Tuesday, August 27, 2013

skincare switch-up take II

After finishing up a few bits of skincare it is only logical that I replace what has gone, yes? I did a post like this before where I gloss over the new skincare in my routine. Not quite reviews, more like introductions to the new lineup and preliminary thoughts. I think I am going to make this a regular series since they are fun to write and I am finding skincare to be just as enjoyable as makeup to reflect on.


If you are a dedicated reader of mine you know I need an oil cleanser at all times. Currently I am using the Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Cleansing Oil. So far I think I like this best out of all the brands I have tried (Bosica, MAC). It is thinner and requires less product to get the job done.

The Indian Healing Clay has got to be the most bizarre skincare item I own to date. I mix a bit with apple cider vinegar, apply all over the face and feel the strangest pulsating sensation as it dries. It's a bit like your skin being mummified. I think I will do a full review on this after I test it out a few more times.

After finishing up my Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk I needed a new gentle cleanser. I randomly picked up this Garnier Radiance Renewer Cleansing Gelee at my local drugstore because 1. it was on sale for cheap (around $5 USD) 2. I'm a sucker for wording. Doesn't a Cleansing Gelee sound neat? Not for the natural product junkies, I'm afraid, since the ingredients has sulfates and alcohol perfumes. I am not loyal to that lifestyle so I feel no shame in saying I really enjoy this so far.

I WAS using Neostrata Toning Solution Level 1 as my toner but I seem to have misplaced it. To take its place until the lost is found is Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. This packs quite a punch! I thought it would be quite mild but I definitely detect a soft prickling sensation. Nothing uncomfortable though. I actually was relieved to feel the acid in this since it had so little ingredients to begin with.

Finally we have Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser which has fitted into the slot as my thorough cleanser. I haven't tried it out yet but I must say I am the most excited about this item above all others. Here's to half hoping I don't fall in love with it as it costs a pretty penny.

So my readers, any new skincare bits you have added to your routine that you are excited about? Rejoice in the new skincare glory with me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

review: shiseido sun protection liquid foundation

For the last couple months I have been trying out the Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation. Let me start off by saying I feel bad at the timing of this post since this product is technically a more "summer" product. But hopefully this is a helpful resource for next summer, those who live in perpetual hot weather, or those who just appreciate having a high SPF foundation.


This is a liquid foundation that claims to protect against UV rays while having full coverage that glides on smoothly and evenly with no stickiness. It should resist perspiration, water, and oil, while maintaining a matte look on the skin, even during outdoor activities. It comes in a small, palm sized turquoise plastic bottle. The packaging has no pump but it does have a small plastic spout to release the product with more control.


This foundation has a very watery, thin consistency making me prefer using my fingers with this foundation. It melds better into the skin that way and less product is wasted. I have applied with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush but I think too much product gets soaked up and lost in the bristles. The product also comes with a thin, rectangular sponge but I have never used it. I'm guessing this would apply beautifully with the Beauty Blender due to the thin texture, but I do not own one to know for sure.


Coverage is controllable. You can apply a thin layer for something very light or you can add more for heavier coverage. It is very lightweight and blends in smoothly so even if you piled on the layers, it doesn't feel heavy on the skin. Even so, I think this is a more medium coverage foundation since some blemishes I have still need some help with concealer. The finish is matte.


I have worn this during a few different scenarios. Starting with the most extreme: Southern summer heat. I wore this all throughout my Bonnaroo trip back in June which took place in Tennessee. I found this protected against the sun really great since I never saw damage or got sunburned on my face. However, I did sweat profusely during the insane heat and when I gently pressed the sweat off, I noticed it transferred. But the overall coverage stuck around on my face.

The next scenario is less extreme but still has some hardiness: Midwestern summer day at the beach. I spoke a little bit about this in my beach day post, but I'll give another basic rundown. I wore this for a beach day and did not notice any transferring. I also swam with this on and it still stuck around, albeit with some expected fading. I did not get sunburned wearing this.


