Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mario Badescu Whitening Mask Review

Product: Mario Badescu Whitening Mask

Price: $24.99 (Nordstrom price, check other stores/sites for price variations)

Quantity: 2 oz. (59 mL)

Packaging: White plastic jar container with a twist off lid

Reasons to love this: Claims to brighten uneven or dull skin. Contains Kojic Acid Licorice Extract  for skin lightening and Grape extract for reducing minor hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. Also contains soothing bothanicals that calm the sensitive, inflamed skin. 

Reason(s) why I like it:
I purchased this on Hautelook when it went on sale and I haven't looked back since. I don't use this often enough and that fault is mine. This product is one that is overlooked and I honestly don't know why. It's a great product, it does brighten the skin.

It is very creamy and hydrating as it claims, which is a plus in my book! It also has a very light grape scent that's neither overwhelming or overpowering. A small amount goes a very long way.

The ONLY two things I can think of that are cons about this product, is one that it tends to be messy. There's really no neat way to apply this and once it gets dry, you really need to go ahead and wash it off otherwise you will get a bunch of white fall out flakes (so hopefully you're not wearing black).

The second thing that I don't like about this is the fact that it left my face with a waxy feeling or residue. Which technically is not a con because after thoroughly reading the instructions, it clearly states to use TEPID water and silly me I used cold water, which is probably why I had a waxy residue after washing the mask off.

The above pic is after I washed off the mask, you can see that my skin looks bright. I just have some redness around my nose and trust me that's really nothing compared to how my skin looked several years ago.

 Here's a picture from when I had really bad acne and scarring. 

Fast forward to today, my skin looks so much better. I just make sure to cleanse, tone, and moisturize every night and of course drink plenty of water!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What's new?

Yes, hubby and I are expecting our second baby! I found out when I was about 2 weeks pregnant and it hasn't been the same since. My symptoms were completely different from when I was pregnant with my daughter, but I just had this gut feeling that we were having a boy.

I even tried this IntelliGender prediction test and the result was BOY, but of course I still wasn't 100% sure. So the day came for the gender ultrasound, about 3 weeks ago actually. I was around 19 weeks when we found out the gender...

and I was right (as well as my friends and family who all believed in their heart of hearts that I was pregnant with a boy). My son will probably not forgive me for putting this picture of his boy parts on the internet, but well I'm just so happy and proud!

The ultrasound tech dude was so amazed at how acrobatic my baby boy was, stretching his legs all the way up towards his head. What a laid back little dude...he just chilled the whole time, I think he got that from his Daddy.

Look at these booties! So cute right?! This is the second thing I've bought for him. I've been buying little things here and there, preparing for his debut into this world. Our world to be exact. I can't wait to see him. 2014 is going to be amazing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

St. Ives Green Tea Scrub Review

Product: St. Ives Blemish Control Green Tea Scrub

Price: $4.99 (Target store)

Quantity: 4.5 fl oz. or 133 mL

Packaging: White colored squeezable soft plastic tube with a clear flip up cap

Reasons to love this:
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-Comodogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Oil-Free
  • Paraben and Phtalates Free (Phtalates are substances added to plastic to increase it's flexibility, durability, longevity, and transparency)
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Claims to be made from 100% Naturally Derived Exfoliants
  • Contains 1% Salicylic Acid for Acne Treatment

 Reason(s) why I like it:
I have always been iffy about trying out exfoliating products because they seem to almost always break me out. I have tried many products ranging from the MAC volcanic ash, St. Ives apricot scrub (which I loathe!), and even the Clarisonic, to name a few. The only one that I've liked so far is the Cure Natural Aqua Gel (#1 Exfoliator in Japan) and quite possibly this one St. Ives Green Tea Scrub.

Though, I am not keen on exfoliating each week, I do it once in a while only as a way of pampering my skin when it really needs that extra TLC. So why do I like the St. Ives Green Tea Scrub you may ask? Well let's start off with the fresh scent. It doesn't smell strong not even close to the green tea scent if you ask me, more like honeydew or melon scent, but it's more on the fresh light side and not fruity. 

It won't break the bank! Let's face it, you want good skincare products but maybe you don't have the monetary means to shell out $100 for the supposed best exfoliating cleanser out in the market. Well, fear not for this might be the answer!

How often do you see an exfoliating scrub that also acts as a blemish controller? It clears breakouts and calms redness. Talk about multi-purpose.

  When first dispensed it looks like a very light whipped avocado cream in color and textured.

Then you spread it out onto your skin and you feel these micro-sized exfoliating particles, not a grain size, not a seed size, and even gentler and smaller than sugar scrub.

As you massage it more on the skin, the particles seem to melt away into this nice lather.

Leaving you with clean baby soft skin.

