A face full of foaming fun

Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing foam

There is something just plain fun about using a foaming face wash.  Dispensing a plethora of foamy white into your palm and smearing it all over the face is just kind of an amusing thing to contemplate.  Well for me anyway.  Recently I have been using the Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing foam calming micellar cleanser and I have to say, I have been loving it.


The scent is fresh and clean, the foam is fun and my skin feels fantastic. I know I shouldn’t be surprised.  I always seem to have good luck with Elemis products. They are just really well made. I think it is the fact that it is a foaming face wash that makes me think ‘Fun’ instead of functional.  But it is quite functional. 

According to the product page…

Cleanses, Soothes, Balances Packed with fermented Superfoods and formulated with Micellar Technology, this soothing foaming cleanser easily removes all traces of makeup and impurities, leaving the complexion looking calm, balanced and fresh. Infused with soothing Biotransformed Cica and nourishing Fermented Green Tea Seed Oil. Leaves the skin feeling purified and refreshed. Vegan-friendly and 100% sulfate-free formula won’t leave skin feeling dry or tight

Receive a DELUXE SAMPLE with $30+ purchases.

I have to say I agree with all of that.  Even waterproof makeup came off easily and cleanly with little left on the toner pad to pick up.  There were as always a few traces of mascara under the eyes but  they were light smears that were gone with one extra pass of the wash cloth.  While I loved the fun of the foam, I also liked that I didn’t have to rub really hard at the sun.  I just lightly massaged the foam into my face and the makeup came off. 

Now I have to say, I looked up Cica because I wasn’t sure what it was and  to be honest I thought it sounded a bit like a shortened form of cicada.  I knew it wasn’t because the product is listed as vegan. So putting something not vegan on the label would seem really odd.  So I looked it up.  Cica is short for Centella Asiatica.  It’s an Asian medicinal herb that looks a bit like a clover.  Its main uses seem to be calming inflammation, being an antioxidant and enhancing wound healing.

I’m not entirely certain what the biotransformed part is and I couldn’t find any details on that.  But I will say, I am a big fan of this cleanser.   While I find the cleanser great and the foam fun, I have to say the practical side of me really likes the fact that you can lock the pump down. So if you decide to travel with it, Elemes will not befoaming all over your travel bag and its contents. It will be locked down tight and remain in the bottle until use. I love that feature. Disturbingly, not all pump products come with it. Personally I think they should.

The Elemis Cica Superfood cleanser is definitely in my top three cleansers at the moment.  The other two in that top tier are the Fresh Soy face Cleanser and the Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser.  I like all three for different reasons, but if I had to rank them I would say the Elemis beats the Fresh Soy Face cleanser by just a smidge and is running about even with the Malin+Goetz (that citrus scent is hard to beat in the mornings – I think my ideal would be to use the Malin+Goetz in the morning and the Elemis at night.) Not that it’s actually a competition, but if it were all three would need a photographer and a stop watch to call the race.  I would happily use any of these three on any given day.  I think it goes without saying that I will definitely be repurchasing this cleanser again.

Enjoy a FREE Mini & FREE Shipping with $50+ Orders at Elemis!

Reviewing Blueberry Bounce from Glow Recipe

Nope my hand is not massive, its another of the travel sizes I’m using in my collection

I picked this up as one of my add-ons for IPSY thinking it would be the perfect size for a short trip and take up much less space in my bag than my regular sized cleanser. Plus I had never tried a Glow Recipe cleanser before and I like to use the travel sized versions to get a feel for a product before I commit to an entire full sized bottle. I find it helps me waste less product. I can try things out on my skin and decide if it is right for me as travel sized products generally have enough inside them to allow me to do just that.

I have a mixed reaction to many Glow recipe products. While they all work well, sometimes the scent gets in the way.  I’ve loved all of the watermelon scented items I’ve tried (both scent wise and product wise) but with the Pineapple serum it was another story.  While that one worked really well and I loved the way it made my skin feel, I just couldn’t get past the scent.  Every sniff told me I was smearing sticky sweet syrup on my face and I just couldn’t take it. So when I picked up the Blueberry Bounce, I was more worried about the scent than how it performed.  So I opened and sniffed.

Would it be sweet as pie or subtle and clean?

The scent was oddly familiar, yet I couldn’t place it. I took a second sniff.  After a moment of thought, I knew exactly what it smelled like. Does anyone remember those Strawberry Shortcake dolls from the 1980s that had a scent to their plastic bodies?  I think it was somehow impressed into the plastic so it had an odd fruity, plastic smell? Well Strawberry Shortcake had a friend named Blueberry Muffin.  This Cleanser smells exactly like that doll, although I think the plastic scent comes from the bottle not the product.

