Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: TonyMoly Expert Triple BB Cream

*swatches to come

Back when I had ordered my Tonly Moly Appletox Cream and Skinfood BB cream, I had received a handful of samples with my order, all randomly chosen by the seller. Despite only being drugstore-status brands, Koreans are known for being ridiculously generous with samples- unlike in the states, where you'll only get them with a consultation or by meeting a certain spending limit at a department store counter or specialty store. So along with my order came a small sachet of Tony Moly Expert Triple BB Cream. And now that my excitement over my initial purchases has died down, I finally decided to dig this one out to try. Everything on the sachet itself is in Korean so upon putting this on, I had no expectations or understanding of what the "triple" refers to, meaning my initial impression of the product is as unbiased as they get.

First thing I noticed about the product was that it was very light in shade. It perfectly matched my skin, but do keep in mind I'm white and haven't seen the sun in over half a year. Also, as far undertones go, it seems pretty neutral to me so I can't imagine it would perfectly match most Asian skin tones upon application, but you do have to keep in mind blending and oxidization. Plus, it's far from being like a full-coverage foundation, so your skin won't take on the color of it completely.

Application was as tacky as my other BB cream experiences, but the sensation went away within minutes after it absorbed. I'm not sure why most directions are so adamant on telling you to PAT it on rather than rub, because rubbing would be impossible! Patting feels like the only option! And if you can rub it in, you've probably applied way too much. But, moving on.

I'll admit I chose a really good skin day to try it out, so I can't vouch for active blemish coverage, but it very effectively evened out all redness in my skintone and left it looking rather radiant, actually. Like, I immediately thought to myself wow I've got to check out some TonyMoly BB creams! I did follow it up with matte powder, but 8 hours later, I'm sitting here still thinking the same thing! It lasted all day and my skin still looks great, albeit a bit shinier. In comparison to my Skinfood one, which leaves my skin looking like... well, very natural skin, this cream leaves it subtly more angelic, like I'm wearing the absolute sheerest amount of good makeup, which is exactly what I'm after.

 Left: Natural lighting indoors. Right: In the sunlight.

Now upon actually researching the cream, I've discovered the triple refers to whitening, wrinkle, and UV-protection care. With that in mind, I imagine anyone looking for a whitening cream would actually be satisfied with the light shade of color. And the other properties this cream boasts are light-diffusion, collagen reconstruction, and wrinkle filling. I guess it contains birch sap, ocean minerals, ginseng and lavender to help aid in skin elasticity, moisturizing, anti-aging, immunity, antibacterial, relaxing, reconstruction, and anti-inflammatory effects. So they're basically trying to make this out to be a miracle product. All competition better give up now?

As for my final thoughts of the product? Given the pale shade and whitening effects, I'm not sure I'd bother purchasing the fullsize product now, seeing as we're going into spring and summer and I'm about to get my self-tanner out. But come winter, I may just have to make another purchase from Korea...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

DIY: Skinfood

Just what the internet needed: another DIY skincare mask, as if your beauty board on Pinterest wasn't already completely overwhelmed with recipes already. Seriously though, this one truly is superior to most (and not only because I invented it) but because it only takes 2 ingredients, and doesn't expire if not kept in the fridge. Actually, that's what inspired me to make it more than anything, as I've got a handful of store bought masks already, so the last thing I want to have to do is make sure no one in my family eats my mask... and then explain why I just had to make another one... So I came up with the simple combination of oat flour and powdered milk that can actually be used as a face wash and scrub, too! I fully intend to replace my Cetaphil with a jar after I finally use up the last of the ~toxic sludge~, as it's non-lathering and incredibly gentle for the morning just the same. And the benefits, you ask?

Oatmeal: Soothes, softens, moisturizes, relieves itching, anti-inflammatory, contains a cleansing agent.
Milk: Lactic acid exfoliates, contains amino acids, reduces enviromental damage, contains antioxidants, contains active enzymes.

And if this combo isn't enough, you can add lemon juice, honey, egg whites, vinegar, rosewater, avocado, yogurt, tumeric, green tea, white tea, chamomille tea, baking soda, cocoa powder, mashed fruits, etc- virtually anything you have in your kitchen to yield even more beneficial results. Easy project!