I will update you guys about this product the more I use it, so you can know more about how it affects sensitive acne-prone combination skin. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I hope you enjoyed this review. ^_^

Monday, August 19, 2013

NYX Brow Cake Review

Product: NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder

Price: $5.99 (Ulta *check cherryculture.com for discount price!)

Quantity: 2.65g

Packaging: Simple, lightweight black and clear plastic. The clear top is nice so you see the color well.

Comes in 6 different shade combos - Black/Grey, Dark Brown/Brown, Taupe/Ash, Auburn/Red, Brunette, Blonde (above pictured is in the shade Brunette).

There's an off-white wax that goes on clear, two different shades of brow powder, a spooly brush, and a stiff angled brow brush.

I used the brow brush and spooly and they are good quality, so this is great to throw in your bag for when you're in a rush to go but forget to do your brows or for general travel.

How it compares...as you can see I've tried several different brow powders. My go-to brow powder is the MAC brow shader in Maple/Soft Charcoal. I've had this for years and I've obviously barely hit pan. I only use the brow powder in soft charcoal because the maple color (lighter color) is more for highlighting the brow bone. Unfortunately, this is no longer being sold by MAC. You can most likely purchase this at a Cosmetic Company Outlet or online.

I've also tried the e.l.f studio eyebrow kit. It is $3.00, comes in 4 different shades, available online and at free-standing stores such as Walmart and Target. This one comes with a dual-ended brush, which is now loss in space somewhere. What's different about this one is the pigmented wax. The brow powder is suppose to compliment and set this colored wax but I find that it's too light.

Now onto my comparisons---
First the packaging...
   The e.l.f studio brow kit comes in a sturdy compact that has a small clear window so you can see the colors prior right off the bat and when you open the compact there is a small mirror convenient for application. It closes shut nicely and locks well so no worries about it opening suddenly while in your purse and making a mess.

   The NYX eyebrow cake has a lighter packaging compared to e.l.f You see everything inside because of the clear compact closing, but does not have a mirror. It closes shut nicely as well, but not as tightly as the e.l.f one.

   The MAC brow shader is simple. The packaging is smaller but there is more product inside. I've had this for years and never had any issues with the packaging. There is no mirror, no place of extras like a spooly, wax, or brush. It's just the powders.

The pigmentation of the e.l.f studio brow powder and wax are about the same as the NYX. I'm not sure if it's because of the MAC brow powder goes on softer and is definitely more pigmented than the other two.

The MAC brow shader, depending where you purchase is the most expensive of the three. If you go to the CCO, I think it goes for $11 but Amazon sells it for about $20. The other two are inexpensive and comes with all sorts of extras, however you do get less brow powder compared to the MAC.

Excuse my bare face (sans makeup except for the brows), I am wearing the NYX brow cake in the above picture. Since it's not as pigmented, you can see that it does give a softer look to the brow. The way I applied it is by first applying the wax and then the powder to set it.

The above picture shows my brow with the e.l.f studio brow kit. It looks about the same as the NYX. The only difference is that I ONLY used the tinted wax from the e.l.f studio brow kit. This is without setting it with the brow powder that it comes with.

Here's an old picture of me using the MAC Brow shader. I apply the brow powder and then set it with a brow gel to get this result. I think although this brow powder is darker and more pigmented compared to the NYX and e.l.f, once I apply the brow gel it lightens it a bit and actually takes away the excess pigment.

I hope this review helps and thanks for stopping by my blog. ^_^

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Firmoo FREE Glasses!

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(The above model photos are all derived from Firmoo+.)
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MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Shadow Review

The Product: MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Shadow

Size: 0.14 oz

Price: $20

In a nut-shell these are cream eye shadows dispensed as a jumbo pencil. It's not as creamy as the NYX jumbo eye shadow pencils but not as dry as the MAC shadesticks (no longer really available these days).

I purchased these when they went on sale at Hautelook.com (amazing site by the way!) 2 eye shadow pencils for $17, but they normally retail for $20 at either Sephora store or webstore and Makeupforever.com (surely there are other online stores where you can find them). I simply could not pass up on this great deal so I bought all of the ones on Hautelook and I'm so glad I did!

There are 12 shades available. I managed to get my hands on shades -- 6E (Matte Navy Blue), 4E (Matte taupe gray), 28E (Pearly beige), 32E (Pearly white), 20E (Pearly taupe), and 30E (Pearly Pink Beige).

My first impression upon swatching the colors onto my arm is simply "Wow!" I absolutely love how pigmented the colors were and especially with just one light swipe.

It claims to be long lasting, smudge-proof and water resistant. Now, I have had the opportunity to unknowingly wear the swatches on my arm for practically the whole day (I forgot they were even there!) so, I washed my hands, dishes, and even took a shower with them on my arm. Unfortunately, the only two colors that lasted were the matte colors 6E and 4E.

