Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kara's Way: June Box

I actually didn't get a box this month however I did help pack some of this month's box and I got a chance to try out most of the products. Some of the reviews for the elements in the box have been posted already however I'll do a quick overview of what arrived in the June edition of this box.

You get 5 items and of which four of them are full size: the mascara, the eye shadow stick, the eye cream and the lip balm. I did not get the lip balm as I have a lot of those already, so from my review, that will be the only part that is missing. The final item is a sample of a cream and while some people got the day cream by Naturelle d'Argan and others got the Olivenol Skin Solutions Moisturizer. I got the Naturelle d'Argan day cream.

Source Defense Day Cream by Naturelle d'Argan
Product Pricing: Retail for a full size is $34.99, you get 2 small samples.
Thoughts: I've been using this one for a while now and overall I like the texture and feel of it. My skin tends to be either too oily or too dry depending on what it feels like doing and overall it has reacted well to this day cream. At times it feels a bit too greasy (if I'm applying just before I'm putting on makeup) but overall it keeps my skin at a happy medium. I do think it's a bit too oily for my face at times so I end up using it as a hand moisturizer from time to time and for that purpose, it works out very well.

Sante Naturkosmetik Mascara Endless Lashes № 03
Original Review: Feeling a bit Rosy
Product Price: You receive a full size which retails for $25.99.
Thoughts: If you've seen my original post then you know that this is one of my favourites. I really weirdly love the scent of mascara and something about wearing a natural mascara makes me feel better (especially considering how often I wear mascara). It's buildable, lasts for a whole day, doesn't flake, and overall is a strong performer in terms of a mascara.

Sante Naturkosmetik Eyeshadow Pencils in Olive № 05
Product Price: You receive a full size which retails for $16.99.
Thoughts: Well, I'm brown so I'm very happy I didn't get Coffee № 08 because that would not have shown up on me at all. Not saying that the green colour does either however it does add a bit of shimmer to my eyes and kind of brightens up the area a bit which leaves me pretty happy with it's overall performance.

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Product Price: You receive a sample size of .50 Oz and the full size is 1 Oz which retails for $19.
Thoughts: Weirdly enough (or maybe not so weirdly) I had been pining over the 8 Piece Fruit Pigmented Color Collection so maybe Kara's Way felt my distinct need to try something from this company.

Anyhow, I don't really use eye creams in the traditional way that you should be using eye creams. I use it to moisturize my eyes after I take off any eye makeup so I don't use it for the reduction of puffiness or dark circles (or for whatever other reason that you might use them). My eyes dry out after I put on makeup so if I don't put on moisturizer (at night) after taking off my makeup then my eyelids will be ashy and very white the next day. That being said, I can't attest to dark circles or puffiness, since I never really had a problem with that stuff before. I was still excited to try this though because I've been using Avon Anew Retroactive Repair Eye Serum for just about forever now (yes, it's still discontinued, I just happened to find a bottle in my stash hidden away).

Right off the bat, I love the scent and the texture. It's a creamy buttery coffee scented lotion that I love wearing. I even started wearing it in the morning now just because I love the scent. As I mentioned I don't notice much of a difference but that is because I never really had major issues in the first place. But I do love this and would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a moisturizing eye cream.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Feeling a bit Rosy

Physicians Formula is a huge weak spot for me but as you may have noticed, I don't have much luck with their items. That doesn't stop me though (as you might have noticed) so this time, I decided that I was going to try something different. I was going to try the blush. Now I've been doing a Project 10 Pan, but I figured... why not? I finally did hit pan on my current blush and I really, really wanted to try a new blush. So I sprang for the pH Matchmaker because the concept intrigues me and I got the bonus pack so I got a small lip gloss as well. 

With the pH Matchmaker line, the whole idea is that they have a Fluorescein based dye that "senses the pH level of your skin & adjusts within 60 seconds" along with Photochronic Powders which are "light adjusting pigments adapt to your environment so color looks the same indoors & outside." (All quotes are directly from the PF website.) This is why the idea intrigues me; something that changes and can match me? Wonderful concept, but I wondered about the execution.

