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Origins GinZing Moisturizer Review
Complexion, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments (1) - October 11th, 2013

After I got totally hooked on Origins’ GinZing Eye Cream, I tried a sample of their (then) new GinZing Moisturizer. I was pretty much sold on it after one try. As moisturizers go, it’s pretty fab.

The GinZing line is Origins’ “radiance” line, which usually translates into skincare for folks in their early 30′s. It’s advertised as being like a shot of espresso for your skin, and contains ginseng and coffee bean. It has a really lightweight texture, what I tend to think of as a cream-gel texture. It’s recommended for all skin types.

What I like about it is that it provides an adequate level of moisture for my oil-rich skin, without being greasy or heavy. I loooove the lightweight texture! That it has a bright and refreshing citrus aroma is a total bonus. At $26.50 for a 1.7 oz. jar, it’s definitely on the low end price-wise for a department store brand.

If you are looking for a lightweight moisturizer (that’s still pretty hydrating), it’s worth checking out Origins’ GinZing. I give it two thumbs up.

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The Body Shop Eau de Toilettes: Cheap & Cheerful
Cheap Thrills, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (4) - September 1st, 2013

The Body Shop is often my go-to place for fun smelling stuff that is a step up in quality from drugstore, but not too pricey. They started carrying eau de toilettes in fragrances that matched their ever-popular body butters, like Moringa, Brazil Nut, Strawberry, etc. At only $14 each, they’re a fun, cheap thrill to wear simple, yet pleasant scents.

I recently snagged Brazil Nut and Mango, two of my favorite body butter scents. The Brazil Nut EDT smells like waffle cones! It’s a yummy, gourmand scent. The lasting power isn’t great (about 2 hours at most) but that’s about what I’d expect for under twenty bucks. It lasts a little longer on clothing.

The Mango EDT is tangy and fruity and fresh, almost a bit pine-y, just like a real mango. It also is light on the lasting power.

Overall, I think these are a fun addition to The Body Shop’s fragrance lineup. I suspect they would last longer if you layered them over the body butters.

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Carthusia 1681 Eau de Parfum Review
Perfume, Reviews, Splurge Worthy - Comments Off - June 26th, 2013

Oh man. Another perfume that makes me SWOON. I have a serious THING for warm, woody fragrances, and I’ve met a new favorite. It’s Carthusia 1681 Eau de Parfum, and I’m in love.

Carthusia is a perfume house from Italy – specifically, Capri. All of their perfumes are inspired by the landscape and history of Capri. 1681 in particular is a unisex scent (leaning masculine, however) inspired by the historical herbs and spices used by the Carthusian monks to make scented waters. The notes include tangerine, bergamot, coriander, thyme, rosemary, iris, neroli, lavender, petitgrain, black pepper, sandalwood, cedarwood, frankincense, ambergris, vanilla, and musk.

I really wish I had better skills for describing fragrances, especially ones that are as complex as this one. It opens with the sparkling tangerine and citrus notes, which quickly give way to the spicy bite of black pepper. The iris and lavender give it a very velvety feel. The cedar and incense provides a wonderful base, and linger the longest, along with the black pepper. This is a woodsy fragrance that actually reminds me of being in the woods.

My husband actually smelled this first, in the little perfume shop we were visiting, and drew my attention to it. It was love at first sniff. This really is quite a masculine scent (by American standards) but women can wear it too. It smells DEAD SEXY on my husband, and he likes it on me too. We sprung for the big bottle since we both wear it.

This is such a beautiful scent. I highly recommend it, despite it being so pricey!

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You Smell Good: Lavanila Fresh Lemon Vanilla Perfume Review
Earth Friendly, Perfume, Reviews - Comments Off - June 1st, 2013

Lavanila’s newest fragrance is Fresh Lemon Vanilla, and it’s pretty much the bomb, yo. I bought the rollerball on a recent Sephora trip, and have been wearing it almost non-stop since then. Citrus scents are so great in the summer, since they’re light and fresh.

It’s described as a bright, juicy lemon, with lush watery fruits (huh?), fresh bamboo and pure Madagascar vanilla. I dunno about the lush watery fruits, but it definitely smells lemon-y and vanilla-y. It’s fresh and warm at the same time, but doesn’t smell particularly food-y. It’s not a dessert lemon scent at all. The wear time is not the longest, as to be expected for a perfume that doesn’t contain a lot of synthetics. The lemon burns off after about an hour, and the vanilla lasts for an hour or two after that.

