Moisturizers -Unlisted Brand - Farmaesthetics Nourishing Lavender Milk
artiechoke 2/27/2012 3:04:00 AM
Love this moisturiser. It's light but powerful enough for winter for me. I suppose if you live in the Arctic Circle it would probably be too light, but for all other purposes it has really soothed and moisturised my sensitive winter skin. Even though I have sensitive and dry skin during the colder months, my skin also gets congested very easily (blackheads, bane of my life) and I get small breakouts before my period. As you might imagine this makes buying moisturisers particularly tricky. This Lavender Milk does not add to the congestion and helps soothe any breakouts. Other plus points? Smells amazing, packaged in a lovely minimalist, old-school glass bottle, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and the ingredients list stops at 8 things. Seriously, what is there not to love?
Cleansers -Unlisted Brand - Farmaesthetics Fine Herbal Cleanser
artiechoke 2/27/2012 2:57:00 AM
This is an excellent, very low-foaming cleanser. Doesn't dry out skin, doesn't irritate, and cleanses well without stripping. I have never been able to use any kind of foamy cleanser because they wreak total havoc on my face -- it was only sheer faith in the quality of Farmaesthics products that made me take the jump. Their Complexion Conserve herbal serum was seriously the one thing that saved my cracked, clogged, and super sensitive winter skin. After the miracle that was the Complexion Conserve I decided I wanted to give Farmaesthetics a bigger shot because I like my skincare to work well and not contain a ton of potentially harmful chemicals. This Herbal Cleanser is such a joy to use; it smells amazing and looks great on the counter with the old-school glass bottle. I can't believe that it only contains 5 ingredients and that they work so darn well. What have I been paying so much money over the years for other products with 10-20 things on their ingredient lists?! Quite possibly HG status for me.
I purchased the Sweet Milk Exfoliate (with lavender buds) as part of the Facial To Go trial kit. At 1 oz., the kit offered a good amount of scrub for a trial period of 2-3 weeks. This is quite possibly HG status for me. In terms of quality of ingredients, you cannot ask for more -- with only 3 things on the ingredients list (dried powdered milk, finely ground cornmeal, and certified organic lavender), it will please even the most stringent of organic product users. And I really look forward to cleansing my face with this because the lavender smells AMAZING. Just calming, soothing, and natural-smelling; none of that artificial lavender scent at all. The soft milk and lavender buds dissolve easily with water, toner, or the Farmaesthetics watery cleanser, and I like to leave it on for 3-5 minutes after exfoliation. My skin feels really soft, perfectly cleansed, and not stripped. I really like that it's a gentle scrub plus mask, because the successful 2-in-1 combination is a potent bonus for anyone who travels often and minimally, but wants to maintain good skin. I have tried the Farmaesthetics cleanser, lavender milk moisturiser, and the Complexion Conserve in combination with this sweet milk exfoliate as part of my skincare regimen, and I am crossing my fingers that my search for great skincare has finally ended.
Although this is by no means HG status for me, I still think it's slightly above average. It's been really hard to find a cleansing mask in the wintertime for skin like mine -- dehydrated, clogs easily, really sensitive during the cold season. Most cleansing masks tend to be clay-based and are way too drying for me in winter, even though they might be effective in the warmer months. Everything else I tried was too drying (St. Ives; Korres; Boots; Body Shop), so in desperation I bought this because it was on sale at Strawberrynet. This light creamy mask that dries up pretty quickly is surprisingly soothing for me despite being kaolin-based. To remedy the "dryness effect", I don't leave it on for the suggested 15 mins; instead I take it off with tepid water once it dries up a little (~ 5 mins), before toning + moisturising. My skin does feel refreshed, slightly brighter, and smoother after using it 2-3 times over the course of 3 weeks. Whenever I have a zit or extract any blackheads, I dab this on to calm and cleanse the inflammation. Seems to work pretty OK on that front. I also really like the scent (calming herbally smell) and the packaging. I travel quite a bit and dislike anything that comes in jars or bulky bottles. I'm very tempted to try Aesop's Chamomile Anti-Blemish mask since it's rated much higher, but the jar factor really holds me back. I like that this parsley seed mask comes in a nicely sized, sleek tube that's not so big that it needs to be decanted or not so breakable that you have to worry when you go out of town. Lastly, I think the ingredient list is decent enough for all those who prefer more natural or organic-type products (unless you are allergic to alcohol denat. or linalool, then stay away cos this mask contains it). All in all, I would probably not repurchase if I find something better and cheaper. However, since this was on sale, seems to work ok, and one tube will probably last quite a while because you only need a thin layer at a time, I'll stick with this one for the moment :)
Cleansers -Clarins - Cleansing Milk for dry to normal skin
artiechoke 12/22/2011 8:16:00 AM
This is an underrated cleanser, I think. There's nothing glamorous about its packaging or its touted benefits; it just does what it does. And to me, it does it very well. My skin is combination oily, dehydrated, prone to blackheads, and recently became more sensitive than it used to be. It took a turn for the worse this Fall and became super tight, super shiny, and was so sensitive I didn't even want to touch my skin. I think it was also partly my fault because I went back to a foaming cleanser a while back, and that really screwed things up. I really ought to listen to my gut, my research, and my beautician and stay away from foaming cleansers! But what can a girl do when she's a skincare junkie :P So even though I have combination oily skin, this cleanser works for me and it was the only thing that saved my skin since the weather turned cold. I've cleansed using the "Clarins way", but find that gentle circular motions with damp hands on a damp face does the job better. I highly doubt this is good enough on its own for make-up, so I double cleanse with a cleansing oil followed by this milk. Doesn't dry me out, and leaves my skin plump and clean. Would totally re-purchase!
