Trying out Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys

When teenage breakouts hit, my dressing table always had a stash of the pre-moistened toner pads infused with blemish fighting elixir.  As my blemishes faded back, my reliance on such pads faded and in fact before this year, it had been years since I opened a container. 

This year I tried the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing pads which I adored and the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads which I was less thrilled by.

Then in a recent Boxy Charm box I received a container of Exfoliating Swipeys from the brand Go-to.  I’ve tried facial oil from the brand before and found it was a pretty nice oil, and I really like their Properly Clean Facial Cleanser, so I was happy to try out another product from their line.  Plus, I I figured, why not try another one since they were here? After all I do love a good exfoliation.

According to the product page…

Single-use exfoliating pads soaked in an all-natural solution that gets rid of dead skin cells and hydrates the skin.

We all know exfoliation is an enormously vital part of any skin care routine, but not all exfoliation is equal. A chemical exfoliator, for example, (which uses naturally-occurring acids to remove dead skin cells, usually AHAs or BHAs) tends to give a far more thorough, even result than scrubbing your face with harsh, jagged particles. Which is why we much prefer it.

So, we combined the well-documented effectiveness of lactic acid, the most gentle of all AHAs, with ultra-hydrating essential oils to create a face exfoliator that thoroughly removes dead skin cells (the cause of dull skin and congestion), refines skin texture, minimises the appearance of fine lines and deeply moisturises. And all in 60 seconds, and using just one sweet, disposable little cotton pad. Exfoliating Swipeys were created to make exfoliation simple and fast, and leave you with skin that’s healthy and happy. Important: When using AHA products, wearing daily SPF becomes even more crucial.

I know that is a larger than normal blurb that I copied out, but I wanted to have the official description there as I went through the product. 

Thicker exfoliating pads

First of all, the scent. It is slightly fruity with an undertone that is slightly chemical in nature.  Neither the fruit or chemical is one I can identify specifically. I tried.  I kept sniffing and trying to identify, but to no avail. It is a pleasant scent and one I don’t mind in my skincare.  It is also light and doesn’t linger. The scent just wafts up as you open the container.

The pads are thicker than any other pre-moistened pads I’ve tried.  I like the fact that their thickness means they are less likely to roll up on you as they move across the face.  with some of the thinner ones it was always a trick not to get them to roll up as you moved them across your face, at least for me anyway.

In the above description, you will notice that the pads are listed as a chemical exfoliate, not a physical one.  When you pull the pad out of the container, it is smooth and covered with liquid.  As you use it however, the pad roughens. It is like the liquid coating wipes off and then the pad starts to feel like very fine grained sandpaper.  It isn’t terribly harsh, but it is certainly not smooth.  It felt as though the pad changed from a chemical exfoliate to a physical one mid swipe.  I don’t know it that is typical for this type of product, but I found it a little strange.

Clean pad looks smooth because of all of the thick liquid

It was however very clear that the pad was getting dead skin cells off of my face.  The pad did a good job exfoliating.  It did so well a job exfoliating that using the pads more than once a week was a bad idea.  Normally with exfoliates I can use them two to three times a week. This was a once a week maximum type of product.

In addition, I tended to use it at night on the one time a week I used it.  The one time I used it during the day, I did go outside and even with sunscreen on I ended up getting quite red in the face. I usually don’t have that big an issue with sun sensitivity, even with AHA’s but with this product I did. 

If I used it at night on the once a week use, I didn’t have this problem. I also do not have overly sensitive skin.  If you are relatively sensitive, I would recommend trying a test patch before using this or skipping it all together.  I think it might have been a combination of the physical pad and the chemical exfoliation that worked overtime one me. 

While clearly removing traces of makeup and dead skin cells, you can see the texture of the pad has also changed and become somewhat rough.

One think that is also an issue to watch out is the fact that once opened pre-moistened pads tend to start drying out, so once you open them you end up being committed to using them until they are gone.  Because I could only use these once a week, it takes longer to make it through the container.  While I still have pads left (there are 50 to a container) I don’t know if I will make it to the bottom of the container without them drying out completely. When I opened the container, there was extra liquid in the bottom, now there is not.

While I like the actual liquid exfoliating formula, I would like to try it on a soft cotton pad rather than on the pre-moistened pads that come in the jar.  I think the combination of the pad’s texture mixed with the AHA’s are a little too much for my skin to handle.  I will not be purchasing this product to add to my skin care line up, however I will be keeping an eye on the brand. 

I enjoyed both their facial oil and their cleanser. In fact I remember their cleanser being quite nice. This was just too much exfoliation for me.  Perhaps, they will come out with an exfoliating serum at some point that would be more in keeping with my skin care needs.  One can only hope.  Well, hope and do some website lurking.




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.




My Current Skin Care Line Up

I know I talk a lot about different products, but I thought you might find it interesting to see the full regime as it stands now.  First off, I ought to say that I have a staggered rotation system for skin care. I like to have an older product I’ve been using for a while roll into my trial for a new product so that I’m not changing out every item at the same time. 

For example I am currently testing three Timeless Skin products (gifted to me by Timeless Skin for testing and review purposes for which I am extremely grateful).  The Hyaluronic Acid Serum I have been using for two weeks now (Labor day started week three so I will be reviewing it on the 21st after 30 days of use), while the while the Squalane Oil from Timeless skin is just starting its second week of use and the HA Spray is on its first full week of use.

The same can also be said for my Purlisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Cleansing Milk.  I used it for a month but will use it a little bit longer since I just started with the HA spray. I’ll use the same cleanser while I figure out how everything reacts and then I’ll start a new cleanser trial.  I generally find that staggering new products keeps my skin from freaking out with the new so I get a more accurate opinion about how things work.

Now I do have one disclaimer, my skin care routine is slightly jumbled a bit because I am trying to get in several workouts  and don’t want to just sweat off my products, so I’ll try to put those in here as well.

current cleanser

In the mornings, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I am trying to get in about twenty minutes of strength and flexibility training.  This is mostly with youtube videos, wii fit and yoga.  It is done in doors and because I have the tendency to talk myself out of it, I find it is easier to start with the workout before I’m fully awake.  So on those mornings I splash water on my face to rinse off the remnants of my night cream, towel off and after dressing, do my planned work out.

