Testing out the Balance Me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum

Balance Me serum

I have to say when this Balance me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum appeared in my beauty box, I was somewhat confused. (I can’t remember if it was a Glossy Box or a Look Fantastic Box).  I never heard of Bakuchiol before.  I had no idea what it was supposed to do or what I should expect.  Then the ingredient kept popping up in various places and it seemed like it was not as rare an ingredient as I thought.

While it isn’t talked about as much, mostly because wrapping your tongue around those syllables takes some practice, bakuchiol is an alternative to retinol.  While retinols do a lot of good things for your skin (work on removing fine lines, smoothing and plumping skin) They can also make you sun sensitive.  Retinols are the skin care that only comes out at night.

Like Vampires.

Except they don’t drain you and in fact plump you up.

Like an… anti-vampire.

Okay, so the metaphor isn’t perfect. Neither is retinol as the sun sensitivity can last in some cases even if you only use it at night.  Bakuchiol is supposed to have all of the skin care benefits without the sun sensitivity.

So let’s look at this Balance Me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum specifically.  According to the product page…

Our natural plant-based retinol alternative without the side effect of sensitive and redness! Think radiance, improved texture, a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Our formula is enhanced with vital antioxidant, anti-pollution and anti-blue light protection.

Smooths, enhances collagen production, hydrates and provides vital antioxidant, anti-pollution and anti-blue light protection.

For all skin types, particularly dehydrated, dry, dull and pigmentation. Can be used when pregnant and breastfeeding.

All good things.  This is not the first Balance Me serum I have tried.  The last one was the Vitamin C serum.  While it worked well, it smelled exactly like the furniture polish, Lemon Pledge. I couldn’t get past the scent and so even though it worked well, I opted for another Vitamin C serum.

There was two weeks’ worth of product in my tube (it was not filled completely.)  I used it at night (while using other serums during the day).  While two week’s isn’t long enough to see a lot of results, my skin did drink up the serum and felt smoother to the touch.  It absorbed almost instantly leaving no greasy film behind. There was no fading of dark spots, and I have no way to test against pollution defense, but my skin felt very hydrated and the texture was definitely improved. I also experienced no sun sensitivity or any kind of issues really.  I think it I did continue using it I would probably see some pretty good results. It is quite frankly a very good serum.

However again I am stopped by the scent.  While its scent is not as strong as the Vitamin C serum, and doesn’t smell of Lemon Pledge Furniture polish (Incidentally this is nothing against Pledge.  They make a great furniture polish, I just don’t want to apply something that smells like it to my face.) It does however smell like some sort of industrial cleaner.  The notes are slightly more floral than citrusy but still the scent of it makes me think of newly cleaned bathrooms, not skin care.

The biggest problem is that even though the cream absorbs instantly, the scent lingers. And then it blends with everything else I apply, making everything smell like an industrial cleaner.

Again it isn’t a massively strong scent, and the product is actually really good on the skin. If you’ve had sun issues with retinol or are pregnant or breastfeeding and want to use a serum like this, I would say it is definitely one to look into. If you do not have issues with scent, then again, I would say this is a very good serum to try out.

It is a good serum. All of my skin likes it, my nose just vetoed it. I just don’t think I could get past the scent to use it every night. It is just that industrial cleaner scent. It is just too much for me.  I know that if I purchased a full sized tube, I would find reasons not to use it, just because of the scent.  (And yes there are some products I find excuses to use just because of the scent. It’s just the way I am built). So while the tube is now empty and journeying to my empties bin, I will not be repurchasing it.


If you are in the shopping mood, especially if you are into clean skincare, you might want to bounce on over to the Petit Vour site. They have a pretty large selection of Clean, vegan beauty items, ranging from skin care to makeup and their sale is 60% off with the code JOLLYSALE. I know you can find the B Kind Facial Scrub and the OSEA Cleanser on their site, both of which I highly recommend.

Skipping the Needle with Goldfaden, MD Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate

This Goldfaden, MD Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate came in one of my Petit Vour Boxes and was paired with the Gel moisturizer also from Goldfaden, MD.  It was suggested that the two be used together, but alas the gel cream only had enough cream in the tube for three days of moisturizing and thus ran out well before this serum.  I wasn’t terribly sad about running out of the moisturizer as it was sticky and not a moisturizer I wanted to use long term. 

The gel and the concentrate

This serum however was one of the Goldfaden products that intrigued me most when I perused their site.. I am beginning to get some fine lines fanning out from my eyes and I feel the longer I can keep them at bay the better, so this sort of thing is right up my alley.  However, the full sized version of this product costs $110 so having a sample size to try first so that I know how it reacts to my skin before I go out and purchase it, makes me much more comfortable in spending the money.  Well, it makes me more comfortable purchasing it if I like the product.

Having the sample to try for the Goldfaden MD Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate is extra important for me as Goldfaden, MD products and my skin don’t always get along.  But before we go into how I felt about this sample, let’s see what I have been led to expect from the product page.

Dr. Goldfaden’s smoothing concentrate is the ultimate non-invasive solution to reduce the appearance of fine lines and deep creases.

Pure Hyaluronic Acid and advanced Hexapeptides make skin feel plump, appear firm and diminish the appearance of fine lines and deep creases. Nutrient-rich Seaweed Extract promotes a long-term, youthful-looking glow. With continued use, your skin will reap the benefits of looking younger, feeling smoother, and appearing more radiant. Ideal for all skin types.

Ingredients: Seaweed extract, Distilled Water, Hyaluronic Acid, Acetyl Hexapeptide – 3, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Red Tea Extract

Goldfaden, MD

Over all that isn’t a massive list of claims or a massive list of ingredients, so let’s break them down.

Seaweed is packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals that skin tends to like and  is there to help soothe, soften, and reduce sensitivity, boost hydration, and can work as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Distilled water makes sense to see as if you are trying to plump skin up with moisture you need to get the moisture from somewhere. I find it nice that the concentrate provides it.

Hyaluronic Acid is quickly becoming one of my favorite skin care ingredients.  It  helps retain moisture, making it one of the most effective ingredients for hydrating skin. When applied, it creates a protective barrier, so the moisture stays locked inside the skin. In a product designed to plump the skin and fight wrinkles and fine lines this is a great ingredient to see.

The Concentrate is a thin clear liquid

As you know I am not a chemist, I had to do some looking into this one.  According to the site FutureDerm (an excellent site for looking up skin care information in basic easy to understand terms by the way) Acetyl Hexapeptide – 3 also known as argireline, is a neuropeptide which is often used as a muscle relaxer. It is a shortened peptide sequence of BotoxTM that is able to be used over-the-counter. I highly recommend reading the article linked in this paragraph if you are interested in more about this ingredient.It is fact filled, but not overly science-y.

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that is useful for keeping all sorts of nasties from growing in your skin care and Ethylhexylglycerin is an emollient and humectant in skin care that boosts the anti-microbial performance of other ingredients to protect products from spoilage.

Finally, Red Tea extract is there as an anti-inflammatory agent that is said to fight dullness and fine lines and wrinkles.

