Friday, January 29, 2016

Estee Lauder Daywear SPF 50 Review

I'm now 100% a Supergoop convert, but back when Estee Lauder was running its free gift with purchase I went ahead and spent the $35 to get a hold of the Daywear SPF 50 sunscreen. All in all, it's a pretty decent sunscreen that skews on the more greasy side, but still works for the face and is easy to apply.  

As a major label product, it's not surprising that this product contains some of the less healthy sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone. But at least there's no retinyl palmitate, and as a boost it also contains sodium hyaluronate, making it a nice dual mix of sunscreen + moisturizer. 

I would massage it over my face each morning, and found it easy to absorb and very hydrating (almost too much as a warning for those of you with oily skin). The product also has that familiar cucumber scent in most Estee Lauder products. 

The only issue I had was that it honestly didn't last very long. I think you can get maybe a month or two of total use from each bottle if you put it on your face alone, which is not great for a product at this price point. Basically, I think there's better sunscreens out there for a much better price. But when you combine it with the gift for purchase, which at the time landed me with a free bag as well as sample sizes of Estee Lauder skincare, it becomes a better value. Basically, I wouldn't go out solely to buy this.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Favorite Sunscreens: Supergoop Sunscreen Oil and Setting Mist

One of my least favorite parts of my morning routine is applying sunblock. With a normal sunblock, it just takes so long and requires constant skin rubbing. But no more! My routine literally now takes seconds with the Supergoop Setting Mist and Sunscreen Oil. I've repurchased these twice, and have my application process down cold.

I start the morning off by spritzing my face and neck a few times all over with the Setting Mist, which is SPF 50+ but seriously is like spraying a toner over your face. Granted, I think there's a risk that it won't be as effective as old-fashioned rubbing sunscreen over your face, but for the time it saves I'll take this option. After spraying, I gently pat it into my skin. The one thing you have to be careful of is to not inhale this stuff when you spray. I usually take a deep breath and hold it until I have patted the product in. 

For the body, I use the sunscreen oil. I just spray and rub into my legs, and it sinks in amazingly well. I don't use this on my face because honestly it's too greasy and will make you look gross. But on the body it's fantastic, and moisturizing to boot. 

My one complaint is with the spritzer, which I find tends to jam up with use. I usually end up just uncapping the bottle and pouring some out directly into my hands later on. 

What I like about Supergoop is that while the products are inevitably chemical based (as physical based sunscreens can't be made into a mist or oil consistency, they do stay clear of parabens, Oxybenzone, and other harmful ingredients. Yes, it's probably not as healthy as an old fashioned physical sunscreen, but it's so much easier to apply and I'm willing to make the tradeoff. 

 What are you favorite sunscreens?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ipsy January 2016 Unboxing

I finally joined the subscription box bandwagon, but only for Ipsy as it seems to genuinely deliver value, and is almost universally ranked better than Birchbox on the comparisons I've seen. This was my first subscription bag, and honestly I'm very pleased. At $10.89 a month after tax, I think it's a fun way to try out new products, and at a very fair price point assuming you actually use everything they include. I've definitely spent more on just a single product, and here you get at least one full-size item, plus several samples and a cute little bag (one can never have enough bags in my opinion).

Since I joined while they were running promos for the free Em by Michelle Phan mascara, I also got a free full-size of the lash gallery mascara. I get that the Em brand hasn't exactly taken root and thus they're probably just giving away the old, unsold products, but I'll take it! Awesome value, and even without the mascara I would have been pleased as I got a full size The Balm eyeliner in a deep purple shade called Scott. That alone would retail for the price of the bag, so throw in the cute glasses bag plus all the other little items and I'm thrilled.

Below is a snap of all the items in my bag. I will update this review with impressions / thoughts once I actually start using all of these items.

