Archive for category Eye Care

G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Concentrate & Eye Contour

OMG. I’m still here. I know, it’s been ages! I picked up a few things today from Sephora in light of the 15% discount and it got me in the mood to post. Let’s do this!

Back at the end of November, I showed you guys my current skincare routine and mentioned a handful of products I had been trying from G.M. Collin. At that point, I gave you a quick overview of their Bota-Peptide Eye Contour, but I hadn’t yet tried the Bota-Peptide Concentrate. Today I wanted to give you a more in-depth review of both of these items since I’m long overdue!

GM Collin Bota Peptide

First, a quick primer on peptides and why they’re important in the fight against aging skin. Peptides are amino acids that help bind moisture to the skin and help the skin to repair itself. More importantly, peptides applied topically to the skin encourage collagen production, which helps reverse some of the natural breakdown of collagen we experience over time (from age and external factors like sun and stress). Since collagen is what keeps our skin supple-looking and youthful, it’s a great idea to regularly use a product that boosts it’s production.

OK. So, the name ‘Bota-Peptide’ in both the eye treatment and serum is probably an indication we’re on the right track, yes? And indeed, both the Eye Contour and Concentrate are packed with a host of different peptides to battle the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles; the Eye Contour also is designed to reduce dark circles.

The Eye Contour ($96CAD) is a light eye serum that is somewhat hydrating as well (likely due to the Sodium Hyaluronate), as I can get away without any additional eye cream after using this (though note my undereye area isn’t particularly dry). Now that I’ve been using this daily for over 4 months (and wow, I just realized how long this has lasted!!!), I can confidently say that it has reduced any fine lines I’ve started to develop under my eyes – the area just looks so much smoother. I don’t know if my dark circles are reduced – I mean, they’re REALLY DARK so I have a long way to improvement – but the ingredient list boasts some badass circle-lightening ingredients (such as Vitamin K, caffeine and Haloxyl) that make me think they probably are lessened and I just haven’t been paying attention (oops).

Ingredients: Water, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Steareth-20, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, PEG-6 Isostearate, Hesperetin Laurate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Squalane (Vegetal), Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Dextrin, Soybean (Glycine Soya), Caffeine, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Irvingia Gabonensis Kernel (Wild Mango) Butter, Hydrogenated Cocoglycerides, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A).

GM Collin Bota PeptideTop to bottom: G.M. Collin Eye Contour and Concentrate

The Concentrate ($132CAD) has a very similar texture to the Eye Contour, which feels neither silicone-y nor *too* thin, and has a clean scent that I don’t even really register when using (which is my preference). I use this in the evening and apply a facial oil over top, though in the summer I could probably get away with using it on it’s own as it seems to provide a very light veil of moisture (dry skins will still need a moisturizer though). It dispenses easily from an airless pump mechanism; generally I use 2 pumps and this covers my face and neck sufficiently. As I rotate my skincare, alternating with a retinoid product, I use this every 2nd evening, and I always notice in the morning how soft and smooth my skin feels after using this. As I have few wrinkles I didn’t notice any drastic results, but I will say that the expression lines in my forehead have decreased since using this, and I honestly just feel like my skin looks more youthful.

Ingredients: Water, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Cyclomethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Glycerin, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Butylene Glycol, Laureth-3, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acetyl Di-Peptide-1, Cetyl Ester, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Glucosamine Hcl, Saccharomyces/Xylinum Black Tea Ferment, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Polydodecanamideaminium Triazadiphenylethylene Sulfonate, Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Cosspolymer, Thermus Thermophillis Ferment, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyacrylamide, C13-C14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Dimethiconol, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonium Acrylate-Acrylamide Copolymer, Polyisobutene, Fragrance, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil. 

One other note: the PR person who sent this to me cautioned that as I have sensitive skin around my mouth, I might not want to use this in that area as it’s a powerful treatment product – however, after using it for the past several months, I’ve starting using it in that area anyway and have had absolutely no issues.

GM Collin Bota Peptide

The final verdict? I really, really like these two products! I’m surprised at how much so. Though it pains me and my wallet, I actually think I’ll pick both of these up again when I run out – I just feel like they proof is in the pudding, both in my results and in the stellar ingredient lists. I mean, who doesn’t want their skin to look like this again?:

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Have you tried any G.M. Collin products? Do you use any peptide-based products?

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Skincare Heros: My current routine and fave products

Do you remember when Elena was first born and I complained about barely being able to shower, let alone take care of my skin? It feels like forever ago that I was struggling to take care of myself in any way, shape or form; thankfully, those days are (mostly) past and though I don’t have much time for myself, I have made a point to dedicate some time every morning and evening toward my skin. In fact, I think I’ve never treated my skin better! I think the combination of products along with maintaining a solid routine has made all the difference. Lately I’ve been placing a heavy emphasis on brightening products that help even out the skin tone, and tailoring my application according to what my skin needs in specific areas. This AM I looked in the mirror and was like ‘DA-AMN girl, your skin looks good!’ …So I figured I should share with you my skincare ‘secrets’ 🙂 Here’s what my routine looks like, morning and night:

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MORNING

Cleanse with NUDE Perfect Cleanse Clarifying Cleansing Oil ($45CAD). The reason I picked up this cleanser in the first place was because it contains grapeseed oil as the 2nd ingredient, which is great for oilier / clog-prone skin as it’s high in linoleic acid (see my post on skincare oils and their compositions here). I’ve been searching for a grapeseed oil-heavy oil cleanser but they’re hard to come by for some reason, so when this came on the market a few months ago I snapped it up ASAP. Happily, it was a great purchase as I absolutely love it. It doesn’t contain a host of fragrance or essential oils to potentially irritate my skin (which it doesn’t), and it cleanses beautifully without drying my skin out at all. Though you can use it as a first cleanse to remove makeup etc., I actually use it as my morning cleanser on it’s own as I want my skin to benefit from the good oils and ingredients, rather than washing them away in a second cleanse. It’s a perfect beginning step to prep and protect my skin for the colder weather outside. I’ll be repurchasing it without hesitation.