However, I think the colors with pearly finish are beautiful and especially great for highlighting the eye areas, such as the inner tear duct, middle of the eye lid, under the brow bone, and lower lash line.

Would I re-purchase?

I'm glad that I was able to purchase these MUFE Aqua shadow pencils and would definitely re-purchase them again! They are a great alternative to bringing fragile eye shadows for travel and I can stress enough how much I love the finish and color pay off.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Battle of the Brighteners

I use to suffer from terrible acne as a teen and now as an adult, I've been able to move pass that, however I still have the acne scars left behind. It's probably unfair to compare these products, but to me this review will serve some purpose for those of you who are looking for ways to brighten and diminish your acne scars.

First let's talk about these two brands, POND'S and Shiseido. These are very different brands, in that Shiseido is high end and more costly and POND'S is on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to cost.

Shiseido is a highly known Japanese brand and these two products, pictured above are from their White Lucent skincare line and are available for purchase at Sephora and online stores. The White Lucent line of products from Shiseido appeals for those in the market for brightening and lightening skin products.

The Brightening Cleansing foam comes in a glossy white tube with a light pink flip open cap and is priced at $35 for 4.7 oz.
According to Sephora.com....
This reformulated skincare essential purifies the complexion and promotes a look of inner radiance. A dose of micro white powder helps remove dead surface cells to boost clarity and luminosity. 

The Brightening Moisturizer cream comes in a light pink glass jar with a plastic metallic pink cap and is priced at $59.50 for 1.7 oz. This moisturizer is to be used for nighttime but I use it for day and night because it contains SPF 21 protecting against UVA/UVB rays.
According to Sephora.com....
Help your complexion recover from daily UV damage as you sleep. This formula's Multi-Target Vitamin C helps reduce existing pigmentation, minimizing dark spots, while Tranexamic Acid adds further dark-spot action. Super-Hydro Synergy Complex deeply moisturizes and refines texture for softer, smoother skin that captures light to convey a healthy luminosity. 

In comparison to the Shiseido Brightening Cleansing foam, the POND'S Cleanser is obviously more affordable, but you may be wondering...."What about the lightening powers?" Both of these claim to lighten dark spots and help brighten the face, giving it that luminous glow, however who really delivers....

After using POND'S for almost 1 year, I find that my acne scars have slightly lightened. I don't get as many breakouts and this cleanser absolutely does a wonderful job at removing most of my face makeup. I mean, I actually see the water stained with foundation color while I'm rinsing my face. I keep one tube in the shower and one by the sink, so I use it a lot. The only issue I have is that it doesn't remove waterproof mascara well, but then again what cleanser does? So what I do is remove my eye makeup first.

 POND'S Luminous Clean Cream Cleanser (on the left) and Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam (on the right)

The Shiseido cleansing foam is actually not a foam. It does lather up to a nice soft creamy texture once you massage it onto your skin. It actually makes you want to massage your face even more because it's feels so easy to do so.

A little bit of this goes a longgggg way and it has a nice clean scent. After using this cleanser, I noticed that my skin feels squeaky clean (emphasis on the feels word), however, it is actually not. I still find residue of makeup or dirt when I use my toner after cleansing with this. It also does not remove makeup at all.

As far as scents, they are both scented. POND'S cream cleanser, however, has a much more obvious clean floral scent where as the Shiseido cleansing foam is more subtle but also smells floral.

I was recently asked if I still use the POND'S Clarant B3 Moisturizer and yes I still do. It's a good moisturizer. I can't say that I'm completely happy about it, as it sometimes leaves my skin feeling greasy, that's why I really recommend to use only a very small amount, think a dot on the forehead, cheeks, and chin. The US version of the Clarant B3 moisturizer is thicker compared to the one that can be purchased at an international store. That one is more like a lotion.

In comparison to the POND'S B3, I actually like the Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing cream better and I will tell you why. Though the Shiseido moisturizer is much pricier, it is very light in consistency, does not break me out, my skin feels nourished once I apply it, and I love the fact that it gives me sun protection. I hate the price, but a little of this product also goes a long way just like the cleanser.

The Shiseido moisturizer comes with a small spatula to scoop out the product, but I don't really care for it to be honest, though I know it's more sanitary. It's great that it is an option though.

Although the Shiseido moisturizer has SPF 21, it is surprisingly not greasy once applied to the face and doesn't make my face more oily through out the day. It looks water-based even in the picture. I think the POND'S Clarant B3 is too heavy and thick for my liking. Also, the Shiseido moisturizer does not have any sunblock type of scent or feel to it, which I simply adore.

Overall, I think that the POND'S Luminous Clean Cream Cleanser is still a winner, but the Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing cream beats the POND'S Clarant B3.

I hope this helps those of you who are thinking of which product might be best for brightening those pesky post-acne dark spots. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Also, let me know your thoughts about these products, if you have tried them yourself.

THANKS for stopping by!

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