So those are the ingredients that are in this Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate from Goldfaden MD.  I had a little over two weeks to try out the product. Unlike most serums you do not put this all over your face, you sort of spot treat the crow’s feet area and forehead wrinkles.  This of course uses less product so it will last longer. Normally, it takes thirty days to see real results, but I have to say I did see a small improvement after about a week of use.  Thus far it is actually the best Goldfaden MD product I have tried. 

I will say that when applied it also had a warming effect.  It was warm to the point where I double checked to see if it was burning my skin.  It wasn’t, there were no red spots or visible irritation, but this concentrate got uncomfortably warm on my skin.  The entire time I used this sample, I kept wondering if I was having a reaction to it. 

Now I will say that I had no actual allergic reaction.  There was no skin irritation, no inflamed patches or break outs. But every time I applied it, I felt very nervous. Even though it did plump out my fine lines, I was somewhat relieved when it ran out and my testing was through.  I think because my skin never got used to it, i.e. the burning lessening over time, I remained nervous.  Add to that the fact that I was putting it in my crow’s foot area right next to my eyes and the discomfort factor went up a couple of notches.  I am somewhat protective of my eyes.

Does it work? Yes. It worked well.

Will I by a full sized bottle? No. 

I just don’t like that burning feeling so close to my eyes.  If it went away the more I used it, this would be a different conversation, but it didn’t. My skin was uncomfortably warm and while the feeling faded after a few minutes of it on my skin I was very worried about how it would react with other products.

I think I panic researched every ingredient in every product I applied both before and after this concentrate to make sure there would be no reactions and even then, it just made me nervous to put something that burned that much so close to my eyes so often. Now in all fairness, there were no reactions.  So it could be just my paranoid nature speaking, but I also know myself.  Even though the serum did what it claims to do, I just wouldn’t use it if I purchased the bottle.  It would sit on my shelf and I would find excuses not to use it. I might dab it on once in a blue moon when I was going out and wanted to make certain my lines were as gone as possible, but I would not use it on a daily basis. So for me, this is not an item I will be purchasing. I wouldn’t chuck out a sample if it came my way again, but it would be used judiciously the week before a major event.

Three of the sites I used to provide more information regarding some of these ingredients are Simple Skin Care, Future Derm and the Paula’s Choice Skincare site.  If you are interested in learning more about skin care ingredients, you might want to check them out.  Paula’s Choice in general does a really good job of breaking down all sorts of ingredients. They also have really good products, but their articles about skincare topics are really great too.


Paula's Choice UK - General - 468x60

Trying out the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Normally I start with the introduction of the product and then cover what it is supposed to for, but I will be honest, I have flip flopped on my opinion and put off this review for the sole reason that I am very much on the fence about the Sulwhasso First Care Activating Serum. I figure it is best to just get that out up front so that no one is confused when I seem to waffle between pros and cons.

So the sample size of the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum came to me in an Allure Beauty Box. I have heard many people rave over this brand and I know two people who are just absolute die-hard fans. So the brand was on my list to try out, I just hadn’t quite gotten around to it yet, mostly because I wasn’t certain which product to try first. Having one appear in a subscription box really helped me with that decision. 

First off, it must be said, how stinkin’ cute is this bottle?  I was prepared to open it and have a little squeeze to drop the product into my hand and was pleasantly surprised to find  a tiny little pump. I don’t know why that gets me, but it does.  I just think it is adorable.

The product itself comes out in a brownish color.  It actually reminds me a bit of the Dermelect Self Esteem serum I tried (and loved) a while back.  It even has a similar scent.

Similar, because there is one big difference. But I will get to that in a moment, here I am going to pause and cover what the serum is supposed to be doing when I apply it to my face.

Formulated with JAUM Balancing Complex™, a potent cocktail of five Korean herbs, this unique prepping serum designed to be the first step post-cleanse that hydrates, nourishes and visibly firms, while boosting absorption of subsequent products that are applied on top.

WATER / AQUA / EAU, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, ALCOHOL, GLYCERIN, BETAINE, PEG/PPG-17/6 COPOLYMER, GLYCERYL POLYME-THACRYLATE, OPHIOPOGON JAPONICUS ROOT EXTRACT, PHENOXYETHANOL, BIS-PEG-18 METHYL ETHER DIMETHYL SILANE, PEG-60 HYD-ROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CARBOMER, TROMETHAMINE, GLYCYRRHIZA URALENSIS (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT, FRAGRANCE / PARFUM, HONEY / MEL / MIEL, JUGLANS REGIA (WALNUT) SEED EXTRACT, THEOBROMA CACAO (COCOA) EXTRACT, DEXTRIN, LILIUM CANDIDUM BULB EXTRACT, PAEONIA ALBIFLORA ROOT EXTRACT, REHMANNIA GLUTINOSA ROOT EXTRACT, POLYGONATUM OFFICINALE RHIZOME/ROOT EXTRACT, NELUMBO NUCIFERA FLOWER EXTRACT, XANTHAN GUM, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, PORTULACA OLERACEA EXTRACT, LIM-ONENE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, DISODIUM EDTA, PHENYL TRIMETHICONE, CHONDRUS CRISPUS (CARRAGEENAN), LINALOOL, BIOSACCHARIDE GUM-1, ZIZYPHUS JUJUBA FRUIT EXTRACT, NATTO GUM, CITRONELLOL, CITRAL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, GERANIOL, CHLOR-PHENESIN, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, BHT, SODIUM DEHYDROACETATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, CITRIC ACID, SORBIC ACID, TOCOPHEROL

Sulwhasoo

Okay, it isn’t a long list of things this product is attempting to accomplish it is really only one thing.  It is designed to help other product absorb faster.  And to be honest, it does this really well.  Applying my moisturizer after this meant I spent less time waiting for it to absorb and could cut my getting ready time down a little.  I know the point isn’t making morning preparation shorter but to help your skin absorb more of the ingredients, but I don’t really have a way to measure absorption rate.  I do know that more of my moisturizer absorbed and it absorbed into my skin faster when I used this serum than when I didn’t.

In that sense it worked really well and was fantastic.

I know what you are thinking.  This is going to be another scent issue.

Only partially. 

This time it is scent with a side concern.

Remember I said it smelled almost like the Dermelect Serum but with one big difference? The Dermelect Serum smelled like many different herbs that had been distilled to create a single herbal-ly smelling serum that smelled very medicinal. 

This Sulwhasoo Serum smelled like similar herbs distilled in rubbing alcohol. The scent was somewhat strong actually and when you look at the ingredients list it is easy to see why.  Alcohol is rather high up on the list.  Which means there is a pretty high concentration of it. 

This is where my waffling comes in. Where skincare is concerned, I know that alcohol can be really good in the short term, but have rather bad long term effects on the skin.  If it is low on the list of ingredients I am less concerned by its presence, but when it sits that high on the list, I start backing away from the product.

