap, but unscrewing the cap will leave you with half an inch of cleanser just sitting inside the cap.  More leaks out as you unscrew the cap, so then the cleanser runs over and down the sides.  A little goes a long way, and it’s hard to get just a little out, because it has such a fluid consistency.   I feel like a lot of cleanser has gotten washed down the drain as a result, and it keeps the tube perpetually slippery and sudsy.  It might be better with a pump or if you could stand it on the opposite side (the tapered end).

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed the cleanser itself, but the packaging made it hard to use and wasted product.

Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Creme SPF 15 Review


Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Creme SPF 15

Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Creme SPF 15 ($35.00 for 1.7 oz.) is designed for daily use to “protect against UV rays and environmental aggressors.” It’s supposed to moisture and yield “healthy, radiant results” without leaving any residue behind. The brand says the formula is suitable for normal, combination, and sensitive skin.

I have normal-to-dry skin, though I’m rather normal right now, which is typical for me during the summer months. I’ve been using this as my day cream for the past month, and I’ve got about one or two uses left. It comes in a plastic jar, and the cream itself has a thick, creamy consistency that feels on the richer side. What I’ve noticed is that while it feels fantastic on, it can take awhile to absorb into the skin. It consistently would take at least a half hour to sink into my skin, and until then, there was a slightly greasy feel to my skin; I could just touch it and know it wasn’t absorbed yet.

Now, I know the first thing that comes to mind is to use less product, and you totally could; it would sink in faster, and you don’t necessarily need a whole lot, but if you’re using this as a sunscreen, you absolutely do need a certain amount. Most recommendations say 1/2 teaspoon for face and neck. If you’ve never measured out what a 1/2 teaspoon looks like of your favorite sunscreen, I highly suggest you do so. You’d be surprised! So if you want to get the SPF 15 protection, you can’t skimp on the product.

It has an herbal and citrus-scent that some might love, others can hate. I like more herbal-scented products (and loathe more generically perfume-y ones, e.g. Lancome) myself, and I didn’t get strong whiffs of the scent while I wore the cream during the day. I mostly smelled it while I was applying the product to my face.

Overall, I liked the cream, and it’s something I’d consider using it again, if it had a slightly higher SPF rating.  The texture is really appealing, because it has that luxurious, rich feel and hydrates my skin excellently.  That hydration lasts all day long–my skin isn’t parched at bed time–and that’s what a good moisturizer should do. If it didn’t have SPF, it could be a really nice night cream. Based on my experience, I think this is more suitable for normal to dry skin, because it did feel a bit heavy for my skin in its more normal state.

Ingredients

Octinoxate 7.5%, Oxybenzone 2.0%, Meridamate 3.0%. Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oilm, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Squalane, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan Oleate, Carbomer, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Eugenol, Annatto (CI 75120).

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster Review


Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster ($48.00 for 1.0 oz.) is described as “a high-potency vitamin C complex that prevents and corrects signs of aging while promoting brightness.” It contains 10% vitamin C. This is supposed to firm, smooth, feel weightless, absorb quickly, and provide “instant and long-term hydration.”

I had enough trouble with the packaging that was enough to make me hesitant to repurchase this in the future, even if it turned out to be a really good product. It’s great that it’s packaged in a glass bottle with a pump dispenser, and it is slim and travel-friendly from a size perspective (but it’s glass, so it’s much more fragile). The problem was with the pump–it pumps out far more product (I’d say almost twice the amount) than you really need. I always ended up having so much excess that I was still looking for places to apply it after my face and neck (and I don’t think my neck needs any brightening serums right now).

UPDATED @ 6/9/2012:  The folks at Ole Henriksen sent me a replacement bottle after reading this review, and I absolutely wanted to update this post to update you on my packaging woes. The bottle I have now is infinitely better! A full pump is certainly too much for me, but you can easily control how much you pump out. I was able to go a quarter, halfway, or three-quarters of the way.  I’m really glad they fixed the packaging problem, and it was actually a problem and not a feature! (e.g. Benefit Stay Don’t Stray didn’t really acknowledge it as a problem and tried to “teach” us how to tap the pump with a video even) It’s also really awesome to see a brand keeping tabs on what is being said about their product range.

It’s just a product where a little goes a long way, particularly because of how easily spreadable the liquid is. It’s very water-like, so it just slides and covers well without needing gobs of it. I often had the product harden in the pump as well, which meant that when I went to pump it, not only did I get too much, but it flew to parts unknown (OK, the counter top, my eye once, but you get the picture!). I went through a 1 oz. bottle in about three weeks of morning-only usage.

The Truth Serum smells like orange citrus, not overly sweet but definitively orange-like, so it’s pleasant, subtle, and doesn’t linger for long. Like the brand promises, it also absorbs incredibly quickly (that’s probably my favorite characteristic). I saw some brightening and evening out of my skin tone. I know some people have recommended using this alone, as both a serum and a moisturizer, but Ole Henriksen suggests applying face/eye cream after this (per the brand’s website). If you have oilier skin, you could more likely get away with it as a two-in-one product. My more normal-to-dry skin needed this plus a regular moisturizer.

With vitamin C products, you have to watch for whether it includes a stabilized form of vitamin C, which this does in the forms of sodium ascorbyl phosphate and calcium ascorbate. Sodium hylauronate is an excellent hydrator, which is likely one of the reasons that those who need less hydration can get away with using this alone.  The product has a lot of excellent, good-for-your-skin ingredients, and the best part is that they’re listed in the beginning of the ingredient’s list–not the end!

For me, I did not have powerful enough results to merit $48 every three weeks, but brightening can be difficult to “see” and gauge, especially when after only three weeks (but I had no more!).  It gets a lot of rave reviews (and a friend’s raves is what made me want to try it myself!), though, and with the strength of the ingredient list, I’d still say it’s worth checking out.

Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Calcium Ascorbate, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Oleth-20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Benzophenone-4, Sodium Hyaluronate, Thioctic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow 6

On Instagram