Deodorizing with Charcoal

Recently I received this sample sized Cleo Coco Charcoal Deodorant in a subscription box. Normally i would give a deodorant a much longer trial, but as it is a sample size and after just a short time of use the amount of product is being rapidly depleted.

First a little mention of size. The size above is 0.56 oz. The full sized version is actually 2.5 oz. The full size is also $18 which does make it more expensive than a product like Native. As a comparison a full sized Native Deodorant is 2.65 oz and costs $13. Since Native is the natural deodorant that I lean into it is the one I use for comparisons. In case you are wondering.

The Cleo Coco Charcoal deodorant I have is unscented. The company does make various scents, many of which I find interesting. While I think it would be fun to try them out, I am not upset with an unscented version. And this Charcoal deodorant has absolutely no scent to it.

Which is nice for an unscented product.

light gray and comes with a cap to keep it from drying out, much like the Milk Makeup Products

I know that sounds strange but sometimes unscented can mean the company didn’t add any scent and just let the product smell like it’s ingredients. This has zero scent. Their description is…

A natural deodorant that works in harmony with your body’s chemistry to detoxify impurities and neutralize odor at its root—without aluminum and disruptive synthetics. Our unique formulation of activated charcoal, plant-based powders, clay, and essential oils glides on clear, creating a sensorial experience that only Mother Nature could provide. Silky-smooth on the skin and scented with blissful botanical notes.

I found my time wearing this deodorant to be very interesting. First there is the wearing it during the normal course of the day. In the photo I have put the deodorant on my arm as it was much easier to take a photo. You can see the charcoal doesn’t turn anything gray or black, but that the deodorant does leave a waxy looking strip on the skin.

This waxiness wasn’t that much different from any other deodorant that I have tried, natural or otherwise. And while I worked at my desk and around the house, with occasional forays into the garden, the deodorant behaved well. It felt just like any other deodorant, it had no scent and it kept me from stinking. I had no irritation and no real problem with any sort of staining on the underarms of my shirts.

light color and slightly waxy on the skin but no major difference from regular deodorant until there is a lot of sweat

The real test for the deodorant was on my walks. We haven’t been below 85 degrees and 80%+ humidity where I live for months. Any shirt I walk in is going to have sweat stains. So to be fair, it doesn’t matter what deodorant i wear on my walks right now, my shirt is getting soaked. It is why I have the summer sacrifice t-shirt collection. Once the weather breaks in October there will be a mass clear out of shirts that have given their all for my summer wear. Their colors will be significantly faded and even if the sweat stains have washed out the material will still look grungy when clean. The shirts will be repurposed, but no longer worn.

So in the sweat stain department this Cleo Coco deodorant performed just the same as any other product I have ever used in the summer under my arms. It also blocked any form of scent from rising. I in no way stank while I was wearing this deodorant. It is very good at odor control. However, the feel of the deodorant changed as I wore it on my walks. When I was sweating profusely, the product felt more waxy and somehow sticky.

It wasn’t Velcro skin to skin sticky but there was a noticeable stickiness to the product. It still worked well and it stayed on the skin without staining the shirt noticeable, but I didn’t like the feel. I don’t know if it was the inclusion of the clay (bentonite), the charcoal, the beeswax or some strange combination of the three (or even something else) but once I reached a certain sweat density it became slightly sticky even though it continued to work.

The end result is that this is a good deodorant. it does exactly what it claims, even if it is on the pricier side. And when I was working at my desk and going about my day, it was a fantastic product. It is only when it came to my workouts that things changed. it still worked as it should, but I found the feel of it on my skin unpleasant. I would consider using this Cleo Coco Charcoal deodorant as an every day deodorant, but I think I would have to switch to a different product when I knew I was going to be sweating a lot. Even then, I have to give them credit, it was only a textural issue. No matter what, the deodorant kept working.

A little ray of sunshine with Mio Future Proof Body Butter

There is something about the scent of orange that just says it is going to be a bright sunshine-y day. Maybe it is all of the Florida based orange juice commercials. I don’t know. But in the scent department Mio Future Proof Body Butter delivers an intense orange scent.

which isn’t really much of a surprise.

I tried the Mio Body wash a while back and it too was orange-tastic. It was also a really good body wash that I have repurchased. Actually my brother loved it so I tended to get it for him. It was actually the perfect body wash for him. He didn’t like a lot of the heavy ‘many’ scents like forest and mountain that a lot of people put with men’s bath products and he didn’t like buying the kid’s body wash with the dinosaur head on the top either. He did love citrus so this was a nice alternative for him. I tended to add it into my cart every time I picked something up from the Look Fantastic site.

thick cream and this amount covered both hands and forearms.

