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Beauty product reviews, makeup tips and news from your friendly neighborhood beauty addict.

Archive for the ‘Skin Care’ Category

A Quick Makeup Removal Tip

Posted by Karen on April 18, 2007


derma e Jojoba and E Skin Oil – A Versatile Product and Your New Best Friend

I’m right handed, so I hold brushes in my right hand and use the back of my left hand as a palette. I put cream or liquid products like MAC Paint, tinted moisturizer, concealer, etc. on the back of my hand before applying with a makeup sponge or brush. I also use the back of my hand to get rid of excess color. Instead of blowing on a brush to remove excess eyeshadow, blush or powder, I’ll swipe the brush head against the back of my hand.

This leaves me with all sorts of makeup on the back of my hand, which can take a long time to remove with bar soap or liquid hand wash. To get rid of makeup quickly and easily I keep a bottle of derma e Jojoba and E Skin Oil in my medicine cabinet. I drop the smallest drop on the leftover makeup on the back of my hand and then give it a quick rub and voila – it’s all gone. I’ll rinse with water and then just rub the leftover Jojoba oil in for some quick moisture.

Jojoba and E Skin Oil is one my favorite workhorse products because I use it for so many different things. When my hair feels dry, I put a rub a few drops between my palms and then work the oil through the ends to condition it. After a shower, I use it as a body moisturizer. You can also use it as a massage oil as well. It’s $9.50 for a 2 fl oz bottle, and a little bit of the product goes a long way. Derma e products aren’t tested on animals, have no parabens and are 100% vegetarian, too. Yay for your skin, and yay for the bunnies.


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Product Review- Origins Spring Fever Body Souffle

Posted by Karen on April 14, 2007


Product: Origins Spring Fever Body Souffle
Use: As an all-over body lotion
Price: $26.00 for a 7 oz jar
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

A few months ago I got a Macy’s gift certificate so I decided to splurge on this body soufflé. I like that this really does smell spring-y. When I wear it I get a floral scent combined with a citrus scent. This body lotion has an accompanying fragrance, also called Spring Fever. I find that my skin doesn’t wear the fragrance well because the citrus scent becomes too sharp, which is why I ended going with the lotion. This product includes Olive, Grape Seed, Apricot Kernel and Rice Bran Oils to soften and smooth your skin.

The smell. It’s really uplifting, and great after a morning shower. The scent also fades nicely and isn’t cloying. I like that the product absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave my skin feeling sticky or greasy.

The moisturizing properties aren’t enough for the dry skin on my legs or elbows. However, the moisturizing properties would probably be just right if I lived in a warmer, humid climate like Hawaii. Also, I hate the having to dig my fingers into the jar – yuck. I wish it came in a pump or tube. The biggest issue I have is the price! If the moisturizing properties were better I’d probably buy this product again because I really love the smell and you get a lot in that big ole’ jar, but it’s just too dry here to make this product last over a long period of time. If you live in a warm, humid climate, or just don’t need heavy moisturization then you might really like this.

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A Quick Money Saving Tip for Beauty on the Cheap – Keep Scissors in Your Bathroom

Posted by Karen on April 13, 2007

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of making my dollar go as far as it can when it comes to beauty, makeup and skin products. One way that I stretch out my dollars is by keeping a pair of scissors in my medicine cabinet. I use it to cut disposable products, like Oil of Olay Daily Facials Express Wet Cleansing Cloths. A box of 30 cleansing cloths is about $5.50, and if you use one cleansing cloth every day that’s $5.50 per month or $66.00 per year. You can make those Olay Cleansing Cloths last even longer by cutting them into two pieces, or sometimes four (which is what I do when I only have to remove tough eye makeup or just need a quick refresher.) If you cut them into half, you can easily make that box last two months, and save $33.00 per year.

I cut or divide stuff in half when I can – I’ve done this with cotton balls (just tear them apart, you don’t need the scissors), makeup remover cloths and benzoyl peroxide pads.

For non-disposable products that aren’t easily “divisible” – like expensive face treatments and creams – I just use less to make them last longer. For example, I’m currently using a pricier product for acne treatment, DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5% With Tea Tree Oil, which costs $24.00 for a tube (ouch). But because I only use a pea-sized amount over my entire face, I can stretch out the use of the product for at least 8 months. That’s $3.00 of DDF product usage per month, which my wallet can totally get behind!

