A tag team duo for Face Mask Friday

Okay I have to admit, I am kind of excited about today’ facemask. In the past year there have been a lot more Dr. Botanicals products cropping up in subscription boxes and because of that they have been pinging my radar a lot more. Dr. Botanicals tend to be very affordable and to be honest all of the products I have tried from them lately have just been killing it. Some of their products I would take over several higher priced items actually.

And in my masking drawer was a Turmeric Face mask from Dr. Botanicals that I had not yet tried. So I decided that today was going to be it’s day. As with all new masks, I took it out, slipped on my reading glasses (Incidentally Thinoptics has a 25% off sale going on. Plus, if you don’t know the strength of reading glasses you need they have a Clarity kit so you can find out. It comes with it’s own deal and I’ll link it down below) and looked at the back of the packaging.

Usually face masks say something along the lines of apply to clean dry skin. Dr. Botanicals recommended using an exfoliator on your skin before applying a thin layer of mask and letting it sit for twenty minutes. And so i thought to myself, ‘I don’t have any exfoliators currently open, but I do have that Elemis Skin Buff I have been wanting to open up.’

Exfoliating with Elemis

So i used it as an excuse to open up the Elemis Skin Buff as my exfoliator. For a while I had a couple of exfoliators open and I wanted to use the open ones before opening another one. I just finished the Hey Honey Come Clean Exfoliator. It is really good and I already ordered a new one (gotta love sales, this was part of my stocking up from Lovely Skin order. The multi brand sales are just too hard to resist – and still going on if you ae interested). But it was time for the Elemis Skin buff.

This is actually my first time using it and I was happy to give it a go. It has a light and creamy almost face wash scent to it. The scent is very light. when dispensed the Skin Buff is white and creamy with very fine granules. I wet down my skin massaged the exfoliator in and found it gave a really nice gentle exfoliation. It rinsed clean away which was really good for me today specifically as I am using the mask right after. I was very impressed with the exfoliator and look forward to keeping it in the line up until it is used up. I am actually really happy the mask recommended it.

As the Elemis Skin Buff is going to be in rotation for a while I’ll just leave it with a positive first impression and move on to the Dr. Botanical’s Mask.

Post exfoliation/pre mask

After rinsing off the exfoliator and patting my face dry, I applied a thin layer of the Tumeric mask. It smoothed on easily, like a really thick moisturizer and then I left it for twenty minutes. The scent is lightly turmeric scented, but mostly the mask smells like a skin care cream. I then lay down with my headphones on for the twenty minute relaxation masking time. As always I lit my candles.

Mask on

I am currently using one of Paddywax’s Fall Favorites Black Fig and Olive in case you are wondering. It has just the right amount of sweetness and earthiness and just really suits the season. And it isn’t pumpkin spice. Don’t get me wrong I like pumpkin Spice. I actually have a candle called Pumpkin Souffle in my office, but not everything autumnal needs to be pumpkin. The fig and olive candle from Paddywax is a different scent profile and still very much with the season.

twenty minutes later (in case you are wondering the headband slipped and I had to adjust to keep my hair out of the mask

After my twenty minutes of relaxing, I went back to the bathroom to rinse off the mask. Most of the mask absorbed into my skin but on even the clear patches I could feel the mask residue as though it was a layer of plastic locking the rest of the moisture in. All of the mask, residue and all, rinsed of easily and cleanly. I essentially splashed water in my face, rubbed the skin to get the last of it rinsed off and then pat my skin dry with a wash cloth. It was essentially like removing a cleanser from the skin in terms of rinsing difficulty.

clean post mask skin

While I love clay masks, sometimes it is nice to have a mask that just rinses easily and cleanly away. This did just that. It is designed for skin calming and brightening. My skin feels nice and perhaps with repeated use I might see a brightening effect. I will certainly be happy to continue using this Dr. Botanicals Turmeric Face Mask as I really like the soft skin it leaves behind. For a first use though, it left a very positive impression.

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Trying out the Codex Beauty Bia Exfoliating Wash

I am a big fan of exfoliants.  I tend to use them about once a week, occasionally twice, depending on my skincare needs.  While there are several that claim they can be used daily, it is rare to find one that actually can be used daily without causing too much exfoliation to the skin.  The Codex Beauty Bia Exfoliating Wash claims to be a…

Gentle everyday cleanser that lightly exfoliates and tones skin. Bia Exfoliating Wash lightly exfoliates and tones skin, making it gentle enough for everyday use. Jojoba grains provide exfoliation without irritating the skin and castor oil helps clear pores and impurities and evens the appearance of skin tone. This wash never leaves skin feeling tight or dry and is clinically proven to improve the appearance of skin flakiness. Scent: Uplifting Grapefruit and Elderflower

I received this in a subscription box (Glossy Box actually) and I have to say the daily cleanser/exfoliate was a combo that I found interesting.  The deluxe sample was enough for me to use twice a day for two weeks.  It is a cream consistency with the particulates (the jojoba grains) suspended in the product.

I have to say that it was gentle enough that I could use it twice daily without feeling like my skin was being scrubbed raw. It actually did no damage and did exfoliate well. It is an extremely gentle exfoliate.  You can feel the jojoba grains in the product but they tend to break down a bit as you wash rather than break your skin down and stay solid hard particles.  I had no fears that I was doing any damage to my skin while using it.

