Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review | Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

I'm obsessed with finding the perfect cleanser.  No really, I am.  If there's something I don't feel guilty splurging on it's cleansers.  Removing the days gunk off my face and allowing my skin to breathe is beautiful.  I'm sure all you makeup wearers out there can attest.

I have always struggled to find an effective cleanser.  Why you might ask?  Finding a cleanser that removes my matte, long wearing foundations can be quite a challenge (ideal for my mega oily skin).  The gentle cleansers I've tried don't get the job done right, and the ones that do break me out.  FML.  

3.8 oz. / 125 ml – $28.50

This is the first massage cleanser I have ever used.  What the heck took me so long?  I'm in love!  Yes, in love.  The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm is a white hard texture – it looks like lard to be quite honest with you.  It's fairly easy to scoop out once your fingers warm up the product.  

I use a quarter size amount and begin massaging onto my dry face.  No need to apply water before application, I promise.  I don't use this to remove my eye makeup.  I tried it once and the texture on my eyes made me quite nervous.  No thanks!  :P

My biggest fear was that this cleanser would leave an oily residue on my skin as it does turn into an oily balm once worked into the skin.  Not at all!  I splash water on my face and wipe away with a flannel.  It leaves my skin feeling clean and doesn't strip the skin.  

It's gentle, effective and has no fragrance.  This is huge!  I have looked into other cleansing balms but the scents have always put me off.  

What's not to love?  This cleanser has seriously made removing my makeup a cinch.  I look forward to my new regime every night.  But....is this the perfect cleanser?  I will say that it's the best I've tried thus far.            

What are your thoughts on cleansing balms?  Have you tried this particular one?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Origins Review: Clear Improvement Mask

Origins is quickly becoming one of my favorite skincare brands.  Apart from their products working phenomenally on my skin, they're also free of parabens, mineral oils and animal ingredients.  When I use Origins I know I'm not exposing my skin to harmful chemicals and their philanthropic endeavors make me feel better about shelling out a pretty penny on their products.  This mask in particular is priced conservatively.      

1.7 fl. oz. - $16
3.4 fl. oz. - $23

If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen this hideous picture of me.  A friend of mine kindly told me I looked like Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder.  Thanks Sergio :)
I kindly won't tell him who he looks like.

Ok, ok...on with the review!

I have been using this mask for about 3 months now and I've noticed a dramatic change in my skin.  It's an active charcoal mask which means it does tingle a bit, nothing unbearable.  

At first I thought it was making me breakout but quickly realized it was purging my skin.  After applying once a week for about a month, the breakouts gradually diminished.  I take about a quarter size amount on my finger tips and I spread, after applying a warm compress on my face.  This helps open up the pores and allows for the mask to do its work, avoiding the delicate eye area.  I leave it on for about 15 minutes and remove with a warm soaked cloth.  My face looks and feels squeaky clean after each use!  

Do I recommend this mask?  100% to anyone who is looking for a mask that will clarify and clear out their pores.  I wear liquid foundation on a daily basis and I find the matte formulas (ideal for my oily skin) can really clog my pores.  Yes, it's a con but it keeps my oil production at bay throughout the day.

 Has anyone used this mask before?  What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Josie Maran Argan Oil | Review

"Oil and my oily complexion DO NOT go!"  

This is what I used to always tell myself.  Always envious of women who would buy decadent facial oils from lush brands, I never once thought that maybe... just maybe I could buy one that might work for me.  

My skin had been clear for quite some time but I started to notice a few dry patches around my mouth and eyes.  I didn't want to buy a new moisturizer because I was afraid switching to a non-gel formula to help with the dryness would cause a breakout and they're f-ing expensive.  
I turned to this oil after having heard Nicole Guerriero rave about it.

0.5 ounce - $15
1.7 ounce - $48
4 ounce - $96

This oil is 100% pure and organic.  No nasties here :)
I found it to be very moisturizing without being too greasy.   
I apply with index, middle and ring fingers and simply massage into the skin.
I found it absorbs within 20 minutes and doesn't sit on top of the skin.
Please keep in mind that a little goes a long way. 
I use 3 drops for my entire face.

