I used to drink green tea every day and experienced no benefit whatsoever to my skin--in fact, the caffeine only worsened it, and the tea turned my teeth yellow so i had to stop (it sucks; even white tea turns them yellow!). I like using it as a toner/blemish treatment though. My skin is sensitive and can sometimes get inflamed from retin a (i find that this calms it), plus I like this for cystic acne. If you ever get cystic acne you know what it's like to have what feels like a giant bruise on your face--or worse a giant whitehead that just wont go away (because hopefully you're smart enough not to pop it and spread the infection). Well this stuff might be able to help you with that, so maybe try it. Amazingly, I've found it more effective as a spot treatment then BP or TTO, and a lot less irritating. I had a disgusting whitehead on my face the other day and a few minutes after swiping some green tea over my face, I look in the mirror and notice it's gone all flat and is suddenly draining itself and dangerously close to dripping down my freaking face (disgusting but woohoo!). This is not the only time it's worked like this, but sometimes it also just flattens it and dries it out a little faster than normal over a course of days--most importantly, it almost always makes it less inflamed and swollen. I'm not sure how it does it, because it sure doesn't FEEL like a spot treatment (no burning, stinging or anything!). This stuff also soothes and calms redness; I think it might even help fade acne marks, and it is (supposedly) just as effective as BP in preventing acne--plus, it's also supposed to help build collagen and soak up free radicals, but really, I couldn't say whether it does any of that because I use other products and so far, I've only noticed its effectiveness on zits as a spot treatment (i broke out bad recently due to a new serum and began using it every day and night recently). Either way, I experience no significant dryness even when I use it all over my face....I mean it is basically the same dryness you'd get from swiping a wet cotton ball on your face, so just use a moisturizer afterwards if you get dry. Things to think of before using green tea your face: ---It oxidizes fast, so it's not going to be effective for more than several hours, if even that. I brew a cup at night and put the tea in a tightly sealed stainless steel container overnight (b/c for some reason, someone gave me this formerly useless stainless steel container/might-be-a-travel-cup-thingy last x-mas), I then use the tea bag that night and the next morning, I'll dip a cotton ball in the tea and use that. It still seems to be effective in the am, but I throw out the rest b/c I'm afraid of bacteria. Sometimes I like to brew it in the day to spot treat with a q-tip. You can try mixing it with stuff, but from what I've read it can only prolong the shelf life for like, a day or two. --If you want to DIY your own green tea products with a longer shelf life, get the extract, cause it's more stable. The extract is actually what all the studies on topical green tea used anyways. ---White tea is supposed to be just as effective, if not more (which makes sense seeing as it has more antioxidants) so you could also use that.
The dark brown seemed like a perfect match for my brows but wow, 2 hours later it looked horrible and now I've discovered it actually gave me eyebrow acne! Thumbs down.
A derm recommended this for the ketosis pilaris I have on my chest and legs and I find that while it doesnt cure it (nothing does) it definitely helps. I have been using it for about 3 months, by the way, but I remember noticing improvement within weeks. At first, I used it AM and PM, but now i only use it in PM (I don't really like wearing any lotion but SPF in the summer). It makes my skin look and feel much smoother and it also seems to help calm it and make it less red (which I had not expected). The only thing that bothers me about this stuff is you have remember to WEAR A GOOD SPF daily on any areas that might get exposed. I got sunburned on the back of my calves while running in the morning despite the fact that it was a real stretch to call it running (so I was not sweating) and I had applied SPF to that area before going out (plus it was 6am and i was only out for like 40 mins!). Normally, I am not prone to sunburn, but I also blame it on the SPF I was using (it claimed to be 70spf).
Mascara -Maybelline - Volum' Express The Mega Plush Waterproof
MsVengeance 8/22/2012 12:35:00 PM
Damn you Maybelline for always pulling me in with your super cool packaging and advertising (I always fall for it!). To me, this mascara seems a lot like their "One By One" mascara except it's waxier and more prone to clumping; not exactly "plush" in my opinion. That said, it DOES feel nice for a waterproof mascara, and I think if applied lightly it's probably easier on your lashes. Only problem is, it does not seem to hold curl at all and is so natural looking that I found myself having to apply more and more because all it does is slightly lengthen my lashes. My lashes are already black and lengthening them doesn't seem to do much but highlight their skinniness, so I prefer the fattening and flaring effect of the Falsies to this stuff.