Finally, the mildest scenario: a normal Midwestern summer day. I find this stays matte until around the 4 hour mark on my oily skin. Once I blot, my makeup still looks fresh and the same as when I first applied it. This foundation does not budge, even when worn all day. Removal with an oil cleanser is recommended in the packaging of this product and I agree. If you don't use an oil cleanser, a really thorough one will be needed to get everything off. Plus due to the high SPF, you should be more thorough in your removal regardless.


This foundation retails for $35 USD. I purchased mine at Macy's. The shade I got matched to was SP-50 which is the third darkest in the line. I purchased this early in this summer so now it is a bit too light for me. I think the shade range for this foundation is terrible. There are 7 measly shades and they cater to the light and cool skinned.

So do I like this foundation? I think it is decent. It applies and blends in the skin very easily which I appreciate. I like the control of the coverage and how lightweight the formula is. I do not like matte finish foundations which this unfortunately is. Sometimes I don't even powder because it doesn't need it. But I do think it protects excellently against the sun and incorporates the SPF into the formula well which was the main reason why I bought it. I was also disappointed in its lack of oil control since I got pretty shiny around the 4 hour mark. There is also a limited amount of shades.

I WOULD recommend this foundation IF:

+ You have normal to dry skin. Or if you are oily yet don't mind blotting frequently
+ You are looking for a foundation with great sun protection
+ You prefer a matte finish
+ You live in a moderately hot territory and want something water/sweat resistant

I WOULD NOT recommend this foundation IF:

+ You have oily skin
+ You prefer a dewy or satin finish
+ You live in insane, sweaty weather.

As for the rest of my face:

FACE: Shiseido foundation, Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, Maybelline Brightener Concealer, Dior Lifting Concealer, NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, Milani Luminoso, MAC Hush

EYES: Burberry Pale Barley, Smashbox Filter Trio, L'Oreal Lineur Intense, Urban Decay Zero on waterline, Prestige My Blackest Lashes

LIPS: Clinique Mega Melon Chubby Stick

Saturday, August 17, 2013

review: dr. hauschka cleansing milk

In general I like to have a gentle, non-foaming cleanser in my skincare routine at all times. I reserve use for it in the mornings to gently wash away treatment/oil residue and I also like having it on hand to use at the end of the days where I don't wear a scrap of makeup at all.

I have been using the Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk for the past few months as my gentle cleanser so I thought I would give my thoughts on it.


This cleanser retails for around $37 USD. It comes in a glass pump container that holds 4.9 fl oz of product. It claims to clean away impurities as well as makeup gently without over stripping or drying out the skin. The brand goes on to say that this cleansing milk contains ingredients that nourish the skin, control oil production, and soothe irritation. Sounds like appealing stuff, eh?

Water/Aqua, Alcohol, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Glycerin,Fermented Grain Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bentonite, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol.


The cleanser itself has a creamy lotion-like consistency. True to its name, it stays milky and doesn't lather up. It has a very herbal scent to it which I found a little funky. Luckily it doesn't linger. I like this cleanser. It was gentle and non drying just like the brand claims. It does NOT clean off makeup though, which isn't too heartbreaking for me since I don't use it this way.

With the past gentle cleaners I have tried (CeraVe, Cetaphil), the product had no bangs and whistles. They gently cleansed the skin which was all well and good but there was no added benefits. This is the first gentle cleanser that I found had some kind of effect beyond just standard cleaning. I found that it mildy kept small breakouts at bay and felt refreshing on the skin.

This really is a nice product. It feels nice on the skin, it cleans gently, it pretty much does every thing it says on the packaging besides remove makeup which isn't a big deal for me since I don't use it for that. But is it worth $37? I honestly don't think so. I think that amount is a bit of a stretch for such a gentle cleanser, even if it did have some small benefits. I appreciate that the cleanser was gentle and mildly astringent but I still don't think that justifies the price.

I would recommend it if you don't mind coughing up the dough. It would work with all skin types; it is gentle enough for sensitive skin. The brand is reputable and gets a lot of love from people.

Friday, August 16, 2013

008 items used up

Time for another installment of items I've used up. Sadly no makeup used up this time but a nice handful of skincare kicked the bucket which means new products to replace them is expected. New skincare is just as exciting as new makeup to me so I consider this a win-win situation.