  It is a great oil to apply directly onto freshly cleansed skin before applying a night cream.
I only use this product during my evening skincare routine.  I find it a bit too nourishing under my makeup for daytime and I don't have the patience to wait for it to sink in when I'm rushing in the mornings.

This oil helped with my dry patches, improved the quality / texture of my skin and has anti-aging properties.
Guess what?  I use it on my nail beds, hair and any dry skin on my body.
It instantly nourishes and makes dry hair feel hydrated, without any of the added silicones.
Hooray!  I can't see this ever not being a part of my beauty regime.  

Has anyone else tried this?
What did you all think?

If you haven't I would highly recommend purchasing if you are in search of a multipurpose oil.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Bioderma Créaline H2O Solution Micellaire

I hope I don't start crying as I sit here writing this post.  I knew this would happen.
Yes it's true, as the millions of reviews can attest.

Boy, the French do know their skincare! *sigh*

  I was in search of a cleansing water that would remove the bulk of my makeup without much mess.
I'm not a fan of makeup removing wipes as I feel they smear my makeup as opposed to removing it.
I hoped to reserve my expensive cleansers for a deeper cleanse after the majority of my makeup had been removed.
Although it's not readily available in the United States, I took the plunge and purchased it on Amazon.

Bioderma Créaline H2O
$25 - Amazon Seller
$20 shipping and handling!

Bioderma is the gentlest and most effective cleanser I have ever used.
I simply pop the top off and dispense the product onto a cotton pad and begin wiping away the makeup.
It melts the makeup right off!
I was always a bit skeptical but you must take my word for it.
It's hypoallergenic and fragrance free which is ideal for sensitive skins. 


The price. 
I paid close to $50 for one bottle (500ml).
Granted, it is a big bottle but I'm essentially purchasing two bottles and only getting one.
The bottle lasts more or less around 1.5 months for me.

Doesn't remove waterproof mascara.
I have read blogs claiming that it can.
Not for me.
I use a separate eye makeup remover but I really wish this did the entire job.

Overall, this is one of the best products I have ever used.
It agrees with my picky, sensitive skin without over drying.
On nights out and the last thing I want to do is cleanse my face, I use Bioderma alone and I don't feel guilty when I wake up in the morning.
If it removed waterproof mascara I would definitely purchase again but because of the price I'm going to look around for something else.
I'm jealous of those who live in Europe and can purchase online or at drugstores for a bargain!
If I can't find a comparable micellaire cleanser I'm going to repurchase without hesitation. 

Lets start a petition and get Bioderma products in the U.S.!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lush Review | Bubblegum Lip Scrub

I've always been a lip balm girl.  
Never leave my house without a lip balm type.

After trying numerous brands, I never understood why my lips were always chapped and dry.
I didn't think much about it until I began experimenting with skincare.
Why should we neglect exfoliating our lips when it's important to exfoliate the skin on our bodies and face?
I needed a lip scrub, duh!

Lush's Bubblegum lip scrub is an essential step in my daily skincare routine.
At $10 a pot (25g), this product is incredibly overpriced for what it is.
Lush sold me a pot of castor sugar with food coloring and flavoring for $10.

I'll just say it, it's the convenience.  
The ability to carry it around with you and not worry about mess.  
Did I mention it smells great, will last you a long time, and get this...you can lick it off when you're done!
Yes, Lush markets their product as being edible which makes clean up a cinch.  

I dab my finger into the pot and buff the sugar remnants onto my lips (tiniest amount).
It's really quite simple.
The sugar is a bit abrasive but it gets the job done.
It leaves my lips silky soft but a bit dry.
I suggest applying a lip balm after exfoliation.

TMI: I used to get extreme dryness and peeling of the lips.
I have noticed a significant decrease in peeling and my lips stay softer over longer periods of time.