The pH Matchmaker blush I got was in the colour Rose and the lip gloss (you can see a close up of some of the labels here) and the first impressions of the packaging was that is was ridiculously cute and convenient. It is a bit flimsy as the base with the blush lifts up and has a small storage for the brush underneath the pan, but overall good package. I do wonder about the longevity of the lights that are by the mirror so I am a bit paranoid about accidentally leaving it on.

The lip gloss is also incredibly cute with a small mirror along the side. The top has a button that activates the light as well. Same fears about the battery life apply here as well. What you're also seeing in that picture is a natural mascara from Sante, but let's take one product at a time.

The Blush: I was really excited to try it but given my failure with previous PF products in the past, I was also very hesitant. I was ridiculously excited though to see how the colour changed. Well, as I applied it, I wasn't sure if I was just building up the colour or if it really was changing to match me. Either way I got this beautiful rosy colour that just looked amazing. I wasn't a fan of the shimmer but overall it looked gorgeous and I fell in love with it.

I took several photos but I was unable to get a good shot of the blush. It blends in very well with my skin tone though!

The Lip Gloss: Sure, it looks pink inside the tube and it looks pink on the applicator, but as I was putting it on, it just looked clear (which I expect). What I did not expect was that rosy change into a beautiful deep pink. Heck, I don't even like pink all that much but I loved this rosy look I was getting out of the two products.

The Mascara: I haven't really said much about this mascara. I've had it around for a while but never got around to using it. This mascara hails from Germany and is a certified natural cosmetic. The picture to the left is a shot of the mascara comb (sorry, I know it's blurry) and it's in black. For reference this is the Mascara Endless Lashes № 03 by Sante Naturkosmetik.

Out of the tube, I loved the shape of this brush and I will admit that at first, I wasn't that thrilled with the initial swipe. It didn't really stand out however, on second swipe, I realized that this mascara was completely buildable. By 3-4 passes, I got these beautiful lashes, comparable to how my tarte mascara works. I was pretty pleased with it -- I haven't seen how well it holds up for 8 hours but at the 4 hour mark, it was still holding up incredibly well.

Product: Physicians Formula pH Powered Blush in Rose
Price: $12.95
Would Recommend? Yes!
Takeaway: Gives a lovely glow. I'm not sure how well it works in terms of matching my pH but it gives an immediate glow and is a fantastic shade of pink.

Product: Physicians Formula pH Powered Lip Gloss in Pink
Price: $9.95
Would Recommend? Yes!
Takeaway: I was hesitant at first but it changes into a deep pink which is just wonderful, especially when paired with the blush.

Product: Sante Naturkosmetik Mascara Endless Lashes № 03 
Price: $25.99
Would Recommend? Yes! Especially if you're looking for a natural mascara.
Takeaway: Love how well this works -- it's on par with a lot of my mascaras that I swear by.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kara's Way: May Box (Continued)

The last two products in the May Box is the Native Touch products and the sunscreen from Beyond Coastal. The reasons why I didn't get to them as quickly as I normally would was because the Native Touch set is for a full pedicure and as for the sunscreen... well, I don't get much sun. For the other products that were in this box, you can check out my original post.

Native Touch Medicine Man Soap
Product Pricing: Regular size is $7.
Thoughts: As part of the pedicure, I think it's great -- it has a strong sage and cedar wood scent and overall feels great on the skin. I don't do pedicures that often anymore so let's switch gears. I'm a soap fanatic so I would never turn away a sample of soap. It is a little bit on the drying side so I do recommend having a nice moisturizer to go with it. 

Product Pricing: Regular size is $20.
Thoughts: If you're doing the pedicure (or even a manicure) then this is the next step in the process and it is amazing. So the soap can be a little bit drying but the oils in this scrub add them all back in and make your skin feel amazing. I kind of didn't even want to move on to the third step (using the moisturizer) because it was so fantastic. 

