Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Beauty Favorites and Fails: March and April 2016

I have so many beauty products to discuss this month because I've been stockpiling the empties but procrastinating writing about them. In February, I tore my meniscus (which is very painful, by the way), and it's kind of thrown my life into chaos. So a lot has fallen through the cracks, but now I am finally sitting down to type up this recap of products I've tried over the last two months. Here goes:

Things That Were Pretty Good, But Not Great, So I Probably Won't Buy Again

1. Rose Petal Cleansing Oil from RE:CIPE
I enjoyed the consistency of this product, which felt very silky on my skin, and it worked well to remove make-up at the end of the day. But I didn't care for the smell. It has that dried rose petal smell, so it smells very natural, and maybe some people like that smell, but I do not. The packaging is very good, though. The pump worked efficiently through my entire use of the product. And it was pretty with the actual rose petals floating in the bottom. I can recommend this product, because it does work well, but only if you like the smell, which is pretty strong.

2. 7 Seconds Morning Sheet from Neng Jang Go
These moistened pads, with smooth plastic scrubby bumps on one side, and a soft quilted pad on the other side, are okay. There was no scent that I could detect, and the packaging is good. It comes in a plastic tub with a tin can style lid that you peel off, then cover with a plastic lid, and it comes with tiny blunt tweezers to lift each pad out. It is supposed to be kept in the refrigerator so that the coldness of the product will help reduce morning puffiness. But I didn't find that this product did much for me. The plastic bumps weren't really exfoliating enough, and the solution did not clean very well. I much prefer the grape-juice scented pads, with similar design, from NeoGen. These were not horrible though, just kind of "meh."

3. Pomegranate Softening Facial Wash from The Body Shop
This was pretty good. I think it did an okay job of removing make-up and dirt from my face. It did not help with my clogged, enlarged nose pores, though. But I liked that it did not strip my face, or leave it feeling tight or dry. It had a light fragrance that was a little fruity, but it smelled kind of old-ladyish to me. I did not notice any particular "softening" of my facial skin. 

4. Sweet Pea Golden Sugar Scrub from Bath and Body Works
Well, just like every other product I've tried from B&BW so far, this product drew me in because of the pretty packaging but turned out to be just okay. I love the design of the tube, which is sparkly (of course!) and floral with delicate colors, but it wasn't the greatest design for this scrub because a lot of it would not come out the opening. This is a thicker-consistency gel scrub, with larger sugar as the exfoliant. I prefer a finer grind of sugar or salt in my scrubs. This was gloppy and a lot of it ended up on the shower floor. The smell was nice, but it didn't exfoliate very well.

5. ProX Anti-Aging Nightly Purifying Micro-Peel by Olay
This product worked really well to exfoliate my hands of their beginning age spots, and to lessen the roughness of the chicken-skin bumps on the backs of my arms, but it was too harsh for my face. It's a quality product, though, so if your skin is tougher than mine, this might be good for you. It is a glycolic acid solution in a syrupy liquid, dispensed from a sophisticated pump. Ideally, it should be in a darkened container to protect it from degradation by light. And personally, I found the texture unappealing so I didn't enjoy using it. There is no fragrance or scent, and it leaves a slightly tacky sensation on your skin. It does work well, but is kind of yucky.

6. Power 10 Formula Propolis by It's Skin $13
This is a serum from Korea that is chock-full of beneficial ingredients, like honey, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. I used it all up and I think it was good for my skin. But I didn't like the packaging (it's in a yellow glass bottle the color of urine, with a black eye dropper), and I didn't like the texture. It was goopy and sticky. I guess I am finding that I prefer serums with lotion-like formulas, as opposed to runny or gelatinous ones.

7. Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion by Fresh $49
This very pricey toner didn't seem to change my skin at all. The packaging seems luxe: it's a dark brown, heavy glass bottle with a screw cap. I liked the texture of this toner, which was watery without stickiness. But the smell was kind of gross. And for this much money, I really have to love using the product and see actual results. I was glad when this was all used up.

8. Water Sleeping Mask by Langeige
This is a cult-favorite Korean sleeping mask that is supposed to be used as a last step in your skincare routine at night, to seal moisture into your skin. This just wasn't moisturizing enough for me. I did like the scent and the texture, both of which were pleasant and light. However, it stayed sticky on my skin for a long time after application, meaning that my hair stuck to my face, and so did my pillowcase. The jar packaging is pretty, but I won't purchase this again because of the poor absorption and the low level of moisturization.

