Let’s get plumping…

I love a good plumping lip gloss. Buxom Cosmetics and Colourpop So Juicy tend to be my favorite but I’ll admit, I will pass by the Soap and Glory rack in the grocery and somehow mysteriously find that one of their plumping glosses has mysteriously found it’s way into my cart. I wonder how that could have happened…

And yes I suppose that a part of it is that I like having plumped lips. Part of it is also the fact that I adore the scent of peppermint and oddly enjoy that little tingle I get when I apply the plumping gloss. I also don’t mind having a good clear gloss on hand.

TYS Beauty was a new brand to me and finding new to me brands is one of my favorite parts of subscription boxes (I think this one came in an IPSY). This is the TYS Beauty Lip Treat Lip Plumper. According to the product page…

In just one sweep, this iridescent treat leaves your lips looking instantly fuller and brighter. It’s peppermint and ginger root formula work together to stimulate circulation and create a prickly sensation improving the size and color of the lips. Additionally, this plumper is packed with nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, vitamin B and antioxidants to help hydrate, soothe and provide a long-lasting glow.  

TYS Beauty

First off, I like the look of the tube. The clear plastic top and the iridescent sheen to the gloss just combine to look pretty. I find it quite appealing. I also like the wand. if you look you can see that the doe foot has a curved dip. When using it to apply this hugs the lips and makes the application a lot easier.

I’ve noticed a lot more liquid lip products are starting to have this kind of dip and I for one really appreciated it (especially in darker lip shades) as it makes application so much crisper. It is less of an issue with a clear gloss, but still appreciated.

The scent of the gloss is peppermint and ginger mixed which is quite pleasant. And then it goes on the lips. It is a lovely gloss with a slight iridescence which I really enjoy. The tingling is quite a lot and it does last a good twenty minutes. I always kind of liked the feeling so i don’t mind. As for plumping. The below pics are taken before application and then after five minutes of letting the product sit on the lips.

bare on left, gloss (after five minutes) on right

There may be a little plumping, but it isn’t much. The tingle is intense though. I like the shine and the look of it. When applied over a matte lipstick the shine is there but the tingling is a bit less (still present, but muted.) As it is a gloss it will wear off when you drink liquids. As it is clear it just leaves smudges on the rim of a glass. However I have noticed that if I take a sip from a glass after applying this and then go about my morning and then come back after the gloss has worn off my lips and take a sip from the same glass, my lips will start to tingle. I actually surprised myself a few times while testing this gloss out.

Super plumper it is not, however it is a very good lip gloss with a holographic shine to it and with the vitamin e in the mix it did leave my lips softer than when I first applied it. If your lips are in any way chapped avoid it because it will make your lips feel like they are being attacked by bees with their stingers dripping with acid. Otherwise it is a nice pepperminty sting that I quite enjoy along with a nice lip gloss.

Keys Soulcare

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Snacktime: No Cow Protein Bar Lemon Meringue Pie

As I am sure i have mentioned before, snacktime is for me, one of the best ways to keep on track with my diet. A small snack around two in the afternoon really helps. I can convince myself to have a lighter lunch because I know I’m getting a little treat later in the afternoon and it keeps me from being too hungry at dinner time. My biggest dietary problem is portion control. I generally eat good foods and cook most of my meals at the house, I just some times eat bigger portions than I should. Snacks help me control my portions.

Part is because of the calories they impart, but part is psychological. I make sure that while the snack i choose has limited calories (I try not to go too far over a hundred) it is also something that is a tasty treat so that I feel like I’ve been bad, even when I haven’t.

With protein bars, you really have to watch the calories, for example this No Cow Lemon Meringue Pie Protein bar that I am trying today has 190 calories in it so I knew going in that I would only be eating half today and half tomorrow. In general I like to slice the bar in half and only talk half with me while the other half ends up in a zip top bag for the next day.

Now I am not a vegan and I am not a vegetarian. I do limit my meat intake to at most once a week (technically red meat we only eat maybe once a month at this point, but we eat fish once a week). My lunches are almost always vegetarian and at least three dinners a week are vegetarian. I love both cheese and charcuterie but i do limit them and make sure when i do indulge I go for higher quality.

The best way to get me to try anything is to make it lemon meringue pie flavored. To be honest I saw the bar in the rack at the grocery and thought “I’m low on snacks, oh Lemon Meringue Pie flavor, you shall be mine.” And then it ended up in the cart. When I put the groceries away i noticed the No Cow part and realized there was no dairy in them. Then I tried to recall if dairy was normal. Then I realized that in bar format I tend to go for the Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bar which is of course not vegan because of the honey but has no dairy in it, but isn’t a protein bar either. Then I spiraled down a protein bar/dairy internet rabbit hole that I suggest you avoid.

The end result is that I love lemon meringue pie. It is my favorite desert and if you can give me something sweet and tart and reminiscent of that decadent dessert then I don’t care if it is vegan or not. So let’s take a look at the No Cow Protein Bar shall we?

