Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash

Quick & Clean with Kate Somerville

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash ($32.00 for 4 oz.) is a no-frills cleanser for me. I really like it, because it just gets the job done quickly and effectively. I purchased mine several weeks ago via Gilt, when they had a Kate Somerville sale, so I bought the economy-sized 16 oz. bottle for $47 (regularly $95, from what I see on QVC).

Ingredients: Purified Water, Sodium Alpha Olefin (C14-16) Sulfonate, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, PEG/PPG-8/3 Diisostearate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Silicone Quaternium-8, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Salvia Offincinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Zinc PCA, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin.

It’s a lightweight gel cleanser that has a light lather that smells a little like lavender and tropical fruit.  I have no idea why I always get tropics out of it.  Nobody else does, so I think my nose is engaging in some wishful thinking!  It cleans effectively and quickly; directions state to work into moistened skin for thirty seconds and then rinse.  There is no tight feeling left behind, and my skin doesn’t feel parched either.  I just feel clean and refreshed!

For me, it does all the cleansing that I need.  It gets rid of dirt and grime and any foundation/tinted moisturizer I’ve worn that day.  This won’t breakdown heavy eye/lip makeup, but in my experience, gentle cleansers rarely do as that is not what they’re designed for.  (I personally use something targeted for makeup to do a preliminary/makeup cleanse, and then follow-up with a gentler cleanser.)  I was surprised it removed my foundation so well, though, but the toner-test (take a cotton pad with toner and see if your cleanser missed any makeup) showed nothing was left behind.

At its regular retail price, it’s a rather pricey no-frills cleanser.  A little goes a long way, certainly, so I imagine this super size would get one through at least six months’, if not a year’s, worth of cleansing.  The jumbo size also features a pump system, while the normal, regularly available sized cleanser comes in a squeeze-tube. I think I’d actually like the squeeze-tube better, even if it is easier to manage a pump with damp hands.

I don’t need a full pump’s worth, so I usually do about a half pump, but this has resulted in excess cleanser getting stuck in the dispenser and hardening a bit from exposure to the air.  It’s easy to remove, but it’s a little annoying, too.  (It’s kind of like if you squeeze too much toothpaste out of the tube–it lingers until you remove, and it’s not difficult, but it’s a bit frustrating.)

I do really like this cleanser in conjunction with the Clarisonic, though.  It has just the right gel consistency and light lather that works well with the device!   I will probably switch to another cleanser soon so I can test-drive something else, but I definitely see myself keeping and returning to this one at some point.  If the boy doesn’t steal it and use it all up!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have the dough, it’s a nice cleanser that feels gentle and does the job.  But it’s not exactly revolutionary, and as much as I like it, it’s quite costly, even relative to other high-end brands of skincare.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

The Tech Guy Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, is back from the depths…  I mean… vacation.  He’s twenty-seven with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).  And who always gets into the products I’m totally digging!  (I reviewed this product a few weeks ago here.)  Why doesn’t he use products that I’m just so-so on?  I think there’s less than 1/4 left!

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan. Or maybe not! He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes to being my shoulder to cry on.

It’s been weeks… Months…. Years… Days… Probably like a half an hour… I’ve been locked in the Temptalia Vault coding and creating videos when I was finally released from my tomb. I saw the light, AND IT BURNED! I’ll allow that Simpsons reference to fester a bit… Anybody? *crickets* They used to be good I swear.

After my dark period, I went to the TV and turned it on, I exclaimed: “SOCCER?! Did we lose a war?! What’s that buzzing sound? Were we taken over by Bees? What the hell is a Vuvuzela?!” Anyway, as this is a beauty blog I should probably talk about something beauty-related.

I’ve been using Renee Rouleau’s Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel for a few weeks, and I have to say for such a small bottle it lasts a long time. I’ve been gobbing it on my face, and I have yet to be hit by a blunt object by an angry Christine. I’m assuming she hasn’t figured out my obsessive usage yet, so I’ll continue using it and once finished, fill it up with water and mint toothpaste. She’ll never know the difference!

This is a solid cleanser, and despite the purple on the bottle and the obscenely feminine name, it cleans like a champ. I don’t think I’ve ever felt my skin feel better than I have since using this stuff. I never thought I’d use the term “minty-fresh feeling” about my face, but that’s exactly how it feels after usage.

Although, I tend to gob it on, and you don’t seem to need that much, so at $35.50 a bottle, that’s a good thing. If you want to get your man to use this stuff go buy a bottle of Valvoline and dump out the contents. IN THE PROPER DISPOSAL AREA!  No letters please. Then fill it up with this stuff and replace whatever he uses to clean his face at the moment. This could be anything from you know… Nothing to… a S.O.S pad.

