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Fresh Skincare Is Awesome
Reviews, Skin Care, Splurge Worthy - Be the first to comment! - April 30th, 2014

A dear friend of mine works for the skincare company Fresh, and thanks to him, I’m now really addicted to Fresh’s skincare. Here’s a quick round-up of what I’ve tried and why I love it!

First, the Lotus Eye Gel is excellent. It’s a hydrating eye treatment that reduces the appearance of puffiness, dark circles, and signs of fatigue. It really helps! According to their website, lotus flower extract is contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants known to defend against wrinkle-causing free radicals. The cucumber fruit extract helps to revive the appearance of tired eyes, and grapeseed polyphenols and jojoba help to protect the skin. It’s pricey, at $48, but totally worth it.

The Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion is a lightweight moisturizer that contains “a hydrating and radiance-boosting blend of seven super-charged ingredients that promote a youthful-looking complexion.” This “Super 7 Complex” consists of lotus flower extract, blue-green algae extract, hibiscus fruit extract, fig fruit extract, vitamins C and E, and vegetable glycerol. Why do I love it? I have oily skin, so I need a lighter moisturizer (or I’m a greasy beast) but I still care about anti-aging. This lotion nicely gets the job done on both accounts. It’s also affordable, at $32, a very reasonable price for a quality moisturizer. I’m in love!

Peony Brightening Night Treatment Mask is the newest product I’ve tried. It’s an overnight treatment that should lighten the appearance of dark spots, correct uneven skintone, and significantly brighten the complexion. It’s meant to be applied in the evening after cleansing, in place of a nightly moisturizer. It contains peony and licorice root extracts and vitamin C glucoside, which are proven to reduce and prevent the appearance of dark spots and even skintone. It also has cucumber extract to hydrate and calm the skin. After two uses, I noticed my skin looked really clear and smooth the next morning! I love how easy it is to use. One of the drawbacks to purchasing masks is my laziness at actually using them – after I wash my face at night, I just want to go to bed, not smear on product, sit for 10 minutes, and rinse my face again. These overnight treatments work so much better for me. It’s pricey, but splurge-worthy in my opinion.

Fresh’s products are awesome! I highly recommend the brand. They are doing a great job providing skincare solutions for most skin types and concerns.

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Alba Botanica Good & Clean Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser Review
Complexion, Reviews, Skin Care - Be the first to comment! - April 27th, 2014

I love a good, inexpensive facial cleanser. Bonus points if it smells good. Alba Botanica’s Good & Clean Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser fits the bill on both accounts. It’s also mildly exfoliating, and quite gentle.

The Good & Clean Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser is a hybrid type cleanser, with a creamy base and a gentle lather. I didn’t find it drying at all, which is great. It contains a blend of fruit acids to exfoliate, as well as green tea and willow bark extract. It has a strong citrus scent, which could be problematic if you’re sensitive to scent. I love it, especially in the mornings.

It takes off makeup very well, and didn’t irritate my eyes. Overall, I recommend this cleanser if you are looking for a cream cleanser but want some lather. It’s great for oily skin types, as well as normal skin. If you are dry, it might be too much. I would buy this again!

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Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Complexion, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments (1) - October 27th, 2013

Whoa, is that name long enough? ANYWAY. Olay is trying to get in the game with younger consumers with their Fresh Effects line of products. The Fresh Effects BB Cream Skin Perfecting Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen seeks to capitalize on the BB cream trend, while also calling itself a tinted moisturizer. Influenster sent me a tube to try out. Here are my thoughts…

First, I haven’t tried a true Asian BB cream. Everyone I know who has says this Olay product ain’t even close. So let’s just get that out of the way. My review is based on my experience with this product only, so let’s just forget about the whole BB cream name. Feel free to go yell at Olay for co-opting the BB cream trend.

In Western makeupland, tinted moisturizer generally refers to a sheer foundation type product, which in my experience, isn’t very moisturizing. This Olay product also isn’t a tinted moisturizer, as those things go. It’s basically a moisturizer with tint. It’s quite moisturizing, and the tint is sheer.

I like this product quite a bit, for what it is. I don’t need a separate moisturizer with this, and I like the sheer tint it provides when I don’t want to wear makeup but want my complexion to look more even. I think it would be perfect for anyone who doesn’t usually wear foundation, but maybe wants to have a little bit of of complexion enhancement. It’s not great for oil control – I do get a bit shiny with this moisturizer, but not any worse than any other moisturizer. Expect to blot if you have oily skin, or maybe use a mattifying powder for extra oil control. It also has a pretty strong floral-y scent to it that I don’t love. It has SPF 15, which is decent if you aren’t planning on spending a lot of time outdoors. It contains niacinamide, which is a great anti-aging ingredient.

Overall, this is a good product, if you want a complexion enhancing moisturizer with sunscreen. I’ll be finishing the tube. I don’t love it enough as a moisturizer to want to use it as my daily moisturizer under makeup, although it looks okay under the powder foundation I usually wear. For that reason, I probably wouldn’t buy this product (I just mix a dab of Lush Colour Supplement in with my usual moisturizer if I want some tint). The market for this product is younger women who aren’t into heavy foundation – and I think it’s probably excellent for them!

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Freeman Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask
Cheap Thrills, Complexion, Reviews, Skin Care - Comments (1) - October 19th, 2013

After trying the Avocado & Oatmeal mask, I decided I needed to branch out and try some more Freeman masks. I picked the Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask, because I figured it would probably smell good – and I was right!

The Chocolate & Strawberry mask contains cocoa and strawberry extracts, kaolin clay, shea butter, and cocoa butter. It’s got the oil-absorbing and purifying qualities of the clay, but it’s also not super drying thanks to the butters. It smells chocolate-y, as promised. Don’t leave this in reach of little kids – it smells like food! My face feels soft and smooth after use. The directions say it’s good for normal to dry skin, but if your skin is quite dry, I wouldn’t use it. Oily to normal to slightly dry skin? Perfect. I like clay masks because they seem to reduce how oily my skin feels, without completely stripping my face (which is counter-productive). Clays are deep cleansing and the minerals are good for your skin.

If you are in the market for a nice clay mask that’s ridiculously affordable, this one is worth checking out. Two thumbs up.

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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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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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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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Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser Review
Complexion, Earth Friendly, Reviews, Skin Care - Be the first to comment! - 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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