Rehydrating with the Vichy Mineral Masque

Good afternoon my darlings and I hope your Friday is going fabulously. The word of the day is hydration. In fact it was really the word of the week.

As I had some break outs to clear away, I started using the Acne Control Cleanser from Murad. While it did a magnificent job clearing everything away, once the bulk of my blemishes were dried out and gone, I didn’t stop using it. I just reached for it automatically because it was on the edge of my sink.

I know, bad Mimsy.

As a result I ended up with some very dry patches which were exacerbated by the cold wind that seems to be lowling through my area. So this week became all about hydration. While I switched up a lot of my products this week, one of my best friends has been the Vichy Laboratories Masque Mineral.

20% off on orders $50+. Use Code: NEWYEAR21. Valid: 1/21-1/25.

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about it and it won’t be the last. It is the mask I turn to when my skin just needs a really good hit of moisture. I use it in the summer when I’ve had too much sun, even though it is to moisturizing for everyday use then. The winter is it’s time to shine. Quite frankly I have lost track of how many jars of this I have gone through. It is the sort of mask you can put on and leave on overnight if you have to and I have been known to apply it to knees and elbows and let it sit until I shower it off. It is really good on dry skin and I have never had a problem with any sort of irritation from it.

It looks like blue tinted jelly and when you scoop it out of the jar it melts to liquid with the heat of your palm. It actually reminds me a lot of the Illamasqua primer I used this week. The scent of this mask is light and unsurprisingly slightly minerally. It actually reminds me of bottled mineral water. It is light and fresh as well as refreshing. While I have used it throughout the week, I will be using it again today for my Friday Face Mask.

I love the fact that it takes so little to cover the entire face. You can apply a thin coat and just let it absorb in and leave it for the afternoon or you can apply a thicker coat and just use it as a mask. Today i am going the mask route.

I applied it in the bathroom and set my timer for fifteen minutes before flopping out on the bed with my i-pod. Today, I went with a podcast. I’m going with Dressed: A History of Fashion by Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan. It is very entertaining and I am quite enjoying it. They are either starting their third year or they just finished their third year of podcasts. I only cam across them a few months ago so I am catching up. They have about two hundred podcasts in their library. Today I went back to the earliest ones and pulled up a podcast dealing with the House of Worth.

with the mask on, my face just looks wet It’s kind of a nice break from the pseudo bank robber look I usually get with masks.

It is however an hour long so I unfortunately only managed a short bit before I had to turn it off and go to wash my face. I’ll be finishing it up later. That is the one downfall. I tend to only listen to podcasts in short bursts so the longer ones I have to break up into segments.

But at least I can look forward to the rest.

When I went to wash my face it looked more or less like it did when I first applied the mask. Most of the mask soaked in but my skin still looked wet and felt slightly tacky to the touch. The remains of the mask washed off quickly with warm water and I patted my skin dry. After using this mask all week, my skin is now plumped and all of the dry spots are a distant memory.

The lesson remains though. Don’t over do it on the acne fighting cleanser. Sometimes less is more. At least with something that drying. I will say it took excellent care of my break outs though. And with the aide of Vichy Laboratories, no permanent harm was done. Once again my decision to always keep a jar of the Vichy Masque Mineral in my cabinet paid off. I love when that happens.

Vichy USA- ACD

Trying out the Hyaluronic Acid 62% Hydrating Serum from Herbal Dynamics Beauty

Recently I was sent a bottle of Herbal Dynamics Hyaluronic Acid 62% Hydrating Serum.  As anyone who reads my skin care reviews knows, I am a huge fan of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in my skin care products. My skin reacts really well to it.  

I know I have often gone on at length about the benefits of Hyaluronic acid, but as a quick recap, hyaluronic acid plumps skin and helps to erase fine lines.  For me it has also helped reduce the depth and distinction of the line across my forehead that I usually refer to as The Stress Crack. This year has seen it grow quite a bit and I am using every means at my disposal to reduce it.  I doubt anything that is noninvasive will ever actually erase it, but I can work towards making it look more like a surface crack and less like the grand canyon.

Truthfully, The Stress Crack doesn’t bother me all that much, but I do find it is the place where I see the most change in products.  If they work, then it is going to show there first.  So while I may need several months to see a serums effectiveness on the fine lines around my eyes and mouth, if a product is going to do something I can see the start of results on The Stress Crack in only a few weeks. It makes it the perfect litmus test for line shrinking skincare.

For those of you who have never heard of Herbal Dynamics they are, according to their website: Where nature meets science: Paring the finest botanical ingredients with cutting-edge science. Their products are also sulfate free, paraben free, cruelty free and phthalate free.

I recently tried their Cacao and Chamomile Detoxifying Clay mask and absolutely loved it.  The mask pulled deeply buried clogged pores to the surface that I was pretty sure a vacuum couldn’t touch. The link will take you to my full review of that mask actually, if you are interested. It is going to be one I will use for quite some time to come. So you will be hearing about it anytime my skin needs a detox.

But beyond the products they offer, they have their blog.  Oh my darlings, if you are interested in skincare, finding out more about how your skin works, what sorts of foods to eat for your type of skin’s optimal health or about layering different types of serums, I highly recommend checking out The Botanical Blog. It has some amazing information that will really help you make good choices for your skin.

But back to the Hyaluronic Acid 62% Hydrating Serum. I’m sure many of you are thinking, hydrating serum, hmmm, not just Hyaluronic acid then? Good Catch. This isn’t purely Hyaluronic Acid, but before we look into the ingredients, let’s find out what we should expect from the product.

According to the website…

Powerful, proven ingredients in the HD Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum are carefully combined to promote plump, youthful-looking skin and minimize fine lines. Hyaluronic acid, aloe and botanical extracts hydrate skin on a cellular level and aid the skin’s natural moisture retention process, promoting a healthy glow and elasticity.

Hydrates and plumps to soften fine lines, Soothes and calms irritation, Antioxidants repair and restore, Fights inflammation and redness and Supports radiant, smooth complexion.

Apply to face and neck after cleansing and toner, before moisturizing. Use morning and night.

Full Ingredients List: Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera) gel*, Hyaluronic acid, Vegetable glycerin, Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) extract*, Sodium PCA, Anthemis nobilis (Chamomile) flower seed extract*, and Vitis vinifera (Grape) seed extract*.  

*Organic/ All natural / paraben free. Not tested on animals. Made in the U.S.A.

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

Okay so let’s take a deeper look at that ingredient list.  As you can see Hyaluronic acid is the second ingredient listed. I am perfectly fine with that and as we’ve already discussed it is the ingredient that plumps skin and targets fine lines. I’m glad it is so high on the list as it means that it really is included in a high concentration.

So first, up is Aloe Barbadensis or good old Aloe Vera Gel. Aloe Vera and I are long time pals.  Growing up there were always aloe plants around the house and we used them on everything from sunburns to minor skin irritations and even bug bites.  I still keep an aloe plant in my house and have ever since I left home.  Last spring when I got a really bad burn on my legs I used it to slather the burns.  It helped when few other things did. It is a plant that has a boatload of vitamins and minerals and does a fantastic job soothing skin. It is not greasy in the slightest and can generally be used by pretty much all skin types. Clearly if you have an allergy to aloe you can’t use it but anyone else, no matter how sensitive their skin usually can. It is a great plant to have around and a great ingredient to see kick off a skincare product.

Right after the Hyaluronic Acid is listed vegetable glycerin.  As I was not as familiar with it as I am with Aloe I had to look it up.  According to Heathline:

Vegetable glycerin may lead to better skin health by helping soothe skin irritation, protect against infection and promote wound healing. Studies show that applying glycerin-containing products may protect your skin against irritants and microbes, as well as soothe inflamed or wounded skin.