Product Pricing: Regular size is $14.
Thoughts: Awesome... a fantastic salve or moisturizer. Whatever it is, it smells great and works extremely well. If you use it as the final step of a pedicure, then I highly recommend putting on socks to keep all that moisture in -- if you're doing a manicure, then grab some gloves. Given the shea butter, you can use this on your cuticles or even in your hair. This is a great multi-purpose three step system and I'm very happy that I got to try them out.

If you're feeling brave, the soap works really well on the face. The scrub on the other hand, which is great on the hands and feet is really not good on the face. I totally tried it and the sugar hurts -- so learn from my experiment (I knew it was going to hurt but I figured that I might as well try it). Remember to use the Thayers toner (or any other toner) as a follow-up and moisturize!

Beyond Coastal Daily Active Sunscreen
Product Pricing: 1 Oz (which is what you receive) is $6.
Thoughts: Let's be realistic, if you were looking up reviews for this sunscreen then you know that is SPF 15 and this is a huge criticism because most people will only put on higher SPF's because they expect to be in the sun and want something higher. So to be honest, I wasn't sure how or when I'd use this because if I were going to the beach of camping -- if I knew I was going to be in the sun then I'd grab my bottle of Ocean Potion SPF 50. A result of this meant that I needed to try something else -- I needed to try it for everyday use because that's basically what it's best for. The problem is that I live in San Francisco and the sun... well, the sun is mischievous. We did get a few days of sun so where I'd normally NOT wear SPF, I slathered this on. Overall, I think it's a good product for everyday use -- it is very moisturizing and feels good. Mine didn't have much of a scent so I can't comment on that. I will mention that Beyond Costal does have an Active Sunscreen SPF 30+. So if you liked the feel but wanted something higher, you have a choice.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lotions for Dry Hands

I was hesitating to write this post as it's not really makeup related, but also not a short snippet that I could just post to tumblr either. It's about hand lotion and I've mentioned before that I have very dry skin which extends to my hands. Now I feel confident in saying that if you suffer from dry hands as well, then you're pretty much willing to try anything and do just about anything in order to combat it so I figured that I'd through out not only some recommendations, but mixes I use (this will be lengthy). 

Now I love trying out things but I also know that if a hand lotion isn't thick enough, then I'll be repeatedly reapplying throughout the day. This is how I managed to get through my generic versions of hand cream or the lightweight ones from Sabon or Avon. I'm not going to list off the ones that I have to reapply every hour -- but rather I'll talk about the ones that are thicker, last longer, and are just plain awesome.

  • Avon Silicone Glove: Costs about $5 and it's my absolute favourite one. It absorbs quickly and stays on -- even after you wash your hands (of course, that doesn't mean it will last if you're washing dishes, but still admirable how long it can stay on). I hoard these... yes, that is the extent I will go to to preserve them. I love these and highly recommend them.
  • Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme: Costs about $9 (varies depending on where you get it from) and this is a slightly thicker type and can appear a bit on the greasy side. It doesn't absorb as quickly as others but it wears down a bit as it is worked in. I love the scent on this one.
  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream: Costs $28 and performs perfectly. True story: I had a friend with severely cracked hands and with the help of this cream he was able to get them back on track. Shea butter is a wonderful thing. Anyhow, quick absorption, good on the go, overall a great performer. Doesn't last quite as long as the Avon Silicone Glove, but still helps repair which is why I like this one.
  • Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter in general are great, which is actually what I tend to use when I'm home. But that's also because they are greasy and you can't really do much till they are fully absorbed. One of the things I will sometimes do is slather on shea or cocoa butter and then put on gloves. Another thing I do is take cocoa or shea butter and blend my own hand lotions.