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Tone with Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner ($30CAD). Because I am a beauty junkie, I’m susceptible to any new fad on the market, and I became determined to find and use an ‘essence – essentially a hybrid between a toner and serum, and which is used in between those two steps. Algenist’s Essence Toner has high rating on both Sephora and Paula’s Choice (though I don’t think she knows it ALL, I do appreciate the research done on that site and use it to cross-reference product research often), AND it’s affordable for a high-end brand, so I picked it up back in October. I can’t tell for sure how hydrating it is, as my skin isn’t particularly parched, but I do prefer to keep my skin as moist as I can anyway (seems to keep me from over-producing sebum) with lightweight products, and this can be used all over my face, even in my sensitive areas like around my mouth, without any issues at all. That in itself makes this a total winner in my books!

G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Treating Mist. I was kindly sent the Normalizing Travel Kit ($42CAD), among a couple other products, from G.M. Collin and I was so keen to try them out once they arrived. Having mostly normal skin with some oiliness in the t-zone, the Normalizing kit is perfect for me as helps keep skin balanced. The Treating Mist is designed to enhance the effectiveness of your other skincare, much like other facial mists, and leaves skin with a matte finish. I spray this on my t-zone only after using the Algenist Toner and it really does keep that area less shiny throughout the day. The nozzle is a bit powerful so I make sure to spray it about a foot away from my face to get a more even misting.

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G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Eye Contour ($96CAD). I was most eager to try out this eye treatment from G.M. Collin as it’s been on my wishlist for years now, but I could never bring myself to buy it. It gets amazing reviews and is purported to reduce the appearance of dark circles, expression lines and wrinkles, and is de-puffing. I’ve only been using it for about 2-3 weeks now, so I can’t report major changes to my undereye area just yet, but I do find that it looks smoother and incredibly hydrated, and I feel like I’m less concerned about my perpetual darkness. The texture is PERFECT, thick enough to be hydrating but not at all greasy or heavy, and it absorbs extremely well and quickly so it works fantastically under eye makeup. My concealer has never looked better or more natural.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C (see full review) ($39.99CADnow on sale at Well.ca for $29.99!). Still totally digging this serum! It is the perfect consistency – more like a gel than a silicone-heavy serum, so it feels lovely and lightweight and I am entirely comfortable layering additional product over it. It really does help lighten any dark spots and even out my skintone, and as a bonus it contains niacinamide to also protect my skin from environmental aggressors. I love this stuff!

Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 30 ($15.49CAD). After searching high and low all summer for the Neutrogena Pure & Free liquid that sound right up my alley, I scoured the drugstore aisles at Shoppers for another facial sunscreen alternative that wouldn’t break the bank (the higher the cost, the more I want to skimp on application, and that’s counter-productive, no?). I ended up choosing this SPF lotion from Eucerin as it contained physical ‘screens (my preference) as well as chemical. I was a bit wary as some chemical sunscreens aren’t friendly to my sensitive skin, but I’ve had zero issues with this – in fact, I actually think it might be the best facial sunscreen I’ve ever used on my skin! It leaves my skin looking moisturized and with a lovely, healthy glow, minus ANY shine or greasy effect. Though it’s of medium viscosity, it blends in easily and absorbs quickly. Fragrance free with an SPF of 30, at a totally great price point…you kind of can’t go wrong with this.

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EVENING

G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Mild Cleansing Gel. Another step in the Normalizing Kit, I use this gel as my second cleanse after oil cleansing (currently I’m trying to finish a bottle of pure Pumpkin Seed oil). I am surprised at how much I enjoy using this – I’m not one for gel and/or foaming cleansers, as they often leave me feeling drier than I’d like; this, however, truly IS mild as I feel absolutely NO tightness after use and my skin feels incredibly soft. Definitely the nicest gel cleanser I’ve tried!

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Joe Fresh Refresh Facial Toner ($12CAD). I picked this up on a whim when I needed a new facial mist/toner-type product, and I fell for the clean, classic packaging of the Joe Fresh skincare line. Honestly, I’m not a total beauty snob, I just like great packaging – if something is cheap but looks luxe, I’m all for it! On top of the fabulous bottle, the product itself is great – the ingredients are simple (such as glycerin, aloe and green tea & cucumber extracts) and it’s effective at toning my skin in an incredibly soothing way. I will be buying this again and again, no question.

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G.M. Collin Oxygen Puractive+ Cream. The final step in the Normalizing Kit, this cream is formulated to purify and hydrate the skin while also refining it’s texture. As it’s essentially winter now, I only use this in my t-zone as that is my ‘trouble’ area, and so far it’s been doing a great job at refining the pores on my nose and inner cheeks. This would make an excellent moisturizer for someone looking for a product to mattify and keep any oiliness or large pores in check.

Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening Serum ($95CAD). I’d read a review on No More Dirty Looks awhile back saying this was excellent at evening out the skintone and ever since it’s been on my radar. When it popped up on Petal & Post months ago at a  considerable sale discount – down to something like $54! – I scooped it up, even though I was flush with other brightening products (I’m kind of obsessed). After using up another serum, it was time to give this a shot, and I am beyond pleased at the results – aside from making my skin feel baby soft upon waking in the AM, it truly has evened out my skin significantly; it’s the best it’s looked in years. I rarely wear foundation now as it’s just an extra, unnecessary step and I feel I look a lot better without it, truth be told. This is another *repurchase* product for sure (buuuuut…maybe when it’s on sale, yea?).

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G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Eye Contour. Lather, rinse, repeat. I use this day and night 🙂

There are a few other products I didn’t mention (namely, a face oil that I add to my sunscreen if it’s particularly chilly out; a hydrating mask and a purifying mask I use when needed; and two different exfoliants, one manual, one chemical) – mostly because, as much as they seem to be working for me, they’re aren’t game-changers in my books and I’ll probably replace them with something new when the time comes. Otherwise though, this is it – and I gotta say, I can’t remember a time when there were so many products in my arsenal that I plan to repurchase (and with so many of them reasonably affordable too)! I’m a fickle beast and even if I like something, I usually am keen to try something else out of boredom – but these products are working so well for me that I’m not sure if making a switch is wise! Maybe I’m just getting too old (erm, or not OLD but just lacking an excess of time in which to spend the energy researching new products to try)…either way, I’m really happy with my routine, and if it means I’m boring – so be it!