I will continue to purchase this product and would recommend it.

GR †

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review | Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

I bought the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette a little over a month ago and all I can say is WOW!
The quality is as expected, exceptional.
Urban Decay hit it out of the park again with a $27 price tag.
This palette is compact making it convenient for the frequent traveler.
You can pop it in your handbag and there you have the basics for a number of neutral everyday eye makeup looks.
The two darker shades give versatility to smoke up any day time look.

This palette contains 6 full size eyeshadows (1.3g each).
The packaging is made of a rubber non-slip case which feels great to the touch.
Although this isn't essential for a makeup hoarder like myself, I couldn't pass it up!
Mostly made up of matte shades, this palette is right up my alley.  
Perfect for my busy on-the-go student lifestyle. 
I haven't reached for any other shadows since purchasing.

(Left to right - Venus, Foxy, WOS, Naked 2, Faint and Crave)

A white shimmery eyeshadow with a satin finish.
This is the only eyeshadow in the palette that is not matte.
Way to go Urban Decay!
Perfect for highlighting the inner corner and under the brow bone.

An off-white / beige matte eyeshadow.
I use this as a highlight sometimes when I don't want shimmer.

Walk of Shame (WOS)
This shade is a pink toned version of foxy.
A creamy pink matte eyeshadow.
If my MAC painterly paint pot were an eyeshadow, it would be WOS.

Naked 2
My favorite of all the shades.
A matte cool toned - light brown eyeshadow.
No surprise here as my favorite eyeshadow in the original Naked Palette was naked.
I do find this shade a bit more cooler than naked.
It's perfect for blending on my NC 25 skin tone (MAC talk).

A matte medium-dark brown eyeshadow.
This is my favorite shade to work into my crease for the perfect amount of definition.
If I'm having a lazy day, I'll apply naked 2 all over the lid and blend faint in the crease.
It's easy and a perfect natural eye look.

A matte black with a hint of brown.
The brown is very faint but noticeable once blended.
This is what did it for me, this matte nearly black shade.
I use this shade as an eyeliner for I tend to leave liquid liner for nights out.
I apply on a MAC 266 and push into my upper lash line.
Makes for a much more wearable look during the day.

I am definitely a matte shadow kinda girl.
I leave the shimmer for nights out or special occasions.
Urban Decay did exactly what I wished my Naked palette contained:

- more matte shades
- matte black

Major thumbs up!

GR †

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MAC Review | Favorite Blush & Highlighter Combo

I can't deny that MAC makes great products.  
Over the years of experimenting with makeup, I have come up with my own holy grail MAC blush and MAC highlighter combo. 

MAC Melba & MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (Soft & Gentle)

I always thought I could never wear a highlight because of my oily skin.  
Well guess what?  I was wrong.

To combat a shiny face, I apply highlighter only on:
- tops of my cheekbones
- under the brow bone
- inner tear duct
- bridge of my nose
- cupids bow

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (Soft & Gentle)  
This highlighter is described as a luxurious velvet-soft powder with a high-frost metallic finish.
It leaves a subtle champagne golden glow to the cheeks without making you look like a disco ball.
I've heard people complain that it's far too 'glittery' for them.
I don't find this product to be anything near that.
A little goes a long way.
It retails for $29.

MAC Melba
This blush is a soft matte, medium-dark, peachy color.  It's a beauty.
I've used this blush on a number of skin tones and it looks beautiful on all.
I personally have a cooler skin tone and I'm in love!
The color payoff is great and is nowhere near chalky.
You get what you pay for.
Melba looks phenomenal with a tan!
It retails for $20.

I was introduced to this blush by two of my favorite vloggers:  
I am forever converted to peachy toned blushers. 

GR †

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Body Shop | Almond Hand & Nail Cream

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd spend $20 on a hand cream.
I mean c'mon, it's a hand cream for god's sake!  
I DESPISE the greasy residue that plenty of them leave behind but needed something for my extra dry hands.   
 I knew I needed to go back and purchase this hand cream when I left ULTA empty handed.  

