my journey through the pursuit of love & happiness

Archive for the ‘beauty reviews’ Category

So I went into Nordstrom’s this Friday afternoon for a free Philosophy Oxygen Facial Mask as a promotion for their Anniversary Sale. I love the Philosophy line — especially their new make-up line.  As I sat there, hair pulled back white goop all over my face, the woman giving me the mask starting asking me what products I use, especially to help with problem areas on my skin (stupid adult acne).

Sigh. My skin. My first East Coast Winter I was sure my skin was rejecting my new living environment and telling me to move back to a place where the sun comes out 365/year. Never had my skin been so awful. I realized that I needed to jump back on the American bandwagon of beauty products (two years in Africa consisted practically only of sun screen).  On and off my skin still gets bad since being on the East Coast. Recently, it is partly my fault. With my extractor handy (how-to to follow) I poke my face after the shower. #daily fail. The thing is I’ve made this decision before. So I have been trying a few different things instead (which also include going back on Oral contraceptives to help with my skin):

1. Washing my face in cold water. Cold water closes the pores. Warm/hot water opens them up. This has been pretty easy b/c the summers in DC are soooo hot. However, if you love your hot showers, try instead splashing cold water on your face from the sink once you step out.

2. Complementing/substituting my night creme with Vitamin E Oil. I’ve been using ‘Almond Glow: Coconut Skin Lotion.’ It has peanut, olive and Vitamin E. Topical Vitamin E will help with scarring. Although I naturally have oily skin but using this oil is actually a pretty good alternative to night creme– it’s cheap and in the morning my skin always feels softer. Though I would be hesitant to try it out in the morning as a moisturizer unless you have dry skin.

How I use this product: I put a less than a dime amount in my hand, I start first putting the oil under my eyes and in areas where I have a little scarring, then I blend on the rest of my face. If I have any left over I will massage my neck.

Makes for a great night moisturizer.

3. For the past six or so months I’ve also been using Sephora’s Precision Pore Cleansing Pad. I thought enough of this product to get it for a friend for her birthday. (Actually I made her this great humidity/beauty basket which included my homemade body scrub.) This product is cheap, lasts a while and also leaves my skin feeling a little smoother. Recently I’ve starting using it twice a day though I could probably go back to just once a day to make it last longer.

Pretty in pink precision pore will help your skin feel softer.

What it does: This tool uses tiny bristles to invigorate the skin and effectively clean pores, helping to exfoliate and soften the skin.

Price: $5

Online reviews: This product has over 600 reviews on sephora.com and averages 4/5 star rating.

Other thoughts: Soft enough for sensitive skin.

It is partly this last product that lead me to believe the Mia will be effective on my skin. It’s like the small pad but it’s a vibrating brush. So finally, onto Mia…

What the product claims:

  • 6x more makeup removal than manual cleansing
  • 61% greater absorption of Vitamin C after use

There are three different brush heads for normal, sensitive and delicate skin. For people who have backne or acne on other places of their body you might want to check out the Clarisonic Classic.

How to use: The product is water-proof so you can use it in the shower. It is timed to go off after one minute. Recommend use is: 20 seconds forehead, 10 each cheek, nose/chin 20 seconds. Wet your face and put your liquid facial cleanser on the brush and go!

What the Nordstrom Anniversary package includes: Two brushes (and I was able to score an additional brush for free), cleanser, travel bag, and charger.

Online reviews: On Sephora and Amazon this product has A LOT of reviews and averages 4/5 stars. One online review boosts: “I have noticed a huge change in my skin after using the Mia! My skin is smoother and feels so clean. My pores are much less noticeable and I actually wear make up less often because of it. I break out less, too. The Mia is worth every penny.”

My review:I couldn’t wait to get home and try this out. I have used it only once but I have to say after one use my skin felt slightly smoother/softer (could particularly notice on my checks). I will post further reviews at 2 and 4 weeks.

eye ❤ pink

Price: A little pricey. But it’s your skin and my life long goal to go back to being make-up less (or at least looking fabulous w/o it). I have not had a facial in over a year and a half (b/c I’m cheep and am determined to give myself mini-facials at home, and also all about preventative treatment) so I justified this as 1/1.5 facials. At Nordstrom I paid $149 for over a $200 value (which includes the extra extra free brush I received at the counter). I also told myself that if I hate it it’s Nordstrom’s and they will take it back no matter what.