But this is about the Body Butter. It does have the same intense scent to it, and while the scent does remain on the skin after use, the scent of the body butter doesn’t really travel. It may stay in the air for a little bit in the room where you apply it, but it fades pretty fast. However after a few hours you can still lift your hand to your nose and smell the orange scent. The thing I like about this is that it isn’t an overly sweet orange scent.

It does remind me of orange juice when I sniff it, but there is some sort of spice in there that keeps it from feeling sweet and sticky (at least mentally sticky – sometimes when things are overly sweet my brain thinks of them as sticky by association.) I can’t really say what spice if any is mixed in because it does just smell of orange to me, but it isn’t overly sweet.

quickly absorbed with no greasy skin left behind.

As for hydration,. it does that pretty well too. The cream is a little thick and when you first massage it into the skin there are a few white streaks, but they are quickly absorbed and what is left behind is freshly hydrated skin that doesn’t feel greasy. What I like is that I can slip this tube into my purse and know that not only is the scent not going to irritate anyone (because it doesn’t travel far enough to irritate anyone) and that after sanitizing my hands I can massage a dollop into my hands to keep them from becoming overly dry and cracked and then just go. The absorption rate is quick enough that I can apply while running errands and then not have to worry about my hands being too slick on the steering wheel.

I was very impressed with this body lotion. I did try it on my post skin shower as it is a body butter and not just a hand lotion. It worked well right after the shower. It took a little longer to absorb in on freshly washed skin (but I am using a hydrating body wash at the moment) but the absorption was still relatively quick. I will personally be using the last of this tube as a hand cream to carry in my purse, but i would definitely consider a full size of the Mio Future Proof Body Butter for my post shower moisturization in the future.

Getting clean with Mud

We have reached that time of the year my darlings. It is the time when I can see the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales glimmering in the distance. I see them and I realize that I have a drawer full of samples that I need to try out and see if the product is worth picking up in the fill size. While I do periodically go through the skincare samples I am really bad at putting off the hair care products. I tend to reach for the ones I know I love (regardless of the size) or see a sample from a brand that I absolutely love (hence the trying out of the Christophe Robin Hair mask samples recently) and go ahead and try them out. Other products sort of fall by the way side. It is especially bad with shampoos that aren’t paired with conditioners (or visa versa) or when i know I am going to only be able to get one use out of them.

Which brings us to today’s minus 417 Sensual Essence Mud Shampoo. It came in a subscription box a while back with no accompanying conditioner and only enough product for one wash. So I am sad to say it languished in the drawer. Now however it has been brought to the sun or more importantly the shower for it’s trial. According to the website…

Feel the sensation of an incredibly unique Vegan Volumizing Mud Shampoo based on Dead Sea Minerals that draw out the impurities of the scalp all while nourishing it and providing antioxidant UV exposure protection. Hydrates the scalp that’s been damaged by harsh chemical products and leaves the hair amazingly volumized. Volumizes without weighing your hair down, hair feels nice, light and soft. Works well for treating dandruff or dry scalp. Scent ~ A wonderful fragrance profile that literally feels like nature in a bottle. Feel ~ Soft, rich hair that has plenty of volume and control. See ~ Your hair shine and take on a healthy glow reminiscent of your youth.

Active ingredients: Dead Sea Mud ~ firms, tones and tightens the skin as it draws out damaging toxins helping the skin to rejuvenate itself naturally. Vitamin A ~ Vitamin A Improving the texture of hair that has been damaged physically or by chemical treatment. Vitamin B ~ Helps the hair hold on to moisture by creating an evaporation barrier that also helps protect against environmental damages. Vitamin E ~ one of the most stronger antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals that cause damage to hair and scalp. It is extremely good at locking moisture in the shaft of the hair, providing a maximum condition. Vitamin F ~ Also known as Omega Fatty Acids. Help the hair looks thick and strong.

I know that is a lot for a little tube of shampoo. First off let’s have a look at it. I’ll admit with a name like mud I expected the shampoo to be heavy and dense and to look and feel more like a hair mask than a shampoo. It does not. It has a shampoo like consistency and a golden shimmer. At first i thought i might have actually picked up a body bronzing cream instead of shampoo. I double checked and no it said Mud Shampoo on the front. And of course after I looked, I sniffed.

