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UnBurn Sunburn Relief Review
Cheap Thrills, Reviews, Sun Care - Comments Off - August 17th, 2012

Sometimes, despite wearing sunscreen, we get a sunburn. Maybe we stayed out in the sun a little too long, or didn’t apply enough sunscreen, or we forgot to reapply. Whatever the reason, it’s always a drag to get a sunburn and suffer the pain and discomfort. UnBurn Sunburn Relief gel works quickly to provide fast relief of pain associated with sunburns.

UnBurn is a gel formula that works by drawing the heat out of the burn to cool the skin. It also contains 2.5% lidocaine to give you quick pain relief and contains Vitamin E and aloe to soothe skin and prevent peeling. My sister, poor thing, got a sunburn this weekend so she offered to be my guinea pig for purposes of this review.

She applied a layer of UnBurn on her sunburned spots the morning after she got burned, and says it provided immediate relief that lasted for about an hour or so. After the lidocaine wore off, the pain wasn’t as bad as it had been. She applied it a second time in the middle of the day for more relief. Then, she also applied it before she went to bed, and had no trouble getting right to sleep (sleep can be hard if you have a sunburn because it hurts when the bed/sheets touch it). Overall, she gives UnBurn major thumbs up for beating back the nasty sunburn pain!

UnBurn is also handy to keep around the house in case you do what I do and accidently touch something hot (I’m famous for burning myself when I bake something, doh!) because it also works on minor burns. Also? It’s really inexpensive. An 8 oz. bottle is only $4.99!

So remember, first wear sunscreen and try to remember to re-apply! But if you still get a sunburn, UnBurn is great to have on hand to soothe the pain. Two thumbs up!

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Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Day Cream SPF 15 Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care, Sun Care - Comments Off - July 6th, 2012

Desert Essence makes some really nice body care products, like the Hand & Body Lotion and the Body Wash. I decided to give their skincare a try, since I like the body care so much. The Gentle Nourishing Day Cream SPF 15 is a really moisturizing daily face lotion with sunscreen. If you have dry skin, you will probably love it.

Have you ever asked to yourself what is the best whitening cream in the world? Well, the cream moisturizer must contains argan oil, squalane, and olive oil, as well as white tea extract. It is really emollient. It’s also fragrance-free. If you have dry, sensitive skin, it’s great. It’s a mineral sunscreen, so it does have a bit of a whitening effect when you first apply it, but it goes away once you rub it in. I wasn’t paying attention when I bought this, so I didn’t notice that there is actually a lighter formula for normal skin (the Daily Essential Defense Lotion SPF 15) which is probably more suited to my skin type. I liked the way the Gentle Nourishing Day Cream felt on my skin, but it was much too emollient for my oilier skin. I gave the tube to my sister, who has drier skin, and she likes it. Overall, if you have dry skin and you want a natural daily moisturizer with sunscreen, check out Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Day Cream SPF 15. As for me, I’ll be investigating the lighter formula.

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Sunscreen: Eyes, Lips, Hands
Body Care, Skin Care, Splurge Worthy, Sun Care - Comments Off - June 23rd, 2012

Most of us are pretty good at using some kind of sunscreen on our faces on a daily basis. After all, using sunscreen daily is probably the easiest and most effective way to slow down the signs of aging. Remembering to put sunscreen on the delicate eye area, on your lips, and on your hands is another matter entirely. Today I wanted to mention some sunscreens specifically for those areas that I’ve tried (and some that look good, although I haven’t tried them yet).

L’Occitane’s Immortelle Brightening Hand Care SPF 15 is a really nice daily hand care product that is basically anti-aging for the hands. With regular use, your hands will look smoother and if you already have age spots, they’ll diminish. I really like the texture of this hand cream. It’s a bit splurge-y, but otherwise it’s great.

I haven’t tried this one yet, but for a more budget friendly option, Boots’ No 7 Protect and Perfect Hand Cream SPF 15 looks interesting.

I’ve revised my opinion of Lavanila’s The Healthy Lip Screen SPF 30. It’s luxe, but I really like it. It’s the texture – I like it better than other mineral-based sunscreens I’ve used. It has a much more weightless feel on the lips than other products I’ve tried.