According to the website it is…

Dairy Free, 22g Plant Protein, 1g Sugar, 18g Fiber, 190 Calories, Certified Gluten-Free and Kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, Soy Free, Vegan, Made with pea and rice protein, stevia, and monk fruit, A perfect balance between tangy lemon and a slice of meringue pie. WE threw in some pea protein crisps for added texture too. Try not to salivate., Sweet as pie … high protein, low sugar pie. No Cow. No Bull. No Whey!™

No Cow

Taking the bar from the pack, it looks and feels like it is made with playdoh. It has the exact same texture as if I rolled a piece of playdoh in my hands to make a snake. it does have a pleasing lightly lemon/graham cracker scent to it which I thought was a good start. Biting into it is a bit like biting into a Fig Newton.

Does it taste of tangy lemon? Is it sweet as pie? No.

Chewing it it remains a fig newton like consistency but it tastes like sand. You know how when you go to the beach occasionally you get sand in your mouth? Delete the grittiness, but keep the taste. Add a slight hint of lemon, as though while you had a mouth full of sand a lemon went rolling by on the beach in front of you and you have the flavor of this bar.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Now I knew it wasn’t going to taste exactly like pie. I understand the low sugar aspect. But I figured the worst that would happen would be that it would taste just of lemons. I like lemon, so that wouldn’t be bad.

This was like a cruel joke.

Again, I may not be vegan but I have had plenty of yummy tasting vegan snacks. this simply wasn’t one of them. They should have at least been able to make it taste like lemon. Normally I like to look for the redeeming qualities in something, because most things do have them. I honestly can’t find the plus. It wasn’t good on any level.

Packing something with good for you things only works if you can make it taste good enough to eat. I couldn’t even get through the half that I earmarked for today’s snack. No Cow was a major disappointment.

Save 10% sitewide at Art of Tea, coupon code: AOTAFFILIATE10 (Excluding gift cards and subscriptions)

Let’s talk about the Lait-Creme Line from Embryolisse

Embryolisse very kindly sent me all three of the moisturizers from their Lait Creme line for the purpose of review. As always my views are my own. Prior to receiving this trio, I only had experience with the Lait Creme Concentre. It was the first moisturizer I was given, and it was the one my mother and grandmother both used throughout my childhood. As the brand has been around since the 1950s this is hardly surprising.

Each of the creams I used as a moisturizer for an entire month. Then, as each creme has a multi-functional dimension, I shifted into using it for those other elements as I rotated through the moisturizers. While from the same line and have nearly the same scent to them, they are different creams and have different strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s start with the Lait Creme Concentre. This is the original, the old school moisturizer I remember from my childhood. It’s scent is the scent of bed time kisses and is lodged in the back of my memory banks as what skin care smells like. Which, while nice, does make it very difficult to describe. It is the classic scent of skincare. For me it is what skincare smells like when it has no scent. It does have a scent. Breaking it down I would have to say that is is sort of a mixture of aloe and shea butter but it also has a clean scent to it.

The Lait creme Concentre has the thickest consistency of the three. I started using it when the winter temps were still holding sway and it was the perfect level of moisture for my winter skin. It is a thick cream that needs to warm up before it melts into the skin. If you dispense it into your hand and then rub your hands together before applying it to your face, all is well. If you dispense it and go directly to your face to rub in, there will be white streaks for a second or two while the cream warms up and absorbs.

It is fantastic moisture all day. As the temperatures warmed up, it was too much moisture for day time use but remained a good night cream for year round use. I can still use it now as a night cream when I need to.

however it is a multi use cream and as soon as I used it for it’s second purpose I didn’t want to shift it back to moisturizing status. One of the secondary uses is as a pre makeup base. A little dollop of moisturizer (pea sized or less depending on your skin type) applied five to ten minutes before you apply the rest of the makeup plumps up your skin and extends the life of the day’s makeup. It has now relocated to my makeup drawer and honestly it is almost gone and the next tube I purchase is just going strait to the makeup section. It is just a great first layer.

the Concentre and the Sensitive have the same seal while the Fluide is in a pump top bottle

It can also be used as a hand and body lotion, but I would use it on really dry skin. It is thick and needs massaging to absorb in. If you do have really dry skin it can be a life saver.

The Lait Creme Sensitive is very mush like the Lait Creme Concentre. It is simply lighter in ever sense of the word. It has a lighter scent, it has a lighter texture and it absorbs faster. it also has a lighter moisturization level. I used this as winter faded into spring and it worked well. I didn’t need a separate night cream. As a multi use element it was interesting. I liked it slightly less as a makeup base and more as a hand and body cream. It worked well as a pre makeup base, but the concentre was just a little bit better. If I hadn’t so recently compared them, and for a few days alternated between the two I might not have noticed much of a difference, but comparing them together there was a slight one. It is still good, just a whisker less effective than the concentre.

And finally there is the Lait Creme Fluide. Again we have a similar scent, even lighter than the Sensitive but the same classic skincare scent. The consistency is lighter than the two previous as well, almost a cream based water cream in texture (as opposed to a gel one). It was light enough for summer time day use and worked well at night. On days when I spent a lot of time in the sun, I needed to add a night mask to the mix. But even with increasing temperatures and time outside that was only needed once or twice a week as just a little boost.

