Sunday Brunch Makeup: Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 & Shiseido Bronzer

I notice that on weekends when I typically meet friends for a casual brunch, I tend to do my most common beauty routine: casual made-up. Not so casual that I’m going out sans makeup, but not making an event out of it either. Today I decided to combine the Boscia BB Cream with Shiseido Bronzer.

The Boscia BB Cream is a “self-adjusting” cream that blends into the wearers skin tone. It comes with a decent SPF 27 PA++ Protection which is more than enough for going out for a bite during the fall/winter seasons. It is also oil-free which is good because most mainstream products that aren’t oil free, are using mineral oils or petrol derivatives and not the skin healthy botanical oils we love.

The BB Cream craze started in South Korea when actresses used it post-surgery to simultaneously cover scarring while healing skin. Since then, these creams have been adapted for mainstream audiences looking for a lighter, more natural feeling foundation that can also improve skin. I have to say though, no BB cream sold in the US is really a competition for the great Asian brands (such as Lioele Water Drop BB Cream, Missha, Etude, and Hanskin which are priced at Garnier price points but give results that beat those that cost 5 times as much). Boscia is a Japanese brand, so I thought maybe they could carry the Asian technology over using a slightly cleaner formulation that most of their Asian counterparts do not have. 

The formula is a PEG/Silicone powerhouse which is to be expected with most BB Creams. Upon wearing it the first couple of times I have to say that it did feel significantly lighter than wearing foundation but I noticed my skin tone was “off” it always looked a little orange and dark. It also isn’t as moisturizing as the packaging claimed so I have to put a lot of it on my skin.

The SPF 27 comes from Titanium Dioxide which isn’t everyone’s favorite (Zinc derivatives seem to be the preferred option). The back also says it diminishes the appearance of pores which I did not find to be true – it honestly didn’t seem to do anything for them, but because there was not hydration, pores tend to end up looking  slightly larger.

I don’t think I will repurchase this again, but if you’d like to try, it is available at Sephora for $38.

 

The Shiseido Bronzer is actually a very under the radar product from the beauty brand known for its complexion products. I was surprised to discover it as I was looking for a subtle, natural bronzer that wouldn’t look obvious, streaky, or orange. I decided to give Shiseido a try not only due to great reviews online but also because despite my apathy for their skincare products, Shiseido is renowned for their light makeup. 

The Bronzer comes with its own brush but honestly, don’t bother with it – it is way too thin and small to be used seriously, I think of it more as a bonus travel tool in case you can’t pack another brush (I apply mine with the Sigma F15 Brush). I found the pigment to be significant but VERY blendable and natural. It is that perfect balance between naturally subtle and effective to give you that fresh golden glow as though you just came back from a vacation. There are 3 shades to choose from, I use Shade 2, they recommend Shade 2 for most people unless you’re at either ends of the spectrum. There is no shimmer to this formula which was a big deal for me as a lot tend to sparkle under natural light for what ever reason. 

I was so surprised at how light this bronzer felt, it doesn’t add any weight to my face at all but it does give an instant glow and smoothing effect to my face. I don’t even need to use a finishing powder because this is enough to give that nice polish. I cannot say enough good things about this product – it isn’t clean but the performance is just amazing. It stays on all day, doesn’t oxidize, isn’t orange, does not impact skin hydration, and looks natural. One piece of advice is that because it is so buildable but subtle, don’t keep applying until you see a difference, start with a light touch and then view yourself from a distance. You’ll notice the true natural sun-kissed effect better that way. Surprisingly, this product isn’t available at Neiman Marcus, but it is sold from our higher end sister-store, Bergdorf Goodman for $35, which isn’t cheap but is right in line with similar offerings from Laura Mercier, Stila, Lancome. In terms of performance, I’ve been using this bronzer more than the more expensive bronzers I have from Chantecaille and Le Metier Beaute.

September Empties – Products I’ve finished using

As a product junkie, I sometimes try so many things that I fear I may never finish using them before I move onto my next. For me, the end of a product is the best time for me to write a review because it helps me think if I’m going to repurchase, what I’ll miss about it, what I won’t miss. I find that products that seem to have run out ‘too soon’ always tend to be favorites that incorporate into my routine and use a lot and there are products that I have to make a serious effort to use up – at which point its kind of like eating at a buffet, you might go back in the future but for now you don’t want to even look at it!