You know me, I have to smell pretty much everything. I’m not sure what nature in a bottle is supposed to smell like. Again when I read the description and saw Mud shampoo I expected something dep and earthy. It is a light fragrance that is slightly spicy but has a back note that I associate with vitamin E. Growing up my mom always had a bottle of Vitamin E gel capsules around. I’m sure she took them but I also remember her breaking them open and putting the vitamin E on cuts that were healing so they wouldn’t scar. It has that sort of scent to it.

just the shampoo, no conditioner or any other product whatsoever. Hair was left to air dry and just brushed through

Which quite frankly I really liked. It is a light scent that disappeared for the most part as my hair dried.

Because this shampoo did not have a paired conditioner sample with it, what i did was try the shampoo on it’s own figuring I could always add a leave in conditioner post shower if necessary. I have several I adore and several more samples I need to try out, so finding one wasn’t a problem. And i didn’t want to have the shampoo’s attributes masked by another conditioner.

I am really glad I did. This shampoo lathered well and rinsed off cleanly. sometimes with shampoo the hair can feel a little too clean and the need for a conditioner is strong. I also tend to get tangles if I don’t use a conditioner. I didn’t get that with this shampoo. It rinsed out and my hair felt clean but not too clean and there weren’t any shower tangles that I could feel. Because i didn’t want to use a heat protectorant, I let my hair dry naturally and then ran a brush through it to see it’s condition (and if I needed a detangler and/or leave in conditioner).

I was very impressed. My hair was soft and manageable. It felt quite lovely actually. Even though the shampoo is supposed to be volumizing, I can’t say i got a lot of volume out of it, but honestly I don’t care. I have plenty of products that provide volume. This may not have been massive in to volume department but it was fantastic in the soft manageable healthy looking hair section. I know that a picture doesn’t convey softness, but my hair felt really good with this shampoo. It looks shiny and healthy too. I hate that this little tube only gave me one uses worth of product and I hate that I put off using it for so long. This Minus 417 Sensual Essence Mud Shampoo was a fantastic shampoo in this one wash and it is certainly going on the list to try in a full size. I was very impressed and I plan to take a look at some of the brands other products sometime in the near future.

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Unboxing the August 2022 Boxycharm Premium

The Boxycharm Premium is a $39.99 per month subscription box. Each month you receive six full sized beauty items, two of which you pick from a limited selection of items. There are several different categories of Boxy Charm. I have at one time or another tried all of them and I ended up finding out that for me, the premium category consistently sent me items that I actually wanted to use. And for me that is the point and the value. It really doesn’t matter how pricy the items are if you aren’t going to use them. While some months are clearly better than others, over all the Boxy Charm Premium has been consistently well worth the value to me.

This month’s theme is From Dusk ’til Dawn. Some months the theme actually fits the products, some months it doesn’t. This month i can sort of see where they are going with the theme, but it is a little bit of a stretch, and for me, not all that important. So Shall we start with the two items that I chose for the box?

The first of these items is the Alpha H Balancing Cleanser with Aloe Vera (retail $36). I know, I am well stocked with cleansers at the moment but truthfully nothing else in that choice category appealed to me and I have to admit that I was curious. I have the Alpha H Liquid Gold which is just as fab as everyone raves about, but I have heard of nothing about any other product they have. I don’t know if the Liquid Gold is so fabulous everyone forgets about anything else or if that happens to be their one really good product where everything else is just okay. I thought this was a good way to decide. I also like that it is a really good sized cleanser. it is 165 mL which is a nice amount of product and more than enough to let me form my own opinion about the cleanser.

The second item I chose was the Lawless Beauty Forget the Filler Lip Plumping Line Smoothing Gloss (retail $25). You know I can’t resist a good lip plumper. Its shameful I know but I do love the tingling and the scent of peppermint most of them have. I also really like to see if they actually work. Some feel like they are going to work by stinging the lips but doing little while others work beautifully. Plus I have been really good about not buying lip products lately. After my last lip declutter I realized how often I just add a lippie to the cart either in the grocery or on line and I am trying to curb this, But I figured subscription box choices didn’t count. In addition I have never tried anything from Lawless Beauty even though I have seen them around. I think there might be something in my IPSY bag this month as well so at least I’ll go into the fall knowing a little bit about the brand. That way I can say I at least learned something over the summer.

The first item that Boxy chose for me I was actually very happy to see. It is a pack of the Popmask Sleepover Self warming steam masks (retail $20). These are pink and rose scented but otherwise they seem to be like the other self warming masks from Popmask. I have used them before (the Starry Eyed Surprise ones – the link will take you to my fill review actually). Everytime I use them I tend to lay down thinking, this will be a nice restful moment, and then i fall asleep. So at least this one claims to help with sleep problems. The ones I have used were all unscented so it will be interesting to see how the rose scent works with the warming mask. It might be too much or it might be nice. I look forward to finding out.