So here is my final sense of the product. It works well, really well.  It does exactly what it says it is going to do. However because that alcohol sits so high up in the ingredients list and the product smells like herb infused rubbing alcohol, I think I am going to give it a pass.  I will poke around a bit more for information bout the product and its ingredients and talk to a few people whose profession is more in tune with the skin and ingredients upon it than my skin care junkie self, but for now, the alcohol in the product makes it a pass for me, despite how well it seems to work.


La Roche-Posay- ACD

Sunny side up with 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum from Timeless Skincare

A while back Timeless Skincare graciously gifted me with several of their products to try and I have been putting them to the test.  I slowly rotated each one into my skin care routine, so as not to bombard my skin with all new ingredients.  The fourth and final product from my Timeless Skin Care trial was the 20% Vitamin C + E and F Acid (retail . $25.95). I have been using it for one month straight. 

But before we get into how I felt about the serum, let’s look at what it claims on the product page…

Give your skin a mega dose of Vitamin C. Our 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid serum brightens skin, builds collagen and evens out tone. Enhanced with Vitamin E & Ferulic Acid, this serum is a great pick me up for dull, discolored and stressed skin, while providing 24/7 protection against environmental pollutants. Recommended For: All skin types. As always Timeless Skincare is Paraben Free, Fragrance and Dye Free, Cruelty Free, has More actives, less chemicals and is Made in the USA.

Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Alpha Tocopherol, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Timeless Skincare
the pump top

One thing I love about the Timeless skincare products I have tried is that their ingredients lists are not a mile long.  Admittedly this one has some tongue twister words so lets take a moment to break them down.  (As a reminder I am not a medical professional of any kind and I am certainly not a dermatologist, I am just a skin care enthusiast who really likes to try and understand what it is I am putting on my face.  At the end of this post I’ll like a few articles for those who want to look into more professional assessments of the ingredients I am breaking down. )

So first up there is water.  I am always happy to see that.  While many ingredients can lock down moisture, they need moisture to lock down, otherwise they are just sort of sealing in what you have and not adding anything.

the product in hand

Next up is the Ethoxydiglycol.  While a mouthful of syllables its purpose is to dissolve ingredients, increase the efficacy of the other active ingredients in the serum.  One of the ingredients it is increasing the efficacy of is the L-Ascorbic Acid which is a form of vitamin C very often used in skin care because it is a potent antioxidant and skin-soothing agent that can improve the appearance of signs of aging.

The Propylene Glycol acts as a humectant which means it secures the water and takes it to the outer layer of your skin.

Alpha Tocopherol is the Vitamin E listed in the name of the product and it also acts as an antioxidant  while Polysorbate 80 attracts and suspends oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away.  So essentially, if my understanding is correct the Vitamin E helps pull the bad things in your skin to the surface and the Polysorbate 80 acts as the bouncer who kicks them out of Club Dermatitis.

Full face before the trial (L) at the end of one month (R).

Panthenol softens and sooths the skin and helps it build up a barrier against water loss.

Ferulic Acid, the F mentioned on the product label, is an antioxidant that works to boost the effects of other antioxidants and  Sodium Hyaluronate helps to restore the skin’s moisture, promoting a more revitalized and youthful complexion. 

And finally we get to Benzylalcohol, whose chief function in cosmetics is as a preservative, and it’s among the least sensitizing preservatives in use and  Dehydroacetic Acid a non-toxic ingredient used to keep the product from spoiling and acts as a fungicide and bactericide .  Not very sexy ingredients to end the list with but very necessary.  After all there is nothing good about expired skin care.

While those are some very scientific words, the end result is that the ingredients are used to lock in moisture, while sending in a team of antioxidants and promoting healthy youthful looking skin.

While youthful looking skin may be a judgment call, I can say that my skin feels hydrated and soft.  I had no issues with clogged pores or redness with the sun as can sometimes happen with Vitamin C based products (at least it has happened to me a couple of times).

The scarring and sun damage on my cheek before the trial (L) after one month (R)

The product is in a yellow colored plastic dispenser.  The color of the container keeps the sunlight away from the product, which I appreciate, but it also prevents me from knowing how much product remains.  Foolishly I forgot to weigh it before I started my trial.  Unlike the other serums and oils, I’ve tried from Timeless Skincare, it does not come with a dropper, but has a pump that you press to dispense the serum.  I’m guessing it is to keep as much air out of the product as possible. 

One pump is all that I needed to cover my face.  The product absorbed into my skin quickly and easily.  As you can see in the photo it is clear and despite the fact that Panthenol often has a floral scent to it, this serum has almost no scent to it at all.  If you stick your nose right down into it, you might smell something, but then you have to be close enough that you risk inhaling the serum.  I do not recommend inhaling the serum.

I don’t think anyone recommends inhaling any serum actually.

But it means that for those of you sensitive to scent, there will be no problem.  I will say the photos aren’t as dramatic as with the Hyaluronic Acid serum.  In the front facing before and after photos you can see that some of the sun discoloration on my forehead has been reduced and in the side photo showing the scarring on my cheek, you can see a little fading as well.  There is more fading in the sun damage than in the scaring, but there is some noticeable fading. You have to remember that with skin care thirty days of use is generally when you start to see results.  I think that if I continue using this product, over time I would see more fading of the damage as the active ingredients went to work on my skin.  It is less dramatic than its HA counterpart, but still a very nice serum.  And to the touch my skin feels softer and more hydrated, which doesn’t show up as clearly in the photos. 

So will I continue to use this serum?  Yes.  I will be using it up completely.  Will I place this on my to be ordered list? Yes I think I will.  I have other serums in my skin care drawer I want to try, some of them Vitamin C based, but thus far this 20% Vitamin C + E and Ferulic serum has worked really well with my skin and is in the top five of the vitamin C products I have tried before. I am very happy that I got a chance to try this product out and share my thoughts on it. For those of you interested in more scientific break downs of some of the ingredients I listed out, you might want to look into healthline.com and the Derm Review.


SodaStream USA, inc

Foil Packet First Impressions

a selection of foil packets from my skincare drawer

I have a strange relationship with foil packets. I never consciously pick them up. They always seem to come as a gift with purchase, or a bonus item in a subscription box.They get touched into packages and sometimes arrive unannounced.

And I always think, okay, I’ve got to try that and see if it is worth giving it a full trial, either with a larger sample or a full sized bottle. Oh yes, there have been foil packets that completely sold me on the full size before. It is rare though. Usually with foil packets I don’t try to determine whether or not I would purchase a full size but rather would I be willing to try it again.

It has a much lower threshold.

But what happens with foil packets, is I gather them, thinking I need to try them and then they languish until I go to pull something out of a drawer and then they come cascading out like a strange skin care slot machine. Because I honestly don’t reach for them a lot. when going through samples and testing them out, I gather up the small tubes and tiny jars and work through them. I tend to completely forget about the foil packets. Luckily there are no bells and flashing lights when they slide out and remind me they are there.

So I decided that I would take a selection of foil packets partially because there are a lot of them and partially because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming and I want to start making my lists. If I don’t try the sample, I can’t know if i want to pick up the product. In addition to products I like and want to try, there are also lists of gifts for Christmas and unlike me, who was sensible enough to be born in June, most of my family was born between November and February.

