The Spring Beauty Edit

IMG_5266

As seasons change, so too does our skin needs making Spring the perfect time to update our skincare top shelf! Gone are the thick moisturizers and anything that can be described as “heavy,” and in are fresh, enlivening products that awaken skin. The above are some products that I’d like to share with you as part of my Spring Beauty Edit:

Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser: As a first step, this cleanser smells lovely and gets rid of make-up/sunscreen build up. It washes off as a milky fluid making removal easy. Good for a quick removal or extended massage. Use in place of a balm which might prove too heavy for Spring/Summer.

Pro-tip: Apply on dry skin and cleanse before washing. The times I used this in the shower resulted in cleanser washing immediately into my eyes as I believe this cleanser is designed to break down with continued water exposure.

Kypris Moonlight CatalystA gentle resurfacing treatment that sloughs away dead skin cells and exfoliates dead skin cells that perhaps have been trapped under all the oils and moisturizers from winter. A night-time only serum, apply before face oil for best results.

Pro-tip: The older version which is more of a brownish-orange hue seemed to work better for me and the new version which is clear seems much more mild. Both versions seem to work best when slightly heated in hands first. Dry/delicate skin should use this 1-2 times a week as too much exfoliation can be counter productive and reveal thin/crepy skin. I’ll provide a more in-depth review comparing the two soon.

YÜLI M.E. Skin FuelSpring is a season of change, meaning skin may be in flux. This face oil from YÜLI is incredibly high quality being made on site from really incredible ingredients that are beneficial for problematic or compromised skin – black cumin, broccoli seed, sea buckthorn, red raspberry, prickly pear and the formula is focused on balancing and optimizing skin. Deemed a multivitamin for skin and topped with a refined fragrant jasmine note, few will find anything to complain about with this versatile oil.

Pro-tip: Apply to skin that is dewy. Oily and acne prone skins can actually put this anti-inflammatory oil on breakouts to speed up healing. Red/irritated/sensitive skins will like this gentle formula as it contains actual anti-irritant extracts. Use the press/pull technique for maximum absorption.

Kari Gran Lip WhipAvailable in a variety of colors, the naked Lip Whip is a beautifully packaged, green lip balm that gives a viable option for us girls looking for an alternative from the Rodin and Omorovicza balms. The buttery texture is melt on your lips soft while providing a solid base to apply lip stains (or just opt for one of their lip tints). Wonderful to heal chapped lips from chronic winter dryness for supple Spring kissers.

Pro-tip: layer under or dab and mix with heavily pigmented lip products (i.e. W3ll People, RMS, etc) to create a natural, moisturizing tint.

Sunday Riley Good Genes: Good Genes perhaps has Sunday Riley’s biggest cult following, any IT girl from Emily Weiss of Into The Gloss to Alexandra Pakzad will swear by this stuff. Good Genes Treatment is a multitasking lactic acid lotion that is perfect for Spring Cleaning skin. The lactic acid is pretty strong at first (with a very acidic 2.4 pH) and helps to brighten dull, tired winter skin. The first time I used it, my skin felt the tingle and once the sensation subsided, it appeared that all the trapped sebum from winter were released onto my skin as I looked absolutely shiny (TMI?)

Pro-tip: As lactic acid is an AHA, do not layer with oils or actives that can be easily broken down such as Vitamin C and Retinol. Use as either a 20 minute mask (2-3 full pumps) or alone in the evening with an inactive moisturizer.

Kate Somerville Cytocell Eye CreamMy eyes are SENSITIVE. Origins/REN eye products make it red, oils always end up in my eyes and many of the luxury (non-natural) products can really irritate my eyes so when I find one that works, I stick with it, especially through Spring when pollen and allergens are at an all time high. This eye cream from Kate Somerville has been on my wish list for years before I could afford to spend $75 on an eye cream. The ingredients include Vitamin C, a milk peptide complex and Peptide P-199 that renews skin. It relieves, soothes and gives me confidence that somehow my eyes look awake even if I am not.

Pro-tip: Stock in the fridge for added cooling benefits which helps with dark circles and firming. This cream glides onto skin so it can also be used as an eye make-up primer.