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After I turn on the coffee pot and cool down a bit, I start in on my morning skin care. I start by washing my face, currently with the Purlisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Cleansing milk. 

Toner

I then use a toner.  I just finished the Akar Balancing Toning Mist and am now trying the Pixi Skin Treats Clarity Tonic.  Typically with Pixi I tend to go for their exfoliating toners so this was a new one for me.  While early in my use thus far I have been liking it.

serum

After toning I use a serum on my face, neck and decollete.  Currently, the serum I am trying out is the Timeless Hyaluronic Acid Serum.  And I did remember to take before pictures this time so I will have before and after photos from 30 days of use. 

I’ve actually noticed a positive change actually, but I will get into details with the full review.  At the moment I can say that I really like this serum and am turning into a pretty big fan of Hyaluronic Acid in skincare.

After I apply the serum, I brush my teeth while it takes it’s time settling in.  While this serum sinks in fast, I really like to give it a little extra time to settle in before I move on. You can probably see it in the background of the above photo but I am a big fan of the Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste.  It has been my go-to for years.  I like the taste better than I like the regular aqua fresh.  Although sometimes the foaming can be a bit much.  But it is a good toothpaste.

eyecream

Then once I have wiped up all of the toothpaste fall out, I apply my eye cream.  Currently I am using the Glossy box Skin Care Eye Boost Cream (I’ve almost finished my month of use so a review will be coming soon).  With eye cream I not only use it around my eyes, but on the fine lines around my lips. 

The same formulation that helps eye cream work on the delicate tissue around the eyes also helps it on the fine lines around the lips. It was one of my grandmother’s favorite tricks and one I use increasingly as I get older.  In its own way that skin is just as delicate as the eyes and a little extra help in fighting those lines doesn’t hurt.

Squalane Oil

After the eye cream I use the oil.  At the moment I am using the Timeless 100% Squalane oil.  Oddly enough, I am finding that I can use it both morning and night unlike many other oils which I have only been able to use at night.  I think it’s because squalane’s main purpose is to simply lock in moisture and it really is just one type of oil (it’s also a really affordable oil as these things go). I’ve just started using it so I’ll have to see how it works moving forward.  Right now I am really enjoying it.  I use three drops and apply it to my skin and then follow with my moisturizer. I like applying the oil first rather than blending it in with the moisturizer. No real reason, it is just what I prefer.

moisturizer

The moisturizer I am currently using is the Dior Dream Skin Capture Totale. It was sent to me by Influenster and comes in a refillable container.  I can already tell you I am going to want to get a refill.

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At the moment it is running about even in my moisturizer preferences with the Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral Rich Moisturizer and the Volition Celery Green Cream. 

Those three may be my top three moisturizers of 2020 at this point.  Still the year is not over.

sunscreen

Speaking of Volition, after I apply the moisturizer I top it off with my Volition Prismatic Luminizing shield with SPF 50. I keep trying other sunscreens and I keep going back to this one.

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You will notice there is a second sunscreen in the picture however.  This is the Polaar Fluide Solaire also with SPF 50. While it is a good sunscreen, I don’t like it on my face.  It feels just a little too heavy.  It is perfect for my neck and upper chest where v-neck t-shirts expose the skin and I have really been enjoying using it there to give my skin some extra protection. 

lip masks, the maple day cream is in the tube and the night mask is in the jar.

I then add my Bite Beauty Agave Lip mask in the scent Maple to my lips.  It really does smell like maple syrup.  And it tasks kind of like it too.  I generally find that not only does it keep my lips wonderfully soft but the scent makes me feel like I’ve already indulged in some delectable treat and thus makes it less likely that I will feel like snacking.  I sort of feel Like I’ve already snacked.

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And skin care done I sit at my desk and get a few hours of work done.  I don’t put makeup on at this point as my meetings tend to be in the afternoon and I still have my daily walk to get through.  All my skin care has a couple of hours to soak in though. 

Then I take my walk.  Before I leave the house I spray myself all over with a spray sunblock.  I’m partial to one from Neutrogena. Even with the sunblock underneath, I like to be extra careful, especially after my bad burn earlier in the spring.

In general I sweat profusely during my walks.  Which is fine.  I like to think of the seat as encouraging my weight loss.  However I am a mess when I return.  While I often employ the Busy Beauty Showerless wipes to get me through until I can take my evening shower, and have various ways of dealing with my hair, my face is a different matter. 

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If I don’t wash my face after my walk I am just going to feel gross the rest of the day.  But I don’t want to strip my skin.  So I tend to use a gentle cleanser that will just wash away the sweat (and sometimes pollen) residue from my walk in the park/walking trail. 

Post work out cleanser

The cleanser I have consistently used for a while has been the Olay Cleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser.  It is an excellent oil free, no frills cleanser that just makes my skin feel less gunky after a good sweat. 

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To be honest I have been using this as my post workout cleanser since I started my weight loss journey.  I have lost track of how many times I have used up and replaced this bottle. It is also the cleanser I grab when another cleanser is giving me problems because I know it is effective and reliable. So I use it after my walks.

post workout serum

Something new I am trying, because it came to me in an IPSY box, is the 111Skin Cryo ATP Sports Booster.  It is a serum you are supposed to use after a workout.  So because I wanted to see how it worked, I have started adding it to my skin after my quick wash with the Olay.  Previously I just did the quick wash and then moved into my makeup.

After the 111Skin has had a few minutes to settle in, I apply my makeup for the day.  While I usually end with a setting spray, the HA Spray with Matrixyl 3000 sent to me by Timeless claims to be able to be used as a setting spray as well as being skin care, so this week I started using it to set my makeup.  There will be more on that later this week.  But I will tell you now that is it wonderfully refreshing and smells like cucumbers.

skin care based setting spray

And then I go about my day.

At the end of the day I use a cleansing balm or oil to remove my makeup and then I use a cleanser like the Purlisse.  I just finished the Province Apothecary Moisturizing Cleansing oil and tonight I will start using the Kahina Giving Beauty Oil Cleanser.  It too came in a Petit Vour Box and I am looking forward to testing it out. 

upcoming cleansing oil/makeup remover

Often times I will remove my makeup after dinner and then use a mask of some sort while reading or watching television or you tube.  With my mask I will apply the Bite Beauty Agave Nighttime lip therapy mask to my lips.  It is more intense than the maple one I use in the mornings, although with less of a scent. 

