Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel
Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel

Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel

Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel ($38.00 for 1.0 oz.) is a moisturizer that can be used for either day or evening application. Boscia states that this moisturizer is supposed to “refine skin texture, brighten skin clarity, and minimize the look of pores instantly and over time.” According to the brand, it’s suitable to all skin types.

It’s gel-based, which means it has a thicker consistency (like a gel!) but feels very lightweight and as if you’re applying cool water against the skin. It absorbs very quickly, which is a huge plus if you’re short on time. The first time I used it was an interesting experience, because it really is a charcoal-hued gel, so it’s not quite opaque black, but it’s darker than gray (it actually does contain charcoal, which helps to absorb excess oil and detoxify). It spreads easily across the skin, but it does tint the face gray while it absorbs, but once it’s dry, it disappeared. Initially, I felt a very subtle cooling sensation, less than a tingle I’d say, that disappears soon after it starts. It hydrated well in some ways, but I did still have some drier patches on my cheeks that this just couldn’t combat. If you have more combination to oily skin, this would be more appropriate, given the ingredients Boscia calls out and the gel consistency–you definitely won’t feel like there’s a greasy layer of moisturizer on.

There’s a discernible scent of roses, charcoal, and something a little herbal. It’s not heavy, strong, nor does it linger. I smelled it mostly when I pumped it onto my fingers but almost not at all when I applied it. It’s packaged in an opaque black tub with an airless pump mechanism. I couldn’t find a way to unscrew the top (short of prying it open, but me trying to pry something over with a sharp edge is likely to result in a trip to the emergency room), so I don’t know if anything was left over, but it felt empty.

My only real problem with this was that it ran out quickly–less than a month of evening usage–and it wasn’t all that surprising once I read how much the jar contains. A lot of moisturizers contain around 1.7 fl. oz., but this one only contains 1.0 oz. That makes this much pricier than it initially appears! I felt that I needed to use as much of this product as other moisturizers, so it wasn’t one of those “a little goes a long, long way” such that you would use less of this and therefore it would last longer than other moisturizers.

Ingredients

Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Isononyl Isononanoate, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Glycolic Acid, Menthyl Lactate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Citrus Paradisi Seed Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Carbomer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Silica, Ceteth-25, Oleth-10, Charcoal Powder, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tropolone, Potassium Hydroxide

Monday, May 21st, 2012


BareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer

BareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer ($30.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) is available in two formulations: one for normal to dry skin, and one for combination skin. It’s supposed to be hydrating, lightweight, and leave skin protected and smooth. The brand also states that it is “[c]linically proven to reveal brighter, smoother, younger-looking skin, reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and remarkably smaller-looking pores.” Both formulations are also available in a sheer tint, but I don’t know how much of a tint it gives–the one I tried was for combination skin without a tint.

Like the rest of the BareMinerals skincare range, there’s a light, herbal-like scent that seems like it’s the ingredients’ coming through, rather than a specific scent added. It’s innocuous and very subtle, and I don’t notice it at all once I’ve applied it. This product uses physical blockers (5% Titanium Dioxide and 3% Zinc Oxide) to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Physical blockers can be great for those who tend to be more sensitive to chemical sunscreens. I’ve definitely worn this under foundation in photos, and I didn’t see any major reflection back, but physical blockers can sometimes cause this to occur. If you have a major event, I’d opt for chemical blockers, but during regular life, the preference is yours based on what you find works for your skin!

I liked it! The consistency is thin, more like a lotion, so it spreads easily and evenly across the skin. It feels lightweight, not greasy, and it absorbs in three to five minutes. My face never felt dry at the end of the day, which was surprising, because this is one of the lighter moisturizers I’ve tried recently. Whether I wore it alone or under makeup, it performed well. I can’t speak to anti-aging benefits and the like, but it did keep my skin looking hydrated, healthy, and smooth. It’s packaged in a plastic cylinder with an airless pump. You can unscrew the cap, too, and all that is left is about a usage and a half at best (which is pretty good!). I was able to get the last bit out with a cotton swab.