YÜLI Halcyon: This cleanser is an all time favorite and is in the Spring Beauty Edit because 1) with a flower water base, it smells like spring in a bottle 2) Spring is the best season for bare skin and this cleanser is perfect for that quick, one-step cleanse to keep skin beautiful. Every wash leaves my skin naked but never stripped just super comfortable and plush.

Pro-tip: The most luxurious cleanse I’ve had was by wetting skin with rose-water or face mist first before applying 3 full pumps of Halcyon and massaging skin. I do this every Sunday and my skin is baby soft, glowing, and pampered afterward. This gel cleanser is also superb when mixed with powder-to-cream masks.

In Fiore Encens Vetivert Body Oil: Unfortunately not yet in stock from In Fiore, this seasonal body oil is one I am well and truly obsessed over. The body oil comes out in a green hue due to the grapeseed oil base and sinks into skin beautifully that it can be applied to dry or wet skin. In Fiore’s scents are phenomenal and their body oils almost double as perfume oils, each transporting the wearer. This one is perhaps my favorite: Vetiver, Neroli, Jasmine, Mandarin all shine. It’s a floral heaven with some edge due to the grassey Vetiver note.

Pro-tip: Apply as a hair oil and do a weekly scalp massage with this oil. Not only do I find it beneficial for my hair and scalp, but it helps keep the scent ruminating all around.

What products have you put on the back burner and what are your staples for Spring? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Navigating the Sunday Riley Serums

The past few months, I’ve kind of been on a Sunday Riley kick. After all, I have always been a fan of the lines beautiful presentation from the frosted glass bottles to the golden design touches.

Perusing the entire line, I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed with all the information for what all the products did that I kind of didn’t know which was actually the right product for me. This is common for brands that have multiple items in one category. With Sunday Riley, I ended up indulging my inner beauty junkie and exploring the differences between her anti-aging serums: Luna, Good Genes, Bionic (this was even more confusing when her Skin Adrenaline was on the market).

Use the following as a cheat sheet when picking your anti-aging power house from this line:

Luna

12292724_1669326689972333_505029313_n
Luna is essentially a face oil that is infused with retinol. This is to say, it’s not going to be a cream/gel type of serum but rather a very, very strong oil. As a retinol product, you’ll be limited to using this as a night time product. Also if you do not want a retinol product, it’s very simple: just steer clear of this one and go for one of the others.

The lightest of the three, this is applied first if you want to combine the products. If you want to add this with one of the other products, I think Bionic should be your pick and you’ll see why shortly.

For a full review of Luna, please check out this earlier post.

Good Genes

12269896_1639677399617614_1499529823_n
Good Genes has perhaps the most exposure compared to the other two. Emily Weiss of Into The Gloss says it literally gave her skin the confidence of having ‘good genes’ in the old school days before she turned her eye from high-end brands to cater to her new image as queen of the new-age mass market millennials.

I think it’s easy to get swept up in the messaging of Good Genes – the light cream is sold as a treatment that can be used as mask and it is said to deliver brightening, multitasking that reveals newer, younger skin, smoother complexion, restoration from damaged skin, reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and increased firmness. Unlike Bionic, Good Genes is a ‘corrective’ treatment which may make some think it is more active.

After purchasing these products what I realized is that Good Genes is essentially a lactic acid based exfoliation product. When skin is exfoliated technically all the above claims are true. Now – as a lactic acid exfoliating serum, it probably doesn’t get any more luxurious than this, however I don’t want you to be misled into thinking there is that much more in terms of ingredients that back up the claims.

Due to this, I tend to use Good Genes either as a Sunday mask to clear out pores and exfoliate or I use it once a week (twice if it is summer) as an overnight treatment without any of the other two products.

Similar Products:
Kypris Moonlight Catalyst
Kate Somerville – Exfoliate
REN Wake Up Wonderful Night Time Facial

Bionic

10601758_315006725326539_1488489158_n
Bionic has comparatively less press than the aforementioned products. This doesn’t mean it is one to overlook. Bionic is actually the only product out of the three that is in the “Anti-Aging” category on the Sunday Riley website.