I haven’t tried this yet, but a very budget-friendly option to check out is Nivea’s A Kiss Of Protection, SPF 30. It’s really inexpensive, and combines chemical and mineral sun protection. It’s also readily available in drugstores.

I liked this L’Oreal Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream quite a bit. It’s a two-fer – it has an SPF 15 day cream and a non-SPF night cream. Considering it’s two products in one, the price is pretty reasonable. I liked that the SPF 15 cream didn’t sting or irritate my eyes. I don’t have much in the way of deep wrinkles, so I can’t comment on that, but overall I was pleased with the product.

This Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 30 is more splurge-y, but their products are always so nice. I haven’t tried it, but if I was going to a sunny place for vacation or spent all day in the sun regularly, I totally would.

What are your favorite eye, lip, or hand sunscreens?

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Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Review
Reviews, Skin Care, Sun Care - Comments (3) - June 1st, 2012

Neutrogena makes some pretty good sunscreen products, so I decided to pick up this new face sunscreen when I saw it in the store recently. It’s the Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 30. I do have break-out prone skin, and this new formula claims to “keep skin clear of sunscreen-caused breakouts.” Sounds good, right? I’ve used it several times on my face now, and I think it’s a good formula!

Neutrogena says the Clear Face Sunscreen is “clinically tested on acne prone skin” and it’s supposed to have a weightless, matte finish. It contains a blend of botanicals (although they’re at the very bottom of the ingredient label, so who knows if there is enough in there for anything except label appeal) that are supposed to soothe and calm the skin. (Sidenote: one of them is cinnamon. I know some people are allergic to cinnamon, so I’m a little surprised to see it in a facial care product.) The formula comes in SPF 30 and SPF 55, and is mostly targeted to the face but you could use it on the body as well.

The formula is a light liquid. It does have a nice texture for a sunscreen. Since it’s sunscreen, you’re supposed to use a lot, which often causes an oil slick situation on my face. This product does seem to help with the oil slicks. It’s got some mattifying action going on, for sure. Often times I don’t put moisturizer under sunscreen, since most sunscreen lotions are moisturizing enough. I find that due to the high silicone content of this formula, a little moisturizer underneath keeps my skin feeling more comfortable.

I didn’t experience any breakouts with this formula, and I do think people with acne-prone skin would probably like it. Overall, I’m quite pleased with this higher SPF sunscreen for the face! Two thumbs up.

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Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Continuous Spray Sunblock Review
Body Care, Sun Care - Comments (2) - May 28th, 2012

Since I’ve been outdoors a lot more recently (and will continue to be) I needed to get a sunscreen for the body. I’ve been wanting to try a spray-on one, so I decided to try out the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Continuous Spray in SPF 30.

I’ve tried other spray-on sunscreens and I find that I generally like the method of application. One of my objections to sunscreen is the texture – it tends to be thick and greasy and just not very nice. The spray formulas have a lighter feel on the skin. My second objection is usually scent – even “unscented” ones have that sunscreen smell which is what I really dislike.

The Hawaiian Tropic formula didn’t disappoint, texture-wise. One of the “user errors” most common with sunscreen is not using enough. With a spray formula it’s pretty easy to really go to town with the product and make sure you’ve got a really good coat on your skin. It’s also easy to spray harder to reach places. It feels a little sticky for a minute or two, but once it’s really dry it doesn’t feel like much on the skin.

The scent is definitely a selling point for me. It has Hawaiian Tropics’ signature coconut scent – and it’s pretty nice! You can smell it while you’re applying the sunscreen, but it doesn’t really linger. It doesn’t have much of that “sunscreen smell” that I dislike, so it’s all good.

The formula has broad spectrum sunscreens (it protects against both UVA and UVB), as well as some botanical ingredients. I’m not sure that the botanicals are present in a quantity that’s significant, but they come before fragrance on the list, so I figure they are a plus. It’s an alcohol-based formula, as most sprays are, for quick evaporation. I don’t notice that it dries my skin out particularly, but if you have really dry skin, you might prefer a lotion formula. It does have some aloe in it which probably helps to balance out the drying alcohol. It is a chemical sunscreen (as opposed to a physical sunscreen like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), which some people might not like. Myself, I’m comfortable with the safety record of both kinds of sunscreen.