I can definitely see the point of having that in this serum

Bladderwrack extract was something I had never even heard of and so I again had to go in search of details. Again I found myself on the Healthline Website.  I’ll be honest it is one of my favorite websites for searches on ingredients.

Early research has shown that the antioxidants in bladderwrack, namely fucoidan, promote collagen synthesis in the skin, which may help improve the look of cellulite, increase skin healing, and delay premature skin aging.


Sodium PCA is naturally occurring humectant that boosts the effectiveness of Hyaluronic Acid by pulling in moisture. It actually holds several times its weight in water, and binds moisture to cells. Its kind of like a turbo boost for the hyaluronic acid.

Chamomile flower is something that routinely crops up in skin care as well as my mother’s collection of herbal teas.  At the first sign of a sore throat she broke out the chamomile tea and added a slice of lemon and a drizzle of honey. It was actually quite effective in making a sore throat less sore. It is actually a tie between chamomile and peppermint as the scent of winter in my family house growing up ad both were grown and dried in large batches for use when winter colds hit. While this serum doesn’t use the honey or the lemon, it has chamomile aplenty. Chamomile sooths irritation and calms inflammation and redness. It is what makes it good for both skin and sore throats.

And that brings us to the final ingredient in the list, Vitis vinifera (Grape) seed extract.  Grapeseed extract is another item that crops up in a lot of skincare, especially items designed to target aging. It is a potent antioxidant and is chock a block full of naturally occurring AHAs for a gentle exfoliation and toning.

And that is the ingredients list.  I know, take a second and count it up.  It is only seven ingredients.  However in their own way each of them is quite the powerhouse. It’s like hyaluronic acid joined some sort of skincare gang.  Admittedly, I don’t think it would be a violent gang. It seems like a gang that would encourage a dance off with its rivals and then offer a cleanser and fluffy towels to its opponents at the end of the dance battle.

Leaving skincare gangs aside, I have been using this serum every morning and evening since its arrival which was almost exactly thirty days ago (I think it might be 28).It is an interesting product.

two pumps worth

First, it comes in a clear plastic spray bottle and is a clear liquid serum.  I was surprised that the bottle was clear plastic as I would have thought it needed to be kept away from direct sunlight.  I hid the bottle behind my toner so it wasn’t in direct light.  I have no idea if it needs to be kept away from the light but I will say that I really like that I can see the amount of product left in the bottle. That is usually not the case with serums and they often come in dark colored bottles. 

After a month of twice a day use, I am about a third of the way through the bottle. So one of these small $20 bottles will last for three months. That breaks down to about $6.67 per month of use. It is a spray bottle which I really like as it does keep the air away from the product and it makes it easy to dispense. 

I really like the control this srt of pump gives for dispensing as well as keeping product away from the air.

I generally found that I needed two pumps for my face each time I used the serum.  So four pumps per day. You can, if you want push the pump down slowly and pump a smaller amount of product instead of pumping all the way down.  So if you found you needed one and a half pumps, for example, that is easy to do with this pump.  It sounds silly to say but I really like being able to decide exactly how much product I want to use.

And you know I sniffed the product as soon as it came out of the pump.  It has no discernable scent. So for all those who dislike scent in their skincare, this might be something to try.  There is no scent at all. 

In the hand, the serum feels like Aloe.  If you have ever used an aloe based product, you know the feeling, it is like a gel that quickly melts into liquid.   When applied to the face at first the two pumps feels like too much product.  However it sinks in fast and leaves your face feeling oddly dry.  Not like it has dried out but like your skin got greedy and cleared out the all you can eat buffet. I thought at first that I needed more and I applied a third pump but the third pump just sat on the skin as my skin was full.  I also thought I might get away with less so I tried one pump and it didn’t feel like enough so I then applied the second pump and my skin was happy again. Your skin might be a little different, but my skin wanted exactly two pumps of product.

I will say that in addition to the semi melting gel feeling, this serum has something else in common with aloe. If you have ever rubbed aloe on damp skin then you are familiar with the way it can momentarily look soapy. This serum does the same thing.  I generally wash my face, dowel it dry and then brush my teeth. That way my skin has time to dry completely.  If there was water on my face (or hands) when I applied the serum then my hands or face would get slightly sudsy before the serum meted in.  That is just the action of water meeting aloe and it fades away quickly.

So what was the result of using the serum twice a day for a month?

Start of month long trial left, end of trial right

I have noticed my skin feels pumper and more hydrated.  Since I am still walking outside for much of my exercise, I am constantly getting slapped around by the winter wind and I really think this serum helped to calm the redness from wind burn. As for The Stress Crack, I can see a lessening in its depth.  It is a minor topographical gorge rather than the Grand Canyon.  Is it gone?  No, but it really wasn’t going to be gone, especially not in a month’s time. 

However after a month of continued use, I can see definite improvement in both it and my fine lines.  I appreciate that. Feel free to zoom in if you want a closer look. I also appreciate the improved hydration and the calming of the redness that this product provides as well. Is it a miracle in a bottle? No, but it is a really good product and one I will continue using because I am sure I will see continued improvement in my skins texture the longer I do use the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Hyaluronic Acid 62% hydrating Serum. It may not cause time to go into full retreat, but it is slowly pushing back the line.

While they have a new orders discount as you can see in the ad below, at the moment they also have a deeper discount going on. I’ll link that one right above the banner ad below if you are interested.

Take 25% off site wide + free shipping on orders over $35

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

Cool Down and Drop Kick with the Face Mask Friday

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to the Friday face mask.  Today was a sheet mask kind of day.  I love masks but somedays are not meant for the wash off kind of masks.  This was one of those days.  This was a sheet mask day.  In fact it was a Cool Down Drop Kick kind of masking day. 

That’s right is was time to try the Haruharu mask that came in one of my Facetory Boxes.  For those who don’t know, Facetory is a sheet mask subscription.  I absolutely love it because it lets me try all sorts of different sheet masks so I can build a list of those I want to re order.  It also lets me reorder the ones I like. Sheet masks can pile up though, especially if you have any subscription boxes and Face Tory is super easy to pause. If you are drowning in masks you just press a button and skip the month.  They have different numbers of subscriptions.  I use the Four pack masking subscription as that is the right amount for me. 

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

They also have other skin care products and non-sheet masks and you don’t actually have to be a member of the subscription service to order from them.  Even if you don’t sign up for a subscription, I highly recommend signing up for their free newsletter.  They’ll send you e-mails about deals that way. And every Monday they have a selection of masks reduced to a $1. The newsletter lets you know which ones.  Some of my favorites have made the rotation list into the $1 Monday lists so I think it is well worth checking out.

The only issue I have with some of the masks is that most of the information is in Korean.  I do not happen to be able to read Korean so sometimes I have to sort of guess as to what the mask is for.  This one actually says soothing and Maqui berry in English.  Hich would provide me with more information if I knew what a maqui berry was.

According to Healthline: Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is an exotic, dark-purple fruit that grows wild in South America. It’s mainly harvested by the native Mapuche Indians of Chile, who have used the leaves, stems and berries medicinally for thousands of years 

When I took the mask out, it smells somewhat grape like. Beyond that the only other English on the package is Cool Down Drop Kick.

I will say the mask, right out of the package is quite juicy with serum.  On the face it feels instantly cooling.  The extra serum means that the mask sticks well to the face.  Even though it felt oversaturated, no serum ran down my face once it was on.  I did have to wipe off my hands, but the mask didn’t drip.

So mask in place I lay down closed my eyes and listened to my ipod. Today was actually a Beethoven kind of day.  I know, surprise. But that was what appealed when I scrolled through my play lists. So I relaxed and I listened.