Think of this orange cream as a moisturizer suped up with anti-aging ingredients like peptides and antioxidants. This has a roster of ingredients ranging from the buzzy resveratrol and copper peptide to the mainstays like CoQ10.

In terms of results, I don’t think it’ll give the quick results one might see from Luna or Good Genes which are ‘corrective’ products but if you’re looking for that daily moisturizer that keeps skin looking young which I think most people are when they say they’re looking for an anti-aging cream, this is the one.

* I know some retailers are carrying Skin Adrenaline but did not include it in this round up as it is no longer produced by Sunday Riley. But for those of you who are interested, Skin Adrenaline is essentially the anti-aging moisturizer option for normal-to-oily skin while Bionic is stronger as a moisturizer for normal-to-dry skin. For what it’s worth I was able to use both products without breaking out but my personal preference is actually Skin Adrenaline. 

Similar Products:
Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum
Omorovicza Radiance Renewal Serum
Ren Keep Young & Beautiful Firming & Smoothing Serum

This is just a quick breakdown and of course I made a lot of generalization in the spirit of giving a quickly digestible cheat sheet. In general, my view is that most people searching for an anti-aging product are in reality looking for products that have ingredients that help with skin aging whereas most brands’ answer this with products that take off layers of skin (retinol, acids, etc) and so I wanted to be helpful in this regard that the often overlapping messages between these products can be clarified by these sweeping distinctions:

Retinol – Luna
Exfoliating Acid – Good Genes
AntiAging Moisturizer – Bionic

*All Photos from the Sunday Riley Instagram Account

The Cleansing Game Changers

One of the first posts I wrote on here was about how my search for the elusive “perfect” cleanser led me on the journey toward becoming the skin care aficionado that I’ve become today. Although my heart (and bank account) skips a beat for the next new serum, the purest of oils or the dreamiest of lotions; I find myself most moved by the power of a good cleanser.

Cleansing is one of the trickiest things to get right as effective can often mean drying, while hydrating cleansers may well cause clogged pores and more build-up. And while we all have our philosophy for what cleansing regimen works (Oil Cleanse, 4-2-4 In Fiore, Powder formulas, etc), the truth is that most cleansers are made to excel in only certain areas.

Consider the following as a comprehensive cheat sheet for the best of the best broken down by type.

Beauty Idealist Cleansers

Cleansing Oils & Balms

Some prefer to leave the two in their own category but ultimately when a balm is heated upon contact with skin, it becomes an oil so at the end you’re still oil cleansing. Oil Cleansing is extremely popular within the green beauty world and outside of it, is regarded more as a make-up remover. In fact, oils work under the principal of pulling water-resistant sunscreen and make-up off of skin by bonding with the oil bases in those products. This makes them particularly effective as a night-time cleanse. However, the cleansing is rather superficial and further cleansing is necessary for skin to work its best so even if you’re one of those “oil and done” types – try to add in a second cleanser at least twice a week to truly get rid of all the bad stuff.

Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil: gentle, subtle and a sight to behold, this cleansing oil is light yet substantial when it comes into contact with make-up. The emulsifying ingredients mean this oil rinses clean after it has done its job, leaving your skin surface clear and free of residue. (Mini Review Here)

de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm: Everything about this balm is nirvana from the oh-so-soft buttery texture that melts into skin to the most beautiful of aromas – if you are searching for a cleansing balm, this needs to be at the top of that list. This is a balm I apply and will just sit, massage and enjoy while watching ‘scopes or catching up on tv. Although emulsifier is included in the rich-formula, I still recommend cloth removal to make sure everything is rinsed off.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover: Well… this is quite a mouthful of a name isn’t it? But it’s easy to see why Green Beauty fans the world over are so in love with this oil: it’s green, it’s effective and it feels great! Again – this oil will emulsify upon contact with water which means my 3 favorite best in class oil based cleansers all emulsify with water and that is no coincidence. I’d say the very fact that this oil contains an emulsifier elevates it ahead of the green beauty pack because the worst thing is to be left with oily residue from your cleanser – giving your 2nd cleanser more work to do. (Review Here)

Cleansing Milks & Creams

These are kind of hybrid that usually contain oils/waxes yet also surfactants (a.k.a the things that act as detergents). I recommend milks and creams for those with very dry and sensitive skin. The cleansing power is middle of the pack but it likely will not cause your skin to freak out either.