The Skin Store
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I have to admit, I find the scent oddly appealing.  More importantly it isn’t too sweet for me.  I don’t feel bad about using it to get clean. So, now that I know the scent doesn’t bother me, what claims does it make?

This 3-in-1 cleanser functions as a makeup eraser, daily face wash, and a deep clarifying mask too. It’s got a totally unique texture—a light, bouncy gel that builds into hydrating, micro-foaming bubbles that deeply cleanse without over-drying your skin. Once you rinse, your face will feel supple, not stripped of moisture. It’s loaded with antioxidant-rich blueberry extract to protect skin and soothe inflammation. A mix of gentle exfoliating acids get rid of dead skin cells for clearer skin and smaller pores. This clean formula is free from parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, silicones, phthalates, and synthetic dyes.

Skincare RX

I can say right away, it does have an odd gel like texture. The gel sort of melts a little in your hand, but never really becomes a liquid. I suppose it might if you hold it a long time, but I don’t know why you would hold it that long.

On the face, it became more soapy than foamy which I guess is what they are calling mirco foaming. It washed my face well and rinsed off without leaving a residue on the skin.  When I used it after removing my makeup, it was a nice gentle cleanser.  It performed well.

When I tried using the cleanser with make-up on however, the cleanser did well with face make up, leaving only a little behind, but it was not very good with mascara or darker red lipstick. To get those off I had to go back in with my cleansing balm. It is a very good gentle cleanser and I think if you wanted to wash your face after the gym before applying makeup just to get the sweat off without stripping the skin, it would be a good product to use. 

Since I am at the gym a lot these days, that does make it quite useful to me. Well I was at the gym a lot. Now I am sweating while walking outside, so it will still be used post workout, just in a slightly different way.

As a primary cleanser, I have to say it leaves too much makeup behind for me to use unless I am double cleansing. While I’m always happy to find another product that can be added to my gym bag, for when the gym reopens, I’m afraid that this probably won’t be joining my daily skin care team.

Sunny citrus morning cleanse? Yes Please.

Malin+Goetz Grapefruit face cleanser

I have always associated citrus with clean.  Growing up there was orange oil polish, lemon scented pledge and I still use the homemade citrus all-purpose household cleaner I grew up with.  In case you are wondering, when you are finished squeezing your citrus, whether they are lemons, limes, oranges or anything else of that variety, you take the squeezed out fruit, place it in a glass jar and cover it with vinegar so the fruit oils can soak in.  Once it does, you have a cleaner.

Don’t worry at the moment due to pandemic protocols my jar is remaining under the cabinet in favor of the more industrial variety.

Regardless I associate citrus with clean.

So when Malin+Goetz sent over a bottle of their Grapefruit face cleanser (retail $36) for me to review, I was very excited.  I really like Malin+ Goetz.  Personally I don’t think you see enough of their products being talked about.  Everything I have ever tried of theirs has been top notch.  I really liked the fig scented perfume I received as one of my Scentbird perfumes a few months back and so I had high hopes for this cleanser. I know a lot of folks worry about citrus juice in skin care as it can be acidic, but a cleanser is the perfect place for it as it doesn’t sit on your skin long enough to be a concern. So I personally enjoy it.

According to their product page…

Our gentle foaming cleansing gel balances skin with natural grapefruit extract and amino acid-based cleansing agents. This hydrating formula gently but thoroughly cleanses skin of dirt, oil and makeup. Rinses free of residue, eliminating the need for a toner. Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive. Natural fragrance and color.

Shop now! Grapefruit Face Cleanser

While I do adore my Dr. Thayer’s Rose Petal toner, I set it aside while I put this product to the test. While it does claim to thoroughly cleanse the skin of makeup, it isn’t really a set makeup remover.  Still, as with all cleanser tests I tried it with a full face of makeup first. 

cleanser in hand

I have to say it did really well.  I ended up with only a small smudge of eyeliner and the rest of my makeup was pretty well dissolved.  I did notice to get the full face of makeup off, I had to use a bit more product than I normally would when doing a double cleanse.  I really think this product shines in a double cleanse routine though. 

A lot of makeup removing balms leave a greasy residue on the skin.  This cleanser took that off and eliminated any make up the initial remover left behind. while I didn’t use my toner, I did the cotton round test and it came away clean. There was no harsh scrubbing with this product (especially in a double cleanse) and I needed only a little product.  My skin felt soft and not stripped and there was that great grapefruit-y scent that made my brain think I was extra clean. I found it a very nice product in the morning where citrus is also a wake up and get moving scent. 

enjoy 10% off your first order + free shipping with code MGWELCOME at MALIN+GOETZ.

cleanser on face

When on the face it is slightly sudsy. I applied it to damp skin in the photo . However after applying it I splashed more water and it lathered up nicely. The suds foamed and rinsed away taking all of the remaining dirt, sweat and makeup with them. I am extra appreciative of the sweat removal as I have started doing my workouts again, this time at home. Once again I am sweating so I do find I need a mid day rinse of the face as well as the full morning and night cleanse. This product works well in that capacity. I only used a thumbnail sized portion of product mid day when I was just too sweaty not to wash my face and it worked really well without stipping the skin or making me overly cleansed. My skin had absolutely no problems with this cleanser. I’m fairly certain that when I start going back to the gym, I will be picking up a travel sized bottle of the Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser to go with me. I think it will be a wonderful addition to my gym bag.