Moisturizers -Neutrogena - Oil-Free Moisture SPF 35
MsVengeance 8/22/2012 12:08:00 PM
I bought this months ago when my local drugstores were out of the moisturizer I usually use (Cerave AM) and I knew it'd be another week or so before I found some. In the grand tradition of Neutrogena moisturizers this one kind of sucks, but I've got this whole bottle that doesn't expire any time soon, so I still try using it every once in a while. I have sensitive combo acne-prone skin that's been getting a lot shinier now that it's summer; what I like about this stuff is that it's non irritating, nice and matte (I have to admit Cerave AM can add a bit of shine) and it is pretty light, but unfortunately, I find that this is not moisturizing enough for me and as others have mentioned, there have been a lot of times when it has balled up on me (I admit, this could be due to my application method as I sometimes try to add more and always layer it with other stuff). I don't feel comfortable trusting it alone to protect me from the sun because of the balling, though I guess to be honest, I don't feel comfortable trusting a single application of any face lotion in the am to protect me, so I would say that this might be worth trying if you have oily skin but still need moisturizer and are desperately searching for a combo that isn't all heavy and greasy.
Gels/Soaps -Dr. Bronner's - rose liquid castille soap
MsVengeance 8/19/2012 1:45:00 PM
I don't think this stuff is the greatest at all, but I guess it's what you get with soap that can be used for washing your dishes, clothes, furniture, as well as your face... I love rose scented stuff, and while I do enjoy the scent of this stuff, I would have to say that it smells closer to bubble gum than rose (i happen to love bubble gum scented stuff too, so this was not a problem). The reason I don't like it so much is because I'm not crazy about the way it feels--leaves me with an oily residue--and whether I dilute it or not, it doesn't seem to lather well at all. I find that I go through a bottle just as quick--if not quicker--than a regular shower gel, which i can get for 1/2 the price. I basically just have to use even more of this stuff to make up for diluting it. Another disappointment is that this stuff always left an icky lingering scent on me that did not smell anything like roses or bubble gum or even soap (it is a weird oily scent). I tried the orange scented one recently and was left with this same oily scent, so I get the feeling that all of these soaps but the peppermint one leave it.
I mistakenly bought this after reading all the high reviews for the other Suave dry shampoo. There was a 2 for $4 sale, and like an obedient little consumer i bought 2 cans without thinking about it (though I kinda felt like a dirty crackwhore with my arms all full of dry shampoo at the checkstand). Anyways, aside from making my hair smell better, this crap did not do anything! My hair looked just as greasy and limp, and this is probably one of those products that would turn my dark hair orange if I stayed out in the sun with it on, so I doubt I'll ever use it again. I've always used baby powder on those greasy unwashed days anyways, and it's always worked fine, so I don't know why I ever fell for the hype of a dry shampoo in the first place!
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Homemade Vitamin C Serum
MsVengeance 7/30/2012 1:44:00 PM
I tried making a vitamin c toner a couple times using recipes/guides of the internet a while ago... I remember it working out fine the first couple times--and by "fine" i mean that it didn't burn bad--but I remember the last one I made I kept it in a dark glass bottle and the third day I used it, it burned like a bad sunburn all day long and my skin looked like complete crap...I was really scared it had damaged my skin, because it looked so inflamed and irritated for a while (shit, maybe it DID damage it. I mean, my skin has never been the greatest, so who knows?). So i gave it a one because it didn't seem to do much for me in the first place, and really, I was just writing this review to caution people to be careful when making stuff like this, as vitamin c is notoriously unstable and ironically, it can actually cause free radical damage to your skin once it degrades (and it degrades fast). If you do make it, it seems like it's probably best to make it one-time-use style.
Cleansers -Olay - Sensitive Skin Foaming Face Wash
MsVengeance 7/23/2012 7:39:00 PM
This stuff is awesome! The price has crept up but it's still cheap, even for a drugstore cleanser (i think it was around $6 the last time i bought it and that was at a grocrey store--the worst possible place to buy it). I prefer to use a gel cleanser in the am now that it's summer (super oily now) but I wear a crapload of makeup and sunscreen every day and I find that this cleanser is not only good at removing it it all, but it doesn't strip my skin or irritate it at all! It's always reassuring to see how the cotton ball stays relatively clean after i swipe my face with toner every night (always some annoying little flecks of my w/p mascara). You just have to make sure you wet your face and hands first, because you have to lather it in your hands before lathering up your face, etc. Also, if you wear waterproof eye makeup, you might wanna remove that first--really, I only make a token effot and just rub in some EVOO or saturate with some remover and then get the rest off w/this when I wash my face.