Hanalei Sugar Lip Scrub

I was initially least excited about this item, because I'm not a lip scrub user as I generally don't think they do much except irritate the lips. Yet I had to change my mind once I actually tried this. Unlike other sugar scrubs, this one is surprisingly not gritty, and features a delicious lemony scent and sweet taste. You're meant to scrub and wipe off with a tissue rather than rinse off, and I found it to be gentle and very moisturizing. It leaves a hydrating layer afterwards, which goes away after a few moments. And my lips looked very hydrated and plump, which is always a great thing. I like!

The Balm Mr. Write (Now) Eyeliner Pencil in Scott

When I first previewed my Ipsy bag online, it looked like they had selected the yellow /gold shade of this eyeliner for me, which would have been awful as there's no way I could have used that on my Asian complexion. But it seems like Ipsy does take into account your profile details, and luckily I received this very usable, deep purple color, which is quite flattering against dark eyes and which I can't wait to start using.

The product features a pointed tip, and I'm not sure about how it sharpens but assume the cap is self-sharpening. It was incredibly easy to use and glided very smoothly on the skin in my trial-run on my arm, so we'll see how it holds up on the eyes. Generally I'm quite pleased.

(Sorry for the blurry swatch!)

Pixi by Petra eyeshadow dual in Lavendar Bloom

This was another product that I'm surprisingly pleased with. Again, the colors are perfect for my Asian-toned skin and eyes, and will go beautifully with The Balm liner. They swatch beautifully as well, especially the bronzey-champagne shade. The lavendar shade is more matte, while the champagne is a nice shimmery color that I can probably wear everyday.

Burt's Bee's cleansing oil: Interestingly, I was just about to buy this product in CVS, but luckily did not as now I can give it a trial run. I haven't tried many cleansing oils, but as I'm always on the hunt for one that will be effective at removing all of my makeup I'm excited to give this a shot. Will keep you posted!

Skone Eyeshadow smudger brush: To be honest, I don't foresee much use for this. The bristles are really short and were quite hard to work with in my quick trial run. They were also quite hard and uncomfortable. We'll see if it softens up, but for now I'm not impressed.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any thoughts on subscription boxes / Ipsy!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cle de Peau Beaute Radiantly Perfect Eyes Collection

I'm constantly on the lookout for a nice eye cream, as my undereye wrinkles are one of my sticking points. I've heard great things about Cle de Peau (which is a higher-end offshoot of Shiseido), so was immediately drawn when I spotted the Radiantly Perfect Eyes set. This set retails at $140, which is the same price as the eye cream alone. Still very pricey, but potentially a better deal together.

Below are all the items in the kit. Note, the sunscreen and body lotion are not included, these were items I received as a sample from the sales associate (always ask for samples!)

In total, the kit includes the eye cream, a mascara, a lash curler, makeup remover, cotton pads, and a cute blue bag.

I like the texture of the eye cream, as it's light yet moisturizing. I'll report back once I use it a bit longer to see how effective it is.

The thing I surprisingly do love is the eyelash curler. I have fairly flat eyes, so it's hard to find curlers that are able to fit against my lashes. I've used the Tweezerman curlers for the past few years, but when I tried this one out it really was a noticeable improvement. The curler features a very thin pad, which allows you to better scoop and squeeze your lashes, thus giving a firmer curl that lasts longer. I'm impressed.

The body lotion isn't anything to write home about, in case any of you are thinking about it separately. It smells nice and does the job, but as with all body lotions, nothing amazing here.

The bag is one of the cuter freebie bags I've received yet. This has gained a permanent place in my handbag. Nicely sized but not too bulky, and looks quite a bit better than the freebie Sephora bags.

This was definitely a pricey product, but I figure when it comes to skincare, and especially eye cream, they last so long for me that it's worth the one time investment. Let me know if you have any experience with this brand!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tarte Blushing Bride Set

As part of the Sephora sale, I also picked up the Tarte blushing bride set, for ~$25. I've tried the Tarte blushers, but never their lip products or mascara before so thought it was a good opportunity. Considering that the retail price for one of their LipSurgence glosses alone is $19 (ridiculous I know), this is seemingly a great value. 

