Let’s talk tea…

As you know from previous posts this week, I have felt a bit under the weather this week. While I am feeling better, when I feel badly I gravitate towards tea. Now it isn’t my normal tea. When I am feeling well I tend to go for flavored blends, usually from the Art of Tea. They have so many mixes that I absolutely love. However those are the relax and savor sorts of teas.

And that is not what today’s post is about. Not that these two teas aren’t absolutely delicious and nice to drink on a cold winter’s day when you are curled up with a book. But they are the teas I reach for when I am feeling under the weather and need something comforting while I fill my body with fluids.

You will notice that one is caffeinated and one is not. I am used to a certain amount of coffee in my day, but when I don’t feel well coffee can be a little bit acidic. Still sometimes, a little boost of caffeine isn’t a bad thing.

The first tea I reach for though is the Twinings Lemon and Ginger Herbal tea. With just a drop of honey it is the perfect beverage for when you feel under the weather. The lemon is bright and the ginger is just a bit sharp which means that I can actually taste it even when my nose is clogged. Adding the honey makes it feel both comforting and slightly medicinal. (My grandmother used to but a lemon slice with honey in hot water for me to drink when I was sick as a kid).

Now the Blackberry Tea from Impra is a new addition to my pantry. I came across it in a store and thought, I like blackberry. I decided to take a chance on it. Usually I find blackberry teas very disappointing. Most of them are herbal blends and they feel more like a generic herbal tea that might have once seen a blackberry. The Impra is a little different. It is good quality black tea that tastes very strongly of blackberry. Not only is the flavor really nice, but because the black berry has a slight sweetness to it, less sugar or honey needs to be added to the cup. In fact I just steep the bag in water and don’t bother adding anything else. In addition, it is really great as Iced tea. When serving it cold though the natural sweetness dims so you need to add it back in a bit before you chill it.

The blackberry tea from Impra is also good for making sun tea. With that, I do add sugar and a few slices of lemon. It makes a fantastic summer treat. Right now, these are my top two teas for when I feel bad. The Twinings does see a lot of winter use, and I am sure the Impra will this winter as well, but it is also a fantastic summer blend. If you are a fan of blackberry, I highly recommend it. Good black tea and a fantastic blackberry flavor, it is hard to beat.

Diving into the July 2022 Glossy Box

Oh Glossy Box. This is one of my favorite subscriptions. It has bee for quite some time now. I always find something I love inside and it rarely disappoints. Until a few months ago I never had a problem with their customer service either. It was always spot on and quickly addressed any issue. For the past two months I’ve actually had to fight to get my box. I still think it is worth it but i am running out of patience with their customer service department. I only hope that whatever issues they have going on they work out soon.

So now that I have finally received my July Glossy Box, let’s see what is in it. This month’s theme is Dive in and the box itself is a dark blue with coral decorations that I actually quite like. In opening the box the first item I saw was the Verso Eye Cream #5. At the moment I am actually using this eye cream. It too is a deluxe sample but it is also now almost completely empty. So I am going to rotate this in almost immediately into my skincare line up so that I can possibly get a month of use out of the eye cream. Plus it is a really good eye cream so I am happy to keep using it. Surprisingly though this looks to be a late addition. It isn’t mentioned in the brochure but a Farm X serum is. This is an Avon brand and while I always like bakuchiol serum, I am not entirely comfortable having an avon product in a subscription box. (I still haven’t tried the moisturizer that came in one month). I live Avon actually. It was a big part of my childhood, but if I am going to purchase it, I am sure one of my neighbors sells it.

The second item I thought was also in the skincare realm. It turns out it is not. It is the Sunstone Hair revive elixir from Earth Harbor. I have several skincare serums from Earth Harbor and they look pretty much like this, so I am going to keep it in the box until I use it so that it doesn’t get jumbled. There is a delightful scent of Jasmine wafting from it so I am looking forward to seeing how it performs and if the scent remains.

There are two makeup items in this month’s box. The first of these is the Give them Lala Beauty Mascara. Normally I am not too thrilled by the arrival of mascaras, but as several of mine are nearing the end of their lives, I am actually in need of more mascara so this was actually really good timing.

The second makeup item the Peach Blossom Eye shadow Palette from Bellapierre Cosmetics. I like the size of it as it looks like it might travel well. It has a hard plastic case and is rather petite with big pans. I’m never really thrilled by Coral colored eyeshadow as it never looks right on me, but it does go with the theme and who knows this time it might prove fabulous. We shall see.

The next item is a cleo coco charcoal deodorant stick. It is about the size of a Milk Makeup Mini Stick, except that it is deodorant It is supposed to be full size which I find an odd size for a deodorant, Especially one that retails for $12. When I looked them up at Target, I found that this is not a full size. The size in the box is 16 grams The full size is 50 grams. That seems far more reasonable.

I received the scent Unscented and it is supposed to have all day odor control. While I will happily test it out, the size of it makes me doubt it will last the month. Perhaps I am wring and a little bit goes a long way, but I am withholding judgement until I try it. I am happy to try it out as I am always looking for new natural deodorants, but I do find the size concerning, especially as Glossy box listed it as full size.