Notes/tips: Each brush lasts 4-5 months and has anti-bacterial bristles. After 2-4 weeks you will start to break out because your skin is being purged (like what happens after a facial). It is careful to note that this may go on longer for you and after a month you may feel like using the product less, but keep with it! The woman at Nordstrom’s said she was breaking out after a month but powered through and her skin is so much better. Also, it is recommended to use only once a day for a month, after that you can up the use to twice a day.

Extra notes to myself: Since I am (holds breath) a resident on the East Coast (sigh) and see myself here for at least another 2-3 years (baring love’s and the universe’s plan for myself) I need to be like mama and make friends with the women at Nordstrom’s back home b/c they always hook my mom up!

Lastly, if you’re thinking of purchasing one I would compare sale/promotion prices at Sephora, Macy’s and Nordstrom. At Nordstrom’s you can usually get an extra free brush (as I did w/o even trying, but try!) or facial cleanser. They also have a light pink one for breast cancer.

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I will never buy store-brand tampons again.

How was I suppose to know that the 50% Clearance tag wasn’t talking about the damaged box but rather, the fact that it took nearly short of three hands to get those suckers in.

I felt like I was a teenager again, stumbling around down there not sure what was going up or down. NO, tampons are not created equal. Guys— make sure when your lady sends you to pick up tampons you get the ones she actually wants.

For me, happy tampons are Pearl by Tampax.

Homemade brown sugar scrub. So easy to make and great for the skin!

Since I love making things from scratch and I highly dislike big prices I decided to finally make my own body scrub.

After searching online I have come up with my own recipe:

1/3 Turbinado brown sugar

1 tablespoon coffee grinds

1/3 cup almond glow brand coconut skin oil (you want one part oil, one part salt/sugar, this helps it be more of a polish than a scrub. do a 1/2 ratio of oil if you want more of a rough scrub but I think with the sugar I used a 1:1 ratio worked great, the sugar absorbed up all the oil and there wasn’t any left soaking at the bottom. Also make sure you get a body oil that already has Vitamin E in it)

a few drops of vanilla

1 tsp Vitamin E (try and get a body oil that has vitamin E if not buy and open some vitamin E capsules and mix them in)

I used the house brand of Sugar in the Raw, Turbinado brown sugar because I liked the texture better, it wasn’t as fine as other brown sugar and offered a more crystalized rub, like salt scrubs. Since it’s winter and my skin can get dry I wanted something that would help add moisture. I also wanted a sugar scrub instead of a salt scrub because it is more like a polish but I got the best of both worlds using the Turbinado sugar.

For the coffee grinds I substituted some instant coffee (some vanilla latte or something) I had left over from when my mother visited last fall. I don’t make coffee at home so it was an added saved expense to use what was in my cupboard. I added the coffee because the caffeine is supposed to be good for cells and awakening them and  even fighting/preventing cellulite.

I used regular cooking vanilla for a scent instead of essential oil b/c all of the essential oil I wanted were pretty expensive (um like forty bucks for tiiiiiny thing). And thinking about it I’m looking for function not another girly smell for my man-filled bathroom (did I mention I live with four guys?).

Looking back next time I will probably not add the vanilla or add more since the scent didn’t really come through, but again, I’m looking for function not girly smell. Also, I used a coconut scented almond oil so adding the vanilla didn’t really seem necessary. I will probably also add more coffee next time, which I would recommend if you want more of a coffee aroma.

Lastly, after using it in the shower before shaving I also used the exfoliant on my lips! Best tasting exfoliant ever! The dry wind and horrible east coast winter weather really does a number on your lips and skin. This totally helped! My legs felt smoother, lips smoother (and sexier) and overall I am happy with my homemade sugar scrub!

Use it in the shower before your next date or for yourself to help make your legs feel sexier!

Enjoy!


"IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE ME AT MY WORST, THAN YOU DON'T DESERVE ME AT MY BEST" -marilyn monroe

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