So exactly what does blending your own lotion (not from scratch) entail? Well, for starters, if you have severely dry skin then something you might also have is a stash of lotions that just don't work. Combine them all to create the mega-lotion. Grab any lotion samples that you might have gotten and toss it in there too. Yep, that's pretty much it. The true secret though is adding in some form of shea and/or cocoa butter. Now given the texture of cocoa or shea butter, you'd likely have to melt it down but even then it might not be that great since it might reform in chunks. In order to avoid that, I happen to have Vaseline Cocoa Radiant Gel Oil which I add into the mixture. I keep two different blends, one at work and one at my apartment and the great thing about them is that they are packed with oils but the lotions tend to balance them out so they actually (and very surprisingly) don't come off too greasy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Natural Repair Conditions Extreme

One of my friend (who is ridiculously awesome and has been giving me random cosmetics for no reason), handed me Natural Repair Conditions Extreme since I have very dry skin. My hands in particular get dried out very quickly so I find myself having to reapply hand lotion several times throughout the day. I used to have a tube of Sabon's Patchouli Lavender Vanilla at my desk at work and that took about a month to finish. Basically, I use a lot of hand cream and I go through it quickly.

I've been using straight shea butter when I'm over at my boyfriend's place to help my hands heal but I figured I'd put that away and start using this. Let's get some basics out of the way though.

This is an eco-friendly product that utilizes organic farming and keeps long-term sustainability in mind. It has been approved by Ecocert which was created in France. As per the website the product is:

95.7% of plant ingredients are from organic farming.
99.28% of the total ingredients are of natural origin.
15.5% of total ingredients are from organic farming.

I only posted the details of it because those of you interested in the Kara's Way box should have seen this label before on the bottle of Argan oil. I was interested in their certification so I figured I'd look it up. Moving on now...

I'm a thick salve kind of gal. You probably figured that out once I said I used straight shea butter on my hands. Making the switch wasn't hard because as anyone knows, shea butter is greasy and isn't conducive when you're trying to type or use a Kindle.

The product mentions that is for "extreme moisturizing repair" and has a non-greasy texture and doesn't stick. I will happily admit that it isn't greasy and doesn't stick; the skin absorbs it quickly. In terms of moisturizing though... it does a decent job but I do find myself reapplying it often because it doesn't seem to really stay on. It's kind of hard to explain but I have the kind of skin that is so dry that you can see the ashiness even if I'm wearing lotion -- it needs to be thick and protective. While the lotion does have some moisturizing properties, it takes a few coats before the ashiness disappears. It's probably because the first ingredient is water (fun fact: companies list the ingredients by quantity, so if the first ingredient is water then the base of the lotion is water).

Overall, I think it's a good lotion for me to keep at my desk -- I still do keep it at my desk in fact. But at night, I still reach for the shea butter (or the mixed lotion that I created). I'd definitely recommend this as a "day hand lotion" as it feels good, absorbs quickly, and is great if you have to do a lot of typing... or gaming. If you're looking for a thicker lotion though, this probably won't work out as well.

This product hasn't hit the U.S. just yet, however you can find it online from Aromathologie for approximately $8.69 (or € 6.95).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kara's Way: May Box

This comes a full month (or something like that) after the box launched. In my post "Some Other Updates," I mentioned that I helped packed the boxes. I did however want to post some reviews about the actual samples in the box especially since I a few of them on a regular basis. Naturally there comes a disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Kara's Way and I am not reimbursed for writing this blog. I am, however, a self-proclaimed "Kara's Way Minion" which is my clever way of saying, I work for free for my friend who runs Kara's Way.

I haven't tried everything just yet but I'll try to keep the posts linked that have to do with the samples that were in the Kara's Way box. Onto the reviews! (Update: You can read the rest of the reviews here.)

Notice the nail polish is missing already. I'm an addict.