It didn’t work for me as a sports sunscreen, because when I played tennis, this broke down under sweat more easily than a thicker, heavier sunscreen (I’ve been using Shiseido’s for tennis). I’ve been outdoors just walking about, and it’s held up better, but if you’re going to be really active, I didn’t think this did as well there. I liked it much more as a daily moisturizer. I’m a huge fan of bareMinerals’ skincare range–it’s actually a range I would consider returning to if I stopped testing skincare. It’s affordable, effective (for me), and doesn’t seem to over-promise. I also really appreciate that they include their ingredient lists online.

Ingredients (Normal to Dry)

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Aluminum Hydroxide, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil [Anthemis Nobilis], Ascorbic Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Citronellol, Coumarin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract [Epilobium Angustifolium], Ethylhexylglycerin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil [Glycine Soja], Isostearic Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil [Lavandula Angustifolia], Lavandula Hybrida Oil [Lavandula Hybrida], Lecithin, Limonene [Limonene], Linalool [Linalool], Phenoxyethanol, Phytoecdysteroids, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Potassium Sorbate, Propanediol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sinorhizobium Meliloti Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Soil Minerals, Stearic Acid, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethylhexanoin, Trisodium Edta, Water [Aqua], Zizyphus Jujuba Seed Extract [Zizyphus Jujuba].

Ingredients (Combination)

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 5.0%, Zinc Oxide 3.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Acacia Dealbata Flower/Stem Extract, Alumina, Aluminum Stearate, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matracaria) Flower Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Ectoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Geraniol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Isostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Jojoba Esters, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Soil Minerals, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Water (Aqua), Xanthan Gum

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

NARS Makeup Removing Water
NARS Makeup Removing Water

NARS Makeup Removing Water

NARS Makeup Removing Water ($28.00 for 6.7 fl. oz.) is touted as a “soap-free, oil-free, and alcohol-free water that removes face makeup and tones the skin.” It’s designed as a gentle formula that will remove makeup without requiring rubbing while hydrating skin.

This is a makeup remover that is best described as gentle, because that’s exactly what it is, but it’s gentle in every way–it’s not at all stinging, burning, or irritating against the skin, even around the eyes, but it doesn’t effectively remove all your makeup, though it specifically says “face makeup” and not “eye makeup.” Just so we’re clear: if you wear eye makeup, don’t expect this to do much in the way of removal. All it ever seems to accomplish is smudging everything around so I end up looking like a mutant. I absolutely would not use this for anything that says “long-wearing” on the label, including face products.

If you want it to remove light eye makeup, I recommend gently pressing the soaked cotton pad against the eye for 15-20 seconds before gently swiping the product away. You’ll get some, perhaps not all, of it removed this way. Since NARS only mentions face makeup, it seems like you would use something else for your eye makeup.  It’s packaged in a clear plastic bottle with a flip-top that has a small hole so only a little comes out as you need it.

I’d like to think of this as a remover for gentle makeup; lightweight, natural, soft makeup. However you want to term it, it’s good for lighter makeup days. For me, it seems to remove face makeup as well as most facial cleansers are able to. It is very lightweight, doesn’t feel greasy or oily against the skin, and it leaves no trace of residue once it’s wiped away with a cotton pad.  It really does have the consistency and feel of water.  There’s no stickiness, dried, or tightened skin after use either. I need at least two cotton rounds in order to remove about 90% of face makeup.

It doesn’t remove makeup completely, so I feel like I need to use a cleanser afterward or yet another cotton pad. Instead, the way I found this product to be most useful was after using a facial cleanser, so it was only responsible for removing the last bits of makeup the cleanser missed.  You can definitely use it before your cleanser of choice as well–I just like the visual of seeing the cotton pad just picking up stray makeup and knowing that my face is clean.  It also means that I can better control how much product or how many cotton pads I use since this doesn’t eliminate a cleanser.

It’s a superfluous product in my night time regimen; it seems to be an extra step rather than a time-saver. It’s more like a toner in my routine–I don’t trust it to remove all my makeup, but I do trust it to remove the last vestiges of makeup my cleanser may have left behind (especially around my hairline and the edges, which I don’t push the cleanser around as much so it doesn’t get into my hair!). And if I’m going to use NARS as my toner, I’d rather use their Hydrating Freshening Toner, which is one of my favorites, and for me, hydrates a little better than the remover does.  You can use this like you would a toner, however, so if you do include one in your regular routine, this could take its place.