Recommendation: My skin feels MINTY-FRESH! Oh, no… I’m turning into a woman… Must go… Lumberjack something…

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

On-the-Go Makeup Fixers

MAC Cleansing Tips ($14.50 for 30) are my absolute favorite when it comes to easily fixing any minor application mistakes.  They’re basically dual-ended cotton swabs that have been soaked in makeup remover and are individually packaged (though each sheet has ten, you just tear them off individually).  One side is the usual rounded swab, while the other is tapered and more precise.

I actually really, really love these.  They work so well for cleaning up under the eyes when you work with shadows that have fall out, but they’re great for touching up during the day if you happen to be testing one smudger of an eyeliner, too!  They remove everything without a fuss.  Since they’re individually wrapped, you can just toss one into your purse when you need to (e.g. a special occasion), too.

So, I did not pay attention to how much these run you when I originally purchased them.  These wonder-swabs don’t come cheap!   They end up costing about $0.50 a pop!  Even the small package of MAC Wipes are cheaper ($0.40), while the bulk package of MAC Wipes are half the price ($0.26).  This is so saddening for me!    This is a great product, but it’s not something one should use often at that kind of cost.

They do work incredibly well to clean-up any faded or smudged eyeliner if you’re out and about.  I’ll continue to purchase them as I need to, but I will make myself only use them when I’m on the go or traveling–no more using those at homes.  Gotta go the extra step and use my own swabs and separate makeup remover, LOL!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 4/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you use them sparingly, they can be an excellent time-saving, space-saving tool to have in your evening bag when you want to look your best. Just don’t use them by the dozen!

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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Monday, June 21st, 2010

Korres Watermelon SPF 30

Sunkissed Without the Risk: Korres Watermelon Sunscreen

Just in time for summer vacations, I’ve been roadtesting several face sunscreens over the past couple of months, and the first one I want to talk about is Korres Watermelon Sunscreen SPF 30 ($28.00 for 1.69 oz.), which contains the active ingredients Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, and Zinc Oxide. (Learn more about sunscreen basics.)

Is it a broad spectrum SPF?

Yes! It includes active ingredients that cover the entire spectrum of UVA and UVB (290-400nm).

  • UVA Protection: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
  • UVB Protection: Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide

Ingredients: Aqua, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Isocetyl stearoyl stearate, Dipentaerythrityl hexacaprylate/hexacaprate, Isononyl isononanoate, Isodecyl neopentanoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside,Tribehenin PEG-20 esters, Tridecyl Salicylate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Callophyllum Inophylum Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Behenyl Alcohol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Isostearic Acid, Citrullus Lanatus (Melon) Extract, Glycerine, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Palmitoylproline, Magnesium palmitoyl Glutamate, Sodium Palmitoyl Sarcosinate, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Zinc Sulfate, Alumina.

After testing so many sunscreens these past several weeks, I’ve actually grown surprised at how few exclude silicone-based ingredients, so it is a nice to see Korres eliminate the silicones in this product! This sunscreen didn’t break me out, and it didn’t aggravate my skin whatsoever, but it wasn’t particularly comfortable to wear. It has a thicker texture, which makes it feel a bit heavy on skin initially, but I didn’t find it heavy overall.

It takes a solid fifteen to twenty minutes to absorb, but even then, it’s still a bit greasy and even a little sticky. I don’t think those with oily skin types would find this suitable for their skin, and those with drier skin types may find the greasiness is not very noticeable. However, with my normal-to-dry skin, I did have noticeable greasiness and a slight tackiness to the finish.

It doesn’t smell like sunscreen, though, and it has more of a watermelon scent that does a good job of masking it. I also didn’t get a white cast on my medium skin tone, which is always important to me, and it was easy to rub into skin (so it didn’t look white), but it just took awhile for it to fully sink in. Between the slow absorption time and the residual tacky/greasy feeling, it’s definitely not a favorite sunscreen, especially if you intend to wear makeup over it.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you don’t mind a little tackiness and are on the hunt for a silicone-free sunscreen, Korres Watermelon SPF 30 may be worth looking into.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Aveeno Positively Ageless Daily Cleansing Pads

Not Quite Travel Friendly:  Aveeno Daily Cleansing Pads

Aveeno Postively Ageless Daily Cleansing Pads ($8.99 for 28, $0.32 each) are pre-moistened, dual-sided cleansing pads that are approximately 3″ in diameter. One side is smooth, while the other side is textured to provide gentle exfoliation.

