One month of the Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa

I picked up this facial cleansing brush from Vanity Planet, called the Ultimate skin Spa because I used to love using a spinning facial brush to cleanse my face. The tool I used long ago ceased to function and indeed the tools I used (clarasonic) are no longer in production.

However when I did use it, I really loved it. So I wanted to see if i would still love it. So when I saw this on sale I snapped it up. I think it is currently back on sale if you ae interested (regular $49, sale Price $29.99). Admittedly even at regular price it is not an over the top price for this device.

molded box is nice for storage but the tool has to be completely dry when placed inside or water gathers and is trapped

In my first use post of this Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa I went over all of the features and how I felt about them. I’ll link the post here if you want to look into those details. This post is mostly about how it has performed and the things I have noticed after using it for a month.

daily brush after a month of use

First off the brush heads. The device comes with three. There is the everyday one, the once a week exfoliating one and the sensitive skin silicon brush head. The everyday one i use, well every day. It is no longer as pretty looking as it was before being used but it really isn’t showing any signs of wear. The brushes don’t look as fluffy from the instant water touches them, but as soon a the device is turned on they fluff right out. They also aren’t showing any sort of wear that would cause any replacement issues. I’ll have to update it when the brush does need to be replaced but after a month of twice a day use, it is still showing no real signs of being worn out.

silicone brush, used only a few times, but rinses off looking as good as new (to this point none of the products I’ve used with it have any color so no staining.

It is a brush that is good for everyday use. The type of cleanser you use matters though. It is recemented that you wet your face and then put the cleanser on the brush. Then put the brush to your face and turn it on. If it is a thick cream cleanser I would say that is the way to go. Think about it like putting toothpaste on your toothbrush. If it is a thinner cleanser, I noticed that it works better if I put the cleanser on my damp skin and then use the brush. Always place it against the skin before turning it on so it can get the cleanser on it and run smoothly though. I have noticed that it works well even when it is a foam cleanser. If I apply the cleanser to the skin first and then use the brush i can use whatever cleanser I want. If I am using a thicker cream, it is best to apply it to the brush and then set to cleansing.

It has two speeds. I really only use the first speed. I find the second one to be too much. I will use it when i am cleaning the brush head though. After I clean my face I will click it to the second speed while running it under water to rinse out all of the product from the brush. I don’t like using that second speed on my skin.

I am also not a fan of the exfoliating brush head. I find it too harsh on the skin. I would rather just use a separate exfoliator and have done with it. The silicone brush head is amazing if my skin has any irritation. It is gentler than the every day brush head and really works well. it is also good if you are using a cleanser with any sort of particulates in it. If there is anything solid in the cleanser then it will get stuck in the brush head at some point. if there is anything in the cleanser, from exfoliate particles to bursting moisture beads or whatever, I will use the silicone head rather than the everyday one. I suspect that there will be at least one day this summer where I spend too much time in the sun and switch to using the silicone brush for it’s sensitive nature.

I have found that I spend more time with my cleanser when using this Ultimate Skin Spa tool then I do normally. As a result I am getting a better clean and I have noticed my toning pads are much cleaner because of it. There is almost no makeup residue on the toner pads. I do use a cleansing balm to remove my makeup before cleansing. I am certain that if I didn’t the white bristles would end up stained. I also like using my cleanser to wash my face rather than washing my makeup. Removing it first with a cleansing balm means there is lese residue so any skincare benefits actually go to my skin.

I think the one drawback I have noticed is the case. It is a plastic travel case with a solid plastic niece for all of the tools and brush heads. But here is the thing. It is solid plastic. So if you put the tool away wet after using, water will pool underneath the tool and go stale. And then you have to rinse out the box. I have found I will just put the tool on tool of the box after use. My plan is to put it away after it dries, but by the time I notice it is dry, it is time to use it again. I think if this came with a small stand to put the tool on while it is in use that would be helpful. I also think an upright stand would take up less pace in my already small bathroom. I would like to find a place to put it that isn’t just balanced by the sink or on the bare shelf. Which is why I set it on top of the box.

that has been the one main flaw I have found. while I would like a small stand for everyday use, and the exfoliator brush is a bit too harsh for me, the other two brush heads are fantastic. I feel like the device lets me get more out of my cleansing products, while using less cleanser. So for me it is a win. It is a skin care tool I will reach for everyday and use consistently. It will be interesting to see how long those brush heads last. But for that, I’ll have to check back in, maybe after six months of use. For now I am very pleased with the Ultimate Skin Spa from Vanity Planet.

The Ultimate Skin Spa with Vanity Planet

A long time ago I used the Clarasonic face cleanser. I loved it, but it and the company I believe are no more. It has been gone from my life for a long time. I was however recently on the Vanity Planet Website. I was looking at facial steamers actually and what did my little eye spy?

The Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing System.

