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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Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover
MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover ($18.00 for 3.4 fl. oz.) is touted as a gentle eye makeup remover that is “mega-effective” but will still “calm, hydrate, and soothe skin.”  It’s gentle, all right!  While it’s a dream to apply–no stinging, burning, or cloudiness–there’s not much else it does well.

As a makeup remover, it just doesn’t do an effective job at removing eye makeup, even just regular mascara and eyeliner prove to be too hard to handle for this remover. On waterproof/long-wearing products, it doesn’t cut through it at all. I’ve pressed a cloth soaked in the remover against my eye for thirty seconds or longer, but I wasn’t able to get much product removed. It seems to be okay for eyeshadow, but it doesn’t remove eyeliner, mascara.   Given that it’s an eye makeup remover but doesn’t excel at that task at all, I definitely do not recommend this product.

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Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Bare Minerals Purely Nourishing Cream
BareMinerals Purely Nourishing Cream

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Purely Nourishing Cream

Bare Escentuals Purely Nourishing Cream for Dry Skin ($28.00 for 1.7 oz.) worked so well with my normal-to-dry skin in the spring. I used it as my evening cream for about two months (which I finished at that point), though I definitely doubled up on usage a few times and used this as my morning moisturizer on days when I knew I was staying home.

It’s thick and creamy, feels rich without being heavy, but absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave any greasy feel behind.  My skin felt hydrated and lush; like it had a little extra spring in it because it was fully moisturized.  Like the rest of the new skincare range, it has a very subtle herbal-ish scent; a little lavender, a little earthiness.  It’s not a fragrance, though; it seems like the ingredients coming through but nothing added.   It’s always interesting when you try out a product, finish it, switch to something else, and that is when you realize just how much it had done for your skin.

I’m seriously this close to buying another jar, because the combination of products I’m using right now isn’t cutting it with California’s wacky weather and my skin is dying for some real hydration.  I’m rotating in their Purely Nourishing Lotion with SPF 15 in this week, so I’m hoping for good results from that since I’ve been suitably impressed with the line so far.  The price is right, quantity is good, and the product itself is excellent.  Sure, I’d love an airless pump, but otherwise, there’s nothing I don’t like about it.

ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Glycerin, Sorbitan Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Dimethicone, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Propanediol, Soil Minerals, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbityl Laurate, Jojoba Alcohol, Isopropyl Jojobate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Jojoba Esters, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract (Viola Tricolor), Xanthan Gum, Linseed Oil/Palm Oil Aminopropanediol Esters, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Hydroxide, Trisodium Edta, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (Glycine Soja), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil (Persea Gratissima), Citric Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil (Vitis Vinifera), Punica Granatum Seed Oil (Punica Granatum), Lavandula Hybrida Oil (Lavandula Hybrida), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Butter (Simmondsia Chinensis), Linalool, Salicornia Herbacea Extract (Salicornia Herbacea), Butylene Glycol, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract (Fagus Sylvatica), Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Tocopheryl Acetate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil (Anthemis Nobilis), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Averrhoa Carambola Leaf Extract (Averrhoa Carambola).

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Monday, May 16th, 2011

Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam
Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam

Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam ($20.00 for 4.2 oz.) has been my go-to night time cleanser for the past three months, and I’ve really enjoyed using it. I’ll definitely be keeping it in my to-go-back-to bin (as I rotate through to test out new products, I hold onto ones I really like). Earlier this year, Bare Escentuals rolled out a full range of skincare that has been in the works for years, and the cleanser is the first product I figured I’d try out (I am also anxious to review their Purely Nourishing Cream–which I loved–but I keep forgetting to photograph the jar!).

It’s a rich, foaming cleanser that is activated by applying a pearl-sized amount onto wet skin. One thing I love about this product is just how little you need–seriously, a pea-sized amount is more than you really need. It’s a really thick, rich and creamy cleanser that goes on easily and is easy to move across the skin. There is a subtle herbal-ish scent (it’s not strong at all nor does it linger) that seems due to the ingredients (not fragrance, as it is free from synthetic fragrances, as well as parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, and the like).

My skin always feels really clean without being tight or dry, and it feels so gentle the entire time.  Foaming cleansers can sometimes leave skin feeling stripped, but I never experienced that with this cleanser, which I used even when my skin was drier than normal.  The instructions actually say to avoid the eye area, but being impatient as I am, I didn’t read the instructions before using it the first few times, so I used it on my eyes, but I had no ill effects–no stinging, burning, cloudiness, etc. Not that I would endorse using the product that way, but if you accidentally get a little near your eye, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. It was able to break down all my face makeup, including medium coverage foundation.