Review: Mario Badescu Orange Tonic Mask

Despite the fact I've hardly reviewed any here on the blog, my Mario Badescu products are amongst my most favorite ones that I own. (I'm just a little backed up when it comes to reviewing them, is all!) And my ultimate favorite product of theirs? Their masks! I've used about 7 of their masks in total, and if you ever take a peek at their selection, you'll see why it's hard to narrow it down and only stick to one. All boast completely different benefits, so one by one I feel compelled to try them all. My most recent purchase, however, was their Orange Tonic mask. I've tried the ones marketed toward very acne prone skin (back in my troubled days) as well as their heavy duty moisturizing types (free trial compliments of my mother's beauty drawer...) but now that the harsh winter weather is tapering out, my skin has been pretty balanced as of lately. But I still look for any reason to use a mask, and who couldn't use a little routine cleanup? So I turned to one of their tonic masks, which is supposed to decongest pores, exfoliate (with fruit AHA), and refine the skin's texture. Simple enough. And speaking of simple, the ingredient list is just that-
Deionized Water (Aqua), Kaolin,Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Starch,Seamollient,Orange Peel (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Extract,Balsam (Myroxylon Pereirae Resin) Peru, Zinc OxideTitanium DioxideSorbitol

So, my results? After using it once or twice a week for about 2 months now, I can honestly say this has probably been the least exciting mask of them all. That's not to say it isn't good- as it essentially does everything you expect a mask to do- it just doesn't go above or beyond. It glides on, dries, and leaves your skin refreshed after being rinsed away. It's smells softly like oranges and would probably leave even the most sensitive skin feeling great without drying, but do I wake up in the morning with radically clearer, glowing skin? No, so in that sense, I wouldn't recommend it. But as a mask junky, it's more about the process of applying and using a mask that I find most therapeutic, so I will happily use up the remainder and in the process, decide on what Mario mask I'll be purchasing next!

Review: Lumene Vitamin C+ Illuminating Anti-Age BB-cream SPF 20

I've finally made the first step toward a more natural makeup collection- starting with what I find to be the most important place to start- the base makeup! In my opinion, a skillfully applied smoky eye, a bright lip, and perfectly flushed cheeks just don't look good when paired with a poor complexion, so I was excited to come by this product at Ulta last week.

I'm beginning to discover there's a very limited/almost non-existent selection catering to natural liquid face makeup (and I specify liquid because I'm well aware of the existence of mineral powder makeup, but I've never been much of a powder girl). And the two completely natural tinted moisturizers I have found cost the same as my phone bill does every 3 months! So, uh, yeah, no thanks. So I've settled on this. It's cheap at about $14, and unlike most BB creams sold here in the states it does have actual benefits to it (fairly earning it's BB title). Lumene also focuses on including natural ingredients, so that's great! And it's paraben-free!

I've been using it for a week now, and compared to the actual Asian BB creams I was using prior, I must say I might actually prefer this Finnish BB cream... and it's actually helped me see more cons to my Korean Skinfood one. Is that wrong? But basically, the pros I've seen to it is that it's thicker, but glides well so you have a few more seconds to blend before it gets tacky and dries. The Skinfood one is best applied in individual sections for an even application. When it comes to the finish, it's definitely a light medium coverage, where as the Skinfood one was definitely just light. Followed with a powder, it lasts an entire work shift for me, but I will say Lumene will rub off a lot more easily if you wipe your face (or blow your nose... ugh.) Also, this is available at Ulta, and apparently CVS and Walgreens, where as I have to order my Korean cosmetics online. Boo.

So until I get the opportunity to research more legitimately organic base makeup, this one definitely gets my approval.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: JONATHAN PRODUCT Weightless Smooth No-Frizz Shampoo

Recently purchased this (massive) bottle of shampoo called JONATHAN Product Weightless Smooth No-Frizz Shampoo at TJ Maxx while looking for a more natural shampoo. It was about $12 dollars, and one of the cheaper shampoos I finally allowed myself to settle on after a long day of searching. I don't have very many hair needs, so my requirements are really as simple finding a reasonably priced gentle shampoo with ingredients I can actually understand, but given the fact companies are looking to make bank with this eco-trend, finding a shampoo that checked the list is a lot harder than you'd think- but it finally happened! This shampoo leaves my hair miraculously smooth and soft (like... you know those little conditioners you get with boxed hair dyes? Yeah, I'm talking that kind of soft), so I'm thinkin' "frizz-free" is a pretty good thing to look for in a shampoo, regardless of your hair type.

Some of the reviews I read complained about it's inability to lather, but if you spread it all over your hands before applying it to your hair (which is just what I do, naturally) it suds up for me! Of course you should keep in mind that because it's filled with tons moisturizing ingredients- versus the usual cheap and stripping stuff manufacturers generally make a profit with- it will never foam up the way you're probably used to. But it's free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten and mineral oil, and it's 100% vegan- so that sounds like a pretty fair trade to me.