The cleanser aspect of the product foamed well when rubbed into the skin, but not extravagantly. this is not a suds galore product. It is more of an exfoliating product that also cleanses. The cleansing part is very much secondary to the exfoliation, but at the same time I didn’t feel as though I needed to go back and wash my face after rinsing off the Codex exfoliating wash which is a big plus. Typically with exfoliates I use an oil or cleansing balm to remove makeup, then exfoliate if I am going to and then use a cleanser. This did eliminate the need for an additional cleanser.

So it cleansed nicely and exfoliated well, achieving both of it’s stated goals. I appreciate that. The only drawback I had with this product was the scent.  While it claims to be a grapefruit and elderflower blend, what I got was mostly castor oil with a slight citrusy back note.

It isn’t a bad scent, but I don’t think it is for me.  I can always tell when a product is really good but the scent isn’t for me (other than the scent) because I will reach for it and sigh. I know it’s just me in the bathroom so there is no one I need to be dramatic for, but it is something I always do. Good products with scents I don’t care for get the sigh, because I want to use them, I just can’t get past the scent.

In case you are wondering products that don’t work well but smell nice, don’t get the sigh. Those just get moved along. I think the sigh is a sign of disappointment, either for the product of for my inability to get past the scent to use the product that works well. Because let’s face it, I know me. I am very scent oriented. I may know this (or any other) product works well, but if I don’t like the scent I am just not going to reach for it. I can power through a sample, but not a full sized bottle.

While I think the Codex Beauty Bia Exfoliating Wash itself is nice and it does an excellent job of cleansing and exfoliating the skin, I don’t think I could take the scent of the product every day. 

I kept hoping I would get used to it, but somehow, I never did. Which is a shame.  It really is a great product and I love that it is a gentle enough exfoliating wash to be used daily.  It is one of the few products I’ve tried that have made that claim and been able to live up to it. I love that it uses natural ingredients and plant based preservatives. I love their sustainability ambitions.

But for me, the scent is the killer. I tried very hard, but I just can’t get past it.  So sadly, while an excellent product, a full sized purchase will not be in my near future. If I purchased it, the tube would just sit there because I would find excuses not to use it.  I will however, keep the efficacy of the product in mind and look at other products from the brand in the hopes that they work just as well but have a different scent to them.



Is the Avant Gentle Rose Beautifying Face Exfoliant Worth is hefty Price tag?

I have always loved a good exfoliant. And I’ll be honest, while I do really enjoy the chemical exfoliants, there is a part of me that will always gravitate towards the physical exfoliants.  There are two issues with them is that you really have to be mindful of if you are going to use the physical exfoliates.

The first issue involves ingredients.  Some of the physical exfoliates include things that are a little too harsh for the skin, such as walnut shells.  The shells can actually cause micro tears in the skin and actually be more detrimental than beneficial to the skin.  While I am willing to debate whether or not a product actually does what it claims to do, I tend to draw the line at detrimental.  I’d much rather debate good or pointless instead of good or bad with my skin care.  I like to take the term detrimental out all together.

The second thing to be mindful of when looking at exfoliates is knowing when you are overdoing it.  Overdoing a facial scrub is very easy to do, even with the chemical versions.  There are many exfoliants or facial scrubs that claim to be gentle enough to use every day.  At most I will use a facial scrub three times a week.  There are some products I would only use once a week and there are some that I will at best use once a month. I tend to save those for when I need a deep down scrub.

So with all this, why do I like facial scrubs and exfoliates?

I find that even if I use an exfoliant once a week, it tends to help slough off some of the dead skin and brighten my face.  I also find that this process really does help with the rough and bumpy clogged pores.  What I tend to do is I take my facial scrub into the shower with me.  I shower, wash my hair, wash my self and then once the hot water has opened up my pores I do a face scrub while still in the shower. Then when I get out of the shower and dry off I add serums and moisturizers to my newly scrubbed skin. 

And for those wondering, no these pictures were not taken in my shower.  I love each and every one of you, but I am not taking you into the shower with me.  I took the pictures at my bathroom sink.

But all facial scrubs are not the same. With some this process works better than others. So what are the Avant Skincare Gentle Rose Beautifying Face Exfoliant claims?

Refine and brighten your skin with Avant Skincare Gentle Rose Beautifying Face Exfoliant, a facial exfoliator that promotes a smoother, renewed-looking complexion.

Part of the brand’s Age Nutri-Revive range, the exfoliator has been specially formulated to nourish skin from within and combat a number of imperfections, from enlarged pores to uneven tone, fine lines and dullness, the formula. Combining nature with science for maximum efficacy, the formula helps to slough away dead skin cells and reveal a healthy-looking, radiant canvas. Its dose of hydrating Rose, with soothing and antioxidant properties, helps to reduce the appearance of redness, wrinkles and irritation, whilst Vitamin B5 delivers softening and healing benefits; moisture is retained and wrinkles appear smoother.

Skin is left feeling clarified and radiant with improved softness and texture. Regular exfoliation will maximize absorption of subsequent skincare products.

Free from carbomer and parabens.