As I lay down, he mask almost felt like it was getting colder and colder.  It was kind of fun, in an odd sort of way.  After fifteen minutes I turned Beethoven off and returned to the bathroom. There was no noticeable drying of the mask.  It appeared just as soaked as when I applied it.  Once removed there was a lot of serum on my skin. I rubbed as much of it as I could into the skin but had to wipe some off in the end.  Once my skin was patted dry, I have to say I really liked it.  I felt super refreshed as though my skin just pounded back an energy drink.  It was kind of nice actually.  The skin felt soft and clean, but it was mostly the feeling of suddenly being wide awake that this mask provided.  That is I think this masks strong suit. I didn’t feel terrible soothed, but I did feel invigorated.  I feel ready to tackle the rest of my day.  And so that is where I will be going now.  Later I’ll return for the Friday Night Happy Hour post, but for now, I am going to finish out my workweek feeling energized and revived.  I also think that this mask is going to go on my list of masks to reorder. I don’t think it is one I would use often, but I can definitely see the perks of keeping it around for occasional use.

The Curateur Subscription box has launched a new Welcome Box for you to try out the Subscription. The Welcome Box costs $25 (instead of the usual $99 of the full subscription box) It includes the best sellers and member favorites: Kat Burki Form Control Marine Collagen Gel (retails at $160), Carly Cushnie Grey Horizon Ombre Scarf (retails at $150), Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Glow (retails at $25), and Eddie Borgo Supra Link Necklace Gift With Purchase (retails at $350).

Those who sign up for the welcome box receive the same member benefits that seasonal members enjoy (you can find them listed on the website) and the box will roll into the normal seasonal subscription in Spring of 2021. I haven’t heard any spoilers from the Spring box but their past boxes look really amazing, so I’m sure the Spring one will be as well. The Welcome Boxes go on sale to day and I expect they will run out quickly.

Face Mask Friday: Herbal Dynamics Beauty, A week of masking

This week I have been using the Herbal Dynamics Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay Mask.  It was very kindly sent over by Herbal Dynamics Beauty for me to try out and review.  I very much appreciate it. 

the newly opened unused mask

It was also a very good time to try out this mask.

The holiday’s have been full of very rich food for me.  I honestly didn’t think it would be that bad as we weren’t traveling this year and pared things down.  I think the issue is that we have been eating rather healthy for a while now so the traditional favorites wanted at this time of year really threw my body for a loop.

We may have pared down at my house but the difference between the holidays and what we normally eat was very apparent.  And while it did send my weight up (temporarily) it also did a number of my skin.

Tis the season for clogged pores, my darlings. And I was blessed with a truckload.

So bring on the Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay mask.

First, let’s look at the specifics.

Brightens and evens skin tone.  Deeply detoxifies and cleanses with clays and blemish-fighting botanicals. Soothes inflammation and redness over time. Supports radiant, smooth complexion.

Indulge without the guilt with this delectable mud mask packed with antioxidants and skin-clearing botanicals. Cacao provides rich antioxidants that target signs of aging and inflammation while chamomile soothes. Gentle clays deep clean pores as botanical extracts and sulfur calm breakouts and blackheads.  Use twice weekly or as needed.

Ingredients: purified water, Bentonite, Montmorillonite, Watercress extract*, Lecithin, Salicylic acid, Kaolin, Sulfur, Extracts of Chamomile*, Lavender*, American ginseng*, Calendula and Honey suckle flower, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) powder*, Natural chocolate flavor*, Organic kelp powder, L- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Essential Oils of Kola nut and Coffee arabica, and Vitis vinifera (Grape) seed extract*.

*Organic/ All natural / paraben free. Not tested on animals. Made in the U.S.A. 

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

So let’s break down the ingredients list. 

Purified water is to be expected as you do need something to turn the clay from powder into a mask. Bentonie is a type of clay that has a fine, soft texture, Montmorillonite is likewise a clay (it is actually named after Montmirillon in France in case you were wondering).  Both clays are frequently used in clay mask.  As this is a clay mask I would expect to see clay in the mask.  I’m rather pleased to find it at the top. Kaolin a little further down is also a type of clay as well and again it is used in a lot of clay based masks.

Mask on

Watercress extract is something I find amusing as I ate a lot of it growing up.  I am somewhat anemic and my family tried to balance as much of my iron level with food as possible. Watercress is high in iron as well as calcium actually and we used to have it in salads and as a water cress soup when I was growing up.  It was very much a part of my childhood.  In skin care it is supposed to boost collagen production which I didn’t know until I looked it up.  I love that something that always helped my insides is also good for the outsides.

Lecithin is an emollient used to soothe the skin and I’m guessing it works well with the extracts of Chamomile which also sooths the skin and calms irritation. Salicylic Acid targets acne-causing bacteria via exfoliation and helps keep pores clean and reduce risk of future breakouts.  In most acne reduction formulas you will find some level of salicylic acid.  One of my favorite blemish fighting cleansers is from Peter Thomas Roth and features a pretty high concentration of it.  I was surprised to find that in this mask the salicylic acid is derived from willow bark.  I find that pretty cool actually. Sulfur is also often used in treating acne and blemishes so I wasn’t terribly surprised to see it on the list of ingredients.

Mask dried down

In skincare Ginseng works as an anti-inflammatory while Lavender not only fights acne but it has been used in the treatment of dry skin and eczema.  Calendula and Honey suckle flower are likewise also used to help treat dry skin and Cacao powder is a powerful anti-oxidant.

I have to say when I opened the container it was the cacao that felt like the dominant ingredient.  As you can see from the picture of the mask it looks like thick chocolate.  You want to know something?  It smells like chocolate too.

It doesn’t taste like chocolate though.  In case you were wondering.  It tastes like clay. Not that I recommend tasting it, I just couldn’t resist.

Given the ingredients I would expect a powerful detox to my skin when I apply it and I was not disappointed.  As I said, I used this mask this week as well as today.  I applied it as a full mask on Monday and Wednesday but did something different today.  I’ll get into that in a moment, first I want to talk about the full masking.

Mask off

I applied the mask in a thin layer over clean dry skin and let sit as directed for fifteen minutes.  I actually used my Cosmedix Masking brush to apply it.  The smooth side not the textured one.  I was actually impressed by how little I actually needed to use to cover my entire face.  While the top photo showing the product in the jar shows it untouched, the photo with the masking brush shows the mask after a week of use. I think that if I were to use this mask every week three times a week it would last at least two months.  It is a lot of product in the jar and not a lot is needed on the face.

Once applied,  I could feel the clay start to dry and tighten.  It felt cool on my skin but not tingly and the longer I used it the cooler my face seemed to feel for some reason.  I can see that eing a big advantage in the summer time.  As with most clay masks once it started drying changes in facial expressions were difficult, hence the stuck in place face I am making in the photos. 

The surfacing of the clogged pores. It may not look the prettiest but it is exactly what needs to happen to get them cleared away.

In fifteen minutes all but the oiliest parts of my face tried down.  If you ever want to find out where the oily parts of your face are, this and most, clay masks will help you out. 

After fifteen minutes I used a soft bristled brush to wet down the mask so it could be rinsed off.  It is a clay mask so it didn’t magically slide off the skin but it wasn’t difficult to remove. I’ve had clay masks that were much more difficult. This was relatively easy.

After my initial use I patted my face dry with a towel.  My skin felt soft, but I’ll admit I didn’t see much difference.  Then about ten minutes after I rinsed the mask off I went back into the bathroom and looked at the sink.  I was amazed by how many of my deeply buried clogged pores were brought to the surface.  It wasn’t a very pretty sight, but it is an effective mask. 

Luckily I didn’t have anywhere I really needed to go, so pulling all of those clogged pores to the surface so they could be cleared away was fine.  It was also the reason I didn’t test the mask when I had a bunch of video calls. 

I was very impressed with the way it worked with my skin.  The second time I used the mask didn’t look much different, but the blemishes that surface dried out faster and the second round brought more of the buried clog pores to the surface. Today I am doing something a little bit different.