9. Exfoliating Body Scrub Anti-Cellulite Kneipp-Kur by Kneipp
This product falls in between favorites and fails for me. I'm still not sure if it is something I would purchase again. On the one hand, I liked it as a scrub due to fine scrubby particles (I think it's salt but I'm not positive) suspended in a lathering gel loaded with beneficial plant oils. But it, of course, did not live up to its claims of reducing the appearance of cellulite. So ..... not sure about repurchasing this one, but it's okay.


1. Telluride Eye Shadow Palette by Bobbi Brown $52
This was such a huge disappointment, not least because it is super pricey for what you get. This palette features seven eye shadows in beautiful neutral tones. However, I was only able to ever use five of them because although I kept ordering more, every single palette was delivered from Nordstrom with two of the shadows already cracked and crumbled. Shame on you, Nordstrom, for your pore quality control when shipping these out. There must be some quality issue with the formula of these shadows, since it was the same two colors that arrived crumbled every time. The colors are so pretty though. But they have terrible staying power, a shit-ton of fallout, and low pigment. I was so sad to finally give up on this and even now am thinking I should try it again with different primers, etc. to hopefully make it work .... we'll see.

2 Clean Slate 360 Creaseless 12 hr. Smoothing Eye Primer from Tarte
Well, it lies: this did not keep my eye shadow creaseless. It also did not seem to smooth my crepey eyelid skin, either.  The only good things about this are that it does apply smoothly and the color match is good for my skin. But while so many other people online have had great success with this product, it just didn't cut the mustard for me. :(  The search continues for a reliable primer.....

3. Photoready 3D Volume Mascara by Revlon
I like the sleek and stylish packaging and love the small-bristled, plastic wand on this mascara, but it didn't really create much volume, and it didn't last all day. You would have to reapply quite a bit to have it show up at all, so this really did not do the job.

4. Very Emollient Cream Shave in Mango Vanilla from Alba Botanica
This did not work well at all. I bought it because the packaging was charming and I liked the scent. Plus I was drawn to the idea of it being very emollient. I didn't even use this all up, however. It doesn't spread onto your skin easily so you end up using a lot of product to shave your legs. And the thick lotion clogged my razor, so I had to rinse out the razor after every stroke. Very annoying!

5. Shadowlock Eyelid Primer by Elf
This is a white goopy liquid that did not spread well on my eye lids, and there was very little product in the vial. It also did not improve the look of my eye lids, or the performance of my eye shadows. Total Fail!

6. Ole Henricksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster
Bummed that I didn't like this serum. It's pretty pricey. And I thought it would give me some beneficial Vitamin C on my skin. But the texture is that goopy liquid/gel that I hate, it is bright orange, comes in a clear glass bottle (thereby putting the ingredients at risk of degradation from light), and has a super strong fake orange scent. All in all, very unpleasant to use, so I just gave up on it. Not sure if it did anything for my skin or not. If so, it was negligible.

7. Get Big! Lashes Volume Boost Waterproof Mascara by Essence
This mascara was disappointing on so many levels. Firstly, the brush was huge and clumsy to use, and with my eye shape, this meant that every application was messy with the mascara getting all over my lids and under my eyes. As far as volumizing, it was just so-so, and it definitely was not waterproof, ending up smeared under my eyes after just a few minutes in a swimming pool.

8. Prime Time Eyelid Primer by Bare Minerals
My complaints about this shadow primer are pretty much the same as the one mentioned above. It did not spread easily, or improve the look of my eyelid skin. It made it more difficult to effectively blend eye shadows, and it did not prevent creasing.


1. Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub
Ah Lush cosmetics, I love you so! Their products are pretty pricey though, which is why I try not to go into their shop more than once or twice a year. I might have to make an exception for this product, however. It is sooooo pretty, in that Caribbean Sea blue color, and the smell! I Die! I love it so much. Apparently, it is a mix of orange blossom and mimosa. Whatever it is, it smells sweet and fresh, and happy and reminds me of my beloved Tinkerbell Perfume that I had as a child. This shower scrub is finely grained salt, and it works nicely to soften your skin. It doesn't leave any kind of residue on your skin, though, so you still need moisturizer after you get out of the shower. But anyway, this is a definite favorite!

