Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DIY Nighttime Facial Moisturizer / "Essence"

A little while ago I ran out of nighttime moisturizer suddenly and realized I didn't have any backup in my stash, AHHH!  What does a girl do in this case...I could have ran to the drugstore that night and grabbed something but drugstore moisturizers have never worked well for me. I remembered, that a couple of years ago I had played around with water and glycerin as a moisturizer and didn't think too much of it, but since it was all I had on hand given the "oh no!" moment, I decided to play with it some more and add a couple more ingredients. 

Water and glycerin combination used as a moisturizer is a very old DIY beauty trick. If you look at most of your store-bought moisturizers, their first two ingredients are often just that: water and glycerin. Glycerin acts like a barrier that holds moisture in your skin, so with the water and glycerin together, you effectively moisturize your skin with the water, which is then held in by the glycerin (without it the water would just evaporate and take more moisture from your skin with it as it goes). I decided to add a couple more good-for-your-skin oils to the mix just to last the night and go buy another moisturizer ASAP.

I didn't actually go buy another moisturizer though... because the result of the DIY blew me away! It worked so darn well and made my skin look so good I kept on using it... it's been about 2 months now and I have to say my skin has actually been much better for it (I continue to be shocked by this). My hubby is vegan and had been long warning me about the chemicals and preservatives in my skincare but I never listened to him. This has really made me rethink what I'm putting on my face every day. 

Let's go through the super simple "recipe" first, then I'll talk more about what changes it made to my skin.

Ingredients: distilled water, glycerin, [vitamin E oil, jojoba oil
                        [the oils can be changed to other types depending on your skin]

I use a small disposable bottle, but you could use any container you like.
First fill about 3/4 with the distilled water.

Then add in small amount of glycerin (approx 1:10 - 1:8 ratio with the water, we'll talk about adjusting after)

Then add in your oils of choice, I made mine approximately 1:10 ratio.

Close the cap and shake. It will separate of course. When I use it, I shake it well and pour out a small amount into my palm. Then I rub my hands together and pat it onto my face after cleansing/toner (much like a facial essence).

This does give a slick kind of feeling to the skin due to the glycerin, which is why I only recommend this for night time use. I have not used this under makeup so have no idea how it would perform in the daytime, but best to use your SPF moisturizer in the daytime anyhow for sun protection.

If the slick feeling is too much for you, try to lower the amount of glycerin you use (more glycerin, more slicky-ness).

So what have I noticed in the last 2 months... I seriously have not had any breakouts...NONE... Now I normally don't get much anyhow, but every month with hormones I do get patches of small acne on my forehead and occasionally on my chin. I have not had any of that since! I also get a lot of redness and flushing (probably also hormone related), and that has significantly decreased too.

Another area of significant change is dry patches. I got tons of dry patches... I've tried many brands of department store moisturizers but none completely got rid of those patches (even with daily exfoliation). Apparently, many of the alcohols and other solvents used in the commercial moisturizers can dry your skin out even more! Currently, a couple of major patches of struggle are gone entirely, what's left is significantly improved.

I have to say, as much as I love to buy and try new products, this is one thing that has made me think that I may not buy another nighttime moisturizer again... this has no preservatives, no weird chemicals that we are not quite sure what it does...   only thing is you have to remake it every 2-3 weeks (no preservatives right).

Another benefit is custom adjusting. I know my skin will get drier and drier as the weather gets colder, so what I plan to do is increase the glycerin slightly and increase the oil content more so. I will update down the road how that works out.

One more benefit...this is super cheap... The giant bottle of glycerin is like $5. The oils cost more but I use so little in the mix that they'll last a long time.

So have I convinced you? Have an open mind and give it a try yourself! What works for my skin of course may not work for yours. You also have to be careful with certain oils that may actually clog pores (ie. coconut). Do experiment a bit though, and see if you can find a combo that works for you. You can then save that money to spend on better daytime sun protection or just fun cosmetics in general :)

Let me know if you try this and if it works for you! Share with me also any DIY skincare that you make :)

If interested in more DIY, check out the following archive posts: DIY tinted lip balm, DIY avocado face mask, DIY lip scrub

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Topbox October 2014

I'm late with my Topbox this month since it arrived while I was away in NYC, but boy was I impressed by this month's stash!