Spot treatment

As I put the mask on and get ready for my fifteen minutes of calm, I am spot masking.  Instead of using the mask all over my face – because not all of my face needs a good clear out – I am putting the mask in the areas that need the most help.  For me that is along the lower orbital bone and on my chin.  I have always had issues with the area along my lower orbital bone breaking out.  The chin hadn’t really given me trouble since highschool, however with Face Masks in use when I leave the house, this has become one of my problem areas for clogged pores. 

Sure it looks a little strange to just mask in those places, but for me that is the best benefit. On the parts of my skin that don’t tend to get clogged pores, the second application of the mask was a little drying.   I can see myself using this as a full face mask once a month (or after a series of rich and heavy meals) to give my skin a full deep down cleanse.  I could see myself using this more as a spot treatment about once a week, especially with face masks being part of my daily use for a while.  It is excellent for that sort of use.

I think that while I may use more moisturizing masks to cover my whole face, this will be a once a week spot treatment for those congested areas.  Not only will it keep the non-congested areas of my skin from drying out unnecessarily, it will really help with my areas of clogged pores and it will last a really long time with the once a month full treatment and the once a week spot treatment. It will greatly extend the length of time I can use the Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay Mask as well as use it to its best advantage on my skin. Oh and did I tell you one of the best parts?  This large jar of chocolate scented masking is only $24. How cool is that?

So the question as always is would I pick up this mask again? The answer is yes. It is a lot of product for a reasonable price and it does exactly what it says it is going to do in the description. It brought my clogged pores to the surface and helped to treat my blemishes. The Cacao and Chamomile Cleansing Clay mask is definitely a keeper.

I want to send a big thank you to Herbal Dynamics Beauty for sending the mask to me to try out. I really appreciate it, and this will be far from the last time you hear about this mask my darlings.  Me and my boatload of clogged pores agree on that.  Admittedly there are a lot fewer of them than there were at the beginning of the week.  Who knows, I might soon gain the upper hand.

And now me and my clay goatee and under eye patches are going to light some candles, play some tunes and lie back and relax for the next fifteen minutes. I’m thinking today might be another history podcast. It’s been a while since I have checked in on the Soap Opera that is the early Roman Empire.  That sounds like a fun way to relax. If I’m not mistaken I believe I’ve reached the age of Caligula.  Not exactly Zen but it is interesting. And since today’s candle is from the Paddywax Library collection and named after Edgar Allen Poe, perhaps zen isn’t the theme of the masking.  Besides with the under eye and chin masks on I am strangely reminded of Cardinal Richelieu. And that certainly isn’t zen.

But it is kind of fun.

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

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 Dollar Shave Club

I know it has been a while, but in my quest to find a shaving subscription service, I have once again tried a new one. The reason it took me so long was because I had a drawer full of disposable razors to get through, so I would try a service, see how I thought about it, and then use up a few of the disposables.  Then I’d feel guilty about the waste and try a different service.

Thus far I have felt a bit like Goldilocks.  Each shaving service had highs and lows, but none of them was just right.

This time around I am trying out the Dollar Shave Club.  I’ve whittled down my disposable razor collection and so I decided to take advantage of the $5 starter kit.  I’ve been seeing these advertisements pretty much anytime I have gone on line in the past few weeks. 

They are nothing if not persistent.

And $5 didn’t seem like a bad price to pay to try the subscription out.  Plus, in addition to trying out the razor itself, there is the opportunity to try out other products along with it.   So I ordered the Dollar Shave club starter pack. 

The starter pack comes with one reusable razor handle, two blades in a plastic container and three travel size squeeze tubes: Prep Scrub, Shave Butter and Post Shave Dew.

So let’s break it down.

First, the handle. It is metal with texturized rubber grips.  For me this is fantastic.  I really like the metal handles over the plastic ones as I find them more durable.  The previous metal handle I tried (All Girl Shave Club) was beautiful and sleek of design, bit with no texture to the handle, it easily slid out of my hands.  This fits comfortable in the hand and the texturized rubber bits keep it from sliding out of the hand.

Next, the blades. There are six blades on each razor head.  I really like the multiple blades.  Even the disposable razors I have come with at least two and while six may not be necessary, I like more than one blade so I am fine with the potential excess. And it did give my legs a good shave. As important as the blade itself is the fit of the blade to the handle.  I know this sounds a little strange, but stick with me a moment. 

One advantage reusable razors have over disposable ones (other than the lack of waste) is that the head of the razor is maneuverable.  It isn’t in one fixed position. (I know some disposables bend as well, but then we lean back towards the waste issue). Which as my legs are not one straight line, but bend and twist, I like the maneuverability. 

As I learned with one of the subscription services (Flamingo) there can be too much maneuverability in a razor head.  With those the blade just moved around too much for me to get a good shave.  It was too floppy. While this blade does shift, it doesn’t shift too much and I was able to get a really good shave. 

Normally, as the point of the shave service is to get a razor handle and reusable blades, I would stop there, but they did include three products with the razor for me (or any subscriber) to try. So before I break down the price and the package, I’ll cover them.

The first is the prep scrub.  It is essentially a body scrub to exfoliate dead skin prior to shaving so that a closer shave can be achieved.  I have to say that while I tend to use body scrubs, I don’t tend to use them before I shave.  I’m not sure why that never occurred to me. I will say I like the idea. As long as you get all the exfoliate off of the skin before actually deploying the razor as I’m betting it will end up dinging the blade.

And the Prep scrub included in the box is okay.  It is simply a fine grained body scrub.  It smells a bit like medicinal soap, the kind my grandfather kept around to deal with poison ivy. I don’t know what scent that was officially, but that is what this prep scrub smells like. It isn’t my favorite choice, but the scent fades almost immediately so it isn’t much of a concern.  

I know they have other scents available, but the truth is, I have better body scrubs.  Or at least ones I like using more.  This just seems a bit generic.  Personally, I would use the body scrubs I already have over this one.  I am however pleased to have learned to use a scrub prior to shaving.  While I won’t be purchasing this Prep Scrub, I will be using the method.

Next, is the shave butter. The scent is vaguely rosemary infused. Which is fine.  It is on the medicinal side of herbal, but I don’t mind it.  And again the scent is light enough that it fades once it is applied.  I think they also sell other scents as well.  Butter is not the term I would use with this product.  It is thin and liquid and applies more like a gel moisturizer. It looks like snot to be honest. 

I prefer a thicker formula, partially because I like seeing the path of the razor so that I know I didn’t miss a spot.  I know that isn’t why you use shave gel/cream/butter but it is something I like.  It did an excellent job preventing irritation and razor burn (which is more of its job) but I simply prefer a thicker formula so I will not be purchasing this in the future. That’s more of a personal choice than a critique. It worked well, just isn’t for me. Of the three though, it was my favorite.

The third tube of product was the Post Shave Dew.  I’ll go ahead and confess that I didn’t like it.  Like its compatriots, it has a slightly medicinal scent to it that fades rather quickly.  It is a thin body lotion that again looks like snot. I have plenty of other body lotions that I prefer both in scent, consistency and performance.  I did use this one and it was non-irritating on freshly shaved legs and underarms, however I always use a body lotion when I get out of the shower and I have never had any irritation issues with the creams I routinely use. If you do get skin irritation from using a body lotion right after shaving your legs, then this might be for you. It is not for me.

So while the tubes of products over all weren’t for me, the point is still the razor and quite frankly I loved it.  The subscription basically sends you eight blades each time you renew.  You can add other products to the package (Like the three I tested with the trial box) but those will add on to your cost.  You can renew as little or as often as you like.  They have a monthly, quarterly and six month option to the subscription.  They will also e-mail you three days before they charge you so you can decide if you need the shipment or want to change the date. 