I’m totally surprised at the affordability of the range, though, and in particular, this cleanser, because seriously, this tube of cleanser will last me a solid year, if not longer. My tube doesn’t even look like I’ve used it, and I’ve used it nearly every night for three months!  Oh, and for Clarisonic users, this cleanser works fabulously with it!

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Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel
Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($85.50 for 1.7 oz.) is, quite possibly, the most deliciously scented facial product I have ever come across–but I am a fiend for raspberries. It’s a sweet, deletectable berry scent (I caught a lot of raspberry myself, but it also contains several other fruits). It is a chemical exfoliant, so it doesn’t have any beads, particles, or the like, that will scrub off dead skin.

It looks like raspberry jam, including seeds, and the texture is rather jam-like, as well, but it’s a little looser than the average jam. But I tell you, if you don’t get the urge to taste it at least once… (I managed to resist, but I do wonder!) I use this peel every three to four weeks, and I’ve been using this for about four months now. I keep it on for about ten minutes, but it can be worn for less and be just as effective. Essentially, if it tingles a lot, you probably don’t want to keep it on for a full ten minutes–go with what feels right for your skin.

My skin always feels ridiculously soft–almost so soft that it has a plumper feel to it–after I rinse off the peel with water. It’s honestly like a super skin treat each month when I use it. I’ve had a couple of facials, which are always enjoyable, but this is the next best thing for those of us who don’t have a budget that allows for regular facials. I find that my skin looks and feels smoother, brighter, and glowy (and stays that way for three to four days after). I love that this doesn’t irritate or redden my skin post-rinse, which means I don’t have to plan ahead about when to use it. I do personally like to use it on a Friday night, an hour or two before bed, as an end-of-the-week indulgence.

The jar I purchased several months ago is still quite full, like 85%, (you don’t need much for each peel, and it’s a product that you only use a couple of times a month), but even so, when there was a deal for 50% off, I had to pick up another. I always think about having my mom try it, but I fear she’ll get hooked and I want my backup jar! It wouldn’t even surprise me, because of all the moisturizers I’ve given my mom, her favorite is La Mer.

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion
Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion

Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion SPF 15 PA++ ($28.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) is a new moisturizer from Benefit’s b.right! Radiant Skincare line. It’s designed to be lightweight while being oil-free. This moisturizer does have SPF 15 in it, and it uses chemical sunscreens (Octinoxate, Avobenzone, Octocrylene, and Sulisobenzone).

my skin type: I have normal-to-dry skin that tends to be drier in the winter months but more normal during the rest of the year. I have minor breakouts with the occasional cystic acne spot that seem to be related to hormones/stress (and not typically products). I have some fine lines around my eyes but am not currently concerned about anti-aging (beyond religious use of sunscreen and generally taking care of my skin).

It is a simple moisturizer–it hydrates without leaving behind any greasiness, and it dries down within a few minutes so a semi-matte finish. The consistency is very thin–think a lightweight lotion–and a bit watery, though not runny. It’s housed in a glass bottle with a “cork” (not actually made out of cork) cap that you pull off to reveal a pump dispenser.

Unlike Stay Don’t Stray, which killed me with its pump, this pump works marvelously. I find I use anywhere from five to six pumps per use. What I like about pumps is you can figure out how many you need and be consistent with your usage–plus it’s more hygienic.  The glass bottle is lovely without being too heavy.

I’ve been using this for about four weeks, but I’m too sensitive to the scent of the product to continue using it personally. It has a very strong floral scent with some sweetness. To me, it is the scent I smell when I know my allergies are going to go haywire. I catch whiffs of it throughout the day and find it a little cloying. I’m not normally that sensitive to scents in products, and I wouldn’t consider my nose an excellent sensory device either–but I still detect this hours later. It seems to turn more sickeningly sweet as the day goes on. Scent is immensely personal, and for those who prefer subtle to no fragrance in their skin care, I would avoid this. For those who don’t mind scented skincare, it’s still worth checking out and deciding whether it’s a scent you enjoy or not.

good for: I would recommend it to normal-to-oily skin types, because it is such a lightweight moisturizer that it’s not going to provide enough hydratoin for drier skin types. I noticed that on my drier days (when I started using it, which was closer to winter), it didn’t quite seem like enough, but it was usually just fine.

final thoughts: Despite finding it unsuitable to me personally, I don’t think taking away points for scent (just because the scent doesn’t appeal to me) would be a fair assessment of the product. I’ve disclaimed it, my feelings on the fragrance, and it’s something personal enough that individual users will have to determine how that factor weighs in. It’s a nice lightweight moisturizer that spreads easily, moisturizes well on normal-to-oily skin types without feeling heavy or greasy.

where to buy: Sephora

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