To be completely honest, i didn’t like this as a pre-makeup base at all, however it is a fantastic body lotion while the other two are only okay in that department. I think it is a matter of consistency. The lighter the creams got in moisture level and texture the less I liked them as a pre-makeup base but the more I liked them as hand and body lotion doubles. Which I am perfectly okay with. The Lait Creme Concentre I will continue to buy, but probably not use as a moisturizer unless I need some deep winter time moisturizer because I do love it so much as a Makeup base. The Lait creme sensitive would more than likely shift between bathroom and makeup vanity.

Whereas I would happily purchase the Lait Creme Fluide and keep it in the bathroom as a year round day time moisturizer and occasional body lotion. With that use I would only need to roll in the night cream a few times a week during the summer and probably just shift it to day cream use in the winter. While I don’t mind having a separate day and night cream it is rare for me to find a moisturizer that can shift with the seasons. The Fluide vision from the lait Creme line has that capacity.

All three of these cremes from Embryolisse’s Lait Creme line worked for me in different ways. All three were very nice products that I would happily use again. For me it is very easy to see why this has been a family favorite for a long time.

Lait-Crème Concentré

Sanitizing with Touchland Power Mist

Let’s face it, hand sanitizers have become a part of our lives. Once they were an occasional use item for me, now it is in use several times a day. Every day. Unless it is a day when i don’t leave the house and don’t come into contact with the rest of humanity.

I always knew hand sanitizer was drying, but until i started using it so often, I never realized just how drying it was. (Considering the components of you typical hand sanitizer, it really isn’t surprising, I simply never thought about it.) And when the drying hand sanitizer is paired with the extra handwashing, dry skin is more or less inevitable.

While it has leant me a new appreciation for hand lotion, this need to sanitize and the drying has led me to look into moisturizing hand sanitizers.

The packaging that it comes in is minimal

This is an interesting category that even five years ago probably wasn’t even a thought in most people’s minds. Now there are several variations on the market. The problem is that sometimes when you combine moisturization with hand sanitizing, you get really slimy feeling hands.

I picked up the first bottle of Touchland Power Mist that I used on a whim. I was shopping in Sephora for something else, saw it in the ‘You might like section of the website and said, you know, I might like, so I bought it to try. I like the design of the packaging. It is slim and easy to slide into a purse without causing a rounded bulge. It has a spray so there is no fiddling with caps and flip top lids. I have yet to have anything hit the sprayer while the bottle is in my purse.

The bottle sits upright and I generally have one on my desk and I do like the way it looks on my desk. The hand sanitizer comes in a variety of scents, including unscented. I prefer the Rainwater scent as it is light and unisex so everyone in the house will use it. It sprays as a very fine mist and absorbs well. It sanitizes but doesn’t leave my skin dry and cracking. It also doesn’t leave my skin feeling slimy.

while this hand sanitizer doesn’t eliminate the need for hand lotion, after using it I don’t feel the immediate need to put on hand lotion as I do with many hand sanitizers. I can use this spray to sanitize my hands after grocery shopping and then just drive home. I don’t need to apply lotion, wait for the lotion to settle in so my hands aren’t slick on the wheel and then drive home. It makes things run a lot more smoothly.

My one complaint about this product is that the packaging is not refillable. If Touchland had refillable pods to go in them I would pick up several to station around the house and refill. As it is, this one usually ends up traveling in my purse so that I can use it while out and about. The slim line of the packaging and the moisturizing but greaseless formula plus the ease of dispensing make it perfect for running errands. And while I found them on the Sephora website, I did notice that my local Target now carries them as well. It is a great product. They just fell down on the refillable aspect.

Get More From A Face Cleanser And Spa-like Massage

Trying out the Athena Shave Club

Covering the shipping label to protect the location of my secret underground lair

Over the past few years I have been trying to eliminate many of the disposable items in my personal routines. Disposable razers have been trickier than I anticipated. My quest to find a reusable razor I liked has led me to several shaving subscriptions.

It has also made me feel a bit like Goldilocks.

This razors handle is too slick to grip properly in the shower. This one had too much movement in the blade. This one had a moisture strip that I don’t like. Each one seemed to have one major issue that made me not want to commit to continuing the membership. So for a while I was just collecting reusable razor handles that I wasn’t going to reuse. So I took a break from the shaving subscriptions for a while.

The Kit

It helped that I had a stock of disposable razors that I needed to work through. It was one of the items my babydoll stocked up on before lockdown, still not sure why but disposable razors and Doritos were his two panic purchases. Apparently in his mind if you have those, you are safe.

I am now down to the last few so I figured it was time once again to delve into the shaving subscriptions. Enter Athena Club. The initial kit is $9 and comes with a reusable handle in an array of colors. I chose the dark blue because I like blue and also I sometimes take out my contacts before I shower so a dark handle against white tile is easy to find when the world is turned into an impressionist’s painting. There is a razor attached and one extra packaged blade. There is also a wall mount.