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Toeing the ‘natural skincare’ line with Boscia

For whatever reason, the last couple months of 2014 saw me researching and wish-listing non-green beauty products, though I’ve been dedicated to ‘clean’ skincare for well over a year now. I think the combination of interesting new releases plus just getting bored with my current routine (I am a fickle Gemini, after all) led me to this phase; even so, I scrutinized every ingredient list and in the end turned down a lot of potential products that just didn’t pass my ruthless inspections. One brand did make its way into my routine was Boscia, which toes the line between conventional and more ‘natural’ skincare, due to the fact that it doesn’t contain preservatives in it’s formulas. It’s also botanically-based, but that doesn’t really mean much to me – there are a ton of cosmetic lines that make the same claim (Clarins comes to mind) but they still contain fragrance and a few other ingredients of which I usually steer clear. In any case, Boscia does have some nice products that do not contain such ingredients, and so I felt confident in picking up a couple of items from the brand during the Sephora VIB sale, namely the All-In-One BB Eye Brightener w/SPF 20 ($47CAD) and the Cool Blue Hydration Essence ($60CAD).

Boscia Skincare

The BB Eye Brightener was a planned purchase, as I needed a new eye cream and was keen to pick one with an SPF. The fact that this claimed to also brighten the eye area optically (as it’s tinted, and provides sheer coverage due to the physical SPF titanium dioxide) as well as over time (via wakame, which is purported to brighten skintone and diminish dark circles) made this an easy choice for me – sleep can sometimes be elusive in pregnancy, for various reasons (finding comfortable positions, thoughts about the future, peeing every few hours, etc.), so I’ve been battling my dark circles more than usual of late.

Boscia All-In-One BB Eye Brightener

I’ve been using the Brightener regularly every morning and I like it; the texture is perfect – not too thin, but not too thick that it’s hard to smooth around the eye. It does lighten up my undereye area because of it’s BB/tinted properties, and it sinks in quickly while leaving the skin around my eyes lightly hydrated (I don’t suffer from dry undereyes). It’s not a miracle worker, however, and I don’t suddenly look fabulously rested from using this – I find most of the brightening effect comes from the tint of the cream and not from the formula itself improving my eye area over time. But honestly – what does? I have yet to find that elusive treatment that will actually lighten up my eye darkness long term (however, if you know of a product that does this – SHARE, PLEASE!!).

Ingredients: 1,2-Hexanediol, Algae Extract, Allantoin, Alumina, Arginine, Bakuchiol, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylyl Methicone, Carbomer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipeptide-2, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Hydroxyethylcelluose, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Methicone, Mica, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Panthenol, PEG/ PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Sodium Chloride, Sodium PCA, Steareth- 20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Water.

The Cool Blue Hydration Essence seems to be something of a mystery to many. Designed to ‘create lasting moisturization and firmness while calming and cooling the skin,’ I picked this up on a whim – I always love a good serum, and as winter was fast approaching I figured I could use a little extra boost in the hydration department, without going overboard on my normal-oily skin. At first glance/use, this reminds me a lot of Indeed Labs Hydraluron – it sort of seems like it’s not doing anything, but I suspect it’s getting to the dehydration in a deeper, less visible way (or so I tell myself).

Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence

Quite honestly, I’ve been using this for about two months now, and I don’t see any huge changes in my skin – but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it! Though our winter for the most part so far has been quite mild, I’ve found that using just this and a light moisturizer on top has been sufficient to keep any flakiness or dry skin entirely at bay. It feels lovely going on – it’s quite thin and spreads easily over the skin, and leaves just a hint of a cooling sensation behind (it lasts only briefly). Leaving it to penetrate for a minute or two, I follow up with my moisturizer, and I’m good to go. I DO find that without moisturizer on top, it can leave my skin feeling a touch tight (which likely attributes to the negative reviews of this on Sephora about it being drying – but people, the instructions say to use it PRIOR TO MOISTURIZER. Cam on!).

One thing to note about this product which I found particularly interesting, is that the star compound in the essence, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (fermented yeast filtrate), is the same top ingredient found in the cult-favorite SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. The SK-II is $131.25CAD for 2.5oz, or $52.50/oz…while the Boscia product, sized at 1.7oz, works out to be $35.29/oz. Additionally, the SK-II contains parabens, while the Boscia does not. Something things to consider, anyway!

Ingredients: Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol,Glycerin, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Caffeine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Offinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Water, Menthyl Lactate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Acrylates/Vinyl/Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Overall, I kind of like this step in my routine, buuuuut…I’m not sure if I’d repurchase. It’s just so hard to quantify the effectiveness of these kinds of products, truthfully!

As for the eye BB, I would potentially repurchase; I’ve been into these tinted eye creams for day for the last while (I’ll take all the help I can get), as I think that’s about as much lightening as I can expect to receive from any eye treatment, and this one does that job well, with the added benefit of protecting my eye area from the sun.

Have you tried any Boscia skincare products? What tricks or products do you use to help you look rested?

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A Stupidly Large Empties Post (Prepare Thyself)

I’m just going to start by letting out a huge ~GROAN~ before beginning this post.  OMG dudes.  I’ve been putting this off for AGES and it’s going to get crazy.  I suggest getting comfortable with multiple snacks and a beverage of your choice.  Let’s get ‘er done.

Empties #1 2013 (2)Bustin’ out my empties bag!

Part of the reason I’ve taken so long to post this is because I have had so many products thisclose to being finished, and just when its used up, another takes it’s place.  I’ve got a handful sitting on my counter that are probably going to be done in a week or so, but I can’t wait any longer – and honestly, I’m in the business of entertaining you, not wasting all of your time and punishing your eyes and scrolling fingers.  So here we are!

Empties #1 2013

I’ve said this far too many times and not held my word, but seriously – I’m going to keep the wordiness to a minimum.  Let’s start with makeup this time, since that’s always what I find most difficult to finish:

Empties #1 2013 - Makeup

OK.  The good: I finished 4 eyeliners!  UD’s 24/7 in Crash (shimmering eggplant), Lise Watier’s Gold Eyeshine (which is so old that it kept smushing down into the pencil so I’m turfing it), and two black shades (Tarte Starry Night and MUFE 0L, both which were fine, but smudged more than I’d like).  I’ve since bought Chanel’s Noir Intense waterproof liner to replace the two blacks, and so far so good.  Also good is Clinique’s Bottom Lash mascara, which seems SO gimmicky but which is actually awesome.  The Chanel bi-phase remover is a sample and was good but nothing crazy.

