Thursday, July 21st, 2011


Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist

Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist

Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist ($31.00 for 3.3 fl. oz.) is described as “a daily replenishing mist with the calming scent of lavender that tones and soothes the complexion. Ideal for dry skin types.” To use, shake the bottle and then gently mist the face (and closing eyes and month) “to fresh and tone.”

The real downside to this product without having even tried it? Alcohol is listed as the second ingredient, and alcohol-based toners often do more harm than good, as alcohol can be drying. I looked through the ingredient lists for some of Jurlique’s other Toning Mists and found alcohol listed in those, too — and it’s unfortunate, because this particular formulation is touted as hydrating.

Admittedly, I didn’t read the ingredient list before initially testing (lesson: don’t assume anything, no matter the brand), and after a week or so of using this before bed, I was wondering why the current skincare regimen I was using suddenly seemed less effective. This was the only product I changed-up, and my skin felt a little drier.  It could be weather-related, too — I don’t think this product did all that much for me either way. Since my skin was feeling tighter and less hydrated, I stopped using it after that point.

The spray concept is interesting, but it doesn’t distribute evenly.  If you spray from too far away, the air around you gets most of product, while if you spray too close to your face, then you end up with a lot of product in a small area.  It feels refreshing when sprayed, particularly after a walk outdoors and the like, but a spray of cool or room temperature water will do the same. The lavender scent is very earthy and herbal, pleasant without being synthetic or sweetened.

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Thursday, July 14th, 2011


Coola Sport SPF 45

Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45

Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45 ($32.00 for 5 oz.) smells like a tropical cocktail and the beach. It just has that “beach” scent with a fruity sweetness that seems part mango, part something else. It’s pleasant and certainly masks any “sunscreen” scent. This particular sunscreen is available unscented, though. I needed a sunscreen to bring to my parents’ house, because I knew I was going to be outside watching Mellan swim, and I found this in my SPF bin and threw it in my bag.

active ingredients: Octocrylene (Sunscreen) 7.50%, Octinoxate (Sunscreen) 7.50%, Oxybenzone (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Homosalate (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 3.0%

It’s a completely chemical-based sunscreen (although zinc oxide is listed as the last ingredient–presumably the concentration is so low that it doesn’t make it on the active ingredients list or isn’t used as sunscreen here). For a great dialogue about different chemical sunscreens, check out the discussion in this post. Avobenzone has been said to be unstabilized, but the presence of octocrylene will make it photostable (Reference).  For their claims of natural/organic ingredients, check their website, but the version I’m reviewing here is slightly different (possibly an older formulation).

As far as a body sunscreen goes, this isn’t cost-effective at all (you should be using about an ounce of sunscreen to cover the entire body, which means this tube is the equivalent of five uses) (Reference). Chemical sunscreens, like this one, should be applied approximately thirty minutes (Reference). From a consistency/texture standpoint, I liked it enough–it spreads easily over the skin, and it dries down within a few minutes to a non-greasy finish. It doesn’t get greasy in the heat, but it did feel a little sticky after an hour outdoors.  Coola says it can be used on face and body, though, so perhaps, for some, it would be a possible option.

It’s nice but not something I’d purchase in the future, just because I don’t need a high-end sunscreen for my body (I’m more willing to for facial sunscreens, since I take photos often and sometimes breakout).  We all skimp somewhere!

inactive ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, PVP/Eicosene Copolymer, Sorbitan, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Root Extract (Organic), Nylon-12, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Dimethicone, DEA Cetyl Phosphate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Acrylates/Steareth 20 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, PEG 100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Organic), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Flower Extract (Organic), Cucumis Sativa (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (Organic), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit (Organic), Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil (Organic), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Extract (Organic), Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil (Organic), Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract (Organic), Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract (Organic), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract (Organic), Parfum, Equisetum Hyemale (Horsetail) Extract, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Extract (Organic), Arnica Montana (Montana Flower) Extract (Organic), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Extract (Organic), Zinc Oxide

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Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Renee Rouleau Skin Drink
Renee Rouleau Skin Drink

Renee Rouleau Skin Drink

There is something to be said about trying a multitude of products from a variety of brands, because it gives you a better appreciation for the qualities that make products great, good, just okay, and skippable. I originally reviewed Renee Rouleau’s Skin Drink ($33.50 for 0.50 oz.) back in 2008, but I’m reviewing it again here today after recently testing it. Skin Drink is a serum with hyaluronic acid, which is supposed to hydrate the skin. This is actually a product I keep in my carry-on for flying, because I find it so lightweight, refreshing, and effective in a short period that it works well for traveling. It also includes allantoin, which is a botanical extract with supposed calming properties.

It feels like a cross between water and a gel; it’s nowhere near as thick as a gel, but it’s not quite like water. I use two pumps for my face, and depending on how dry my skin is, I might use it in the morning or evening. I use it before and after traveling, and I find that my skin reacts much less to changes in climate since adding this to my travel routine. The serum smoothes across the skin easily and absorbs instantly–no greasiness, burning or stinging sensations. It’s gentle and soothing, and it helps my skin get through winter when a moisturizer I’m testing out isn’t cutting it.