The wall mount for the razor is magnetic. On the back it has a 3M sticker rather than a suction cup, which is actually better for me. I put it in place nearly a month ago and it hasn’t moved at all. (We have yet to renovate the bathrooms and the previous owner put one of those plastic shell surrounds over the existing tile work and suction cups simply do not stick to it. This does.)

I really like that the magnetic part is just a flat magnet. It not only makes the razor easy to grab and to put away, but it’s flat surface means water can’t collect in plastic folds and cause problems. Sometimes the problems are just trapped sale water, other times mold and nastiness. Having it flat is fantastic. It makes that a non issue. It is also angled so water doesn’t sit on it.

The razor too is angled. I think part of the angle is so that when it is on the wall mount it is out of the way and less likely to be knocked about. It also makes it better for shaving. I found the angle in the handle made for easy maneuvering. The moisture strip is moisturizing, but not overly so. While the barrel of the handle is metal it is solid without being overly heavy and the rubberized material coating it makes it less slippy than plain metal would be.

It is backwards, after I took the plastic razor cover off I turned the blades to face the wall and the angle kept it tucked away neatly

The bottom line is that I had a really good shave. The head didn’t bend overly much, just the right amount for flexibility and I enjoyed using it. In fact, I think I may have found a shaving subscription that I can keep for a while. The refill packs are $12 for four new blade packs every three months.

I think this is very reasonable and about on par with other subscription services. For now I am just using the razor but there is the opportunity to add other items. They have the expected shaving foam, but they also have body wash, period care, wellness items and even candles. I haven’t tried any of their other items yet (I wanted to see if i liked the razor first figuring there was no point in possibly falling in love with something from the store if I didn’t like the razor) but they are all cruelty free and things like pantyliners come in biodegradable wrappers so I suspect, now that I know I like the razor and am keeping the Athena Club subscription, I will be dipping back in to see what other products I like. For now, I am just please that I have finally found a reusable razor that I really enjoy.

Arriving Soft as a Rose Petal, it’s Face mask Friday

Today’s face mask was an interesting one. I decided that since I hadn’t actually decided on a Face mask of the Month for a full testing, I would try to work through some of my sample sized face masks. They have collected again and I would like to clear them out, if only so i can decide if any of them are worth picking up in a full sized version.

The sample i chose to try out today was the Aceology Rose Petal Face Mask. I have tried quite a few Aceology masks (and really liked them all) but they are all of the peel off variety. Thus one isn’t. It is a wash off face mask. According to the project page you can…

Achieve satin-soft skin with the Aceology Rose Petal Mask. The silky, lightweight gel formula contains rosewater and blueberry extract to replenish your complexion and hydrate deeply for lasting luminosity. 

This Rosewater-rich formula encourages plump, hydrated skin by providing lasting nourishment. Rosewater, which makes up 78% of the mask, sinks straight into your skin to encourage suppleness while soothing reddened or irritated skin. Because of its calming and hydrating benefits, it is perfect for those with reactive skin. Blueberry Extract is naturally jam-packed with beneficial antioxidants which contribute to a beaming complexion that’s protected from free radical damage. Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) prevents dryness by strengthening your skin’s moisture barrier, locking in moisture for longer.

Aceology

While I have not used this Aceology Mask before I do like the brand a lot and One of the face masks that I used to puck up on a routine basis was the Fresh Rose Petal Face Mask. I adored it on my skin. Actually that mask and the Soy Face Cleanser were my go to skincare products for a long time. I have branched out but still absolutely adore both.

Mask on

When uncapped, this Aceology mask smells almost identical yo the Fresh Rose mask actually. Dispensed it looks lighter and has a more consistent jelly like quality. The Fresh mask has rose petals in it so there are always flecks. I actually showed the mask on my hand because once applied to my skin , my face actually looks red and either sunburned or irritated. It is neither, it is just the color of the mask.

The mask spreads evenly. There were a couple of spots where I didn’t blend it down as evenly as I could, but that is user error. With this mask a lot of product is supposed to absorb and for the most part in the fifteen minutes that i wore the mask, it did absorb well in the areas where I layered it thinly. My skin was left with a slightly sticky film after fifteen minutes and then I washed the mask off.

after 15

I tend to think I have a sticky film over my skin with most moisturizing masks that are designed to sink in with only a little being rinsed off. For me it is the nature of these sorts of masks. with a quick splash of water and gentle rubbing, the remaining mask and all remaining stickiness rinsed off. It was quick and easy. The mask felt like nothing while it was on.

The scent remained until the mask was rinsed, so if you do not like the scent of rose, this isn’t for you. It was a level of rose that I enjoy so I didn’t have a problem with the scent. The issue is that because of the scent and many of the ingredients being similar it is impossible not to compare the two. Price wise they are comparable as well. Aceology is $69 for a full size while the Fresh Rose mask is $64.

clean skin

And to be honest the feel of my skin after the mask is quite similar. Personally I prefer the Fresh Rose Mask as I think my skin had a fractional amount more softness once wear was completed, but over all they are pretty comparable. I think if you liked the Fresh Rose Face Mask you would probably enjoy the Aceology Rose Petal Mask. It comes in a tube rather than a jar which is easier and neater to dispense and it does not have any petals in the product. I prefer the petals but I have friends who avoid the mask because of the petals so this would be a comparable alternative. They are similar in price so one isn’t really in a more “affordable” category while the other is more expensive. But the differences are few and might be affected by your preference for product dispensing and consistency. That is really the biggest difference if you are trying to choose between them.

while my personal preferences do lean slightly towards the Fresh version, I did enjoy this mask and would happily use it in the future. It is another great face mask from Aceology and I am happy to have tried something other than one of their peel off masks. I’m even happier that I enjoyed it.