The bad (or just OK): MUFE’s Star Collection gloss in S4 – smooth and not too sticky, but it has this weird cast to it that could make me look dead if worn to heavily.  The Revlon lip butter in Peach Parfait still has enough that I could eke out a few more uses, but I won’t.  HATED the gritty shimmer in this!  The white tube is a primer by Jay Manuel’s line (which I have no idea if it exists anymore or not), that I never used at all.  Toss!  Lastly, the MAC Haute & Naughty mascara I bought while en route to NZ.  For the first month, this was great, albeit a little clumpy due to so much product on the brush.  I found as time passed, it got worse, and ended up that the brush looked like this:

MAC Haute & Naughty (2)

ICK.  Pass!

Anyway, not bad as far as things go, eh?  Next, let’s look at facial skincare:

Empties #1 2013 - Facial Skincare

I’ve reviewed the 100% Pure eye cream, Pangea Organics masque, and Shiseido toner previously and my thoughts still stand on those (which is to say, overall good impressions), but I won’t repurchase.  The Clarins Sun SPF30 eye cream is my 2nd or 3rd tube, and as always I think it’s great.  I don’t know if I’ll repurchase, just because I might just start using sunscreen around my eye area (I use only physical sunscreens, like the ones in the Clarins, which cause less irritation I find), but you never know!  Speaking of physical sunscreens, this is also my 2nd or 3rd tube of the Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25, and I’ll continue to use it unless I can find something similar that doesn’t make oily in summer – I find this still *slightly* heavy.  The Clinique Super Rescue cream for combo-to-dry skin is a nice moisturizer, but I find it only gives hydration (and antioxidants – can’t beat that!), and I like something that will aid in smoothing my skin as well, as I tend to have slight roughness from my eczema. I have another tube but probably won’t open that till next winter.  The Boscia Make Up Break Up remover is nice enough and effective, but I probably wouldn’t get a full size, as I still use a cleanser afterward because I find it can irritate my skin a little otherwise.  The Clinique Even Better Lotion SPF20 is actually a lot nicer than I gave it credit for before I tried it.  It’s hydrating but not oily and it made my skin look really good while I was using it.  My skin is still doing well but I don’t think it’s AS nice as it was since using this up.  I might order this on my next gratis.

Some samples:

Empties #1 2013 - Samples

I bought a handful of these MaskerAide masques before Christmas and used one per week.  I really liked them – they were easy to use and gave great hydration without breaking me out or being too heavy.  I’d definitely buy them again.  The Elizabeth Grant Eye Power Pads were one of those random beauty items I get from my aunt, and I’ve had them for ages.  One day I decided to use them, and it was nice!  I didn’t notice a big difference in anything, as I don’t have much in the way of wrinkles yet, but it was a treat and they were hydrating.  The Kniepp muscle gel was great for tired legs after working a shift at Clinique or a hard run, and if I was feeling spendy one day I’d probably buy it to have on hand.

Almost done, are you still with me!?  Let’s move on to body products:

Empties #1 2013 - Body Cream

This is my most triumphant success in terms of empties.  The Hawaiian Tropic Aftersun and the B&BW Vanilla Bean Noel lotions I’ve had for SO EFFING LONG – the B&BW lotion was my very first swap EVER (back in 2008).  Because they’re so scented, I didn’t wear them often, or in very specific, less sensitive areas like my feet and chest (which isn’t sensitive somehow!).  I finally finished them both last month and I’m so stoked – I now have NO scented lotions kicking around, and I don’t plan to ever again!  I’ll just go the much safer route and just wear perfume.  Sweet 🙂

The iconic Kiehl’s Creme de Corps lotion is always a nice luxury to have, and it was effective as ever, though FAR too pricey for my needy body.  I would repurchase is my budget allowed it though!  Although in saying that, I’ve found my holy grail body moisturizer in Haus of Gloi’s pumpkin butter in Aether – honestly, I can’t see myself buying anything else.  It smells good for being non-scented, and it works like a dream on my finicky skin.  I love it with all my heart.  Aveeno’s Moisturizing Lotion used to be my go-to, but I’m SO over it now.  It just doesn’t work as well!  The Clinique Deep Comfort hand cream is quite nice and if you’re looking for a great moisturizer to tote around, this is a great option – hydrating, absorbs well after a few minutes, and lasts.   And it’s unscented 🙂

Empties #1 2013 - Shower

The last time I ordered a few Aether pumpkin butters, I also picked up a couple 2oz jars of Haus of Gloi’s Bubbling Scrubs.  This one in Satyr was lovely!  Its a sweet, warm, edible scent which some may not like but is right up my alley.  And it gives a nice light exfoliation on my sensitive skin, which I usually avoid, but which I can indulge in with these scrubs.  Yay!  The Hugo Naturals body wash smelled lovely (natural scents) but something about it I didn’t like, so I wouldn’t repurchase.  The star here is the Organix Macadamia Oil conditioner, which is absolutely PERFECT for my crazy-curly, mega-dry hair.  I hate that it comes in a smaller container, as I went through it pretty quickly, but I would repurchase even though it’s $8 and lasts only a month or so for me.  I usually buy jumbo sizes of conditioner because I need so much, but this is worth the cost, as it really hydrates, and is a bit heavy (so, those with fine hair steer clear) which is just what my hair needs.  LOVE.

Ok.  Wrapping things up, I have a couple fragrance samples!

Empties #1 2013 - perfume samples

I got Angel as a sample when I got my mom’s bottle refilled for her birthday last year.  I know it’s a hate it or love it scent for most, but for me I actually am in the middle.  I don’t think it’s ‘my’ scent, but I do like it – I think because of the associations with my mother.  It really works on her and when I smell it I feel cozy 🙂  The Lancome fragrance however, La Vie Est Belle, IS ‘my’ fragrance – it’s got the same tones with vanilla being predominant (I’m definitely a Gourmand fragrance wearer), and smells FANTASTIC on me.  Initially I wasn’t sure if I liked it enough to buy a bottle, but over the past couple weeks I had three men tell me I smelled good (in an almost surprized way, like “You smell really good” and looking sort of shocked like, ‘oh wow, yum’) so I’m taking that as a sign.  Its the first fragrance I’ve found in a while that really does it for me.  FYI the notes are: black currant & pear (top); iris, jasmine, & orange blossom (middle); tonka bean, vanilla, praline, and patchouli (base).  I think the reason I was initially unsure is that I’m not a huge fan of orange blossom in fragrance, but the inclusion of vanilla and iris (iris being in 3 of my favorite scents, interestingly) end up making it a winner.  I’m just finishing up my second sample of this and will buy a bottle as soon as I’m able.

