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5 Things: Facial Cleansers
5 Things, Complexion, Skin Care - Be the first to comment! - October 15th, 2013

Facial cleansers fall into the category of things which I want to blog about, but things which don’t usually merit an entire dedicated review to each one. I mean, when it comes to cleansers, either they get your face clean or they don’t. Either they’re too drying or they’re not. That’s pretty much my criteria when it comes to cleansers. Bonus if they remove eye makeup. It seemed like facial cleansers were the perfect subject for a new 5 Things post. Without further ado, here are five cleansers that I deemed acceptable.

1. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. This gentle cleanser cleans well, doesn’t strip the skin, and gets most eye makeup off. It rinshes easily, and there isn’t much scent. I especially like to travel with this one. It’s not especially lather-y, so a decent choice for dryer skins.

2. Eclos Anti-Aging Facial Cleanser. Cleans? Check. Doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry? Check. Removes eye makeup? Mostly check. (Mascara is stubborn.) I like the pump for ease of use. This one is more lathery than the Fresh one.

3. L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Cleansing Foam. Cleans? Yes. Dryness? No. Removes eye makeup? Not really. I love the foamy texture of this one, and it’s my other travel standby because the travel size bottles are just SO HANDY.

4. Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash. Cleans? Yup. Dryness? Nope. Removes eye makeup? Better than the others. Bonus points: smells like coconut and Pacifica is a local company to me. I like this one a lot.

5. Lush Let The Good Times Roll. Cleans? Pretty good. Dryness? No. Removes eye makeup? Not a chance. Bonus: smells A-MAY-ZING and it’s gently exfoliating. I actually reviewed this last year, but I’m mentioning it again because Lush just made it a permanent part of the line! Woohoo!!

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5 Things: Haircare!
5 Things, Hair Care - Comments (1) - October 12th, 2013

I have a small stack of haircare products I need to write about, but I don’t really want to review them each separately. Instead, it’s time for a fresh 5 Things post, haircare edition! So you know what I’m dealing with, the roots get bleached every eight weeks, and the blue is applied every four weeks. Chemically processing my hair every four weeks = dry hair. However, I love the blue (and so does practically everyone else I meet) so keeping the damage under control is my main goal when selecting hair care.

1. Giovanni Ultra-Moist Deep Deep Hair Mask. That’s right, it’s not just Deep, it’s DEEP DEEP! I’ve been using this hair mask twice a week in place of conditioner, and it seems to really help my chemically-processed and really dry hair. I also think it’s been helping to keep my color fading, since the blue seems to fade less quickly since I’ve been using it.

2. Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine Shampoo. It contains citrus oils and sunflower oil, and is supposed to help with shine. The scent is amazing (tangerine! orange!) and it also was friendly to my color-treated hair.

3. Andalou Naturals Moisture Rich Shampoo. After I finished the Brilliant Shine, I decided to try the Moisture Rich shampoo, since my hair is pretty dry. It has a nice orange and vanilla scent, and my hair quite likes it as well. Which brings me to…

4. Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine Conditioner. I’ve found that this conditioner (replete with sunflower oil and citrus, just like the shampoo) in combination with the Moisture Rich Shampoo makes my hair quite happy.

5. Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo & Conditioner gets an honorable mention. I was using this these two products when I started coloring my hair blue, and they don’t suck. In fact, they’re pretty decent. I switched to the Andalou products because I was feeling cheap, and it’s my opinion that the Andalou products actually do a better job at reducing fading.

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5 Things: Eye Creams
5 Things, Best Of, Skin Care - Comments (1) - June 11th, 2013

For as obsessed as I am with eye creams, I realized that I really don’t give them any love on my blog. I guess it’s because people tend to expect miracles from their eye creams, and that just doesn’t happen. I have yet to find The Miracle Dark Circle Treatment That Really, Really Works, for example, and honestly? It’ll never happen. There is no topical product out there that is going to give me skin I just wasn’t born with. HOWEVER. I do have way fewer fine lines around my eyes than people my age who’ve never used eye cream, so I know they’re doing something for my skin. Eye cream can also make a visible difference on that just-woke-up-shouldn’t-have-had-so-much-wine-last-night eye puffiness. So, this is my list of eye creams I tried, that I really liked, that I would (or did) buy again, and that I recommend to friends. As always, your mileage may vary.