It is a spinning cleansing brush. Before I get into the details I should mention that Vanity Planet has a huge Spring sale going on right now. Actually they have a spring sale and a festival sale so large swaths of the site have products for 20% off. Plus if you ae a first time shopper you can get 15% off. This Ultimate Skin Spa is on the sale list. It normally retails for $49 but is on sale for $29.99 at the moment.

Which is why I kind of jumped on it. It was a while ago that I used a cleansing brush like this so I might have debated longer had it not been on sale. Because it was it went into my cart immediately and I sort of forgot to continue looking for the steamers I went there to check out in the first place. So I will have to go back.

Let’s look a little at this set though. It comes in a travel case. I love these travel cases, usually not for travel though. I really like having a specific place to keep the brush heads. If they go in a drawer or a shelf on their own they tend to pick up lint and hair and I don’t care for that. I really like having them in the closed box where everything is safe and easy to find.

There are three bursh heads with the set. Thee is the everyday cleansing brush, the once a week exfoliating brush and a silicone brush for sensitive skin. The bristles on the everyday brush are soft and suitable for everyday use. The exfoliating ones are a little stiffer but not by much and this silicone is of course silicone.

This is a first use post so I have only tried out the every day brush head. I’ll be updating after a month of use so we’ll talk more about the brush heads and their use then,

It is a dual speed device so you can go gently or a little more intense with the two speeds. I tried them both and found that for daily use the first setting was right for me.

It is powered with two AA batteries. I love that the battery compartment is so easy to open. With daily use these batteries will be put to the test. Again, this is a first use so the batteries are fresh, but it will be used twice daily so those batteries will run out. I love that while the compartment is sealed, opening it will not cause me to break a nail It is designed so the batteries can be replaced relatively easily.

One of the things I find interesting about this system, is that I find myself washing my face more deeply than I do with out it. And that is only partially because of the deeper cleaning nature of the brushes. When I use a tool like this I find myself taking more time to wash my face. It isn’t just a quick wet the face add the cleanser, rub rub rub and then rinse. I find myself spending more time with the cleanser. I make sure it is all over every inch of my face. I use the brush to get into the crevices by my nose. I take more time, double than I usually do when just washing my face.

I don’t have to. The device itself could be used in less time, but I personally find myself extending the wash time and end up with much cleaner skin because of it. Also as most of my cleansers have some extra good for the skin benefits (other than just cleansing) the longer the cleanser is on my skin the more of the benefits my skin might get from the cleanser.

It was one of the reasons I used to use this type of cleansing brush in the past and I am thrilled that I now get to do so again. I will be using this brush at least for the next thirty days (most likely longer) I will be putting it through it’s paces and seeing if this sort of skin care tool still has a place in my daily skincare routine. At the moment, the first use was very positive and I am looking forward to using this Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing System from Vanity Planet for the next thirty days and =putting all of the brushes through their paces.

Tools of the trade

There are makeup tools I use every day. There are brushes I pull out of the big jar ‘o brushes consistently and tool I always have to hand when I sit down to do my makeup. I thought it would be a fun thing to sit down and talk about a few of them.

The first item on my list has to be the No Crease Hair clips. I use them everyday to pin my bangs back while I do my makeup because I simply can’t stand having my hair in my face when i am putting on my makeup. These make sure the hair is out of the way without adding any strange lines to my bangs. I highly recommend using them wherever you pick them up. I just reordered a set from Shop Miss A. I love them, but tend to lose them frequently so the $1 price tag for three clips helps me out. They have multiple colors, this time i chose black.

Item number two is a good makeup sponge. Even though I generally use a foundation brush for my foundation, I find a good sponge will help smooth out lines from the brush, plus some foundations just apply better with a makeup sponge. I also use them to apply a lot of setting powders. The ones I am currently using are the Blending Eggs from Beauty Bakerie. Not only are they adorable in the egg carton container, but they have just the right firmness for me. I am kind of Goldilocks when it comes to makeup sponges. Some are too firm and some are too soft. I tend to lean into the firm side of things. The too soft ones I just don’t like. The Beauty Bakerie ones have just the right amount of firmness for me.

Also a necessity is the color switch. Mine comes from Sephora (or did a long time ago). They are available plenty of places. Shop Miss A actually has some nice ones. I ordered several to put in makeup bags for stocking stuffers this Christmas actually. No matter how many brushes in the jar there are a few I just keep reaching for and this lets me switch colors while applying and thus leave me with fewer brushes to wash.

Speaking of brushes, my current favorites come from several different brands. Lets start with my two powder brushes. The Flat topped one is from Alamar Cosmetics. It is listed as a bronzer brush but I find it works with setting powders really well. When I need a fluffier brush, I am currently reaching for the Complex Culture Plush Powder Brush. Between the two of them they work well for me.

The Foundation Brush I have been reaching for more and more is the Yensa Foundation brush. the bristles are dense enough and the right length for me. The handle also fits well in my hand and its angled shape and size make it easy to manover.

The bronzer brush I am using is the LR 331 Flat Angle Brush from Laruce. I find the dense bristles and curved shape work really well with my cheekbones. I am able to apply bronzer well with it an because it is narrow, I can use it with pans of varying sizes.