So there you have it!  In the past three months, those are the products I managed to finish.  Not too shabby, huh?  My skincare for face and body particularly has been seriously streamlined, and I don’t have anything ‘extra’ in either.  Makeup of course is an ongoing battle to use up products I’m not madly in love with, but I’m getting there!  It’s an ongoing process, and you are all probably familiar with.  Moving forward I hope to post these monthly to keep on top of things!

Empties #1 2013 (3)

Have you tried any of these products?  What are your thoughts?  Any skincare products you’ve found to be absolute winners?

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18 Comments

A Post for When You Want to Post But Not Actually Do the Work (AKA My Current Skincare Regimen)

I’ve got an issue, guys.  I really feel like doing a review/showing swatches of a product, but I don’t want to actually have to do the work.  That’s kind of a problem, right?  And it’s not entirely true…I want to write about the product, but I don’t want to have to take any photos.  If I do a skincare product, I have to take boring shots of the bottle (you bloggers know what I’m taking about – product photos in containers are SO dull to snap :S).  If I feature a makeup product, I like to show face swatches too. I’m not avoiding showing my face, because my face is looking pretty darn good these days.  Seems I’ve found ‘THE‘ regimen for my skin, at long last – even for my body!  …Oh, ok, you want to hear about it?  Hmm… maybe if I do a few collective shots of what I’m using, it won’t be such a snore for me…  …OK!  Right-o!  We’re on ‘er now 🙂

Take Time Out for Beauty

Let’s work from the bottom up (not literally!).  Every year, I get a mysterious rash-type thing, that is NOT eczema but some sort of dermatitis that no one can explain.  I went for a biopsy last year to get it checked and it came back negative for all of the possible things it could be.  My derm is an idiot who can barely open his eyes (for some reason, he squints constantly – so annoying!), and didn’t offer any other solutions to figuring out the problem, so I have been essentially left to deal with it on my own.  This summer, I got another mystery rash on my arms, big-time (which made swatching impossible), and it was unlike anything I’ve had before.  Of course.  Anyway, when I went to NZ I hoped the fresh, clean air would heal me up, but this was not the case.  However, while there I bought this crazy Eumovate cream and it cleared it up in about two days.  To perfect smoothness.  Heck YES I was excited!  But then I read the fine print that said ‘Do not use for more than 7 consecutive days’ and I knew it was some heavy shit, so I stopped and of course the rash came back – not to the full strength, but nonetheless it still plagued me.

Creams

Speaking of plagued.  I wrote a poem once about my skin issues (seriously guys…it freakin’ drives me NUTS), and titled it ‘Plague’.  Check out the height of my lameness my mad skillz:

What lasting plague upon my house,
My body, mind & soul;
What constancy lives in my heart
That soon shall take it’s toll.
What ravages this skin, yet leaves
No evidence, no trace,
Of how to rid oneself of it,
Will it never erase?
A mystery, the cause of such
Destruction, that has made
A mockery of such a thing
That God so proudly laid.
Too long this body’s suffered so,
Too long without a cure;
Too soon it’s life comes to an end
Of this we can be sure.

Dudes.  I was way serious back in the day.  I wrote poetry all the time, because obviously sad poetry is WAY easier to write than happy stuff.  I did write a few cheerily optimistic poems the last time I was in the groove (about 4 years ago)…maybe sometime I’ll share (or not…this is a beauty blog, after all! :P).

Moving along…

Anyway, when I got home my GP told me that it was good to stop using the hardcore stuff I got in NZ, as it was pretty intense.  He hooked me up with a regular corticosteroid, which I do generally try to avoid but figured I had to do something, and BAM!  Problem fixed.  See, with eczema you have to treat that shit first…I kept trying all these plain creams to make it heal on it’s own, but that’s just silly.  I used the prescription for about five days and haven’t had to use it since.  Once I got my skin back to normal, THEN I could manage it with preventative measures.  Which are:

– Shower at night: This way you rinse away all the bad crap that comes in contact with your skin throughout the day, and your moisturizer has a better chance of absorbing and keeping your skin hydrated.

– Wash with a soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser: Anything that lathers is generally NOT a friend of those with eczema.  I’ve been using a body wash by Hugo Naturals that has vegetable glycerin and a natural surfactant derived from coconut and it’s been lovely and gentle on my skin.  You do NOT want to strip any of your precious natural oils!  You need those!

– Go for the heaviest creams you can tolerate: Right now I’m using Haus of Gloi’s Pumpkin Butter ($9US for 6oz)  in Aether (non-scent), and I am in fucking love.  Sorry for the potty mouth but seriously that is how good this stuff is!  It has a natural odor that I’m not quite sure I would call ‘pumpkin’y’, but its nice and for someone who has renounced almost all use of anything fragranced*, this is very exciting.  It also contains shea butter as the second ingredient, which is pretty much the holy grail of hydrators for dry skin.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Another good option (though pricey) is Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($37.50CAD for 250mL).

*Steering clear of fragrance is also very important.  Even take note of your shampoo/conditioner/hair styling products.  I’m using a fragrance-free shampoo and low-fragrance conditioner (it’s the last ingredient on the list), and a non-fragranced hair oil – the end.  I swear it helps!

– Reapply often: This is why I go through SO many creams and lotions, but it’s worth it if my skin stays hydrated – it keeps your moisture barrier intact and therefore less irritating things from the outside world can penetrate the skin and cause flare-ups and problems.  I keep a moisturizer by the bed, at work, in my purses…its a constant job.  But totally worth it!

Body Care

And that’s essentially it, for body!  I do nothing else and I don’t need to.  Scrubs are abrasive and therefore can exacerbate the problem (though I did just order a Bubbling Scrub sample size from Haus of Gloi…because I just can’t help myself), so I wash, pat dry, hydrate, the end.  And my body is loving me right now 🙂  PRAISE THE SKIN GODS!!

As for the face – which has also been darn near glorious over the past month – here’s what I’ve been using/the routine I’ve been following:

Morning –

1. Splash face with water, pat dry then swipe Shiseido’s Pureness Balancing Softener all over skin

2. Apply Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer to dry areas of face (for me, its around the mouth)

3. Apply Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment around orbital area

4. Apply Clinique Even Better Lotion SPF20 all over face & neck

When I wear foundation, which I almost don’t have to right now, I wear the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder, which actually doesn’t dry my skin out, even in this cold weather, and almost allows me to skip powder altogether on my slightly oily skin (as it’s mattifying and oil-free). It doesn’t contain fragrance or any other funny business I usual avoid.