If you’re a fan of micellar water removers, then you may enjoy this recently launched remover by NARS, which has all the earmarks of one (though I didn’t see NARS officially billing it as such).  There are quite a few on the market internationally and a couple in the U.S., but this year has shown major progress with more U.S. brands launching their own versions.  Bottom line:  this will remove some but not every type of makeup, particularly longer-wearing products and heavier textured products, but it’s not designed to do much more than it does do, so it’s pretty good from that standpoint.

Ingredients

Water, Butylene Glycol, Peg/Ppg-35/40 Dimethyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trisodium Edta, Cucumis Sativus [Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract], Chamomilla Recutita [Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract], Sodium Hyaluronate.

Monday, March 12th, 2012


Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($5.79 for 3.8 fl. oz.) is a dual-phase remover, which means there are two layers of product and once the bottle is shaken, it can be used.  You can put a little bit on a cotton pad or cotton cloth, then press against the eye area, and gently swipe away the makeup.  Whenever I use a product like this, I like to press against the lid, wait a couple of seconds (not long at all, just not instantly attempting to remove), and then proceed to remove.  This remover nearly removes all traces of eye makeup for me, but it does struggle a bit against waterproof mascara.

I found that it can and will remove waterproof and long-wearing products, but if you’re wearing a full eye of makeup, you’re going to need to go back a second time and focus on removing the waterproof mascara.  It seems to take a little longer for the remover to breakdown waterproof mascara, and I’ve been able to eliminate the second step if I press the cotton pad against the lashes for about 5-10 seconds and then move to the eyelid.  I also like dipping a cotton swab in this formula and rolling it along the lash line to get every last trace of eyeliner off (it’s more effective than rubbing a cotton pad against the lash line, which often causes excess remover to get into the eye).  This can also work to remove lipstick and lipgloss (if I have bolder lip color or thick lipgloss on, I always remove lip products separate!).

Despite the claim “no oily residue,” there is a definite oily film left behind.  It’s not a full-on oiliness, akin to that of using jojoba or olive oil as a remover, but there’s something there.  On the flip side, it is better than a tight post-cleanse feeling that can often leave skin feeling stretched and dry.  I’m not bothered enough by it that I feel a second cleanse is necessary, but I suspect that some will.  I would recommend this product as an eye or lip makeup remover followed by a facial cleanser.

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25
Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25 Review

This past winter, Bobbi Brown released Extra Repair in balm-form.  (It seems like these were reformulated, because based on googling, these were out previously.)  The range calls out two specific ingredients that make this extra awesome:  Argireline Peptide, which is said to “boost the natural production of new collagen and elastin in the skin, gradually helping to restore natural structure and firmness,” and Clary Sage Ferment, which is said to “improve cell renewal and repair barrier function, so skin looks more radiant and is more hydrated.”  Both come in glass jars with black screw-top lids, so for those who prefer airless pumps, pumps, or tubes, these are not for you.

The Extra Repair product range is focused on anti-aging, which is hard for me to weigh in on.  I have some fine lines around my eyes, but I don’t have too many aging signs yet.  The majority of my review is based on texture, feel, hydration, and the like.

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm ($90.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a thick, gluey cream that really is like a potted lip balm.  Using this put me in such a quandary; at first, I loathed it, because it was such a pain to apply and never fully absorbed, yet it provided excellent hydration.  I cannot emphasize how thick, tacky, and gluey the texture of this product is.  I couldn’t even imagine using this during the day, because it doesn’t fully absorb for me, even after two to three hours.  It’s possible very dry skin types will have skin that just drinks this in, so absorption may be better.  I’m having very dry skin at the moment, and it’s still not quite absorbing for me.

I have just a couple of uses left in this jar, and I’ve been using it consistently as a night cream for about two months.  The best way to apply, which is still annoying, is to warm the product up between your fingers, dab a little bit all over your face (like spots), then pat those dabs into the skin with finger tips.  I don’t recommend attempting to spread the mixture, because it really doesn’t like to move around.

My skin always felt really plump and hydrated the morning after using this, and despite the heaviness, I never had an issue with breakouts.  The amount of acne I had was about the same or slightly less than my normal range.  The texture took some getting used to, as did the application method, and I’d still prefer a cream that was spreadable.  The jar format is less desirable, especially at this price point and with anti-aging ingredients.  It has a citrus and herb scent; I like it, but I tend to like those types of scents–others may find it less appealing.  FutureDerm has an excellent post on Argireline Peptide and its background, which may not be the most effective topical anti-aging ingredient (also see Cosmetics Cop).