There are two Brushes from Billion Dollar Brushes in my automatically reach for pile. One is the flat foundation brush. I honestly never use it for foundation unless it is a powder foundation. It is great with powders in general. I tend to use it for patting setting powders over under eye concealer and I use it for powdered blush application. In general it is just a good all round brush to have around. The other Billion Dollar Brush I keep around is the small angled Brush. it is Labeled Eyebrow brush and i often use it for my eyebrows. It is great for carving out the underside of the brows with a highlighter and it is also good for adding a small spot of bright shadow in the inner corner of your eyelid to brighten your eyes an make them look bigger.

There are five eyeshadow brushes that I find myself reaching for and to be honest, they are all Luxie Brushes. One of them i am not entirely sure is made any more, but it is my favorite. It is the Tapered Blender that was originally part of the DC Collab for the Wonder Woman Collection. I have used it so much that the number has worn off and the handle now looks mottled because the paint has worn off in places. It was released when the first Wonder Woman movie came out several years ago and I use it everyday to blend my shadows. The handle is showing wear but the brush is still going strong. The Lxie 237 Blending is the right size for most of my shadow applications when I am going for an all over the lid look. I use this one a lot and if I am doing a one and done shadow look, this is the brush I reach for. The 213 Eye Shading brush (the pink one) is lflat but fluffy and it is great for applying darker shadows on the outer edge of the eye and then blending them inward. The 211 Concealer is also flat but thinner and I tend to use it for applying shimmer shades. And finally the 221 Flat definer has a sharp flat end that is great for applying shadows along the lash line or or using shadows as though they were eyeliner. It has become a brush I reach for a lot actually.

And so my darlings these are a few of my favorite tools and the ones I find essential in my everyday makeup. If you are just getting started with makeup or looking to expand, I hope it helps you out. For me, I like to take an occasional inventory of what i actually use. It changes from year to year as I try out new products or change up the way I do my makeup look. But for now, this is my essentials kit.

The tools of the year

Every year there are tools that I try. Some are the latest thing, others someone’s holy grail product. While I have a few constants that stay with me from year to year, many are products I try out and then forget all about. These are the ones That I kept around after I tried them out and will be keeping going into 2023. Narrowing it down to just five was pretty difficult, but n the end, these are the five that top my list.

1- Color Switch pad

  • This one is has been with me for several years. The material is pretty much plastic so it doesn’t really wear out. Every time I think it isn’t doing anything, I take it out and see the collection of powder in the bottom of the tine and realize it does. To wash I empty the powder rinse and dry the tin and then rinse the plastic bit out like a sponge with some antibacterial soap. If I have makeup sponge cleanser I use that with it. This tool has one purpose, to take off excess pigment from your brushes so you can switch between shades while still using the same brush. It really helps when traveling or if you have very few brushes. It isn;t a substitute for washing your brushes but it is great between washes.

2- Luxie Makeup Brushes

  • I only put one in the picture but they are great brushes. I have gotten a lot of brushes from a lot of different places. They come in all sorts of subscription boxes. Some are nice, some not so much. when I did a mass declutter of my brushes this year i realized that even though some of my Luxie Brushes were among the oldest in the collection, they were still in the best condition. I have no problem using cheaper brushes (and in fact I do so a lot) but when I am going to splurge on a good set of brushes (or even individual ones), I know the brushes I buy are going to last longer than pretty much any other brush. They have all sizes shapes and colors available and you can buy them in sets or as a brush at a time. Personally I always drool over the sets and think I will order that one and then I end up buying the individual brushes because they aren’t in the set. I tell myself I am going back and I really need to especially as there are now some gaps in my brush collection I think one of their sets could fill. Regardless of your purchasing style, They are good brushes well worth picking up as if you care for them they will last a really long time.

3-Odacite Mon Ami Facial Accupressure Beauty tool

  • This is one of those items that I received in a subscription (IPSY I believe) and thought, It’s pretty but pointless. Here is the thing though. It is designed with two uses. The round end is used for accupressure. They give you a chart and i tried it. Maybe it works for some people but it didn’t for me. The secondary use is as a skincare spoon. And oh wow is it fantastic. While it is nice to stir up masks that settle, it is perfectly designed for mask application. It scoops the product well and then the curve of the metal perfectly angles over the face for a smooth application. It is exactly the right angle to smoothly apply face masks. The rounded point lets you put the mask in the slightly harder to reach areas and while the concave side works well for scooping and applying if you flip it around you can easily smooth the mask over the skin. This has replaced all of my silicone masking spatulas. It is perfectly shaped. pretty to look at and compact enough not to take up a lot of space. I love this little tool I have no use for the acupressure end, but it looks nice and works fantastically well with skincare products.