Each shipment of eight blades is $21.95 (that is the total with tax and shipping). Which basically breaks it down into about $2.75 per blade. Which is not a terribly bad price. As a contrast, a three pack of Venus disposable razors (my most consistent disposable razor purchase) is $6.99 which is $2.33 per razor. Clearly if you add more onto the package the price increases, but if I were to keep the subscription, I wouldn’t be adding any of the other items I’ve tried. So I would still end up with the $21.95 (The blades are actually listed as $20 with the $1.95 as the tax with zero S&H if you want the full breakdown).

At the moment, the Dollar Shave Club has provided the best razor handle and blades from any of the subscriptions I’ve tried.  There are still a couple of services that I haven’t tried, but at the moment, this is the one to beat. I really like the maneuverability of the head and the rubberized grips of the metal handle. I did not drop it in the shower even once as I tested it out, despite my hands being somewhat slick. I think the blades are a decent price and I really like the flexibility of the subscription itself.  If I don’t need the blades I can just postpone/reschedule my shipment with one simple click. Which will allow me to eiter clear out the last of the disposables from my drawer or test out the other subscriptions before fully committing. There are still a couple of subscriptions I want to test out so I will postpone any refills sent my way for the time being, but not cancel the subscription. To be honest though, I think I may have actually found a winner.

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Kiehl’s Calendula Petal Infused Calming mask

Welcome my darlings to Face mask, er, Wednesday. Yeah, Wednesday.  Again because of the holiday some of my scheduling has been a little off.  But no matter, today I masked!

Actually, I used this mask Saturday, Monday and today so that I could get a full week in with this mask.  Wile after the New Year’s holiday I will be doing a week of the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay Mask, detoxifying masks have a tendency to bring things to the surface (which is part of their job, to be fair).  And I know it is vain of me, but I will be doing a lot of friends and family video calls for New Years and I figured I would put off any potential detoxifying break outs off until after I did the video calls.

So this week I went with the Kiehl’s Calendula Petal Infused Calming mask. This mask came to me via the Macy’s beauty Bag and when you open the little glass jar the mask looks a bit like whipped honey. And since you know me, you know, I had to sniff it.

The scent is an odd cross between something vaguely medicinal and my grandmother’s dried flower arrangements. I know that sounds really strange, but after smelling it, and actually while I was wearing the mask, I looked up Calendula flowers and I believe she used them in her dry flower arrangements. However before we get further into my interpretations of the mask, let’s look at what Kiehls has to say about the mask…

This lightweight gel face mask refreshes and hydrates dry skin for a healthy-looking appearance. Experience a cool burst of hydration with our soothing face mask. Infused with Calendula and Aloe Vera, this hydrating mask leaves skin soft, smooth and refreshed.

Hydrates and soothes skin with moisture and helps reduce signs of distress; Bursts into a refreshing surge of cooling hydration upon application; Revitalizes skin over time for a healthy-looking complexion; For all skin types.

Mask On!

So on to my clean dry face the mask went.  The whipped honey look fades as it is applied and like many gel masks it leaves the face just looking a little wet rather than looking like you have a full face mask on. There are little bits in the gel which surprised me, until I realized they were small flower petals, Calendula flower petals to be exact and I realized that Calendula petal infused meant that there were petals in the mask.  I thought it would be like tea, you put them in when making the mask and then strain them out. 

Apparently not.

I didn’t mind the petals.  There weren’t that many of them and they are small so it wasn’t a concern. They are the darker spots on my face as I am wearing the mask.  See, really not that noticeable.  It was just the solid bits in the gel that threw me.  I got over it.

I’d like to say that I lit my candles and lay back for the fifteen minutes of quiet, but this week that would be a lie.  My Baby doll is on vacation this week and any attempt at zoning out was met with questions.

Why are you laying down, do you feel okay?

Why is your face so greasy?

What are you listening to?

Why is that timer running?

Are you done working for the day and can I use your computer?

Yeah, I love him but sometimes he can be like a sugar amped three year old, especially if he sees something unexpected.  Then he has to question it to death. While sometimes endearing, it is not conducive to quiet masking moments. So this week’s masks were taken at my desk, as when I’m in my office, I am clearly working and to be left alone. So, I worked while masking.

Not exactly a fifteen minute break, but my skin enjoyed it.  Actually, my skin enjoyed it a lot.

before I applied the mask on the left and after I removed the mask on the right (the tap water was really cold so the redness is more from the really cold water than anything else, it faded once I warmed up a bit.

When I rinsed my mask off and patted my skin dry, my face felt healthy. It felt clean and refreshed, even without my attempts at zen.  My skin looked refreshed. I didn’t have any real damage to the skin that needed repair, but my skin felt very nice after using this mask.  After three uses my small jar is all but used up.  I think I have one more use left in the jar.  After that it will be gone.  This Calendula petal infused face mask however will be going on my to be repurchased list. 

And as an exciting aside, I have a jar of moisturizer from this same Kiehl’s line (the Calendula infused one) having used this mask, it makes me more excited to try it.  I am currently finishing up a moisturizer, but I think I may rotate the Kiehls into the line up after so I can test it out and compare it to the mask. Clearly they are different products with different uses, but I think it will be interesting to see if there are any crossovers or if one is better than the other. Perhaps I will like them both, who knows.  I do know that this mask is going on my repurchase list.

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

The Empties: November and December 2020

Last month I completely spaced on doing a review of the empties in my bin so there is a lot to go through this month.  Most of these items had full posts listed on my site so if you want more fulsome details I hope you check them out.  This is just a rundown of the products I used up, along with a few notes about what I think of them now that they are gone.

The products all laid out

Item number one is the Marc Jacobs Youthquake.  I had high hopes for this one.  It smelled nice and in general I like Marc Jacobs’ products.  This however felt very heavy on the skin and was far too moisturizing for me to take. 

I could use it as a night cream but not during the day.  To use it up I ended up using it at night (and to be honest, also on my elbows which tend to get really dry in the winter).  It was fine at night (and my elbows loved it) but it was too heavy during the day.  I will not be repurchasing it. I will be reusing the very pretty jar somewhere though.

The PureHeals Pore Clear Black Charcoal peel off mask is also not going to make it to my repurchase list.  While I like the mud masks that PureHeals makes (and will order those repeatedly) this mask was not for me.  It never did anything for my skin that I could tell and it hurt to peel it off.  If a peel off mask is going to hurt then I want to see some results.  After all the Hey Honey Take off The Drama mask hurt like the dickens but my skin was fabulous afterwards.  This just hurt and offered no return.  I kept trying and it never got better.  So it is good by to the empty and I will not be picking it up again.

the A+ high dose retinoid (L) and ICE Moisturizer (R)

Next up there is a trial size of the Sunday Riley A+  High Dose Retnoid Serum.  I enjoyed using this very much and will be picking up a full sized bottle sometime in the near future to try out in my retinol trials. It was very nice and gone far too soon.

I will not miss the Marcelle CC Cream.  I finished this small tube up last week and happily added it to the empties bin.  While it is a wonderful color corrector, over the course of the day it seeped into the fine lines around my eyes and made me look super tired. 

Marcelle Golden Glow CC Cream and Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Plus, it lives up to the name Golden Glow and made my face very glowy, which is not my thing.  And so this too will sadly not be repurchased.  I was disappointed as every other Marcelle product I’ve tried has been top notch.

Also disappointing was the Dove Nutritive Solutions for Volume and fullness.  While I love Dove products in general and usually have no problems with them, this shampoo and conditioner set just didn’t work for me. 

While I don’t normally have a problem with tangles, while using this shampoo and conditioner, I ended up having more tangle problems than usual.  I also felt like my hair was slightly dull and getting some build up.