I will note that I’m careful with any blushes/bronzers I use – the Chanel, Benefit, and Burberry blush I have all have fragrance, so I try to use them sparingly.  NARS powder blush contain lanolin, which I’m allergic to and which is very unfortunate as I have 5 shades.  So, they get used semi-infrequently as well.  But, I find as long as I’m not wearing them every day, things are alright.

Facial Skincare - AM

In the evening, here’s how I roll:

1. Remove makeup with Boscia’s Make Up Break Up Cleansing Oil (which I *just* finished tonight and will be replacing with Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm)

2. Wash face with Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash

3. Apply Derma-E’s Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel all over face & neck

4. Apply 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream around orbital area

5. Wait 5 minutes, then pat Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil into face and neck (review forthcoming, because this stuff is GOLD!)

058

The end.  That’s it!  It’s not a long process, and the results have been really good.  I think the biggest thing is keeping my skin MORE hydrated as opposed to trying to always control the oiliness.  Not washing my face in the morning, combined with using two hydrators (spot treating in the AM and all over at night), has actually not made me more oily but has lessened how shiny I get throughout the day, and my eczema is nearly non-existent – all that’s left is slight pigmentation scarring from when it wasn’t under control.  I also think that for once, following a regimen and using the same products every day has had a huge hand in keeping my skin happy.  Changing it up all the time leaves it in a constant upheaval; I was doing it for the ‘right reasons’ – trying to use up products – but it was causing me grief overall.  So YAY to getting my shit together!

There are still a few tweaks I want to make here and there, especially with respect to anti-aging – I still want to try a retinol product (I want to use up the Derma-E Vitamin A gel first before I purchase one), and I plan on replacing the almost-finished Shiseido Softener with one of Bioderma’s miscellar waters – but otherwise I think I’m good!  When the time comes to buy replacement products, I’ll be sure to do my homework.

I know that this process will not be helpful for some of you – not everyone has my tempermental skin – but I find that when I’m looking online for solutions to my eczema problems, there’s not much around except the usual treatments.  And since it’s wintertime for many of us, some of the same logic applies in terms of keeping the skin hydrated, so hopefully not all is lost!  Stay tuned for my post on the Tarte oil though, truly – it’s absolutely wonderful and I think everyone can use it! 🙂

How involved in your skincare routine?  Do you have finnicky skin?  What is the difference maker for you?

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17 Comments

Review: Ole Henriksen Truth Revealed Set

For Christmas this year, my sneaky boyfriend went on the blog and did some research into what I was lemming in the holiday season.  He noticed that I kept raving about the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, so he did one better: he gifted me the Ole Henriksen Truth Revealed Set, which contains a full size Truth Serum, a full size Total Truth Eye Crème SPF 15, an a 1oz size of the Truth Revealed Super Crème SPF15 (regular size is 1.7oz), priced at $94CAD.  It came at a good time, because I was just running out of my serum, and I’m on the last couple uses of my current SPF day cream, Clinique Super Defense.  I’ve been using the set for the past couple weeks, so here’s the rundown on this ‘truthful’ trio.

The Truth Serum Collagen Booster is the first step, and one I’ve written about in detail before.  The Truth Revealed Super Crème SPF15 is described as a ‘rich anti-aging crème [that] leaves the skin with a light sheen and luminous glow. It hydrates and soothes skin while fighting the signs of aging as it firms, boosts cell proliferation, and scavenges free radicals. Truth crème is ideal for all skin types, with SPF 15 protection.’  The crème has a lovely smell, the same as serum but a bit lighter.  I find the ‘rich’ consistency almost too thick, and bit hard to spread – it sort of feels gummy, and takes about 10-15 minutes to absorb.  The serum felt similarly sticky (but the feeling dissipates quickly) so it must be a common ingredient.  Though it says it’s ideal for all skin types (I feel like I read somewhere that it is oil-free), I think it’s better suited for combination to dry skin due to the slight heaviness of the formula – I don’t think it would be suitable for oily+ skin, or very dry.  Unfortunately, it contains fragrance in the ingredient list, but its noted last, and thankfully doesn’t seem to be causing any issues for my skin at this point.  It does not contain parabens.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cocoglycerides, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Schinus Terebinthifolius Seed Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Algae Extract, Pulullan, Calcium Ascorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Extract, Corylus Avellana (Hazelnut) Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Ceteareth-20, Aminomethyl Propanol, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum.

The Total Truth Eye Crème SPF 15 is described as a ‘richly textured eye crème designed to renew and protect your eyes. [It’s] formulated with Omega 3 extracts that nourish and hydrate to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and micro algae and tri-peptide 5 strengthen and firm. Broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen protects against sun damage for total age-defying results.’  It’s also supposed to improve microcirculation to help treat dark circles.  Also containing no parabens, the eye cream has the same consistency as ‘Super’ crème but even thicker, somehow, though amazingly neither ball up under makeup despite less than ideal formula.  It takes a while to absorb as well, and leaves slightly shiny cast until it fully soaks in.  I found that it caused slight creasing in my undereye concealer due to how rich it is, and I suspect it has been effecting the wear time as well.  Again, I think this product is better for combination to dry skin, as it is heavier.  There doesn’t appear to be fragrance in this however (wise, as its to be used around the eye area!), and I notice only the slightest odor which does not resemble the other two Truth products.

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone. Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Glycery Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Ceteareth-20, Phenoxyethanol, Algae Extract, Pullulan, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Plukenia Volubilis Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Allantoin, Schinus Terebinthifolius Seed Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Alcohol, Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hyaluronate.

My thoughts overall are not entirely favorable.  While I love the serum, the two creams don’t quite measure up.  As often happens, preventative cosmetics are hard to review, as you aren’t really going to see the benefits until much further down the road.  Unfortunately for these creams, I can’t say I’ll give them an extended run because the texture leaves much to be desired.  While not entirely problematic, I find that it is absolutely necessary to use a primer all over and under the eye in order for my makeup to stay in place – and even then, it tends to slide off my face in a much shorter amount of time.  As I noted, these products seem to be best suited for those with a drier skin type – and even then, I wonder if it’s something in the formulations which don’t allow for proper penetration?  I’m no cosmetic science geek, so I can’t say.  All I know is that the effect of these two additional products on my skin isn’t favorable – I’ll be keeping their use strictly to days in which I’m wearing little to no makeup.