Honeybee Gardens Non Peel Off Polish
Product Pricing: You receive a full size which costs $9.99.
Thoughts: I got the colour "Burlesque" which is a fuchsia sparkle. I love the concept and I do see myself ordering from this company in the future. I personally love shades of blue, green, purple, and black so I was a bit hesitant to try it out. But I love nail polish and there's no way I wasn't going to try it. Yeah, it didn't look good on me. Given my yellow undertones, it came off as a bright orange. Not flattering at all but the nail polish in itself has a good formula and the idea of switching to a water-based nail polish pleases me. It does have a faint scent of those peel off nail polishes that I had when I was younger.

Naturelle d'Argan 100% Pure Argan Oil
Product Pricing: You get an 8 mL bottle but for retail 1.70 Fl oz goes for $48.99.
Thoughts: Argan oil is a staple around me. I've tried a variety of different types and loved them all and this is no exception. What does make it stand apart though is it's general use. Most Argan oil that I come across are specifically created for use on hair so a bunch of additives are in there specific for that purpose. This kind is great for your hair, nails, or skin. The website even suggests you can add it into your lotion if you needed a bit more of a boost.

Thayers Alcohol Free Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner
Product Pricing: 2 Fl Oz sample bottle and it looks as though it goes for ~$7 for the 12 oz.
Thoughts: I had tested this out a while ago and I use it in conjunction with my Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. I love it! No complaints here. Especially after a refreshing mask, this is wonderful -- and works great if you want to refresh your skin in the warm weather.

LA Fresh Oil-Free Face Cleanser
Product Pricing: You get one sample and an order of 20 packets costs $9.99.
Thoughts: This actually feels very refreshing, it can be a little bit drying but overall left my face feeling very clean. A tiny bit of moisturizer and you'd be all set to go. Overall, I was pretty pleased with it and actually I think it would be fantastic for hiking, camping, or travelling.

LA Fresh Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover
Product Pricing: You get one sample and an order of 18 packets costs $9.99.
Thoughts: I couldn't wait to try this out because I love nail polish but I hate how drying the removers can be. I wanted to try an alternative and I already knew that everyone who reviewed it said you'd absolutely need to use two pads in order to cover all 10 nails. Doesn't help that I was removing bright blue nail polish but yeah, it took so long to take off the nail polish. Maybe it was about 10 minutes and even then I couldn't get the nail polish fully removed. LOVED how my fingers felt afterward though because it does leave them feeling very conditioned, just doesn't work so well to remove nail polish. So that's up to you if you want to compromise or not. I'm still going to attempt trying other non-acetone and "healthier" nail polish removers though.

Keeki Pure and Simple Sassy Shimmer Stick
Product Pricing: You receive a full size which costs $6.99.
Thoughts: This tube is the Golden Glow which means that... it's all shimmer. The colour quickly vanishes (I'm not sure if there's supposed to be one) leaving me with lips of shimmer. My boyfriend is going to love the planned attacks I have in store. That aside, it's all organic and feels good -- it moisturizes well and lasts long. I really like this product, especially since my previous lip balm was on it's last leg. I can't wait to order from this company (mostly because I'm seeing a huge list of nail polishes and I really can't help myself).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cleaning a Kabuki Brush

I've been going through my old photos and I noticed that I had a series that show how to wash and dry a kabuki brush. I was going to create a guide for someone on /r/MakeupAddiction/ but then I found the original video and figured there was no point. Since I have the photos lying around, here's my post about it but all credit goes to Dustin Hunter. It's a great video and a great idea, so I suggest you watch the whole thing.

I now store my kabuki brushes in this manner so the pictures I have are of a dry brush. Trust me when I say though, this method is very easy.

1. I use paper towels because they are closest to my sink which is where I wash my brushes in the first place. After I wash my brush, I roll it in a sheet of paper towel. Position it in the center of the sheet to assure there is adequate room at the top and the bottom. (You don't have to assure there is room at the bottom unless you plan on changing the storage method).

2. Wrap it up!
3. Slide it into an empty toilet paper roll. For future purposes, you should actually keep a few of these around. Not only are they great for drying and storing kabuki brushes, they are great for resting sponges so they can dry out.