The first few washes were fantastic.  But then it just went downhill fast. While I love the brand Dove and will continue to buy other products, this shampoo and conditioner set won’t be one I will repurchase.

I have to say, I am slightly on the fence about the feel renewed Pumpkin Walnut facial cleanser. I never actually thought I’d say that. Because this is not my first tube. It is the scent that always gets me, and if I’m honest, it is the reason I purchase it.  I adore the scent and it was a good clean, but it was a rather rough exfoliate when it comes down to it.  I believe I used it early in November, maybe even late October.  The scent was suitable for the time frame and utterly delicious. 

I have tried a couple of other exfoliating scrubs that perform better, even if they don’t smell as yummy.  The Olay Regenerist scrub in particular smelled nice and clean and was a much gentler product on the skin. I think this may fall into the category of I’d use it if it ended up coming into my possession but I wouldn’t seek it out. It is a good exfoliator for once or twice a week, I just don’t think I would want to keep it stocked. I just need to find something better with the same scent.

I will be stocking the pixi skintreats Clarity Tonic though.  It was a fantastic toner and I had wonderfully clear skin while using it.  While I like other pixi toners, I have to say this one thus far is at the top of the list.  This doesn’t mean I won’t try other Pixi products, but this one is a definite repurchase.

I cannot say the same thing for the Whish Botanical Primer, the Derma E radiance toner or the Balance me Bakuchiol soothing Serum.  Although I do think I will be looking into bakuchiol more closely as an ingredient.

The Balance me and the Derma E products both worked well, enough but the scent of them both was not one I appreciated nor wanted to face every day. I find it kind of a shame as they were good products. However I know myself and the scents just meant that if I repurchased them in a full size I would slowly stop using them because I couldn’t take the scent.

The Derma E was floral and somewhat cloying while the Balance me smelled a bit like floor cleaner.  I just know the product would go to waste if I purchased them. The Whish primer, however, was something altogether different. 

Derma E toner and Georgette Klinger Collagen and Elastin Mask

The Whish botanical Primer was a failure as a primer. An Absolute Failure. It did nothing a primer really should be expected to do. It was however pretty good skin care.  While this primer won’t be returning any time soon, it worked well enough as skin care that I am going to be looking into the other products from this Whish line that are specifically designed for skin care use.  I will not use this as a primer. So it will not be returning, but some of its brand compatriots will.  I can’t be upset about trying it though as it did bring Whish to my attention.

Sulwhasoo serum, Whsh Botanical Primer and Goldfaden Needleless Serum

The Tatcha Deep Cleanse will hopefully soon make a return in a full size.  I really enjoyed this cleanser.  It was one of the few exfoliating cleansers that I have tried that I found I could use on a daily basis with no skin damage. 

My skin looked and felt wonderful while using it and I really enjoyed the scent of the cleanser as well.  It is lightly floral but with enough of a fruit back note to keep it from being cloying.  I was somewhat surprised as I didn’t particularly care for Tatcha’s moisturizers when I tried them.  However I can see why this cleanser is one of the brand’s best sellers. It is definitely something I want to repurchase.

Elemis Pro-collagen marine Cream and Tatcha Deep Cleanse

There were four sample sized moisturizers in my bin this time around and I have to say all five of them made my list of products that I would want to reorder in a full sized version.

The Sunday Riley Ice moisturizer is not the most appealingly scented cream. It smells vaguely medicinal.  However, it is a thick cream that disappears into the skin and hydrates well.  I think as a night cream it would work well for me.  It is also one of those products where the product worked well enough that I found I could live with the scent.  As I am very scent oriented (in case you hadn’t guessed), that is saying something.

The second sample was the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine cream.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I enjoyed it as there are very few products from Elemis that I don’t enjoy.  This sample came to me through a Look Fantastic Box and I was happy to get the chance to try it before adding a full size to my try out list.

The third sample was from Skin Ceuticals and it it is the Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 moisturizer.  The sample worked well as both a day and a night cream and It is one I would certainly want to try out for longer.

Surprisingly the fourth is the 111Skin Y Theorem Day Cream.   With 111 Skin I am sometimes on the fence with them  I like a lot of their products but there are few I fall in love with.  Especially after seeing the price.  They usually strike me as good, but not quite good enough to justify the price.  I don’t mind paying more for a product I think is worth the price. Especially where skincare is concerned.

This is one moisturizer I could easily see myself falling in love with. It claims to be a day cream and that is exactly what it is.  I really like a product that stakes a claim on one thing and does it well.  I liked it enough that when I looked at the price of the full size I actually found myself thinking it sounded like it was priced correctly. 

That was how much I enjoyed the sample.  I was very sad when the sample ran out and you can bet that anytime I see a sample of this up for grabs I will be snapping it up. This is one of the few things from 111 Skin that I believe actually earns its price tag.

Another product that earns it’s price, although it is substantially lower in price is the Timeless SkinCare Hyaluronic Acid Serum.  I believe a full sized bottle is around $9.95, but trust me, this serum is something I would actually pay twice that for, maybe even three times.  During my use of it, I actually saw a reduction in the Great Stress Crack of Mimsy, which is what I call the ever deepening line across my forehead.

While using this, it not only didn’t deepen, but it appeared to be getting shallower.  I was sad when it ran out. I have two hyaluronic acid serums to test out from other brands and now that I’ve had a few weeks without this serum, I am going to start a trial of the next sot see how it performs.  But right now, Timeless SkinCare has set the standard and it is a pretty high mark to reach.  Regardless of future trials, this was an excellent serum offered at an excellent price and it is one that I foresee making several repeated trips to my skin care shelf.

A few products that won’t return?  The Sulwhasoo first care Activating serum.  Its herbal scent I could get used to if it was an amazing product, but it left my skin sticky and not feeling improved.  The Goldfaden, MD Needle-less line corrector will not be returning either.  It felt like it was stinging, but beyond the stinging it didn’t do much.  In general Goldfaden, MD and I have not had the best history.  I have a serum to try from the brand, but thus far everything I have used from the brand has left me saying ‘Thanks, but no thanks. ‘

Sadly the Pa’akai cleansing cream also falls into that category.  It cleanses well enough, but the scent is just far too perfume-y for me to take on a twice daily basis.  Incidentally, I did use the product up, but there was just enough remaining to coat the back of the bottle where it lay in the empties bin so it looks full. It fooled me too but I opened it and looked inside thinking I might not have finished it out. But oh yeah, it is empty and the perfume scented remains remind me why I am not using it.

I found myself trying to avoid washing my face while using it, and that is not a good thing.  There are many steps I could probably skip in a skin care routine should I want to pair it down.  Washing my face isn’t one of them.  So, it is a good cleanser, but sadly the scent just made it not for me.

Also not for me is the Tarte Shape tape Concealer.  It works well as a spot concealer, blending beautifully into my skin and hiding red spots and blemishes.  But it settled into the fine lines under my eyes and just made me look haggard.  Which is not what I want in a concealer.  So I used the last of this little sample size up as a spot corrector. And now it is empty and will not be repurchased. Sadly I used to love the Shape Tape Concealer.  I think that as I get a little older, my skin’s needs just change.  I have changed not the product. If fine lines aren’t a problem for you then you will still love it. (if you like it now). This was an excellent concealer for me once upon a time, but no more. 

Benefit They’re Real Mascara, Wander Beauty Mile High Mascara, Maybelline Color Strike Shadow, wet ‘n wild liquid liner and Revolution’s Fast Base Concealer.

I do have a second concealer in my empties bin this go around and it is the Fast Base Concealer from Revolution.  I love this concealer, never had any problems with it settling in my fine lines and will be repurchasing it very soon. 

The fact that is it a $3 concealer, if I remember correctly, doesn’t hurt the wallet either. I don’t mind paying a lot for products that work, but good products come in all sorts of price ranges, and this one certainly proves it.  The Fast Base will be repurchased.