I don’t mind actually as it makes my birthday THE event of the summer while everyone else is just a part of the celebratory series that starts November 3rd and ends February 12 leaving everyone gasping with relief when Valentine’s day hits and we have quiet until Easter.

But it also means that I make birthday lists around the same time I make Christmas lists. It also means that even though I talk about my list the most, the items I want tend to take a back seat on my shopping extravaganza and sometimes have to wait for the spring sales.

Such is life.

But sometimes, I make it through the list and still get to shop for me. So i still make the list. But enough chatter, it’s time to sample.

The links below will take you to the product page for the company. I get absolutely nothing if you click on them. They are not affiliate links. I just want you to be able to find the products if you are interested.

Snowberry Serum

First up is the Youth Renewing Face serum with eProlex. from Snowberry. I believe the sample came as an added bonus in a Glossy Box. The serum comes out as a clear liquid and even though it looks like it is more serum that I usually use on my face each morning, the packet contained just enough for my face, neck and upper chest.

Snowberry Serum in hand

It took a little while to soak in, but I have been spoiled by the Hyaluronic Acid Serum from Timeless Skincare. That tends to soak into the skin on contact. I started the Vitamin C Serum trial (also a Timeless Skincare) this week and even that had a noticeably slower absorption rate. I think I might have just gotten used to the HA Serum’s speed. Either way it took only a little longer absorb. Since on the back of the packet Snowberry recommends waiting five minutes before continuing with other skin care, that’s what I did. (and yes I set the timer.)

I also used the five minutes to set up the coffee pot.

It absorbed before the five minutes, but as I occupied myself I didn’t mind the wait. In five minutes it was completely absorbed. while the serum is clear it is not odorless. The scent is faint and not unpleasant. I just can’t identify it. When I try to describe it I want to say that is smells like a soft gray streaked with light pink. I know sometimes my brain is not terribly helpful. It is a clean and pleasant sort of smell though. I checked the ingredients list, which they thoughtfully provided on the back. while I am happy there are Niacinamides, which my skin loves (although I know some people have a sensitivity to)there was no ingredient where I could say HA that’s what i am smelling. So for now I have to say that my broken snifter and bent brain translates the scent into a soft gray streaked with light pink. It is however a product that, after my initial test I would like to see more of so I will be putting it on the list to try again in a larger sample or even a full size.

High Expectations oil

The next two items were also extras added to a Glossy Box I believe. they are both from High SkinCare. One is the High Expectations Facial Oil and the other is the High Five Cannabis Facial moisturizer. Oddly they both had the same slightly lemony scent to them rather than the more typically earthy scent I associate with Cannabis/CBD oil based products.

oil in hand

The facial oil is 32% cannabis sativa oil. There was far more in the packet than I actually needed for one application, so I did not use it all. There wasn’t enough to add to a container to try and use a second time. Or maybe there was but I didn’t really feel like using it a second time. This oil felt a little heavy on my skin. At the moment I am using Pure 100% Squalane oil from Timeless Skincare in the mornings and the Malin+Goetz Recovery Oil at night. neither sit quite as heavy on the skin. The High Expectations did not meet, let alone exceed expectations in this first impressions test. I do not think I will be adding it onto any list.

High Five Moisturizer

However, I would consider picking up the High Five Cannabis Facial Moisturizer for a longer trial. It has 20% Cannabis Sativa seed oil and the same lemony scent that the facial oil has. (I know some of you are thinking – at least she said lemony instead of yellow, but lemony doesn’t ping in my brain as yellow it usually comes across as a pale green, so ha. Plus I am familiar with the scent of lemons.)

moisturizer in hand

The High Five cream absorbed well into the skin and was quite moisturizing. Again there was far more in the packet than could be used in one sitting. This I did add to a small jar and use at night. Because of its consistency, I really liked using it at night. It is as thick as a traditional moisturizer (as opposed to a gel or water cream). Even though the temperature has dropped, the sun is still bright and I spent longer on the walking trail than I have in a while. This was a very good cream after too much time in the sun. Unlike the oil, I would definitely consider picking up a larger size to try out.

Next there is the First and Free CBD Cream. It came in a Pinch Me Box. I have to say I was very glad to see it as they always seem to want to send me bandages and candy. And yes I looked over my profile with them but somehow I have gotten into some sort of candy eating klutz category. So it was kind of fabulous to be offered any sort of body lotion. The First and Free CBD uses canopy growth for their products which if I remember correctly is more sustainable. I can’t remember the details. I have only just started delving into the CBD world and my research is still a little shaky. As I just started trying out a CBD Cleansing oil, I will be doing more research soon. I would also do more research on the effects of using only canopy growth should I try out a larger version of this cream or any other product from the First and Free Brand.

CBD Cream in hand

As I really liked this cream, I think that is definitely a possibility. There was little to no scent to it. It smelled like lotion. Just that cream scent that unscented lotions have. As almost every lotion in my currently large collection is pretty heavily scented, this was kind of a relief. Lately I’ve been running around smelling of cake batter and sugar cookies. It’s made me want to bake more. But that could also be the cooler temps. Regardless, I would actually like to try using this cream for a longer trial to see how I liked it over a longer period and if I would like to add it to my continue to purchase list of products. As a note, when you go to the First and Free Site they will ask for your location so they can determine which products they could ship to you. Which i kind of like. I’d hate to accidentally buy something that wasn’t legal in my locale. The company does sell edibles though and I think the restrictions are more on that end then on the body lotion.

So there you have it, four foil packets and my initial impressions of the products within. Three I want to try further and one I definitely do not. Not a bad trial run. I hope you’ve enjoyed my foil packet first impressions.




Testing out the Timeless Skincare Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum

Timeless Skincare recently gifted me a set of products to try out and review.  While these were gifted to me the reviews are my own opinions. This is not a sponsored post. I’m sure you recall me mentioning the HA (Hyaluronic Acid) Spray that was also in the package they sent over.  I’ve been using it in my Weekly Makeup Bag for the last two weeks and absolutely loving it.  But as I like to give skin care a full thirty days where possible before I make a determination, it still has another two weeks of use before I give you my final thoughts. You can see my initial impressions post by clicking here if you would like.

The only reason I mention it is that the HA Spray is listed in the product description as a lighter version of the Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum, which I’m reviewing today after a full thirty days of use.

So if you are looking at the ingredients list and thinking to yourself, wow that sounds familiar, then first of all congrats on paying attention to ingredients lists. Give yourself a gold star. Second, it is pretty much the same list.  The spray has cucumber extract added to it to give it the just from the spa scent (and cucumber extract benefits).  There are other scents with the spray as well, but as this is the serum review I’ll leave that for that post.

First let’s look at what the product claims and then we’ll get to the ingredients and my use. So first off…

Kick start your daily skin care routine with this essential serum. Vitamin C with its powerful antioxidants is the first line of defense for your skin as it brightens, clarifies and protects. Matrixyl 3000™ rebuilds collagen and firm skin, and Hyaluronic Acid pumps up the moisture levels. Your face appears luminous and bright, giving you that well rested, ‘just had a full night’s sleep’ effect. 