In Fiore Treate: A very gentle cleanser described as a “floral milk,” this cleanser contains both water based ingredients and oils. The texture is very light and creamy. It can be applied onto wet or dry skin depending on how lazy you are how you feel. It seems to work better in removing make-up on a drier surface while the wetter version feels better afterward as though dilution with water makes it gentler yet more thorough. The floral jasmine smell is actually very subtle for an In Fiore product where the rest of the line of facial care products smell positively like perfume oils.

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser: I originally sampled a travel version of this cleanser and fell in love with it. I finished it up in under 1 week which meant the 200 ml bottle was destined for a spot on my beauty shelf. If I had to choose between Kahina or In Fiore’s cream cleansers, I’d pick this one: it’s more economic (lower price and larger size!) and I felt like the cream held together longer whereas the In Fiore would start to separate as I was within weeks of finishing it. This cleanser contains what I consider to be the most subtle fragrance of all cleansers on this list yet it isn’t boring, it’s a very light fragrance that gives it a sophisticated feel.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser: Alright so I can’t talk about the cream cleansers without mentioning this one right? It was pretty much THE product of 2014 that catapulted Aurelia onto the scene. As far as polish goes, this contains bells and whistles, as I originally reviewed. Yet a year removed, I have to say I find myself opting for either In Fiore or Kahina when I want a cream cleanse and when I want to indulge in a massage, it’s de Mamial’s balm (above).

Cleansing Powder 

These are for the “my skin feels dull and congested, please just shed!” moments where purposeful exfoliation is necessary. While some powders can have a rough and abrasive texture, the two I recommend manage to get the job done without irritating skin.

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder: Someone once told me they purchased this from Sephora because it was the only product to have all 5 star reviews and I don’t find that hard to believe. Tatcha’s Polished Rice Enzyme Powders somehow get that layer of dead skin cells off without making skin feel like it just went through a thorough exfoliation. There are four comfort levels for each skin type (Classic, Dry, Sensitive and Oily). Sensitive is seriously gentle and feels like rubbing a creamy pillow onto skin, yet when you’re done you’ll notice the effect of the exfoliation all the same. Oily is serious business, blackheads and congested pores along the nose are no match – two uses for me was all it took. (Mini Review)

de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate: Okay, I want to live in the de Mamiel studio because all of her products smell like bottled happiness. Although this too is a powder, the scent will stay with you after you turn this into a paste- and that is not a bad thing! Consider this a gentler version of May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt only instead of spices, you get roses, chamomile and calendula. The powder can be used alone a la Clean Dirt, and it’s also suggested to mix in with a cleanser which I’ve done as well. I prefer using it alone because the ingredients are so good that I don’t want to dilute it.

Cleansing Gels

These are the performance powerhouses that go deep to penetrate skin. They’re sometimes referred to as the 2nd cleanse in green beauty but I think they should really be thought of as the cleansing step after make-up removal. Cleansing gels are all about performance so they’re not going to coat your skin in residue but they also won’t leave your skin with the “I just lotioned myself” feeling after which for some can feel unnatural. A good formula is one that does not have soaps, alcohols, sulfates as these are the culprits that dry out skin and mess up skin’s pH. Look for low to non foaming gels with good slip for best results.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip: This is an odd one – I originally found much to be loved yet when I continued using it I found daily use made my skin pretty flustered as I soon developed dry patches and break outs. This one earns a spot though because it’s great as a strong cleanser when your skin is misbehaving due to its seriously powerful mix of clays and anti-microbial plants. But when everything is good with your skin – leave it sitting on the beauty shelf, it looks good there anyway.

Grown Alchemist Gel Facial Cleanser: This cleanser perhaps comes closest to my former cleanser holy grail Ren’s Rose Centifolia Cleanser before they got bought out and the formula completely changed! Although the existence of citrus oils isn’t that great for day use, I still quite love this for its gentleness and the subtle plant fragrance. The inclusion of rose and aloe vera makes it very gentle on the skin.

