Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beauty Favorites and Fails: February 2016

This month's favorites and fails ran the gamut from hair care to body products, and include lots of Asian beauty products, too. Let's get started:
Beauty Favorites from Clinique, My Beauty Diary, SkinFood, and Gilchrist & Soames.

Favorites:

My Beauty Diary Aloe Mask, $14 for 10 masks
This mask is made by a Taiwanese company, and is now widely available at places like Target and Walmart. It claims to be soothing and moisturizing, which I found to be true. Aside from the aloe, this mask also has hyaluronic acid. The shape of the mask was rounder and shorter than most I've tried, and this made it fit well for me. I didn't have to fold the excess under my chin. It felt soothing and cooling. I imagine it would be nice after a day in the sun. It dripped a little bit around my jaw as I lay with it on, but not too bad. And my skin did indeed look moisturized after I took it off.

Gilchrist and Soames Spa Therapy Moisturizing Sea Moss Conditioner $28
This is my favorite rinse-out hair conditioner for every day use. I discovered it when it was stocked in my hotel room in La Jolla, and then I purchased it from Amazon when I got home. I love the turquoise color, it smells nice, and it leaves my hair very manageable, soft and shiny. I find the bottle a little tricky to use and squeeze out the product when my hands are soapy and wet in the shower, and I wish it dispensed with a pump, but other than that, I love this and will definitely repurchase it after I use up some other ones I have. (Ps: I just noticed when I linked to the website, that they do now sell it in a pump dispenser. Yay!)

Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Targeted Protection Stick, $21
I love this stuff and have purchased several. I use it on my nose, the space between my eyebrows, the naso-labial folds, upper lip and on my lips. The reason I don't use it every where on my face is that it is in stick form, so you really have to drag it over your skin. I can only use it on the places on my face where my skin is taut. It is too hard for the delicate under eye area, for example. That being said, it is really great in those places I do use it. I love the emollient texture, and it never breaks me out. It gives good sun protection and also moisturizes. It feels really good on my skin. If you have oily skin, however, you would probably find this greasy. It's great to carry around with it because it is compact and of course, will not spill.

SkinFood Platinum Grape Cell Emulsion, $24
This was just a tiny sample size packet with enough for two applications, so this review is really just a "First Impressions." But as far as that goes, I really liked this. This contains grape cells and platinum, as the name would suggest, and is supposed to brighten and firm skin. It had a light, pleasant slightly fruity scent, and lightweight gel/lotion consistency that spread on my face easily with no tugging, and absorbed quickly, and it did lightly moisturize my face. After getting through all my other serums, I will buy a regular size of this one and try it out over a longer period of time.
Products that were just okay, from Olay and Bath and Body Works.

Just Okay:

Bath and Body Works Snowkissed Sugar Ultra Shea Body Cream
I bought this around the holidays last year, mostly because I loved the packaging, with its blues, violets and pinks, topped off with glittery silver snowflakes. It is a seasonal scent, so it is no longer available from the store, unless they release it again next holiday. But the formula is apparently always the same. I found that the lotion worked just fine: it spread easily on my skin, and absorbed quickly. The scent is nicely light, with coconut, vanilla, musk and plum, according to the description. The only negative was that the scent dissipates within minutes of wearing it. Although, some people might think of that as a plus.

Olay Total Effects CC Cream, $20
This was an okay CC cream. The pros were that it did not break me out or leave me looking either dry or greasy. It was easy to spread, but it did occasionally streak. I wish it had a higher SPF, and I also wish the color was a better match for my skin. Like most CC creams, the coverage is light, and I made it even lighter by blending with my sunscreen. If you need more opaque coverage, this is not for you. It did not sting my eyes, which is good, however, it claims to minimize pores, but I did not notice any difference. It was fine, but I will keep looking for a BB or CC cream that makes a noticeable difference in my skin's appearance. This did not.

Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Serum - Fragrance Free $25
I found this serum pleasant to use. There is no yucky smell and it spreads easily. I like the dispenser and the packaging, which are both very easy to use. It did not irritate my skin. Did I see a difference in my skin? I'm not sure.... I may have to use it for a longer amount of time. But it does have good ingredients in it, like niacinimides, peptides and anti-oxidants. I may try this again after I am done using all the other serums I have stored up.
This month's fails, from Innisfree, SkinFood, E.l.f., Clarins, and Sonia Kashuk.

Fails!

SkinFood Omija Whitening Mask Sheet, $5
I love the SkinFood brand, but this sheet mask was a bit of a disappointment. I did not purchase this individually, but instead received it in one of my Beauteque Mask Maven packages. It's kind of gimmicky because you really can't get any whitening (or dark spot reduction) just by using a mask once. Omija is apparently a mountain herb with anti-oxidant properties. Obviously, I saw no improvement in the number or darkness of my age spots or freckles after using this mask, but I did find that it was moisturizing. There was barely any fragrance, and the liquid in the mask was a white, milky lotion, rather than the watery essence usually in Korean sheet masks. I didn't like that this mask stung a bit around my eyes, or the fact that there was a ton of lotion left in globs on my face after I removed the mask: It didn't seem to absorb very well, so I actually had to remove the excess lotion with a cotton pad afterwards.

Innisfree It's Real Squeeze Mask in Lime, $1.20
This very inexpensive mask, made for brightening the skin, was pleasant to use because it smelled very nice: a very light lime scent. The fit was okay, but again, you would have to lay down while you are wearing it, because it is slippery and drippy. But the end result was poor. My face actually had lines and wrinkles in it after taking off this mask, that weren't there before! This mask has niacinamide, japonica leaf extract, grapefruit extract, and some other fruit extracts, but also alcohol! Another favorite brand, but alas, another mask fail.

And Three Eye Shadow Primers That Did Not Work! 

Ugh! Still searching for that eye shadow primer that will lock down my shadows and prevent creasing. And I also expect that, even if it can't improve the texture of the skin on my eyelids, it will at least not make it worse. Over the last two months, I have tried three different ones, and all were fails. I'm so bummed at spending money on these. I used to not even wear eye shadow primer, and yes, my eye shadows faded away to nothing by the end of the day, or they creased. But at least I hadn't spent money on a primer to get those results. The three I tried were:  Sonia Kashuk Extreme Wear Eye Primer $10 (light beige in color, comes in a tiny jar, thick and hard to spread, really difficult to get out of the tiny jar). E.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer $2 (white in color but disappeared once on the skin, applied with doe foot applicator, did not spread easily, kind of goopy, very tiny amount of product in the tube). And the expensive Clarins Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base $25 (medium/light pinky beige tone, spreads easily, comes in a tube, emphasized the crepiness of my eyelid skin). None of these were effective in keeping my eye shadow looking good all day. So annoying!

So I hope these reviews and opinions are helpful to you. Please leave me comments below telling me about your recent beauty favorites and fails. And stay tuned next month for more reviews....