This hand and nail cream smells beautiful!  A sweet nutty smell.  
It's a combination of almond oil, shea butter, honey, soya oil and brazil nut oil, all which are supported by the community fair trade.  
No animal testing here.

The Body Shop has done a fabulous job with the packaging.  
(Yes, I'm one of those, a sucker for packaging).
It's easy to travel with and comes with a screw cap.

 The tiniest amount goes a long way.  Trust me!  
The consistency is a bit runnier than the hand creams I've used in the past which I love.
In a matter of minutes it's fully absorbed into the skin and leaves your hands and nail beds feeling soft and nourished.

Before bed, I work this hand cream into my nails.  
I've noticed a significant difference in the condition of my cuticles.
They're easier to push back and don't ever look dry or unmanaged.

A must try!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Real Techniques Brushes | Core Collection

Great makeup brushes are not hard to come by, but affordable top quality makeup brushes are.  
The Real Techniques brushes are designed by one part of Pixiwoo, Samantha Chapman.   
They're synthetic which makes the dry time quick, cruelty free as well.
Their aluminum handles make them lightweight and easy to use.  
I have washed these brushes many times and still have yet to shed!  

Each collection comes in a different color and can add personality to any dressing table.
The bristles are soft to the touch and will make putting on your makeup a dream.
I paid $17.99 for the collection at ULTA Beauty.
You can't beat the price!
These brushes can be purchased in the U.S. at: 
http://realtechniques.com, ULTA Beauty or Walmart.

Below are reviews of each brush.

The Buffing Brush
This brush is a dream for buffing in foundation.  
It's said to be used for mineral and powder foundations but I personally use it for liquid foundation.
It leaves a flawless / airbrushed base.

The Contour Brush
This brush fits beautifully into the hollows of the cheeks for the perfect sculpted face.
Contouring has never been this easy!
This brush is the perfect size for highlighting as well.

The Pointed Foundation Brush
This is my least favorite brush of the entire collection only because I believe it's marketed wrong.
I find the brush a little small to apply foundation to the face.
I use this brush to apply concealer under my eyes and it works great.
This pointed brush makes for a quicker application and gets into the hard to reach places.
It's a time saver!

The Detailer Brush
This tiny little brush is perfect for pinpoint concealing.
Ever had a stubborn spot that you wish you could erase?
You'll love this brush for that.
It can also be used as a lip brush!
It's great for outlining your lips and helps set a stain for long lasting lip color. 

The Real Techniques brushes have been a hype in the blogging world.  I've been using mine for a couple of months and now understand the raving reviews.  I can't wait to run out and get more!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

MAC Hue | Lipstick Review

I love lipstick!  My obsession started years ago when I ventured into a MAC store with my sister looking for the perfect nude shade.  
My criteria: easy to apply, moisturizing and doesn't give that 'dead' look.  
There's nothing worse than looking completely washed out by lack of color on the lips.  
Attention:  That is not a cute look!

Hue quickly became my favorite nude MAC lipstick.  It retails for $15 online and at my local counter.
This lipstick is a glaze formula.  It has minimal color payoff and adds a moisturizing glaze to the lips.
MAC describes this shade as a soft pale pink.  That sounds so boring!  
It's so much more than that.  It nourishes my dry lips beautifully whilst muting out the natural red undertones.  

The staying power varies depending on how much talking I'm doing.  It lasts an estimated 2-3 hours.  
You will need to reapply after meals.
I don't worry about needing a mirror when applying as I'm out and about.  
It's simple when you're on the go and can't be bothered.

This has been my most worn lipstick of all time.  That's saying a lot considering how many lipsticks I own.
Hue isn't too pale, adds the right amount of color and is wearable for a variety of different looks.
It's versatility won me over.

Would you give Hue a try?

I would love other nude lipstick recommendations from you all.  
Please feel free to leave them in the comments below :)