There are two empty mascaras in my empties bin.  One is the Mile High Lashes from Wander Beauty and the other is a sample sized tube of They’re Real from Benefit Cosmetics.  While each performed well, to be honest, neither are the products I prefer from the brands.  With Wander Beauty I would purchase the Unlashed Volume and Curl Mascara before I would purchase the Mile High Club mascara.  With Benefit, I would purchase Bad Gal Bang before I would pick up They’re Real.  That isn’t to say that they are not both quality products, but I doubt I would purchase either of them specifically.  If going onto their brand pages, other products would draw my attention.  So I did like them, and wouldn’t mind using them again, I just know that if shopping, they aren’t the ones I would repurchase.

Also not making my repurchase list was the First Aid Beauty Primer.  It is a mattifying yet hydrating primer but my skin isn’t dry enough for the product.  If I had skin that was a great deal drier, this would be a different conversation.  But alas I don’t.  So the First Aid Beauty primer I would not repurchase.  If you have really dry skin and are looking for a mattifying primer, you might have better luck than I did with this product.

One primer I will consistently repurchase is the Yensa tone up primer.  This is either the second or third tube of this that I have gone through and I absolutely adore it.  It mattifies and fills pores really well and my skin reacts really well to it.  It makes my top ten favorites list. In fact everything I’ve tried form the Super 8 line from Yensa has been really good in general. I’m actually finishing out a BB cream sample size from the brand this week that I know I am going to have to order in a full size once I’ve whittled down my foundation products.

L to R: Hey Honey Gold Mask, Yensa Primer, Hey Honey CC Cream

The Hey Honey Trick and Treat CC cream is also on my reorder list.  It fairly melted into the skin and left me with a beautiful no makeup look that worked really well for daily wear.  I adored the formula and will be purchasing a full size in the future.

As far as Hey Honey goes I will also be reordering the Show Your Glow Colloidal Gold and Honey Beauty Mask.  I really like how soft and lovely it made my skin feel.  The fact that I wandered around the house for fifteen minutes looking like I’d been gilded by a wandering art restorer was kind of fun as well.  But the mask was fabulous.

I also want to order a full sized version of the Georgette Klinger Collagen and Elastin Mask (pictured above with Derma E).  The sample I tried worked really well on my skin and it is one I would not mind keeping a full size of around. It plumped up my skin and diminished my fine lines after one use.  The tube had enough for three uses and I was happy to use it for an entire week of masking.  I was however very sad when it was empty. So to the repurchase in a full size list the product goes.

As much as I like Native Deodorant, I have to say the sample size of the holiday scent Sugar Cookie was enough for me.  The sample size lasted a little over a month and quite frankly as much as I liked it, I was happy to end the trial. I am still using my Native Deodorant, but it is the Cucumber and Mint. 

Like the holidays, it was nice while it lasted, but I was happy to resume the standard once it was done. I could not have taken a full size of this.  I am still upset I didn’t pick up the fill size of the Candy Cane Scent, but they didn’t have it at Target (apparently it sold out extremely fast) and I didn’t get around to ordering it in time.  That one I probably could have used longer than the Sugar Cookie. Mostly because I adore peppermint.

I still don’t know why spearmint (an inferior to peppermint in my opinion) gets to live on throughout the year, but peppermint, fabulous peppermint is banished to the holidays. Because of this I stock pile products and end up using products decorated for Christmas in June. It isn’t right. Do you know how many bars of Dr. Squatch’s Peppermint soap I have squirrelled away in my linen closet? I don’t either and I’m not counting because it would make me feel bad, but I do now have an absolutely deliciously scented linen closet. But that isn’t the point so I will end my pro-peppermint rant and get back to the empties.

I know this is a behemoth of a post, but there are only two more items and then, my darlings, we are through.  The Color Strike Shadow from Maybelline was  really hard to work with and had the added effect of not staying long on the lid once I got it to work.  While I generally like Maybelline Products, this was not my favorite.  I am getting rid of it because trying to make it work nearly drove me bonkers. I’m sure there is product remaining in the tube, but it was so hard to ge out onto the little brush that I couldn’t prove it. It will not be repurchased.  I’ll still use Maybelline products, just not this particular product.

And to end on a good note.  The wet ‘n wild liquid megaliner eyeliner. It reminded me of how much I really liked liquid eyeliners. It performed magnificently and I was so sad when the product reached the end of its productive life.  It went on smoothly and after letting it dry a moment, it stayed put all day without fading.  (If you don’t give it a moment to dry it will transfer when you blink because it is a wet liquid. So just give it a second and you are good).

I will repurchase this product and I will continue repurchasing this product.  I will also be picking up more liquid eyeliners from different brands in the future. As a side note, the wet ‘n wild liquid eyeliner was the very first eyeliner I learned to apply way back in Junior High. I loved it then and I find it amusing all these years later to find that it is still a great product. So many of the products i used to absolutely adore when I I was first introduced to makeup have either sadly gone away or are kind of amusing to look back on. I find it fun to find one product that still works as good as I thought it did when I first started with makeup.

And with that my darlings we are finally through with two months’ worth of empties.  If nothing else this reminds me that I need to remember to do these once a month or suffer the wrath of an overflowing bin and an extraordinarily long post.  I nearly forgot about some of the items towards the bottom.

If you stuck with me, thanks for making it to the very end. If you didn’t’, don’t worry, it was a really long haul and I almost gave up midway through myself. I will see you at the end of January with next month’s empties in a much more manageable sized post. I have put it on my nice new calendar so that I will not forget it. I will also be back this afternoon with a perfume review as well, but I am definitely remembering the empties bin each month instead of letting it carry over.

Using the Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-aging Detoxifying Pore scrub

One of my go to products has been the Olay Gentle Cleanser for a while.  It is one of those products that I can use after a workout no matter what time of day I worked out and know that it is going to take the sweat off, but not be too harsh on my skin.

We’ve combined some of the top ingredients to deliver a powerful yet gentle clean for your sensitive skin.Only $34.99 plus free shipping!

While I continue to buy this cleanser for my post work out rinse off, I recently decided to expand my Olay universe.   I picked up a body wash to try out and I picked up this, the Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-aging Detoxifying Pore scrub.

It seemed like something I would enjoy. According to the description…

Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Pore Scrub deeply cleans and exfoliates to reveal bright, smooth skin. Its special formula increases surface cell turnover to reveal softer skin and reduces the appearance of pores. Regenerist Detoxifying Pore Scrub exfoliates and deep cleans down to the pores. It’s a face wash designed with a lathering gel formula that exfoliates to polish away dull skin and regenerate skin’s surface. Discover a refreshing clean that primes skin for the rest of your skincare regimen.


Now in addition to using the Olay gentle cleanser of a routine basis, I did try out the Regenerist Whip moisturizer a while back.  I remember liking it, but it was a small enough sample and a long enough time ago that I don’t remember much of the details.  It just left a positive impression in my mind.  So I was happy to try something else from the line (and yes I will be picking up the moisturizer and probably their night time retinol cream to test as well in the near future).

Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer Original on sale for $29 plus free shipping!

So to the secure testing facility I went. 

It’s also called the back bathroom where my skin care lives, if you want to get technical. First off, I like that the product is in a tube.  It makes it much easier to dispense a usable amount into my palm, especially with wet hands.  Sometimes with jarred exfoliating scrubs I do tend to take too much just by dipping into the jar.  This was easy to portion out. Plus, I didn’t accidentally drop water into the jar.