I was extremely skeptical that any Clinique product would work for me because my first experience (with their #3 toner and DDML in my teens) broke me out. Fast forward a decade later and I think I've wised up a little in terms of what products work for my skin. I have slightly sensitive, combination, black-head prone skin that is oily but dehydrated. Products with too much alcohol break and dry me out and although salicylic acid helps with the black-heads, too much of it dries me out and makes my skin more sensitive. As such, it's really hard to find a product to provide a good balance of moisture and clarity for my skin. After 2 weeks of using the Mild Clarifying Lotion, I find that it does a good job of exfoliating and calming my skin after I wash my face. It's not drying and hasn't caused me any break-outs. I also really appreciate my toner not smelling like nail polish remover (I'm looking at you, Other Clinique Toners). It preps my skin well for moisturising too. I hope this lotion continues to work for me because it's cheaper than all the usual toners I buy here in the States ($12.50 for 6.7 fl oz/200ml). I also like the packaging -- the clean lines and light green bottle look nice on my counter. It's easy to decant into smaller bottles when I need to travel although on a daily basis, dispensing the right amount would probably be easier if there was a pump. But I'm just being nit-picky here. Although MCL is touted for dry to very dry skins, it's working out well for my combi skin so far. I find that alcohol-based toners (or alcohol in the first 5 things on the ingredients list) are horrible for my supposedly oilier skin anyway. Clinique products usually get a bad rep for being too harsh or drying, so I've carefully tailored my regimen: I use Clinique's Liquid Soap Extra Mild (again, touted for very dry complexions, but my skin rebels against anything that foams) followed by MCL and then DDMG for moisturiser because gel/water-based moisturisers and serums work best for me. This simple 3-step has been good to me so far, even in the summer. I hasten to add, though, that where I live it doesn't get very hot or humid at all. If you live in the tropics or in a place where the summer months are a scorcher, a lighter cleanser (e.g. a light lotion if you're sensitive to SLS like me, or a gel/powder cleanser that lathers but doesn't dry you out) would probably work better for you.
I'm on my second bottle of this. In general, I'm a big fan of Jurlique products because of the organic factor, and the fact that they actually work for my finicky skin. My skin is combination; oily but dehydrated; slightly sensitive; and clogs (blackheads) very easily. As you can tell, it can be a nightmare to find the right product. I like this toner because it calms my slightly sensitive skin (despite the alcohol??), provides some moisture, and balances the cleansing process well. It's also very refreshing for a mid-day perk-up. After finishing my first bottle, I decided to buy normal drugstore rosewater in an attempt to save money but the results were disappointing. This makes me believe that yes it might be "just rosewater" in this Jurlique toner but it's the quality of the ingredients that matters. The only thing I wish it didn't have is alcohol, because my slightly sensitive skin can live without that. In terms of packaging, the glass is a good inert material for preserving the product; while it looks good sitting on the counter, however, it's definitely not travel-friendly. I had to buy the Jurlique trial sets to get the little glass bottles for my flights. In terms of price, Jurlique has always been on the pricier side, but very comparative to the other brands I've been used to (Dr. Hauschka, REN, Suki, Clarins). That said, I do wish the toner were a little cheaper, because it's the only product in their skincare range (I use the cleansing lotion, moisturiser, herbal recovery gel, and fruit enzyme exfoliator) that finishes quite fast. With my twice-a-day usage, the 100ml bottle lasts me about 2 months. So, pricey, but you get your money's worth.