1. Origins GinZing Eye Cream is here at the top because it’s my most recent discovery. It claims to brighten and de-puff, and lo, it does! It has a mega-slew of plant-based ingredients in it, and it does indeed brighten up the eye area (thanks optic brighteners!) and de-puff eyes.

2. L’Occitane Divine Eyes. The price of this product just kills me, but I can honestly say it’s amazing. It does help with fine lines, it does help with firming the skin around the eye area, and it helps with puffiness. It didn’t do much for my dark circles, but people with “tired eyes” dark circles (versus my genetic ones) will see a difference. If you want serious anti-aging, this will deliver.

3. Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash is pretty great. It’s supposed to hydrate, de-puff, smooth fine lines, yadda yadda (they all say the same thing, right?). Interestingly, the ingredient list has some crossover with the Origins product (ginseng, horse chestnut, optical brighteners) so it makes sense I’d like them both so much. The Clarins product is more expensive, but the tube is a little bigger (and it’s a tube, more hygienic). Don’t bother with Clarins Eye Contour Gel or Eye Contour Balm – they did not excite me. This one is great if you’re travelling, it’s an instant pick-me-up for your eyes.

4. Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream is lovely. De-puffs, brightens, softens fine lines, blah blah blah, and it feels so very soft and soothing. My first “favorite” eye cream.

5. ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Therapy Eye Cream, the first eye cream I tried that convinced me that eye cream was worth using every day. It’s also what I recommend for anyone with sensitive skin/eyes, as the formula is pretty simple. It’s not an anti-aging miracle, but it will certainly hydrate and I think it’s great as a preventive measure against fine lines. Good eye cream for young people!

There are a few honorable mentions, including the others I’ve reviewed on the blog. These here are the standouts based on bang for your buck, and overall results.

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5 Things That Don’t Suck
5 Things, Best Of, Eyeshadow, Mascara, Skin Care - Comments (4) - May 28th, 2013

Another day and a half (roughly) and I’ll be finished with school. Five business days after that, I’ll be able to drive down to Salem and take the tests to get my esthetician’s license in the State of Oregon AND Washington (by handing over the appropriate sums of money, as well). Amen. Praise the Lord. Anyone who says beauty school is easy is crazy. All I can say is, thank God I didn’t drink alcohol when I was in college, because I probably NEVER would have finished, based on the volume of booze I’ve needed to imbibe to survive four months of beauty school. (I’m only half kidding. LOL.)

ANYWAY. I don’t have a job lined up (yet), so I intend to blog merrily away once school is finished. But I wanted to mention a few products that have been keeping me sane (and looking good) while I’ve been in school. In no particular order, here are five products that don’t suck. (In fact, they pretty much ROCK and I can’t live without them now.)

1. Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes w/ White Tea Extract. Lo and behold, a facial wipe that I can use night after night, and my skin *doesn’t* get all pissy that I’m not really washing it. Seriously, these wipes are THE BOMB.

2. Origins GinZing Eye Cream. Holy catfish, Batman. One of my classmates gave me a deluxe sample size of this, which has lasted ALMOST the entire four months I’ve been in school. It brightens, it de-puffs, it makes you look like you actually got some sleep last night and you’re not miserably hung-over. No, really, it does! I need a full-size of this, like, yesterday!

3. The holy triumverate that is Shiro Cosmetics’ Homunculus, Chimera, and Fullmetal. These have been my go-to colors almost the entire time I’ve been in school for a quick, easy eye look. I just pick one, use it with a beige or taupe color, and VOILA! INSTANT AWESOME. Don’t over-think this, just buy all three. Trust me.