I liked the way these felt on the skin, and the scent was pleasing to me (smelled like Baby Shampoo), though it didn’t linger. I just have some issues about the practicality of this particularly product. Each pad is very, very saturated–I’d almost say overly so–and while it means you’ll get plenty of moisturize and cleanser on your face to clean it, it seems like overkill. It lathers and foams up a little but not excessively, and it does leave skin feeling clean. I experienced a smidgen of tightness, but it was very, very subtle and barely noticeable.

Based on using these for a week or so, I’d recommend cutting the pads in halves or even thirds to maximize your purchase–but it doesn’t sacrifice quality or anything; there truly is plenty of moisture and cleanser even when cut into thirds to clean your face!  Otherwise you’ll be running through a jar in less than a month!

I’m concerned at the enormous container compared to the contents inside it. As you can see in the photo above, it comes about 2/3 to 1/2 full, but the pads themselves don’t take up the entire diameter of the jar, let alone the height. I’m not sure why it’s so big. It seems like it’d be a better idea to minimize excess air inside the jar to maintain the moisture of the pads (but these were plenty saturated, not even a hint of dryness). I think because I really can’t see the purpose behind such over-sized packaging, I find it particularly wasteful and almost a turn-off from the product overall.

These are more expensive than some makeup removing wipes, which work as well, and come in more economical packaging to boot! You’ll also need to rinse your face after using, so it’s not as convenient as makeup removing wipes (which shouldn’t need you to rinse). I guess I’d rather just use a regular cleanser (and though I have not tried it, there is Aveeno Positively Ageless Daily Exfoliating Cleanser) and use my hands rather than a small pad.

I could see some utility out of these as a nice travel option, but because the jar is mammoth, I don’t see myself traveling with it–it’d take up way too much room for what it’s worth. If I actually have that much space, that means I’m checking luggage and can just bring my regular ol’ cleanser–and if I’m just carrying-on, there’s no way it could fit!

They do their job — they do cleanse, remove the majority of my face makeup (but I wouldn’t use this on the eyes, so it’s a no-go for eye makeup), and didn’t dry out my skin. I’m just less than impressed by the glaringly wasteful packaging.  If you cut the pads into halves or thirds, I think you’ll be able to stretch the usage out where it’s much, much more in line with affordable skincare.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:  If you’re often on the go and would love to have a pre-moistened cleansing pad help keep you and your skincare routine on track, you might find these a more practical investment!  Or if you have particularly sensitive skin and find most scrubs and exfoliators too harsh on skin, the textured side of this pad is very gentle and may be a better fit for your skin type.

Availability: Drugstore.com

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Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Sephora Sun Kit

Trial & Error is Easy with Sephora’s Sun Safety Kit

Every year, Sephora puts out a Sun Safety Kit ($25.00), which includes a whole platter of trial-sized sunscreens to try. What I really like about it is it gives you an opportunity to find the right sunscreen for you–not just the SPF level, but the consistency, finish, and how it feels on skin. The kit also contains a pink makeup bag and UVSunSense UV monitoring bracelets (2).  It’s a great way to try out various sunscreens without forking over a ton of money to buy full-sizes or deal with returns.  They’re also travel-friendly, so you can take ‘em with you for short trips, too.

Though I noted it where applicable, I know my skin reacts poorly with high concentrations of silicone, so I did not test those sunscreens on my face and only on my arm.  So while my skin may react one way, and I may be overly cautious by avoiding products altogether that contain it high-up on the ingredient list, your skin is inevitably different from mine–that is to say, don’t write off a product merely because it breaks my skin out.  For instance, I’ve worn both Shiseido’s SPF 55 and Neutrogena’s Dry Touch during previous summers and never thought they were acne-causing culprits.   I also regularly wear Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation, which also contains dimethicone and other silicones.  Like many things in life, it may be about finding the right balance or mix–aka not layering on a sunscreen, primer, and foundation that all have it!

This year’s kit includes:

  • Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15 (0.14 oz.) contains octinoxate (7.5%), octisalate (3.0%), and oxybenzone (2.0%). The full-size contains 0.5 oz. and retails for $67. It’s a lightweight cream that absorbs and dries down quickly, and it doesn’t feel greasy on the lid, but still provides all-day hydration for the eye area.
  • DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew UV Moisturizer SPF 15 (0.23 oz.) contains avobenzone (2.0%), ensulizole (1.0%), octisalte (4.0%), and octocrylene (1.25%). The full-size contains 1.7 oz. and retails for $40. I couldn’t test this one on my face, as it uses dimethicone (aka Temptalia’s nemesis) quite a bit. Instead, I tested it on my arm — it has a very lightweight, smooth consistency and dries down quickly. It has a soft finish that’s not greasy but not totally matte, but I did notice the “sunscreen” scent, which may put some off.
  • Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 in Lemon and Chamomile (0.10 oz.) contains octinoxate (7.5%) and avobenzone (3.0%). It’s a thicker lip balm in a squeeze-tube, but it’s very, very hydrating with a cooling sensation from the mint. I can apply this before I go to bed (around 10pm), and even at 5am, I can still feel a little left on my lips. (Normally, nothing is left on my lips!) The full size is $7.00 for 0.25 oz.
  • Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Defense Lotion SPF 30 (0.25 oz.) contains octinoxate (7.5%), octisalate (5.0%), meradimate (5.0%), oxybenzone (3.5%), and avobenzone (1.0%). The full size contains 1.7 oz. and retails for $42.00. It’s a nice non-greasy formula that applies easily, but it takes about five to ten minutes to sink in and absorb fully.
  • Kate Somerville Protect SPF 55 Serum Sunscreen (0.16 oz.) contains octinoxate (7.5%), oxybenzone (6.0%), octisalate (5.0%), and avobenzone (3.0%). It also has titanium dioxide in the ingredient list. The full size contains 2.0 oz. and retails for $45.00. It’s lightweight, doesn’t leave behind any greasy or sticky feel, and absorbs quickly. I really liked that this was scent-free, too.
  • Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse SPF 15 (0.27 oz.) has a whipped cream texture that’s designed to give skin a natural, gradual tan. I couldn’t find any active ingredient (sunscreen) for this one, though. I did not try this one (I don’t use self-tanners myself!). The full-size includes 4.2 oz. for $42.00.
  • Cover FX BritePrep FX SPF 50 (0.16 oz.) contains octocrylene (9.0%), octinoxate (7.5%), oxybenzone (3.0%), and titanium dioxide (1.5%). The full-size contains 1.0 oz. for $45.00. It’s lightweight and absobs quickly. I did notice that a good shake or two of the product was necessary to make sure everything was as it should be, though. I think this is more suitable to dry to normal skin, but oily skin may find it feels just a tad greasy.
  • Bliss Best of Skintentions Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 (0.34 oz.) contains avobenzone (3.0%), homosalate (8%), and oxybenzone (3.5%). It has a very lightweight despite its thicker consistency, and it absorbs quickly. It has a smooth, velvety finish. It does have dimethicone in it, so I didn’t test it on my face, just my arm. There’s a light lemon-y citrus scent to it, but it doesn’t linger once its on the face.
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 60 PA+++ (0.23 oz.) contains zinc oxide (16.3%), octinoxate (7.4%), and ensulizole (2.0%). The full-size contains 3.3 oz. for $39.00. It is designed for the face and body, but to be honest, given the amount in this product and the price tag, I would go with a more affordable body SPF (it’s recommended you use 1 oz. for your entire body — aka 1/3 of the bottle here). It has a thin, liquid-y consistency, and it feels a lot like the original SPF 55 version but doesn’t dry down to the same near-matte finish for me. I think it’s better for normal to dry skin, but those with oily skin may find it a little greasy. I used to use Shiseido’s suncare very, very often, but after discovering that their formulations contain dimethicone, I’ve been more hesitant to start using it again on my face. Argh!
  • Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Cream SPF 15 (0.25 oz.) contains octinoxate (7.5%), oxybenzone (2.0%), meridamate (3.0%). It has a lightweight feel and absorbs quickly once applied. It also has a herbal-ish kind of scent, which isn’t off-putting and doesn’t linger.
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 (0.25 oz.) contains octinoxate (7.5%) and octisalate (5.0%). I only saw the “To Go” size on Sephora, which is 0.5 oz. for $17.00. I didn’t try it on my face (dimethicone–can you see why this is frustrating? it’s in everything!), but on my arm, and it has a lightweight texture and absorbs in about thirty seconds to a minute. It does feel very smooth and not at all greasy or thick. However, I think in order to use this as sun protection, you’d really just have to use way more than is necessary for a primer.
  • Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Multi-Tasking Face SPF 20 (0.02 oz.) contains zinc oxide (20%). The full-size contains 0.08 oz. for $18. Summer Bisque was a surprisingly good match for my skin tone (NC25-ish), though a little on the darker side. As far as a SPF product goes, I definitely prefer a cream/lotion rather than in makeup (whether it’s foundation, powder, primer, concealer, etc.). Since this is a concealer base, I just think it’s a nice addition, but it doesn’t substitute for a face sunscreen.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re still in the market for that perfect sunscreen, this kit is one way to trial several without having to purchase full-sizes.

AvailabilitySephora