For September, I’ve finished using:

Jurlique Purifying Foaming Cleanser($34): A syrup-like cleanser formulated with tea tree oil and lavender to target blemish prone skin. Other cool ingredients include honey, green tea, grape seed, tumeric, and witch hazel. It really does help to remove makeup and grime but it is a little bit too strong. It foams a lot (more than the natural cleansers I’ve been using) so this is perhaps why it is also a bit drying since foaming agents can lead to that. Unless I follow with a facial oil in the summer, my skin will feel stripped and go into over-production of sebum. The scent was a very strange botanical scent, not that relaxing but not really a deal breaker for me. I felt like I really had to work to finish this cleanser, but perhaps that is because it isn’t really ‘right’ for my skin type which no longer needs a cleanser this strong.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($49.50): If you’ve read a few of my past posts on acne scars, you’ll know I didn’t really see results with this serum. Instead it aggravated breakouts on my forehead so I could not really use it. It has been a challenge for me to finish using but since I didn’t want to waste it, I ended up applying this around a few sunspots on my arms since my face has cleared up significantly with this product from YULI. Not sure if Clinique really did anything for those sunspots but just glad to have finally used this all up. Scent is a chemically, fluid is a milky cream gel. 

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($55): Most of the products in the Tata Harper line are not suitable for my skin type and tend to be too heavy on my pores. However, the resurfacing mask is perfect. It is a gorgeous amber hued gel that smells like a spa. It resurfaces skin but is delicate enough for sensitive skin. I did not get any redness and my skin felt so hydrated and nourished after using it. I can safely keep this on my face for an hour before washing off and my face will just glow. I used up my sample in 4 days because I was so addicted to the mask, just ordered a full sized jar.

Dermatologica Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask ($46): I’m not a huge fan of Dermatologica but I received a sample of this from a Beautybar order. I know their products aren’t completely clean but I love any mask that focuses on nourishing skin with vitamins, antioxidants, etc to relieve stressed skin. The mask is a white cream that looks like a lotion at first but once you apply it, you can really feel this layer on your face. Skin just feels ‘injected’ with moisture and looks soooo well rested when you wash it off. If the formula were cleaner, I would not hesitate to buy the full sized product but since it is not, I chose to spend my ‘mask’ money on Tata Harper.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid SPF 15 ($72): I had read a lot of great things about how this product is the perfect balance between moisturizer + spf + light coverage foundation. When I got my hands on this, the first thing I noticed was how silky and fluid the consistency was – lighter than most moisturizers and foundations I’ve used. The scent is like heaven, but I know they use a synthetic fragrance to achieve that. It absorbed fast but you do need a lot of this product to feel it moisturize. I don’t really see much coverage but this product is virtually weightless. I just wish the SPF could be higher, or the coverage could be a bit more but this isn’t a bad product by any means. I will definitely consider buying this if they could make a SPF 30 variant even if it is not as light weight.

YULI Panacea Elixir ($36): Remember how I said some products you just always run out of? This is one of them. If I was paid a dollar every time I sprayed this, I could probably buy this product over and over every day. I’m a stickler for scents and the most recent batch from them just smells GORGEOUS! Whenever I feel a breakout about to come out, I just spray this over my face at night, massage all over and go to bed – it seems to detoxify all the junk out over night. It also cleans out my pores and makes my skin look way better than it genetically should. I also use this after workouts and it keeps my face really hydrated. There is no alcohol in this so it doesn’t dry out your skin. And I found that facial oils and moisturizers sink into skin faster after I apply this product. This has become such a staple in my regimen.

Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel ($45): I think I said in the Sunday Riley Good Genes review that this is a cheaper, less refined, but more active version of the same thing. Truth be told, this is actually my boyfriends product but I use it too. I notice that it is way too strong to leave on overnight as the instructions say. I tried it once, and I looked like I had been laying out in the sun all weekend with no sunscreen. With that said, if you want a clean, acid peel this is a great product. It really allows your skin to start fresh. It is a clearish-green gel with a slightly slightly acidic scent. Not too sure if I would purchase this product again – there are a few clean acid peels and resurfacing products out there so I will probably test some, but this is still a very solid option.

Rodin Olio Lusso: An Education

Rodin Olio Lusso is the stuff of legend. The now iconic 1 oz bottle of facial oil has graced every magazine, every major blog, and been used by all the industry insiders. Its acclaim is universal, with models, “it girls”, makeup artists singing its praises – as shown by it’s superstar status on ITG , is astonishing – with the exception of La Mer’s moisturizing cream, I haven’t seen this type of support for any singular product. 

Rodin’s Facial Oil isn’t the first facial oil, but at $140, it is one of the first luxury oils meant for the high end consumer market. It is to facial oils, what Britney Spears was to female pop stars in the late 90’s – they existed, but Britney’s success helped to define and open the market for everyone else. 