I know you laugh, but I have done that. I am not at my best in the morning, so I tend to splash cold water on my face first thing as both a wake me up and a prep for cleanser. It means the first item I reach for (usually the cleanser) has to be able to be gripped or opened with wet hands. While I love glass jars, for morning cleansers, I like either pumps or tubes. (Ideally glass pumps for the recycling and reusing aspect)

The scent is fresh and clean.  It smells less like a scent has been added to it and more like that is just what the cleanser smells like.  It is a very soapy scent, but in a good way. It is a physical exfoliate, but an extremely gentle one.  It feels a bit like fine sugar crystals. Very fine caster sugar. The product foamed up like a face wash and rinsed off cleanly.  If you wet your skin first then it foams well at the start. If you don’t then it is a creamy exfoliant on your skin and then foams when you add water and start to rub it in and then rinse it off. I felt no residue on my skin and my face did not feel as though it had been stripped of its moisture or too pulverized by the exfoliate.  My skin, in fact felt clean and fresh. 

While I used it only two to three times a week, because that is just how I use exfoliating products, I did try one week where I used the detoxifying scrub every day.  It was gentle enough that I had no over exfoliation problems and my skin reacted really well to it.  I did find that while I started off using it all over my face, I ended up massaging it more in the areas where I had clogged pores from wearing a face mask. 

In these areas it really helped to clean out those pores and get rid of a lot of the bumps before they could become full blown blemishes.  While I didn’t have any problems during that week of constant use, after completing my week long test I returned to using it only two to three days a week mostly because I am always cautions with physical exfoliation.  I did make certain those two to three times a week were after I spent time with my face mask in place as it really seemed to help keep those pores from getting clogged and becoming blemishes. I think it’s ability to deal with those clogged pores is kind of it’s hat trick.

While I am not prone to massive acne, as of late it has been increasing, but it is only increasing in areas of masking and clearly only when i wear the mask a lot. while I keep acne dots like those from Peace Out Skincare around for my normal break outs, I don’t keep a lot of acne treatment products on hand for the rest of my face.

Mostly because a lot of them simply aren’t designed for my skin and while they treat the breakout areas and clogged pores they leave dry patches everywhere else and just cause other issues for me to deal with that are kind of a pain. For me this really helped in the maskne arena. As a reminder, I am using it primarily on clogged pores before they become full blown break outs. I am not exfoliating broken skin.

To be honest, this is the first drugstore exfoliator I have used in a while. So many of the ones I picked up and read the labels for had at least one ingredient that made me put it back on the shelf. Usually walnut shells. This one, I was very happy to pull off the shelf and to be honest, it is one I would definitely purchase again.  I love the fresh scent and I really like how it works. 

Currently Olay is having a sale that is well worth checking out. The pore scrub I used was $9.49 and is now $7.12. Even at full price it is a good deal. I also love that it is available at my local Target so if I run out, I can just pick up another tube when I happen to be in Target and not go somewhere else. To be honest Target and the grocery store (which are located in the same shopping center for me) are kind of my only in person shopping right now. I order Walgreens on line at the moment, mostly for Vichy and La Roche Posay products, but Target has become my drugstore so I can eliminate a lot of in person shopping.

They have also started a subscription service called Club Olay where you can sign up to have our favorites sent to you. As I am trying to reduce the number of times I leave the house and the number of stops I have to make, this is a service I will be looking into. I don’t know if the Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-aging Detoxifying Pore Scrub is a part of the Club Olay product selection, But if it is, it will definitely make my list once I have worked my way through this tube.


Fill in the Blanc (Therapy) with the Friday Face mask

Ah the Friday face mask.  Fifteen minutes of calm, quiet reflection at the end of the work week.  And boy did this week keep me hopping.  I think everyone who has been putting things off realized that now is the time to strike. 

Admittedly, I think they started last week and just continues this week. Unlike last week, I actually have the time for my Friday face mask and so I am saving my remaining portions of the three minute flash mask from Ursa Major for another time.

Todays mask is a sheet mask that came to me from my Face tory subscription.  I do the four pack of face masks (although ever couple of months they send an extra fifth mask as a bonus) called the Four-ever fresh subscription.  They have other subscriptions with more products, some regular skin care rather than sheet masks.  While I want to try out other products from them right now the Four-ever tier really suits me well.  It is $8.90 each month and it is super easy to skip a month if you are awash with sheet masks.  With a click of a button you can turn the monthly subscription into an every other month or even a once every six months if you want. I love it’s flexibility, as well as the fact that I get to try all sorts of different sheet masks.

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

Today they have a great deal going on their masks actually 40% off their large sets of sheet masks (the 19, 20, and 21 mask sets). Its an excellent deal for anyone you know with a masking habit, or who just wants to try out some new sheet masks. Or you can split them out and use them as stocking stuffers. This year i think everyone on my list got a couple of sheet masks.

Today’s is from Blanc Therapy.  I’ve tried several of their masks before (Facetory has a bunch of them suiting several skin needs).  It is actually one of the better sheet mask companies and I really enjoy the texture of the masks as well as the serums.  Today’s is Vitamin C infused as you could probably tell from the citrus image on the front.  I’m not entirely certain if it is a lemon or an orange.  As the mask smells very lemony, I think I’ll go with lemon.

I really like the texture of this mask.  It isn’t as bio cellulose as the actual bio cellulose masks, but it has a texture that leans in that direction. It is more pliable than many other masks and really adheres to the skin well for the masking session. It is very juicy when you put it on so you will have to wipe off your hands, but as juicy as it is, as all the masks from this company are really, I haven’t had any problems with dripping once it is on the face.

And for once I don’t look like a strange sort of masked bank robber in the proto. I do sort of look like I had a strange skin experiment go awry though. And I took the photo before I adjusted the mask so it wasn’t covering my lip. in case you are wondering about the facial expression. While I like the serum it is for outside use only and I didn’t want to have it drip inside.

lots of post mask serum

As usual when applying it I begin to wonder if my face is smaller than everyone else’s, but there isn’t too much extra material. and the excess is only an issue around the mouth.

So after applying my very lemony scented mask, I lay down with my ear buds and turned on my i-pod. Today’s afternoon of zen was brought to me by The Offspring. I have an eternal fondness for the song Beheaded.

So I zoned out to music for fifteen minutes and returned to the bathroom to remove the mask. There was no drying down for this mask after fifteen minutes.  As you can tell from the photo, there was a lot of serum left on my skin.  I rubbed what I could in, but my skin drank in as much as it could and I wiped off the excess. 

Over all this is kind of what happens with the Blanc Therapy masks.  Nothing drips but oh my darlings are they juicy.  I don’t mind that.  I feel like the mask is holding all of the serum against my skin in an effort to let me absorb as mucyh as is possible.  I would rather than then have the serum run out.  As long as it doesn’t drip.  I hate having to wipe drips off my neck while trying to zone out during my mask. It’s kind of a pet peeve.

before on the left and after on the right, not much difference in a one use mask, but mys skin felt great

Once the exess serum was taken away and my skin left to try for a moment, I think that my skin looked brighter than before the mask (although not by a lot, it was a one time mask not a series of them).  I think if I were to follow up regularly with this mask I would see some definite brightening of the skin.  My skin also felt soft and hydrated, both of which are very good things.

Over all, I was very pleased with this mask.  I believe this is the third Blanc Therapy mask I’ve tried and I liked the other two just as much a this one.  It is definitely a sheet mask company that I am putting on my reorder list.  As Facetory also sells the masks it is super easy to order the ones I like.  Plus they have one dollar deals each Monday and the masks I like routinely go on sale then.  It’s one of the reasons I keep a list of my favorites.  Some months I’ll add one or two masks to the list, others I won’t add any.  But it is fun to try them and it is a great way to try a lot of different brands so I can figure out which ones I really like. To be honest I have been very surprised by some of the ones I really did like.

But now my moment of masking is over.  I have a new name for the reorder list and several calls to make before I can call an end to my work day.  I hope you have a great rest of the Friday and an excellent weekend.