4- The Jade Roller

  • I know you’ve seen them everywhere. I think I have about five in the house from subscription boxes alone. The thing is if you have puffy eyes, they are a great tool to hae around. i will roll it over the rest of my face but really the cool stone over the under eyes that are puffy from allergies or lack of sleep are where I really use this one. I keep one on my desk and will use it just before meetings so I look a little more awake and aware after a long day. It is a good tool. I don’t need any more, but they are really good and inexpensive tools. When you pick one up, go with one made out of some sort of stone. They stay cool naturally and while they warm up after hey have been on your skin, if you set them back on your desk for a while they will cool down on their own and be good to go. No refrigeration needed.

5- Comper- Smarkin 4-in 1 Beauty Device

  • I love this device. The system has a step by step tutorial on my phone and it lets me know when my next treatment is according to the regimen I have set up. It is easy to use and doesn’t take that much time. My skin really feels improved. I have no idea what the lights of the LED treatment do for my skin, but everything else is fantastic. It is like a super charged Gua Sha tool. It uses the same principals as the tool but takes it up to another level. I adore this skin care device and have incorporated it into my weekly routine. It is a bit pricy (although it is on sale now). If you like the thought but aren’t sure if you would use it as routinely as needed then get an inexpensive Gua Sha tool and spend a month using it routinely. If you have no problems incorporating that into your routine then you would be fine with using this. I liked the gua sha, I love this device and will happily continue using it. It may be my favorite skin care tool of the year.

And there you have it, the top five tools I can’t do without. I know it isn’t a shocking list. There are many things I tried and while they were fun or nice, I just didn’t find myself incorporating them into my daily or weekly routine. And a good tool is only good if you will use it. These are the good tools I will continue to use. Or at least did this year. I can’t wait to see what makes the cut next year. Because there are always new things to try.

Let’s talk about the Scalp Massager

I have seen a multitude of videos touting the benefits of these toothy scalp massager tools. I’ll admit I was intrigued. When I saw that there was one for sale on the Shop Miss A site, I went ahead and bought it. Like most things on the Shop Miss A site it was $1. I figured that for a $1.88 cost I could try it out and see how I liked it. If I didn’t or if it proved to be something I wasn’t going to use, then, well, I only spent a $1.88.

The bristles are bendy silicone spikes. They are the same length, but the width varies. The thicker spikes are on the outside and the thinner ones inside the ring of spikes. The handle fits well around my hand and has grooves for my fingers. This is especially important as it is used in the shower with shampoo in the hair,. Soap and water make things a bit slick. This is easy to hold onto in the shower with shampoo lathered in my locks.

Over all it is a well designed tool.

But does it have a point or is it just another pointless bit of kit taking up space in the shower?

While the description on the Shop Miss A site was limited to Scalp Massager, it is identical to the Vegamour GRO Revitalizing scalp massager ($16) at least in the photos so I went with their description as to what I might expect from this tool.

Give your scalp the love and care it deserves! The GRO Scalp Revitalizing Massager features a series of bristles that stimulate the scalp and boost scalp health, providing both an exhilarating scalp massage and relaxing experience. Ideal for all hair types, this hand-held massager can be used on a dry scalp, or to work in your Vegamour hair growth serums, foams, or shampoos. Safe for color-treated, bleached or chemically treated hair, Suitable for all hair types, Can be used on both wet or dry hair


I’ll admit I have no way to really test scalp health but I do know that after I use a scalp scrub my scalp does feel good and my hair feels healthier and logically it makes sense to keep your scalp in good health. So I had high hopes going into this.

First I tried it with dry hair. I made certain to try it after I had several events where i did things to my hair (hot tools, heat protection spray, styling cream, etc) There was nothing in my hair at the time, product-wise, but my hair had been through a lot in the week of the dry scalp trial. I do not have an overly dry scalp and I have never had a problem with dandruff but I did notice that after I used it, there were tiny little bits of stuff. As I was using it to massage my scalp and I didn’t have anything in my hair at the time, I am guessing that it was knocked loose from my scalp.

As gross as that sounds.

I did try to take a picture, but the little bits were more things felt rather than seen. If I pulled my hair up to my eyes I could see little bumps of stuff on my hair (not a lot but enough that I could feel it with my fingers). I simply couldn’t get the camera close enough to pick up anything. it kept fuzzing the photo out. I will need a more intense lens. And to be fair it was something more felt than seen.

I did really enjoy the feeling of the bristles on my scalp though. It really was a very nice massage. It did tangle up my hair a bit on the ends. And the bits freaked me out so I went immediately into the shower.

while it clearly did something on dry hair, and I think if I was messaging a scalp serum into my hair, dry hair would be a fine use for this massager. For me however it was better on wet hair. Perhaps because I would use the teeth to comb through my hair periodically under the spray, I didn’t get a much tangling when I used it in the shower. The shape of the handle kept oit from shifting about too much and I didn’t slip or slide with it in the shower.

With shampoo it worked beautifully well. The lather was intensified in the shampoo and because I have thick hair, the action of the brush allowed both the shampoo to get right down to the roots of the hair and the water to actually get in and rinse out the shampoo more efficiently. It also felt amazing on the scalp.

