I'd like to introduce to you a new monthly blog post series that I'm going to aptly title "Beauty Wrap Up." Those of you who know me well know that I'm always trying new skincare products and makeup and I've been capitalizing on a lot of reviews that have been kindly posted by other bloggers. I thought I should pay it forward and write a few of my own reviews.
I thought a monthly post highlighting the best, the worst, and what samples or products I've used up or tried in the month would probably be the easiest way to go so that it doesn't become an overwhelming portion of this blog.
➳ (Sample) The Face Shop The Smim Fermented Concentrate Total Treatment - I had two deluxe samples of this particular toner. I used it in the morning only for almost a month directly after cleansing my face and saw very little change in my skin, either for better or for worse. On my regular skin it was a decent neutral toner but I do like to see improvement if I buy a product so I will probably not purchase the product again.
Rating: 2.5/5 - Totally neutral. Which is why it scored in the middle. Will not re-purchase.
➳ (Sample) Isa Knox Care Zone Clarifying Cream - I absolutely love this soothing, clarifying cream. This particular brand and product was one of the first Asian skincare products that I was given and it completely revolutionized how I took care of my skin and cleared up a significant amount of new breakouts. I have since found other products to use and have cleared up most of my issues completely so my tactics of changed from prevention of acne to healing of hyper-pigmentation and the occasional emergency breakout which makes such a dedicated product unnecessary. Should my skin ever decide to go crazy again I will return to this line but I don't feel the need to do so right now so I'm not re-buying it. It is very thick so it might not be a good summer cream if you live in a humid area and it also smells a bit medicinal so be forewarned if you are buying it!
Rating: 4.5/5 - Really great product, half a point off for the smell. Will not repurchase at this time because my skincare needs have changed for the better (in part thanks to this product).
➳ (Sample) Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream - I've actually been using this product for more than a month now. I didn't use it consistently because I simply forget to use eye creams. Caudalie is one of my go-to brands and I'm always impressed by their products. This one is no exception. On the days I did use it the ultra fine lines around my eyes would clear up and the skin around my eyes would feel protected, moisturized, and ready to take my eye makeup.
Rating: 3/5 - Great product but couldn't use it consistently enough to justify a five - results would last about a day and after I discontinued use I didn't see any major lasting change. Will not repurchase at this time because I have other eye creams to try out and I never really use eye creams anyways.
➳ (Sample) The Face Shop Green Tea Oil Free Toner - I had about three or four little sample bottles of this and I patch tested one bottle and broke out in that area so I discontinued use and tossed the rest. The product does absorb well and my skin feels soft after use. I'm not sure why this broke me out as I've had pretty good success with other Face Shop Products but I wasn't going to push my luck and re-try it when I had several other different things to try.
Rating: 1/5 - I ended up breaking out in the place I patch tested this. Will not repurchase for obvious reasons. It does smell nice, though!
➳ (Sample) The Face Shop Aqua Drop Pack Sleeping Mask - I actually really liked this product! I used this product two to three times a week (on cooler, less humid nights) and always woke up to hydrated skin and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, especially on my forehead where they are most prominent. This product is a bit heavy (like most sleeping packs or masks) and sometimes I would wake up with a bit of a sticky face but because I wash my face first thing and then apply sunscreen it never bothered me. The downside of this mask is that it does contain Silicones and phenoxyethanol which are both known irritants for some people. Luckily I am fine with both of these things and had no issues while using this. The smell is vaguely citrus and is very light. I think it's supposed to have a smell that helps with sleep but I don't think it affected how well I slept.
Rating: 4/5 - Using this product leads to visible (if short term - one to two days of visibly hydrated skin) results with no irritation. It doesn't soak in completely, especially on humid days, and does contain some irritants so one point off for that. I like it enough to repurchase this product.
➳ (Sample) Shiseido Benefique NT Makeup Cleansing Oil - This is actually my first foray into a cleansing oil. I have long read about the benefits of double cleansing on just about every single skincare blog I read but I don't usually do it. If I have a particularly heavy makeup day (Stage makeup, HD makeup for filming) I wash twice with my regular Isa Knox Foam Cleanser, once with my Clarisonic and once with my hands. The first thing I did when I moved was to find a place where I could shop locally for my preferred beauty products and the person working gave me several sample packs of this to try out. I am not sure if I like this product or not. I'm honestly on the fence! It seems to do a good job of dissolving the makeup off my face without stripping my skin's oils but I have no similar products to compare it to. I did experience one or two breakouts while using this but I didn't patch test it so it could have been caused by external factors. I'm going to order some other cleansing oils soon and try them out as well to see what I really think.
Rating: 3/5 - Does a great job clearing the day's makeup off my skin. Experienced a few breakouts but may be unrelated to product use. No smell at all, feels smooth against my skin while using it. Still unsure if I will purchase it because I have nothing to compare it to!
New Products I've Introduced:
➳ (Full Sized) Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream No. 21 - I am in love with this product. I mean...truly, truly in love with it. When I use this product people actually come up to me and comment on my skin. Strangers, even. That's huge for me because I have notoriously scarred and uneven skin (evidence here). When I use this product it's just thick enough to cover up any unevenness but it doesn't strip the natural color out of my face and I have to do a lot less color replacing with bronzers and blushes and highlighters than I had to previously with my Boscia BB cream. It isn't thick enough to conceal everything, but it does a great job. You can see how it works on my face in these photographs. Additionally, this product has decent sun protection: it is PA +++ with an SPF of 42. I still layer it over my regular Hada Labo UV Creamy Gel sunscreen but I like the assurance of having another layer of sun protection. This product has become my HG (holy grail for those of you not in the skincare blog world - the product you return to as your ideal product) BB cream. Just a heads up, though: some people may have issues with this because it does contain mineral oil and parabens in it. Also, it does come out very pallid looking at first but after a few minutes of wearing it it adjust and matches my skin tone a lot better.
Rating: 5/5 - Perfect coverage, perfect color match, great sun protection. Will repurchase when I'm out of my bottle.
➳ (Full Sized) Holika Holika Vita UP! Facial Water - I bought this while I was traveling at the end of last month on a whim. We had been walking around Toronto all day, stumbled upon a Holika Holika shop and for whatever reason I was compelled to purchase this product and stick it in my purse to spray on my face every few hours. I try realllllly hard not to touch my face once it's been washed in the morning but sometimes your face just needs an extra boost and that's why I bought this. It claims to moisturize and hydrate tired skin which is exactly what you get when you're traveling. After I got home I stuck it in the fridge in the Tupperware that holds my sheet masks and pull it out to spray on my face from time to time. I really like having something cold to spray on my face in the middle of my workday. It doesn't cause my makeup to run, it sooths my skin, and it smells like a fresh aloe plant. I'll be traveling again at the end of the month and I'll be putting it in my purse to use on the journey.
Rating: 4/5 - Soothing, absorbs quickly, non irritating, and inexpensive. May repurchase when I'm out of my bottle or I may try something new. I don't feel compelled to hoard facial mists like I do sunscreens, moisturizers, and spot treatments, though.
Links of Note:
➳ Snow White and the Pear's posts about cleansing are an informational read and a good reminder to wash your face well. (Part one and two)