Overall, I’m quite happy with Hawaiian Tropic’s spray formula. I bought the SPF 30 version, and there is also an SPF 50 version, as well as a fragrance-free version. I’m curious about the Hawaiian Tropic lotion formulas, so I will probably check one out too. Just for science…

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Today is National Sunscreen Day
Sun Care - Comments Off - May 27th, 2012

May 27th is National Sunscreen Day. Here are some skin cancer facts for you:

More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed in the United States annually.

Current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

A 2005 study found that basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are increasing in men and women under 40. In the study, basal cell carcinoma increased faster in young women than in young men.

On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. In 2012, it is estimated that 9,180 deaths would be attributed to melanoma — 6,060 men and 3,120 women.

Scary, right? Wearing sunscreen every day can help reduce your risk of skin cancer. There are a lot of options out there for sunscreen, from sprays to lotions to creams, with chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens. I’ve reviewed quite a few, and have some more reviews coming up as I try out new formulas this year. Do your health a favor and wear sunscreen every day!

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Lavanila The Healthy Sunscreen Review
Reviews, Skin Care, Sun Care - Comments Off - May 18th, 2012

I started a walking program last week, in which I walk for an hour a day, five days a week. Combine that with a desire to spend as much time as possible outdoors when the sun is shining, and I need SUNSCREEN! Expect to see more posts about sunscreen in the coming weeks as I try out new products to find the ones I really like!

I recently tried out Lavanila’s The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream and The Healthy Lip Screen SPF 30. These are both natural products with mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens work by using either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both) to block UV rays. Typically, mineral sunscreens have a heavier or thicker feel on the skin, which some people may not like. However, mineral sunscreens are also less likely to cause irritation for sensitive skin.

The SPF 40 Face Cream is a rich lotion. It’s described as ultra sheer, but in my opinion, it’s not sheer at all. It’s definitely quite emollient, so if you have dry skin you’re going to love it. If you are oily, maybe not so much. On no-makeup days, when I’m less prone to care about getting the shinies from my oilier skin, I liked it just fine. Under makeup, I really want something less emollient (and thus less likely to be contributing to my oilies). Usually if I’m wearing makeup though, I’m less concerned with wearing a high SPF lotion, since my makeup provides some SPF protection as well. If you’re looking for a mineral-based chemical-free sunscreen with a higher SPF, this one is worth a look. It’s a nice formula, especially for drier skin types. If you’re particularly oily, you might want to see if you can try a sample first. The light vanilla scent (it’s quite light, barely noticeable) is really pleasant. At $28 for 1.8 oz., it’s a pretty good value for a higher-end face cream with sunscreen.

I’m kind of on the fence about recommending the Healthy Lip Screen. On the one hand, high SPF products for the lips are still relatively uncommon – SPF 15 or less is more commonly seen, especially for mineral sunscreens. The Healthy Lip Screen is SPF 30. However, it is a bit pricey ($16 for .38 oz, compared to $8.49 for Badger’s 0.65 oz. stick). It also contains lanolin, which some folks avoid for ethical or allergy reasons. I personally am not a fan of the minty flavor, but that’s totally my personal preference (I really dislike mint) – some people love mint. I also don’t love the pot-style packaging. If you’re looking for a higher SPF lip balm in a softer, easy to apply formula, you might like this one. It does work really nicely under lipstick or gloss, which is a mark in its favor. Myself, I’ll probably skip purchasing it, however. Edited 6/21/12: I am upgrading my opinion of the lip balm. I really like it a lot, and I’m finding that the SPF 30 level of protection is pretty unique. Most lip balms really are only SPF 15 or lower, and higher protection is better if you’re out in the sun all day. So, I firmly give it my seal of approval!

Overall, I give the SPF 40 Face Cream one thumb up. Check it out if you want a really moisturizing natural sunscreen.