And finally we have a canvas bag from Authentic Beauty Concept. It is a set of metal straws. One thin and straight, one thin and bent and one that is thick enough that I could use it for Bubble tea. There is also a brush to keep them all clean. I really like metal straws actually. I was using reusable plastic ones for a while but over time they collect scents and off flavors through repeated use. The metal ones don’t have that problem and they can be put in the dishwasher. Plus the set I am using right now are all thin and straight. It will be nice to have some options in sizing. I also needed a new straw cleaner. My old brush has seen a lot of use and needed to be replaced. So now I have a replacement.

Over all this was a good box this month. Even if it is July and it arrived in August. The only down side was in arguing with customer service to actually get the box to me in the first place. Without that, this would have bee a simply fantastic month. I have my fingers crossed that they sort themselves out soon.



First use of the Depology Matrixyl 3000 Collagen Boosting Serum

Depology recently sent a box of products to me to try out for the purpose of review including Depology’s Matrixyl Collagen Boosting Serum. while these were gifted to me, as always my opinion is my own. As Depology is a brand that focuses on anti aging skincare I am thrilled to be able to test out some of their products. They are a Korean Skincare brand and according to their mission statement…

Years of experience in the fast-paced Korean beauty industry has made us highly ambitious to be as innovative as possible and continuously discover new ways to contribute to the ever-evolving world of beauty and skincare. Our hope is that we can help people feel comfortable and confident in their skin using effective and non-invasive skincare solutions.

I am all for non-invasive treatments. And since I just finished the serum I was trying, it seemed like the perfect time to roll in the serum they sent me to begin it’s trial. *I’ll be adding in some of the other products as we go on so that I can not only try out the products, but get a feel for the brand itself as these are the first items I have tried from them.

While this is a first use post, it is mostly to record my first impressions and a little bit about the brand. The biggest benefit to the first use posts, especially with things like an anti-aging serum, is that I can put up the photos of my skin before I start testing the product. I find it much easier to not lose the before pictures if they are posted with the first use. I also know that no matter where I save them by the time the month long trial has gone through I will have forgotten where I actually put the photos if I don’t.

So let’s first look at what I should be expecting from the Matrixyl 3000 Collagen Boosting serum, shall we?

A supercharged serum formulated to hydrate the skin, counter the visible signs of aging and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Apply after cleansing and toning the skin every morning and night. Optimal to use before the application of micro-dart patches, to boost effects of the patches.​

Depology’s Matrixyl Collagen Boosting Serum

Now Depology did send over some of the Mirco Dart Patches which I am very much looking forward to trying, but I want to get a feel for the serum on it’s own before I start having it work in conjunction with something else. That way I know what item did what and if they have some sort of Wonder Twins Activate kind of powers.

my bare skin before the start of this trial

As you can see from the photo, the serum is clear. It is slightly thicker than water. It has a certain viscosity to it when dispensed from the dropper. I worried that the viscosity might cause it to be a little sticky. When applied there is a slight stickiness, but as soon as it dries down and is absorbed the stickiness is gone and the skin just feels smooth.

The absorption takes about thirty seconds. So it is really quick. Which I appreciate especially in the morning. This is a twice a day serum, and while I don’t mind taking more time in the evenings, the mornings can get pretty rushed. So no delays to wait while serum absorbs is a good thing.

the lines at the side of my eyes

There is no scent to the serum. I don’t know why I expected there to be, but there isn’t. Which means it doesn’t compete with any of the other products in the skincare line up. Many of which do have scents at this time. In general I don’t mind scent in my skin care, but I prefer to keep them light. Having no scent is actually a bonus sometimes.

the line on my forehead that helps me measure efficacy

So as I move forward with this serum the things I will be looking out for are a reduction of the fine lines and wrinkles. As you can see, there are many on which this serum can work. I will also look at an over all reduction of the signs of aging. For me that means better skin tone, plumper firmer skin and that sort of thing. some of that may show on the photos. I am guessing that a lot of it is going to be something that is more noticeable by touch but there could be some in the photos, which is why I have taken both over all pictures as well as close ups.

The products themselves look really interesting and I can hardly wait to give them a try. While thee is the newness aspect of course, I am really hoping that they show some effect. I always root for any kind of skincare to be effective actually. I hate to see them fail. And this serum has a pretty good ingredients list to get it started.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Matrixyl 3000, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract, Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate, Trehalose, Hydroxyacetophenone, 1 ,2-Hexanediol, Coconut Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Allantoin, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum. 

Matrixyl 3000 is a considered a “synthetic peptide.” that basically tells the skin to start replacing collagen that is lost. For a more detailed and scientific version this article from MiamiMD can break down all of the details for you in a much more concise way. I just know it is used in some anti-aging skincare items. I came across it with Timeless Skincare a while back and my skin really responded well to it. Thee are some other favorites for me in the ingredient list as well. Aloe is always my friend and you know I love hyaluronic acid. Grapefruit seen extract tends to help brighten the skin and fade age spots so I am pleased to see it here.