The Skincare Lineup: June 17th, 2022

Oh my darlings it is time for changes. Several items that I was using last week are no more and others have been replaced. As only the night cream differs from day and night time use, I went ahead and put them all together for one list instead of breaking apart the day time and the night time list this week. Next week there will be a bit more differentiation, but as I was replacing so many things at the same time, I wanted to go a little more slowly with the routine and not create upset. Shall we take a look?

Makeup Remover: Nuxe Very Rose 3-in 1 Soothing Micellar Water

Cleanser: Clove and Hallow Cloud Powder Gentle Waterless Cleanser

Toner: Aavrani Balancing Restoring toning serum

Serum: Vitabrid C 12 Wrinkle Serum

Eye Cream: Symbiosis London Tightening and Resplendent Eye Mask

Moisturizer (Day) Embryolisse Lait Creme Fluid Moisturizer

Night Cream/Moisturizer: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Omega Rich Cloud Cream

Lip Mask: Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask

Why don’t we start at the top. I finished out my current makeup remover and this Nuxe micellar water came in a subscription box. I opened it to see just how Rose scented it was so I figured I might as well roll it into the line up since it was open. Plus I really like Nuxe products. They always work so well for my skin. While I sniffed it originally and it had a barely there rose scent, it is a little stronger when you go to apply it. With makeup removal what I normally do is wet my Makeup Eraser (they are incidentally having a Birthday sale right now the code INVITEONLY will get you $9 off), and wipe off my makeup. Once the first layer is gone, i go in with products. The Nuxe took off all but the barest whisper of what was left and then the Clove and Hallow Cleanser knocked out the last bit.

I know, a lot of people don’t see the point of having two cleansers, but I like to make sure every scrap of makeup is removed AND my actual skin gets the benefit of the cleansers. I find for me this is the best way to keep blemishes and clogged pores down. With just one cleanser i will actually reach my toner stage and find I have traces of makeup still on the toner pad. With this method, I have a clean toner pad so I know it is my skin that the products are actually going into and not a protectively polished makeup layer.

It works for me.

Foir it’s first few days of use i have to say the Nuxe is working well. I like the French Skincare rose scent which is still quite mild and dissipates quickly. I’m sure i;ll have more to say once i’ve used it longer.

The Clove and Hallow I have been using for a while and really enjoy. It is gentle enough that I can use it mid day if I am just too sweaty to stand leaving my skin unwashed. It has a great mango powder scent (which has that slight vanilla scent mangos get). It is a powder so i add the water I want to adjust the consistency. It also means there is a lot of product in the jar. It has been over a month of use for this cleanser and I am not even half way down. One dash of powder is all you need. Plus it is in a reusable jar so I can recycle it in the house until the glass jar no longer is of use her, which as it is is shaped like a spice jar and will probably be filled with red pepper flakes once empty and cleaned out means it will be used for a long time to come. I grow the peppers and always need ajar for the flakes so this jar will be reused for quite a while before it ever goes to recycling. Which is part of it’s design. If you are into good, hardworking products that are also clean and sustainable, I highly suggest checking the brand out. But I do love this cleanser. And will be using it for a while more.

The Aavari toner I took out last night to use as I finished my Elemis (the Elemis will be repurchased by the way, it was fantastic). So I used this toner once last night and once this morning. Use wise I am still learning. Scent wise it is very Tea Tree Oil forward. There is a hint of chamomile. I’ll be honest, neither tea tree oil nor chamomile are my favorite scents. The scents aren’t oppressive though, or at least not to the point where I don’t want to use it. That may be a factor later on, but for now it is fine. I love the blue glass bottle (shallow of me, I know but there it is). I dislike the name because it is confusing. It is a toning serum according to the website and the description reads like a toner. I haven’t decided if it is a toner trying too hard to be a serum or a serum that is trying too hard to be a toner. It is going to take a few more uses before I figure that out, but I suspect it is going to be good at one of those things but not both.

The vitabrid serum is a hold over from last week and I am gaining a fondness for it. My skin drinks it in and looks a little more pump right after I apply it. it is a creamy serum and i wasn’t too certain of it at first but it is growing on me. It also reminds me why I shouldn’t make snap judgements on skincare and let them settle in and take time to show what they can do. I think this was the end of the third week and I am starting to see that it is doing something nice. i am happy to keep using it.