Recommended For All skin types, every day

Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum is composed of a 5% concentration of Vitamin C, a 1.5% concentration of Matrixyl 3000™ with an added 1% concentration of Hyaluronic Acid. The combination of hyaluronic acid with the best vitamin c serum for oily skin provides a super hydra-boosting serum brightens skin with natural vitamins and essential anti-aging ingredients, while replenishing skin volume and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles

Apply 2-3 drops to fingertips and smooth evenly onto cleansed skin, preferably at night-time. For external use only. Sunscreen use recommended after application.

Timeless Promise: Paraben Free, Fragrance and Dye Free, Cruelty Free, More actives, less chemicals, Made in the USA

Ingredients

Water, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Aloe Barbadensis, Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Matrixyl 3000™, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Timeless Skincare

As the product is meant to hydrate I am not surprised water is the first ingredient on the list.  In fact, I would be pretty shocked if it wasn’t.  Most skincare products do have it as their first ingredient, which makes sense.  If a product is supposed to put moisture in the skin, it has to have moisture to give.

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is the vitamin C element that is mentioned in the description in case you are wondering why vitamin c isn’t plainly labeled on the ingredients list.  According to the Derm Store this is a form of Vitamin C that not only protects skin from free radicals and helps hydrate but it helps with hyper pigmentation and stimulates collagen. The link is actually to the Derm Stores full article which goes into much greater detail about this form of Vitamin C for those interested.  Personally, I think it is pretty interesting.

Aloe Barbadensis is essentially Aloe Vera.  I am a big fan of this.  It is an anti-inflammatory agent essentially.  I can personally attest to this.  Every house I lived in as a child had an aloe plant in it.  Sunburns, and non-sun burns, poison ivy, and any kind of itchy bite or skin inflammation saw a bit of the aloe plant snapped off and rubbed on the skin.  I was very glad this spring that I kept of the practice of keeping an aloe plant around when I got my massive sun burn this spring. It was icy cold and super soothing. My poor aloe plant is almost fully recovered from the ordeal. Needless to say I am very glad to see it in my skin care, especially since I have been spending so much time in the sun this summer.

Glycerin is a humectant, which essentially means it is what pulls the moisture into the skin and kind of locks it down.  It is pretty common in a lot of moisturizing products and kind of expected. The Hyaluronic Acid is also expected since this is a hyaluronic acid based product.  HA reduces fine lines and causes the skin to retain moisture, essentially plumping the skin to do away with fine lines.  It is not an acid as in evil villain slowly lowering you into a bubbling vat while spilling all of the details of his nefarious plot sort of acid.

As the TM by the term in the ingredients list implies the Matryxl 3000 is a proprietary substance but here is the simple break down of what the  Timeless Skin care Site had to say about it…

Matrixyl 3000 is an ultimate collagen booster derived synthetically and comprised of two skin active peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl-tetrapeptide-7. These two active ingredients stimulate the skin and work with the skin to enhance its natural anti-aging properties.

Timeless Blog Article

If you click on the site link it will take you to a more fulsome discussion of this ingredient, but the above is essentially the summation.

This leads us to the last two listed ingredients: Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid. Benzylalcohol is a preservative designed to kill microbes and Dehydroacetic Acid is a non-toxic ingredient used as a fungicide and bactericide.  It’s job is to prevent the growth of microorganisms. So essentially these last two ingredients keep the product from spoiling and from mold and microbes from growing inside the product.  I am okay with that. I prefer all my skin care to not go rancid on me. 

Five drops of the product in hand

And that is it for ingredients.  There are eight of them.  Two designed to prevent spoilage and the rest to do the job for which the serum was designed. Overall not a bad list.  I have used quite a few products where breaking down every ingredient (even in the short non-scientific way I did here) would not be possible. I really like that no extras were added just to be added.

The serum comes in a blue glass bottle with a glass dropper. Despite the fact that the Hyaluronic Acid +Vitamin C Serum only costs $20.95, it feels super lux in the hand.  The glass is nice in the hand and the dropper is well made.  With glass bottles like this I have a love hate relationship with the color of the bottle.  I love that it is a solid color that prevents light from getting in and ruining the product, but I hate not knowing how much I used. The product is clear and odorless.  If you have a problem with scent in your skin care then you will be thrilled with this.  There is absolutely no scent to it.

Now while the website says it is ideally used in the evenings, the box it came in suggested morning and evening use.  So I used it in the morning and in the evening. I know that sun sensitivity with some serums can be an issue, but I didn’t have any sort of problems with it.  That being said, when I go outside I have SPF 50 sunscreen (courtesy of my Volition sunscreen) on my face and as extra security I have been topping all of my skin (arms, legs, and face) with a spray sunscreen (Neutrogena Beach Defense) in SPF 30.  So the sunscreen may have something to do with the non-reaction in the sun.

But I’m not giving up my sunscreen to check.   

I try not to deliberately try for skin damage.

The recommended usage is three to four drops.  I generally found that three covered my face perfectly well, my skin sucking the serum in almost immediately upon contact.

Seriously, it disappeared like magic. 

Since I like to bring my serums down my neck and onto my upper chest, I used five drops and it covered everything beautifully.  This is a serum you are going to want to dispense in your hand and then apply to the face.  If you try to use a cotton round, or any other cloth applicator, it will absorb into the cloth and you will just sort of lose the product.  Definitely apply it with your hands.  Any product that doesn’t go into your face will sink into your hands.  Which is not a bad thing.  Even in a glancing application, the serum has actually smoothed out a lot of my gardening based rough spots on my hands. I know that isn’t its intent, but it isn’t a bad side effect.  

I did take before and after photos of my face in an effort to see the difference thirty days made.  I know the difference is slight in only a month, but I did notice a smoothing out of my skin in the mouth and eye area.  I even noticed a slight reduction in what I like to call my stress crack – the line across the center of my forehead. It isn’t shrunk to nothing (I doubt very much that anything would completely erase it) but it hasn’t gotten bigger and it is a little less noticeable. The hyperpigmentation on my forehead is slightly lighter.

The differences I’ve noticed are really kind of hard to see in a photo. For one, my skin feels less dry.  As I am walking more instead of going to the gym, I am spending more time outside.  Between the walking and the gardening, the sun takes its toll.  While using this serum I’ve had to use less moisturizer to keep the sun dryness at bay. and I have been noticing a lot less clogged pores lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I think somehow I also assembled a crack team of products for this round of testing as in the past month a lot of my skin issues have cleared up. While this serum isn’t solely responsible for my skin’s improvement, it was a really big help.  The dark spots left by acne scarring haven’t really diminished so dealing with skin discoloration due to scarring may not be this serum’s strong suit despite the vitamin c, but it is excellent with retaining moisture and plumping up fine lines.  So two out of three isn’t bad.

I do have a second serum that was sent to me by Timeless Skincare.  It is the 20% Vitamin C + E and Ferulic Acid.  It is designed more for the pigmentation so I will be giving it a go.  In my month long trial using it morning and evening, I used up about half of the 1oz bottle of HA serum that was sent to me. I am going to switch to using it just in the evenings (which should give me another two months of testing with the serum, plus I don’t want the left over to go to waste and I really enjoyed using it so have no problem whatsoever in using every drop). 