It did nothing for me with conditioner or a conditioning hair mask, however paired with a scalp mask it was fantastic. I used it with my favorite Christophe Robin Sea Salt Scalp Scrub and it was utterly fantastic. I needed less product because the scalp massager helped get the scalp scrub deeper through the forest of my hair. It also drastically increased the foam. It was lather-tastic.

In truth it halved the amount of product I needed to use to get the best results. While I love this hair mask, it is not an inexpensive product. Full price for it is $53. which is why i tend to buy it on sale. (Incidentally, the Christophe Robin site has this mask for 40% off right now. So it is only $31.80 and yes, I stocked up.) The fact that this massager lets me get the same results with half of the product means my jar will last a lot longer. While I may need a microscope to see what is actually going on with my scalp and some sort of photo lens to see the microscopic bits that I’m pretty sure left my scalp, only needing half of the product to achieve the same great hair is a result i can stand behind. It also makes this $1 hair tool from the Shop Miss A website, far more valuable than it seems.

I picked this up thinking it was probably going to be something I tried a few times and then forgot about. Instead it has become a part of my hair washing routine and the means of extending the life of a product i like. While i will look out for long term benefits over the next few months, in the short term I can say, my hair feels fantastic, I use less product and more of the product I use gets rinsed out as the tool helps separated things so the rinse water can get in. On top of all that, I get a really nice relaxing scalp massage every time i wash my hair. For that alone I would repurchase this Scalp massaging tool. I would also pick it up at Shop Miss A. It is a great tool of good quality and $1.88 is really hard to beat.

Using the Beauty Bakerie Blending Eggs

Beauty Bakerie recently sent this pack of Blending Eggs over for me to try out and I have to say they are just adorable. The pack comes with six blending sponges or ‘eggs’ and the package is designed to look like an egg carton.

It is also made of the type of cardboard that is easily biodegradable so I can either put it in my recycling bin or put it in my composter when I am done with it. which I rather like. it is also what i do with regular egg cartons actually.

But that isn’t the point. It is a lovely look and I do like that I can easily recycle the packaging, however it is the product that counts. This set has six blending eggs and the set is usually $18. However they have an amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale, which is 40% Off Sitewide from 11/23 to 11/29.

And yes I will be using this as an excuse to pick up more of their liquid lips. if you didn’t read my review of them last week, then to sum it up, I think their matte liquid lips are amazing.

So big sale, big opportunity. Now back to the makeup sponges.

Each egg is individually wrapped and has the classic round with a pointed end. All of the eggs are the same and while I understand why, I do like a little bit of a flat edge on my makeup sponges as I find them useful. It isn’t essential and I can clearly use the makeup sponge without it, but I like to have one edge. This slight disappointment (and mostly just preference) is really my only complaint about these sponges.

Like all Makeup sponges, you wet them and squeeze out the excess water before use. At least I do. And like most makeup sponges these expand when wet . They are a little more than double the size when wet. In general I find that I need to wet makeup sponges, squeeze them out ant then let them sit for about twenty minutes before using them. It gives the surface moisture time to sort of evaporate while still leaving the sponge expanded. that way it is still big and soft but not leaving damp patches on the skin.

This sponge has what I would call a medium firmness which is actually my preferred type. I don’t like when they are too soft as they don’t feel like they do a good job applying things like powder or smoothing out foundation. I likewise don’t like when they are really firm because then it just doesn’t feel comfortable when i use them to apply makeup. Iknow, I always feel a bit like Goldilocks when i talk about makeup sponges. This one is too hard, this one too soft and to be honest the ones from Beauty Bakerie are just right. They are that medium density I prefer. hey also hold their expanded size really well. They clearly shrink back down a they dry but it will stay expanded for several hours. I actually found that helpful when i needed to do a touch up on the fly this weekend. It was quite helpful.

For me the six pack actually works well too. I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to wash makeup sponges every day and they can get pretty nasty looking pretty fast. So I like to keep a jar of them, use a different one each day and then when i do my laundry put them in a mesh bag and toss them in the wash. I wash them with dark towels and aI let them dry naturally rather than putting them in the dryer and this has always worked well for me. These sponges responded well to this treatment and they will no doubt serve me well for a long time to come. I am quite pleased with these Beauty Bakerie Blending Eggs. They are a good product in an adorable packaging and they are a good price. The price is about to be even better due to the Black Friday Sales too. so if you are looking to stock up on makeup sponges, these are a pretty good bet. Since i have the sponges, I’ll b going for the lippies.

Holiday Gift Ideas: Makeup Eraser

One of the items I use daily but don’t always think to mention is my Makeup Eraser. While i once had one of the original pink Makeup Erasers, it has since gone away. Oddly it didn’t actually wear out, but my babydoll accidentally grabbed it when he was fixing the lawnmower (he thought the size meant it was a hand cloth). So I passed it onto him because of the oil stains.