The bottle is a plain squeeze bottle with very simple and direct instructions.  On a shelf I can see why some people pass it by for flashier packaging.  But this is one time you need to look past the cover to see the book inside.   It isn’t the flashiest package on the shelf, but it is a great product that does exactly what it claims to do and then just a little bit more. If I were to change anything, I would give it a pump instead of leaving it as a squeeze bottle so that it is easier to dispense with wet and possibly oil slick hands.  But that is a minor tweak and I am happy to use it as it is.  In fact now, given the surrounding gloom and doom fo multiple waves of thunderstorms and news reports, I enjoy the sunshiny brightness of the grapefruit scent just a little bit more in my mornings. I am definitely going to have to look into more of the Malin+Goetz product line.  They are well worth talking about.


Branching out with Rose and Kombucha in a face wash

Pacifica Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash

I’ll be honest the thought of Rose and Kombucha wasn’t all that appealing to me when thinking of a face wash.  While I like the scent of rose, it is often over powering and I was hesitant about the fermented tea. However when I placed my order with Pacifica, using a gift certificate I was gifted by the company, a travel sized (1.4 fl oz) of the Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash was one of the gifts with purchase that came with a $50 order.  I figured it was the perfect way to try something new and so I picked it up with my order.

10% off sitewide at Pacifica Beauty. Valid 3/16-3/31. Shop Now!

 My thinking was that it was a trial sized tube so even if I didn’t like it, there wouldn’t be much waste to the product. Incidentally, the full sized version of this product is 5.0 ounces and retails for $10. As I am always looking for good , affordable products, especially in face wash as I go through so much of it, I was very interested to try it.

But first, we look at the claims.

Disobey time with the power of flowers and fermented tea in Pacifica’s Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash. One of the best defenses against aging is clean skin, it gently removes makeup, oil and impurities. This light-foaming, sulfate-free cleanser balances and refreshes skin – helping to achieve an absolutely luminous complexion at any age.

100 percent vegan and cruelty free. Shop now at PacificaBeauty.com!

For those that are unfamiliar with Pacifica, they are 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free.  Their products are formulated without  Animal testing, Animal ingredients, Parabens, Phthalates,  Mineral oil, Sulfates, Synthetic fragrances, and Petroleum.

Given that there is rose listed on the ingredients and it is usually the synthetic rose scent that becomes overpowering, I was more relieved than usual to see there were no synthetic fragrances in this face wash.  Oh and the face wash is designated for all skin types so I didn’t have to figure out if I was in the target range for the product, which I kind of like.

My skin typically falls into the normal/combination area with more oil in the T-zone, but I am dryer in the winter and oilier in the summer.  The curse of so called “normal” skin is that it’s like standing in the center of a moving teeter totter while temperature and humidity play. If the weather is perfectly balanced so is my skin. At this time of year, it seems to change daily so I have products for  both shifts, oily and dry, in my bathroom.  For all skin types is generally a relief to see on a label when the weather hasn’t actually committed to a season.

So to the testing.  Because this face wash claims to remove makeup I put it to the test and tried it once on its own on a full face of makeup, then I tried it as the second act in a double cleanse routine.  Now usually I have issues with mascara coming off, but I have to say this worked really well in taking off more mascara than most.  There was a slight smudge under the eyes but not as much as usual.  A quick single wipe with the Makeup eraser took care of it with no rubbing.  In case you are wondering, I am currently oscillating between two mascaras at the moment.  One is the Pretty Vulgar Feathers Mascara and the other is the Rimmel London Scandal Eyes Wow Wings.  I like both and will be posting a mascara review soon. I just mention it here so you know the products the Pacifica Rose and Kombutcha Flower Powered Face Wash was able to take down.

not a lot of product is needed

I suppose I rather jumped to the use in that.  To back track a little, it is a creamy pearly face wash and the scent is interesting.  There is the hint of rose but it only really serves to mitigate the scent of the kombucha.  It smells like tea more than anything else but it is not a heavy fragrance.  Personally I found it a pleasant one, especially in the mornings.