The next item accounts for most of the listed retail value. It is the Kat Burki Nutrient C Eye Cream.(Retail $90). It is the most expensive item in the box. I can always use a good eye cream (especially now that I have cleared out a lot of the eye cream samples) I know Kat Burki is a well respected Skin care brand and I did try a foil packet moisturizer from the brand a while back and really enjoyed it. The eye cream is in a nice glass bottle with a pump. i tend to like eye creams with a pump mostly because it keeps the cream away from the air. You don’t use a lot of eye cream each time you use it so they tend to last a while and keeping air away from it while using it helps it stay fresh longer. So I am pretty pleased with this eye cream in my box.

There is one hair care items in the box and it is the Playa Monoi Milk Leave In conditioner (retail $24). I tried something from Playa a while back. The product worked really well but I absolutely could no stand the scent. I remember being really upset because it was such a good product that I tried repeatedly to get past the scent and just couldn’t do it. I did spray this into the air and it seems to have a much lighter scent so I am hoping the scent remains light and pleasant and that it works as well as the other product I tried. (I think it was a dry shampoo or something of that nature).

Plus I do like leave in conditioners. At the moment i am trying to work my way through all of my sample sized hair masks and leave in conditioners so that I can not only clear out some space but be ready for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. (Now is the time where I go through samples like crazy so I can make the naughty and nice list and know which products I want to try out in the full size or make sure to all ways have on hand.) So for now this full size will have to wait just a little but, but I am encouraged by the scent and the fact that the last product I tried from them worked so well.

And finally we end with the OFRA Cosmetics Signature Palette – Symphony (retail $34). I think this was created for a holiday special a year or so back. I remember thinking that it looked like a fantastic little every day palette and wanting to add it to my collection but then not being able to find it when I went to shop. I am rather pleased it is now here. The silver shimmer shade in the center is both a shimmer and a highlighter so that is a bonus, plus I like the brown and cranberry shades. Going into fall i reach for both of those colors a lot. And I enjoy OFRA’s formula, so for me this five pan palette is a nice win. I am sure I will get a lot of use out of it if it performs as I expect.

Over all this was a really good box for me. It wasn’t flashy but every single item in this box is one that I am looking forward to using. The retail value of the box in purely monetary terms is $229. The bulk of that really is the eye cream. However like i said above regardless of the retail value the box is only worth purchasing if you are planning to use the items. As every single item in this box will get used by me, this August Boxy Charm Premium box was definitely worth the value.


A familiar favorite for Face Mask Friday

Oh yes my darlings, this afternoon I brought back a familiar favorite. It is the Yensa Pumpkin Turmeric 2-in-1 Radiance Polishing mask. I’m sure we have covered the basics before, but to refresh, according to the product page…

Get your SUPERFOOD GLOW on with our Pumpkin Turmeric 2-in-1 Radiance Polishing Mask. Infused with 8 orange skin-loving ingredients to help nourish and polish the face for hydrated, smooth, supple and radiant skin. The lightweight and exfoliating formula polishes and resurfaces skin in only 5-10 minutes! Pumpkin helps boost collagen and Turmeric soothes skin.

mask on

In case you are wondering the 8 orange skin loving ingredients are: pumpkin, turmeric, carrot, papaya, grapefruit, ginger, honey and orange. Personally I think they are stretching the term orange with both honey and grapefruit, but as I adore this mask I am willing to be a little color blind.

I chose this mask because despite the early in the week exfoliation, I could use a little bit more. (I always do this after being sick actually. It doesn’t matter what the illness is, I generally find that as I get better I need more exfoliation. Its like my skin is purging while my body fights the internal fight. But only when I am on the mend.) And this is an amazing and gentle exfoliation. It always leaves my skin feeling simply fabulous and I thought fabulous was perfect for a Friday.

no change after ten minutes

Plus even with my still stuffy nose I can smell this mask. It has a warm scent that it spicy, earthy and sweetly pumpkin-y (it isn’t a ‘pumpkin spice’ scent though) and just reminds me of fall.