My eye cream ran out and so since the Symbiosis was new I decided to roll it into the line up. I know that while I often get fabulous results from inexpensive skincare cost isn’t everything. However this is a $93 eye mask. For me here is the deal with price and skincare. I don’t mind paying more for products that work. Well i don’t like it, but if the results are amazing I can justify the cost in most cases. If I use a less expensive product and it works I am always pleasantly surprised and often become a bit of a devotee. For example the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre is only $29 and for dry skin moisture and pre makeup application I will sing it’s praises until the cows come home, and since I don’t have cows that will be a while. If it is inexpensive and didn’t work then i will think “what did you expect,” I think it is because of the ‘you get what you pay for’ mentality of several older family members.

With expensive products I automatically expect more. If you are going to charge $93 for an eye mask it had better be fantastic, especially since I have tried several really good eye creams that cost less than that. An example is the Lancome Genifique Andvanced Eye Cream. It is $68 and worth every single cent of the cost. It has actually become the eye cream to beat in my world. In rating eye creams regardless of the cost, you are as good as, better than or not as good as the Lancome Advanced. (and no I am not an affiliate, i wouldn’t mind being, but I am not. it is just good eye cream) So I don’t know yet what the Symbiosis can do, but I have high expectations and will be watching it closely. I will say in a few days of use, it absorbs well without being greasy. Time will tell if it does more. And yes, I took pictures for comparison.

Speaking of Embryolisse, the current moisturizer is the Lair Creme Fluide. My trial is actually coming to an end with this and I will have the full review up next week hopefully. It is a really good moisturizer and a perfect day time summer weight formula. I did find that a couple of times a week I needed an extra night mask.

My Night mask isn’t in this week’s line up right now because Bzz Agent sent a Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Omega Rich Cloud Cream for me to try out and review. So i set the night mask to the side for the moment and started using it at night (with the Embryolisse still as a day time cream)

The pairing worked well and i haven’t felt the need to add a night mask. While I love the dark blue glass of the jar, I have to say I am tickled by the light blue cream inside. i don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting the blue. I think because of cloud in the name i expected fluffy white. it is fluffy, but it is pale blue. It is a whipped formula and melts into the skin , well… like a cloud. It has a slightly medicinal scent to it. I don’t mind it, I just can’t place it. It also has squalene which i like and do well with. In general I either do well with Kiehl’s products or I can’t stand them after one use. I’ve had four of five nights with this and still like it. Generally if that happens with Kiehls then I end up liking the product more and more with each use. With this brand that just seems to be the way. I seems to be going into the liking it more and more range, which is always nice to see. I will keep you posted as I continue to use it.

And finally there is the Kissu lip mask. I really like it. it is light weight and absorbs into the lips throughout the night leaving them soft and plump by morning. It looks virtually unused after two weeks of use because to use I just barely skate my finger across the surface. So little product is needed that this mask will last a really long time. And I for one am glad. I have really enjoyed it this far and hope to keep enjoying it.

And so my darlings that has been my skincare line up for this week. A lot of changes but as products ran out they were needed. Because of the timing I was able to roll in a lot of the newly arrived products which makes me happy. I know a lot of this was a brief first use, but as I get more comfortable using them and start putting them through their paces, I will be able to share more about them with you. Until then, have a great Friday and I will return later this afternoon with the Friday Face mask and a brief relaxing interlude. See you then.

Special Price

Trying the Gatineau Gommage

I have to admit, I chose to try this out so soon after it arrived because it was the one item that came in my Allure beauty box that wasn’t explained in the pamphlet. I kind of find this amusing actually. There is an entire page about a lip scrub scrubbing lips and a body moisturizer being used to moisturize the body but not a single mention of the Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage.

Because gommage needs less explanation apparently?

(oh and I checked, the Limited Edition refers to the packaging not the product so I’ve linked to the product on the website in the usual packaging just in case they take the Limited Edition down from the site. The difference between the regular and the Limited Edition is the color of the bottle – white for regular, peach for limited edition. If there is any other difference I couldn’t find it.)

Right, so let’s look at the product page on the brand’s website…

The perfect exfoliator for sensitive skin and for those experiencing breakouts, clogged pores, dull skin, uneven skin tone and pigmentation. Radiance Enhancing Gommage uses a mild enzymatic formula free from grains and beads to remove dead skin cells. The unique texture begins with a luxurious balm-like consistency, transforming into a soft nourishing oil as it gently dissolves the outermost layer of the skin. Radiance and luminosity are immediately increased and a fresh, glowing complexion is revealed.

Gatineau

Yup, it’s an exfoliator. Technically it translates to erasing or exfoliation and is considered a more gentle exfoliation than is traditional. well traditional here, it is apparently the more traditional French variety.

So now that we’ve had our morning vocab lesson, let’s look at the exfoliator.

I generally like using an exfoliator once or twice a week. This week has been interesting. In the summertime, time outside causes me to sweat a lot and while that causes me to seek out gentle cleansers so I don’t over wash my face as I add in an extra mid afternoon rinse, it also tends to limit my exfoliation use. I don’t know if it is just the summer sweat making me feel like my pores are purging themselves but i just don’t feel it as necessary.

product on and turning to oil

However this week has been different. The heat index popped very high, too high to spend time outside so it has been an indoor week. While exfoliation is usually a Saturday self care moment, I find myself thinking mid week wasn’t a bad thing. I think it may be the not sweating while staying indoors with the air conditioner aspect.