I can’t say that I’ve ever had cactus extract in my skincare so i will have to take a deeper look into that as well as see how it works with my skin. Most of what I have found about cactus extract involves preventing hair loss and reducing sebum. I’m guessing it is for it’s sebum reduction properties it is used here. But I suppose if I start sporting a full beard we will know why. I am also pleased to see coconut oil, rosehip oil and sunflower seed oil, all of which my skin has responded to positively in the past.

Over all it is is an ingredients list i can get behind and I can’t wait to see what a month of solid use of Depology’s Matrixyl Collagen Boosting Serum looks like. And once I get a feel for it on my skin, I will start to incorporate the micro dart patches to see how the products work together. So stay tuned and let the testing of the Depology’s Matrixyl Collagen Boosting Serum begin.

It’s the return of Birchbox

I know, it was the subscription that both fascinated and irritated me all at the same time. I had Birchbox when it was one of the only subscriptions out there and when the tiny samples became too much, I let it go. Then they said they changed and offered a good deal so I gave them another year. At the end of the year, I canceled. There were many issues, however one of the things I liked is that I often did have samples that were different from the items I received in other boxes. even if the samples were small, it was nice to give them a try. I often found out about things I hadn’t known about before. However one of their issues is that they would offer selections that would be sold out before I was allowed to log in and I would often get repeats.

However Birchbox is under new ownership and the system has been revamped. After subscribing you are taken to your box. each item selected has a tile and they have one mystery item. The mystery item is one they select. I think that you can make the entire box a mystery box if you don’t want to know what is inside. Otherwise each of the items is a tile. You can go with what they selected or you can remove it from the box and go to their list of available items. You can then use your tiles to select from the offered items. Some items on the list are worth one tile, others two. There was one full sized item on the list that I think took four tiles. I am on the month to month plan as I test it so my box is $15 per month.

Because of this, you have a lot of freedom in your selection. The number of the products will vary and while you can accept their selection, you are not stuck with the one box that didn’t sell out. There is no information about the products in the box, but there is a QVC code to scan for more information or you can just go to your account and it lists the items you received with all of the details, plus ordering information if you want them in the full size. So what was in my July Box?

The first item is a mystery item. It is the Gentle Facial buffer from So Eco. I have had one of these before and I really liked it. It is a sustainable and ethically sourced reusable facial buffer. I love that it is a minor exfoliation, but not as much as using an actual exfoliating product would be. I did notice that they do stain though. On my last one I accidentally got some mascara and a little lipstick on them and the stains remained. I was testing a makeup remover that just didn’t make the cut. I tended to wash it by putting it in a mesh bag and putting it in the washing machine with my reusable cotton rounds. It worked well and the buffer lasted a really long time (over a year before it was worn to the point of needing to be let go). Just remember it stains and it is a great tool to have around.

The second item was the one item Birchbox suggested for me. I kept it because I was surprised by it. It is the Wander Beauty All inclusive shampoo and body wash. I did not realize Wander beauty made shampoo or body wash. I will be poking around their site to find out more. There is 55mL worth of product inside which is enough to get a feel for it. It smells of lavender which is nice. I am curious to see if it does prove to be more of a body wash or a shampoo. either way i am intrigued. I am also it is a large enough sample to test out and at least see if it is worth trying in the full size.

One of the items I chose is also for the bath it is the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower oil. It is an oil that can either be added to the bath, or put on the skin before you shower and then rinsed off. Bath oils are not something new to me, there are several I like.

Body oils that you apply after your shower instead of body lotion are likewise not a new to me idea. I don’t think I have ever had an oil that I apply before the shower and rinse off. That was what interested me and why I chose it for my box this month. As a bath oil I don’t think it would last long, but applied directly to the skin I should be able to get a few uses out of it and give it a try. I am honestly quite excited by this.

Next we have the one makeup item I chose. The selections this month were heavily skincare, hair and body. I’m not sure if that will be a trend going forward, we shall see. This was in the box and I couldn’t resist adding it. It is the No Poreblem Primer from Touch in Sol. I have this in the full size and I do love it. I chose this specifically to add to a travel bag. Even if I am not wearing makeup I tend to put on primer, powder and mascara and this is a primer that works well for that as well as with makeup, so i am thrilled to have a sample size I can throw into my travel kit.

And finally this month i chose a hair product. It is the Amika Dream Routine Overnight Hydration treatment. I have actually tried this before and really liked it. It is great for mid winter when a combination of cold weather, less humidity and the drying of the central heating system have dried out my hair. I know a lot of people have drying issues in the summer, but for me that is a winter issue, so I will take this, and put it aside for use in the winter when my hair really needs it.

And so that was my July Birchbox. The subscription takes the day you subscribed as your starting day and the day moving forward where you will be billed. I signed up on July 16th so I will make my selections mid month and will more than likely receive this at the end of the month. I am okay with that actually. Most of my subscriptions arrive at the beginning or middle of the month. I kind of like having one that arrives later as an end of the month treat.

For me this was a good box and definitely worth the cost of the subscription. I got to choose the items so they are all ones I will use. There was a good selection during my time of choice and there were new to me products as well as familiar favorites. It will be interesting to see how thing progress moving forward but for now, I really like this box and am looking forward to the next one. Perhaps it is time for Birch Box to return.