This mask goes on clear but with an orange tint. It looks a bit like honey to be honest, but it doesn’t have the cloying sweetness or the intense stickiness. It does make you look wet for the 10 minutes you have this on. The wet look remains as you wait, there is no change in the mask as it sits on the skin.

turns white as you massage with just a little bit of water

And even though it looks liquidly and makes me think of honey dripping, the mask doesn’t drip, it actually stays in place well. I never lie down when I am wearing it though. even though the mask doesn’t move a part of my brain still thinks honey and I just can’t lay back on the pillows. I have to sit up. I have tried and it is fine, it just hurts my brain and becomes less restful, so I work at the desk while it is on. I just have to use the speaker phone if I answer any calls.

when the ten minutes are up, I return the toe bathroom sink. I put a little water on my hands and massage the mask into the skin. Here the masks starts to turn white and the exfoliation comes into play. I massage the mask in small circles periodically dipping my hands under the tap for a little more water. Then when I felt I have had enough exfoliation I rinse the last of the fine grained particles away.

before mask on left, after mask on right, not much difference in the photos, it is a gentle exfoliation after all, but the skin feels so much better, just ignore the baggy allergy eyes

As always my skin looks healthy and freshly exfoliated. It feels fantastically clean and I honestly don’t want to put anything over it for a bit. After a few minutes I will go in and put a tiny amount of moisturizer on my skin. Moisturizing right after exfoliation is always a good thing, I just love enjoying that freshly scrubbed feeling for just a little bit.

Today I brought out this mask because I wanted a little exfoliation and a reminder that autumn is on it’s way and that this summer will not last forever. This summer has been brutal in so many ways and I am more than ready for a change of the seasons. While this Yensa Pumpkin Turmeric 2-in-1 Radiance Polishing Mask can’t change the seasons, It can remind me that a new one is on the way and make my skin feel fabulous while I wait. As far as consolation prizes go, that is a pretty good one.

And as a reminder Yensa still has a sale going on: Yensa CBD cleanser is still on sale for 50% off (!!!) until Monday, August 15th. Use code CBDDAY22 at checkout and stock that cart up to over $50 pre-tax for 50% off the cleanser and for free shipping. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help your skin relax and feel good while you remove the dirt and makeup from a long day. I really enjoy this cleanser and have used it a number of times.

The Weekly Skincare Line Up: August 12th, 2022

The Line Up: August 12th, 2022

This week was an interesting week for skincare for me. Last week there was almost no skincare actually used on my face. I slept a lot, had both fevers and chills and to be completely honest the most I did was take a facial cleanser into the shower so when I managed to drag myself out of bed to the shower I could wash my face at the same time.

The results were not fabulous. I had blackheads in strange places (weirdly clustered on my temples and the area where my jaw meets my ear for some reason – my only guess is I pressed my hand against the skin there when sleeping?) , oddly oily spots my face mixed with strange dry spots and my lips were chapped like crazy. In short my skin freaked out along with the rest of my internal systems. So this week was all designed to get back to an even plane with my skincare. I started with an exfoliator (see the post on Saturday Skin’s Rub a Dub). I exfoliated my lips and then leaned into my lip mask. I also made conscious choices for much of my skincare. So lets take a look at the line up.

Cleanser: Best Face Forward (BFF) Purifying Cleanser

Toner: Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner from First Aid Beauty

Serum: Depology Matrixyl 3000 Collagen Boosting Serum

Facial Oil: Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminationg Facial Oil

Eye cream: Verso Eye Cream #5 Extra Nourishing

Moisturizer: Korres Santorini Grape Poreless skin cream

Lip Mask: Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask

As a warning, while I normally include scent descriptions, my nose isn’t giving me much of any scent at the moment so none of the skin care (including the items I am 90% sure are scented) have any scent to them at all for me. As all of them are sticking around for another week, I might get scents next Friday.

This cleanser I rolled into the line up because it is specifically designed to deal with blackheads and break outs. It is supposed to be gentle and with Aloe Vera mixed in I was hoping that it wouldn’t dry me out too much, especially as I had some dry spots already. This is my first product from the brand and I have to say I was very impressed. It is a good gentle cleanser that really did help calm inflammation and clear away black heads without causing damage to the drier parts of my face. I was very impressed with it’s use this week. I am going to continue using it this coming week, even though my skin is calming down just because I want to see if it continues to perform well on non freaked out skin or if it is something i need to roll in only when problems arise.

Having a gentle hydrating toner to add in after the pore clearing cleanser really helped me out. I found this wild oat toner a little strange at first as I am use to clear toners that tend to be witch hazel infused but once i got used to the difference I found it to be a really good toner. It was especially helpful on the dry spots.

Last week I did a first use of this Depology serum before my skincare regime crumbled. This week i used it twice a day and have been really impressed with it. It absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy or sticky residue on the skin and Given the amount of product used with the dual application this week, I suspect the bottle will last a little over a month. while a week isn’t long enough to see major reactions, I am seeing some small improvements and hope that those will increase as I continue to use it. But it does feel nice and my skin really seems to enjoy it with no issues.