Here's the card to start...

I didn't know what this was at first... It looked like a Sharpie! It smelled chemically but it actually works well as you will see later...

 The Estee Lauder eye cream is the most expensive part of this box, and with how little I use, this tub will last me a long time! This product alone made this box happy for me :)

I had never tried anything from the Balm before, and this tiny little card stock product for lips or cheeks was interesting. 

I'm liking the photos...
 I like the product a lot actually. It does feel like a "jelly"! Goes on very naturally and blends smoothly on the cheeks. Nothing feels sticky, and doesn't leave annoying stain spots like some cheek cream/liquids can.

I was also impressed it worked on my lips! I usually find these cheek+lip products only work on the cheeks for me, and are either too drying on the lips or aren't pigmented enough or something feels odd about the formula. This one however goes on smoothly without stickiness just like on the face, however gives the prettiest hint of color on the lips. It doesn't look like I wore any lip product at all, just sweet natural rosy lips! 
swatched with 1 swipe
half gone! I used the magic pen from Prestige above

Lastly a sweet citrusy smelling scrub, smells nothing like blueberries. It says can be used for body or face.

 Lots of what looks like sugar particles, very scrubby indeed! I decided will only try this on body and not face, as it looks too rough... and I'm glad I did. The scrub is difficult to get out of the tub, and comes out feeling like oily sugar particles. I used it while wet, the sugar though is initially rough dissolved away quickly. It left my skin feeling very oily though, which is a feeling I didn't like. I imagine it might be good for my skin since it's not drying it out, but just don't like the slick feeling.

Here's the stash, I'm super happy with this. Go Topbox! For $12/mo + tax, super worth it to try different products, and bonus if they turn out to be awesome!

What was in your box this month?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Benjabelle Daisy Brush Tree Review

Where have I been... I only saw this on FTB not too long ago and ordered it cuz it looked like it could change my brush-drying life. It has apparently been around for awhile, but as usual, I'm slow on the uptake! So here's a slow-poke's review of this game-changer product (I don't say that about many things).

It comes nicely in flat pieces, yay easy storage!

How the base snaps into the top

And it stands! Proud of my construction skills here...

Here goes sticking in my wet brushes

Brush guards (the mesh over the bristles) are optional but I prefer them.

Oh Benjabelle...where have you been all those days and nights my brushes were left lying horizontally taking up counter space and possibly with water seeping into the precious ferrules (yes this happens even when brushes are horizontal, just less). This not only takes up less space, it lets my brushes dry completely with bristles down, hence water will go down and won't seep anywhere except into the air. The cherry on top is that it's decorative too! 

This is the "daisy" which is the smallest one. There is a much bigger one for those of you MUAs with multiple brush sets or junkies with tons of brushes. You can buy this from FTB; oh and yes, it comes in pink too....

Do you have any special contraptions you use to dry your brushes?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NYC Haul and Blogging

Work and life have been overwhelmingly busy recently leading to me being MIA from this blog for longer than intended. Luckily, hubby and I finally took a short vacay on our own to Manhattan to unwind from how totally burnt out we were. What do I do there of makeup!

Inglot, Tom Ford, Charlotte Tillbury... I'm super excited to do full reviews on these coming up!

There were so many options and places to go see in NYC, we had lots of fun! Though the crazy life stuff has picked up again now that we're back, I'm hoping to make time at some point to write a travel entry, as it's something I've never done before but would be a great way to share some of our favorite spots.

I do look forward to getting back to blogging, as it's become a fun part of my unwinding and distraction from day to day stresses. Bloggy, I have missed you!

Why do you blog?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Estee Lauder Take It Away Makeup Remover Lotion

After my last bad experience with a well-known lotion makeup remover (reviewed here), I was a bit skeptical about trying another. This product came as a deluxe sample, and since I didn't have to pay for it it's getting a trial!

