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Importance of Gentle Cleansing & Layering Moisturizers

By Dain, New England, Skincare Contributor

Dain is a freelance editor and writer, who graduated with a Bachelor of Art in English. She expected to pursue an academic career but found her interests straying elsewhere–like beauty! She has dry, sensitive skin and is always looking for ways to keep her skin hydrated.  When she isn’t writing about beauty, she loves to play video games, cook (and eat!), and read.

Check out her blog, Ars Aromatica!

A battalion of moisturizers, each trained to a specific purpose.

Importance of Gentle Cleansing & Layering Moisturizers

The skin is our body’s first line of defense against environmental aggressors. As a barrier, mine is deficient as a barrier. It’s both sebum-starved and paper thin, the conventional definition of “sensitive”. Consequently, I follow two principles in my approach to skincare.


All but the mildest cleansers are too aggressive for my skin. For a simple cleanse, I’ve faithfully purchased Weleda Calendula Baby Wash ($11 for 200 mL) many times over. Coco glucoside is a minimally invasive surfactant, approved for use on babies. Plus, it smells like tangerines. To remove makeup, I like micellar waters, such as cult classic Bioderma ($30 for 500 mL). It feels like water yet it dissolves stubborn eye makeup with ease. If I need a thorough, deep cleanse, I massage a cream cleanser generously onto dry skin, using the friction from my fingers to break down makeup and sunscreen. If you dislike residue, a good trick is to add water incrementally during the massage, slowly emulsifying the emollients. I’m currently enamoured of Trilogy Cream Cleanser ($37 for 200 mL), but I’m always open to suggestions.


If there’s a skin trick I swear by, it’s to fragment moisturizing into several steps. Creams for dry skin, because they’re so rich in oils, can sit uselessly on the surface as a greasy layer. It took years of disappointment and thirsty skin to recognize that dehydration (water loss) and dryness (low sebum) should be addressed by separate products.

First, I saturate my skin with a softener. Pat, don’t rub, to maximize absorption. The humectants draw moisture deeper into the skin, penetrating past layers of dehydration and enhancing the performance of your moisturizer. I prefer formulations that feature hyaluronic acid, such as Shiseido Eudermine ($56 for 125 mL). With its gorgeous red bottle and fragrant with rainwashed peonies, Eudermine hits a high note in luxury skincare, but it’s also interesting from a historical point of view, as the seminal force behind Asian skincare. Then, while my skin is still damp, I apply a rich emulsion. Keep in mind, I’m the sort of girl who has half a dozen moisturizers on rotation; it’s unlikely I’ll ever settle on any single product. At the moment, my favorite is Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum ($150 for 50 mL). Finally, I seal in everything with my favorite face oil, Kahina Serum ($90 for 30 mL), an enriched argan blend that nourishes the skin for a well-conditioned glow and soothes with anti-inflammatory EFAs. By splitting one moisturizer into three layers, I find it maximizes absorption, thanks to the softener, and yet provides a long-lasting protective barrier, thanks to the oil, with the emulsion sandwiched in between.

For daytime, I switch to a mild, avobenzone-free sunscreen like Avène Hydrance Optimale SPF 20 ($24 for 40 mL). Since it forms a barrier, in my mind it’s roughly analogous to the face oil: the final layer, applied last. Antioxidants and sunscreen go hand in hand, so I’m in the market for an antioxidant serum to layer under sunscreen, after softening. While I insist on actives—too many serums are no more than overpriced blends of silicones and humectants—alas, my skin does not tolerate vitamin C. I’m open to suggestions, reader!

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Free for Haul Friday, Volume #106

Welcome to Free For Haul Friday!

  • Haul:   Chanel Rouge Allure Velvets
  • Weekend plans:   Celebrating my mom’s birthday, which is today, but we’ll celebrate on Saturday!  Farmers’ market on Sunday 🙂
  • Are glitter nail polishes worth the hassle?:   Sometimes, yes!

Share your pet photos to the Temptalia Pets flickr group! 🙂

This week’s Mellan photo…

Mellan sleeps in the WEIRDEST positions sometimes!

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Ask Temptalia Revisited

Ask Temptalia Revisited

Yesterday, I had the urge to do an old school “Ask Temptalia” session, so I asked readers on Facebook and Twitter to submit any questions they had via e-mail, and I would answer and post them the following day (which is now!). So without further ado, here are those questions and my answers…


Is there a lip liner like MAC Quartz out there? I had no idea it was going, and can’t find anything like it.
I think it was discontinued awhile ago, and I never owned it, but going off of some swatches I was able to find on the internet, maybe Make Up For Ever #9C would be worth checking out.