I am going to then test the more heavily vitamin C serum during the day and see if that works better on my hyperpigmentation.  I have high hopes that the combination of the two serums will do well with my skin. Of course I won’t know until I try.  Which I will do starting tomorrow morning. 

Until then, I have to say I have really enjoyed this serum and am very glad Timeless Skincare sent it over to me to test out and review.  It is a serum I will be purchasing on my own in the future. I may even have to look into ther DIY Beauty Box in the near future as well. Thus far I am enjoying the products I’ve used well enough that rying out more from this brand seems like a really good idea.

A healthy Setting Spray? Beginning the Timeless HA Spray with Matrixyl 3000 and Cucumber Extract Trial

Timeless Skincare HA Spray with Matrixyl 3000 and Cucumber extract

I recently had a lovely conversation with a five year old about acids.  Well, mostly it was about Mr. Yuk stickers from my childhood, which apparently they don’t put on things any more.  In case you want a very fun throwback (or if Mr. Yuk was not a part of your childhood) you can still watch the Mr. Yuk commercials on You Tube. As a warning, they may haunt you.

I used to have a Mr. Yuk T-shirt which is what prompted the conversation.  I really need to get that replaced. I wonder if they still sell them?

Regardless, we talked about Mr. Yuk stickers and household poisons.  And how I put Mr. Yuk stickers on the cookie jar so my brother wouldn’t eat them. Then I had to explain the time honored tradition of sibling torture to an only child.

And then came the questions about acid.

“You spray acid on your FACE?” (I would suggest reading that with the scrunched up face full of incredulity and slight admiration of a five year old – go for shocked respect if you would please, thank you.)

This was then followed by a conversation about how I was not attempting to become a comic book super villain. Which oddly enough took longer than I thought it would. I apparently make a pretty convincing potential villain to a five year old.  Of course then she wanted to know if villains had apprentices. 

There is a reason this kid and I get along so well.

The ‘Acid Spray’ in question, which is not turning me into a super villain, is the Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Spray with Matrixyl 3000 + cucumber extract.  It was gifted to me by Timeless Skincare to try out and review.They sent over several products for me to try and review. All the thoughts on them are my own.

The Timeless Skin Products I will be reviewing in the coming weeks.

But first, so that no one else thinks I am attempting a Joker style transformation, what is hyaluronic acid? According to Very Well Health (who are far more science oriented than I am…

Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the skin, connective tissues, eyes, and joints. It helps give structure to the skin, repairs tissue, and lubricates the joints.

Hyaluronic acid isn’t just a substance that encircles your skin cells. It’s vital in keeping the skin hydrated. Hyaluronic acid attracts water from within the dermis and moves it along to the skin surface, the epidermis. Hyaluronic acid and other glycosaminoglycans also play a role in skin elasticity and tone, cell metabolism, regeneration, and healing. Because it has “acid” in its name, it’s often mistaken for an exfoliating ingredient, much like salicylic acid or glycolic acid. However, hyaluronic acid has little in common with alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids such as these.

verywellhealth.com

Which basically means that instead of exfoliating my skin (and/or turning me into the Joker) it is actually helping to keep skin moisturized and healthy.  While everyone produces a form of this naturally, it is always nice to have extra, especially as natural production decreases with age.

The HA Spray

So now that we know a little about Hyaluronic acid, let’s find out what this HA spray from Timeless Skincare is supposed to do. According to the Timeless Skincare website it is…

The perfect pick me up for your skin! Our Hydrating Sprays instantly absorbs to give tired, dull and dry skin a boost. This lighter version of our best-selling Hyaluronic Acid Serums includes Matrixyl 3000 + Aloe Barbadensis to re-hydrate, soothe and protect throughout the day.

Infused with refreshing Cucumber to awaken the senses, this one is a favorite for Spring! Instantly hydrates and refreshes skin, Provides protection from the environment, Helps refresh your makeup during the day

Matrixyl 3000™, a potent anti-wrinkle complex containing polypeptides that helps repair aging skin and protect it from environmental damage, is blended with Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and help retain optimal moisture levels. Aloe and Cucumber help soothe, calm and refresh the skin. Can also be used as a makeup finishing spray.

Guaranteed fresh and effective for 2 years from the date of purchase. Can be applied to skin anywhere on the body! Timeless Skin is always: Paraben Free, Fragrance and Dye Free, Cruelty Free, has more actives, less chemicals and is Made in the USA.

Ingredients: Water, Aloe Barbadensis, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Calcium Pantothenate, Matrixyl 3000, Cucumber Extract, Phenoxyethanol.

Timeless Skincare Website

When Timeless Skincare sent a package to me they had two separate serums.  One was the best-selling Hyaluronic Acid Serums and the other was a serum infused with vitamin C.  I like to rotate products in to make sure I get a fair assessment without freaking my skin out with an entirely new regime and so I can figure out what they are doing on their own. 

The matching Hyaluronic Acid Serum

I started with the Hyaluronic Acid Serum test first, This Friday I will have used the serum for three entire weeks.  I like to use a product for a month before reviewing (if possible) so I have been taking notes and will post my review September 21st at the end of the four weeks. After a week of just the HA Serum I rotated in the Timeless Skincare 100% pure Squalane oil (the results of its month long trial will post on September 28th).  Once I knew how these two reacted to each other I added in the HA spray and have been using it for a week.  Once the HA serum has passed a month long trial I will be rotating the Vitamin C +Ferulic Acid serum in to see how it performs with the others.

Now I know some of you are reading that and thinking, well that makes sense Mimsy, but shouldn’t you be waiting another three weeks to talk about the HA Spray?

Yes and no.

After a month of use I will be posting a full review of the spray, however there is a line in the description that you might have caught.  The line is ‘Can be used as a makeup finishing spray.’

For those who routinely read my posts you know each week I pack a makeup bag full of products and take it from my dressing table to the bathroom where I get ready in the morning and those are the products I use for the week and then report back on each Friday. For a while I was trying to use up an older setting spray, which I did.  Since I needed to replace it, I went ahead and rotated this into my makeup bag. It will spend the full month in the Makeup bag.  I used it this week to set my makeup and I used it periodically to refresh my makeup and my skin.

So while there will still be a post thirty days review for the spray, there will also be a weekly mention of it, so I thought I would start with a separate post. Kind of a Thus Far… sort of posting.

And thus far, I am in love with this spray.

First off is the scent. I know, with me it’s always first with the scent. It smells like cucumbers.  I know that shouldn’t be a big surprise given it’s ingredient list. But it smells like the water you get at a spa. Using it after I put on my makeup makes me sort of feel as though I have just left a spa. And that is not a bad feeling to have.

Although for those of you not interested in cucumber scent, this spray does come in several other scents including lavender, orange, and rose. I am however using the cucumber so that is the one whose scent I know. it is light and crisply scented.