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It also keeps me from snacking while watching television.  I know it is technically supposed to be left on over night, and sometimes I will re apply it just before I lay down but I find when I am watching movies or television with my babydoll in the evenings I am tempted to snack.  This really keeps me from snacking, even after the face mask is removed.

Eventually, I will migrate to the bedroom.  I do my night time skin care before I start to read in bed.  Once or twice a week I will use an exfoliator.  At the moment I am using the Avant Gentle Rose Beautifying Face Exfoliant.  It is an extremely gentle physical exfoliate but I don’t like to use them too often lest it damage the skin. 

exfoliation

After the exfoliate is rinsed off (on the nights I use it) I go back in with my toner, followed by serum, teeth brushing, eye cream, oil and moisturizer. Depending on the moisturizer I am using I will either use the same one I use during the day or a night cream.  The Dior is good for both day and night, but on a few days where I have been outside a bit longer, I replace my moisturizer with a night cream.  Currently I am trying out the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping mask.  I only use it a couple of times a week.

Then I read in bed for an hour or two and go to sleep.

night cream

I know, that’s a lot of different steps to my skin care.  Personally, I enjoy the ritual of it and I really like taking the time to work on my skin.  At the moment, my skin is doing really well.  Most of my acne has faded. I still have a few clogged pores where my mask presses into my face, but really that is a combination of mask and sweat.  Some combination of elements in the last week has really been doing my skin well. 

This is another reason I like rotating products.  I can check in with my skin and see what I was using when things start to get better and I can monitor it as I stop using certain products and see where things change.  I helps me to figure out what is actually working and what is not.  It is also why I am not opposed to taking extra time in my routine.  To be honest, written out it looks like it takes a lot longer than it actually does.  It only really takes me about twenty minutes in the morning and then another twenty at night (not counting the mask) so it isn’t really as onerous as it looks on paper.

But there you have it.  Even though some of the products rotate out, the sequence and system remains more or less the same.  There are always changes based on products though.  Sometimes the oil I’m testing is one I only want to wear at night and so I skip it in the morning.  Sometimes I will try two different serums, one at night and one in the day because one reacts poorly to the sun. Sometimes my skin needs more or less exfoliation.  But in general, this is my daily skin care regime.



A Monday Face Mask with Peter Thomas Roth

I know, I know, it isn’t Friday.  It is Monday. And a gray dreary rainy Monday at that. Still today, I am posting a face mask.  To be specific, today I tried out the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. The reason I am trying out this mask today is because tomorrow starts the Labor Day sale at Peter Thomas Roth and I want to be prepared.  

Last year, I saw the sale but couldn’t remember what I liked and what I didn’t. And as the Peter Thomas Roth products are on the pricy end of the spectrum, I didn’t feel confident enough to fly blind. So I promised myself I would make an effort to test out a few things before the next sale. Thus far I know the Skin to Die for Primer and the Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral Rich moisturizer are both on the ‘I really want’ list. Then, I remembered that I had a foil packet of the Pumpkin Enzyme mask that I had yet to try out. 

I know I’m cutting my ‘try before the next Labor day sale’ down to the wire. Hence, the Monday Face Mask.

So what is this mask I am trying on this dreary Monday? 

This powerful, triple-action manual, chemical and enzymatic exfoliating treatment addresses a dull, aging, and congested complexion in three ways: exfoliates with Pumpkin Enzyme, reveals with Alpha Hydroxy Acid and polishes with Aluminum Oxide Crystals. Helps even the appearance of skin tone, smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles and clarify to reveal skin that looks smoother, younger, radiant and revitalized.

Okay, now that sounds like something I’d like.  I know AHA’s are really good chemical exfoliate removing the top layer of skin and firming up the layer below. I can’t honestly say I know what pumpkin does, except make my bathroom smell like autumn. But seriously, masks and exfoliates, two of my favorite products and both combined in one. This says Mimsy all over it.

Well, technically it says Peter all over it, but it is in my bathroom so I claim this mask for France, er… Mimsy. 

Okay, maybe I’m not a sovereign nation just yet.

I opened the packet and was immediately surrounded by the scent of pumpkin.  There is no mistaking this for anything else.  It is pumpkin.  Which I am okay with. Not only is it the first name in the product (and second on the ingredients list right behind water), but after a summer where nearly every other product was coconut scented, it was nice to have a change.  And I like pumpkin.  Oddly enough I’m not a big fan of the pumpkin spiced things that invade every autumn, but this is actual pumpkin.

And on to the face it went. 

I know, the picture doesn’t really show much other than I appear to have a slightly orange cast to my skin. There was enough in the packet to cover my entire face.  There was no product left over.  Whoever measured the amount needed in the packets did a really good job.  The physical part of the exfoliant is extremely finely grained. You can tell it’s there, but is is the texture of superfine sugar.

Yup, the mak is on my face. it makes me look a little orange and wet but nothing more.

One of the reasons I didn’t feel too bad about taking a little masking time today was that this is a mask designed to stay on the face for only 5-7 minutes.

I will say, I can see why.  Almost as soon as it touched my skin I could feel a slight chemical tingle to the mask.  Thinking longer than five minutes might be a bad idea, I set a timer so I wouldn’t accidentally leave it on too long.

Labor Day Super Size SKU Sale – Use code SUPERSIZE from 9/1 – 9/8 11:59 PM ET

Five minutes passed and I returned to the bathroom.  The directions say to wet your face and rub gently for a little but to use the physical exfoliation aspect of the product.  When they say add water, they are not kidding.  The mask more or less dried down like textured spray on a wall.  Without water it wasn’t moving.  So I wet my face, rubbed gently and rinsed off. After patting dry, I had a good look at my skin. 

It looks a little brighter although I suspect for any anti-aging benefits I would have to use it on a consistent basis.  There was enough of an improvement in one use though that I am willing to try.  Quite a few of my blemishes have quieted down. 