The Final Glam Glow for Face mask Friday

That’s right it is time again for Face mask Friday. Today I have something a little bit different. If you recall, I reviewed this Youthmud Glow Stimulating Treatment Mask From Glamglow around about six weeks ago. Since then I have used it off and on and today, was the last use out of the jar.

clean skin pre mask

Over the month i learned a few interesting things about the mask. First let’s look at what the brand has to say about it…

An intensely exfoliating clay mask treatment that instantly smoothes and polishes to revive skin’s youthful glow and reveal baby-soft, camera-ready skin in as little as 10 minutes.

Glam Glow

Pretty straightforward right? I had initially planned to use this twice a week, but some weeks I simply didn’t need that much exfoliation. Some weeks it really helped out. I think that is the trick with any exfoliating mask. Figure out what your skin needs before applying and adjust your use accordingly instead of blindly following the use pattern listed out. After all most masks will say 2-3 times a week or as needed. Sometimes you simply don’t need the twice a week exfoliation.

mask on

This mask is a clay base which I love and oddly enough to me it smells a bit like lemon iced tea with just a touch of licorice. I found the scent oddly very appealing. Once applied the licorice root comes out more, but sniffing the jar there is a distinct scent of lemon iced tea. Which kind of made it feel extra summery.

chunky bits

The mask is not a smooth mask. There are bits in it. Part of me likes the natural-ness of the mask that the bits might signify, the other part of me worried about clogging the drain. I did develop a way of dealing with the bits over the course of using the jar, but I’ll get to that when we talk removal.

Applying it was easy, despite the chunky bits. For the most part they stuck into the mask. Occasionally when the mask started drying they might crack off. when the mask is first applied it is quite tingly and made my skin feel warm. I thought there might be a reaction at first, but as I tested it on my arm prior and had no reaction I went forward. After a few minutes of intense tingling, it faded and tapered off to feel like a cooling clay mask.

dried after 10 min

It dried like a clay mask. It changed color and hardened. Smiling does not happen when it is dry. For me I found that ten minutes was the perfect length of time. Removal however was interesting, predominantly because of the bits. Normally because of the hardened clay i would lay a warm wet wash cloth over the mask and let it loosen the clay before rinsing off. While this will work, I live in an older house and the plumbing is occasionally a bit sensitive. while we have upgraded as needed the majority of the pipes are, like the house, from 1952.

PMD tool post mask, pre toothbrush clean

what I found worked for me was to wet my PMD cleansing device and run it over the mask while leaning over the sink. I had to periodically keep wetting it because it doesn’t hold water (since it is silicone). The vibrating tool and little bits of water shook loose the clumpy bits. I don’t think the vibrations are necessary, but I went ahead and used them. A regular wet brush, lightly run over the surface of the mask will do. I went with the PMD Cleansing tool, because the silicone bristles are short and while it rinses off easily under water it is super easy to clean when I am done. (I use an old toothbrush to get the last of the mask out from between the bristles).

bits in the sink, knocked off and getting wiped out before the rest of the mask is washed off

The brush knocks off the clumpy bits and it does moisten the mask but not wash it off the face. Once the bits are knocked off, I take a wash cloth and wipe the bits out of the sink before they can go down the drain. Then I remove the mask. Perhaps you have newer pipes and don’t need this tip, but I found it was really helpful in convincing the sink to drain properly instead of slowing down.

clean post mask skin

After the clumpy bits were wiped away, the now moistened mask was easy to remove and once patted dry my skin felt fabulous after every use. The mask exfoliated well, but not too much and left my skin feeling clean and fresh. I especially loved using it on days where the humidity just made me feel sweaty and gross. It did tame down a lot of the excess oils.

I did notice that the day after I used this mask, I would have some bumps rise to the surface as actual blemishes. The mask basically drew clogged pores to the surface. Repeated use helped my pores have a grand clear out and the longer I used the mask the fewer of these there were. Which was a great incentive to continue using the mask. The texture of my skin is greatly improved.

While I used this mask in a sample size before this, it was one that made it onto my list to try out in the full size and I am glad I did. the Youth Mud from Galmglow was a great mask and one I will most definitely order again.

LovelySkin

The Skincare Lineup: July 29th, 2022

Good morning my darlings, it is time for my favorite post of the week, the skincare post. while I do like doing the individual reviews of items there is just something I really enjoy about talking about the products when they are in motion. Or maybe it’s because I get to talk about a lot of them at once in a way that would make anyone I was actually talking to who didn’t love skin care glaze over and not politely while looking for exits. Regardless, it is my favorite post. So let’s dive in.

Cleanser: Tatcha Soft Cream Cleanser

Toner: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner

EyeCream: Verso Eye Cream Extra Nourish #5

Daytime Serum: Sulwhasoo First Care

Night Serum: Kiehl’s Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle reducing Night Serum.