This is not my first go round with the Wander Beauty Glow Ahead oil and it won’t be my last. I really enjoy this facial oil and it has been amazing to use this week. I used it not only to add a little extra moisturize to the skin in the skincare line up (mostly at night) but it was the perfect follow up to the exfoliation process. After exfoliating, rinsing off and patting my skin dry, I added a little drop of the Glow Ahead oil to my skin and it worked out beautifully. There is a slight illumination to the skin, but as the oil dries and is absorbed it just looks like healthy glowing skin rather than a product you applied. At first (when still wet) it is a little more shimmery.

I have never tried a Verso product I haven’t liked and this eye cream is no exception. This travel sized tube is still going strong and I actually have a couple of other travel sizes of this eye cream so I will be keeping it in for a while. this week was interesting. While I had some small blackheads by the sides of my eyes, my under eyes were dry and flaky. For some reason those were the driest patches of skin on my face. so I used the Verso eye cream on both the crow’s feet area and the under eye. It actually worked well on both parts. the dry flakiness underneath is gone and the black heads (cleared out by the cleanser) did not return. It just made me like the eye cream more.

The Korres Santorini Grape skin cream was a winner this week. I liked it in general when I tried it before, but I figured that since it did have some salicylic acid in the formula, this might be a good time to bring the moisturizer back into the line up and I was right. It provided moisture without being heavy or greasy. I used it both in the day and at night. I applied the moisturizer a little heavier at night than I did during the day, but over all it was enough moisture for me (without being too much) and I didn’t feel the need to bring in a night cream.

And finally we have the Tatcha Lip mask. It performed brilliantly this week. I had the post fever dry lips and so in addition to using this as a night mask, I applied it in the mornings and occasionally post lunch. My lips have a few dry spots left but for the most part all of the cracks are gone and the tiny dry spots are small enough that I don’t feel the need to pick at them. For me that is the big trick. I never mean to pick at dry lips, but I will do it without realizing it while I am working, so it is best not to have those bits.

I know this is mostly a glowing skincare report, but instead of simply trying products this week I actually made choices to specifically deal with what is going on with my skin. In general my skin is pretty okay so it isn’t as major a consideration, but this week. there were issues that needed to be cleared up so I chose accordingly. all in all, I think I chose pretty well. we will just have to see if those choices hold up for a second week.

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Using the Illamasqua Gel Sculpt

I am finding myself drawn more and more to gel and cream products. In general I have good results with Illamasqua products so I was happy to try out the Illamasqua Gel Sculpt. I have the shade Outline, which is the lightest of the three.

Now if you have ever used a cream/stick product like this, then you know the greatest danger to them is that they will dry out and become unusable. This stick comes with a plastic cap that fits snugly over the product to prevent the gel stick from drying out. Don’t throw this away, you need it to seal the product in it’s tube when not in use. (I learned this the hard way with a Milk Makeup product a while back).

keep the plastic cap inside

According to the product page…Create an instantly chiselled complexion with the Illamasqua Gel Sculpt. Gel Sculpt is a unique contouring gel that offers subtle definition to cheeks with minimal effort. Perfect for light skin tones, the water based formula creates a soft shadow under cheekbones and along the jawline which can be blended with ease to achieve flawless natural contours with no harsh lines.

I really like that they mention it is a water based formula because it does feel wet against the skin when you apply it (all the more reason not to lose the cap). it feels wet as you blend it. When it stops feeling wet, it stops wanting to blend. And there the product stays. So if you want to avoid harsh lines, then blend right away.

I found this an interesting product to work with. for the most part it worked beautifully well. Despite being dark in the stick, it is light on the skin. In the swatch i have it against my arm as one stroke so you can see the actual pigmentation versus how it looks in the stick. This was one swipe of product against the skin. It has also not been blended out in any way, just for color purposes (remember this is the lightest shade Illamasqua offers).

For the first week I raved about this because it worked fantastically well. Applied easily, blended beautifully and wore well throughout the day. Then I realized that all of the foundation products i was using it with were either tinted moisturizers or serum based foundations. Mostly because in the summer time this is what i tend to wear.

With these face products the Illamasqua Gel Sculpt worked beautifully. With the more traditional formulas of foundations, it didn’t want to blend as well. Remember when I said that when it dries it stops moving? Well with more traditional foundations, it dries fast. It also has a tendency to wipe away some of the foundation with a first swipe. which made the line where I applied the Gel Sculpt seem harsher, not because of product application but because it took the foundation away.