This weekend I spent with Peace Out Dots (these have really been a great product to use right now. I am going to have to stock up on more soon. I usually just keep the Peace out dots on my face for occasional use but they have been my weekend clearout product lately so I am stocking up.) on my face trying to bring some of my deeper clogged pores to the surface.  Speaking of which they too are having a labor day sale. I’ll link it just below for those interested. I’ve only tried their acne dots but they do have other products addressing different concerns. I just can’t speak to their use as I haven’t tried them. But the dots are Fabulous.

Peace Out: Labor Day Sale! Get 20% Off Sitewide With Code LDW!

While the dots brought them up, this mask sort of cleared them out. I’m guessing that as the Peace Out brought them to the surface, the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask just cleared them out.

after the mask is washed off.

It’s kind of a nice tag team effort.

Inadvertent, but nice.

Despite needing more, consistent uses of the product to see more anti-aging benefits, my skin feels soft to the touch and I have far fewer clogged pores.  I know they will return once I spend more time masked up and in public, but it is nice to know there is a way to deal with them.  I am a fan of having a plan, and of this mask.

I think this Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is going on my list of things to pick up.  This gives me three things that I know I want. Will I be able to get all three of them on this sale? No. I suspect I will go on the site, see what the sale prices are and then start to negotiate with myself. I can usually talk myself into two things, but not usually three.  I don’t know why two seems to be my limit but I do this with anything over $50, from appliances to skin care. I start out with my list and a budget and always come out with two items. It’s like something in my brain says that while I’m there I might as well get a second item, but somehow ends up thinking a third is too indulgent. I’m sure there is some sort of deeply buried memory from childhood or something causing it, but I don’t remember it being in Granda Mac’s lessons in economy and thrift. I’m sure it was though. 

NEW Made to Mask 4-Piece Mask-a-Holic Kit. For a limited time, get a full-size Cucumber Gel Mask, a full-suze Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, a full-size Irish Moor Mud Mask, and a full-size 24K Gold Mask for only $58! A $177 total retail value.

Either way, the Labor Day sale starts tomorrow and unlike last year, I am prepared. And whatever I don’t pick up now, I can always look into picking up during the holiday sales. I’m pretty sure most of my Black Friday shopping will be done on line and I know my cousin has been debating over the mini mask pack for a while. Which means technically I have four things on my list to pick up. One gift and three things I want. And to be honest, I suspect I won’t be the only one mailing boatloads of Christmas gifts this year.  And shopping early leads to shipping early which may actually translate into making it to the destination on time.

If I cross my fingers and make a sacrifice to the postal gods. (Don’t worry the ritual mostly involves setting fire to an old envelope that requires licking to seal while dancing around with the envelopes you don’t have to lick raised high. The only potential bloodshed comes from me tripping over my own feet. No animals (save myself and then only accidentally) are harmed in this Postal Ritual.)

But I digress, to sum up, mask good, sale tomorrow, and Christmas coming sooner than you actually think.

Reviewing Two NUXE products

These two NUXE products came to me in the July Glossy Box, I believe.  I can recall seeing the NUXE brand before but I don’t think I’ve ever tried anything from them until now.  The first item is the Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse Boost Multi-Correctional Gel Cream for Normal to Combination skin.  

While my sample size contained 15ml worth of product and lasted almost exactly two weeks, the full sized version is 40 ml and retails for $25.15 on the Glossy Box site. The odd pricing is due to currency conversion I believe.  In case you are wondering (I know I was because I had to look it up) Prodigieuse means excellent in French.

the cream is super light weight and absorbs quickly with no greasy film

So what is this excellent cream? According to the product information it is… 

Refreshing care that rejuvenates the skin and corrects the issues caused by stress, fatigue and pollution. The Boost Multi-Correction Gel Cream preserves and supports the skin’s natural balance, easing the signs of ageing and providing a smoother, matt finish. Utilises a formula rich in natural active ingredients: jasmine, calendula, cellular sugar and hyaluronic acid. It contains 92% Natural Origin Ingredients and is Vegan Friendly. To use: Apply mornings to the face, neck and décolleté.

Ingredients: ingredients : aqua/water, alcohol denat., glycerin, phenyl trimethicone, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, propylheptyl caprylate, silica, parfum/fragrance, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, ribose, sodium gluconate, xanthan gum, butylene glycol, sodium hyaluronate, polysorbate 60, sorbitan isostearate, pentylene glycol, jasminum officinale (jasmine) flower extract, sodium hydroxide, faex extract/yeast extract, mica, ci 77491/iron oxides, calendula officinalis flower extract, tocopherol, benzyl salicylate, linalool, citronellol, alpha-isomethyl ionone, geraniol [n3904/a]

NUXE.com

I like that it is a day cream.  Mostly because when I tried it, the cream wasn’t heavy enough to give me as much moisture as my skin needs at night.  I also like the focus.  Since I know my skin has different needs in the day and at night I like that the moisturizer knows it as well and concentrates on one thing at a time instead of trying to be an all round moisturizer.  I think the extremes of this summer have made me rethink my skin care a lot and I am starting to separate out items I use in the day and those I use at night a bit more than I have in the past.

That being said I am not a fan of the denatured alcohol in the moisturizer.  I’m not a fan of it in my skin care in general and really don’t like seeing it as the second ingredient.  As I’m sure you are aware, the higher up in the ingredients list, the more concentrated the amount in the product.  Ingredients are listed from most active to least until they get to be about 1% and then they can be listed in any order so it is generally the top ten ingredients you have to pay attention to.

The cream was nice on my skin though, I will give it that.  I am glad I was only using it once a day though.  While the cream absorbed well and wasn’t greasy, in fact it worked really well on my skin. The thing that got me was the scent.  It is fairly highly scented.  Even though the scent was stronger than I like, I didn’t really mind it, mostly for a nostalgia factor.  It smelled exactly like the skin care my grandmother used to use.  That is in no way a slam, she always had great skin and I’m not saying it smells old lady-ish.  I’m saying it reminds me of my grandmother.  She loved any skin care products that were scented with rose and this certainly fits the bill.  In fact given her love of French skincare it is entirely possible that she did use this cream or an early predecessor of it.  I think the company has been around since the early 1990s and she adored trying new skin care products.  I actually get my love of testing them from her.