Have you tried these products?  What is your verdict?

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8 Comments

By George, I Think I’ve Done It! My Near-Perfect Skincare Regime

Over the past few months, I’ve been researching products and tweaking my skincare regime, trying to streamline it as well as find effective products that don’t irritate my sensitive, eczema-prone skin.  While there are still a few items I’d like to incorporate, for the most part I think I’ve successfully found a system that works to effectively cleanse my oily skin, keep it  smooth and soft, and which doesn’t cause eczema flare-ups (fragrance free is a must) – all while preventing aging as best as possible.  While I’ve had good success with all of the products I’m about to show you, note that everyone’s skin is different and requires (and tolerates) different ingredients and treatments, so these are just some that work well for MY skin and it’s particular traits.  Nevertheless, I thought it might be handy for others who have similar concerns or for those looking to try a new product 🙂

First of all, a quick description of my skin (if you aren’t already familiar): Oily, but not overly so – gets shiny in the t-zone by mid-day and on cheeks closer to my nose.  Blotting once a day is necessary.  Pores are slightly visible on cheeks and nose, but not a concern.  Break outs are infrequent, though the odd pimple may occur every month or so, and high stress can cause consistent breakouts.  If breakout is severe, scarring may occur (seen as dark spots).  Can have dry patches (particularly on forehead, around mouth, and jawline) due to eczema; sometimes scarring (seen as lack of pigment) results.  Skin around eyes is normal, very few lines, and has recently become somewhat sensitive and can have dry patches at outer corners.  Little, if any signs of aging overall (yet!).

OK!  So now, here’s the rundown of the products that are floating my boat as of late (oh yeah, and by the way – this is gonna be a wordy post, so get comfortable!):

CleansersMAC Cleanse Off Oil, Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser with Botanical Blast

Currently, for my morning wash I’m just using up the last drops of my Purity cleanser from Philosophy to cleanse my skin.  When that runs out, I’m unsure if I want to use the Boscia both day and night, or find something else for the morning.  I also have Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Wash, which I specifically bought to use in the AM – but I suspect its too harsh on my skin and was causing eczema flare-ups, so I’d feel more comfortable finding something else.  Some days I don’t even wash my face in the morning if I feel like its a particularly cold and windy day.  Likely I’ll find a creamy cleanser just to rinse off the night’s product/sebum but that will cushion the skin from the cold.

At night, if I wore a full face of make-up, I’ll use the MAC oil (which I’ve reviewed here) to remove it first, and then go through my normal cleansing routine with the Boscia.  I picked up the Boscia cleanser a few weeks ago, and have only started using it last week.  It’s supposed to ‘purify pores and bolster skin’s natural defenses against irritations and reactions,’ and does not contains parabens, sulfates, or fragrances – hello, this product was designed for me!  I’ve used it enough to determine whether it will or won’t work with my skin, and it’s a definitely winner.  It comes out of the pump sort of with an oil-gel texture, and then foams when applied to a wet face.  The foam is one of the most luxurious I’ve felt, its so creamy and smooth and doesn’t feel like it’s stripping my skin at all – but when I rinse, I feel perfectly clean with absolutely no residue.  I love it!  It’s a pleasure to use each evening.  I just wish it were in a bigger container (only 5oz) – another reason why I want to have a separate day cleanser, because I want this to last!  At $32CDN a pop, it’s not exactly the cheapest cleanser ever.  But well worth the price for the way it feels and works.

Daytime Moisturizers/TreatmentsOle Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Moisturizer SPF25 (Combo-Oily to Oily), Clarins Sun Control Eye Contour Care SPF30

After cleansing in the morning (if I do), I apply Ole’s Truth Serum to my entire face and neck (previously reviewed here).  I leave it on for as long as I can to let it penetrate before adding Clinique’s Superdefense SPF25 moisturizer on top.  Though I’m starting to feel like its silly to use a separate SPF product for around the eye, I use Clarins Sun Control eye cream every day.  As it seems like a lot of products cause irritation to my sensitive eye area now, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry, and this doesn’t cause any issues whatsoever – and it lasts for freakin’ ever!!  This is my second tube and I’m sure I’ll have it for another year (or until the expiry runs out).  I got two years out of my last one; for about $30, I’ll take it!  That’s like $0.04 a day (for those who like to do the math like I do :P).

Nighttime Moisturizers/TreatmentsClinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer, The Body Shop Wise Woman Eye Cream

Nighttime is a pretty quick affair!  After cleansing, I just slap on Clinique’s new Turnaround moisturizer, and add a dab of The Body Shop’s Wise Woman eye cream and I’m good to go!  Eye creams have got to be the best ever – people have a hard time shelling out what feels like a lot for such a small jar of product, but they last forever!  I’ve had this one since probably this time last year – phew!  It’s gotta be nearing the end, though I can’t tell.  Once I finish this up, I’m going to move on to the bottle of 100 Percent Pure Coffee Bean eye cream I got from eBeauty last month (reviewed here).  Mainly I’m looking for a product that’ll help alleviate darkness (next to impossible) and which contains antioxidants to prevent aging.  The 100 Percent Pure product is actually better suited to my needs, but I read on MUA that the Wise Woman cream was pretty stellar.  It’s supposed to reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, hydrate, and smooth the skin around the eyes by ‘filling in’ lines via cotton fibers. I do like it – it hydrates nicely and I haven’t seen any increase in lines around the eye – but it’s a bit of a premature purchase considering who it’s actually designed for.  Great price though, at $24CAD (15mL).

ExtrasComplex 15 Daily Face Cream, Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil Moisturizer, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

These are products that I use semi-regularly, but not every day.  The Complex 15 moisturizer is a great drugstore basic that I use if my skin is being reactive, or if I’ve done a treatment and need something no-frills to avoid creating a reaction.  It doesn’t contain lanolin, which I’ve recently discovered can cause allergic reactions to those who are also allergic to wool such as myself (as it is a wool-derivative).  You learn something new every day.