I have a lot of pigment in my lips so lipsticks never look like they do in the tube. Any suggestions for something that will tone down the color in my lips without drying them out or changing the color of the lipstick?
Lip primers can help (and sometimes have more hydration benefits), but generally, a dab of concealer or foundation does the best job of muting your natural lip color. If you just use a little, it won’t be drying and shouldn’t change the lipstick color drastically. You could also try using a lip liner that’s similar to your lip color but a few shades lighter, so it helps to lighten your natural lip color but not in a drastic way like concealer/foundation would.

When you apply eyeshadow, do you apply darkest to lightest or vice versa? Does one method make blending easier than another?
I usually apply from left to right, but if I want to use a matte shade in the crease, I’ll often apply that first with a big, fluffy crease brush. Then, I’ll go back with a smaller brush to add more definition to the crease with the same color or something darker. I find it easier to blend light into dark by gently pulling the lighter color into the darker one, but you can really do it either way.

My forehead is ridiculously shiny but it’s shiny from dry tightness, or I moisturize and it seems moist but not greasy but still very shiny. What can I do? I’ve tried toners and Studio Fix Powder. Is there a mattifying gel that works?
Are you giving your moisturizer enough time to sink in? If your moisturizer hasn’t absorbed fully, it can still look shiny. I try to give my moisturizer 30 minutes to sink in before I apply any makeup. For mattifying primers, I like CoverFX Matte and NARS Pro-Prime. If you find yourself shiny and really dislike it, you might want to carry around a pressed powder like Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder, MAC Blot Powder, or Urban Decay De-Slick.

More Q&A! 

Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette
Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette ($32.00 for 0.32 oz.) is part of the newly repackaged and launched beauty line by jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino. The eyeshadow formula in the palettes is supposed to have “intense, shimmery payoff” with “ultra high pigmentation.” The eyeshadows are touted as long-wearing and can be applied wet or dry. Each compact contains a good amount of eyeshadow, too, with each eyeshadow averaging out to 0.064 oz. (the average eyeshadow is around 0.05 oz.). For the price of two high-end eyeshadows, you’ll get five.

The top shade is a rich copper with hints of orange; it’s a lighter, rusted copper shade with a frosted finish. It’s brighter and more orange than a lot of coppery shades I’ve come across. Make Up For Ever #12 is browner, more bronzy. Urban Decay Baked and MAC Amber Lights are also more bronze. The pigmentation is amazing–intense and vibrant–with a dense, buttery texture.

On the left, there’s a frosted white gold with a soft, smooth texture and good color payoff. This shade is common enough that there are a few shades similar to it, including: Givenchy Lune Mysterieuse (yellower), theBalm Tempting Tara, theBalm Envious Erin, Urban Decay Zephyr, and Bare Escentuals Breathtaking.

In the middle, there’s a golden peach, which comes out more like a pale, muted gold than it does a peach. It has a metallic finish; the pigmentation is good but not as intense as the top shade, but it’s still very soft and smooth to the touch. It’s similar to Bobbi Brown Gold Bar.

On the right, there’s a rich, chocolaty brown with a bronze shimmer and sheen. It has a frost finish, rich pigmentation, and a smooth texture. Like the left shade, it is common and these shades are similar: Inglot #409, Inglot #422, and Urban Decay Lost.

The bottom shade is a deep, dark brown with copper and bronze sparkle that tends to sit atop the color rather than completely embedded within it (like a typical frost). When I applied it, I did find that some of the shimmer transferred but it didn’t look quite as noticeable on the eye as it did in the swatch. The color payoff is very intense, though, and it’s so smooth when applied. It’s warmer and more shimmered than MAC Legendary Black.

I wore this palette (all five shades) with the muted gold on the lid, the softest touch of copper on the very outer lower lid, bronzy shade in the crease with the darker brown to add more depth in the crease, and the white gold on the brow bone. I wore it with and without a primer, and the results without a primer lasted for eight hours without creasing or fading but started to show faint signs of creasing by the tenth hour. With a primer, it was unmoved at ten hours.

I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and color payoff of this palette! I didn’t have particularly high expectations (I was thinking middle-of-the-road), but this was really, really good. This particular palette consists of a lot of dupeable shades, so long-time makeup aficionados will likely have similar shades already, but newcomers with warmer skin tones will find many reasons to fall in love with this palette. I’d love it if each shade had a name, though!

Tarina Tarantino Dreamy Jewel Eyeshadow Palette


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