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Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25 Review

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25
Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm & Moisturizing Balm SPF 25 Review

This past winter, Bobbi Brown released Extra Repair in balm-form.  (It seems like these were reformulated, because based on googling, these were out previously.)  The range calls out two specific ingredients that make this extra awesome:  Argireline Peptide, which is said to “boost the natural production of new collagen and elastin in the skin, gradually helping to restore natural structure and firmness,” and Clary Sage Ferment, which is said to “improve cell renewal and repair barrier function, so skin looks more radiant and is more hydrated.”  Both come in glass jars with black screw-top lids, so for those who prefer airless pumps, pumps, or tubes, these are not for you.

The Extra Repair product range is focused on anti-aging, which is hard for me to weigh in on.  I have some fine lines around my eyes, but I don’t have too many aging signs yet.  The majority of my review is based on texture, feel, hydration, and the like.

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm ($90.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a thick, gluey cream that really is like a potted lip balm.  Using this put me in such a quandary; at first, I loathed it, because it was such a pain to apply and never fully absorbed, yet it provided excellent hydration.  I cannot emphasize how thick, tacky, and gluey the texture of this product is.  I couldn’t even imagine using this during the day, because it doesn’t fully absorb for me, even after two to three hours.  It’s possible very dry skin types will have skin that just drinks this in, so absorption may be better.  I’m having very dry skin at the moment, and it’s still not quite absorbing for me.

I have just a couple of uses left in this jar, and I’ve been using it consistently as a night cream for about two months.  The best way to apply, which is still annoying, is to warm the product up between your fingers, dab a little bit all over your face (like spots), then pat those dabs into the skin with finger tips.  I don’t recommend attempting to spread the mixture, because it really doesn’t like to move around.

My skin always felt really plump and hydrated the morning after using this, and despite the heaviness, I never had an issue with breakouts.  The amount of acne I had was about the same or slightly less than my normal range.  The texture took some getting used to, as did the application method, and I’d still prefer a cream that was spreadable.  The jar format is less desirable, especially at this price point and with anti-aging ingredients.  It has a citrus and herb scent; I like it, but I tend to like those types of scents–others may find it less appealing.  FutureDerm has an excellent post on Argireline Peptide and its background, which may not be the most effective topical anti-aging ingredient (also see Cosmetics Cop).

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm SPF 25 ($90.00 for 1.7 oz.) is the daytime companion product to the balm, but the texture of this is completely different.  It feels like a heavier cream, but it doesn’t feel too heavy for daytime wear if you have drier skin. I really liked this one, and I was sad when the jar finished (about a month, but my fiance was also using this for daytime wear).  Despite the heaviness, it absorbs after five to ten minutes, and it leaves skin feeling hydrated all day long.  I never began my night time skin regimen feeling like I needed more moisture.  It has the same citrus and herbal scent.

The active ingredients are Octinoxate (7.5%), Homosalate (5%), Oxybenzone (3%), and Avobenzone (2%). Octinoxate, Homosalate, and Oxybenzone cover the UVB spectrum, while Oxybenzone covers part of the UVA range and Avobenzone covers part of the UVA range (the ingredients themselves then cover 290-400nm). Cosmetics Cop has a good breakdown on whether avobenzone is stable or not. SmartSkincare also has a good overview of avobenzone and stability.

These were product samples, so they did not come with boxes, therefore I don’t have the ingredient lists at my disposal. I was able to find this ingredient source for the SPF 25 version.  On that note, I continue to be frustrated by the lack of ingredient lists published online by brands themselves–especially with skincare.

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Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes Review & Photos


Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($7.99 for 25 or $0.32 each) are pre-soaked cloths that are designed to remove makeup, including waterproof mascara. Neutrogena says there’s no need to rinse after using one of these to remove your makeup. This kind of product is great for on-the-go removal (say at the gym), overnight bags/weekend trips (where you may not want to use liquid makeup remover or have it clogging up space in your quart-sized carry-on liquids’ bag!), or if you’re someone who isn’t so good at removing makeup before going to bed.

Generally, I use a liquid makeup remover to take off my makeup at night, because I usually enjoy my night time skin care routine, so it’s not a chore for me. However, I always pack wipes with me when I travel on short trips, whether by plane or car. I also use makeup wipes for spot makeup removal and if I’m wearing a really strong lip color, then I’ll use one to remove the majority of makeup and finish with a regular cleanser.