The set included the following:

Lingerie bag

The design of this is actually quite cute, and the quality surprisingly nice. It has a silken sheen and is about the size of a shoe bag. Now, considering that I'm not actually a bride-to-be I may just use this as a general travel bag rather than a lingerie bag. 

Cheek stain in blushing bride

I'm honestly not super impressed with this. I feel like I'm more of a powder blush kind of girl, as cheek stains are a pain to blend. The color is also more barbie pink on the skin (see below swatch) rather than the coral it seemingly is in the tube. Not terrible, but I wouldn't buy it.

LipSurgence lip gloss and power pigment, both in blushing bride

These I love. I used to be afraid of bold colors, but something about this cool-toned violet pink lipsurgence balm is just perfect for my skintone and I've received numerous compliments when it's on. It's super pigmented and not drying. I also love the color of the gloss - it's such a peachy, pretty pink that's natural but also done up.

The only negative I have to say about these lip products is that they contain artificial color ingredients, e.g., red 7 etc. I've read that artificial colors are basically poison to your body if you ingest them, and considering that it's near impossible to not wind up eating some of your lip product, this is a bit worrisome. I'm not bothered enough to stop using them, but I think next time I'll try for a more natural pigment based brand. I'm just surprised by Tarte using such cheap ingredients, considering their price point and seeming reputation for being an all-natural brand. But these days I don't trust in most big-box brands.

Lights, Camera, Splashes Mascara and blotting sheets

I haven't tried either of these as I'm still finishing up another mascara and I don't really need blotting sheets in the winter. Will report back. 

All in all, I'm happy with the set, especially due to the lip colors. I don't think I'll be repurchasing any of the items once I'm done trying them out, but it was fun to open up and experiment with this here. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Josie Maran Whimsical Wonder Set

What I love about the post-holiday season are the sales. I took advantage of Sephora's 20% off sale section to score this Josie Maran Whimsical Wonder set for ~$20. Not a bad deal, especially if you're a fan of the brand. 

The kit includes 5 miniatures of the following:

Whipped Argan Oil Body Lotion in Be Joyful

I like this, it's exactly what you'd expect of a whipped body butter, that's nourishing yet not greasy and easy to rub in. There's nothing amazing, but it does the job. Update: I'm actually obsessed with this body butter. The texture is so beautiful and delicious, and the scent is lovely but not cloying. Very seriously considering getting the full size once it runs out, it honestly makes me want to moisturize my hands (a task that I'm normally always forgetting / too tired for). 

Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil

I've surprisingly found this more useful than I expected. Now that it's sniffling season, my nose is constantly chapped. I dab a bit of this around my nose during the day, and it's wonderfully moisturizing and nourishing. It can be on the greasy side, but as my workplace is pretty dry, I find it absorbs in quite quickly and doesn't leave me shiny for long. I even put it on my cheeks after blusher to provide a boost of shine as they say. Great and hydrating.

Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment

This is like a night cream, and I dab a bit over my face at night. Like all of her products, it's on the hydrating side, but I like it as it sinks in well and seems to actually be effective in locking in moisture.

Pure Argan Oil

I never got on the bandwagon with this, but now that I have it I find it surprisingly easy and nice to drop a bit of this into my normal body lotion. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but I feel like it can't hurt? I don't use this directly on my skin as I think that would be too greasy, but as a supplement it's nice.

Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47

I've used a full bottle of this in the past and remember liking it but finding it a bit greasy at times. Now that it's winter I don't mind as much, and I love that it's made with natural ingredients unlike so many sunblocks out there. And on the scale of things, I'd much prefer a hydrating formula than a chalky sunblock given the number of hours I spend in dry, heated places.

Overall, I think this was a great value for the price, and I'm certain that I can easily use up all the products. This range is definitely meant more for those with dry skin (I'm on the borderline of normal / dry), as naturally oily people may find it a bit heavy. But honestly, I think in the winter everyone can benefit from hydration, and we all know staying hydrated and keeping the skin moist is one of the most effective anti-aging tips.