Moisturizer: Augustinus Bader The Light Cream

Lip Mask: Tatcha kissu Lip mask

Okay last week I was working with some sample sized products. Some of them ran out and were replaced, others hung on for just one more week. The Tatcha Cleanser sample had enough for two weeks worth of night and day cleaning. I really like this cleanser so I was happy to use it for another week. The tube is alas empty now so I am am a little sad. But I know I will pick it up again. This isn’t my first go round with this cleanser and it won’t me my last. what I love about it, is that it is a slightly thicker consistency. I can wet my face then apply the cleanser to the skin like a really thick moisturizer. I can see exactly where the cleanser is so I know all of my skin is covered. Plus with the thicker consistency less product is needed so the product’s use can be extended. Then water is added, the cleanser massaged into lather and rinsed away. The clean is fantastic and my skin feels nourished as well as cleaned and not stripped. It is a really good cleanser and I have to say I really like the light scent of it. It is the scent of Tatcha skincare. Their primers too have it. I am not entirely certain what that scent is, but all their products seem to have it so I think of it as the Tatcha scent. It is light though so it isn’t overpowering.

This week’s toner is new. I thought I had another sample sized toner in my collection, but if I do, I couldn’t find it. As toners aren’t often sent in most subscriptions (the way cleansers are, I have a boatload of those to work through actually) so they don’t accumulate as fast. Admittedly now that I have said this, I will probably receive a host of toners. It seems to go that way doesn’t it? I was excited to try this toner actually. There are a few products from First Aid Beauty that I absolutely love (Like their Ultra Repair Moisturizer, which was perfect for winter dry skin, hydrating but non-pore clogging). While this is from the same Ultra repair line that has done well for me in the past, especially in the winter, I have also never had an oat based toner before. Most of the toners I tend to lean into are Witch Hazel based. I have more or less always used them and so I gravitate towards what I know. I was surprised to find this was a white liquid.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised it is after all made with oats, but it did take me by surprise. I was very impressed with how it performed though. Oat based products are very soothing on the skin and this is no different. I did have a l few stress related blemishes I was taking down this week and this really did help the reddened irritations surrounding hem to be less irritated without drying out the skin. I really liked it this week and am looking forward to using it longer.

The Verso Eye Cream was new to me as well. It is a sample. This was it’s first week of use but as the sample tube wasn’t very full it looks quite spent. There is enough product to get me through a second week, mostly because when you use eye cream you use so little of it. I have never tried a Verso product I didn’t like and this was no exception. It is a great product. I just wish there was more in the tube so I could use it longer. It is fast absorbing, not greasy, plumps the fine lines and doesn’t clog the pores, what more could i ask besides more product in the tube?

the Sulwhasoo First care looks like it will stain but it won’t the color disappears

The Sulwhasoo First Care Serum is in a sample size that too has now been emptied. It is not the first time I have used this serum and not the last. It is a great serum and I have used several samples as well as a full sized bottle. The full sized bottle is really pretty too actually. I know looks don’t matter, but the serum inside is fantastic so i don’t mind that I like the look of the bottle. It also fits really well in the hand and I enjoy picking it up. So that is a little extra benefit. The serum can look a little odd at first, It is a golden color that looks like it might darken the skin, but it doesn’t it absorbs fast leaving no tint behind.

The Keihl’s night serum is doing well also. It is a full sized bottle so it will be around a bit longer. It is a good retinol and it hasn’t productid any sun sensitivity. Usually in the summertime, even though I use retinol type products at night, they can make me sun sensitive the following day. So in the summer time i tend to switch to bakuchiol products since they are retinol like but don’t have the same sun sensitivity. I like them because of that, but I always find I get better results with a retinol. So I am pleased this one hasn’t cause issues this summer. And if it hasn’t caused issues this summer I think I am in the clear.

The Augustine Bader was sent to me by Influenster. I have had issues with the Rich cream so i tested this on my arm for three days before moving to my face. I had no issues with it. The cream is a light weight water cream and is great for day time use. I noticed last week that I thought I was going to have to roll in a night mask a few nights a week. I didn’t get around to it, and I will definitely be adding one in this week. This is a good day cream, but it just isn’t enough for night time use without a back up every couple of days. The tube kind of drives me a little batty though. I looks cool but it get knocked over really easily and it can only stand one way, upside down. the bottom is rounded. I don’t think i would mind as much if the writing was swapped around, but because I don’t think about it, especially in the morning, I tend to first try to put it down with the writing facing up which doesn’t work. I do like the shape and the pump. If it was a little wider in the base for stability or maybe a little shorter it would not get knocked over so easily but that is a packaging issue. The product itself is a really good day cream.

Which brings us to the Kissu Mask from Tatcha. What can I say, I love it. I only need a light swipe of product to hydrate my lips and keep them healthy and so this little jar will last a really long time. I also plan to use every drop of it so you will be hearing about it for a while. It is great to absorb in over night, but a lighter coat in the morning will help the lips hydrate before lipstick is added. If you have a drier lip product whose color you like, it is a great trick to help out your lips. Apply a thin coat of the mask about fifteen minutes before you apply your lip products. Most will absorb in but wipe off the last of what remains and then apply the lip product. It lets the lippies dry down as intended but keeps your lips from drying out.