I used the lowest strength differin gel for over 5 years before my dr switched me to retin a to see if it helped better with acne and scarring (I am happy to report that for me, it helps smooth scarring so much faster!). This was directly after I made a pathetic 3 month attempt at doing an accutane course, by the way (took such a long time to get the freaking stuff and then by the time I did I was already clear enough that it wasn't worth the side effects!). I started out using the .05% cream for about 6 months and then switched to the .01% gel a couple of months ago. I experienced no breakouts and no flaking, but I am of mixed ethnicity (half asian) and never seem to get flaky skin. Instead, the retin a cream just made my skin look perpetually irritated and inflamed for pretty much the entire time I used it. My doctor kept telling me to use it every night but I swear to god i couldnt....the cream always made every single shallow acne scar and minor imperfection I ever had look about a billion times worse and my pores sometimes looked like they were becoming craters. It was scary and annoying b/c my crappy skin texture was the whole reason I was using it and suddenly I looked like I had "orange peel" skin... I think a big part of the perpetual irritation was from my use of vitamin c serums in addition to retin a. I never used them at the same time, but retin a just seems to make my skin overly sensitive to certain things, and vitamin c is one of them (it's an acid too so no wonder my skin burned all day, even when I skipped using the retin). Another thing is, my dr advised me not to use a moisturizer or if I did, to only use it afterwards. This was TERRIBLE advice on her part. My skin always seemed so dehydrated and almost leathery despite the fact that i was using the cream version, so I would sometimes apply moisturizer (cetaphil) on top of it b/c I just couldn't bare having dry skin. Too bad my dr neglected to specify that if you apply a moisturizer you should wait a full hour before doing so, otherwise it's like applying the retin to a wet face (makes it really harsh). Then again, waiting a full hour to moisturize or trying to use it as a buffer doesn't seem to make much difference for me with the cream (it irritates my skin no matter what; maybe this is because instead of actually penetrating it just sits on top of my skin and eats away at it?). Anyways, the only reason I kept using it was b/c sometimes I would skip using it for a few days and be able to see that my skin was getting smoother (faster than with the differin). But hooman, when i switched to the gel the improvement was immediately apparent b/c my face stopped looking all inflamed and suddenly appeared normal---no giant pores and dent-like imperfections, in fact, all the acne scars I had been obsessing about were WAY shallower (some of them even disappeared). It kind of pisses me off though...I mean, did my dr just assume that it was normal for me to look like absolute sh*t all the time? I guess so... I find the gel to be WAY less harsh than the cream; i barely need any and it's so much easier for me to control and spread. I only use the gel every other night and i moisturize with Cerave pm lotion or Estée Lauder serum 1/2 hour BEFORE I apply the retin. Oh yeah, one really important thing: do not use this stuff unless you're willing to use an SPF of at least 30 every day, otherwise it'll just end up doing you more harm than good (trust me, even if you're not prone to sunburn, you are prone to sun damage and you will be even moreso with this stuff and who knows how long it'll take to become apparent?).
Ugh, I don't like this stuff. It was recommended to me by an esthetician along with Jan Marini's 10% bp. Oddly enough, I actually found the 10% bp less irritating than this stuff. I used this for about a month every morning and night and I feel like it gave me orange peel skin for a while (possibly due to irritation, or maybe all that vitamin c just made my skin grow too unevenly, too fast?). Anyways, this orange peel texture made me believe that I had to keep using it. I mean, my skin seemed to be looking rougher and rougher and here was the answer to all my prayers. The finish it gives is very nice (that's why I've given it a 2), but it seemed to enlarge and inflame my pores over time to the point that all I saw when I looked in the mirror was billions of gigantic craters staring back at me. I will never forget the day I finally realized it....I run the risk of sounding like I was on some kind of acid trip, but I looked in the mirror and I swear my pores: they were like little oily mouths, and they were screaming at me to wash my face; they wanted me get this crap off. Ever since I stopped using it my skin has looked SO MUCH better! I think maybe the roughness I was seeing was inflammation from irritation. I would be careful about using this stuff--read Paula Begoun's review on it if you don't believe me (apparently, the ingredients in this stuff might actually have the potential to damage your skin).