I really like the rollerball format because it’s convenient for touching up the scent, since it doesn’t have the longest lasting power. It’s also pretty affordable, at $19 for 0.32 oz. The larger size is a better value, but I like the portability of the rollerball.

Fresh Lemon Vanilla also comes in a stick deodorant. I love Lavanila’s stick deodorant formula, but it’s soooo pricey. If I get a super-awesome job, I’d consider splurging for it, though.

Overall, if you like citrus scents and vanilla, I recommend checking out Lavanila’s Fresh Vanilla Lemon perfume. It’s perfect for summer!

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Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments Off - May 31st, 2013

I like lemon-scented stuff. I think I’ve mentioned this a time or two before… I’ve been in the market for a new cleanser to use in the mornings, so I picked up Andalou Naturals’ Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser to try because it smelled good. Also, it has nice stuff in it. But mostly, it smells good. (My new status as an actual esthetician compels me to tell you that you shouldn’t pick skincare based on smell. LOL.)

The Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser is a unique hybrid between a milky or lotion-type cleanser and one that lathers. It has the emollient qualities of a milky cleanser but it also contains a mild detergent that provides a light lather. It’s great for normal to combination skin, since it cleans but doesn’t overdry the skin. It contains antioxidants like white tea and vitamin c, as well as citrus extracts and sunflower oil. My face feels soft and clean, but not that uncomfortable squeaky clean feeling you get from products that strip the skin. It’s definitely a very gentle cleanser, in my opinion. It smells very lemon-y. I like the bright and cheerful scent in the morning, which was what sold me on this cleanser.

I use it in the shower in the morning, but I’ve also used it at night just to test it out. It removed my face makeup, although I would use a separate eye makeup remover if you’re wearing a lot of eye makeup. It left some mascara residue behind.

It’s on the high end of what I consider an acceptable price for a cleanser, at $12.95 for 6 oz. However, a little really goes a looooong ways – I find a whole pump is too much product, so I only use about half a pump at a time. At that rate, this bottle is going to last a while. Overall, I definitely recommend this for normal to combination skin types. Two thumbs up!

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Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer Review
Complexion, Reviews - Comments (1) - May 19th, 2013

Was that title long enough for you? LOL. Keywords, yo, it’s all about keywords. Okay, enough snark! Maybelline has REALLY been impressing me with their products, lately, and I’m not easy to impress. After having such a positive experience with the Instant Age Rewind The Perfector Powder, I decided to really go crazy and check out the concealer specifically for dark circles. (They also have one more geared towards concealing hyperpigmentation on the face, but dark circles are my particular bane.) The verdict? SHE SHOOTS, SHE SCORES!!!

A little back story – I used Benefit’s Erase Paste for a long time, during the phase where I was addicted to wearing tinted moisturizer every day. Then I got hoooked on powder mineral makeup, which didn’t play all that nicely with a concealer as creamy as Erase Paste. I got in the habit of using a concealer brush dipped in mineral foundation to conceal my dark circles and blemishes, which worked quite well (for the most part). As long as I used eye cream, it didn’t make my eye area looked dried out. Now that I’m mostly using a pressed powder foundation (with occasional forays into liquid foundation, as I use up my beloved Chanel Pro Lumiere), I decided it was about time to try a liquid/cream concealer again.

The Eraser comes in a glass tube with a funky twist-up dispenser and a fuzzy puff applicator thing. (That’s a technical term.) You click it a few times (two clicks for both eyes seems to work), it pushes product into the fuzzy puff applicator thing and you swiped it where you need it. On the pro side, the fuzzy puff applicator thing does a pretty nice job of applying the product evenly and with a nice airbrushed-looking appearance. A pat or two with a finger, et voila! Dark circles (and other blemishes) are concealed! I’ve used it both before and after applying my foundation (even though applying after breaks the no liquids after powder rule, thhhpt to rules) and it looks great both ways. The formula FEELS GOOD on my skin. It’s hydrating, but not greasy, doesn’t settle into my fine lines or eye creases, and wears well. It has good coverage. It’s not a full bullet-proof coverage, but for everyday use I prefer to just camoflage my dark circles rather than attempt all-out obliteration. It looks more natural. So, I really, really like the “looks like skin” finish of this concealer. It photographs pretty well too.