Rodin’s success has really moved the conversation of facial oils to a more mainstream audience who previously only focused on creams to hydrate their skin. As someone who has suffered from acne, it wasn’t until I read all the literature behind facial oils that Rodin produced that I decided to take the plunge.

The success of the Luxury Face Oil has spawned an entire line- body oil, hair oil, lip product, hand cream, etc. But the superstar remains the original face oil. Enough background – on with the review!

Full ingredient:

Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Benzyl benzoate, Linalool  

Rodin’s Luxury Face Oil consists of 11 essential oils that make up a vibrant golden tone contained in a art deco bottle. Upon first opening, the Jasmine floral scent is undeniable. In fact, Jasmine is listed as the first ingredient which is highly unusual for more facial oils that tend to rely more on carrier oils over essential oils. Jasmine is a beautiful oil that smells delicate but I have to admit that the scent is a little overwhelming for me. I’m also not sure how pregnancy-safe this is as Jasmine does have minor contraceptive qualities. In normal oils that use this lightly, I don’t think the amount is substantial enough for concern but as this is the main ingredient in the Face Oil – I would personally advise caution for ladies who are expecting.

The oil is rather light which was a pleasant surprise for me because Sweet Almond Oil is usually too thick for my skin type and Jojoba (although good for acne skin) is also on the thick side. I think the reason this oil composition wasn’t as thick is due to the abundance of Jasmine. 

I found that my skin felt hydrated with just 1-2 drops but to be honest I’m not sure if it did a better job than less expensive high-end oils on the market. I just don’t think it is worth all the hype, it seems to be a decent (though overwhelmingly Jasmine infused) oil but there aren’t any ingredients in there that make it better than lower cost facial oils. 

So where do we go from here? At first I thought I was strange for not also thinking this product hit it out of the park. So I really thought about why my experience would be different and I came upon two realizations. 1. A lot of the people who try this product probably have not even tried other brands of facial oils before, therefore, compared to their old products like La Mer creams, this truly is better. 2. The power of marketing. This product educated me on the strength of marketing a beauty product: get it into the hands of those who matter, get into the right press, and people will follow like sheep. 

Looking at online reviews from influential bloggers, you’ll see the same words used to describe this product: decadent, luxurious, miraculous – all words pushed out initially by Rodin’s own marketing team. It’s am image of a decadent, luxurious product (translation: costly) used to (as the Victoria’s Secret makeup artist says) ‘treat’ oneself. Based on the adjectives, you almost can’t even really think about this product, you just have to give in to the marketing that this is THE product you need, and that if you don’t like this product, you don’t get that this is a ‘miraculous’ wonder. And to be honest, this is the one product that actually took my blinders off and realize the people at ITG probably do have contracts and behind the scenes plans with a few brands behind each post. 

This isn’t to knock what Rodin’s Facial Oil does accomplish. It actually is a nice product, but there are just so many others out there that are more suited for different skin types. 

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Facial Oil (http://oliolusso.com/ , $140)

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Good Genes is what I don’t have when it comes to the genetic skin lotto. When I hit puberty, my face was just a constant battle between breakouts and astringents, in college I had cystic acne that lumped onto each other which even made the dermatologist say “I could give you some retin-a and antibiotics, but honey, that’s like treating a fire with a kitchen faucet at this point”.

Even now that my skin is at the place I’ve dreamed it could be (in no small feat due to the product formerly known as Ultimate Perfect Serum, Cell Perfecto PM– read about my experience with it here) – I still don’t think I’ve ever been in the category of people fortunate to be born with skin that just naturally glows and looks flawless.

If I can’t be born with it, then I’ll buy it! And Sunday Riley has the perfect product for such a thing, fittingly named Good Genes. The playful name promises to deliver the look of “good genes” for everyone! If there is anything Sunday Riley does well, it is in marketing her products.

The instructions for the product are very precise, it is a corrective treatment to be used at night (at least I think it should be), about once or twice a week, for a power treatment she recommends using it for five consecutive nights. The reason is because this is a very acid-heavy chemical exfoliator with a primary active being lactic acid. This doesn’t mean the formula isn’t clean, only that it doesn’t exfoliate through physical means which I actually really like, and lactic acid is fairly clean compared to alternatives.

The full promise of the product is that it will ” plump fine lines to reveal brighter, newer skin, and improve circulation to offer a smooth, vibrant complexion. Long term use will help restore damaged skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and scars, reduce the depth and number of lines and wrinkles, even out skintone, and increase epidermal thickness and firmness.”