Second, it is a really good setting spray. I believe that all of the ingredients designed to lock in moisture also help keep the makeup products locked down. I’m sure there is another more scientific explanation, but the end result is that it works well as a makeup spray.

Third, it is super refreshing.  I am working out but no longer in the comfort of the gym.  Which means the sweat factor has doubled at the minimum.  It also means the sun is a more prominent feature in my day as a lot of my exercise is done in the out of doors.  While I am layering on the sunblock, the sun and humidity often make me feel sticky and kinda gross even after I’ve rinsed off.  The spray with its very fine mist and cucumber scent makes me feel refreshed.

Fourth, I really like having a setting spray that is skincare oriented.  If you’ve ever read the ingredient lists of setting sprays you start to realize that a lot of them contain things that aren’t especially good for your skin.  They lock in makeup in much the same manner as shellac locks in paint. Even though I am very guilty of just using whatever setting spray keeps my makeup in place the longest, I always kinda feel bad about using it.  And if my skin is breaking out, I tend to avoid the setting spray. Since this is more skin care oriented, that is not an issue. 

Plus, I have noticed that some of my break outs have been getting better more rapidly than I expected them to. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a miracle, it isn’t instant healing in a spray (although seriously how cool would that be?) It could be that it is not irritating the break outs so they are healing faster. Either way, go skin care based setting spray!

Fifth, applying it is sort of a backup for my serum.  The serum gets applied before makeup and after cleansing.  The HA Spray is applied after makeup and during the day. It’s sort of like sending in reinforcements to the front line troops. I can get down with that.

Sixth, I’m going to have to add in a comment about price.  Setting sprays generally are found ranging between $15 – $30 unless you are going with a drugstore product.  If you add in skincare benefits the price generally goes up. This HA Spray w Matrixyl 3000 + Cucumber Extract is $17.95 on the Timeless Skin website. That means that if nothing else, it is a good for your skin setting spray that works and is priced on the low end of the spectrum.

While I will save any mention of visible skin care benefits for the final review after a month long trial (mostly because it takes about 30 days to see benefits in most skin care products), it will be a part of my weekly Makeup Bag post for the duration of the trial. So you essentially get to follow along with weekly updates. This post is how I feel about this product based on one week of use. And Again, while this product was gifted to me by Timeless Skincare, the opinions are all my own.

For those of you who are curious about Timeless skin and aren’t certain what sort of products you might like to try (all of their products are as reasonably priced as their HA Spray), they have a skin care quiz that you can take to identify which products might suit your individual needs. Personally I love taking skin care quizzes on sited to see what sort of products are recommended. But maybe that’s just me.

I think it will be interesting to see how my thoughts change as I use it. For now, I really like it as a setting spray without harmful ingredients, and am hoping to see actual skin care results as I push forward.  Stay tuned.

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.



Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Review

I have been a fan of Caudalie skincare for a long time.  I tried a sample of their Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet and I was hooked.  For the longest time it was my go to moisturizer.  Then I moved and my skin’s needs altered due to climate.  On a subsequent move, I found I could still use it in the spring as my transitional moisturizer so for a long time I thought of Caudalie in terms of spring.  As in ‘Oh it’s spring now I get to use the Caudalie’ or ‘Oh spring is just around the corner, I need to make sure I’ve got the Moisturizing Sorbet on hand.’

Oddly enough, I never really branched out to their other products. I tried a few samples but none of them stuck the way the Sorbet had although I’m not entirely certain why.  I think it was the plethora of brands around me that I wanted to try everything. (I am still upset with myself for missing the Look Fantastic Caudalie limited edition box they did a while back. I have the worst luck in catching their limited edition boxes).

I remember trying out the Vinoperfect Radiance serum before, but aside from remembering I liked it, I couldn’t remember much.  So when it was in my Look Fantastic box in August I was very happy. 

Okay, I giggled and did a little dance. 

But no one saw me and you can’t prove it.

Before I tell you my experience with this serum, let’s see what I should expect. According to the product page…

A worldwide cult favorite, Vinoperfect Radiance Serum has captured the hearts of millions for its powerful anti-dark spot actions.

Both effective and natural, this skin-tone evening serum contains our patented Viniferine that is 62 times more effective than Vitamin C at boosting radiance and evening the complexion.

Suitable for all skin types, it works to reduce the appearance of dark spots, including pregnancy marks, acne marks, sun pigmentation and age-related dark spots, and prevents them from reappearing.

Its refreshing and subtle fragrance combines notes of citrus blossom, orange tree leaves, watermelon and mint.

Given my experience with the Sorbet Moisturizer, I already knew Caudalie knew how to make a cult favorite. So I had high hopes.

Now before I begin I want to say a word on packaging.  As it is a travel sized sample of serum it is in a squeeze tube.  The full sized version is in a glass bottle with a dropper. I know you are thinking, why is this relevant? Trust me it is.  This is a serum that is meant to be in a bottle with a dropper.  This is a serum with a relatively liquid consistency.  If you open the tube with the opening facing down, it will drip out of the tube.  Hold the tube up when opening, then turn over your hand to dispense. Otherwise you will waste product. As you can see in the photo it still leaks into the cap.

I tell you this because I made the same mistake and I regret every drop lost.

So once opening the tube and turning it the right way up so it didn’t drip, I took a sniff.  I know that occasionally my senses get a little wonky so bear with me. 

Have you ever eaten a watermelon slice down to the white? Not down to the part where it gets bitter, but into that first edging of white where the sweetness of the melon fades and there is just that clean fresh crispness before you get to the bitter part?  Where it is neither sweet nor bitter, just fresh?

That taste is how this serum smells.

I know not as poetic as the Caudalie marketing team’s description, but in my mind that is it’s scent.  To me it brought back some nice summer memories and I am glad I tried it out in the summertime. Especially because it is fantastically refreshing. 

This serum is light weight and absorbs quickly into the skin.  I liked to use it in the mornings since it had no issues going out in the sun and then use the products that made me more sensitive to sunlight at night.  There were a couple of days where I ran late and skipped the serum for the day during the trial.  On those days, I definitely noticed my skin was thirstier at night.  If I skipped the serum I ended up needing to use the extra moisturizing night cream instead of my regular moisturizer. So I’m pretty sure it helped lock in moisture.

I do have some sun spots on my forehead (a legacy from my time in Texas) and I have some darker acne scaring.  I think it is possible that there was some fading, more so on the sun damage than on the acne scars. I used the entire tube, but It only lasted a little less than two weeks. I believe to see a real difference I would need to use this for at least a month. Given how well it performed, I would have absolutely no problem using this serum for a month. While I like it and believed that given more time it would do exactly as it claims, I do think I will be picking this up in a full size and doing a longer trial at a later point in time. To me this is no surprise. It is easy to see how this is a cult favorite and I am glad Look Fantastic sent me a tube of it to try.

speaking of Look Fantastic the link to their 2020 Advent Calendar goes live today. it is a $640+ value for $110 and features brands like Elemis, Molton Brown, Omorovicza & more. It is well worth checking out. I know it is a bit on the early side to be thinking of Advent calendars but they tend to go fast. I got one a few years back as a gift and it was utterly amazing. So if you are getting it for yourself or giving it to a friend it is worth the price. the items always range from bath and body to skin care and a few makeup items. In my experience it is mostly skincare though, so if you have any skin care or self care junkies on your list, this is a good gift to look into.