The Josie Maran Argan Oil was going to be my antioxidant ‘serum’ (as it’s rich in Vitamin E) but then two things happened: 1) I received the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and fell in love, and 2) I realized that this Argan Oil is a bit to rich for my skin to use on a regular basis.  So, how I use it now is on the weekends, usually Sunday, I thoroughly cleanse my skin and then apply this all over my face and neck as sort of a treatment, to really hydrate and nourish my skin.  I try to avoid wearing any makeup on top as well – which works as this oil kind of gives you a great, healthy glow so that no makeup is really needed.  This is a travel-size bottle and it cost $18CAD for 0.5oz, which is a bit pricey for the size, but you don’t need to use a whole lot, and for my purposes it should last a while.  Jury’s out on if I’ll repurchase, however.

I picked up the Queen Helene mask well over two years ago, when I was in Vegas.  I had read great things about it on MUA, and I was experiencing a lot of oiliness and a few breakouts, so I thought I’d pick it up.  It was super cheap, like $4.99US, but I’ve never seen it anywhere here in Canada.  In any case, it’s just your standard clay mask I think, nothing terribly special, although it’s fairly gentle so I don’t feel sensitivity after using it and it doesn’t make me feel as dry as the Sahara, so that’s a plus.  For the price I don’t mind either way, though it’s lasted me SOOO long (I use it about once a week just on areas of oiliness/breakout) – I’m just sort of done with it now.  But I don’t want to toss it just yet.  If it’s not finished by next Summer, out it goes.  I’ll be time for a new oil-absorbing mask by that time!

So there you have it, the full low-down on my skincare regime!  There are just two products I’d like to add eventually (aside from a morning cleanser) – one, REN’s Glycolactic Renewal Mask, which I’ve had a few samples of and is absolutely AMAZING – results in baby soft skin, with absolutely no irritation whatsoever; and two, a retinol product to use at night (which will likely replace the Clinique moisturizer as I don’t think the two would get along well).  Retinol is one of those ingredients that seems to have stood the test of time in the skincare world – years later we’re still hearing that it is the be-all end-all in terms of fighting off aging and repairing existing damage.  Sign me up, please!  I just want to find an affordable option that is also effective…so far I’m coming up empty-handed.  I won’t give up the search though!

I’d like to note that what you see in this post is almost my entire skincare ‘wardrobe’ (so to speak) that I have!  I’ve really pared down.  Aside from a small handful of samples which are nearing completion (YES!), I only have a few other unmentioned products, which were excluded as I do not currently use them for various reasons.  I have another serum (Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate, which I got free and am saving for warmer months), two other masks (Pangea’s Japanese Matcha Tea Facial Mask, and Korres Yoghurt Face Mask, both of which I like in theory but which may or may not irritate my skin – the Korres is up for swap), the Philosophy Microdelivery Wash (which is up for swap), and Kiehl’s Micro Dermabrasion Scrub (which I received in a swap, have used only a handful of times, and may put back up for swap – scrubs are too irritating for me!).

Ok, end ramble…now!  What do you think of my regime?  Any products you’ve tried and loved/hated?  Any suggestions on products to incorporate/check out??

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Whose Afraid of the Dark(ness)? Plus, a Review: 100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream

As you may or may not know, one of my biggest beauty woes are the dreaded dark circles under my eyes – in fact, aside from my eczema and it’s resulting issues, darkness under my eye area is really the only thing that I can really say bothers me about my face.  Since it’s such a big deal to me, you’d think that I’d have figured out all the best beauty products, in skincare and makeup, in order to banish these baddies once and for good.  Uh, NO.  I’m still very much on the hunt, not having come up with much of anything that truly does the trick to my satisfaction.  One could say that I’m being too hard on myself, and that because it’s me I notice them more than someone else would.  Likely true.  However, it doesn’t negate the fact that I hate ‘em and I don’t want them anymore, dammit!!

*Image from Good Evening World

…Phew!  Really though, dark circles have gotta be one of the most annoying beauty issues ever and it seems like an ongoing battle for anyone who suffers from them (unless you’re a celebrity and have every brand of makeup/personal makeup artists at your beck and call).  I’ve yet to hear about a true solution from someone who really feels my pain – not your friend who has the slightest bluish tinge under her eyes and can use a swipe of foundation to cover them up.  A pox on your head!

In the past year or so, I’ve pretty much determined that eye creams are a waste of money when it comes to trying to lighten darkness, at least the kind that I have.  See, there are two types really – the bluish-purply circles that are caused by heredity, and the dark brown ones that are caused by an accumulation of pigment in the skin.  Those you can lighten with various products.  Mine – there’s just no ‘fix’ aside from concealer.  So the past 15 years I spent trying to find an eye cream that does the trick?  Wasted.

However.  

One thing I have discovered with eye creams is the importance in investing in one that’s hydrating (which maintains suppleness), and non-irritating (which keeps the dark circles from looking worse).  As I grow older, my fear is that as I age my eye area will get drier, with fine lines, and the amount of concealer I use will just not DO, because it’ll be so much more noticeable.  So, it’s extremely important to find an eye cream that smoothes and moisturizes the area so that I can keep piling on the concealer for as long as I can (lol!).  Here’s where 100% Pure’s Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($26CAD) comes in real handy.This eye cream is designed to de-puff the eye area and increase circulation to brighten dark circles.  It contains caffeine-rich green tea (caffeine is widely known to act as a diuretic, which helps reduce fluid retention – aka puffiness), antioxidants (Vitamins E & C particularly), and rosehip oil (helps skin become more elastic and supple).  It’s 100% natural/vegan, and gluten free.  And did I mention that it smells like flavored coffee??  Mmmmmmmmm.I’ve been using this eye cream for the past two weeks, and while it hasn’t decreased my darkness at all whatsoever (sigh), it has kept my eye area seriously hydrated and smooth.  Because of how moisturizing it is, I recommend either using it just at night, or letting it sink in and fully absorb before applying your concealer, as it caused my makeup to wear a little bit faster than normal.  It hasn’t irritated my eyes at all, either, which is an added bonus.  And I feel good about using an antioxidant-rich formula, as that will help to keep the skin around my eyes looking youthful for longer – can’t beat that 🙂I was provided this product for consideration by eBeauty.ca, the Canadian online beauty retailer I told you about here.  Unfortunately, the e-tailer no longer exists, but you can purchase it from Nail Polish Canada (link is above, or click here).

Do you suffer from dark circles?  What are your tried and true tricks and products to deal with them?

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