Masks -Korres - Yogurt Velvety Moisturizing Mask [DISCONTINUED]
artiechoke 12/20/2010 6:19:00 PM
I wanted to use this for a coupla weeks before I added a review. My skin is exactly the kind this mask claims to help: oily and dehydrated. I also have the pleasure of having skin that clogs super easily if I put anything too moisturising on. The verdict on this mask? Like most of the reviewers here, I love it! It's strange how it's very moisturising but not oily or cloggy or too thick. A little bit goes a long way, so the jar will last a longggg time. I used this just before I boarded the plane (9 hour flight) and even though my skin still oiled up a little, it was a VAST improvement from the usual oil slick I have to deal with. My skin was comforted and not irritated. I also use this as a moisturiser once or twice a week during the winter months i.e. I don't wash it off. In warmer months/climates, I would use this as directed (1-2x a week as wash-off mask), but in the winter my skin needs a real boost sometimes. This product has a comforting yoghurt-milky-slightly herby smell I like, and the texture is creamy out of the jar. Once you smooth it on your skin, it sinks in almost immediately. I also like that Korres is known for being "natural", and though this product isn't organic, it sure beats a lot of other products out there that are filled with nasty stuff. I hope that in time, this mask will be my HG, because it is super ultra difficult to find a mask for combi- easily clogged-skin gals like me that is moisturising enough for winter, and yet not heavy. This is not cheap, but since you only need a little at a time, I daresay it will last right until the expiration date that's conveniently printed on a sticker at the bottom of each jar. My biggest gripe, as someone who travels often, is that it comes in a glass jar. Sigh. Will the Gods of Products not do something about this already? I don't really have the hygiene issue since I make sure my hands are clean before I use it, but I hate worrying that the jar will break in transit. It is also not a small jar, so it does take up considerable space in my bag. Since I really like to travel light, I would much prefer if it came in an aluminium tube like Dr Haushcka products, so I can transport it easily, safely, and still be assured that the product won't spoil.
This works really well for me. Cleans well, not too drying, and much less of a hassle to work into a lather as opposed to the Washing Powder. Slightly more than a dime-sized amount of product is enough for me. I use it alone in the mornings, and after the Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil in the evenings -- doesn't feel too dry, and I follow up with the lotion and moisture gel anyway (I use the Acne Care range, which is fast becoming my HG). I took one lippie off the overall rating because I really don't like the smell of this -- it smells like products from the brand Simple -- but it's probably because of the lack of fragrance. This is a good thing, so I'm not going to complain. I also gave only a 3 for packaging because the bottle leaked a bit on transit. Argh! Thankfully I didn't lose too much product. But size-wise, it's great. You can go for a month-long trip and not have to worry about bringing a huge tube of stuff. Generally I really love Fancl for its petite bottles because I travel a lot and like to travel light. Overall a really good buy for me :)
I've only used 1 bottle so far, so I'll leave the HG declarations until a few more uses. But I will say that this is a very, very good moisturiser for my skin in the summer; I have not found anything that can beat it yet. I love it so much that I don't dare use it continually for fear of my skin getting 'immune' to it, so I've been swopping out for Dr Hauschka and Origins before going back at some point (soon!). As a lotion, I find it more moisturising than gel/water-based moisturisers but not sticky or clogging like some heavier lotions out there. I have very fussy, combi skin that is prone to congestion (read: blackheads) so I really appreciate products that don't cause me more grief than necessary when I'm at the beautician's. I use this in combination with Suki's balancing toner and it works wonderfully as a duo. I also like the compact size of the bottle, together with a cap, because I travel a lot and the lack of a cap on Dr Hauschka spray bottles really annoys me. I only wish it were cheaper!
I used to think nothing could beat Dr Hauschka's toners (both the Clarifying and Facial toners) but this one proved me wrong. Sometimes toners seem gimmicky because they feel like a superfluous part of the cleansing process. But with this toner I have to force myself not to over-use! It really calms my skin after cleansing and I find that it's clarifying for my combi skin. It's also a very refreshing pick-me-up if you want a midday spritz. Plus I LOVE the scent. I use it together with the Suki Balancing Day Lotion and find that it works very well for my skin type. Packaging-wise, I'm not too crazy about the plastic cap because it cracked a little too easily from just normal, definitely non-violent taking on and off. In terms of price, I wish it wasn't as expensive as it is, but for an organic skincare buff like me, and the quality I'm paying for, I'm definitely going to get a second (and third...) bottle in the near future.