The cleanser did foam on the face but it wasn’t massive foaming, just enough suds to let you know it was working.  It rinsed off clean, and as mentioned above, took off most of my makeup. My skin felt clean but not stripped and it worked for me no matter which way the weather shifted my skin.

Over all it was very positive experience.  I know I sound a little surprised but this was not a cleanser I would have picked up on my own.  I am really glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something I thought I would more than likely not like.  It turns out I liked it a lot.  I also like the fact that while I can order it on line, I can also pick it up at Target if I run out of cleanser and need to pick something up.  I really like having a list of products I can simply pick up if I forget to reorder.  This is certainly going on that list.

If you are interested I have a code you can use to get a bit of a discount.  It is MIMSY15 and I get nothing if you use it so feel free to use it to your heart’s content. It is just for you. They are also having a bit of a sale at the moment so you can add the discounts together.  It is currently 10% off with no code if you want to check it out.

Pacifica Beauty

Cleaning up with Versed Cleansing Balm

The jar of Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

I’ll admit, it took me a little while to warm to this cleansing balm. The scent is slightly reminiscent of Vicks Vapor rub which made me feel as though I was misusing the balm at first. It is a light scent and quickly dissipates. So I opened the jar and then waited a moment and the scent was faded enough not to be a concern.

I picked it up because I really enjoy a double cleanse and I had several friends who were raving about it. When I was perusing the shelves at Target, I saw it and thought , ‘I’m almost out of cleansing balm,’ so I bought it.

I know, I can feel your jealousy of my shopping prowess and foresite.

So home I went.

Then I looked up the product while using the last of my Farmacy Cleansing Balm. (That jar is now a gold DIY planter, if you remember an earlier post). According to the Versed Website product page…

From the moment you twist open the cap, this cleansing balm smells like a spa. That’s the eucalyptus and clove leaf oil—not artificial fragrance. This face wash in balm form melts away makeup and impurities without stripping moisture from your skin (thank you, vitamin E). As you massage it into your skin with wet fingertips, the oil-based formula softens to create a light, gentle milk that rinses clean with no oily residue (the kind that may have turned you off from cleansing balms in the past). Don’t forget to wash into your hairline and along your jawline. Those often-overlooked areas are prone to breakouts. It’s the perfect start to your PM wind-down ritual and especially useful as a first cleanse for you double-cleansers out there.

Okay as I’ve said before, I love a double cleanse. I love knowing that by the time I get to my toner, the cotton round is merely adding toner to my face and not taking away the last of my makeup residue. When I am testing out regular cleansers, I test them first without any other products, then only with my Makeup Eraser and then in conjunction with a cleansing balm. Just in case you were wondering.

As I already mentioned, my first whiff of this cleanser reminded me of Vicks Vapor Rub, which I’m blaming on the eucalyptus. It’s not a bad scent, but not my favorite. It does however go away quickly and is easily forgotten. If you love the scent you can stick your nose in and inhale. My mom loves the scent of Vicks and will use any opportunity to smear it on the throat, chest and under her nose. I always put together a Birthday Beauty Bag for her with fun Beauty products she might not have picked up on her own, but that I think she might have fun playing with and come September I will be picking up a jar of this Versed Day Dissolve to put in her bag.

Shop Versed’s Cleansing Balm online starting at $7.99! Free Shipping on all orders $35+!

You know until I started writing these posts, I really didn’t realize how scent oriented I actually was.

Weird huh?

But moving on, because even I know scent isn’t everything.

I first tried this product as directed. I used wet fingertips to massage it into my skin. I was fine until I got to the eye area. Face products, gone, lipstick melted into a red haze that made me look like I’d been making out with a circus clown after far too much to drink, yup. It worked super well on all of it. And I will say that it took off eye makeup in a snap as well.

The problem was the wet fingers.

Let me explain. I wear contacts. In fact I am blind as a bat without them. Typically I put my contacts in before applying makeup and take them out after I’ve removed my makeup. My general habit it to remove my makeup at the end of the day, wash my face and then spend an hour or two doing wind down things, checking the following day’s schedule, figuring out if I actually have clean socks or if I will be wearing sandals in the snow, that sort of thing. Then I take out my contacts and apply the serums, oils and night creams I wear before bed.

With the wet fingers, small, nay miniscule, bits of the cleansing balm were sliding into the corners of my eyes as I was removing mascara and I ended up with small blurry spots on my contacts. It took a surprising amount of effort to get the cleansing balm off the contacts. I think because while an excellent product, saline solution isn’t really designed for removing oil. My contacts are disposable so it was actually easier to replace them rather than scrub them.

But since I really liked the cleansing balm for its cleansing ability and the soft skin it left behind post cleanse, I had a good think about it and decided to try something out. I used dry fingers and started by removing my eye make-up. I rubbed and the makeup melted, even the mascara. then to make sure it was just the balm removing the makeup and not the Makeup Eraser, I used a plain dry washcloth to wipe off the oil from around the eye area. It went off super easily and took all the eye makeup with it.