On the con side, the fuzzy puff applicator thing isn’t the most hygienic thing in the world. You can’t remove it and wash it. The directions recommend wiping it off with a dry tissue after use to remove excess product. Umm, okay. Supposedly it’s treated with some kind of anti-bacterial magic, and it’s not like I’m licking it or something. Probably, washing it would introduce more bacteria than just leaving it alone (since bacteria really looooove water and wet things, I imagine getting it really wet would just make it a nice germ home). I’m not a huge bacteria-phobe, but it’s worth mentioning in case you are. The applicator also means it’s not friendly for pro makeup artist use – it’s really difficult to get the product off the applicator and onto a concealer brush for a truly hygienic application on a model. Since that’s not a concern for most people, it’s not a big deal. It’s too bad though, the stuff photographs nicely but it’s too much of a pain in the ass for me to want to use it in my kit.

It’s been a long time since a concealer impressed me, and I’m pretty darned impressed with this one. It does what I want it to, at a very budget-friendly price. I give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up!

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Badger Argan Hair Oil Review
Hair Care, Reviews - Comments Off - May 18th, 2013

I’m back to abusing my hair regularly. I get the color refreshed every three weeks so it stays (mostly) dark blue. This does make it a bit dry and unhappy. I decided to try something new, a hair oil, to see if it would help keep my hair healthy and more shiny. I bought Badger’s Argan Hair Oil, and have been giving it a go.

The Argan Hair Oil also contains baobab oil, jojoba oil, and an essential blend that includes bergamot, sandalwood, and orange essential oils. It smells GREAT!! The instructions indicate that you should apply the oil to damp hair. I personally don’t want oil on my head during the day, so I’m a rebel and apply it at night. I use about a pump and a half, and spread it through my hair, concentrating at the scalp and roots.

I have noticed that my hair seems less dry and crispy since I started using the oil before bed each night. It washes out cleanly the next morning, so my hair isn’t greasy during the day. My hair seems a lot happier than it has in the past when I’ve abused it this much, so I think this oil has been good for it.

The lovely orange-y scent also makes it a great body oil. I’ve been using it after my shower once in a while and I really like it all over my skin. I want to try some of Badger’s other body oils now. The Argan Hair Oil gets two thumbs up!

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Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (1) - May 4th, 2013

I used up my Mychelle Dermaceuticals Perfect C Serum and was feeling a little too poor to spring for another one, so I picked up Mad Hippie’s Exfoliating Serum to try instead, as it’s a slightly cheaper. Mad Hippie is a company whose ads I’ve seen popping up here and there, and I liked what I saw on the ingredient list, so I figured it was worth a try. So far, so good!

The Exfoliating Serum is meant to be used at night, every other day or every day if your skin isn’t sensitive. It comes in a brown glass bottle with a dropper – I prefer pump packaging, since you’re exposing the product to air and light every time you open the bottle, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. It’s just important to keep in mind the anti-oxidants will lose potency over time with exposure so it’s best to use it regularly and use it up in a timely fashion.

It contains a veritable SLEW of stuff – vitamin c, glycolic acid, antioxidants like goji berry extract, a skin brightening botanical blend, ceramides, vitamin b, and so on. It doesn’t contain parabens, synthetic color, or synthetic fragrance. It doesn’t have much of a scent at all, really.

I can feel a slight tingle when I put it on, but it’s not uncomfortable at all. The directions indicate applying the product to cleansed skin, and then putting moisturizer over. I have to admit, I’m kind of bad at remembering to put moisturizer on, since I usually wash my face, apply the serum, and fall into bed. My skin still feels happy and not dry in the morning, so I don’t think this is the end of the world.

It’s not the best time for conducting skin care experiments, since I’m still getting facials at school on an almost weekly basis. My skin looks pretty good. I can say that this product hasn’t caused any bad reactions or breakouts for my face. It’ll be interesting to see if my face continues to look great after I’m done with school…

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with Mad Hippie’s Exfoliating Serum. It’s a pretty good price ($34.99) for a product that has a LOT of active ingredients in it. As with all things that contain glycolic or a high percentage of actives, if you’re sensitive, you might want to purchase from a place that allows returns in case of a bad reaction. I’m quite pleased with the product, and would consider trying other products from the line.

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