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($15.00 for 1.7 oz. / $38.00 for 5.1 oz.) is recommended as a daily cleanser for all skin types as an “ultra-gentle face wash” that also contains “nourishing amino acids, rich soy proteins, and soothing botanicals to hydrate, calm, and tone.” According to Fresh, despite being a gentle cleanser, it “effectively removes every last trace [of makeup], even around the delicate eye area.”

It’s taken me months to flesh out this review, because I like this cleanser overall, but it’s hard to quantify why. (I usually jot down notes as I test products, then do some summary points at the end to later write a review with.) I wouldn’t say it’s the best cleanser I’ve ever tried yet I reach for it whenever I’m in-between cleansers. I think those who go heavier on the eye makeup will find it lacking in comparison to cleansing oils or dual-phase removers. I don’t find it breaks down longer-wearing products like eyeliner well enough to warrant skipping the eye makeup remover–good but not perfect.

As a general cleanser, I love it–it feels gentle and leaves my skin clean without being dry. It does do a good job of breaking down face makeup like foundation and tinted moisturizer, though. When I use my toner, it’s easy to see how effective the cleanser is, because there is really nothing left behind, except for around the hair line (which I don’t always get cleanser far enough up, just because I don’t want it in my hair, ha, so that’s more user error!). One of the best things about this cleanser is that it is incredibly gentle on the eyes; no burning, clouding, or stinging at all for me.

Fresh describes it as a creme gel formula.  It’s a semi-opaque gel that squeezes out of the tube, and while it foams, it doesn’t foam as much as your typical gel cleanser would. It’s more like a cross between milkiness and full-on lather. I’ve heard some complain about the scent, but I really like it–it smells like fresh cucumbers to me with a little hint of soy. It comes in two sizes, and honestly, I wouldn’t bother buying the larger size (at least not initially), even though it is less expensive by the ounce. It’ll take you several months to work through the 1.7 oz., and it might be better to 1) see how long it takes to get through a tube and 2) be able to get a fresh tube more regularly than using the same one 3 or 4 times as long. I use about a pearl-sized drop of product each time.

ingredients: Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian Rose) Distillate, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Water, Water, Coco Glucoside, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Xanthan Gum , PEG 120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Glycine Soja Germ Extract (Soybean), Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Cucumis Sativa (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Borage (Borago Officinalis) Oil (Borago Officinalis), Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Extract, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Helianthus Annuus Oil (Sunflower), Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polymethyl Methacrylate, PEG 40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Methylparaben, Sodium Propylparaben, Polysorbate 20, PEG 35 Castor Oil, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, BHA, BHT

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+
Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+

Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+

Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+ ($34.00 for 1.7 fl. oz. or $56.00 for 4.2 fl. oz.) is described as “oil-free, ultra-lightweight” while using a “patented photo-stabilized technology with long-lasting broad-spectrum protection” against both UVA and UVB rays. Kiehl’s recommends layering over your moisturizer for optimal protection. It contains Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), and Oxybenzone (6%).

The consistency of this is most definitely fluid, and I recommended shaking well prior to use to ensure proper consistency, which is still thin and runny–much like milk but slightly thicker. The thinner consistency allows for easy application, as it spreads well and evenly across the face and doesn’t require five minutes of massaging it into skin to avoid any white casts or streaks, as some thicker and higher SPF products might.

I loved how non-greasy and quick-absorbing this sunscreen was.  It doesn’t leave behind a heavy shine at all–mostly semi-matte to slightly natural in the dry down. It does smell somewhat like sunscreen when applied, but I found the scent faded within a few minutes and didn’t linger throughout the day. When I initially tried this last year, I thought it was breaking me out, so I immediately stopped using it, but I re-initiated testing a couple of weeks ago to great success (and no breakouts), so I’m relieved and pleased to have found a new sunscreen for summer–even if it is still rather gloomy here in June!

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Monday, June 6th, 2011

Renee Rouleau Elderberry Toner
Renee Rouleau Elderberry Toner

Renee Rouleau Elderberry Toner

Renee Rouleau Elderberry Toner ($30.50 for 8 oz.) is a calming and hydrating toner that’s alcohol-free. Over the years, one of the musts in toner, for me, is to ensure it is alcohol-free, because toners that contain alcohol are often too drying and leave my skin feeling stripped rather than refreshed.

The Elderberry Toner is effective while being simple and straightforward.   It removes any vestiges of makeup I might have missed during cleansing (particularly around the hair line), gives my skin a boost in moisture, and preps skin for my moisturizer.   It never leaves my skin feeling dry or stripped, just clean, refreshed, and moistened.  I’ve been using this at least once a day for the past couple of months, and I’ve used–at most–15% of the bottle.  It’s actually cheaper and stretches further than one of my favorite toners–NARS Hydrating Lotion.

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