But that is me for the week. The emptied sample sizes will be replaced. I am not sure if they will be replaced by full sized products or sample ones this time around. I was looking at my cleansers and while I still have a handful of samples, I have a lot of full sized cleansers I need to work through, so i might go full size. I also have a package that just came in from a brand. If there is a serum in there it may be rotated in. We shall see. Actually I shall see tonight given that I’ll need to replace them tonight for my nightly routine. But you my darlings will have to wait and see what appears in next week’s exciting skincare line up. Stay turned and have a great Friday.

Trying out the bareMienrals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer

This tinted Moisturizer from bareMinerals is an interesting product and one that I really enjoyed using. I am, in general, a big fan of bare Minerals. I have several lip products as well as a blush and their mineral veil in my collection and they are items i reach for regularly. In fact i am almost out of one of my favorite glosses from their Mineralist line. I had to resort to the trick of placing the tube in a mug of warm water to gather the product form the sides so that it could be used up actually. The heat causes the product to slide down the insides of the tube and gather at the bottom so it can be used. Go with warm but not boiling water, you don’t want to cook your lipstick, just heat it a little and then take it out. And yes I will do this until there is no more product to use in the tube.

But we are not here to talk about extending liquid lip products. We are here to talk about the bare Minerals tinted moisturizer. According to the website…

The #1 tinted moisturizer in the U.S. This 3-in-1 multi-tasker is a moisturizer, skin tint and SPF 30, with Hyaluronic Acid to boost hydration for a dewy, healthy-looking glow. What it does: Provides 24-hour hydration, Builds from sheer to light coverage, creating a dewy, healthy-looking glow, Visibly evens skin tone and blurs imperfections, Protects with broad spectrum mineral-based SPF 30

bareMinerals
amount used

Okay so right off the bat, I love hyaluronic acid for my skin. For me it really works in helping me to fight my fine lines. It isn’t magic, but it is a great weapon in the fight against the inevitable march of time across my face. It plumps up the skin around the areas where my fine lines are and because of the tint it helps to hide them from view.

the shade I have is slightly light for my summer time skin. i think if I were to order a bottle for summer use I would go one shade darker than this one. However, this is the perfect shade for my post summer and pre summer skin tones. Which i am not mad about. First of all, I don’t have a tinted moisturizer for the cooler months. Mostly because I tend to pick them up in the summer when I don’t want to wear foundation. Not only do I not mind having a tinted moisturizer for the cooler months when my skin lightens, but it has an SPF30 mixed in. While in the summer time i always put SPF 50 on and then just before my walk spray myself down a bit with a spray sunblock as extra insurance, I am sad to say that in the winter I am less diligent.

dot on skin

I know the sun shines all year round even f you are not sweating. But in the summer with both walks and garden work I am outside at least a little each day so it becomes habit to apply the dual layer. I am not outside every day in the winter and so the habit lapses. it is something i am working on. And while I would not trust my only sun block to a tinted moisturizer, it is nice to have that back up.

But how does it work as a tinted moisturizer? Really well. I needed only a pea sized amount on the skin to cover my face. I applied it in small spots to my skin then used a brush to blend it in. Even though it is a little light, it blended beautifully and felt absolutely weightless. Since this summer has been brutally hot, the weightless feeling is very much appreciated.

blended out

This bareMinerals tinted moisturizer does have a slight glow-y look to it. While I am okay with that in the cooler months in the summer I just look at myself and think oily so I add a pat of powder and the shine is gone. Because I am not a huge fan of the shiny/dewy/wet look I make certain to use a matte primer underneath. An illuminating primer is simply too much for me with this tinted moisturizer. But if that is a look you are going for then it will certainly give it to you so pair away. I add a matte primer and a quick sweep of powder and I am good to go. I need a second pat of powder around mid day, but that is all. (And mostly personal preference). I have missed that afternoon powder and no one thought I looked oily.

finished look

This bareminerals tinted moisturizer wears well. I used a light coverage and it kept the light coverage all day. The product is buildable if you are trying to get more coverage, but only to a point. It is a tinted moisturizer that can be stretched to a light coverage foundation with little issue. Beyond that and while it will look good for a few hours, after that it starts to feel heavy and slightly patchy. It wants to be a light tinted moisturizer. It will try it’s best to do more, but you ae really only going to get it to look good for a couple of hours if you do. especially in the heat. If you are looking for more coverage, use a product designed to give you more coverage.

As a light tinted moisturizer this bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer takes out redness and evens skin tone. It is feather light and forgettable. It blends easily and I had no problem with any product i put over it. I really enjoyed this as a tinted moisturizer and will continue to use it. I will also use it when the weather grow cooler and then make the decision as to whether or not this is a product i want to keep in two shades or one I want to keep for a seasonal use. for now, I am happy to keep it in rotation and to find another great product from bareMinerals to use.

bareMinerals

Let’s talk Palace Identity/Zeesea Cosmetics

I have looked at the Zeesea/Palace Identity website for years now. They did a beautiful collaboration with the British Museum for their Egyptian collection and it is just stunning. I ordered the pressed powder a while back and while the powder is a decent powder, the packaging is spectacular. I have since eyed many of their lipsticks from both the Egyptian collection and the Palace Identity collection trying to decide if they are items I want to add to my collection. As always it is the look of them that draws me in.

