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.

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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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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Saturday, December 18th, 2010

MAC Complete Comfort Cream
MAC Complete Comfort Cream

MAC Cham-Pale: Skincare

There were two skincare products launched with Cham-Pale: MAC Complete Comfort Cream ($32.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.), which is permanent (except Asian locations), and MAC Fix+ Lavender ($18.00 for 3.4 fl. oz.), which is limited edition.  This post is more of a photo post than a review, as I haven’t had the opportunity to trial either of these products as I would normal skincare products.  I am not currently planning to review either in-depth, as my skincare review calendar has several other products already in line.  (I also do not want to lead you on thinking you may see one in the near future!)

The Complete Comfort Cream is a thicker cream that absorbs quickly (about three to five minutes on the face), and it has MAC’s signature skincare fragrance, which seems to be a blend of subtle citrus and some kind of herbal hint–it’s pleasant and not overwhelming nor “perfume-y.”  It is the same Comfort Cream originally part of Prescriptives’ line (and still technically available online at Prescriptives).  Given the thickness of the cream, I imagine this is most suited for those with dry to normal-to-dry skin.

Fix+ Lavender is a colorless spray that has a strong scent of sweetened vanilla and lavender when sprayed, but the scent dissipates quickly (we’re talking seconds).  I found the scent too strong; too much when spraying on my face, but when I sprayed it in my boyfriend’s face, he thought it was “nice.”

MAC Cham-Pale Collection is a limited edition launch (official information and photos here) that is set to launch in-stores on December 26th in North American, January 2011 for international MAC locations. The approximate launch date for online is December 24th. It features color products as well as a few skincare items.

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Saturday, September 12th, 2009

It’s a Toner, Not a Lotion (Part 2): NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion

NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion ($36.00 for 6.7 fl. oz.) is a water-based toner with a gel-like consistency designed to hydrate skin as well as gently exfoliate it.

When I was at NARS a few months ago, the artist was telling me about this magical toner that was really great for acne-prone skin. I was a bit skeptical, but every so often, an artist manages to convince me to buy something I had no intentions of getting, so that’s how I wound up with NARS’ Hydrating Freshening Lotion. Like the Clarins’ Super Restorative Wake-Up Lotion, “Lotion” means toner. It’s easy to use: just pump once onto a cotton pad and then use it on your face to remove any dirt and build-up.

One of the reasons I bought this was to help hydrate and exfoliate dry patches prior to applying foundation. It actually does seem to help hydrate and remove some of the flakiness on my dry patches and keeps the skin looking natural and radiant. This also helps to make sure I’ve gotten every last bit of dirt, makeup, and cleanser off of my face before I apply my moisturizer. (Seriously, the amount of gunk this product removes reminds me of the blackhead strips by Biore!)

Though a bit pricey, one bottle should last you a few months, if not more, depending on how often and how much you use per application. I find need about two pumps for face and neck on a cotton pad per application, so I expect to finish my bottle in the next month or so. I do believe Shiseido (which owns NARS) also makes a similar product, so if you’re a Shiseido fan, you may want to look in their line.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation:  NARS’ skincare is underrated, in my opinion, because they really do have a solid line of skincare products that have never done me wrong–including the Hydrating Freshening Lotion!

Availability: Nordstrom

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

It’s a Toner, Not a Lotion: Clarins’ Super Restorative Wake-Up Lotion

Clarins Super Restorative Wake-Up Lotion ($40.00 for 4.2 oz.) is indeed a toner. I must admit that I had to read the product’s tip sheet before realizing it was a toner and not a moisturizer. (Hey, I associate the term “lotion” with moisturizer, what can I say?) I will even go so far as to admit that I used this a few times as a lotion, but I am happy to report it did not cause any ill effects (e.g. breakouts). Funny enough, my skin didn’t feel like it even missed a moisturizer!

Which leads me to tell you that this is an excellent, non-drying, non-irritating toner that works well to re-energize the skin with the slight cooling nature of the product. The toner is a gel-based toner, rather than a liquid toner. Clarins recommends applying it with a cotton ball with “light, tapping movements,” and I’d say that’s a fair technique. You can substitute cotton balls with cotton pads or sheets as well.

Whenever I’m reviewing a product, I like to see what a company says about their products and what ingredients they tout as amazing, just because it helps keep me aware of what the product is supposed to do. Clarins lists the primary ingredients in the product as well as what they’re designed to do–something I like. Perhaps not always entirely believable, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

  • Pueraria Lobata – helps boost cell activity and collagen production, while soothing the skin.
  • Green coffee extract – rich in caffeine, energizes skin, helping it look more vital and radiant.
  • Ginseng root – reinforces energizing action of caffeine, adds vitality.
  • Oat Sugars, extracted from the plant’s seeds, work as a natural skin-tightening agent, and help smooth appearance of imperfections on skin’s surface.
  • Hibiscus extract – remove excess dry skin cells and brightens skin.
  • Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus) – helps eliminates toxins and reduce puffiness.

When applied, the product does feel a bit sticky, but it absorbs/fades within a few minutes, so it’s not a major concern for me, but it is a mild annoyance. My skin does feel clean and refreshed after using this product, and this toner is more about tapping it on than wiping away anything. I think this product is suitable for those with sensitive skin, but those with extremely sensitive skin may not find this suitable. It’s lightweight, goes on easily, and doesn’t leave skin feeling dry or tight.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Easy to use and effective are two great ways to describe Clarin’s Wake-Up Lotion (aka Toner!). It doesn’t strip skin of its natural oils or leave behind tightness (often confused with “clean”), which is something I consider a must-have in any toning or skincare product. The value is so-so, with $40 being a steep investment for a toner, but the bottle is large enough to give you approximately two months’ of use, perhaps more. It’s a good, solid toner, and Clarins’ fans will enjoy it.

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com

Anyone else try out this Clarins’ toner? Thoughts?