I've mentioned a few times in my blog already how much I enjoy Caress's body washes. They are cheap, lather well, and don't make my body feel grimy or too squeaky. This particular version has a very neat aroma; kind of a mixture of jasmine, sweet fruit, and spice. I don't think the scent would be for everyone (my sister doesn't care for it) but I quite enjoyed it. I would repurchase but only in the winter because the scent reminds me of cold weather.

This cleanser is kick ass. I was sad to see it gone. It foams up richly with little product, really cleans the skin thoroughly without stripping or being harsh, smells pleasant, and it lasted me over 10 months! I think it is really worth trying, especially since it costs only $22 USD making the price per usage really decent. Make sure to cut open the tube once you get towards the end, I was able to get an additional 2 months more out of it by doing so. Definitely would repurchase, but I'm going to try out other cleansers first.

Another item I'm sad to see gone. Mists nicely, smells and feels refreshing, kept my skin feeling less congested. Does Lush count this container as part of their recycle program?

I liked this better than MAC's version but I think I prefer my current cleansing oil that replaced this more. Stay tuned for what I'm currently using in a future post.

I think the only scent that is worth getting from the Body Shop is Satsuma. Mango didn't sit well with me. At first the scent smells lush and ripe like real mango. But after a few minutes it smells funky and fake. I'll stick to Satsuma.

I'm not sure this really made a difference in controlling oil during my oiliest states. I saw a change during the winter, but during that time I don't need as much help in controlling oil. I would consider trying out All-Nighter instead. Or perhaps I'll just directly try something from Skindinavia itself.


A deep conditioning treatment. Smells like chemicals, didn't work too extremely. I used it up but didn't have strong feelings towards it.

Ahh I missed the old Herbal Essence scents and packaging so nostalgia definitely controlled this purchase. And it has no sulfates. Smells nice, cleans like a standard shampoo. Perhaps if I get hit with nostalgia again I'll repurchase but I have no loyalty towards it (or any haircare item for that matter).

Bought it for the same reason as the shampoo but this was not rich enough nor hydrating enough for my coarse, dry hair. Won't repurchase, not even for old times sake.

I believe this is my third or second bottle. Cheap, works, and sprays evenly. I'm bored of it though so I think I'll try another brand for my next bottle.

I saw this range made quite the rounds in popular blogs recently. This is ok. I hate the packaging because you get little product and end up having to cut open the bottle to get your money's worth. I also think the scent is just too cloying. It sticks around FOREVER, which normally I wouldn't mind but after time it gets sickly sweet. It does hydrates pretty well though. I wish the scent was different and that the bottles were designed differently/bigger.

That's it for this round! What is your favorite sulfate free haircare? I have tried almost everything in the drugstore and nothing has really made a difference or huge impression on me. My hair is naturally curly, coarse, and dry. I'd love to hear hydrating recommendations.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

just bitten

The literal lip STICK has become quite the trend in the beauty world, right behind sheer lip colors/lip butters. I would guess Clinique paved the way having the Chubby Stick Balms and later the Intense version. Now Tarte, NARS, Bourjois, and Revlon (to name a few) all have produced their own take on the trendy pencil shaped lip product.


Revlon's version is a neat one: a balm that also acts as a stain, aptly named as the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. Quite genius actually since it combines both the sheer lip color and chubby stick trends while adding its own twist by being a stain. I don't have much experience when it comes to lip stains besides the YSL Glossy Stains but the overall idea is very appealing. Who wouldn't like budge proof color that is low maintenance (little smearing or touch up required)?

I had a gift card to use up at Target a couple months back and at the time I had these colorful sticks on the brain. Dangerous combination since I ended up checking out with two of Revlon's trendy hybrids in hand instead of using it on practical things, like toilet paper and toothpaste (who needs those things anyway?)


The Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balms come in a twist up chubby pencil applicator. The texture is firm but not waxy. Application is a breeze, it slicks on easily with no tugging. They have a minty scent to them which dissipates moments after application. The color is not creamy but the pigmentation does not disappoint. The finish is shiny, as you would expect a balm would be.