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm SPF 25 ($90.00 for 1.7 oz.) is the daytime companion product to the balm, but the texture of this is completely different.  It feels like a heavier cream, but it doesn’t feel too heavy for daytime wear if you have drier skin. I really liked this one, and I was sad when the jar finished (about a month, but my fiance was also using this for daytime wear).  Despite the heaviness, it absorbs after five to ten minutes, and it leaves skin feeling hydrated all day long.  I never began my night time skin regimen feeling like I needed more moisture.  It has the same citrus and herbal scent.

The active ingredients are Octinoxate (7.5%), Homosalate (5%), Oxybenzone (3%), and Avobenzone (2%). Octinoxate, Homosalate, and Oxybenzone cover the UVB spectrum, while Oxybenzone covers part of the UVA range and Avobenzone covers part of the UVA range (the ingredients themselves then cover 290-400nm). Cosmetics Cop has a good breakdown on whether avobenzone is stable or not. SmartSkincare also has a good overview of avobenzone and stability.

These were product samples, so they did not come with boxes, therefore I don’t have the ingredient lists at my disposal. I was able to find this ingredient source for the SPF 25 version.  On that note, I continue to be frustrated by the lack of ingredient lists published online by brands themselves–especially with skincare.

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012


Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($7.99 for 25 or $0.32 each) are pre-soaked cloths that are designed to remove makeup, including waterproof mascara. Neutrogena says there’s no need to rinse after using one of these to remove your makeup. This kind of product is great for on-the-go removal (say at the gym), overnight bags/weekend trips (where you may not want to use liquid makeup remover or have it clogging up space in your quart-sized carry-on liquids’ bag!), or if you’re someone who isn’t so good at removing makeup before going to bed.

Generally, I use a liquid makeup remover to take off my makeup at night, because I usually enjoy my night time skin care routine, so it’s not a chore for me. However, I always pack wipes with me when I travel on short trips, whether by plane or car. I also use makeup wipes for spot makeup removal and if I’m wearing a really strong lip color, then I’ll use one to remove the majority of makeup and finish with a regular cleanser.

There are a lot of times where I will do several swatches in a row–say blush–and a wipe is easy and fuss-free to just remove the area I applied blush in. This keeps the rest of my face looking the same, and then I can just reapply foundation and then the blush on top. Neutrogena’s Towelettes do an excellent job at removing makeup and leaving the surface mostly matte and ready for the next swatch. The towelette is soft to the touch, and it’s thick enough to hold plenty of moisture (the cleanser) and stretches easily without tearing. I love that my skin doesn’t feel dry or tight after using it.

What’s shown in photos is technically a refill package, and you are expected to purchase your first batch of wipes in a plastic container ($8.99 for 25 plus the case). If you don’t use wipes often, you’ll want the case or to store these in a zip-top plastic bag to ensure they stay moist. I usually don’t have issues with the refill packaging staying sealed (it is adhesive), but over time, the adhesive can weaken. One thing I like to do is to store them upside down, because this helps to ensure the wipe that’s next in line to be used is very moist. If you do have a wipe that’s dried out or not as moist as it should be, you can add a little bit of your favorite cleanser or even just water to rejuvenate it a bit!  These are also heavily scented with a fresh, clean floral-like scent.

I really like these, and if you aren’t someone who uses wipes often, they’re a good, easy-to-find, budget-friendly option. I don’t buy these regularly, just because I like MAC’s Wipes better for my purposes (removing swatches usually), and I go through them frequently, so I buy the Bulk Wipes ($28.00 for 100 or $0.28 each). I prefer MAC Wipes for removing swatches, because they are more moisturizing, and when you’re removing makeup from the same patch of skin 10-20 times over a couple of hours, regular wipes often leave the area dry, scaly, and irritated. But what’s funny is that MAC Wipes do leave behind a slightly slick feeling after use–not really oily or slick per se, but what keeps my arm hydrated during a major swatch session is a noticeable feeling on the face, which you may or may not appreciate. I also can’t use MAC Wipes on the eyes (and they’re not recommended for use on the eye area last I checked!) without the skin feeling like it’s on fire.

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