One eye on, one eye off using the dry method

Then I wet my fingers and took down the rest of my face.

Makeup all gone

That was really my only complaint with the product and really, it was insanely easy to solve. I would suggest using something like a Makeup Eraser or a Halo pad or something to wipe off the oil and melted makeup rather than a washcloth. Unless you keep a washcloth that you don’t mind getting stained with eye makeup. While most makeup washes out pretty easily, once you get eyeshadow glitter in the washcloth fibers it sticks around through multiple washes and months of use, returning when you least expect it. The other day my babydoll heaved a heavy sigh and asked why there was now glitter in his beard from a washcloth he took from the linen cupboard. So I’m trying to get better about keeping things seperate.

Makeup Eraser:


So would I recommend this product?

Yes, I would. My only real issue was with my contacts and that was solved by starting with eye make up removal and dry fingers. Also using a dry cloth to wipe the oil away so when you wash off the rest, nothing flows in. I should also point out there was absolutely no pain or discomfort when it did wash into my eye, just a little blurry spot on my contact lens. If you don’t wear contacts, you will have no problem. And if you keep the eyes dry, again no problem. It melts makeup away, leaves your skin super soft from the Vitamin E, and doesn’t require any harsh scrubbing. I picked up my 2.3 oz / 67 g jar at Target for $17.99 which considering the cost of many other cleansing balms and the amount of product you get in this jar, makes it a really good deal. Very little product is used each night so it will last a really long time. I used less than a thumbnail’s size of product to take down all of my makeup. While I will be repurchasing this sometime in the future for myself, I feel really good about adding it to my Mother’s Birthday Beauty Bag as well. not only will she really love the scent, but I know she will like the way it works as well.

Toners 728x90

Soothe Sample Pack from Annmarie Organic Skincare, is it worth it?

The sample pack with the three serums added in

I am a sucker for samples.  I love them  If I can try something before I buy it then generally I am all in whether it is a tiny spoon of ice cream before I commit to a cone or a face cream I have never tried before, trying it before I commit makes me a happy camper.  I find this especially true with skin care, especially if I am just getting to know about the company. 

Sample Kit with free Skin Detox Guide

Annmarie Organic Skin Care sells a starter sample pack for about $10.  With this sample pack you get a sample of their cleanser, a facial oil and they send you three samples of their bestselling signature serums.  And if you are thinking, why would I pay for samples, don’t.  The sample kit comes with a $10 coupon that you can use towards a future purchase should you decide you like the products.

How could I not be interested?

Especially when I started looking into their website and products. Not only are they natural and organic but they are heavily into sustainability. All of which made me more interested to try them.. After all how can you not love something called ‘Wild crafted’?

There are several different kind of kits available and they are labeled via skin concern: Balance for normal to combination skin, Purity for oily skin, Restore for dry or Mature Skin and Soothe for sensitive skin.

The container is collapsible paper and the packets are stiff paper that doesn’t fall over and drip product everywhere

The company very kindly sent over the Soothe Sample kit for me to review. They also sent over samples of additional products so while this is a review of their sample kit and a first impressions of the products, I will be able to do my full two week review after using the products for two weeks.

Actually what is nice is they sent samples of their cleanser, serum, facial oil, face scrub and two types of masks so that for the duration of the trial I can use only their products which I really appreciate.

 So to The Soothe Sample kit.  It includes a sample of their Aloe Herb Cleanser and the Herbal Facial oil for sensitive skin.  The three serums that came with the kit are the Citrus Stem Cell Serum, the Probiotic serum and the anti-aging serum. 

Right off the bat I have to say that I love that the packaging is paper, easily collapsible and recyclable.  I also like that they provide a website link for further instructions. 

By following the link and going to the Sooth kit I find that…

This herb-infused, mildly formulated sample duo includes our Aloe Herb Cleanser which gently lifts away impurities, while our Herbal Facial Oil for Sensitive Skin delivers essential oil free, lightweight moisture to keep skin calm and at ease.

At Annmarie Skincare, we handcraft skin care, using organic and wildcrafted ingredients, that promises beautiful, glowing skin.

The directions suggest using the cleanser and following up with the oil.  Nothing strange about that, but it doesn’t mention the serums.  I believe that the serum is supposed to come between the two.  Because they left out the serums I decided to try the duo without the serum in between first and then get to the serums later.

These are very much sample packets and I had two concerns when opening them.  Concern one was that there would be very little in the packet.  Concern to would be that there would be a lot in the packet.  If you’ve ever used little sample packs often having them for more than one use gets messy.  You open them, use them once and then set them aside to use the remainder later and they leak all over the sink and make a mess.