This is a very natural look product. so if you are going with a tinted moisturizer or light foundation and just want a little definition, then this will work well. That is it’s strong suit. It falls down a bit when paired with more traditional foundations. So for me, this will be more of a summertime product than a year round one. When paired with the right products the Illaamasqua Gel Sculpt is fabulous. It just isn’t going to be friends with all of your foundations.

Eyeshadow Palette Review: Nude Prism by Lunar Beauty

This eyeshadow palette, Nude Prism by Lunar Beauty was an interesting one to review. when I first received this in a Boxycharm I was thrilled. It looks beautiful on the outside and when you open it, the palette looked exactly like the every day kind of shades I liked with the bonus of a row of golden bronze-y shimmers that just called out to me. It looked like the sort of palette that I could get a lot of use out of and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

This is however a tale of two palettes. The Shimmers behaved very differently to the mattes. Normally I would swatch row 1, then 2 then three, but as all of the shimmers are in the middle row I am going to start with a posting of that row’s swatches. I apologize if getting them out of order bothers anyone, but the shimmers are the second row.

Second Row Shimmers swatched left to right

To be honest, I had no problems with the shimmers. They applied well, felt soft, had little fall out and blended beautifully. Laura (3rd from left) and Expose (fifth from left) tended to look nearly identical so that felt a bit like a missed opportunity, but over all I really enjoyed the shimmers. They worked well with absolutely no problems.

The same can not be said about the mattes. (Hence the reason I covered the shimmers first).

top row swatched left to right

The top row of mattes are the lighter shades. I think these are the shades designed to be the everyday nudes while the third row bumps up the pigmentation. And they are lovely every day shades. There is nothing really surprising about them. i have every single one of them in different palettes, but it is nice to see them collected into one. The color selection is nice.

As you might be able to see with the swatches, these shades are a bit powdery. A quick tap before application knocked off the excess powder and it was fine. Because they were lighter shades any excess powder was easy to wipe off and easy to ignore. while they had the same problems as the darker shades, they didn’t seem as big because these were lighter shades.

bottom row swatched left to right

The darker shades also had the powdery-ness to them. And it becomes much more apparent that they are a bit patchy in the swatches. All of the shadows really had that patchiness when applying them. I did find that adding in an eyeshadow primer to the lids helped with the application.

no primer on the left and lid primer applied on the right

While they are different shadows, you can see the eyeshadow primer really did help with the smoothness of the application. There is still a great deal of patchiness from the darker shades but the application was more effective with the lid primer.

This palette has plenty of shades I like and I really do enjoy the shimmers. It is not the easiest palette to work with and some of the shades are deceiving. The deep purple shade looks like a slightly reddish brown in the pan for example. While a makeup artist may find this a fun palette to play with and work with, I am not an expert. I had a difficult time getting a handle on this palette. I used it for a few days, then set it aside so I could watch you tube tutorials on using it because I felt certain I was just not working with it correctly.

The tutorials actually became a bit frustrating in places actually as they seemed to blend the shadows with an ease that simply didn’t translate into reality for me. The shadows were powdery and tended to get a bit muddy when blended. I covered most of the muddy look up with shimmers to be honest. The darker shades also had fall out that made my nose look bruised from purple and black. It was in every sense difficult for me to work with.

If the shadows were unusual shades that i didn’t have or excellent parings, or even if I managed one stunning look out of this palette, I might feel more positive towards it. But I didn’t. I have better versions of these shades elsewhere and even when I came out with something I liked it was harder than it had to be and the look was just okay. While I love the shimmers, I am not a fan of this palette.

Glow Ahead, make my day.

I know I have probably mentioned this Glow Ahead Illuminating Facial Oil from Wander Beauty before. It is one of my favorite products from the brand and I have been using it off and on for a really long time. Recently I pulled it into my line up because I am doing some skin care repair.

with all that went down, my skin had both oily patches threatening break outs and dry patches threatening flaking. It was quite the mess. While I am rotating exfoliation products in and blemish control cleansers, most of them targeted the oily areas of my face. which wasn’t surprising. That is after all their job. And while I am using a moisturizer, it to is designed more for dealing with the oiliness and preventing potential break outs than with the few dry patches that I have.

dispensing tip

Facial oils can be tricky. Some work fantastically well and others just make me feel like I am trying to grease myself up for some sort of Greco-Roman wrestling match that for some reason targets the face. Okay an imperfect metaphor but you get the picture. It is also a category I can forget to utilize which is why I have several facial oils in my skincare drawer all waiting to be tried out.