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Cellulose Acetate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycol Distearate, Rosa Hybrid Flower Extract, Urea, Papain, Serine, Alanine, Proline, Glycolic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Magnesium Lactate, Potassium Lactate, Magnesium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Maltodextrin, Sodium Coceth Sulfate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Cocamide Mea, Peg/Ppg-14/4 Dimethicone, Myristyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Citronellol, Linalool, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Avant Skincare

Okay, that is a host of claims. But I don’t see the dreaded walnut shells, or anything else super harsh on the list. In fact nothing jumps out at me from the ingredints list as needing a warning, at least as far as my skin concerns go.  Every skin is different so if you have allergies or sensitivities, definitely take a look for yourself. 

So we open the tube. A momentary word about packaging.  While my product is in a squeeze tube the full size sold is actually sold in a glass jar.  My Avant Skincare Gentle Rose Beautifying Face Exfoliant came to me in a subscription box. I think it might have been either an IPSY or a Glossy Box.  In contains slightly less than the full size which clocks in at 60 mL rather than the 50 mL of the tube.

Oddly enough, there were a couple of months where I ended up with Avant products, one from Glossy Box, one from IPSY and one from Boxycharm. So I have three and can’t remember which was which. All three are sold on the Look Fantastic Site though, so any reordering would be done in one place.  I have this exfoliant scrub, a moisturizer and a night cream.  I tested out the cream, but found it was the kind of cream I really like in the winter time, so I put the moisturizer and day cream to the side until colder weather sets in for their trials. I rotated this facial scrub in once I finished with the Nuxe exfoliant.

Which is a long way to say that since tubes are lighter to ship, they are sent in tubes in subscription boxes instead of the glass jar you would purchase them in.   I think this would definitely work better in a glass jar than a tube.  Not only is it thick, but I generally found that because I have to squeeze a little harder to gt the product out of the tube, I tend to dispense more than I intended because I don’t stop squeezing fast enough.  Hence the too much product on my hand in the photo.  I really only needed to use about half of that for a good scrub to my face.  I think the glass jar makes it a little less wasteful than the tube. But since it is really only sold in the glass jars, it isn’t really an issue.  Just notes from my trial.

on the face it doesn’t really foam up but it is noticeable

Once dispensed the product has a very strong floral aroma.  Those who do not like rose, need to turn away now.  It is very rosy.  It is a fresh, French Skincare sort of rose which I don’t mind.  It is a little too strong a scent for my preferences but it isn’t cloying. It is definitely a fresh scent and it doesn’t linger.  If you are adverse to rose though, I can tell you, this product is not for you.

Which would be a shame. 

This is an extremely fine grained exfoliate in the scrub.  It feels a bit like caster sugar, fine grained but not yet ground down to the point where it is icing sugar. (I know that will mean more to those of you who bake, but I couldn’t really find a better description. If you took a pinch of table sugar between your thumb and index finger and rubbed them together, the grains would be slightly more harsh and scrubby than the Avant Skincare Gentle Rose Beautifying Face Exfoliant if that helps any).

clean skin with nothing irritated

It is extremely gentle on the skin and to be honest, this is the first time I have ever tested out an exfoliant and said, ‘Okay, I could see how someone could use this on a daily basis.’ Most of the facial scrubs, even ones I really like, I couldn’t see anyone using on a daily basis despite what is written on the label. This I could almost see someone justifying a daily use. 

I still stuck with my two to three times a week use, as that is more typical for me.  I will say that at no time did I think I was going to go overboard with using this product.  At no time was it too harsh on my skin. While most of the time I did use this as part of my shower, I did use it a few times at the bathroom sink. 

There were days when I felt super gunky from walking outside and (especially as it is ragweed season here) and this was a great way to do more than just rinse off the sweat and pollen particles.  It helped me feel less gunky. I did notice that the scent of the scrub was stronger when I used it at my bathroom sink than when I used it in the shower.  Maybe it is the steam, maybe it is the competing body wash and shampoo scents, but it was not as strong.  Still noticeable, but not as strong.

So did it meet its claims?

Let’s see…

Refine and brighten the skin? Yes.  I would say that this product achieved this.

Promote a smoother, renewed-looking complexion? Again yes, I would go along with this.  It was very good at helping me unclog clogged pores and smoothing out my complexion.

Specially formulated to nourish skin from within and combat a number of imperfections, from enlarged pores to uneven tone, fine lines and dullness? While I would lean towards my serums and moisturizers for combating fine lines, I’m not going to say this didn’t help.  I can’t prove it did anything as there were other products in play, but it certainly didn’t hurt.  As one of the reasons pores look enlarged is that they are full of gunk and making them look smaller often involves clearing the gunk out, I would say that yes this did help with enlarged pores and certainly with the dullness by sweeping away dead skin skin cells.

Helps to reduce the appearance of redness, wrinkles and irritation? Redness isn’t generally something I struggle with so I really can’t speak to that, but I will say I had absolutely no irritation with this product.  It worked well with my skin and exfoliated without being too harsh.

 Skin is left feeling clarified and radiant with improved softness and texture? My skin was always left feeling clean and soft rather than harshly scrubbed and there was no residue left behind.