I let waterproof concealer dry and set on my hand. Then put a small glob of Estee Lauder Makeup Remover Lotion next to it. 

After a good mix... I used a tissue as it advised to wipe the whole thing away.

Everything came off! And my skin felt great after. I tried this on my face as well of course, and result was similar and non-drying. Overall, product does what it says. I have not tried to use it on eye makeup and I don't recommend you do. 

(By the way, you can also do this with any other moisturizer...  so I don't think I will repurchase this as it's nothing special. It is however great to put into the work kit to fix minor errors or if removal of a layer of product is needed to rework the look. I won't be using this to take off my whole face makeup nightly though).

Do you use makeup remover lotions? What do you think of them?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Empties #3

When I first started these posts only 3 months ago I didn't think I could even post every month, but alas here we are again! It has now become my favorite part of the month, as it feels good to finish up things and give a good final word.

The empty stash...a real mix of things this month!

 Redken clear moisture shampoo+conditioner
I don't use expensive salon hair products often, but when I do there is a difference! Less products are needed and my hair feels great. I like how they put the conditioner in a small bottle as we all know we use less of that!

 L'Occitane Rose Bath & Shower Gel
It was good...nothing special though. The rose scent was a bit chemical rather than natural.

 Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser - Combination
That was a mouthful...but was an amazing cleanser! Made my face feel baby smooth after without being overly drying. Definitely on repurchase list after I go through more piles of cleanser samples...

 Lancome L'Absolu Rouge SPF12 - Exotic Orchid
This was one of those lipsticks that came in a GWP. The formula is great, creamy and pigmented and non-drying. I found the scent a bit too strong though, and slowly over time I'm finding the shade aging on me. There's a cm left but I'm not gonna bother finishing, on to better things!

 It really was a great formula, you can see the sheen and satiny finish and how creamy it is.  Maybe I will buy a different shade down the road.

 Maybelline the Falsies Big Eyes 
This is a 2 part mascara, one side with big brush for the upper lashes and one side with small brush for the lower lashes. Very volumizing but quickly became clumpy for the uppers. The lower was much better, and I kept on using the lower lash portion long after the upper clumped.
 The upper lash comb

 The lower lash comb. Worked well for separating and the formula was volumizing without clumping for this part.
Clarins After Sun Replenishing Moisture Care for Face
I thought this sample would be great for, well as it said, after sun moisture care. It did advertise it would enhance natural radiation tan but I didn't think much of that claim. However, boy did it deliver on that latter one... my skin had lightened now with fall, but with one use at night, I woke the next morning with my face 3 shades darker! Ok perhaps I'm exaggerating... but it looked like my summer face again. To confirm the foundation I wore the day before no longer matched...  If you were looking for a product to prolong your natural tan, well you've got it... If you didn't want that, stay away from this! (If you're wondering why I wasn't happy with being more tan, it's because I tan an awful off brown muddy color, rather than the "golden glow" some lucky people get...)

That's it for this week! Enjoy October everyone!

Let me know if you have tried any of these products and what you thought of them!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Clean Organic Goat`s Milk Brush Shampoo Review

After my review of EnKore's solid brush soap awhile back where upon I said that I disliked solid soaps, I caved to buying another due to so many positive reviews. 

The one big difference with Clean`s soap is that it`s stuck in the tub and meant to be used while it`s in the tub. EnKore`s was free of the tub and meant to be taken out so as to use both sides.

The instructions say to wet the brush then swirl on the soap, then rinse.
ick lipbrush gunk!
It did an amazing job of cleaning the most difficult tools (you know what I`m talking about, that lip brush...that stained beauty blender...).  The lip brush gunk came out super easily. Sponges cleaned really well too, however WHITE sponges still had a slight stain. This is where Enkore`s soap is better, as it can get all the stains out of my white sponges!

The one part that`s improved over EnKore`s, is the tub. I don`t get my hands all icky with holding the soap!

This product sells for $15 on Blur Makeup Room`s online store, or if you`re in Toronto you can get it in store on Queen St. 

Share with me your favorite deep cleansing soaps or shampoos for brushes and sponges!