The first shade that I knew for certain I wanted to try was Rendezvous. I saw this on Tiffany and Essie and it looked so bright and fun on them. The color is a soft tangerine. On me I don't find it to lean coral or red at all. It is a straight up clean orange, which I don't mind. The finish isn't as shiny or balmy as the other color I picked up (something you can notice when comparing the photos) which I found disappointing. I still enjoy the color and received a few compliments when I first wore it out and about.


The color sticks around even with light eating and drinking. I found this to be remarkable since even the YSL Glossy Stains don't manage to do this. The color fades somewhat evenly so the stain left behind is quite decent. Not perfect, but I wouldn't expect that.


The second color I chose had me pacing back in forth in the Target aisle. I was trying to decide between the vampy Adore or the cheery Romantic. After 20 minutes of Google research on swatches, I ended up picking the latter since it seemed more appropriate with the current season. Romantic is a beautiful cherry red. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the color. I prefer it over Rendezvous. It has a better finish and the color is fresher.


I think "romantic" is the perfect name for this shade. It reminds me of Aurora from Sleeping Beauty while she is in her enchanted sleepy state. It makes my lips look plump and youthful. The color of the stain is also something to be impressed with. Just bitten indeed.


I like almost everything about these balms BUT I do have a complaint. I find these to be quite drying. Initial application is nice and balmy but after an hour or so my lips feel parched. They don't look it since the finish is shiny, but once the balm wears away and the stain is left, the dryness is apparent. Though the stain left behind is decently even, my lips feel zapped of moisture. This can be remedied by adding some lip balm of course, but it still is a bit disappointing. I suppose that is the nature of stains.

I think these are really something special BUT those prone to dry lips should tread carefully. As a balm they apply beautifully and have great color payoff and as a stain they stick around on the lips evenly. I prefer and recommend the cherry red Romantic over the tangerine Rendezvous since the color and finish is more flattering. The only downside is they can be very drying, which is something I should have expected from a stain product. I am willing to work with the dryness due to the neat hybrid properties and because it can be remedied with an additional balm. I have my eye on Adore next but I don't think I will be picking up any more shades after that.

What is your experience with lip stains? Are they drying in general? I gather that they are since they are taking over the lip skin layer.

Friday, August 9, 2013

failproof favorites

Ever since I can remember, favorites have been difficult for me. When people ask, "What's your favorite song?" or "What's your favorite color?" or even "What is your favorite food?" I am at a loss at what to respond with since I love variety and my tastes expand across all different genres. This is no different when it comes to beauty products. That's why when I declare something to be my favorite, it is a pretty big deal.

I wanted to focus today's post on a couple products I used recently that made me realize just how much I love them. I'm talking I-want-these-in-my-makeup-stash-at-all-times love. They never disappoint whenever I use them and always look flattering on me.


This looks completely scary and intimidating in the pan. But trust me when I say that when worn sheerly and applied lightly, it is absolutely stunning. The texture is dry and the finish is matte so a fluffy brush works best with this. The lasting power is outstanding; I will apply this in the beginning of my day and have minimal fading by the time of removal. I have nothing bad to say about this blush but I do have a word of caution: I don't think it suits everyone. It is such a shocking pink shade that I think it potentially could make some golden skintones look ruddy and red instead of freshly flushed. I would definitely try this on in person before purchasing.

While I don't think MAC makes the best eye shadows on the market, no one can deny they have probably the most extensive variety of colors. I think everyone who initially comes across MAC in store is awestruck/overwhelmed by the rows upon rows of shades available. This is one of the gems in those rows. Sable is a shimmering plummy bronze. I tend to wear this shade when I know I am going to special events or if I am being photographed. I would consider it a neutral with a twist since the plumminess adds a little something extra without being too loud or colorful. It looks wonderful on brown eyes.



These are my security blanket products. When all else fails, I know these products won't. Desire is actually a product my older sister loves and declared recently that she never wants to be without it. Now that is some serious love. What are your failproof favorites?