And for those looking at the Look Fantastic Box, this is their Birthday month and will include a Brushworks Jade Roller, Elemis Pro-collagen Marine cream, Luxie 209 large shader brush, Diego Dalla Palma Mini Lip liner, along with two other mystery products. You can also sign up now and get the Birthday Edition Beauty Box for $16 ($95 value) instead of the regular $19 with the code BBTREAT.

Caudalie

Testing out the Decorte Moisture Liposome Serum

The 9 mL / 0.3 FL oz sample size of the Decorte Serum

This serum came in one of my Glossy Boxes a few months back and I was very happy to finally work it into my skin care regime.  The sample size was small, but it did last for almost two weeks.  I was about three days shy.  While most skin care requires about thirty days to actually show results, I generally find that in two weeks I can figure out if it works well enough with my skin to bother trying a full sized version.   (In case you are wondering that’s why there are no before and after results pictured).

Moisture Liposome. Pure perfection, supreme moisture.

Now I have tried a small foil packet of this serum before and I liked that tiny sample enough to do the skin care happy dance when I saw Glossy Box included this sample in my monthly beauty box. Especially since it is a fairly pricey serum. There are three sizes; 2 fl. oz. / 60 mL for $125, 1.3 fl. oz. / 40 mL for $95, and .67 fl. oz. / 20 mL for $50.  So you can see why I wanted to try out a larger sample before committing to a full sized version. Incidentally, the sample size included in my Glossy box was 0.3 FL oz./9mL.

So what is a liposome serum and what is it supposed to do?

Well according to the product page…

You can change the destiny of your skin.

That’s the philosophy behind Moisture Liposome. The most essential factor for strong, beautiful and healthy skin is care that supplies and maintains high-quality, continuous moisture to keep skin in a prime condition – resistant to dryness, roughness, and other troubles.

A lightweight, super-moisturizing serum, Moisture Liposome, with Liposome Technology™, effortlessly becomes one with skin to promote a smooth, healthy, and radiant condition. Highly compatible with skin, multilayered capsules measuring just 0.1 to 0.2 micrometers composed of biomimetic phospholipid bilayers are time-released to infuse skin with lasting, all-day hydration; improving skin’s texture, firmness and translucence. Works in synergy with skin while enhancing the absorption of subsequent skincare products that follow.

INGREDIENTS:WATER/AQUA/EAU, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, ACETYL GLUTAMINE, BETULA ALBA BARK EXTRACT, CHIMAPHILA UMBELLATA LEAF EXTRACT, CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) FRUIT EXTRACT, EQUISETUM ARVENSE EXTRACT, HUMULUS LUPULUS (HOPS) EXTRACT, PINUS SYLVESTRIS CONE EXTRACT, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, SODIUM HYALURONATE, SODIUM PCA, TOCOPHEROL, BENZOPHENONE-5, CARBOMER, CHOLESTEROL, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, XANTHAN GUM, METHYLPARABEN, PHENOXYETHANOL, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM)

decorte.com

First off, I need to say something about the packaging.  When you screw off the cap, it looks like there is just a big hole in the top that product is going to come pouring out of.  It doesn’t.  It’s the kind of stopper where the product doesn’t come out until the bottle is squeezed.  Personally, I like that as I am often working with wet or damp hands during my skin care routine (if not cream coated) so I occasionally drop things into the sink.  (Rip Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder). I’ll admit, I did drop this and not a drop spilled because of the bottles design.  

I know, not the point of the review, but an excellent design feature.

When squeezed, the bottle dispenses a little dot of product into the hand.  The small amount is exactly what was needed to cover my face and neck.  Any more, was too much.  It is not a liquid, but it isn’t really a solid cream either.  It is like a gel or water cream in consistency. There was almost no scent to the product at all. 

Most of the time when I tried to smell the serum I just smelled the remains of my cleanser on my skin and not the actual serum.  So even though there is fragrance listed as the final ingredient in the ingredients list, it is not a noticeable addition. Unless the fragrance added is there to nullify the scents of the other ingredients, in that case well done. If you have issues with scent in skin care, this serum is not going to be a problem for you. 

It is very hydrating.  Seriously, one of the reasons that a little is enough is that more just takes longer to absorb so you are waiting forever and feeling like you are wasting product. The extra will absorb with no problem, it just takes longer. My skin tends to be normal leaning towards oily in the summer so a small amount was fine for me, but even adding too much didn’t make my skin go greasy, it just took longer to absorb. If you are a little more on the dry end of the spectrum, you may have to use a little more product, but I think it could work for you as well. It seemed like a very versatile formula.

I have to say, my skin soaked it up.  On days where I spent too much time in the sun, this was an amazing product to use fight after washing my face.  While I liked it now because it never made me greasy, I think I would like it even more in the winter time when my skin is dryer and dealing with central heating. 

I never noticed the micrometer sized capsules talked of in the description, but then without a microscope why would I? 

I will say that it kept my skin hydrated and soft.  While I can’t prove that it helped other skin care elements in any way, I can say that it did not react poorly to any other ingredients in my regime and while using it, the slightly dry patches around healing ‘mask-ne’ weren’t dry at all.  It also didn’t irritate any of my break outs either. It just quietly and inoffensively hydrated my skin. Which is all it was really asked to do.

But now the big question, would I actually purchase this product?

To be honest, I would definitely pick up the smallest $50 size to try for a full long trial. Because of the two week trial, I know my skin reacts well to the serum, but quite frankly I didn’t use it long enough to be able to see actual results. And if I’m going to spend $125 on a product, I want to know that I’m going to show some results. I would pick up the 20 mL size because it would give me enough product for a full thirty day trial.  Whether or not I would spend the $125 for a 60 mL would depend on the full length trial.  I do know that Look Fantastic sells Decorte products and they pretty routinely have sales and discounts and I am always up for a good discount. 

Incidentally, Look Fantastic is about to begin their Labor Day sale it runs from 8/25 – 9/9. There is 22% off Sitewide with the code LABORDAY22. So now might not be a bad time to stock up on some products.

Given how well my skin reacted to the sample size though, I think I will be testing the Decorte Liposome Serum out this winter in a full sized trial.  I think I’m also going to look into more Japanese skin care because of this.  To be honest I know more about Korean skincare, mostly because there is so much of it around. Maybe I’ll be able to find a sample kit of Decorte products to try.  While I don’t know if they offer a sample pack for sale, I do know they also sell makeup and I always have a soft spot for skin care companies that also product makeup

Whether skin care or makeup, this liposome sample from my Glossy Box has gotten me more interested in the brand Decorte (and I suppose Japanese skin care in general) and I suspect once I’ve cleared out a little space in my skincare drawer, there will be a longer full sized test in store, at the very least. So apparently I have gone from foil packet, to sample sized, to planning a month long trial. Don’t you just love when that happens?


Liposome #1 Serum in Japan