Treatments -Jan Marini - Benzoyl Peroxide 5 % / 10 %
MsVengeance 6/24/2012 11:34:00 PM
This stuff is amazing. It's expensive compared to its drugstore rivals but it's totally worth it (comes in a really good bottle too). I just wish I'd found it earlier! I have never been able to use even 2.5% bp regularly without major irritation and I was always afraid it would damage my skin so I pretty much avoided bp to the point where I had to go on accutane (i have basically tried every acne treatment out there, be it prescription or home remedy). It is a cream rather than a gel and I think there must be something about this stuff's ph or formulation or something that makes it so gentle. Anyways, the way I used this stuff is usually every other day I applied a thin layer of it in the areas that I was prone to breaking out over my serum and lotion in the morning, then I applied SPF, and then makeup. I was very skeptical when an esthetician recommended this routine (I was so afraid that it would ruin my skin) but it worked so well that I only saw her one more time--to buy this. I experienced no irritation, you can't tell it's there, and the best thing is it's like kryptonite to acne! So it was often able to clear me in 3 days , but I am now at the point where I don't actually need to use it regularly anymore; i also use retin a and spiro so I only need this as an occasional spot treatment now. I'd say if you have bad acne you should give this stuff the full month and you should expect to break out regardless....believe me I've had periods of BAD acne over the years and all I can tell you is to consider a multi-treatment approach (maybe add a chemical exfoliant) and be very patient because the only way to get rid of acne is to breakout. Your skin has to get all the crap out in order to be clear and unfortunately, the only way to do that is to breakout--I'm sorry, I know that's not what anyone wants to hear.
Primer/ Corrector -Philosophy - The Present Clear Makeup
MsVengeance 12/8/2011 7:59:00 PM
I think this is a primer worth trying if you have oily or acne prone skin. It's supposed to be best under powder makeup but I wear it over Estee Lauder's Doublewear (which I also often mix with Illuminare's liquid mineral foundation), and I've still gotten a good finish with it. If you've got big pores or even shallow acne scars, this stuff is REALLY good at smoothing over those little crevices. In fact, a couple of months ago I had this awful little depression in my face that I just could not cover, but I'd dip a toothpick in this stuff and I'd fill it in with that, then after it dried I'd layer on the makeup and it actually worked (this was the deepest acne scar I've ever had, but it was probably still considered shallow, and when I tried this technique with the real shallow ones it didn't work so well). Also, I don't wear powder, so this stuff gives my makeup way longer staying power and it definitely seems to keep the shine from overwhelming my face. One thing I noticed though, is that this stuff dried out and irritated my skin when I was on accutane, so I would definitely test it first if you have sensitive or dry skin (lavender is a known irritant).
Treatments -Paula's Choice - RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
MsVengeance 12/8/2011 6:54:00 PM
I wear this in the day under my makeup and moisturizer/spf. I'm giving it a 3 because while I think it's a good vitamin c serum to try--it's cheaper than even the crappy ones--I don't particularly like the texture (not even as a primer), and I don't think it made a difference until I started using it in conjunction with a prescription retin (basically, I stopped using it for a while but I came back to it and I've definitely noticed that my skin is now glowing with health). As for the texture of this stuff it's like a slippery shiny cross between oil and silicone. If you dislike cones then steer clear (FYI before the retin, this stuff broke me out a bit). Despite the light barely there feel to it, it adds a bit of a filmy shine and ugh--I just hate the feel of it before it absorbs...I also wouldn't substitute it as a primer because aside from the slight shine, it's basically like wearing nothing... So why am I still using it? I have read that using retins in conjunction with vitamin C (at the right concentration--and many serums don't have enough) is good for building collagen, discoloration, anti-aging blah blah blah, and I can see from my skin that this might actually be true. You just can't wear them at the same time 'cause they cancel each other out.
I use this as my night moisturizer and I've had no problems with breaking out, but I wouldn't recommend it for that unless you're in the later stages of an accutane course or on a retin. I strongly suspect that if I didn't have Retin A .5% continuously keeping my pores unglogged, I'd be breaking out from this. I bought it when I was in desperate need of healing due to scarring and accutane induced dryness, 'cause it seemed like a better alternative to the petroleum based tub Cetaphil (i am scared of the tub). I have definitely noticed that it has had a theraputic healing effect on my skin--so much so that I'm actually considering using the petroleum based stuff if my skin starts flaking due to retin a. I say use it if you're on a retin or in desperate need of healing, 'cause it really helps.