While these packets did have more than one use in them.  The paper packet is designed in such a way that the top, if you tear it right, only exposes a little hole for the product to come out of and the paper is also designed to stand upright.  The way it is folded on the bottom means that it won’t slump over and spill everywhere.

I know it is kind of a silly thing to be excited about, but I really was excited about this.  (it’s the little things in life right? Plus it shows they really thought about things, which I appreciate).

So that you aren’t flying blind on product usage, they provide a website link to explain more about the products in your kit so you don’t have to navigate their main website looking for it and they don’t wast paper printing details out.

But packaging means nothing if you don’t try the products. 

My first run was with the cleanser and facial oil.  The cleanser smells like lemon verbena which is one of my all-time favorite herbs in the garden.  It is in face what summer smells like in my mind because my Mom used to use it in her homemade bug spray.  Whatever mix she concocted (I do not have the recipe) had loads of lemon verbena in it and we were hosed down with it to keep us bite free. It worked pretty well actually.

While I adored the scent of the cleanser, I also really enjoyed using it.  It took very little to wash my face and the small packet managed to stretch to four face washes, so I got two days’ worth of use out of it. It took off my makeup, although it needed a little extra help with the mascara (but that is one of the reasons I keep a Makeup Eraser around).  Quite frankly the scent makes me perfectly content to let the mascara slide. Most cleansers have issues with it and not all of them smell as good or leave my skin actually feeling conditioned. Seriously, it felt good enough that I really didn’t want to put anything else on my skin.

But I did.

The Herb Facial oil came next.  It smelled like oil with some indefinable herbs infused into it.  It was thicker and more viscus than I expected and only a drop or two was actually needed. Going on the skin it felt kind of sticky, but after applying, I gave it a moment to do its thing and it absorbed well.  I finished with a light moisturizer and was very happy with the results.

Later I tried the serums and they too contained enough product for multiple tests. The Citrus Stem Cell serum smelled slightly citrusy but mostly herb and the other two just smelled very herby. My nose couldn’t pick out any distinct herbs but the probiotic serum did smell slightly sharper than then the Anti-Aging serum.

While there was enough product in this sample kit to get a good feel for the products, there was not enough to see any type of results. Luckily the folks at Annmarie were kind enough to send other larger samples that I can try for the duration of a full trial.  I will have to report back after using them, but I have to say given my initial exposure, I have a very good feeling about them.  My initial impressions are all pretty good.  Thus far the only slight negative was the slight stickiness to the Herb Facial Oil. And even that goes away pretty quickly leaving the skin soothed and nourished.

While I eagerly jump into the trial of the skin care regime, this post was more about the sample packets and whether or not it is worth the initial $10.  I have to say I think it is.  There are two days’ worth of products in the packet and three separate serums to try so you can see what works well with your skin.  It is enough to see your initial reactions to the products and to learn if they are right for you. Personally, I really like sample kits of skin care products and I think the fact that it comes with a $10 off coupon is just the cherry on top. I’ll be back in a few weeks to let you know how the products work over time.

I have a good feeling about this one.

sample kit

Three Times Sublime or is it?

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

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

But I am always willing to be proven wrong.

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

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

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

Interesting, no?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least on one front.

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

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

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



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Cleaning up with La Roche-Posay

I have heard a friend of mine espousing the praises of La Roche-Posay for a while now so when I came across the cleanser at Walgreens, I had to try it. I was very surprised to find it at Walgreens as I thought it would be something I would have to order on-line. 

While I order a lot of things on line, cleansers I use a lot of and often forget that I need to reorder until I am actually out. Because of this I like to have at least two options that I can just run out and pick up when that happens.  (even if I sternly tell myself that next time, next time I will pay more attention and maybe even order a backup in advance.  Admittedly I think it’s the backups that get me.  I pick up a backup and crow victoriously when I am able to use the backup instead of running out and needing to buy an emergency replacement.  Then I forget to replace the back up and there you are.  It is the circle of life.  Or at least cleansers, in my world.)

So to get back on track, I picked up the La Roche-Posay Toleraine Purifying foaming cleanser (prices seem to range from $23.99 to $14 99 depending on where you pick it up.  I think Walgreens is the $14.99 while the $23.99 is at Ulta.  No clue why there is a price difference as both appear to be a little over 22 ounces.)

Makeup on before cleansing (when I tied back my hair I changed shirts in case you were wondering about the change)

The claims of the cleanser are simple, yet important.

PURIFYING FOAMING CREAM: This cream cleanser gently removes impurities and makeup from combination to oily sensitive skin without overdrying.

Pretty straight forward.

First off, the cleanser, when dispensed is a clear gel like substance. When applied to the damp skin it gets frothy, but I wouldn’t say it gets super foamy.  It is more in the sudsy realm. You aren’t going to get a massive amount of bubbles.  