2. The Blacks Hydrogel Eye Patch from Banila Co.
Wow! Fantastic results from this sheet mask. It is a hydrogel mask, so it fit my eye area very well, and stayed on even when I was walking around. It was not super drippy, however, it is fragile and ripped easily, so take it out of the package very gently. It feels much thicker and heavier when it is on the face, but I loved the results which were better than the average sheet mask. My fine under eye wrinkles looked smoothed and plumped out, and my skin looked dewy and fresh. I would use this before a night out. Will definitely purchase again.

3. Hyaluronic Acid 3-Go Mask Sheet from Urban Dollkiss
Another fantastic Korean sheet mask; I especially love the funky packaging. The mask itself was very wet and drippy, so you do have to lie down while wearing it, but it stayed on well, fit my face, and felt good while on my skin. There is a very faint, pleasant fragrance, and upon removal, there was a lot of the liquid still sitting on my face, that I had to pat in to absorb.  However, it did provide moisture to my skin for several hours afterward, so I think that's a success. I would get a few more of these and keep them on display because they are so edgy/cute.

4. Eglips Muli Unique Sun Block SPF 50 +++ $8
This is a fantastic facial sunblock from Korea. It is a lightweight lotion that blended in very well on my skin, and left no white cast. Apparently, it contains aloe and rosewater, but I can't tell you what the sunscreen ingredient is though, because the packaging is all in Korean. I am pretty sure, though, that it is a chemical sunscreen, not a physical one, because of the sheer texture. There was no strong odor, and it never pilled or balled up under my make-up. It also did not cause breakouts, or sting my skin or eyes. Downside is that it is not that easy to get. I found only two places online that carry it, shipping directly from Korea. But it was a real pleasure to use, and a definite re-buy.

5. Argan Wear Argan Oil by Physician's Formula
I really enjoyed using this pretty facial oil with gold glitter in it. It has a nice texture and scent, and really pretty packaging that looks exotic, with a golden glass bottle and an eye dropper dispenser. Of course, if you don't want glitter on your face, this is not for you.

6. Sea Moss Black Sand Body Scrub by H2O+
This scrub contains black sand, but also sea salt. The scrubby particles are fine, and suspended in a lathering gel. It has some cool-sounding ingredients, like Irish moss extract, aloe, vitamin B5, and water lily. The scent is light and pretty, and it worked well to exfoliate my legs. It does leave the black sand on your shower floor, however, and it is not an oily scrub, so you will need to moisturize once out of the shower. This is my fourth tube of this product and I will probably purchase it again. I enjoyed it!

7. Jasmine and Vitamin E Moisture Cream from Alba Botanical
I love this lightweight moisturizer! The texture is a lovely and soft gel/lotion hybrid, and the scent is so pretty. Better for use in summer as opposed to winter, because it doesn't offer deep hydration. But it is very pleasant to use, and I will likely purchase it again. Wish it wasn't in a jar, though. I tube would be more sanitary.

8. Essential-C Sun Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA +++ by Murad
This is a fantastic balm-textured sunscreen that is very emolient and has Vitamin C in it. It comes in a soft textured stick formula, but you don't get a lot of product for the money. It is pricey. It works great and spreads easily on the firmer parts of my face like nose, forehead, chin and jaw, but I have to warm it between my fingers then pat it on to my delicate under eye area because it is a solid stick sunscreen. Once under my eyes, however, it works fantastically to moisturize and blend away the fine lines. Although it is a bit oily, it does not clog my pores or cause breakouts. People who sweat a lot or have oily skin might find it too emolient for them, but for me it worked great, even under make-up. One of my favorites that I've already purchased multiple times.

9. GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment
This is a mud mask that you leave on your face for a bit, then add water to it to dissolve it and then it turns into a gentle scrub with fine scrubby bits. I really liked this. It did tingle a bit, which I've read is not supposed to be good for your skin because it means there is probably something like menthol in the product, which can irritate skin. However, I did not experience any irritation. There also seems to be bits of seaweed in the mud, which I really liked. I think this did provide a nice glow to my skin, and of course, the other benefits of a mud mask. I only use this when I can wash it off in the shower though, because it gets really messy when you are rinsing it off, and can be hard to remove unless you use a ton of water. 

That's all for this month. Please comment below and share what favorites and fails you've had so far this spring.