For whatever reason I decided an exfoliation was in order and as i just finished my last exfoliator, I chose this newly arrived one to replace it. The scent is light and fruity. It is like a peach mixed with a hint of mandarin. It is a very light scent and it also smells like fresh skin care. It is just enough scent to be a pleasant whiff, but still clean enough to smell of skincare.

it dispenses into the hand and feels like a gel. On the website the advice is to “Rub until the balm turns into an oil, then rinse’. So that is what I did. I applied to the skin, and felt it melting into an oil from the heat of my skin almost immediately. Still I massaged a bit and then rinsed.

product rinsed off

My skin felt fantastic. It was a very light exfoliation, there are no hard bits in it whatsoever so I’m guessing it leans more towards chemical exfoliation (hence the enzymatic in the description) If I run my finger over the areas where my pores tend to get clogged, they feel slightly more raised then they did prior to use. And to be honest, I felt that rise the next morning rather than right away. For me this tends to happen with chemical exfoliators. My skin will feel soft and extra clean after use and then the next morning the clogs in the pores will rise. this was done in a gentle way. It smelled light and fresh and gave the rest of my skin a good clean (with surface clear out) while bringing clogs to the surface.

This is all i really expect from an exfoliator. To exfoliate. this worked well, but gently and I think would be good for someone just trying exfoliation or who has sensitive skin. I would try it on the inside of your arm before your face if you have sensitive skin (and as always double check the ingredients list before applying it if you know you have allergies). It is however a very gentle exfoliator and I was very impressed by the Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage. Prior to this I never heard of the brand Gatineau before, however with this product working so nicely, I think I may have to take a deeper dive into it. It was a very nice brand introduction. I just wish Allure saw fit to put more about it in the brochure.

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Scrub a dub those lips with Manna Kadar

We all know I love a good exfoliate but I also adore a good lip scrub.  Oddly enough I am a little more picky about my lip scrubs.  I know, you’d think it would be the other way around, wouldn’t you.  I think it is because I have used some rather rough lip scrubs in the past.  Maybe it is because the skin is delicate or maybe it is because unlike the rest of my skin, my lips have the added dimension of taste involved.

Not that I eat lip products, but 9 times out of ten you do end up tasting what you apply to the lips so it is a factor other skincare items rarely have to contend with.

This is the Manna Kadar Lippie Love 2.0 Lip scrub. As a brand I find Manna Kadar interesting.  I know it can be a bit pricey, but to be honest I have never encountered it outside of subscription boxes.  I never see it in stores or on the websites where I shop.  In all fairness it may be there, but nothing has ever brought it to my attention.  That could be me, it could be a marketing failure or some packaging design element, but it is not a brand I ever notice when I am shopping.

While I like all forms of lip scrubs, I find that the ones shaped like lipsticks are the most convenient to use.  (Admittedly my absolute current favorite is from  Hanalai and comes in a jar.)

So the Manna Kadar is off to a good start with the formula.  It rolls up like a bullet style lipstick and has about as much product in it as a lipstick would.  I know it looks like I rolled it up simply to see how much product there was inside, but I actually am looking at the consistency.  Sometimes when you get these stick lip scrubs some of the scrubbing particulate (usually sugar) is clumped on the side.  While it may make it limpy, depending on where the sugar chunk is, it can also fall out as you use it and cause the product to break off and fall out of the tube.  So it isn’t actually an appearance thing, it is more of a product usage thing.  If that makes sense.  This particular tube looks fairly smooth.  The texture, when touched has a slightly textured surface so it feels as though the particulates will be fairly finely ground.

So now to the use.  

Lips well scrubbed but they feel a little on the raw side

There is almost no scent to this product and when in use if the lips are licked then there is just the taste of sugar.  I don;t particularly need a flavor with my lip scrubs but it is a factor as I have had some really bad tasting ones in the past.

The top of the tube wore away pretty fast as it was more oil than particulate and pretty much melted away.  This is kind of expected for a first use with a tube style lip scrub, or at least it has happened with every one of them I’ve used.  So I wiped my lips, took a break and came back to try the lip scrub anew.  

While the particulates are not large, they are a little on the harsh side.  They did work, but I found my lips growing quite pink from the friction of the scrub.  I like a lip scrub that feels like fine grained sugar.  Thai felt as though the sugar crystals hadn’t had their rough edges sanded off before being put in the mix.  

In addition I found that this deposited a substantial coating of lip oil on the lips.  While I don’t mind having the oil mixed with the scrub remain on the lips, this felt a little waxy and not all that pleasant. I found myself wanting to wipe it off.  

This Manna Kadar lip scrub is a decent lip scrub, however it needs to be used with a light hand so you don’t damage your lips.  It is also one I would use only on lightly dry and flaky lips, not ones that have painful cracks in them, It is simply too harsh a product and I fear you would cause yourself pain.  I know at that point most lip scrubs would cause pain so your best bet would be to use a lip mask until the painful cracks are gone then use an exfoliator to take away the dry bits.  But in general this had a rough particulate so caution when using is advised in general.  To be honest, this isn’t my favorite. It isn’t even my favorite stick formula lip scrub.  For that I would turn to elf.  They have a wide variety of scents and flavors, are inexpensive and are less harsh on the lips.  While I will use this lip scrub, I will use it gently and when it is used up, I will bid it farewell and not seek to replace it. There are simply much better products out there.