There are a lot of times where I will do several swatches in a row–say blush–and a wipe is easy and fuss-free to just remove the area I applied blush in. This keeps the rest of my face looking the same, and then I can just reapply foundation and then the blush on top. Neutrogena’s Towelettes do an excellent job at removing makeup and leaving the surface mostly matte and ready for the next swatch. The towelette is soft to the touch, and it’s thick enough to hold plenty of moisture (the cleanser) and stretches easily without tearing. I love that my skin doesn’t feel dry or tight after using it.

What’s shown in photos is technically a refill package, and you are expected to purchase your first batch of wipes in a plastic container ($8.99 for 25 plus the case). If you don’t use wipes often, you’ll want the case or to store these in a zip-top plastic bag to ensure they stay moist. I usually don’t have issues with the refill packaging staying sealed (it is adhesive), but over time, the adhesive can weaken. One thing I like to do is to store them upside down, because this helps to ensure the wipe that’s next in line to be used is very moist. If you do have a wipe that’s dried out or not as moist as it should be, you can add a little bit of your favorite cleanser or even just water to rejuvenate it a bit!  These are also heavily scented with a fresh, clean floral-like scent.

I really like these, and if you aren’t someone who uses wipes often, they’re a good, easy-to-find, budget-friendly option. I don’t buy these regularly, just because I like MAC’s Wipes better for my purposes (removing swatches usually), and I go through them frequently, so I buy the Bulk Wipes ($28.00 for 100 or $0.28 each). I prefer MAC Wipes for removing swatches, because they are more moisturizing, and when you’re removing makeup from the same patch of skin 10-20 times over a couple of hours, regular wipes often leave the area dry, scaly, and irritated. But what’s funny is that MAC Wipes do leave behind a slightly slick feeling after use–not really oily or slick per se, but what keeps my arm hydrated during a major swatch session is a noticeable feeling on the face, which you may or may not appreciate. I also can’t use MAC Wipes on the eyes (and they’re not recommended for use on the eye area last I checked!) without the skin feeling like it’s on fire.

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bareMinerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer Review & Photos


bareMinerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer

bareMinerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer

bareMinerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer ($28.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a lightweight lotion for daily moisturizing needs.  The scent is the same as the rest of the product range–a subtle herbal scent.  I don’t find the scent heavy, obtrusive, or noticeable.  It’s available in two sub-formulas: one for combination skin and another for normal to dry skin.   I started using the Combination initially, because the Normal to Dry launched later, but once it did launch, I switched, since it seemed more appropriate for my skin type.

Ingredients in Normal to Dry: Water/Aqua/Eau, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Acacia Decurrens/Jojoba/Sunflower Seed Wax/ Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Soil Minerals, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ns, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eos, Ceramide Eop, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Leucojum Aestivum Bulb Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Beta-Carotene, Sodium Cocoyl Alaninate, Castoryl Maleate, Hydrolyzed Algin, Sea Water, Glycerin, Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybridia (Lavandin) Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caproyl Phytosphingosine, Caproyl Sphingosine, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Behenic Acid, Cholesterol, Peg-75 Stearate, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Steareth-20, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ceteth-20, Ceteareth-25, Limonene, Disodium Edta, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Linalool, Xanthan Gum

I used both variations at night time, because the range does not currently have SPF in it (I think enough people have clamored for it, so we’ll probably see it roll out sooner rather than later).  I loved the Purely Nourishing Cream for Dry Skin, because it worked well as a night cream on my dry skin.  Normal to Dry didn’t hydrate as well as the cream did, which I expected.  If this had SPF in it, I would definitely consider using it during the day time, when I prefer a lighter weight product.  It works better for my skin during the summer, so I think it’s a better fit for normal skin rather than dry.  I didn’t notice any differences in hydration between either formula, though.  I didn’t feel less hydrated by using the Combination (which one might have expected) but the same.

The formula is really lightweight, which is my favorite part about it, and it dries down within a minute.  It spreads easily across the skin without feeling like you need gobs of the stuff for good coverage.  It comes in a convenient skinny cylinder with a pump for easy and sanitary application.  I love pumps, because you can figure out just how much you need and stick with that amount each time.  I’d consider repurchasing as a daytime moisturizer if they included SPF, but I’d rather use the Cream for Dry Skin at night time based on my skin needs.