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Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer Review
Complexion, Skin Care, Sun Care - Comments (88) - April 9th, 2012

I recently got the opportunity to try out a new product from Olay®. It’s the Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer. It’s supposed to fight seven signs of aging, all in one product! Olay has a long history in the skincare market. It started in the 1950′s with Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid. Today, Olay offers quite an array of skincare products, especially products aimed at anti-aging. For the Total Effects line Olay’s website says:

“Total Effects combines 7 anti-aging skin care therapies into 1 formula for visibly younger-looking skin. With an exclusive VitaNiacin formula,Total Effects out-moisturizes several leading department store products and is also proven effective in fighting 7 signs of aging — the look of fine lines and wrinkles, rough texture, uneven skin tone, surface dullness, appearance of prominent pores noticeability of age spots and dryness.”

Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer is supposed to moisturize, treat the signs of aging and provide a sheer tint to the skin as well. To me, it’s basically a tinted moisturizer, slightly more sheer than some I’ve used — so more on the skincare, less on the make-up side of the spectrum. The bottle is 1.7 oz and retails for around $22 ($21.99 at, $23.89 at Target, under $20 at Ulta — shop around for the best price).

Let’s talk about ingredients. Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer contains niacinamide. What is niacinamide? Also known as Vitamin B3, niacinamide is a great anti-aging ingredient that will improve the skin’s moisture barrier when applied topically. It also increases the rate of skin surface renewal, which helps to reverse the appearance of discoloration and large pores. Niacinamide is the third ingredient in the ingredient list. You always want to see the active ingredients high up on an ingredient list, as this means there’s more than just a sprinkling of it in the product for show. The moisturizer also contains both UVA and UVB sunscreens, providing broad spectrum protection.

I like the bottle. It’s an airless pump, which means that no product is wasted and that it  isn’t exposed to the air, which can break down active ingredients.

There are several things I like about the product. First, with regular use, you will probably notice improvements in your skin because of the active ingredients. I haven’t been using it long enough to really speak to long-term improvements, but I did notice right away the exfoliating effect (I had a lot of blackheads come to the surface and go away) and my skin feels smoother. I really like the all-in-one nature of the product. I tend to be a product junkie and have no issue with using multiple skincare products on my face (serums AND a moisturizer) but if that’s too much for you, getting a lot of bang for your buck (and time) out of your moisturizer is the way to go. I like that it contains sunscreen and I don’t have to use a separate sunscreen. It’s only SPF 15 so if you’re going to be out in the sunshine for a long time, you’ll still want something stronger. But for my regular day-to-day activities that are mostly indoor, SPF 15 is fine for me.

The tint is on the sheer side. If you wear foundation, it’s probably not going to replace that. If you wear tinted moisturizer, it might. To me, it’s similar in coverage to Stila’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer and slightly less coverage than Stila’s Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer. It’s perfect for no-makeup days when you just want to put something on your face and go. Most days, I brush a little bit of mineral powder foundation on top and the resulting coverage is perfect. I use less foundation with this product, which is nice.

There are just two drawbacks to the product, for me. The first is the lightest shade is almost-but-not-quite too dark for me. It’s probably going to be too dark for the fairest of the fair complexions, which is too bad. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to oxidize darker, so the fair-to-light shade works fine for me all day long. The other is the texture. It leaves an almost tacky feel to the skin after you apply — that takes a few minutes to go away. I’m not crazy about it. It’s problematic because I can’t apply my powder foundation on top unless I let it really dry first or it won’t apply evenly. It’s mostly not a problem, because I do my eye makeup before I do foundation and it dries sufficiently in the time I use for eye makeup. This texture thing also means some of my serums don’t like to play nicely with it — it sort of balls up a bit on top of certain serums. Through trial and error, I’ve moved the problem products to nighttime and avoid the issue.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with Total Effects Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer. It’s a quality product at a great price for anti-aging skincare. It’s aimed at women who want a single product to do a lot of things, and I feel like it fits that need very well. I give it two thumbs up.

How do you save time on your skin-care routine? Tell me in the comments below for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card.


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I was compensated and provided free product for this post.  The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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