Regular exfoliation will maximize absorption of subsequent skincare products? This was one of my favorite claims and to be honest, I have no way of actually testing it.  I really like the thought of it helping other products absorb better, but I think that by using the steam of the shower to open the pores and then an exfoliant to clear them out it left room for the rest of my skin care to move in.  There is no real way I have been able to figure out how to officially test that out though, it is just something that sort of makes sense.

But now the final question, would I buy this product and use it again?

There is no question that I would use this again.  The rose scent is a bit much, but the benefits do outweigh the scent.  Especially when used in the shower.  It is a bit on the pricey side.  A full sized jar costs $114.  Currently Look Fantastic has it on sale for 15% off with the code CELEBRATE, which is very nice.  If I were looking to splurge on a product, this would be one I would choose.  Because you only need a little and don’t use it every day, it would last quite a while.  It would definitely be a splurge item and I would keep an eye out for sales, but in the end, it is one of those pricey items that is actually worth their price tag.




Testing out B Kind’s Sensitive Skin Facial Scrub

The tube of B Kind’s Sensitive Skin Face Scrub (travel size)

In June’s Petit Vour Box, I received the cutest little tube of exfoliating facial scrub from B Kind.  I don’t know why I find the little tube so cute.  I think because it is not only small but chubby.  But packaging and its cuteness is beside the point, it is the product that counts.  There turned out to be a surprising amount of product in the little tube.  I wasn’t certain there would be enough to do a fair trial to be honest, but I thought I’d get an an initial reaction out of it. Given the amount of product actually in the tube, it turned out there was enough for me to get a good handle on it after all. So to the review…

Officially, this is the Sensitive Skin Face Scrub with Cranberry and Hibiscus from the company B Kind.

On the site it claims:

Our cranberry seeds and hibiscus face scrub has been created for your skin to be softly exfoliated and hugely moisturized at the same time

Perfect for sensitive or dry skin: this face scrub will leave your skin smooth, glowing and moisturized. 

Now I have to say that I shouldn’t be surprised that it is a pinkish, dare I say, cranberry color.  To be honest, I’m certain the hibiscus is the color culprit there.  I have grown hibiscus before and it stains everything that color. There are currently several jars of hibiscus jam in my cupboard that are only a few shades lighter.

For some reason I was expecting it to be white though.  I’m not entirely sure why. There is no real reason it should be. And it isn’t, it is pinky-mauve.

It is also a very good gentle exfoliate.  It is a physical exfoliate rather than a chemical one, but I didn’t find it too abrasive on my skin.  It is either extremely finely milled or the cranberry seeds used for exfoliation purposes are exceedingly tiny. To be fair it could be a combination of the two. I’ve never actually seen cranberry seeds. I lack the garden bog to give growing them at home a go. I will say that because the exfoliate is a seed that is mixed in with the cream, it is rather soft. It still exfoliates but I can see why it is geared towards sensitive skin. My skin had no problems with it during my use of the product.

I also only used it once a week for the duration of my use.  Sensitive skin oriented or not, this isn’t something I would feel comfortable using every day.  Once a week was perfect for me though.  And as it had four uses in the tiny tube, I managed to get a month’s worth if use out of it.  The reason I got so much use out of it is because it really doesn’t take much to cover your entire face.  The little squirt pictured in my hand in the photo was all I really needed. It comes out thick, but spreads far over the skin as the heat from your skin warms it up. A little dab is all that is necessary.

product on skin

The color remained with the product instead of transferring, although on the face it made me look a bit like I face planted in the garden and then rolled around a bit for good measure. The skin just looks slightly dirty for a moment, and then you wash and all is well. Plus your skin feels amazing. Or at least mine did. I felt glowy and refreshed.

product washed off

This is a natural, vegan, cruelty free product and the packaging is recyclable.  All things I really like and very much appreciate.  It was made in Montreal, as was a large chunk of my family. 

Although, I don’t really think any skin care company should be thought of in the same context as my Great Uncle Rene. He had skin like leather, smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish and was killed by a bus. He was surprisingly healthy until the bus. He always claimed it was because he was made in Montreal. Well, before the bus anyway. Because of his claims, he is the first thing that pops into my head when I see Made in Montreal on something.

I offer my deepest apologies to the city.

If it helps, the bus wasn’t even in Montreal.

But clearly I digress.

I really liked the facial scrub and enjoyed using it enough to purchase a full size and poke around on the website to see what other products they have in their skin care line as it was a quality product. My one criticism, is that it did leave the feeling of a slightly waxy residue on my skin.  It wasn’t a lot of residue, just a little, but it was noticeable.

The website claims that it is part of the skin enhancing benefits and recommends that you only wash it off with plain water so that the ingredients remain on the skin to do their work. I tried, I really did, but it just felt waxy on my skin. I think part of the reason is that the skin care benefits, beyond the exfoliation, look like they are geared towards dry skin. While my skin falls into the normal category, it tends to skew towards oily in the warmer months and towards dry in the winter. Perhaps if I tried this again in the winter I would not have an issue with simply using water and leaving it to sit. As it was, I had to wash with more than water.

As this was a part of my skin care regime, sandwiched between my makeup removing balm and my face wash on the nights I used it, the residue was not really an issue.  It would only be an issue if I were using I alone. As I always wash my face after a physical exfoliant, just to make certain it is all gone, this is a non-issue for me, but it is something you might want to be aware of if adding this to your routine. Perhaps with dryer skin, you will find this more helpful.