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Product Reviews – DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5% With Tea Tree Oil and H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment (aka, My New Favorite Acne-Fighting Combo!)

Posted by Karen on April 12, 2007


Product: DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5% With Tea Tree Oil
Use: Acne treatment
Price: $24.00 for 2 oz. tube
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B+

Product: H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment
Use: Hydration for oil-prone, dry or combination skin types
Price: $34.00 for a 1.7 fl oz jar
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

My new favorite acne-fighting combo!
A few weeks ago my skin went a little nuts. I got a few small pimples on my forehead, and my Poor Woman’s Proactiv wasn’t getting rid of them. I looked inside the drawer in my bathroom where I toss stuff that I buy and don’t end up using and found a tube of DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5% With Tea Tree Oil. I think I bought it a year ago and stopped using it because it was just too drying and actually gave me more pimples than I started with. Just for the hell of it I tried using it again, figuring my skin may have changed since then. I put on a small layer over my entire face (except for the eyes, of course) for three nights, and noticed that my skin was starting to clear up but still felt tight and dry.

Once more, I dug into the magic drawer and found a moisturizing gel sample of H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment. I got this a few months ago in my goody bag after attending a fashion show at San Francisco Fashion Week. After I put on the DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel, I let it dry for 10-15 minutes and then slather on the H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment over my entire face (including my eyes.) I’ve been using this combo for the past two weeks and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that it actually works, woo hoo! The pimples on my forehead cleared up and I’m not getting any new ones from switching to the new products (knock on wood). These two products are one kick-ass combo!

The Combo Pros and Cons

If it weren’t for the price then these products would get an A. You know me, dear readers. I am a cheap-ass (aka frugal) these days when it comes to throwing down the cash for skin care products I won’t do it unless it’s proven to rock my world. Despite the price of each product, you get a lot for your money. The tube for the DDF Gel is big – if you use just a pea-sized amount of the gel it could easily last you at least 6-8 months if you apply only at night. (I don’t know how tough your skin is, but for me, putting this on in the morning and the evening would probably be overkill because I find it can be drying.)

The H2O+ website describes the H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment product as: A penetrating liposome delivery system and Sea Mineral Complex™ help attract, transport and distribute moisture equivalent to eight glasses of water. Marine extracts of wakame, sea lettuce, and sea fennel, provide vitamins A, C, E and Provitamin B nourish and protect the skin.

It comes in a jar, which I’m not too crazy about because you have to dip your fingers into it and you have to be careful about not scooping out too much. H2O+ products are also not readily available for purchase – there’s only two stores here in California, and fortunately one is in San Francisco, which is where I bought my jar last week. You can purchase it online, and the H2O+ website says that they have free shipping on orders over $100 dollar with no-hassle returns. The smell of the product is really strong – it’s got a faux-oceany marine smell, so if you are scent-sensitive (try saying that fast ten times, ha ha ha!) then you might not like it. Also, some might find the consistency of gel a little too sticky. I don’t mind it so much.

While I’m not sure about how much of this product’s effectiveness is due to these sea-derived active ingredients, I have to say that this stuff really works for me, even better than my previous favorite moisturizer, Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin. This moisturizing gel does what it claims to do – hydrate your skin – and you don’t need to use a lot of it. I’m estimating that this jar will last me at least 6 months.

Another added plus? You can also use it as a moisturizing mask. Spread a thin layer over your face and neck, let it absorb for 5 minutes and then massage in the excess.

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Product Review – Sephora FACE Eye Makeup Remover

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2007


Product: Sephora FACE Eye Makeup Remover
Use: To remove eye makeup
Price: $8.00 for a 4.22 oz bottle
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: C

After trying a ton of different eye makeup removers (including Lancome Bi-Facial; Clinque Take The Day Off, Rinse Off and Naturally Gentle eye makeup removers; Nuxe Démaquillante Make-Up Remover and Maybelline Expert Eyes Eye Makeup Remover, just to name a few), I finally found my holy grail with Sephora’s FACE Eye Makeup remover. Well, it was my favorite eye makeup remover until Sephora changed the bottle to this new one with the black cap. Not only is the new bottle is smaller than the old one, they’ve also increased the price. Now you pay more of your hard earned money but get less product – boo!

