Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Lather Up: Chanel Mousse Exfoliante Purete

Chanel Mousse Exfoliante Purete ($45.00 for 5 oz.) is a creamy cleanser/extremely mild exfoliant that cleanses, controls oil, and lightly exfoliates without ever missing a beat. If the name as you a little confused, the English version is Exfoliating Cleansing Foam Purity + Anti-Pollution.

Don’t let the sticker price fool you, this product does its job amazingly well and one tube will last you at least six months, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it lasted longer. It took me several tries to figure out just how little I needed–no more than a pea-size amount for face and neck. It foams up with little water and goes on thickly (but doesn’t feel heavy). All I know is I didn’t expect to fall in love with a Chanel cleanser, but I definitely did! This has quickly become a Temptalia household staple.

There are small exfoliating beads in this product, and I really do mean small. They’re small and sparse enough to make it incredibly mild in exfoliation, so you can easily use this product once or twice a day (AM/PM). It smells clean, that’s the only way I can describe it, and really does an excellent job at leaving my face clean.

It’s not the best at removing more lasting makeup like eyeliner and mascara and will leave a few traces behind, but I find most cleansers to do this (particularly since I don’t want to exfoliate my eyelids or anything!). Whenever I wear heavy eye or lip makeup, I use a separate makeup remover to handle those before I get into the facial cleansing anyway, so for me, it’s not a make or break point.

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

Recommendation: If you want a cleanser that feels luxurious AND delivers and still holds value… consider Chanel’s latest addition to the Precision skincare line-up.

Availability: Nordstrom

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Clarisonic MIA

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($149.00) is the latest launch from Clarisonic. It is a miniature-sized version of the original Clarisonic, and it is also $45 cheaper. It’s also available in pink.

You may wonder how this possibly can be part of Money Saving Mondays… because I know the Clarisonic can be a hefty investment for some who really want it, this does offer you a way to get it for less. It is also just as effective as the original, more expensive Clarisonic, so it represents true savings.

First, Clarisonic has a really useful comparison chart for the four models: Mia, Classic, PLUS, and PRO. The Clarisonic Mia is about an inch and a half to two inches smaller the the original,and it doesn’t feel as bulky. The Mia comes with a pLink charger whereas the Classic used a cradle charger, which makes it a lot more compact. The Mia brush head is the same size as the Classic, so you don’t lose anything in how well it cleans or the area it cleans.

Surprisingly, the Mia feels heavier compared to the Classic, but not by much (note that neither are, by any means, heavy). When you opt for the Mia, you have only a single speed setting, whereas the Classic provided you with two. Since I’ve used the Classic forever now, I can say that it’s not a big deal, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t even know you had two speeds on yours! The Mia also only lasts twenty minutes on a full charge compared to the Classic which lasts thirty minutes. Again, this is not really an essential difference to me; twenty minutes is still ten or so uses, which is plenty on a single charge.

I recommend you read my original review for the Clarisonic to get a more in-depth look at why I really love the cleansing system and recommended it even at $195. In brief, it is an easy, efficient way of cleansing the skin. It helps with skin turnover and keeps my skin clearer and smoother looking overall. I’m not often sold on advertising claims, but the Clarisonic is one beauty gadget I can’t live without!

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

Recommendation: If you want to get your skin its best shape, the Clarisonic can help. It gives skin a softer, smoother appearance while deep cleansing every time you use it without irritating even sensitive skin. If $145 is still out of your budget, consider looking out for F&F sales at Sephora where you can save another 10-15%. Or put it on your wish list!

Availability: Sephora

See size comparison photoContinue reading →

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream ($30.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) is one of the best hand creams I’ve ever slathered on my paws. My hands take a beating, because I constantly wash them, and I’m less-than-perfect about regularly applying near enough hand cream/lotion to keep them in tip top shape.

With the labrasnore running around, wiggling for attention all the time, and it, of course, being absolutely impossible to resist, I pet him, but then I wash my hands afterward. (Hey, since becoming acne-prone, hand-washing has become a regular ritual.) I easily wash my hands twenty times a day, and I may only lotion up once or twice a day–it just seems so silly to apply lotion and wash most of it off a half hour later.

Additionally, after landing in NYC last February, I found myself with these odd dry patches on my hands and fingers. I just figured that lotioning up more often would cure those dry patches, but to no avail. I saw my doctor after a few months, and she informed it was just eczema. OK, cool.

The only product (out of some ten or more that I tried to moisturize those dry patches) that worked was Hand Perfection. I can’t actually think of any better endorsement for it, because I was starting to feel rather hopeless about it all. My hands were soft, smooth, and they even looked a little less ragged after just a few uses (like two days). It’s a bit more than I’d think to spend on a hand cream, but a little goes a long way, and I’ll often use it as a spot treatment now, and then use something else throughout the day.

It does have titanium dioxide, which can be used for sun protection, but there’s no SPF noted on the product, so I don’t think it’s in a high enough quantity to do anything. For being touted as a day cream, I’d expect SPF in it (hands need SPF protection, too!). The size I have is just the “purse” size, which has lasted me a month now. The full-size is 3.4 fl. oz. and retails for $50.00 (ouch!).

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re still searching for a hand lotion to keep your hands smooth, soft, and moisturized, I definitely urge you to check this one out. The purse size makes for an easier first-time investment without committing to the full kit and kaboodle.