YULI Halcyon: The only green cleanser to make it into this category, and no small feat either given the seriously advanced high-tech ingredients required to pull this off. My original review of this cleanser led to it being one of the most discussed products EVER on this site. As a cleanser, this is beautiful: intelligent ingredients that are gentle on skin, boost the moisture barrier and manage to give it a clean almost ‘nude’ relaxing feeling; as a beauty product, this is genius: a green formula featuring cleansing action through peptides (!!) and “hybridized fruit enzymes” do the heavy lifting. As an admitted beauty junkie – I  live for discovering new products, however this is the cleanser I keep coming back to and each time I’m reminded why I won’t be without it.

Hopefully I’ve covered the cleansers you love or are curious about – please share any cleansers you think would be great to add to this list. One thing is for certain and that is that whatever type of cleanser you like, there is a truly best in class green option available – what an achievement!

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

e5d9b7b98db9822d4bc0d34270bee378

A new Sunday Riley release is cause for celebration. Every product is so gorgeously, uniquely packaged and just work so well. If it’s true that we judge books by their cover, then Sunday Riley perfectly masters the first impression that elicits the “ohhh” factor.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil is her newest product, and it’s quite attention grabbing. Here’s what you need to know about it: Luna is a striking deep blue night time retinoid oil. The base is a beautiful mix of organic, cold-pressed oils of Extra Virgin Avocado Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Blackberry Seed Oil and Chia Oil. Avocado Oil is known for being really hydrating for dry skin and grape seed oil is one of the fastest sinking oils out there so combine the two as the primary ingredients and you’ve got a very versatile oil that should work for everyone. Blackberry Seed and Chia are superstar oils that are highly packed in Vitamins and antioxidants.

Sunday Riley - Luna

What makes this oil really standout is the use of a Trans-retinol ester which helps the appearance of wrinkles, fines lines, and loss of skin elasticity. Now while some of you may roll your eyes and think “another oil with retinols?” – just know that this one does not play. In fact the only warning on the packaging is that this isn’t recommended for pregnancy. The first time I tried this on my hands, I felt it being more susceptible to burning when I later walked on the street briefly – it’s that powerful! This is why Luna is a Sleeping Night Oil, do not wear out in the day time.

The other standout which probably draws many glances is the blue color. Sunday Riley uses Blue Tansy which Into The Gloss wrote an entire post about and is similar to the one found in May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon. Blue is definitely in and the inclusion of this ingredient is very striking. In full honesty, the reason Sunday Riley’s product is such a deep, dark blue is because it does use coloring dyes which is the only thing I don’t love about it. There is just no need but I also understand Sunday Riley is appealing to the Barney’s/Sephora beauty buyer who gravitates toward the eye candy.

The smell of this oil is my favorite of all of Sunday Riley’s oils. Whereas Juno and Artemis lack a fragrance and have been cited as smelling like salad oil, I feel Luna really steps it up in this front and delivers quite a sophisticated scent that is a blend of blue tansy and rose. It’s both herbal and flowery sweet, not unlike May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon.

Now that we got the first impressions out of the way, the results!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

This oil sinks in right away. In fact it might be the coloring making this appear kind of water-like but the serum feels almost un-oil like if that makes sense. The first night I used it, I noticed some drying which is to be expected with most retinols. I had a very small breakout near my hairline (where I am most prone to breaking out) the first day but it never became unmanageable, fading within a few days – perhaps due to the anti-inflammatory Blue Tansy and Chamomile. To be fair, it has been a while since I’ve used a retinol and I am among those whose skin purges when beginning a retinol treatment.I’m about 3 weeks into Luna and have noticed my skin feeling softer and smile lines seem to have faded somewhat, no longer as pronounced. Overall my complexion just looks more refreshed.

If you’re looking for a retinol with the benefits of a face oil, this is one of my favorites as it is brilliantly made and looks beautiful on the counter. At $105 for 1oz, sure it isn’t for those on a budget but compared to the Sunday Riley price range, it’s actually pretty fair given how well thought out it is.