Along with the bottle change came a formula change. I find the new formula doesn’t work as well as the old one at removing long-wearing and waterproof mascaras and eyeliners. With the old formula, it was just a few quick splashes on the cotton ball and everything was off easily. Now, I have to use so much on a cotton ball – I have to practically get it soaking – just to take off regular eye makeup.

Some things haven’t changed – it still doesn’t sting my eyes (a big plus) and it has the same gentle rose smell. However, the bottle that’s sitting in my cabinet will be my last. Back to the drawing board for me!

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Garnier Skin Products Finally In The U.S.

Posted by Karen on March 22, 2007

Garnier Regenerating Eye Moisturizer

Garnier Purifying Wet Cleansing Cloths

I was wandering around Long’s yesterday and found that Garnier has some new skin products available for the face. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m going to pick up the Regenerating Eye Moisturizer and the Purifying Wet Cleansing Cloths when my next paycheck comes in. I’m really excited that Garnier has finally released some skin products here. I went to England in 2005 and while I was in a Boot’s store I randomly purchased a bottle of Garnier’s Body Cocoon Lotion, which isn’t available in the US. I kid you not – it was possibly the best lotion I’ve ever tried . It smelled light, absorbed easily and provided excellent moisture. I hope that they roll out body products in the future. I’ve been jonesing for this lotion for two years!!!

Garnier’s Body Cocoon – Possibly The Most Awesome Lotion Ever

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Drug Store Skin Care – Queen Helen Mint Julep Masque

Posted by Karen on March 15, 2007

Queen Helen Mint Julep Masque

Product: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
Use: To exfoliate or purify acne-prone skin
Price: About $3.50 for an 8oz tube
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A+++++++++++

Before I started writing this entry I slathered on a thick layer of this green, minty, clay mask and as I’m waiting for it to dry I can feel all of the gunk being sucked out of my pores. This really is the raddest mask ever, and it’s a must-have in any acne-prone person’s routine.

What it does
The tube says that Mint Julep Masque “helps dry up acne pimples, rinse away blackheads, and shrink enlarged pores.” And for once, I think the marketing folks weren’t just trying to sell hope in a jar (or tube), because this stuff works. Granted, I didn’t witness any miraculous skin revelation after using this once – I’ve had this in my skin routine for about two years, and I think with consistent use this product really helps to keep my skin clear. As the mask dries I can feel my skin tightening up and after I wash it off I can see all of the whiteheads that are brought to the surface. Gross, I know, but strangely fascinating.

How I use it
I use this mask once a week, right after I get out of the shower when my pores are opened up. I slather on a thick, even amount and avoid the eye area. Then I walk around the house with the scary green mask and try to scare my husband or any other person in the vicinity, ha ha ha! Actually, I’ll let the mask dry as I do other stuff like put on lotion, iron clothes, etc., and after 15-20 minutes I rinse it off with just water and follow up with a toner.

While this mask is great for oily and acne-prone faces, it might be too harsh if you tend to dry out easily. Also, the packaging is not cute at all. And I’ve noticed that if I have a tube for a few months, the mask consistency gets thicker and harder to manipulate out of the tube.


Still, you can’t be the cheap price and the effectiveness of this product for acne-control. I’ve shelled out many dollars for high-end at-home masks from Dermalogica, DDF and other brands and nothing compares to this stuff. Try it, use it, love it!

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MAC Tips and Tricks – Brushes

Posted by Karen on March 1, 2007

I’m getting so much mileage from the Barbie Loves MAC Seminar I went to a few weeks ago. I finally rifled through the technique folder they gave us and found some cool “tips and tricks” pages. Here are the best tips from the page for brushes:

    Tips and Tricks – BrushesWhen choosing brushes consider the following:
    Firmer fibers tend to deliver a faster application than softer fibers.
    Softer fibers tend to offer greater control of color application.

    Try applying skincare with brushes for a luxurious experience.
    The 190 brush works well for applying masks and moisturizers.
    The 194 brush words well with eye cream.
    The 180 brush works well to lather shave cream on the face or body.

    When dipping brushes into pressed powder products, like eye shadows, do not “mash” the brush into the pan. This causes breakage of the fibers. It’s better for the brush and more effective to either swipe from side to side or run the brush around in a circle to gather powder.

    Try using two brushes for some of those tricky applications, like smoky eyes. Use one brush to pick up and apply the color and the other brush to blend.

    When applying makeup, try holding the brush further away from the hair bundle, almost like holding chopsticks. This allows for greater control in application. Not to mention, with the hands out of the way, greater visibility!