But bubbles aren’t everything.

Unless it’s champagne.

Then they are rather important.

clear gel cleanser

But this is cleanser.  I tried it first on a full face of makeup.  I put a little water on my skin to get things started and then let the cleanser lose to see what it could do.  (incidentally the cleanser has virtually no scent for those of you who are sensitive to such things.)

Lathering up. It’s sudsy but not really foamy

So I rubbed and lathered and then slashed water on my face to rinse.  I’m sure you are familiar with the procedure.  Lo and behold it looked like my makeup was removed.  I didn’t have to do any hard scrubbing and my skin didn’t feel stripped back to something I would need a ton of moisturizer to revive.  But would it pass the toner test?

Not even a mascara smear left behind

After I cleanse, I apply toner with a white cotton round.  Very often with cleansers there is residue left behind, which is why my evening routine usually consists of more than just cleanser.  Sometimes I use a makeup removing balm and other times just the Make-up Eraser. (I am a huge fan of the make-up eraser actually. It helps keep the cost/ amount of products I need to use daily down.)

After toning I looked at the cotton round checking to see what was left behind by the cleanser.  It turns out, very little was left behind.  This cleanser really took off my make-up leaving very little behind.  I was impressed. 

The toner test. The cotton round was really clean, the darker pids are where it is wet and pressed against my fingers rather than left over makeup.

On other nights I used the La Roche-Posay cleanser in conjunction with other products and there was no issue with a tag team effort.  I have to say though, I really like that I didn’t have to use another product with this cleanser to insure that my make-up came off.  The fact that it can be used as a complete standalone is a fantastic attribute.  While there are some nights I just want a quick wash and done, it also means I can just pack it when I travel. As most of my travels employ a single suitcase space is always an issue.

This product definitely makes it onto the list of products I will be purchasing again. Even if I do have to listen to a friend’s ‘I told you so.’ I don’t mind being wrong.  Especially if I find a new product out of the deal.

Of course now I need to look into their other products and find out if they are just as good as the cleanser or if this is their rock star. Which means more products to test. Nice.

In case you are interested, I’ve put two coupon codes below, one for La Roche Posay and one for the Make-up Eraser. Hopefully they will be of use to those of you seeking to come clean.

Enjoy 20% off orders $50+. Use Code: HAPPYSKIN Valid: 2/3-2/7.

Morning Kisses MakeUp Eraser ONLY $14! Save 30% with code: TAKEOFF30

Skinfix barrier Foaming Oil Cleanser Review

Cleansers are interesting things. I use them twice a day, once in the morning and once at night as a standard practice. Since beginning my personal workout regime, I occasionally use one mid-day just because of the sweat. So I tend to have different cleansing options available. I have the ‘wake up in the morning and rinse off any excess night cream’ cleansers. I have the ‘make my skin feel clean and refreshed while removing excess sweat but don’t strip anything’ line and then I have the all-important make-up removal segment of my cleansing products. Sometimes, I use the same product for multiple reasons. So it is just one product in my bathroom but it is rare for one product to work for all of the uses.

The thickness of the pump makes it dribble a little down the side.

Despite the fact that I use cleansers at least once a day and I would guess that most other people do as well, cleansers aren’t usually a big part of subscription boxes. Even so, this Skinfix barrier+ foaming oil cleanser (retail $38) was in one of my recent BoxyCharm boxes. While I heard of the brand before, I never tried anything from them. As I generally get subscription boxes so I can try new things, that was a win. But with cleansers more than anything else, performance is key. So what is this foaming oil cleanser supposed to do?

According to the website…

Foaming Oil Cleanser is the ultimate daily face wash – approved by derms and adored by beauty editors. A hydrating, creamy oil that lightly foams to wash away dirt and makeup, without stripping your precious lipids. Gentle coconut derived cleansers do the work to clear excess oil, makeup, and dirt, while skin-similar, good fats: squalene, jojoba and macadamia oil, help leave your lipids in even better shape than they found them. A foaming cleanser that thinks it’s a treatment product – clinically proven to increase skin hydration, improve tactile smoothness, and reduce visible facial redness and blotchiness. Have you ever seen a face cleanser do that??!! Formulated to be ideal for all skins – even the most sensitive. 98% naturally derived. pH balanced.

To start we have me with makeup on at the end of the day

Wow, that’s a lot of claims. Shall we see what it does?

First the packaging. This cleanser is in a pump tube, which I always like. I like pumps because of the way they measure out product. With tubes I tend to occasionally squirt out too much, especially I’f I’ve wet my face first and have wet hands when squeezing. One of my concerns though is the shape of the pump. With that fat a pump, the product often ends up dribbling down the side and making a bit of a mess. As you can see it did just that, but that is not a deal breaker. I can just pick up the pump and tilt it to the side before pumping.