The lactic acid is probably the active that addresses fine lines, revealing newer skin. Other actives include licorice which brightens complexion, yeast extract, squalene, lemongrass, and arnica.The formula comes out as a white creamy fluid that smells like dried fruit creamsicle (all her products seem to smell like a creamsicle). It is absorbed fairly quickly, though not as fast as Bionic. After one use, I did not experience irritation, but when I did the consecutive week long treatment I noticed my skin was getting red and I actually got a new breakout on my forehead and not looking so great around Day 3/4 – and my skin is fairly sensitive, so those of you with ‘normal’ skin might not find this to be too tough to handle.

The slight issue I have with this product is once again, it isn’t as clean as I hoped it could be, 3 types of silicones, 2 types of parabens, 2 PEGs, and caricinogenic Phenoxyethanol – I just wish they could have really lived up to their promise of 99% natural, botanical based products without injecting so much of this chemical stuff, it is actually a cheaper way of production that they don’t need to take since they’re at such high price points. Due to my silicone sensitivity, I think this might also explain why instead of getting clearer, my skin was freaking out during the 5 day test.

Good Genes retails for $105 for 1 oz in a beautiful glass vial that feels very heavy in a high-quality way. After having used nearly half the bottle (it does last a while) I will say that I think it is my favorite Sunday Riley product (after hits and misses), and it works well as a chemical exfoliator. The smell is good, texture is good, and results are good. There are cheaper options on the market, such as Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel at $45 (it has a cleaner formula too – but is much stronger and less refined).

Dr.Hauschka Rhythmic Night Conditioner

Dr.Hauschka at this point is one of the ‘classic’ natural skincare lines. Although many purists believe their products contain ‘iffy’ ingredients, I still believe they’re a viable presence in the clean skincare market. Dr. Hauschka is a German company that practices holistic health and this practice is carried through their skincare, beauty, and health products.

A lot of my friends have raved about their products, and after using a few of their skincare products (Normalizing Day Oil, Cleanser, Toner, etc) I decided to splurge on their $89.95 Rhythmic Night Conditioner (from Dr.Hauschka). When I first looked at this product I thought “what is in this thing!?” I did my research (see Beautypixie’s youtube video -scroll to 4:50m) – and really wanted to see what it did for my skin. 

The product is special in that it rhythmitizes the ingredients to balance and harmonize destressed skin and supports the skin renewal cycle on a 28 day period. I have been stressed from travel, starting school again, and other things so my skin although not breaking out, can definitely use some pampering. I thought this would be the perfect product to ‘regulate’ my skin before things got ugly.

First, the ampules are tiny and you do have to break them to use. I didn’t mind doing a little more for the product especially because I had never really used a product quite like it. If you can’t tell I’m quite taken by the premise of a ‘regulating’ product. Like Beautypixie, I noticed that if I felt an area of my face flare up a little before I apply this, the inflammation usually dies down without causing me too much grief. I also noticed that my skin in general looked pretty good with this product. I recently spent a day at the airport, moved into my new apartment, AND helped my friend move into her apartment – and noticed that the combination of Liquid Courage Antioxidant Serum during the day and the Rhythmic Night Conditioner at night pretty much kept all potential blemish flare up gone and kept my skin in tip-top shape. My skin just feels stronger and more durable. Even my small monthly hormonal breakouts are now reduced within a few hours.

The ingredients for this are:
Water (Aqua), Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Althaea Officinalis Leaf Extract1, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract1, Kalanchoe Daigremontiana Leaf Extract1, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract1, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract1, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract1, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract1, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf Extract1, Mica1, Royal Jelly1, Honey (Mel)1, Silver1, Sodium Chloride 1In rhythmitised dilutions

It is the Silver1 ingredient that gives the product the rhythmic properties according to the website, as that corresponds to the moon and the 28 day skin renewal cycle. I’m honestly not sure if this is all just pseudo science hokey. I did like the botanicals in this product as well as Royal Jelly/Honey which are known to sooth skin and kill acne bacteria. I would love to see this formula with manuka honey as that is kind of like a supercharged honey for the skin. In general, I think even without the silver and rhythmic marketing, this is a good product but I think without the rhythmic marketing, this product is really just a toner with good botanicals so it probably isn’t REALLY worth the $89.95 if you think too hard, but then I haven’t used this product without the silver and rhythmitised dilutions so I can’t really compare. 

I think this product does help my skin stay in check and I will probably update this post when I am completely done with the product to give a better answer as to its effectiveness.