In the above picture there are two makeup erasers. The rainbow colored one I have used for a little over three years. the colors have faded a little bit but it is still going strong. The purple one came to me in a subscription box last month. If I remember it was a Glossy Box. I really enjoy having two to trade out. I also have several small Makeup Erasers in use. I have one that I specifically use for removing eye makeup so that I don’t get other makeup in my eyes.

Even when i use a cleansing balm or an eye makeup remover, i use them paired with my Makeup Eraser so that i don’t risk staining regular wash cloths with makeup. One of the trends that I really like is the seven day sets that Makeup Eraser is coming out with. Thus allows you to use a different cloth each day so that you are never risking cross contamination and you don’t have to worry about putting old makeup back on your skin. It also reduces the use of disposable products like make up wipes. If you are purchasing gifts for someone who wears makeup, or looking for something new for yourself whether you just want to have something to take off your makeup or you want to reduce your bathroom waste, Makeup Eraser has some great sets this year.

Makeup Eraser has paired with Disney to create several sets. There is the Limited Edition Nightmare before Christmas set which is still available as I am writing this. There are also several princess packs. The one that always draws me however is the Disney Villains set which is pictured here. All of their sets are $25 regularly priced. there is currently a $5 off code on the site for first time buyers (it should come up automatically but I’ll also link it at the bottom of this post).

If you are looking for something without a printed design, they have those sets as well. This set Is in the same purple that I have. Personally I like the darker colors. Even though I know that all of the makeup will wash out once I put it in the washing machine, there is still something in my that wants to use a dark colored cloth when removing mascara.

This set comes with a small mesh bag. These mesh bags are great for holding the cloths while you are rotating through them. Also they are great in the wash. i don’t like washing the makeup erasers in the bag because i think then need a little more space to float around in the washer,. But I tend to use them to wash my makeup sponges. I put the sponge in there and chuck it into the wash. The bag keeps hair and lint off of the makeup sponge. Then I take the sponges out of the washer and let them dry on their own.

And then when everything is dry the cloths go back in the bag. Actually, to dry my makeup erasers, I lay them flat across the top of the dryer while the dryer is running. They are stretched flat and dry with the heat wafting out of the dryer but don’t actually go through the roughness of the tumble dry. The Makeup erasers come in a multitude of solid colors, from pastel to black.

If patterns are your thing then Makeup eraser has you covered. They have variety of patterns for you to choose from, both in the original size and in the smaller seven day sets.

this Kiwi and lime print is one of my favorites in the full sized versions. Not only is is a fun and fresh print but it comes with a hair clip and a makeup bag. It is still the same price as the other sets ($25) although to be honest I would probably pay that for the makeup bag alone. I think it is a really nice looking bag. I love the bags with the flat bottoms. I always think they fit things just a little more neatly for travel.

Whether looking for a single Makeup eraser or looking for a seven to 10 day set, there is a pattern or a color to suit just about everyone’s personality. I personally love that about the brand. This is one of those products that I use on a daily basis and it helps me to reduce my waste in the bathroom as well as take off my makeup so that my cleanser is washing my actual skin instead of washing a layer of makeup. I find I get better results from my cleanser if I use the makeup Eraser to give it a head start. Even though I don’t always talk about it a much as I should it is one of my favorite skincare tools and well worth picking up for either yourself or someone you love this holiday season.

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Using the IsoClean Cosmetic Sponge Cleaner

Please excuse the bashed nails

I have a confession to make. I have always taken a pretty lazy approach to cleaning my makeup sponges. I keep several around that I can rotate through and then at the end of the week, I put them in a net mesh bag and put it into the laundry with my jeans for a good washing. The mesh bag keeps hair and lint from sticking to the makeup sponges and then once they come out of the washer I take them out of the bag, do a quick squeeze and rinse in the sink to make sure all of the laundry soap is out of them, and then I let them dry while my jeans go onto the dryer.

The bag I use is this one from the Laundry bags site. It is less than $3 and really useful to have around. I also use them for washing delicates. In all fairness I should admit that I wash my makeup brushes with Ivory soap. I put a bar in a cheap plastic soap dish and just use it like any other brush cleanser. I have used official brush cleanser before and it worked fine, but then so does the ivory soap and the hardware store around the corner from me sells them for $0.98 per bar.

However I recently received this ISO Clean Cosmetic Sponge Cleanser in a subscription box so I thought why not give it a try. This size is listed for $10 and it’s description runs…

1st sponge before cleaning

Make your sponges sparkle! ISOCLEAN’s cosmetic sponge cleaner expertly eliminates harmful bacteria, dirt and stubborn makeup stains, making your cosmetic sponges look as good as new in just 60 seconds!

And so to test I took two makeup sponges into the bathroom to give them a good clean. One started out damp from my makeup application today and the other started the test dry. Both had seen some heavy use and had foundation, cream blush and powder on them.

after two washes

One of the makeup sponges was from Luxie and has a slightly rubberized tip while the other is from Shop Miss A. It is the Mochi Wonder Blender with the cut edge. Both are actually quite nice and are the ones I tend to reach for the most actually. The shop Miss A sponge is a little softer and less dense. The Luxie is firmer and I happen to find both useful. Actually Luxie is having a sale. (Their sponge set is currently only $16 instead of $40. Actually so is their Florals Brush set (now $16 instead of $40) Most of my favorite shadow brushes come from this set actually). The Firmer sponges tend to work well with blending cream blush products while the softer ones I like for powder.