Available
Sephora

Mother’s Day At Home Spa Routine

Image

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day! Mother’s Day has always meant a day of pampering for my family as we indulge in a day of brunch, shopping, & facials. Since I’ve been at school, I haven’t really been able to take part in the festivities since it also falls right around finals. This year I was quite fortunate that my family was in town for the weekend. Making us of our limited time, we went to many great new spots around the city and also made use of the wonderful products I had at home to treat ourselves to a little skin indulgence right at home!

The routine begins with clearing the face of everything so we can really treat the skin. This is a two step process that begins with using a gentle clay based cleanser Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip which really takes off excess oils and impurities. Then I opened my new bottle of Tatcha’s Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder, a delightful powder that turns into a creamy mixture with a few drops of water right in the hands. This fragrance-free powder helps to exfoliate and get rid of buildup/dead skin in a wonderfully gentle way that does not make skin feel anything abrasive. Think of this as a lighter version of May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt in that they’re both powder cleansers that foam with water, only this is much better suited for sensitive skin and is a much cleaner product to use (not in terms of ingredients but actual making and washing off). After this step, skin is completely clean and thanks to the gentle nature of the products – there is no feeling of tightness.

Now we prepare the Dr.Alkaitis Organic Universal Mask. For my skin, I applied a few drops of water and some manuka honey into the mix for it’s acne fighting anti-bacterial properties. My mom used Royal Jelly which is much more suited for mature skin with its anti-aging collagen boosting properties and also used a few drops of the nourishing Modern Alchemist facial oil by Yuli to add another boost of anti-aging treatment. Once prepared, the mask looks so good – a very fresh green hue. We apply with an old makeup brush, a trick learned from May Lindstrom, to evenly spread the mask and wait 15-20 minutes for it to work its magic.

Once the mask hardens, it is time to wash off. The honey delays the onset of tightness so it really helps the nutrients absorb into skin and I recommend using it for these powder masks. Upon washing off, my moms skin was smooth and soft and so was mine. It just looked so rested with redness gone and lines plumped. At this point skin is both fed but also open to receiving the treatments so I take advantage and liberally spray Yuli’s Metamorphic Elixir on my face and my moms to add in a boost of hydration and anti-aging actives. We gently pat that around our skin until it is fine and soft. While skin is still moist, we apply two pumps of Arcona’s Night Worker PM Repair serum that is loaded with Vitamin C to boost skin’s immunity and stimulate collagen synthesis during sleep. This serum smells like peaches due to pumpkin, peach, and apricot extracts which add an antioxidant kick. You’ll want to layer on a moisturizer over this although it is quite thick for a serum because the texture is a little sticky. The final step is massaging the nourishing Yuli Modern Alchemist facial oil with its bio-retinol complex and omega-lipid complex to lock in moisture and infuse skin with a dose of anti-aging nutrients. This has becomes my mom’s holy grail facial oil for its power to make her skin look more youthful and brighter, even I can feel that her skin has become smooth, soft, and plump. I don’t use this a lot for my blemish prone skin and mainly use it when my mom brings it with her but I love that I can use it sporadically to treat my skin when it really needs that extra replenishment and pampering especially around finals without worrying about breaking out.

Follow this regimen with its rich skin nurturing actives and I promise that by the morning your skin will look like you just came from the most indulgent spa experience ever.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser Review

ImageSunday Riley is kind of an overnight sensation and it is not hard to see why: her products look smashing on the beauty counter. Have you been to her counter at Barneys? Even my boyfriend, who cares little about beauty products says her line looks cool. That should tell you something about her top notch packaging. Her line is very well designed as well, her serums are designed for anti-aging benefits, her facial oil is a cult favorite, and her cleansers are unlike anything else on the market. Ceramic Slip is one of two cleansers in her line, and I chose it because it is for normal and combination skin.

 

Image

Right from the box, it tells you that this is a foaming cleanser that tightens pores and brightens complexion to create flawless skin. I would say that Ceramic Slip is a runny cleanser (not a cream, gel, or oil), that is rather watery in consistency. It does foam a little but not enough to use with a Clarisonic. If you want a foamy cleanser that envelopes your skin, look elsewhere. I personally don’t like cleansers that foam too much because those foaming agents make my skin more susceptible to drying out, causing long term sebum imbalances. My ideal amount to dispense is 2 pumps, applied directly onto moist skin without using any extra water. 