But whether or not she used this cream or not, the scent is so reminiscent of her that I enjoyed it even though it was a stronger scent than I like in my skin care.  If you are sensitive to scent this might be something to take into consideration. Truthfully if denatured alcohol weren’t the second ingredient in the list, I would rank this cream really highly as a day cream.  It was non-irritating to existing breakouts, didn’t cause additional ones and made my skin feel soft and lovely.  It has however been drilled into my head that denatured alcohol is bad for the skin long term even if there are short term benefits.  It is only the fact that moisturizer sits on your skin far longer than most other product (toners, face wash) that gives me pause.  And honestly, I liked this day cream enough that I may have to look further into skin care and denatured alcohol before I am willing to cut it completely from my list of products to repurchase.  Because I need to do more research, I’m putting this in the maybe category for repurchasing.

The second NUXE item sent in my Glossy Box however goes straight to the top of reordering.  And that is the Nuxe Insta-masque.  The 50ml full size retails for $22.25 and it is a definite repurchase for me.  This mask is designed…

With an ultra-sensory gel texture, the mask turns into oil to exfoliate and even out the skin, instantly getting smooth skin and a luminous complexion. Suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive ones. Contains 98.3% of ingredients of natural origin.

slightly foamy with water

While this too lists Rose as a primary ingredient, the scent is much milder and perhaps mitigated by the macademia.  The mask looks like jelly in the jar, albeit a light pink jelly.  Where it touched my damp skin during application it turned a little white and then faded to almost clear on the skin.  I let it sit for two minutes while I brushed my teeth, then I wet my hands, rubbed them on my face and the jelly turned white and slightly foamy. 

The exfoliation is mild, it didn’t irritate any of my break outs and it rinsed away super cleanly and easily.  My skin felt amazingly soft and refreshed. I used it once a week, which is generally how I use exfoliators.  There are few I would use daily even though some actually suggest it.  This product recommends once or twice a week. 

Not sure if you can see much of a difference, but I could certainly feel it. Oh and in case you are wondering the slight redness to my skin is mostly because the water I rinsed with was really, really cold.

Once was perfect for me.  I was very sad when this container was empty.  It is definitely on my repurchase list.  Unfortunately I am working through the products that I have and not buying new ones until I’ve used up existing ones so it might be a while before I get around to repurchasing this, but repurchase I will.  The moisturizer maybe on a maybe list, but I have no qualms about using this Inta-masque repeatedly in the future.

As I mentioned before, both of these products came to me in a glossy box. If you are interested in trying out new products before you commit to buying the full sized versions, this might be a subscription box you might want to look into.  They generally have deals for the first box in your subscription and thus far, I have not been disappointed by any box I’ve received from them. The current offer, at the time of writing this is $22 off 6 or 12 month subscription with the code 22OFF (valid: 8/17-8/23). There are of course other perks, such as 20% off their newly launched skin care products.  I’ve been using their eye cream (which came in August’s box) and thus far am really liking it. I’ll post a full review after a month of use, but it does give me hope that the rest of their skin care line is going to be worth checking out. Anyway if you are interested you can check out Glossy Box below.




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

The Empties Bin: June 2020

The products I’ve used up this month

Welcome to the end of the month and a review of the empties bin.  This month I managed to clear out several items that just needed a little push to be used up.  I have makeup, skincare, and bath products this time, so it is going to be a little all over the place. There are links to the products mentioned. The links aren’t affiliate codes, but as everyone is having Fourth of July Sales starting up I added links to the relevant sites. The sale links are affiliate links and should you click on them and purchase something then I may earn a small commission which goes towards hosting this website. If that makes you uncomfortable in any way, feel free to avoid the links. Oh, and the one different link is for the Verb Hair mask. It takes you to a previous review I wrote of the product.

Thet the review of the empties begin!

We’ll start with makeup.  The first two items in this category were not so much used up as rendered useless.  The first of these is the ELF Camo Concealer, which sadly I left uncapped for too long.  It was getting low on product though so the loss wasn’t too great.  It is a good product and one that I will be purchasing again, probably in multiple shades.

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The second item that wasn’t entirely used up is my Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed powder.  I had a very thin layer of product with a lot of pan showing and I thought I could stretch it to last one more week.  Unfortunately, I knocked it into the sink where the remaining product shattered and landed in a toothpaste smear. So note to self, do not balance delicate powder on the edge of the sink after just brushing teeth.

As it has been one of the standbys in my makeup bag for a long time, I will be repurchasing it at some point.  Because it is such a go-to item for me I am refraining from purchasing a replacement right away as I want to try other products and  if I do replace it I will just end up falling back into the habit of using it again.

In this month’s empties there are two empty primers, one old familiar and one that was new to me.  The old familiar was the NYX Pore Filler.  It is one of those reliable formulas that works well under a variety of makeup.  It has a slight tint to it and has been compared to the Benefit Porefessional.

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I’ve bought it several times and I’m sure it will make a return visit to my dressing table and makeup bag at some point, but like my Rimmel powder, I am going to be holding off repurchasing it for a while.  It occurred to me when I was using the last of it that this was the only NYX primer I have ever tried. I know they have many others.  I recently tried the NYX Bare With Me Foundation and I liked it enough that I think I might try the primer from that line as well next time I make a NYX purchase, stepping away from one of my old faves to try something new from the brand.

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The second primer in my empties bin this month was a sample sized primer from Peter Thomas Roth called Skin to Die For. While I wouldn’t go that far, I really liked the way this primer felt on my skin.  It was pore filling and mattifying.  It has a slight tint to it and I found I could wear it alone with just powder on days when I didn’t feel like wearing a lot of makeup.  It gave my skin a very healthy look to it but made it look like I wasn’t wearing anything. A full size is currently sitting in my shopping cart as I try to figure out what other products I want to order with it. I know I’ll have to use up at least one more primer in my dressing table before I open it for use, but if the full size performs like the sample, then I can see it very quickly becoming a staple.

Finally, rounding out the makeup category, I have a sample sized Smashbox Liquid lip.  It is in the Shade Stepping out and it is one I would order again.  I find the Smashbox formula to be a comfortable one to wear.  It wasn’t too drying but it did dry down enough to stay on my lips without leaving lip prints everywhere. 

The only reason that I am not immediately purchasing a full size is that it is in a neutral color and at the moment I seem to be awash with neutrals. I have a couple that are already well loved so I might pick an older one and focus on using it up, but I want to clear out a few more neutrals before adding to their number.  I suspect though that when I do order this, I will order several different shades because it is a good formula.