 4. You can now stand the kabuki up -- with adequate padding at the top by the bristles, you can allow it to "stand on the bristles" since now it won't hit the hard surface.
 5. My brush was already dry so I can now toss it and store it in any which way I'd like, which means this is also great for travelling. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Quest for Dry Shampoo

With my long hair, dry shampoo was not really necessary so I made my own blend of it. My hair is naturally prone to get oily and the longer it gets, it begins to switch from that to dryness. My hair adapts and like some crazy adapting parasite, it no longer "likes" the dry shampoo I was using before. (For reference purposes, the post about the dry shampoo I mix can be found here. Basically I blend cornstarch and old foundations or bronzers in order to darken  it and then I brush it on my hair with a cheap kabuki). 

After a few attempts with my cornstarch blend, I realized that my hair needed more touch-ups throughout the day but the powder was too messy (and not really portable either). So it was finally time to give it up and look into having a dry shampoo (at the very least, by my desk). 

The first one I have on hand is Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo Spray, which I had actually picked up for a light camping trip. I didn't have any intention of using it myself (I was getting it out of consideration for the other ladies that I'd be camping with), but one day I just got fed up with my hair and decided to use it anyway. The one stand out thing about this is that I love the scent and at the very least for that night that I had it on, it worked well. In general, it works well for immediate use (and I will reiterate that the scent is lovely) but it did not hold up well for the eight hour day. In fact after 4 hours, the greasiness returned full force and weighed down my hair. If you have super oily hair, this may not be the one you should opt for.

Given the problems I experienced with it, I'll definitely hold on to the bottle and use it for touch-ups, especially for short events. It smells good and not as chemical as some of the others I've tried out. For work however, I decided to keep a bottle at my desk just in case. Since CVS was closer, I ran in there but they apparently don't carry the Suave version, so I ended up getting the TRESemme version.

TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo Spray For Oily/Straight to Normal Hair (or the Volumizing one) feels... well, kind of ickier. Okay, I know that's not much to go on. From the beginning, it smells terrible. An hour after I sprayed it on, I had a headache because of the fumes. How terrible. My hair felt pretty weighed down and just felt like there was way too much product in it. Which is comical considering how much less I sprayed on as compared to the Suave Dry Shampoo. Anyhow, almost immediately after the chemical attack on my hair, I noticed how dull my hair looked. I decided that I wanted to exchange it immediately, even with my headache.

I ran back into CVS and grabbed the last bottle of Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo that was on the shelf. (At this point I'm still wondering why dry shampoos don't have their own section but it's probably because most stores only carry a limited selection of them). Because I actually need to wash my hair, I won't have a review for it just yet. I did notice that it uses almost the same ingredients as Suave so it remains to be seen how much I will enjoy it.

I like charts so let's break this down.

Dry Shampoo Comparison
Brand Type Scent Performance Cost Verdict
Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo Spray Not even sure what it's base is aside from a lot of alcohol to dry out the grease. Tropical, perhaps grapefruit, either way, it is pleasant. Last about 4 hours in my hair. Which probably just means that it needs to be reapplied throughout the day (that is if your hair is super oily). Doesn't weigh hair down though which helps and while it can leave splotches of white, they are easy to rub in. A lot is required to do the job though. ~ $4 Decent so far, but for the amount that is needed and the questionable ingredients I'm not sure I'd purchase it again. The bright side is that I don't hate it enough to demand a refund.
TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo Spray Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Kaolin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Extract (amongst other things). Terrible. Immediately weighs down hair and makes it look dull -- it seems almost more beneficial to just wash my hair. The fumes are terrible. ~ $6 No! I returned it on the same day. This was a terrible purchase.
Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo (Review) Same as Suave. Pleasant and light though I can't place the scent. Works well, does create a bit of a matte but doesn't overtake my natural shininess.  ~ $7 Great1 Very long lasting and keeps my hair fresh without weighing it down. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this one as it works better than the others.


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