The foaming action is nice and more than I would have thought from an oil based product

To give this cleanser the full workout, I tried it as part of my double cleanse routine and as an independent cleanser. I used it in the morning and at night as well as occasionally post gym. The post gym face was is usually only once or maybe twice a week, not after every workout, in case you are wondering.

cleanish skin, it took of most of my eye makeup leaving a bit of eyeliner behind and some foundation.

In the hand this cleanser is white, almost pearlescent and on the face it foams better than I thought an oil would foam. I will say I loved using it in the morning and right after the gym because my skin felt very clean but not stripped. As part of a two part cleanse, where another product is doing the heavy lifting of removing the bulk of my makeup, whether it was a cleansing balm or a Makeup eraser, it also performed well. The formula left my skin soft and clean. It did not in any way feel dry or stripped. It is when this product is used alone to remove makeup that things got a little off balance.

For a sole cleansing product, I wet my still makeup-ed face, and began to cleanse. The product did well removing mascara, lipstick and eyeshadow. It had a little problem with the eyeliner. After rinsing I could still see some eyeliner on my eyes. I used the Makeup eraser just over the eyes to remove the obvious eyeliner, but not on the rest of my face. Then I went in with my toner on a cotton round as the test to see how much of my foundation the Skinfix cleanser took off. The answer was, not much.

The toner round had a bit more foundation left behind than I am used to seeing

I am accustomed to a small trace of foundation on the cotton round after toning as toning, but this was a bit much. I think the cleanser concentrates on the skin benefit elements more than on the make-up removal ones. And I can’t lie, it does feel good on the skin. This product is a good one if you are not wearing makeup and want a clean face without the drying and stripping some cleansers do. It is fine if it is the second step in a double cleansing routine. But it only removes some makeup and leaves loads behind. It is quite simply, a good cleanser but not a makeup removing one.

Will I use the rest of the product? Yes. Would I purchase this on my own? Possibly. Like I said it does make my face feel good and clean, it just doesn’t remove makeup well.

BB Cream SPF 30

Decorté AQ Absolute Serum

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser Review

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh has always been one of my favorite brands. In fact, each June as a birthday present to myself I pick up the Rose Face mask for my relaxing day of birthday beauty.  If they ever stop making that I will be very disappointed. I also keep at least one variety of their lip balms in my purse at all times.

This time it wasn’t one of the Rose scented products I tried nor one of the lip balms I tend to stockpile in case of a lip themed emergency.  I’m not exactly sure what that would be, but I am certain that one day there will be a lip themed emergency.

And I will be ready.

But be that as it may, this time I tried out the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (retail $38). According to the website…

This pH-balanced gel cleanser for all skin types has a cult following for the way it removes makeup—even mascara—without drying for soft, supple skin. It’s made with amino acid-rich soy proteins, calming cucumber extract, and balancing rosewater. Sensitive skin? It also soothes and tones.

Pretty big claims.

But hey, I’m down for a cult classic.

But not a cult, that’s a different thing all together.

So I removed the little foil seal and took a sniff. It smells like cucumbers. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as the description claims cucumbers went into the making of this product.  I think with the soy and rosewater I was expecting the scent to be less pronounced. 

cleanser in the palm, it gets soapy but it doesn’t foam up a lot

I’m in no way mad at the cucumber scent though.  It smells clean and fresh and reminds me of home spa beauty days when I was younger. My Aunt insisted on adding cucumber slices over our eyes and then because she couldn’t just cut part of a cucumber and then leave it, we had it in the water and then the remainder was sliced for spa day salads. 

I think this is why as soon as someone says Spa I automatically think cucumber.

Overall, not a bad mental link for a daily cleanser. As I used this cleanser, every day felt a little spa like.

When I dispensed the cleanser into the palm it was clear and jelly like.  On the face it grew sudsy and cleansed.  Let me tell you, their claims are not exaggerated. 

Foundation? Gone. 

Shadow? Gone.

Mascara? Gone? 

Lipstick? Done and dusted.

This cleanser took it all away and left my skin smooth and clean without feeling tight or stripped.

If you are looking for a downside, the only thing I can actually come up with is that it is a little on the pricey side for a cleanser. My conscience requires I also add that it earns the $38 price tag by making other products like makeup wipes or removers unnecessary. So not only is this one product I will buy again, but if I ever go minimalist, it is one of the few I would take with me.

So sign me up for the cult fave t-shirts. I just hope I don’t have to attend meetings or wear a funky grand poo-pah style headdress.

Who am I kidding?

You know I’m down for the headdress.

Just try not to schedule meetings on Tuesdays, okay?

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