I know thus far it sounds as though I am in love with everything I try, but I’m afraid that with the end of the makeup, the love fest is going to slow down for a while. 

The next product in my empties bin is the Tula Skin Care Purifying Face Cleanser.  It is rare that I don’t like a cleanser, but I have to say, I did not like this one.  I will say it did take off my makeup reasonably well, but the scent of it is highly perfumed and it is not a perfume I enjoy. 

It smells as though you spilled a bottle of Jean Nate on some lavender sachets and then put them in a tightly sealed bag for a month.  It is a super intense scent that I just don’t care for.  In addition it left a slightly waxy feel to my skin. 

Since I tend to use a balm or oil to first remove my makeup and then this sort of cleanser as my second cleanse, having it leave a residue was not good.  I know everyone seems to rave about Tula Skincare but this cleanser was not for me.  I do have the eye balm from this month’s Boxycharm to try so maybe I will have better luck with it. This cleanser is a hard pass for me.

Next in the empties is the 111 Skin Vitamin C Brightening Booster. This wasn’t a bad product.  It has a pleasant scent, absorbs well into the skin and did have a brightening effect.  I enjoyed using it.  However I have tried other Vitamin C serums that I like better. It is good, but not good enough to justify the price point.  It is one of those products that I would be happy to see appear in one of my subscription boxes, but I probably wouldn’t repurchase on my own.

Something I am on the fence about is the Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm.  It works really well and leaves my skin super soft. 

However if I plan to use it to take off my eye make up I have to take my contacts out first.  I had a little wash into my eyes when I was washing my face and the oil clouded my contacts.  I tried cleaning them but I finally had to concede defeat, the oil wasn’t going anywhere. 

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I wear disposable contacts so it wasn’t a big deal, but when using this cleanser it was something I had to remember. That and the fact that is smells a bit like Vick’s vapor rub are the only downsides.  It was a wonderful cleanser and if you don’t wear contacts I would highly recommend it.  If you do wear contacts, then just be aware of your eyes.

One thing I have no reservations about repurchasing is the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial pads. I would buy these again in a heartbeat.

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They were a very gentle exfoliate that I could use twice daily with no issues at all. The scent was fantastic and the pads were never too wet.  Sometimes to ensure the pre moistened pads don’t t dry out companies soak the pads so you practically have to wring them out before use.  These had just the right amount of serum.  When I reached the bottom, the bottom of the jar was damp but not swimming in left over product and at no point did the product dry out.  I really enjoyed using them and will be purchasing them again in the future.

This month I have two empty tubes of hand cream.  One from Skylar which was a Hydrating Body lotion in the scent Capri and the other  is from Cela and is the Crème de la Crème crème supreme. They were both good hand creams.

I prefer the Cela formula slightly over the Skylar, but neither really made my must reorder list.  They are both good, but I prefer both the Library of Flowers and the Pistache formulas for hand cream. Those two I generally keep reordering. 

The Skylar and the Cela I would use if they were there, but I probably wouldn’t reorder. While this is the only Cela product I’ve tried I have tried other Skylar products before and liked them.  I actually like Skylar perfume very much, in fact, I like the scent of the Capri hand lotion enough I will be looking to see if they have a perfume in that scent.  I’m just not a fan of the cream formula.

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I have two empty bath products this month as we finish out the broad skin care category. The first is the OGXBeauty Pure and Simple Coconut Coffee Scrub and Wash.  The scent was nice.  The coconut and coffee blended together to create a scent that was sweet and more vanilla with coffee undertones than anything else.  Still it is a nice scent. 

While the coconut oil did leave my skin super soft, the exfoliating scrub part didn’t always mix well.  Sometimes I’d squeeze the product out and get almost no exfoliation, other times it was like damp sand. 

I tried squeezing and shaking and turning it upside down to sit for a while.  Nothing really helped.  It was always hit or miss as to whether I was getting any sort of exfoliation or not.  It was a nice wash but I probably wouldn’t get this product again.

Also in the bath time category is the Unfiltered Raw Sugar Salt Soak in the scent watermelon and pink cactus.  This was an impulse buy because I was out of my Kneipps bath salts. While it smells nice in the jar, once added to the water, it loses all scent.  It did make my skin feel nice after my bath, which I appreciated, but for me, part of the pleasure of luxuriating in a bath is scent related.

I liked that it worked well, but I wanted more scent. Or at least some.  While it was nice to try something new, in this case my old standby of Kneipps is what I’m going back to.  I’ll still try others, but I’m going to keep my classics on hand.

The last category we have is hair. I have three items in this category of empties and I saved it for last so I could end this post on a high note.  Because all three are utterly fantastic fantastic.   Two of these products are hair masks.  The first is VERB Manage+Restore Hydrating Mask.  I wrote a post about this earlier (the link will take you to it).  The short version of the post was that it was fabulous.  There was nothing I did not like about this mask.

My conundrum is that shortly after I finished this sample I started a trial with another hair mask.  It is the Naturelab Tokyo Perfect Repair Treatment mask.  It too is fantastic. 

NatureLab Tokyo’s PERFECT REPAIR Treatment Masque

It smells like a high end salon in the best possible way and it gave my hair shine and body.  I had no tangles and my hair looked wonderful. The only complaint I have is with the packaging.  As it comes in a jar, it is a little messy to scoop out.  It is hard to open with wet fingers and I tended to take more than I wanted.  I still adore the product, I just wanted a container that was a little more manageable with wet hands and portion control.

So now I want both masks.  Verb and Naturelab Tokyo.

I also want to try out the shampoo and conditioner from each as well.  At the moment I have several other hair masks to try so I am putting off ordering until I’ve gone through them all.  All but one is a sample size, so it won’t be too long a wait, but it does give me more time to make my selections.  Both Verb and NatureLab Tokyo have set the bar really high though.  I suspect I will end up getting both and then rotating them because quite frankly they are both phenomenal.  

The final item in my empties is a product I have already ordered again.  It is the Klorane Dry Shampoo.  While I like the IGK for massively grungy hair, the Klorane is my standby. 