And that is the thing with Zeesea products. They look so beautiful that they knock most other considerations out of my head. Recently they released a subscription box. (I think May was the first one but i could be wrong. I do know it is less than six months old). The link will take you to their website if you are interested in the details of that. As I have recently been looking to shake up my subscription box list, I decided to look into it. In doing so I realized that the only item I had tried from Zeesea was their pressed powder. I wasn’t sure this was enough to commit to a $40 subscription box filled with their products each month. so I give in and purchased the eyeshadow compact that I found so pretty to give their shadow formula a try.

packaging. bag inside box inside bubble wrap inside bubble wrap inside mailer.

It is just as pretty in person as it is on the website. And the packaging was spectacular. I don’t think I have ever received anything as well packed as this palette was. I think someone decided that whatever else happened their shadow was not going to break in transit. And it didn’t it arrived safe and sound.

swatches: L to r: Coral, darker central stripe of color, shimmer, light pink flower

This palette has four shades. As you can see the flower to the left is light pink then there are three bands of shadow to the side. The top is a goldish shimmer the middle is a pinkish tan and the bottom is coral. (there are no shade names or numbers given but this is Compact #02 on their website). I chose this one as these are colors I will use. i was hoping that they would prove to be a palette I could reach for often and possible travel with. The compact is sturdy enough to be used in a purse and it would eliminate a lot of space hogging eyeshadow palettes.

The swatches look pale and delicate. This is not a palette that swatches well. I tried multiple times with both finger swatches and brushes. It simply doesn’t swatch well. However on the eye it turns out that all but the shimmer are highly pigmented. the photo to the right is just the light pink of the flower applied to the eye in a one and done look.

I applied the powder on the outer corner and blended in. I dipped the brush in the pan once. It is darker where I touched the brush down but it was able to blend out across the lid.

Is it my favorite formula of eyeshadow? No. But it is something that I will use, especially since it is here. The thing is, I will probably end up using this more than I would other palettes with just okay formulas because it is so pretty that i want to keep reaching for it. I already find myself trying to figure out where on my dressing table I can put this so that I can use it as a decorative item. And I know if it is out, i will reach for it more often simply because it is out.

Does this look better than it performs? Yes. It is simply a beautiful package. the product isn’t bad. It is a decent eyeshadow palette. Knowing this I don’t have the need to stock up on all of the other numbered palettes in the line. This one had the most shades i will use and one of these pretty palettes is enough. If the formula had been utterly fantastic I might feel the need to build a collection. But it isn’t It is just a basically decent formula in a fabulous package.

Do I regret buying it? No. And I will probably pick up the few lipsticks that have shades I will use and have fabulously beautiful packaging as well. It does however make the subscription box option less attractive for me. The pretty packaging creates the desire and the product is decent enough that I can justify it, but it also means I will be selective in the items that I purchase from them. I will probably try various items, but i don’t need to build a large collection from the brand.

I know that is probably a bit more than expected for a four pan eyeshadow palette, but the truth is that this palette can’t really be thought about without discussing the packaging as that is a large part of why I bought it. It is also a large part of why I will buy from the brand in the future. They are pretty. ZeeSea cosmetics are decent shadows so I can justify buying the pretty compact, but on their own, they are just okay. If you are looking at the brand and wondering about individual items or their subscription box,. I hope this helps you with your decision making.

JuiceBeauty.com

First Use of the New Balance Ab Wheel

I fully admit that I have an odd fascination with random workout tools. I think it comes from a childhood where things like the Thigh Master and the rowing exerciser. Both still disturbingly on sale on etsy and e-bay, I checked. I actually broke my toe with the rowing exerciser. I wanted to see how far the spring would stretch then I lost my grip on the slick handles. I smacked myself in the face and the handle whapped my toe (I was barefoot). It was not a good day.

The fascination remains, although now I actually read instructions.

I have however heard good things about these ab wheels and heard no stories of tow breakage. I was looking into picking one up to try, mostly because I need to do some work on my mid section instead of simply walking for my workouts and I can usually count on myself to give any new thing at least thirty days to see if it does anything. Then I ended up getting the Fab Fit Fun Box (I used my referral link for this so I think I get some kind of store credit if you use it. If that bothers you no worries, just goggle it instead of using the link) and this New Balance Ab Wheel was one of the items. I selected it.

the three exercises

It was easy to assemble and I have to be honest, it looked a bit like a toy. Still I was glad that the handles are textured for a more secure grip and since it was here, I figured I would give it a try. Like skincare exercise tools aren’t magic, so even though I did give it a first try i know I have to commit to using it for a month before I see any results. So this is just a first impression of the work out and a recording of measurements before the month begins.

The first think i noticed was that the wheel didn’t really like rolling on carpet. It didn’t roll smoothly and was hard to control. So I lay down the yoga mat. This worked fabulously well. It provided a smoother surface with no carpet fibers and the slightly textured surface of the yoga matt helped with my control. So I can tell you right away that I will be pairing this with my yoga mat.