    Brushes for personal use should be cleaned about once a week. For emollient-based product on the brush use cleanse off oil to emulsify and then brush cleanser to clean and condition.

    If after makeup application you find it necessary to throw your brushes in the bag before cleaning, be sure to store the brushes used for liquid or cream products separately from the ones used for powder products to avoid the cream dirtying other brushes. If using the same bag for both, try wrapping the brushes for cream products in plastic wrap or a tissue before tossing in the bag.

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Drug Store Skin Care – Three Cheap, Affordable Sunscreens

Posted by Karen on February 28, 2007

Three Drugstore Suncreens That Rock

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests applying the amount equivalent to one shot glass (1 oz.) to exposed skin every day. That’s a lot of sunscreen, and you can end up spending a hefty chunk of change if you’re using high-end brands.

If you’re living on a budget then buying a 3 oz tube of $40 Skinceuticals sunscreen may not be a cost effective way to get your sun protection. So what’s a girl to do? Hit the drug store, of course!

I’ve tried many drug store sunscreens and found three that work well: Oil of Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock and Alba Botanica Sea Moss Moisturizer. Here’s the skinny on each of these fab sun blockers.

Oil of Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin SPF 15
Price: $8.99 for 6 fl oz.
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A-

A dermatologist recommended this sunscreen to me and I’ve been using it for over ten years.

Pros: Subtle light scent, sinks into your skin easily (but you’ll still want to let it sit for about 10 minutes before putting on your makeup), provides great every day skin protection.

Cons: When I tan and get darker, I notice that this lotion casts a slight white sheen on my skin. During the coldest and windiest winter days it doesn’t provide enough moisture. I can’t wear it when I work out, because when sweat runs down my face this lotion goes into my eyes and makes them hurt. Ouch!

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 30
Price: $9.00 for 3 fl oz.
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A

I don’t like having a sticky neck, so I use this sunblock on my neck, shoulders and arms.

Pros: Light scent, leaves your skin feeling dry, absorbs easily. This has excellent sun protection. I went through two bottles of this a week before before my wedding day last July (I didn’t want to be too tan for the pictures) and I didn’t get too dark, even after days of surfing and swimming. I also always wear it when I run, bike or hike outside because doesn’t hurt when it runs into my yes.

Cons: Not very moisturizing, and can leave a slight greasy (yet not sticky) film on your skin after you apply it.

Alba Botanica Sea Moss Moisturizer SPF 15
Price: $14.99 for 2 fl oz
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

This sunscreen has a strong smell – you’ll either love it or hate it. I like it, and I think the bottle is cute, too.

Pros: Smells good, non-greasy, very moisturizing.

Cons: Ample sun protection, but not as effective as Oil of Olay and Neutrogena sunscreens.

When you’re searching for your drug store sunscreens, look for ingredients which provide broad-spectrum protection like benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone (Parsol 1789.)

And always remember to apply your sunscreens 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.

I go through sunscreen quickly because I slather a lot of it on – while I’m rubbing what seems like a ridiculous amount on I just think of all the wrinkles I’m preventing. I’ve been using sunscreen since my teens and I’m starting to now really appreciate what it can do for your skin. I’m 31 and I still get carded. =)

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MAC Skincare Review – Green Gel Cleanser

Posted by Karen on February 26, 2007

MAC Green Gel Cleanser

Product: MAC Green Gel Cleanser
Use: Facial cleanser
Price: $19.00 for 5 oz
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B – Update as of 3/1/07 – I’m changing this rating to a C because I accidentally got some cleanser in my eyes and it hurt like hell! Not ideal for sensitive eyes.

This morning I tried one of the samples I received from the Barbie Loves MAC seminar last week – MAC’s Green Gel Cleanser.

The website describes it as a foaming, soap-free, hydrating cleanser with extracts of cucumber and algae.

This cleanser smells good – light and fresh, like cut grass in the summer. The texture is nice too, thin without being too sticky.

I did feel like I had to use a lot of it to get a foamy consistency. And after I dried my face, my skin felt a little tight, but that could be also due to the fact that it’s been very cold and windy so my skin is drier than usual. I think my oily skin would like this cleanser during the warmer summer months though.

Green Gel Cleanser reminds me of Dermalogica’s Special Cleansing Gel, so if you are a fan of that cleanser, you might like this too.

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