2nd sponge before cleaning

Both had seen some use. As per instructions I coated the makeup sponge with product, massaged it in and rinsed it off. I ended up washing each sponge twice. The first wash took off the surface stuff but then when I was squeezing the last of the soap and water out, there was still product coming out from the interior of the sponge. so I gave it a second wash. After the second wash both sponges were pretty clean. There were a few stained spots that I suspect will easily wash out in the wash, but for a hand washing this IsoClean worked well. The second wash was really needed to make sure all of the product got out of the sponges, but in the end it did. Also for the purpose of this test i used both of these sponges as my only two sponges for a full week instead of my usual switching out.

2nd after two washes

I will say that even a single wash took a bit longer than a minute. I times it at 98 seconds to get the soap all out of the makeup sponge from the first wash. Which isn’t that much longer when you think about it. The second wash took pretty much the same amount of time. And it was after the second wash that I felt the makeup sponges were clean enough to use again.

All in all this was a good product. It has no scent, took the makeup out of the sponge and didn’t leave a soapy residue on the skin. I like having this makeup sponge cleanser around, but for me this is going to be something I use when I’m traveling more than when i am at home. For me, I find it more convenient to have a bunch of makeup sponges, use each one once before putting it in the mesh bag and then at the end of the week just putting it in the washing machine. If you are only using one or two sponges and want to wash them during the week to keep them fresh (without doing a load of laundry – and I wash them with jeans and other gardening clothes so potential staining will never be an issue).

Over all, I think this is a good product to use. After washing I did use the makeup sponges again and found I had no allergic reaction to the product and indeed there is no scent to cause issue as well. As an added bonus, the container is sturdy and reusable while the company sells refill pouches. While I did have to wash these sponges twice to get rid of all of the makeup, there is only a pinkie’s width of product used out of the container for two sponges. However if I were to use this Iso Clean to clean these two sponges once a week this small 110mL bottle would last for 12-14 weeks. which is not bad, especially considering this $10 bottle is their smallest size.

I was impressed with this IsoClean Cosmetic Sponge Cleanser. While it probably won’t change the way i clean my makeup[ sponges, I like having it as an option and will certainly be using it again.

Trying out the AOA Studio Professional Hi-Def Brush Set

While I have occasionally received sets of makeup brushes in subscription boxes, over all I tend to purchase my makeup brushes singly. However I did want to try out several different types of brushes from the Shop Miss A Website and this AOA Studio Professional Hi-Def Brush set was only $10. It includes ten brushes in a carrying case. Five of the brushes are face brushes. Of the other fire, one I ended up using for highlighter application, and the pointed one I found great for working with concealer under by eye. The other three were really good for blending shadows, but they were a little bit too big for me to use as eyeshadow brushes.

newly opened

So Seven of the ten brushes are exactly what i need for my daily makeup application and then I had to roll in a set of luxie shadow brushes for application, while using the remaining three to blend. so these weren’t the only brushes i was using, but they did the bulk of the heavy lifting. I used them for both cream and powder products.

After two weeks of use

I have to say, I was impressed with these brushes. The handles are sturdy, The metal ferrules are fixed well in place and the bristles are a good quality. None of the bristles were falling out when they arrived and none of them shed during two weeks of use. There is not a super density to the bristles of the face brushes. They are not like the super tightly packed Kabuki style brushes, but they are dense enough to be used with cream products as well as powder. in fact I think the fact that they are not so densely packed means that they have the ability to switch between powder and cream easily.

These brushes aren’t fancy. There is nothing showy about them. But they are good solid brushes that i think will last for a while and that i will get good use out of. Considering the price I was actually pleasantly surprised by how high quality they actually are.

the smaller brushes

I will say the case is a little less high quality. It is a wipeable plastic that is designed to sort of look like faux leather. I expect it will wear out long before the brushes do. And being white it is going to get dirty fast. I think if I were to purchase this again i would go with a darker color bag. This is easy to wipe down but with the white I feel like I need to wipe it down after every use.

The bag is nice for travel though, which is actually why I chose the set rather than picking up individual brushes to try out. I noticed on my last trip that while I had makeup cases I really didn’t have an easy way to carry makeup brushes. they just spilled out everywhere or piled up in the bottom of the case and had to be cleaned off before use. Having case where each brush has it’s spot is fantastic when traveling. It also ensures that I am not leaving anything behind.

And while I am not overly fond of the material the case is made of, it is well made. The stitches are all in place and it seems sturdy enough. And to be fair the material is wipeable and easy to clean. I have just never liked the feel of that plastic-y material and any thing I have ever had with ties stitched in like this has ended up tearing off at some point so it is partially me expecting it to come off. It is very sturdily sewn in so I don’t think it is coming off soon.