The booklet that came with the Ab Wheel has three exercises listed on it so I did one set of each. As I progress maybe I will add in more but one set worked well for a first try. I did notice that Even though I was working my abs while using the tool I was also very firmly gripping those handles. I don’t know why but the first few exercises I sort of felt like it was going to suddenly roll out from under me and then I’d smack my nose into the floor.

textured grip of handle a plus

I didn’t it behaved exactly as it should. My other fear was that as the athletic woman in the photo is much smaller than me, that the tool would not be good with my weight. while the wheel is plastic and the handles rubber, the shaft that runs through the wheels and is covered by the handles is metal. It was easily able to support the weight I put on it for the exercise.

I’ll admit, my focus was on the balance and not injuring myself. Which I managed to do and will hopefully not focus on so much moving forward. The first two exercises were on my knees and went fairly well. The standing workout pose “Pike Roll” took a little bit more time to get used to. And the next morning I felt that one in my calves as well as my abs.

carpet vs. Yoga mat. Go for the yoga mat as its textured surface provides a little grip and you can control it more easily

I did feel the efforts from the day before. The Ab wheel may look like a toy of some sort but my body certainly feels the effects of using it. As I feel the muscle stiffness in the abs where the tool is supposed to work, then I feel I have at least used it appropriately.

And so the month begins. Before I end this post, there are the small matters of the measurements. I figured Waist and Hips would be appropriate so those are the two measurements given for the start of the thirty days with the New Balance Ab Wheel.

Waist: 48 inches

Hips: 50.5 Inches

I suppose we will se if in thirty days wither of those measurements change. Let the trial of the New Balance Ab wheel begin.



The Mid-Week Sheet Mask with Beauty Pro

I decided that for a little while I am going to try to remember to bring back the mid week masking, at least when I am not testing out a mask for a longer trial. There are several reasons actually. The first it that I was reminded last week when I used the mask for three days during the week that I really liked having a mid week face mask. The second reason is that I noticed i still have a stockpile of sheet masks I need to work my way through.

one side of the plastic peeled off

I’m not opposed to sheet masks. I like them. I just tend to put them in a box and forget about them. I prefer jar masks for the most part. Admittedly I adore eye masks, especially as allergies have been out of control this year. Plus I recently received this clay sheet mask from Beauty Pro and I wanted to try it out.

That’s right this Beauty Pro Sheet mask is the Pink Clay Sheet Mask. You know I love clay masks. I have tried a few clay sheet masks out before and while some work better than other, they are generally like a good clay mask that doesn’t cause as big a mess.

bottom on with top plastic still in place

So i went and opened it figuring I could wear it this morning when sorting through my early e-mails. which i did. the first thing I noticed was the scent of rose. There is no rose mentioned on the sheet mask, so it was a surprise. Mentioned are Calamine, Vitamin b and White Mulberry but the scent it all rose. And it is a lingering rose. It was with me for the entire duration of the sheet masking experience.

both sides on, plastic still in place

As with most clay sheet masks, at least with all the one’s I’ve tried, they come in two parts. The clay is sandwiched between two plastic sheets. I find it easier to peel off the sheet, apply the wet mask to the skin and then let it warm up on my skin a minute while I put the other half of the mask on. The result is…well it is certainly a look. Not a fabulous one, but a rather memorable one.

plastic removed

With the heat of my skin warming it, the mask is more inclined to stick to my skin than the plastic. So I start sliding the plastic off and making sure to press the mask into my skin so it stays there. The hard part is getting it started. Once started it pulls off pretty quickly. I always have more trouble with the top half than I do with the bottom one. Eventually it was sorted even if I do look a little lopsided.

after 15 min

And then I went to the desk to check out my morning e-mails. Because it is clay there is no sliding and slipping. I could leave the mask on and forget it. Well almost forget i. The longer I smelled the rose the more it felt like someone was shoving a bar of rose scented soap under my nose. I don’t mind rose, but this was a bit much. It is a fancy soap rose if that helps you identify it. Something in the rose scent just reads soapy.

removal

And then after fifteen minutes I went to take it off. while the mask felt good on my skin, I have to admit, I was pretty pleased to be able to get the scent away from me. So what happened during removal? Was it remove the clay mask with a jackhammer and the hottest water my faucet could product?

duty but done

No. while the mask did look like some kind of tan version of the mummy’s bandage wraps, the mask pulled of smoothly and as easily as any sheet mask.

It was dry as my skin absorbed the moisture from the mask and the fiber support system was just holding the much drier clay in place. There were a few streaks of clay dust on my skin which washed off with a simple splash of water.

rinsed clean

My skin feels great. It feels like I just used a clay mask, without all of the mess of a clay mask. Is it the best clay mask I’ve used? No. but it was nice on the skin, left me feeling refreshed without a lot of time spent doing clean up and removal. it has the ease of a sheet mask, but the benefit of clay.

Is it my favorite mask? No. It was okay although i could do without the rose scent. I was able to work at my desk while wearing it and not worry about drips and it didn’t take forever to remove, also a plus.

While I am not rushing out to buy a case of the Beauty Pro Pink Clay Sheet Masks, it was nice and I would certainly use it again. Next time, I would like to try to get one without the intensely rose scent though. That was a bit much.