Ingredients in Combination: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cocoglycerides, Jojoba Esters, Behenyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Soil Minerals, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Lecithin, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Linoleic Acid, Phospholipids, Honey, Panthenol, Sucrose Cocoate, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Lavendula Hybrida Oil, Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Punica Granatum Sterols, Tamarindus Indica Seed Polysaccharide, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acacia Dealbata Flower/Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Anthemis NobIlis Flower Oil, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matracaria) Flower Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Myrothamnus Flabellifolia Leaf/Stem Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol, Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Limonene, Carbomer, Dehydroacetic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Linalool, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum

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Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist Review & Photos


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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Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45 Review


Coola Sport SPF 45

Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45

Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45 ($32.00 for 5 oz.) smells like a tropical cocktail and the beach. It just has that “beach” scent with a fruity sweetness that seems part mango, part something else. It’s pleasant and certainly masks any “sunscreen” scent. This particular sunscreen is available unscented, though. I needed a sunscreen to bring to my parents’ house, because I knew I was going to be outside watching Mellan swim, and I found this in my SPF bin and threw it in my bag.

active ingredients: Octocrylene (Sunscreen) 7.50%, Octinoxate (Sunscreen) 7.50%, Oxybenzone (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Homosalate (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 3.0%

It’s a completely chemical-based sunscreen (although zinc oxide is listed as the last ingredient–presumably the concentration is so low that it doesn’t make it on the active ingredients list or isn’t used as sunscreen here). For a great dialogue about different chemical sunscreens, check out the discussion in this post. Avobenzone has been said to be unstabilized, but the presence of octocrylene will make it photostable (Reference).  For their claims of natural/organic ingredients, check their website, but the version I’m reviewing here is slightly different (possibly an older formulation).

As far as a body sunscreen goes, this isn’t cost-effective at all (you should be using about an ounce of sunscreen to cover the entire body, which means this tube is the equivalent of five uses) (Reference). Chemical sunscreens, like this one, should be applied approximately thirty minutes (Reference). From a consistency/texture standpoint, I liked it enough–it spreads easily over the skin, and it dries down within a few minutes to a non-greasy finish. It doesn’t get greasy in the heat, but it did feel a little sticky after an hour outdoors.  Coola says it can be used on face and body, though, so perhaps, for some, it would be a possible option.

It’s nice but not something I’d purchase in the future, just because I don’t need a high-end sunscreen for my body (I’m more willing to for facial sunscreens, since I take photos often and sometimes breakout).  We all skimp somewhere!

inactive ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, PVP/Eicosene Copolymer, Sorbitan, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Root Extract (Organic), Nylon-12, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Dimethicone, DEA Cetyl Phosphate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Acrylates/Steareth 20 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, PEG 100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Organic), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Flower Extract (Organic), Cucumis Sativa (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (Organic), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit (Organic), Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil (Organic), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Extract (Organic), Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil (Organic), Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract (Organic), Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract (Organic), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract (Organic), Parfum, Equisetum Hyemale (Horsetail) Extract, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Extract (Organic), Arnica Montana (Montana Flower) Extract (Organic), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Extract (Organic), Zinc Oxide

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Renee Rouleau Skin Drink Serum Review, Photos

Renee Rouleau Skin Drink
Renee Rouleau Skin Drink

Renee Rouleau Skin Drink

There is something to be said about trying a multitude of products from a variety of brands, because it gives you a better appreciation for the qualities that make products great, good, just okay, and skippable. I originally reviewed Renee Rouleau’s Skin Drink ($33.50 for 0.50 oz.) back in 2008, but I’m reviewing it again here today after recently testing it. Skin Drink is a serum with hyaluronic acid, which is supposed to hydrate the skin. This is actually a product I keep in my carry-on for flying, because I find it so lightweight, refreshing, and effective in a short period that it works well for traveling. It also includes allantoin, which is a botanical extract with supposed calming properties.

It feels like a cross between water and a gel; it’s nowhere near as thick as a gel, but it’s not quite like water. I use two pumps for my face, and depending on how dry my skin is, I might use it in the morning or evening. I use it before and after traveling, and I find that my skin reacts much less to changes in climate since adding this to my travel routine. The serum smoothes across the skin easily and absorbs instantly–no greasiness, burning or stinging sensations. It’s gentle and soothing, and it helps my skin get through winter when a moisturizer I’m testing out isn’t cutting it.

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