Availability: Ellen Sirot

Thursday, August 20th, 2009


Brash & Bold Pigment

MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection: Pigments

The talented photographer Marilyn Minter was inspired by MAC’s glitters and pigments. From her portion of the Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection comes two Reflects Glitters (Copper and Rust), two Glitters (Gold and Fuchsia), four pigments (Cocomotion, Brash & Bold, Heritage Rouge, and Push the Edge), as well as Gloss Texture in Clear.

Pigment ($19.50)

  • Brash & Bold is a velvety, deep fuchsia-red with subtle fuchsia-purple sheen. If Bright Fuchsia and Pink Pearl pigment had a baby, this would be it.
  • Heritage Rouge is a dark, cranberry-burgundy frost. It’s incredibly pigmented and goes on smooth. It’s one of the best pigment textures to date. This was a previously released shade, so be sure to check your stash to make sure you don’t already have one.
  • Push the Edge is a deep blue-based violet purple with soft shimmer/sheen. It reminded me a lot of Entremauve pigment but bluer, not quite as plum. The textures are even similar, as this one is a bit chalky (though not terribly so).
  • Cocomotion is a rich shade of antique gold with a bit more brightness than your typical antique gold. It’s one of my favorite shades of pigments (again, check your stash before buying), because it’s extremely smooth, rich in pigmentation, and is a dream to work with.

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

Recommendation: I think both Brash & Bold and Push the Edge pigments represent two shades we don’t often see MAC putting out. While neither is necessarily absolutely, positively original, they’re both pleasant surprises. Cocomotion and Heritage Rouge are also exceptional shades, and it’s good to see them make a return, at least for a limited time.

Availability: MACCosmetics.com

See up-close photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Parched Skin? Clinique’s Maximum Hydrator to the Rescue!

Clinique Maximum Hydrator ($27.00) is a moisturizer designed as part of their men’s skincare line. Gender aside, this is a fantastic moisturizer, and it’s actually one I’ve repurchased–for myself, not the boyfriend! This is an excellent moisturizer for those with normal to dry skin, because it is incredibly hydrating, and if you have oily skin, it may be too much for you. It is a gel-based formula, though, so it doesn’t feel heavy.

Maximum Hydrator is a multi-purpose product that is supposed to be used both in the morning and the evening. For men, it is touted as a post-shave product to help soften and plump up the skin. Here are the ingredients Clinique wants us to know about:

  • Aloe Leaf Water helps restore optimal moisture levels within skin while soothing dehydrated skin.
  • Moisture-binding polysaccarides (sugars) Trehalose and Sorbitol work along with Sodium Hyaluronate to help skin retain moisture and maintain important natural performances.
  • Palmitoyl Oligopeptide signals skin to stimulate the natural development of collagen.
  • Glycerin, a powerful humectant, helps attract and secure moisture to skin’s surface for immediate comfort.
  • Green Tea Extract and Sea Whip help soothe and protect delicate skin from potential damage from daily irritants.
  • Vitamin E helps fight damage caused by free radicals while Cucumber Extract soothes and de-puffs eye area skin.
  • Caffeine works as an anti-irritant to help soothe and calm easily distressed skin.
  • A blend of 3 different weights of Dimethicone provides improved slip, cushion, and a comfortable end-feel to the product while helping skin retain surface hydration.
  • PhytofixTM , a specially formulated blend of Sunflower Seed Cake, Barley, and Cucumber Fruit Extract, supplies skin with a powerful capacity for barrier repair for improved long-term hydration.

Whether you’re a woman or a man or a woman shopping for your hubby, this is a slam-dunk moisturizing choice. It helped soothe my painfully dry skin from my trip to New York back in February. It was gentle enough not to aggravate my existing breakouts nor cause additional ones. It was hydrating, fragrance-free, and absorbed quickly. You get a good amount for your money, and each jar lasts me about two months if I use it just once a day (I usually use mine at night, though sometimes I use it in the morning, too).

The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t come with any SPF, which is something I think would be a nice addition, because most men in my life aren’t going to be vigilant enough to use a separate moisturizer and SPF–they are too lazy and need an all-in-one kind of product.  The packaging isn’t phenomenal, and I do prefer creams/moisturizers in airless pump containers, but the packaging is simple and no-fuss, so it’s functional.

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

Recommendation: Dry skin? Sensitive skin? Definitely give this a shot–try asking for a sample next time you’re near a Clinique counter. This is one of my favorite moisturizers, and it is one that I’ve gone back to when other moisturizers aren’t working for me. This is a definite must-have for me during the winter, too, when my skin gets quite parched.

Availability: Nordstrom, Clinique, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora.com

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Review

Philosophy Purity Made Simple ($20.00 to $40.00) is a cult favorite when it comes to finding a gentle, one-stop cleanser. The original is a creamy formula with no real lathering/foaming properties. They recently launched a version that is high-foaming, which is not a creamy formula, and instead pumps out as a foam and then lathers up a bit more while applied. Purity Made Simple is a 2008 Sephora Beauty Award Winner, as well as an Allure Award winner in 2007 selected by readers. It is an “emulsifying cleanser” that gently cleanses while removing dirt and makeup. The original version was actually designed not to foam!

How does it pan out? Foaming or emulsifying? Let me tell you! Continue reading →