Let’s give ourselves a hand…

Today we dive deep into the box of single masks and instead of coming out with a new set of eye patches or a sheet mask I find I have pulled out the Starskin Nourishing Double Layer Hand Mask Gloves Hollywood Hand Model. That’s right today we are trying out sheet masks for your hands. Starskin and I don’t always have the best of relationships. I will say that when I like their products I really like their products and when i don’t then it still isn’t bad. The absolute worst I’ve ever had from the brand was just meh not actually bad. which is one of the reasons I keep going back to them. Because when they get it right, they really get it right.

So shall we take a stab at becoming a Hollywood Hand model?

I found them offered for sale on the Skinstore Website for $10, this seemed to be the best price. Starskin is always something that I find listed on other sites, like The Skinstore but rarely see on their own. The blurb is from the Skinstore.

STARSKIN® Hollywood Hand Model™ is a unique, patented hand mask that intensely nourishes and repairs hands, one of the first parts of the body to show signs of aging. A powerhouse serum formulated with deeply hydrating Shea Butter and a blend of 16 botanical ingredients and oils wrap the hands in an innovative Double-Layer Technology hand mask. The dual layers of this hand mask work to create a sauna-like effect to effectively deliver a powerful yet gentle skin-treating serum to the hands. Repair, rejuvenate and soften even the roughest hands and cuticles in just 15 minutes. Use this at-home hand treatment 1-2 times a week for youthful hands that will never give away your age.

Starskin on The Skinstore Website
sticky tab

The packet has two gloves as expected. They are connected in the center and you tear them apart. As described there is a fuzzy sort of insert inside the gloves and a sticky tab to keep them closed. To be honest, the gloves remind me of a thin version of a baby’s leak proof diaper. It has that same plastic feel to the outside and the same baby soft fiber insert against the skin.

double walled

The gloves were easy to slip on. The first tab was easy to pull off as I had one non-gloved hand. It was harder to pull off the backing for the second one, so this might be something you want a friend to help you with. While the gloves fit well, especially once you pull the tabs tightly down and stick them, the fingers are a great deal longer than mine which led to the difficulty with the second glove. It is understandable that they are longer as it means they can fit a variety of hands. It did make fine maneuverability a bit problematic.

These aren’t really gloves you can wear while doing much else. As a test I did navigate on my desk top from the home screen to YouTube (I deliberately used the keyboard to see if I could type) single letters were fine, but I am not writing up an e-mail with them on.

The structure of the gloves means there is no leakage which made sitting at the desk easy and less damaging. I could read papers and turn pages, just not really hold a pen or type well. I ended up reading over a proposal for fifteen minutes.

As I sat with the gloves I felt myself wiggling my fingers and rolling my hands to maneuver the internal liquid around. I also rubbed my fingers together where I knew my driest cuticles were so that I could get the most benefit from the serum.

when fifteen minutes elapsed I removed them. I expected that I would have to tear the plastic as the tabs would be too strong, but with a hard pull I managed to remove them without tearing the gloves. I was more worried about liquid dripping out than I was about the gloves themselves. There was no spillage. The second one came off more easily, again due to the fabulous use of fingers.

On the back of the package it claims that you should pat the excess serum in instead of washing it off. For me there was a bit too much excess serum, so I patted a put of it off with a dry wash cloth. The rest i let absorb.

hands after removal. I patted off a bit of the excess serum and everything was fine.

there is no scent to the serum and the gloves more or less smell like plastic gloves. They are comfortable to wear for fifteen minutes, but is it worth bothering to wear for fifteen minutes?

Yes. It is so worth it. My hands feel soft and nourished. While hand creams do a lot for my skin,. sometimes the hand sanitizer dries out the cuticles and I forget to concentrate the cream on them. This did wonders for my dried cuticles. My hands feel smooth and hydrated. Now that they have had a second or two to dry in the air, I don’t feel the need to wash them. I did have to pat off a little excess serum, because there really was a little too much. However the gloves didn’t leak. I was able to do paperwork at my desk while wearing them and my hands feel amazing. I’m sure this set came in a subscription box as it is a single pair and that is usually where my single sets come from, but I can’t remember which.

I will say though, that i will be ordering more of these. many Starskin Products I can take or leave, but these were quite excellent and something I will keep around. While I could have used them during the heavy spring gardening, they will be fantastic in the fall when I spend time in the chilling air getting the garden ready for winter. Then not only will my hands be dry on their own but they will be going through the heavy winter garden prep and be in need of some TLC. While I will use them in between then and now, I will definitely keep a pair or two by for that This is by far one of the best single use products I have tried in a while. While I try to keep the use of single use products to a minimum, I think that this Starskin Hollywood Hand Model Hand Mask makes the list of items to use. Admittedly if I could just get a bottle of the serum, I would use that instead.

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