4. Aveda Nourish-Mint Renewing Lip Treatment. I know, it’s sixteen bucks. I KNOW. But it’s basically crack in a tube. My lips don’t want to live without it. I’ve had one in my pocket since like, week 5 of an eighteen week program, and I’m completely hooked. MUST HAVE THIS CRACK.

5. Speaking of expensive and CRACK. Fresh’s Supernova Mascara is my new Holy Grail of Mascara. I busted out my tube early on in the program, and everyone who’s tried it (on me, I’ve donated my face for science many times now to my classmates earning their makeup credits) LOVES IT. It doesn’t smudge, it’s black, it’s soft, it is AMAY-ZING. It’s the shizz, yo.

There you go. The stuff that has rocked my world for the last 18 weeks. I can’t believe it’s almost over.

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5 New Products I Want
5 Things, Shopping - Comments (1) - February 2nd, 2013

It’s late winter/early spring, which means New Product Launches for a lot of my favorite brands, especially skin care launches. Also, Valentines. I love Valentines stuff, even though I’m not really all that big into the holiday itself. I just like fun products. Here are five things I really wish I had the budget to buy!

1. Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil. I loooooove facial oils. I like to use a drop or two either by itself or under moisturizer at night. They make my skin happy. This facial oil contains camellia oil and rice bran oil (both of which my face likes a lot), as well as some really nice essential oils. I wannit!

2. Many items from Flower Cosmetics, which has launched at Wal-Mart stores and online. I love the packaging for this product line, AND the price points! I really need to get on over to a Wal-Mart to check it out.

3. This Red Ruby Groovy Natural Body Wash from gud smells THE BEST. Strong grapefruit scents are basically instant cheerful in a bottle, for me. I just need to use up a bottle or two of body wash, and then I can justify buying this.

4. Grapefruit must be a thing for 2013 because Yes To has launched a Pink Grapefruit product line targeting skin brightness and clarity. I want the eye cream and the serum and the towelettes. I already love the Blueberry and Cucumber towelettes, so I’m guessing I’ll love the Pink Grapefruit ones too.

5. Lush’s Valentines stuff sounds lovely, and DAMN THEM! These perfumes… oh God. I don’t love all of Lush’s perfumes, but the ones I like I LOOOOOVE. They’re seriously killing me here.

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5 Things: Drugstore Stuff I Want To Try
5 Things, Cheap Thrills, Makeup Fun, Shopping - Be the first to comment! - December 28th, 2012

Since I’m on a budget, I’ve been more and more interested in checking out drugstore makeup brands. Most of these brands are owned by or are the parent company of department store brands, so a lot of the “fancy” formulas find their way into mass market products. Here are five new mass market products that I want to check out, in no particular order.

1. Physician’s Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Powder. I KNOW, I KNOW, the Western co-opting of the whole BB phenomenom is annoying at best, and offensive at worst. Let’s just set that aside for now, and ignore the purported “BB” aspect of this product, and focus on the fact that it looks like a pretty awesome face powder. It seems like a pretty nice formula for a face powder (just looking at the ingredient list) and I really want to try it out.

2. L’Oreal Shine Caresse Lipstains. L’Oreal doesn’t seem to have these on their website yet, despite the fact that I’ve seen them on displays at Fred Meyer. Annoying. Anyway, they are purported to be a mass market dupe for YSL Glossy Stains (L’Oreal owns YSL.) L’Oreal makes my current favorite longwearing lipgloss (Infallible Gloss), so I really want to try these glossy lipstains.

3. Cover Girl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm. These just look cool. It seems like everyone is hopping on the “gloss balm stick thing” bandwagon, but I like the way these look the best.

4. Flower Cosmetics. I got January’s Allure magazine and Drew Barrymore’s makeup line Flower was featured. It’s going to be a Wal-Mart exclusive, and I am DYING to check it out.