Aesop Equalizing Shampoo

I went to a wedding this weekend and stayed at a nice boutique hotel. I was surprised to find they stocked the restrooms with AESOP products, which is a massive  welcome departure from the norm. I usually never bring hair product for a weekend trip (TSA!), with the full knowledge that hotel shampoos will turn me into a dandruff ridden mess. But I was surprised to see Aesop’s Equalising Shampoo ($47) in the shower, after I had read about it in my boyfriends Details feature. 

I was told by concierge that this was part of their ‘Black Label’ – which surprised me since I didn’t know Aesop was trying to be the skincare version of Ralph Lauren. Nonetheless, I’m told that the Black Label is just another way of saying it is their line of hair products. The Equalising Shampoo was formulated for oily scalps to balance sebum production, it is one of 6 shampoos in the Black Label Hair care range.

The formula is true to Aesop: essential oils for scent, 80% clean, 20% not so clean- SLS is included as are PEGs. I’m told the SLS is derived from coconut, so I’m not sure if that makes it better. The shampoo comes out of the pump as a thick gel and lathers really easily (courtesy of the SLS). The scent is wonderful, I know some Aesop products smell weird and others smell great, this falls into the latter. It is herbal-minty. 

I noticed after 2 uses that my scalp didn’t flake nor was it oily which is really pleasant of a surprise for something that contains SLS, which is known to also be a drying agent. I’m not sure how my hair would stand with regular use, but after a weekend, it was fine. It really cleaned my hair leaving it only slightly ‘stripped’ feeling.  

While I enjoyed this shampoo, I do think the ‘normal’ shampoo for normal hair might be more suited for regular use. Has anyone tried hair products from Aesop before?

Joelle Ciocco Sensitive Cleansing Milk

Joelle Ciocco is kind of known as the elite cult skincare brand in France. Most of my friends in the fashion industry swear by her stuff, models, makeup artists, photographer, etc. On my last trip to Paris, I booked an appointment with her ahead of time since I knew the waitlist was insane! Fortunately, she was able to schedule me in during the 2 weeks I was in Paris.

Although the EU has a more stringent standard for skincare products, I’m surprised by how different each culture is: the English/Greeks love clean, natural skincare; the Swiss/Germans are all about science; the French love their brands and the clean skincare scene isn’t ‘super’ important to them. Of course these are massive generalizations but I have found through conversation that most people in Paris love their La Mer, Chanel, etc. and don’t really give a thought to even mass market natural brands like REN and Jurlique.

I was curious to try Joelle Ciocco, because, rave reviews from the fashion industry notwithstanding, she exemplifies the best of French niche-luxury skincare. Her treatments are known to focus on individual skin nutrition needs to make the skin ‘ecosystem’ as healthy as possible. Her products rely heavily on botanicals and good formulations.

I found the overall experience to be wonderful. Joelle is never pushy or condescending and really only prescribed 2 products for me. One of which was the Sensitive Cleansing Milk as I had told her of my journey for the perfect cleanser. I do agree that her products are VERY VERY expensive, a single treatment and two products cost me into the four figures USD.

Upon using the Sensitive Cleansing Milk, I found that it smelled delicious. The clea bottle was an absolute delight – minimal, chic, luxurious. The milk itself really did a good job or removing oil and grime without making my skin feel stripped of moisture. It does not foam much and you do need to rinse repeatedly to make sure the product washes off fully.

After 2 weeks, I noticed my skin was fresh and dewy so I continued using this cleanser. After a month however, I noticed small clogged pores around my nose and even two blackheads. Luckily, my facialist was able to extract these out. But she did say whatever I was using was congesting my pores. Thats when I dug up the packaging for this product and saw the full ingredient list:

Deionized aqua;orange flower water;shea butter;sweet almond oil;calendula extract;arnica montana extract;common horsetail;essentiel oil neroli;jojoba oil;polysorbate 60;sorbitan stearate;stearic acid;myreth-3 myristate;mineral oil;carbomer;allantoin;isopropyl myristate;tocopherol;parfum;benzyl alcohol methylchloroisothiazolinone methylisothiazolinone;TEA

For a line that purports to be relatively natural and clean, I was surprised to find mineral oil in there, which is an ingredient I know my skin cannot stand. This explains why my pores became clogged over time. I think the Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil are probably too much for my skin type and more suitable for dry skin. I was surprised there was parfum and two types of preservatives known for causing allergies in the formula. I was also a little disappointed because for the price, this formulation doesn’t really seem worth it.

I think I really like this line in terms of the brand message, it is very chic, and understated but then once I saw the formula and used the product – it was very ordinary. I might try a serum or another product down the line just to see if maybe there are other good products but for now I am underwhelmed.