I did discover that this brand actually has a line specifically catering to 100% natural ingredients I fully intend to trial next (which may take 2 years- I forgot to mention this shampoo is quite generously sized.) And although the list is not as short and sweet as most of the other products I use, I've listed the ingredients after the jump!

  • Hydrolyzed Hair Keratin Protein & Platinum Peptides - small molecules quickly penetrate to repair hair. Promotes adhesion of the cuticle to the hair shaft through electrical charge attraction, sealing the cuticle to protect from humidity and prevent frizz
  • Date Fruit Extract - lightly coats the hair and seals the cuticle to reduce frizz
  • Soy Protein - strengthens hair and improves texture
  • Rosemary Sage Essential Water - cleanses, purifies and restores hair
  • UVA/UVB/UVC Filters- help to shield hair from environmental damage

Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: LUSH Lip Service

You know I love Lush, so it may or may not surprise you when I tell you I traded in my holy grail lip balm (don't worry, Mario Badescu... you still have my heart!) and took a chance on a new one after sampling it at Lush.

You see, I didn't just give up on my old one. I had actually been smooshing my lips against the empty container for about a week, praying for any leftover residue to comfort my chapped lips when after a long day of mall wandering, we just so happened to pop into Lush. After doing the usual run around I was standing at the check out when I saw the one Lush product that had never graced my body before- their lip balm! One swipe of the tester and I was headed off to Nordstrom to gauge the results. An hour later, I was sold and heading back to Lush to buy my own container. Unfortunately, they'd run out of the None of Your Beeswax but settled on this one just the same.

It's been about a week since my purchase and the weather's gotten drier and colder, and it's all taken toll on my skin. Out of mall results? It's alright. I was first taken back by the texture as the sample one was mushy like you'd expect most to be, but even after warming my tin up in my hands it was still hard and chalky. I was almost convinced I'd gotten an old tin, but given te fact I'd purchased it at the largest, busiest mall in America... the chances of stock expiring on them seemed slim. Now I often end up holding it to my space heater and that seems to work in melting it but I'm still wondering if the vegan version I tested originally was actually better... I want to like Lip Service- given the price tag and the fact my conscious won't let me rebuy my Mario Badescu Lip Wax until it's gone- but it really is just your average (and hard to apply...) lip balm. So, it's just alright.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review: TONYMOLY Redappletox Honey Cream

If you thought I had enough self-control to keep my Korean order limited to a single BB cream, you would be very wrong. I mean, this product may advertise itself nothing more than a simple moisturizer made from, you guessed it, apples and honey but I just envisioned using it every morning and it was just too cute not to buy.

So the actual product is stored underneath a flat white lid after you twist the top half of the apple off and comes with an applicator spoon. I ended up throwing the white lid away as it would sometimes stick to the apple top and land in the cream as I was opening annoying. But since the actual apple lid twists on pretty securely, I'm not worried about spilling or leaking.

It's a yellow colored gel- like murky honey- that does in fact smells like fresh apples- but the smell fades away after it absorbs. When I tested it first on my hand, I didn't notice any kind of residual feeling- it felt light and just completely smoothed out every wrinkle, leaving it smooth to the touch, much like a makeup primer does! But when I applied it to my face, I did pick up the sort of tacky feeling mentioned in other reviews (although, I am just very picky about the feeling of moisturizers, which is why I generally opt for gels versus creams.) After a few minutes, the residual feeling went away. In my regime, I like to use about a dime-sized amount before bed on my face and neck (very generous amount given it's gel consistency as you can use the littlest amount and still glide it over your entire face, but I like to use it like a sort of "sleeping mask" so it's effects will last even after I wash my face in the morning). But given the makeup primer qualities of the cream I imagine anyone with dry skin in the morning would find it perfect for use then if they have about 10 minutes to let it absorb. Overall, it does what it's advertised to do- moisturizes and softens (unfortunately, no anti-aging, brightening, etc. effects)- but unlike any basic moisturizer I've had before, the packaging is adorable, and something you can reuse when it's empty (bam, just gave it a "going-green" quality. It's now worthy for the blog.) so I would definitely recommend this product over any other if a simple cream is all you're in the market for!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Skinfood Good Afternoon Peach Green Tea BB Cream

So I did something weird recently, guys, I tripped and fell deep into the rabbit hole... of Asian cosmetics. I'm completely fixated on all of this BB cream and sleeping packs, fruit-shaped, cat-shaped, whatever, makeup talk! And yes, I realize these things are already a cult-like phenomenon but you have to understand- but now I'm experiencing for myself with a new goodie to rave about- Skinfood Good Afternoon Peach Green Tea BB Cream.