ImageThe scent of the product is very.. unique. It isn’t like anything I’ve smelled before. It is a little bit green and a little peppery, it isn’t for everyone but I am fine with it. Once you get past the initial whiff, it does grow on you. There are tiny black specks in the mix and that is due to the black pepper. Along with Black Pepper, there are other notable ingredients such as French Green Clay, Sandalwood Oil, Jasmine Oil, Frankincense Oil, and Vitamin C. The essential oils help stimulate renewal, sooth skin, and tone. The French Green Clay is the active that tightens pores and removes impurities. Black Pepper stimulates circulation, and Vitamin C is used for stimulating renewal. 

The first few times I used this cleanser, I definitely felt the tingly/warming sensation attributed to the Black Pepper and French Green Clay. It was a nice feeling that made me feel like all my pores were being cleaned deep down but for those of you with sensitive skin prone to redness/irritation – you should probably try to obtain a sample. Upon washing off, my skin felt soft and clean but not stripped. I really liked the feeling I got from this cleanser. I was slightly sad that the initial tingling feeling goes away as skin adjusts to the product. With regular use, I did notice that my skin appeared slightly drier so I began rotation it out and using it only at night when my skin needs a heavier dose of purification. 

Image

 

The ingredients aren’t as clean as purists would like, Phenoxyethanol is the main preservative used, along with Tetrasodium EDTA which as a EWG rating of 2. The unpronounceable Sodiums high on the list are just salts which have a EWG rating of 0. Along with Phenoxyethanol, the only other ingredient I’m not crazy about is Cocamidopropyl Betaine which is a surfectant that can cause irritation such as dermatitis and allergies. I don’t personally have any sensitivities to that surfectant so overall this formula is pretty good. I’m surprised that there aren’t any fragrances, and the essential oils she used to create the fragrance are all listed and have some skin benefits, which you rarely see in a company that doesn’t actively promote ‘clean formulas’. 

Image

 

With summer fast approaching, I definitely think a lot of blemish prone skin will find this cleanser a refreshing relief from congested pores. I am excited to use this throughout the more active summer months when I need to wash off sunscreen, sweat, and pollutants. As it is, this is one of the most active cleansers I’ve used. I have rarely seen a cleanser give a clean-pore feeling without stripping my skin like Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip. If you’re shopping around for a beautifully designed product to wake up your combination and congested skin, this is the one. 

 

 

SPF Recommendations

Hi there, I’ve been following your blog for awhile and love the honest reviews. But I need help! I’ve been looking for a good, non-greasy SPF that’s suitable for wearing under liquid foundation. Even so-called light formulas seem to slide off my face halfway through the day. I want to protect my skin but I want to look normal while doing it. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

I wish I had the answer but when it comes to sunscreens, I have a bit of a Goldilocks problem. The recommended sunscreen is physical rather than chemical but physical blocks always seem heavier and leave a white cast while the chemical blocks are more fluid and absorbable. With some physical sunscreens, because it’s so heavy or thick, my skin tends to get congested but chemical blocks sometimes irritate my apparently super-sensitive skin so it really depends on specific brands.

As for the ‘slide off’ your face issue, have you tried those waterproof sunscreens? I haven’t really had this issue, but I do remember using my boyfriends Jack Black Water Resistant SPF when I went swimming and that stuff stayed ON. The only reason I don’t use it regularly is because it makes my skin feel dry. 

I’ve used Sunday Riley’s Cashmere SPF 30 to good results and I like the iconicShiseido SPF bottles to layer under makeup because they’re so fluid. For something more natural and clean, I like the 100% Pure Argan Oil Moisturizer and the Coola Sunscreens. I’ve also been dabbing with more multitasking products and I’ve been using the Omorovicza Complexion Enhancer SPF 15 which is kind of like a tinted moisturizer. I know that soon REN is launching a BB Cream with SPF15  as well so I’m excited to try that.