While I’m at it, I have to add one more thumbs up on pricing.  The full size of the B Kind Sensitive Skin Face Scrub is $28 (it is 48 g as opposed to the 15 g travel size pictured in this post).  This is a good price for a really good product. Given how little is needed for each use, I think it is a very good value.

I’ve noticed that some companies start raising prices on skin care once it gets to be clean, natural and vegan. Not all of them, but enough that I naturally think that clean and natural products are going to be more expensive.  Perhaps that is just me and not a larger reflection.  Or perhaps it was, but things are now changing.  Either way, I am happy to see this quality of a product offered at this sort of price.

It also makes me really glad I’m going to be getting another Petit Vour box this month, because I honestly would not have found this on my own and I am really glad that I have now found it. At the moment it is tied with my favorite Skin and Co Face Gommage for my favorite physical exfoliator.  I will be looking into their other products and possibly seeing if they have an exfoliant not geared towards dry skin for the summer months. Even without dry skin, this is a product I can easily see myself ordering.


Cruelty-Free Beauty Box

Reviewing Lavido skincare

One of the things I love about subscription boxes is that occasionally they send something your way that you have never heard of and wouldn’t mind trying.  Sometimes different boxes from different companies send you products from the same line in the same month. From one box came the Lavido Age away replenishing cream  featuring Grapefruit seed, Melissa and avocado (retail $69) while another box provided Lavido’s 2-in-1 Purifying Facial Mask and Exfoliator (retail $36) featuring pomegranate seed oil, lemon and macadamia.

Since they arrived at the same time, and I was just finishing up a moisturizer trial, I decided to use them together. They arrived in early April and this morning (May 20th) I used the last of each of them.  So they lasted seven and a half weeks for me.  I will admit that one of the reasons I held off reviewing them was that I lost my initial weights (instead of putting it in the notebook where I usually keep things I jotted it down on a scrap of paper and then promptly lost said paper) so I figured I would just see how long they lasted with regular use.

Before I cover what I think of the products, let’s see what they have to say for themselves.  First, the Moisturizer. According to the Lavido website is…

Made with 11 innovative plant actives, this advanced anti-aging solution is clinically proven to diminish the appearance of dryness, wrinkles and rough texture while it deeply nourishes mature and compromised skin. Its rich, ultra-luxurious texture features Summer Snowflake, scientifically proven to strengthen cell integrity, slow the aging process, and stimulate new cellular regeneration. Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid boosts collagen production and imparts an instant volumizing effect for a naturally firmer, radiant, and more rejuvenated complexion.

moisturizer

The scent of the cream is floral.  It isn’t overwhelmingly cloying, but it is a noticeable scent. If you are sensitive to scents that might be something you want to consider.  The cream is also very thick.  A little dab into the hand was all that was needed.  It is designed for dry, mature skin and I think the formula would work really well with dry skin.  My skin is normal leaning towards oily on occasion.  Dry is not generally my skin care concern but fine lines are so I was happy to try it. 

white cast on skin after initial application of moisturizer (look towards the ear)

Because my skin isn’t dry I had some trepidation.  The fear was unfounded.  I needed only a little bit of the cream to cover my entire face and neck.  I will say that because it is so thick and my skin is not an arid desert, I had to spend some time massaging it into the skin.  If you look in the picture you will see a white cast on my skin where I only did a first pass rubbing it in. The benefit is that you sort of get a facial massage twice a day when using this product.  The down side is that it adds a little extra time to your morning and evening routine.

But if a product is worth it, I am willing to take a little extra time.  So is it worth it?

During this trial I used the cream morning and evening as my sole moisturizer.  When the weather was cooler (and the central heat still drying the air out) I really liked the moisturizer.  As the weather warmed, and in my part of the world the humidity rose, I found that while I still liked it as a night cream, I was less enthused by its use in the morning.  My skin was just not dry enough in the morning.  It was an excellent night cream however and I woke with my skin plumped and hydrated. Dare I say it, even glowing.  For my skin type I could use this as a night cream very happily or as a dry winter cream. It is an excellent cream and mature skin or not, I think the dryer your skin happens to be, the more you will enjoy this cream. I would have no problem repurchasing the Age Away Replenishing Cream as a night cream, but I wouldn’t use it as my go to daily moisturizer. Especially not at this time of year.

This moves us on to the 2-in-1 Purifying Facial mask and exfoliator. According to its product page…

This exfoliating and anti-aging multi-mask gently stimulates circulation and new cell regeneration while dried Pomegranate peel and seeds remove dead skin cells, revealing smoother, more radiant skin with fewer pimples, dark spots and wrinkles overtime. Use as an exfoliating cleanser or leave on as a mask to receive it’s full youth-giving benefits.

While I am always leery of any product that threatens to do too much, this isn’t too much of a stretch for a product.  As an exfoliator it is a fairly gentle one.  When applied to the skin it looks more like you have a slightly dirty face than are wearing a full mud mask. It has a slight roughness which you would expect from a physical exfoliator but it isn’t harsh.  I think because the peel is used rather than harder seeds.  I found it could be used every other day to brighten the completion without feeling like you were blasting away too many layers.  Used as an exfoliator it worked really well and I quite enjoyed it.  It has a slightly pomegranate scent to it but it is less present than the floral scent of the moisturizer and smells more fresh and clean than anything else.