As far as kits go, this was really nice. The face brush selection is exactly what I use. I will probably replace the three larger eyeshadow brushes with smaller ones simply because I prefer the control of smaller eyeshadow brushes. But honestly to replace them, I will probably order some shadow brushes from Shop Miss A to replace them with now that I know they are of this quality.

I am always suspicious of the quality of something this low cost, but quite honestly they are of good quality. Not only would I happily purchase this set again, but as I have several family members just starting out on their make up journey, i might pick up some extra sets for gifts this year. This AOA Studio Professional Hi Def Brush Set is a great starter kit. I just might not go for the white case next time.

One Month of My Fitness Pal, the free Version

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Regardless there was a spate of time where the weight was put on. And it didn’t come off. It stayed. Then I decided to go on a weight loss journey. The reason was simple, I woke up one morning and got out of bed and couldn’t remember when my feet didn’t hurt at some point throughout the day. I decided that was not a good thing and that it was high time I did something about it.

I know, not as sexy as wanting to look good in a bikini or getting ready for a class reunion or even running a marathon, but it was my reason for losing weight.

the problem was where to start. while I am a full time writer now, I went to school for (and still write about) Architectural History. It means I can tell you a great many sociological reasons why American banks were designed to reference Roman architecture, but I can’t tell you squat about the human body aside from a third grade song listing the bones of the skeletal structure.

So I dove into the world of dieting and fitness.

I don’t know if you have been, but it is a terrifying place. It is also full of very opinionated people.

What I wanted sounded simple in my head. I wanted to shave some weight off of my body so my feet didn’t hurt shortly after I got out of bed. I wanted a program that I could maintain for a life time rather than a quick fix. As at my heaviest I weighed 246 lbs, I knew there wasn’t going to be a quick fix. I was in for a long haul. Crash diets weren’t going to work. Cutting out a single food group wasn’t going to work. i had over a hundred pounds to lose and I needed a long term solution.

What I landed on was portion control and regular exercise. I know, like ,making my feet not hurt it isn’t the sexiest of diet plans. There is no cool name or concept backed by pseudo-science. it is no magic fat melting pill. I just needed to balance my calories in and calories out. As simple as it sounds I have tried many ways to do this. The simplest way for me is a food diary. I have used a notebook and pen to record what I eat and how much activity I got, but then I had to look up the calories and while it was helpful, it is just plain easier to use an App for that.

mfp_dashboard_small UI

My problem with a lot of the apps is that they seem to assume that I am purchasing pre prepared foods. While this works for a few things, I tend to cook most of my meals. One of the things I really liked about the My Fitness Pal is that I can build a recipe. I can type the ingredients in and then tell they system how i portion out what is created. Then it tells me how many calories I consumed.

The recipe builder and food diary are the two elements of the My Fitness Pal app that I use the most. One of the things I like is that it lets me keep the regularly used items in the list so each morning I don’t have to input coffee I can just check the box and have done with it, easy peasy. I am sure most of the apps do that, but it is the recipe builder function that is in the My Fitness Pal app that I have found a lot better than most and the most helpful. It takes a bit to add the recipes in but once you have then you are done.


While I have used these features for years at this point (off and on), this month I committed to using it and building the habit of logging in every day. For me, keeping track of the food keeps me on track. I also enter my exercise so I can figure out my calories in and calories out. Oddly enough the checking in section has been hugely beneficial. While I weigh in once a week officially for the Friday Weigh in, I really like the habit of getting on the scale each morning and just typing the info in to the system for a chart. I know there are going to be some points (like the holidays) that I don’t want to do that, but there is something i really like about seeing the chart grow and build. I think it is because while there is a degree of up and down in my dieting, I can look at the chart and see that even if this week I gained half a pound, the chart still shows an over all downward trend. I find that encouraging to see. It really helps me not get caught up[ in minutia.

The blog function has also been useful for me as well. It has been a way to just add quick thoughts about what is going on. New foods I’ve tried, things that go well or don’t go well. I have also found inspiration in the news posts about various exercises and foods that come up on the site. Overall it has been a really good tool for me to use and after a solid month of use, I am now in the habit of using it. It has become routine to log in and input what I am eating and to log in my work outs.

the version I have been using though is the free version. I have found that sometimes I use a free version of a program and love it, and then dislike the paid version. On the other hand, sometimes once I try he paid version I find there are parts I really don’t want to let go of and remain with the paid version. There are several items on the paid listing that are intriguing to me;. There is a greater depth to the food logging app and a guided nutrition plan. There are also recipes targeted towards my nutritional goals. As I am always looking for new recipes to try out, I am very interested in that. The paid version sounds like it would actually be a benefit. So now that I have gotten used to the free version i am going to give the paid version a trial and then do a side my side comparison to see if it is the right plan for me or if I was fine with the free version of the app. So shall we see if the paid version has elements that I really need, or if the free version is all that I need? I think we shall. Let the trial begin!

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