Water, cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Ethyl Methoxycinnamate, Dipropylene Glycol, Boron Nitride, Ceresin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sodium Chloride, Vinyl Dimethicone / Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Peach Extract, Sorbitan Olivate , Caprylyl Methicone, green tea extract, HDI / Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, silica, aluminum hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, talc, phenoxyehtanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, fragrance, yellow iron oxide, red iron oxide, black iron oxide (eek!)

What does it do?
Well, it's an "oil-controlling and skin-mattifying BB cream that keeps skin fresh and matte with vitamin-enriched peach extract and sebum-regulating green tea". Also read a few blurbs about moisturizing and collagen and blah blah blah. Honestly what really drew me to this BB cream was just my hunt to find something more natural and beneficial to my skin than my regular foundation and tinted moisturizer. So I spent a few interesting days researching every popular product out there, but when I found this one on Amazon for less than $10 bucks, I thought that was a cheap enough risk to take to test out the color and texture, just to figure out what this BB cream stuff was all about.

And I like it! Quick fact: most Asian BB creams come in 2 shades: #21, which is supposed to be the lighter, brighter pink-toned shade, and #23, the neutral or yellow-toned shade. Sometimes they're just labeled as "1" or "2", sometimes there is only one shade, and on occasion you might find a brand that caters to complexions a shade lighter and a shade or two darker than these two alone. I figured in any event if it's not a perfect match, a slightly darker foundation generally looks more natural than a slightly lighter one on my skin, so I went with the second shade. (Plus, I hate giving into any of my pink undertones.) But when I got this cream, I discovered it's actually incredibly neutral.  I imagine it could suit any Caucasian or Asian skintone on the planet, after a proper application and powder and blush to set it with. It's also pretty sheer- unless you literally slather it on.

This particular cream only seems to last about half a work shift for me. Despite one of it's main purposes is to control oil, it's ultimately no match for mine. Plus, it looks incredibly natural on the skin. Like, it does absolutely nothing to enhance your complexion, so if you're into the SUPER natural look, great! I however like for my foundation/tinted moisturizers to add a little life to my skin; I want a glow! So in all, I will not be repurchasing this BB cream, but I'm definitely going on the hunt for one that better suits my needs!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Lotion

INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water (Aqua),Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice) Gel,Bladderwrack (Fucus Vesiculosus) Extract,Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana Distillate),Seamollient (Algae Extract)

My love affair with Mario Badescu has probably been going on 3 years now. Once or twice a year, when they have some sort of sample deal, I have to place an order and one by one, I think I've taken on a good majority of their products. At the height of my "awkward phase", Mario Badescu was no match for my skin. Despite the unique approach and ingredients MB took for their acne line, I ultimately ended up getting my skin under control only after a visit to the dermatologist (2 ointments, a dose of antibiotics, and 6 months later...) 

After my skin started shaping up though, I was so excited to shop my stash again- this time, to brighten and moisturize my skin. I had about 5 years of acne product damage to undo and I no longer wanted to abuse my skin by hiding it under layers of thick foundation. Plus, having decent skin meant being able to explore more nurturing  natural products. I get to work with my skin now, not against it. And Mario Badescu is brilliant at that! 

This toner is very gentle, moisturizing and leaves your skin so clean. Unlike other toners I've used, it removes my makeup without the need of alcohol, and it makes my skin soft without leaving a filmy layer on my skin. It's actually for dry and sensitive skin, and as someone with oily skin I do generally skip a moisturizer after using it because it leaves my skin feeling perfectly balanced. And did you see those ingredients? Well count 'em- there's only 5. I literally cannot rave about this product enough!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: LUSH Shower Jelly in Sweetie Pie

I know, I know- Lush may put a large emphasis on the herbs, oils and fruits they use to make their products, but more often than not, these products are often far from organic, or even natural. This jelly alone contains dyes, sulfates, and parabens. But I just can't quit Lush. Not yet, but at least it's one of those brands that has me looking at the ingredient lists on the products I use. This product in particular was the one that got me to simplify my whole routine- as it can be used as a body wash, shampoo, and face wash- and I think decluttering your shower is probably the most important thing in transitioning to a cleaner regime.

So this purple glittery jelly can be used as is, frozen, ripped into chunks, whole, with your hands, or on a pouf. There's literally no wrong way to use it, even if it does feel a little awkward at first. And my favorite place to use it is actually on my head! It functions as an absolutely brilliant shampoo. Lush makes no mention of the fact it's so gentle on hair that it actually helps balance it out- but that's exactly what it's done to mine! And it contains glitter, guys. Glitter. Find me an organic shampoo with glitter and maybe I'll make the switch.