While the exfoliator does leave your skin soft and refreshed, leaving the product on mask like actually did increase the benefits of the product.  My skin did feel better if I allowed it to sit for a few minutes.  What I ended up doing was using it as sort of a cross over.  On the nights I used it, I would wash my face, apply the exfoliator and let it sit while I brushed my teeth and then used a lip exfoliator on my lips I’d then wet my hands, massage the mask a little to help with the exfoliation and then wash it off and continue with my routine.  I found this gave me the best the 2-in-1 could provide. 

I have to say I would unequivocally buy this product again.  It is listed as good for all skin types and I have to say my skin loved it.  It was a gentle but effective exfoliator that could also be worn as a mask.  I really enjoyed using it and was very sad to see it now an empty tube.

Until I received these products in subscription boxes, I had never heard of the company or heard anything about them.  I can’t actually say I would have tried them on my own, but I am glad I did and I am certain I will be seeing these products in my bathroom again.


With Memorial day soon to be upon us, sales abound. I’m posting a fw deals below that you may want to look into. Enjoy!

Prai Beauty:

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Annmarie SkinCare Review

The line up for the the two week Annmarie Skincare Trial

For the past two weeks I’ve been testing out various Annmarie Skincare Products.  They very kindly sent over samples for me to review.  I have to say it was very interesting to test out not one, but an entire series of products from the same company at the same time.  In case you haven’t heard of Annmarie Skincare, according to their website

We carefully select organic and wildcrafted ingredients — including herbs and plant extracts — to meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness for your skin and body. We carefully audit our sources to ensure that they continue to meet our standards of purity and sustainability. 

I’m a big fan of their commitment to sustainability and was thrilled to be able to try out their products. Before I get into the individual products, let me go over the regime I’ve been following during the trial.

First up was the Aloe Herb Cleanser which I used twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. There was also the Anti-Aging Serum which I also used twice daily after cleansing. As AnnMarie Skincare provided me with two types of facial oil, I used the Herbal Facial Oil for the first week and the Anti-Aging oil for the second week.  The oil I applied twice daily as well, applying it to my skin after the serum was given a little time to sink in. 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I used the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub.  The final element to this skin care trial were the face masks.  Two masks were provided.  The first week I used the Illuminating Pearl Mask Monday , Wednesday and Friday and the second week I used the Purifying Mud Mask for the same three day system.

The only item I didn’t have with this line was a moisturizer so I used the Purlisse Blue Lotus Moisturizer since I knew how it performed from an earlier trial of the product.

Over all, I really enjoyed these products and I think they worked really well together.  Individually there are some that I liked better than others. So let’s get into the individual products .

First up is the Aloe Herb Cleanser. It is an herb infused facial cream cleanser that smells of lemon verbena.  Seriously, the scent alone is worth buying the product.  It is a wonderful aroma to wake up to and equally pleasant to take off the day.  But a cleanser isn’t just about scent, no matter how scent oriented I am.  According to the product page…

The cleanser is creamy but doesn’t really foam up. It does however work well and smell amazing.

Cleanse and lift excess oil with this pH-balanced, aloe vera-based cream cleanser. Infused with beautifying herbs and a light blend of natural oils containing essential fatty acids, to keep your skin naturally hydrated. Gently removes makeup and impurities without drying or leaving any residue. Leaves your skin feeling nourished, soft and beautiful.

I have to say, my skin felt nourished and soft with no residue left behind.  It isn’t the greatest at removing mascara, but it took down all other makeup with no problems.  And then I did a quick clean-up of the raccoon eyes with the Makeup Eraser easy peasy. Since most cleansers have some issues with mascara, I’m willing to give it a pass on that, especially because of the scent.

Next up, was the Anti-aging Serum.  Again this is a product I really liked. The sample vial had just enough product to last for the two week test.  I took the eye dropper from an empty bottle of serum and used three drops of the serum for each application.  It covered my face well, absorbed quickly and smelled deliciously herbal.  I couldn’t identify any particular herbal scent but it is very herbal-ly smelling. I was very sad when the bottle was empty. I actually upended the bottle and tapped it on my hand to get the very last drops out of it befire I finally had to admit that it was empty.  On the product page…

This versatile, aloe vera-based serum provides active nutrients for all skin types, firming and tightening the appearance of aging skin. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while the herbal extracts buddleja davidii and edelweiss protect skin from environmental stressors. Life everlasting flowers soothe and refresh.

Perhaps I couldn’t identify the herbs by scent because I am unfamiliar with how most of the ones listed actually smell on their own.  Either way I did see an improvement in my skin’s texture and while my fine lines weren’t magically erased, they didn’t get any larger and my skin had a healthy glow to it.

The anti-aging oil

Next up we come to the oil and I have to admit, I had a little bit of a problem with the oils. The scent of both the Herbal Facial Oil and the Anti Aging oil are sharply herbal, but despite the two oils smelling different from each other they both have a slight medicinal scent to their aromas that I didn’t find all that appealing.  Perhaps it is the willow bark. In addition, they both have a slightly thick texture to them that I didn’t particularly care for. It is purely a textural issue as both products performed well. 

