Tuesday, April 11, 2017

beauty tuesday: first impressions and new favorites

I have been playing with a bunch of new products over the last few months. Some I found by falling into an internet black hole, some I tried samples and loved, some were sent to me, and others were suggested by friends. I didn't think any really warranted a full review post (although a couple will have follow up posts with continued use), so I wanted to do a quick first impressions and mini review of the products!

Banila Clean it Zero Cleanser: K Beauty and its 10 step nightly routine has been a big thing discussed online for a while now, and every time I read about some people's routines, I get really confused about all the different steps, and what each of them does and then I just give up and continue my standard make-up removal, cleanser, treatment, moisturizing routine I've been doing my whole life. But then I recently read Sydney's post about her new routine, and man, her skin does look pretty amazing, and since her post made it a little easier to figure out how to go about all of this stuff, I purchased a few things. The first one is this balm cleanser, the first step in "double cleansing". For those of you who use coconut oil to remove your make-up, this is pretty similar, except it cleanses more and doesn't leave as oily of a residue behind. You scoop a little of the solid balm into your fingers, rub all over your face and eyes, and then cleanse with warm water. It does a great job of removing all of my eye make-up! I then cleanse again with my go-to Paula's Choice cleanser to remove all remaining make-up and cleansing balm. My face feels so soft after, and I like that I don't have to wipe at my face with any clothes or wipes or pads.

Neogen Wine Exfoliating Pads: You guys know I'm all about exfoliating - when you have dry flaky skin, anything that helps your skin look bright and not dying wins in my book. I've seen these wine soaked pads mentioned a few times over the past few months, so I figured it was time to try. I use these 2-3 times a week after double cleansing. Basically they smell like a combination of red wine and grape jelly - if you're sensitive to smells, you will probably hate this. I love it, I think it smells amazing! These are little gauze pouches, basically - you stick your finger in them, use the "rougher" side first (it's not rough at all) and then use the softer side after, to rub all over your face to exfoliate. My belief in this kind of over the counter skin care product is that it won't really change what your skin is really like - chances are, your pores won't be that much smaller, your acne isn't going to magically all disappear, your dark spots aren't going to just go away. But what it does in the day to day feeling of your skin is real - it does change how my skin feels, and how other skincare products react with my skin. So I would say in this situation, my skin does feel smoother! But it's not a magic product, just like most skincare products aren't. If you want a nice smelling exfoliator that helps with flakiness, this is a great product to try!

The Ordinary oils: In Sydney's post, a commenter said that there's no need to pay $40 for some of the face oils because you can get them for a quarter of that price from The Ordinary. I had never heard of this brand, so I fell deep into the internet hole about this brand. Basically, The Ordinary provides the active ingredients without any of the fillers...and for fair prices. I don't know if it's because we are so conditioned to see $100 bottles of face oil or if it's because we believe you can't buy good products for inexpensive prices, but I was pretty shocked when I saw that you could get the same 100% Squalane that sells for $60 from some brands for EIGHT DOLLARS from The Ordinary. $8! So at those prices, what do you really have to lose? Here's my disclaimer: I do not own the expensive bottle of Squalane, so I can't compare the two, but this little $8 bottle of oil feels pretty amazing. At night, after cleansing and exfoliating, I pat the squalane and rose hip see oil on my face. My face glows - I seriously can't stop looking at it because it looks so bright and clean and glowy! Again, I think this is one of those products that can change your skin when you apply it, but I have no idea how much it changes your skin over the long run, if that makes sense. The only product I have ever used where I noticed my skin actually changing is my prescription tretionoin cream - that product is the holy grail of changing your skin. These products change my skin on the daily, and so if you are looking for a few inexpensive face oils to try, The Ordinary is a great place to start! I've been very impressed with the products in the few days I've used it so far.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum: A few months ago I reviewed Ole Henriksen's Power Peel system. I felt it was pretty harsh on my skin, so I returned it. Then I received a sample pack for the Power Bright system, and while it wasn't as harsh, the only part I really liked was the serum, or the middle step. Turns out, you can buy just the serum part without buying the harsh scrubs! So I bought the smaller bottle, and have been using it for about three weeks now. I use this in the morning after washing and toning my face - I use half a squirt, and pat into my face, and then follow with moisturizer. If you have oily skin, this may not be the best option for you, but for those of us with dry skin, it feels so good. I would actually say my skin does look radiant after using this (and I don't say that about everything)! It contains Vitamin C, which is another one of those skin care ingredients that has actually been shown to improve wrinkles and improve texture of the skin. I bought this before finding The Ordinary, but if you want to try a different Vitamin C product and not spend $50 on this oil, they make a Vitamin C suspension for $6...

Chanel Le Volume Mascara: I went to a Nordstrom Beauty event about two months ago with Katy. One of the products we got to play with was Chanel's volume mascara. Katy said she swears by the sample sized tubes, and it's been the best mascara she's ever used. You guys know I'm an eyelash junkie - I'm all about long thick lashes! So even though I kind of hate plastic brushes, I gave the sample tube a try...and have been using it ever since! It just really lifts and separates your lashes, while also building up the volume. I use one coat of primer, two coats of this, and one coat of Bobbi Brown's mascara for added thickness (I know it seems excessive...I just really love dark and thick eyelashes). Katy did say that she really likes the sample tubes more than the full size product, and I have only used the sample sizes so I can't verify her statement, but believe her. If you live near a store that sells Chanel makeup (like Nordstrom), stop by a counter and ask for a sample tube! It costs nothing, and maybe it'll be your new favorite. A sample tube lasts 2-3 weeks!

Bumble and Bumble Hairspray: When I got my hair colored back last fall, the stylist used this hairspray on my hair, and my curls lasted for THREE DAYS. That's unheard of for me! I remembered that she used a blue Bumble and Bumble hairspray, so when I finished  my last bottle of hairspray (which, tbh, I'd had for like two years because I don't use hair spray every day), I bought a bottle of this. And you know, my curls really have lasted longer! I love the fine mist, I love that it's technically a light hold, and I love that it's a twist top rather than having a lid that will mostly likely go missing.

Vichy Double Peel Mask: I was sent this tub by Amazon to test out, which I will be honest, I was so excited about. My mom has been a lifelong Vichy skincare user - whenever we go to Germany, she buys like ten tubs of products to bring back with her to the US. I trust my mother implicitly, so whatever works well for her, I know will be a good product. I fell in love with this "double" peel face mask - it exfoliated mechanically with powdered volconic rock, and then chemically exfoliated with AHA. I use this about once a mask, and then follow with a face mask. I would say this is a pretty gentle peel/exfoliator - there is not redness or burning after use (I have pretty sensitive skin, so this is important!). Definitely gentle enough to use multiple times a week. Be on the look out for a chance to win a trio of Vichy masks in the near future!