5. The Total Intensity eye products from Prestige. I need to visit an Ulta soon and check these out!

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5 Things: Mascara That Did Float My Boat
5 Things, Cheap Thrills, Mascara - Be the first to comment! - November 8th, 2012

As a partner to my last 5 Things post, I wanted to make a list of five mascaras that did impress me, enough that I’ve re-purchased them and/or recommend them!

Let’s refresh what I want in a mascara. What do I want? Full, soft, individually defined lashes. My lashes are decently long enough already, so I mostly go for volume. I prefer not to have to bust out the lash comb to separate lashes, but a brief brush is ok. With that said, here are five mascaras that made the cut.

1. Kiehl’s Marvelous Mineral Mascara is gentle on the eyes, requires minimal work to make it look good, doesn’t flake off or smudge during the day, and washes off easily. I repurchased this twice.

2. Maybelline Volum’ Express One-by-One Washable Mascara. Oh my. This may very well win the award for Claire’s Favorite Mascara Of All Time. I’ve gone through two tubes, and will probably buy a third. It is FABULOUS. My lashes have volume, but also separation, I almost NEVER have to comb, it lasts all day with no smudging or flaking… dare I say, it’s practically perfect?

3. Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Cat Eyes Washable Mascara. Hate the waterproof version, LOVE the washable version. This one is all about the brush, which really does seem to help with curling, and getting all your lashes. I love it almost as much as the One By One.

4. Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara. This one is all about the mini-brush. You can get right down to the roots without smearing mascara on your eyelids with this mini-brush. Nice formula too. I’ve purchased this at least twice now.

5. L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Plumping Mascara. I really liked the bigger brush on this mascara, and the plush look of the formula. It’s good stuff.

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5 Things: Mascara That Didn’t Float My Boat
5 Things, Cheap Thrills, Mascara - Comments (1) - November 1st, 2012

Mascara is a tricky thing to blog about. It’s hard to get decent lash pics, and quite frankly, most of the time my lashes come out looking the same because I want them to look a certain way – and I’ll fuss and futz to get them that way. So generally my criteria for mascara doesn’t really depend on what the end result is, but rather how hard I had to work to get there.

What do I want? Full, soft, individually defined lashes. My lashes are decently long enough already, so I mostly go for volume. I prefer not to have to bust out the lash comb to separate lashes, but a brief brush is ok. With that said, here are five mascaras that DIDN’T excite me.

1. Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush Mascara. I wanted to love this. It’s got this gel formula that’s supposed to leave your lashes softer, not brittle, but with volume. It has a “flexor” brush, that’s supposed to be a plus, but I don’t really see that it helps anything. Mostly, the formula is a little too wet, which means my lashes stick together and have to be separated with a lash comb. I do like the results, but it fails the “too much work” test. I won’t re-purchase.

2. Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes. The famous pink & green tube is supposedly a perennial favorite of women everywhere. I’ve never liked it. But, being a sucker, I picked this one up because the brush looked cool and it had potential. After all, it’s supposed to give good separation and definition. Does it? Nope. First, I have to layer on a zillion coats, because this is a really thin formula. It’s also really wet, so my lashes want to stick together and I have to comb. FAIL. If I spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME fighting with it, I’ll get to something like the results I want. But life is too short to fight your mascara. I really hated this one.

3. Rimmel Glam Eyes Lash Flirt. See my review here. It didn’t suck terribly, but it didn’t float my boat either.

4. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptuous. To be fair, this one falls into a “sort of floated my boat” category. I liked the formula quite a bit, but the brush is a little wonky and means I have to apply it verrry carefully, or I get it on my eyelids. I didn’t pitch it, but I won’t re-purchase either.

5. Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Cat Eyes in Waterproof. You’re probably thinking, Geez what is this woman’s obsession with Maybelline mascara? The thing is, when I find a Maybelline formula I like, I LOVE it. So, I keep trying new ones hoping to find my next holy grail. This one, in the waterproof formula, isn’t it. (The regular washable one, however… but that’s another post.) I love the curved brush, I like the results, I loathe waterproof mascara formulas. I wasn’t paying attention when I bought this, and bought the waterproof by mistake.

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