The Herbal Facial Oil is…Specially formulated with cleansing botanicals, white willow bark and neem, this delicate herbal blend helps unclog pores and balances natural oils. Lightly moisturizing with a fast-absorbing grapeseed oil base. Leaves skin soft and smooth for a bright and beautiful complexion.

While the Anti Aging Oil is described as… This luxurious, herb-infused formula delivers intense moisture to keep dry and mature skin supple and dewy. Antioxidant-rich seed oils — chia, goji berry, and broccoli — firm and tighten, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Jojoba oil resembles your skin’s natural oil, softening and conditioning mature skin. Your skin vibrates in perfect harmony.

When applying them I had to think ’this is good for me’ before I applied them. And they were good for my skin, even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the scent or texture.  My complexion is smooth and bright, my skin clear and kind of glowy. They really work well, but that scent and texture really threw me.

The scrub comes as a powder, which I like but it is a little too gentle a scrub for me.

The Ayurvedic Facial Scrub is designed for sensitive skin and is a very mild exfoliate.  The product page describes it as…

This fragrant Indian herbal treatment with horsetail and fenugreek seeds exfoliates and softens. Mineral-rich Rhassoul clay from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco absorbs excess oil. This gentle but powerful treatment leaves skin revitalized, fresh and alive.

It has a similar scent to the Purifying Mud Mask, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it has some of the same ingredients.  Like the mud mask, it comes as a dry powder that you mix with a little bit of water to turn into a paste. The process made me feel like a mad scientist when I used it.  It is a decent exfoliator and if you have sensitive skin, I can see this being perfect for you.  It left my skin feeling fresh, but I personally prefer a slightly more exfoliating exfoliator. It was fun to mix though and I enjoyed playing around with the consistency.

I reviewed both the Illuminating Pearl Mask and the Purifying Mud Mask in separate posts so I’ll just link those reviews instead of going into great depth here ( Previous in depth reviews: PEARL and MUD), but to sum up both posts; I loved the face masks. The Illuminating Pearl Mask left my skin glowing and the Purifying Mud Mask left me feeling deep down clean.  Personally, I prefer the Purifying Mud Mask, but I tend to lean towards more pore cleansing masks in general.  Both are good and well worth trying out.

Of the products I used during this trial I have to say the Aloe Herb Cleanse, the Anti-aging Serum and the two masks were the absolute best and they are products I will be adding to my list of products to purchase. I loved how they performed and how they made my skin feel.

While the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub is not my absolute favorite, I have a couple of friends with sensitive skin who I will definitely recommend it to as I think it would be more up their alley than mine. 

I think I would have to pass on the facial oils.  Although they did lovely things for my skin, I just don’t think I could take the texture of them long term. I think if I purchased them, I would look for reasons not to use the oil.  In all fairness though, my mother actually uses the Herbal Facial Oil for oily skin and she absolutely loves it. It is one of the few facial oils she can use that doesn’t leave her feeling greasy. Since a little goes a long way, and I was using two separate oils, I have some left over.  She has already staked a claim on them and they will be leaving my bathroom and going straight to hers where they will be used and well loved.

Over all I really liked this trial and I loved the way my skin looked and felt.  I found some products that I really liked and will be ordering and some that just weren’t for me. It’s always good when a brand that has such a good ethos also has good products and I was very pleased with Annmarie Skincare.

Three Times Sublime or is it?

After my success with the Draw it all Out Mask by Fromula 10.0.6 I decided to try the brand’s Three Times Sublime or to give it its full name Three Times Sublime 3-in-1 Blackhead Wash + Scrub + Mask with Pink Grapefruit + Jojoba (retail $6.99).  It was relatively inexpensive and I am always looking for a good exfoliator.

In general I am skeptical when a product claims to be multi use.  Generally I find that the product either does one thing really well and really doesn’t deal with the others well, or in trying to do too many things they end up failing at all of them.  At least that has been my experience. Maybe I’m a cynic.

But I am always willing to be proven wrong.

In fact in the arena of multi-tasking skin care, I love being proven wrong. The bathroom I use for my skin care is a small powder room and shelf space is rather limited. Multi-taskers mean the shelf is less crowded.

So first let’s look at the claims.  According to the website…

This miraculous multi-tasker makes light work of stubborn blackheads, to remove excess oil, unclog pores and eliminate blemishes. Pink grapefruit cleanses while jojoba exfoliates. Its 3-in-1 formula acts as a wash, scrub and mask for the complete complexion overhaul.

Interesting, no?

I have to say with all of the stress and bad eating from the last two weeks I have been having a few break outs so I am not opposed to a product willing to tackle them for me.  As I’ve mentioned before I love exfoliators and I adore face masks so this should be a win for me.

First off, the scent.  Yes I know, I have to smell everything.  At least I didn’t feel the need to taste this one. That’s progress, right?

This cleanser/mask smells lightly citrusy.  It is light, quite pleasant and not overpowering.   I generally think of jojoba in terms of softening rather than scent so I don’t know what it actually smells like.  I’m guessing though that it mitigated the grapefruit scent a bit.

Product in hand. You can feel the exfoliate but it is rather fine grained.