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This is the dry shampoo I use every other day and the one by which I judge dry shampoos. On the nights I don’t wash my hair, I apply it liberally before bed, go to sleep and in the morning brush my hair.  My hair looks clean and fabulous. There is a little white cast when first applied (I have dark hair) but that soon dissipated by either letting it sit overnight or running a brush through. It is a standard in my hair care arsenal and one that will be bought again and again. In fact, I already have it’s replacement sitting in my bathroom.

So there you have June’s empties. There were some good, some bad and a few mediocre. I find I really like doing this empties review.  It forces me to actually look at the products I have finished and assess my opinion of them now that they are not new and shiny, their productive life complete.   I find it a good assessment.  I hope you find it useful as well.


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Sunday Riley Skincare Review

The Line up: Good Genes, Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream Martian Matifying Toner, CEO cleansing Oil and CEO Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Quite a while ago I picked up a jar of the Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream to try out.  I believe it might have been one of the first moisturizer reviews I posted on this site.  While there were pros and cons (as with any product) I liked it enough to purchase a backup to have on hand.  In fact, I liked it enough to start speculating about other Sunday Riley Products. 

A couple of them I tried really small samples sized of, but there wasn’t enough product to let me get a good feel for them  Plus, it was long enough ago that I couldn’t actually remember much about them. So I started to acquire a few of the products and I decided that I would test them with the CEO Cream to see not only how the products worked alone but as part of a skin care regime.

For this trial there are five products I chose to work with.  The first is the CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream that I previously tried and purchased a second time.  To go with it, I added two other items from the CEO Vitamin C line (because I really like Vitamin C and they were add ons for Ipsy so the cost was less prohibitive).  These are the C+E Micro-dissolve cleansing oil and the brightening serum. To this trio I added the Good Genes All in one Lactic Acid Treatment and the Martian Matifying Melting Water-Gel Toner.

Start of the trial skin

I eased into this skin care trial with the moisturizer.  I started with it partially because I already knew how my skin reacted to it and I like to phase in products so my skin doesn’t completely freak out with an entirely new regime every time I do a new trial.

I finished the moisturizer I was using before but was still using three products from Elemis (the Foaming Face Wash, the cleansing Balm makeup remover and the resurfacing pads, I already posted a review of the Face Wash and reviews of the other products will be coming soon). 

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After a few days of adjusting to the moisturizer, I put my Elemis cleansing Balm away and rotated in the CEO Micro-dissolve Cleansing oil. I kept the foaming face wash from Elemis because I like to double cleanse and I didn’t pick up a second Sunday Riley Cleanser.  (I thought I ordered one and it turns out I got distracted and didn’t check to see if it was in the cart, oops). 

I finished up the 111Skin Vitamin C Brightening Booster that I was testing a few days later and rotated in the Sunday Riley one.  A few days later I set aside the Elemis resurfacing pads and brought in the Good Genes and Martian toner.  There was no freak out skin-wise (other than external stress) and my trial began. 

Since I already tested the moisturizer, I made notes on this trial and then went over my previous review.  I am going to link the CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream here rather than going over it too much a second time as there really was no change.  I like the cream and will more than likely pick it up again at some point. I adjusted the use with some of the other products, but I’ll cover that when I reach that point.

So first to rotate in was the cleansing oil.  What are the claims of the Cleansing oil?  As you would expect, it is pretty straight forward.

A wet or dry cleansing oil that dissolves pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution particles, revealing a fresh, bright, and calm complexion. Instantly dissolve and remove makeup (even water-resistant eye makeup), pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution for a perfectly, thoroughly cleansed complexion. With gentle white willow bark and lime pearl extracts—rich in beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) —C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil gently refreshes the skin, while turmeric and vitamin C provide antioxidant-rich, calming skin support, for a clean, healthy-looking, and smooth complexion.

I’m pretty sure most cleansing oils have similar blurbs on their product pages.  My only concern was that to get the info about the product, I had to go to the Lovely Skin site. In general that isn’t a problem, because I really like the Lovely Skin site and tend to visit a lot. An extra excuse is not a problem.  The problem is that I couldn’t find the information on the Sunday Riley official site. In my experience that usually doesn’t bode well.  Typically it means a discontinuation of a product.  I could be wrong though.

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The cleansing oil is a decent cleansing oil.  It melted even water proof mascara off with no harsh rubbing required.  With mascara I had to do a second swipe under the eyes to remove the last raccoon like markings, but again there was no harsh rubbing.  The oil didn’t break me out and it wasn’t too heavy on the skin.  However, it is not a standalone product, at least not for me.  When using this I had to double cleanse. Rinsing off the product with just water left an oily film covering my face. 

With this oil I found that I could apply it and then jump into the shower.  Once I was finished with my shower I would be completely sans make up, but still feel the need of a quick face wash.  In fact after a few days of using this product, I just started keeping it in the shower. It has a pump that kept the water out so it was actually the perfect solution. 

It is a decent cleansing oil, but I don’t know if I would repurchase it.  It does its job well, but I didn’t notice anything extra enough to draw me back to it instead of another product. I will continue to use it until I use it up, but there are other cleansing oils I actually like better.

Next we move on to the CEO Vitamin C Brightening serum. This one was not only listed on the Sunday Riley Site, but it is listed among their best sellers.  It is…

C.E.O. Brightening Serum, powered by 15% advanced Vitamin C, is targeted to quickly fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discolorations at the source, while diminishing the signs of aging. Skin looks and feels firmer and plumper, as youthful skin bounce and even-tone are restored.

C.E.O. Brightening Serum uses a sophisticated, ultra-powerful form of Vitamin C called THD Ascorbate. Both highly stable and oil-soluble, THD Ascorbate rapidly absorbs into the skin for visible anti-aging benefits, including visual improvement in loss of firmness, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and dark spots and dullness.

This hydrating antioxidant formula instantly illuminates the complexion with bright radiance, while phytosterols help to reduce the look of skin sensitivity. Saccharide Isomerate extract diminishes the appearance of pores and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier for a skin-smoothing glow. Rapidly brighten the appearance of the skin and boost vital skin bounce, in a flash!