Cleansers -Ren - Rose Centifolia Facial Wash-Normal skin
artiechoke 12/14/2009 3:36:00 PM
This is my HG cleanser. I am a huge REN fan and have tried all three cleanser-moisturiser ranges for the normal, combi, and sensitive skin. My skin is problematic because it's somewhere in between dry, oily, and sensitive. Needless to say, this makes for very difficult cleanser shopping :P This one works best for me and I'm probably on my fourth bottle now. I like this a lot because it's mild enough for my dry patches and my slightly sensitive skin. This is definitely not enough for removing make-up so don't purchase this if you want it for that purpose but it works very well for me as an everyday cleanser. I use this together with a wash-cloth and I find that this helps since my pores love clogging up and I want to achieve a cleaner cleanse. I have used products formulated without parabens/sulphates/other harmful chemicals for almost 2.5 years now and honestly feel that it makes a difference because if I use products with petrochemicals etc my skin gets really irritated and breaks out. I tried to switch to other 'natural' brands or use the other ranges within REN but this really works best for me since my skin is in between so many conditions. I use this together with the Mayblossom + Konjac moisturiser aka Matt Balancing Fluid (REN's moisturiser for combi skin) and find that this combination really worked out for me. For gals with oily skin, you might find REN's Normal-skin moisturiser (Vita-Mineral Day Cream) a bit too rich. Price-wise it definitely is steep but one bottle lasts about 3 months for me because I use it conservatively and only once a day (I use FANCL mild cleansing oil for my night cleanse). I used to use Dr. Hauschka so, comparatively, this one gives me more bang for my buck and lasts longer. The packaging is also perfect for someone who travels a lot -- it will definitely survive all the knocks of cargo -- and very hygienic. The scent is a lovely mild rose and aloe. One of the major pluses about this product for me is that is survives the transition from the tropical to the winter weathers; it's not too drying during the cold season. This was important for me because I don't want to spend more or keep two different cleansers around. God knows I already have enough products lol.
Moisturizers -Desert Essence - Jojoba Oil - 100% pure
artiechoke 12/14/2009 3:08:00 PM
I was skeptical about this because I have combo skin but then again I have had no problems with any cleansing oils (am a die-hard FANCL mild cleansing oil user; not the biggest fan of Shu Uemura's cleansing oils but didn't have any major issues with it either). I decided to try this after reading all the rave reviews. Also, I desperately needed something because my skin was going crazy -- I forgot to pack my winter moisturiser (oops) and I didn't want to spend a lot of $$. Have been using this for a week now and so far so very good. There is a very noticeable difference because my skin was very dry and flaky one week ago and now it's soothed and moisturised. My regimen is to cleanse, tone, and then while my face is still damp from the toner, I mix about 1-2 drops of jojoba oil with my moisturiser and pat it in my skin. I do this because (1) I'm from the Dr Hauschka School of Pat & Roll LOL and (2) based on the advice of many of the reviewers here. From my experience thus far, I do not have any problems with it being too oily or making my skin oilier. It may be because I mix it with a fairly light summer moisturiser (REN matte balancing fluid) or it may be the mixing it with toner, but either way it works for me face-wise. I also mix the oil with my body moisturiser and it works wonders on this front as well. My legs were red and scaly even though I was using a moisturiser for dry skin (St. Ives Intensive Healing). Well, obviously it's not "intensive healing" enough since my skin was still scaly and needed to be moisturised at least twice a day, but hey it's cheap and I love that there's no smell. By mixing in a nickel-sized amount of jojoba oil, however, I find that it does wonders. Usually my legs get scaly by late afternoon if I moisturise after my morning shower, but I have had zero problems since starting on jojoba oil so I'm really pleased about that. I was excited when I read that one reviewer reduced the appearance of her stretchmarks with this oil but so far there's no real visible difference in my case. Not complaining though, you can't expect everything to work all the time hehe. I guess product design-wise there is room for improvement. Like many of you out there, I do wish the bottle had a dropper instead of having to buy a separate receptacle. However, I don't want to spend more so I just make sure I squeeze the bottle very gently to get the right amount out. It works for me so I'm cool with it. There's nothing to dislike about the price -- I got mine for about US$10 from the natural foods market out where I live. There seems to be a price difference depending on where and when you shop, but in any case it's still very affordable since one bottle lasts a long time. The oil has no smell (big plus for me!) and, like some of the reviewers have mentioned, seems to make blackhead extraction easier for me. Will update if the product ceases to work as well after a month or so of use.
There are so many things to like about this -- it's very affordable, the colour is dark enough but not too dark, the colour comes on easily and lasts a long time, you don't have to worry about sharpening, and the whole stick lasts a pretty long time. I got the grey shade and am very pleased with it, especially because it matches my natural colour perfectly. Will definitely repurchase.
Let me preface by saying I'm a huge REN fan, and I'm pretty familiar with most of their products. So I was really disappointed when this didn't work out for me. The pluses? I really like the scent (it's more herby or lemongrassy than rose to me) and when you use this balm together with a muslin/linen/face towel, the makeup does come off pretty well (my eye makeup had no problems washing off). It doesn't dry your skin out so I appreciated how my skin felt clean and supple instead of tight. The minuses? I broke out pretty badly after using this. I tried for two weeks to make sure it wasn't hormones or climate that was causing it, but because I almost never break out, the change was very noticeable. The moment I stopped using this and went back to my FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil and REN Rose facial wash, my pimples cleared in two days. It's really painful to give this up because this cleansing balm is sooo expensive and it's hardly used. I am hoping it'll work better for my combination skin during the winter months, but I might just pass it on to someone with dry skin :(