Satisfied with the scent I decided to try the cleansing aspect first. So I started with a full face of makeup and washed my face. Yeah, there is a reason it is not called a make-up removing cleanser. While the exfoliating particles do technically scrub the make-up off, you would have to rub harder than I feel comfortable with to do it, and I’m pretty sure there will still be some left over.

Realizing my error, I quickly rinsed it off, used my Make Up Eraser to remove my makeup and then started again, using it as a cleanser/exfoliator. I have to say it worked well. It is a light exfoliate with fine grain particles that aren’t too harsh on the skin.  There was a little put of foaming, but not terribly much.  After cleansing/exfoliating, I rinsed my face.  It takes a bit of rinsing to remove all of the particles.  If you like splashing a lot of water on your face, this is the product for you.  The rinsing is mostly because the particles are rather fine grained and you need to get them all off.

Once everything was washed off, I was very pleased with my skin.  My skin was clean with no residue left behind, exfoliated and soft and there was no irritation on my break outs. They were in fact a little bit dryer which is I believe one of the product claims. Despite this the rest of my face was not dried out, it was just the spots where I was broken out. I call that a win.

At least on one front.

I did try the Three Times Sublime as a mask.  Not on the same day of course, but the next.  It gives the same cleansing exfoliating effect as before but I could see no noticeable benefit to leaving it on the skin as I would a mask.  It dried out a bit and the scrub was a little harder to remove.

So, three times sublime, maybe not.  I like cleansers that remove my makeup, which this didn’t do, but on nights when I either haven’t worn makeup that day or have used something else to remove it first, this is a great face wash and exfoliator combo, especially if you have some stress related break outs cropping up. It is gentle enough to use daily, which most exfoliators are not and after a few days I saw a noticeable reduction in my break outs. I didn’t see the point of using it as a mask, but I suppose if you are super oily or have more of a problem with breakouts, you might find it more helpful than I did.

So even if all the claims weren’t met, I think this product is definitely one to keep around as a useful addition to my skin care team.


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Time to Exfoliate…

I have always been a big fan of exfoliators.  As a result, I have tried several.  I found this one intriguing because of the name. It is the Goldfaden MD Solution Doctor’s Scrub (retail $75). It sounds both oddly medicinal, yet slightly generic all at the same time. At least to my ears.

The claims from the website are fairly straightforward.

A daily facial exfoliator that adds hydration and removes dead surface skin revealing brighter, radiant, healthier-looking skin. Buffs and removes dead skin. May improve the appearance of skin color and tone. Works to reduce the appearance of pores and lines.

All of the things you’d expect in an exfoliator.  I will say though that with a $75 price tag attached to it, I was expecting an amazing product.  Especially since I have tried several really good exfoliators that are in the $30 -$40 range.  For me oddly enough, exfoliators don’t seem to be in that super expensive tier of skin care where moisturizers and serums seem to live.  I’m not entirely sure why. It may just be a mental block for me and others may expect them to be pricey, but for some reason I don’t expect that sort of price range from exfoliators.

The texture of the product is like fine sand.  There are no super hard pieces to it which I found a relief.  I worry when there are too many larger hard bits. I like exfoliating, but I don’t want to cause damage. This one was milled down far enough that it wasn’t much of a concern.

The texture is very finely milled.

The scent of the scrub is light and clean with a vaguely lime scented undertone to it.  I liked the scrub of the formula.  It exfoliated well.  My problem with it was that it left a slightly greasy feeling residue on my skin when I rinsed it off that made me want to wash my face right after using it. 

Typically after exfoliating I leave my skin alone for a while (at least an hour) before applying any cream or lotion.  I don’t have any real scientific reason, I just feel like letting my skin rest and recover from the exfoliating before messing with it again.  Plus, with good exfoliator I really like the super clean feeling it gives me. Call me a weird-o, but I really like basking in the feel of fresh clean skin.

I get over it soon enough and apply moisturizer and makeup like a normal person, but for a little while I revel.

And I bask.

What can I say?

This did not leave me with the super clean freshly scrubbed feeling and I had to use a cleanser right after using it which was slightly disappointing. I think if my skin were more on the dry side, I would not have as much of a problem with that aspect of the scrub.  It is really good, but it is just not for my skin type. Because of that it is not going to go to the top of my list of must repurchase products. 

What is interesting though, beyond the skin type issues, is that on the packaging it claims that this exfoliator can be used daily.  While I enjoy a good scrub, I don’t use exfoliator daily. (yes, I limit my reveling)  In addition, this is far too intense a scrub to be used on a daily basis, at least by me.  Some of you may like it.  For me, this would be a once a week sort of product. 

Like I said, it does have a good exfoliation to it, and a pleasant smell.  However because of the need to wash off the remaining greasy residue at the end of using this product, I am going to have to pass on repurchasing. Perhaps if I had much drier skin, this would be less of an issue. 

But fear not, gentle reader, it will not go to waste.  I have a friend with much drier skin and a love of exfoliation that matches my own who will be taking it off my hands (despite just coming in a jar, I used a scoop to extract the product I used rather than just dipping my fingers into it so it is untainted by actual touch.) Perhaps she will enjoy it more, but I can definitely say this one is not for me.

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