I have to say, I can easily see why it is a favorite.  Personally, I really liked it.  Instead of being liquid like most serums it is a cream formula.  The recommended amount is two to three pumps of product, but I found that one pump’s worth was plenty for my face in the morning with maybe a little more at night.  And I was happy that the pump is the sort that allows you to only depress it half way so you can more easily regulate how much product being used.  I find it less wasteful that way.  Now my skin does really well with most vitamin C products, but I have to say I was a big fan of this one.  It absorbed really well and although this may be wishful thinking, I did notice the fine lines appearing around my eyes weren’t as prominent after the first week of use (I used this for thirty days for the trial). 

Incidentally, I did look up THD Ascorbate (Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate ) in case you are wondering.  It is just a slightly modified version of Vitamin C that has been tweaked so that the skin absorbs it more easily. And absorb it did.  Not only will I be using this ti the last creamy drop, but I will be repurchasing it at some point. Truthefully this was the highlight of the skincare test. Other products are good, this was excellent. So for the CEO line, at least the products I’ve tried, two out of three are things I would repurchase.  Not a bad average.  But how do you feel about Martians?

I found the Martian Mattifying melting Water-gel toner to be very interesting. Unfortunately, I have no official product information because it has been discontinued.  I find this to be a shame as I liked it for my oily days.  If I knew I was going to be sweating outside or having hormonal break outs, then using this in the morning really helped my skin. 

It is also a fun green slime texture. It worked well on the days I needed it, but it wasn’t an everyday sort of product for me.  I suspect it was too much for most people to use every days.  If you are looking to dry out oily skin for a bit and happen to come across this, it isn’t a bad thing to try.  I’ll keep using it until it is gone, but alas it is discontinued and no more.

This finally brings us to the Good Genes All in one Lactic Acid Treatment. I doubt this will ever be discontinued as everyone I’ve talked to seems to find this a skin care holy grail.  It made me very eager to try it. So first what does this best seller do?

Clean, purified glycolic acid deeply exfoliates and repairs the look of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin for a visibly radiant, healthier-looking complexion.

Containing clean, ultra-pure, formaldehyde-free glycolic acid, to revitalize the appearance of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin, without compromising on what matters to you most: safety, quality, and fast results. Good Genes Glycolic penetrates the surface of the skin with tiny glycolic acid molecules, sinking deeper into the skin than other forms of AHA, to break apart pore-clogging debris and repair the look of sun-damaged, congested, wrinkled, or dull skin. With just one use, instant radiance and skin clarity are visibly boosted. Balanced with fermented prickly pear extract, perfect for sensitive skin, to soothe and calm the complexion, along with skin-purifying lemongrass extract.

After my recent sunburn episode, I was happy to try some repair work.  And I love exfoliators in general. So I was all in.  Again two to three pumps are recommended and you are only supposed to use this once a day.  The above picture shows one pump, which is all I ended up needing tocover my face.

For me, this replaced my night cream during the trial. 

Sort of.

It took me a few days to sort things out.  First, I want to address the one day claim.  I will say that the sun damaged parts of my face did show almost immediate improvement.  My face took less damage than my legs, but it still spent too much time accidentally baking. So I will have to give them that. 

The scent took a little getting used to as well.  For me it has the exact same scent as some of the cleaning products used in a building I once worked in.  It was an old building with wooden floors and the scent is a cross between floor polish and an herbal based disinfectant.  It’s not a negative as it is actually a nicely astringent scent, but to me that is what it smelled like. It is heavy on the lemongrass and I think that paired with the astringency was what triggered the memory.  Luckily the scent dissipated so I didn’t have dreams about my old office.

But again, that’s just me. Certainly no one else mentioned it smelling like a cleaning product.

It took me a while to adjust to using this product because it is not quite a night cream, but it is really hard to apply a moisturizer over it.  Things get very greasy quickly and I felt like I over did it.  The problem was that if I didn’t apply moisturizer, my skin felt a little too dry the next morning.

The best way I found to deal with this product was to wash my face and apply the Good Genes to my skin an hour or two prior to actually getting ready for bed.  (I like to read before going to sleep as a means to quiet my brain, so I did all of my pre bed routine (sans moisturizer) before reading, leaving the Good Genes on top of the skin and then just before bed, I went into the bathroom and did a quick moisturizer application before actually going to sleep. 

For me this worked really well.

end of trial skin

I will say that because my skin was sun damaged, I saw more of an effect than I might have otherwise seen.  It worked well, and I am glad I used it at the time I did, however I am not terribly familiar with chemical exfoliates.  I tend to go for the more physical variety.  I am starting to try out the chemical ones more though so I might be switching camps. 

So while I liked the product, I think I want to try a few more products, specifically Lactic Acid based before I commit to repurchasing it. 

In other words it was good, but it wasn’t so over the top good that I feel I must keep it on hand at all times.  Which, from the reviews I’ve read and seen, tends to be the reaction.  Perhaps when trying others I will find they fall far short of this and I will realize everyone else was right about the Good Genes.

I am very glad I did try this though as it is so beloved by so many people and it is nice to know the standard. For now though, I am sticking with, a good product, but I want to try others as my personal assessment.

So that was my Sunday Riley trial. Two items that I will repurchase repeatedly, one that isn’t really worth bothering with, one discontinued and one still to be determined. All in all an interesting mix.  I’m actually rather surprised to see the split. Everyone I talked to either loved or hated Sunday Riley products. There were very few inbetween. As there were many other products they offer that I find interesting, I am sure it will not be my last Sunday Riley test.  I suspect I will go to reorder the serum and find something I want to try.  But that is for another day.  For now, there is still a world of skin care out there for me to try. There are so many excellent brands I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Now I just have to figure out what I want to try next.


Below I’m posting three of my favorite skin care sites should anyone be looking to expand their skin care boundaries.

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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:

Memorial Day Weekend – 30% off sitewide + Free fireworks jar with $50+ purchase with code AFFMD30. Valid: 5/19-5/25.

Alyaka Spring Bank Holiday: 15% off site wide with the code SPRING15

Grande Cosmetics:

Memorial Day Sale EARLY ACCESS – Up To 50% Off + GWP With Purchase Of 75+ (Mini Rose Blush, Stay Put Lip Liner & Canvas Bag ($40 Value) )

Bliss World

Take 20% Sitewide with code HELLOSUMMER. Valid 5/20-5/26.