But now was not the time to try out the new. This was a time to go for the trusted. I know the Wander Beauty Glow Ahead works well with my skin, so I pulled it in for duty in the line up. This oil has a thin dispenser tip which lets you dispense as little as you need or as much as you want. Since the oil is a shimmery pink it is easy to see it rise through the tip to exit the tube, which makes it easier to control. It also reduces the risk of spilling. I use my skincare in a small powder room style bathroom and because of the small space things can get knocked over. So for me, this is one thing that can’t really get knocked over so that is a plus. In addition sometimes I will wear my glasses in the morning instead of my contacts and to apply skin care I have to take them off and I am blind as a bat without them and my radar is less than bat like so occasionally I am Super Klutz in the sink area.

the oil

This oil applies well and absorbs fairly quickly. You can tell it is full absorbed because the slightly sticky feel of it goes away completely. It is slightly sticky when wet. In the title you may notice that it is an illuminating facial oil. The pink oil is shimmery and when wet it does seem to lend a bit of a shimmer to the skin. as it dries and absorbs it looks less like you have golden shimmery bits on your skin and more like you just have healthy glowing skin.

the glow after being massaged in (it was easier to see on my hand)

This week I rolled this Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Facial oil in because I had some dry spots that I felt weren’t really getting as much love as i thought they needed. The oil helped them out and really helped out the rest of my skin as well without causing issues. For me this is one of the benefits of a good facial oil. It hydrates the dry spots but doesn’t make the oily spots look greasy. The Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Oil was my oil of choice this week and it is one I will be keeping in my line up for a while. Then I promise, I’ll start remembering to give the other oils a chance.


Rub a dub with Saturday Skin

This week has been about getting my skin back into good condition. It took quite a beating recently. There was fever, there were chills, there were irregular eating habits (Ginger ale was my BFF for the week and while settled the tummy it added way more sugar than I am used to). In addition most of my normal skincare was skipped. I ended up taking my facial cleanser into the shower as a combination shower and skincare moment and that was about it. So once I started feeling better there was work to be done.

One of the first things I needed to do, was to get rid of any accumulated anything that was on my face and that is where the Saturday Skin Rub a Dub refining Peel Gel came into play. According to the product page the Rub a Dub is designed to…

Gently peel away dullness and impurities with power of papaya and pineapple. This refining peel gel gently cleanses skin and improves dullness with natural fruit enzymes. Natural cellulose lifts and removes impurities while aloe extract soothes the skin. Use one or twice per week to treat troubled skin and visibly enhance vitality and glow.

the gel, start with a small amount

When you dispense this gel it is a pinkish gel that does feel like there is an extremely fine grained exfoliate inside. While this may assist, this is mostly a chemical peel. What happens is that the gel pulls up all of the dead skin cells and left over products that are on your skin and rolls them up, like when cloth pills through rubbings and use, although significantly less harsh. these pills of debris as I like to think of them can then be washed away. leaving behind the beautiful skin that Saturday Skin says the product will give you.

And it does. This product works well, it really takes off all of the external gunk and leaves you with fresh skin. It isn’t harsh. It is very gentle but as with anything you can over do it so stick to once or twice a week. The fun thing with this product is that it will tell you when you are doing too much. The more often you use the product, the less effective it looks like it is working. This isn’t because it has stopped working, it is because you don’t have as much gunk on your skin as you did so there is less to remove. The more you have to clear off then the more dramatic the removal process is. If you use it and aren’t getting a lot of dead skin removal then you might want to think about backing down on your exfoliation.

As my recent skincare usage has been abominable, there was a lot to remove.

not the most attractive, but this is what the pilling up of dead cells should look like if you have a lot to remove

One of the tricks to using this product though is to start with a smaller amount of product than you think you might need. If you add too much at a time it takes longer for the gel to sort of evaporate and kick into motion and it wastes product. If you start with a little product and then just add a little bit more if you feel you still need it, the process is quick and easy and no product is wasted so this little tube will last a lot longer than it looks.

I am a big fan of this type of product. It especially helps me out in the summer time when I am sweating a lot and my pores have a tendency to gunk up and cause blemishes. It helps keep the surface clear of dead skin cells ad anything that may help in clogging the pores and thus reduces the amount of blemishes. Plus, right after use my skin feels amazingly soft and fresh. I like peels in general and Saturday Skin’s Rub a Dub is a good one that is gentle enough to use at home by novice skincare users who want the clean fresh skin but who are nervous about the words peel. there is no burning or irritation and as soon as you finish using it you rinse the last of the product off of your skin. It is affordable, easy to use and painless with good results. Over all, an excellent product.

Peach & Lily 100% Worry Free Skincare