Finally, I've found my go-to shave cream. I have extremely sensitive skin so I need hypo-allergenic products. This is the only hypoallergenic shave cream I've found to work so well. The other ones I've tried barely did a thing, were just as pricey and needed to be used in large quantities. I'd say this product isn't really a cream. It's more like a thick gel lotion. You only need a nickel sized amount to cover your leg to above the knees. It takes some time to rinse out of the razor, but it doesn't bother me. It's one of the only products I've ever used (including regular shave cream from drug stores) that prevents my legs from feeling "burned" after shaving. I also haven't nicked myself with the razor since I've started using it -- which wasn't uncommon for me. My only real qualm is the price tag. Since only a small amount is required for it to be effective and it works so incredibly well, I'm still going to give it five lipsticks.
Deodorants -Unlisted Brand - Florere - Vegan Deodorant
ishhara 8/26/2012 9:24:00 PM
I've found both this product and Soapwalla's natural deodorant to be very impressive. I'd recommend either. Which you prefer would be based on personal preference since both work very well. I own the cream version of this deodorant. If you've used Soapwalla's cream before, you'll find that Florere is a drier, harder cream that can be a little bit difficult to manipulate. The scent is also a little different since they use different essential oils. Once on, the product lasts quite some time for me -- at least a full day. The herbal smell fades after ~15 minutes and my underarms just smell like "nothing" all day, even when it's hot and humid out and I've been active. For reference, I live in the Northeast so my summers aren't as hellish as the Deep South, but it still gets to be quite warm with high humidity. So far this summer, I haven't once noticed that I smell bad, even after a kayaking excursion. As with Soapwalla, Florere won't keep you completely dry. It doesn't stop you from sweating. The cream will soak up some sweat, but not all. However, I've only ever felt damp under my arms and nothing worse than that. After discovering these two products, I'm never going back to the regular deodorant/antiperspirants with sketchy chemical ingredients.
It's more like 3.5. I honestly like how this product looks on me and I love the concept. The colour is lovely, but it's not the colour I thought I was going to get (and still want) after being mislead by the website description and photo. I ordered the colour Watermelon, which is described as "warm soft red" on their website with a photo that matches. But in actuality, the colour is neither soft nor warm (both in the tube and on the skin). It's a bright cool red, basically a dark pink. And trust me, I know my colours; I'm a graphic designer. Whoever came up with these names or mixed these colours either don't know what they're talking about or are colourblind. I guess a third option would be this product goes through some sort of chemical reaction and changes colour soon after production, in which case it's shoddy and poorly developed. Whatever the case, it's not getting full marks because it's inaccurate. With the negative out of the way, they're lucky this product does work well and the concept is brilliant. It's basically an edible lipstick, which means it's a safe lipstick. The only accurate portion of the description is that the website also described the product as sheer and moisturising. If it was actually a warm red, I'd want it opaque, but since it's quite a bright pink, I appreciate the sheerness. It also smells quite lovely, faint and fruity. If this product was the right colour, I'd give it a 4. But since the colour was basically completely wrong, I'm giving it a 3. I'd love to try another shade from this brand, but I don't trust the website descriptions. I wish they sold these in stores so I could see them first hand. I see that someone has provided a photo of all the shades tested on their arm. I don't trust that either. Lighting conditions can greatly change how a colour appears in a photo. Also, I'd like the packaging better if it didn't look like a tampon.
Cleansers -Boscia - Clear Complexion Cleanser with Botanical Blast
ishhara 8/2/2012 11:20:00 PM
I see a rash of bad reviews for this product. I've used this for over a month now, closer to 2 and I'm enjoying it. There's been no miracle, but I see that my acne is getting lighter. I'm impressed by how well it cleans without over-drying, which many products do for me. It does a great job of removing makeup and leaving my skin feeling well cleansed, but soft. I also use 1/3 to 1/2 of a pump each time. $26 is pricey, but the product stretches. I appreciate the gentle ingredients and lovely scent. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I'll probably be repurchasing in the future.
This product is very ironically named. It's more like anti-skin. I have sensitive skin, so I bought this product to add a boost to my shave cream. Not only did it not provide a very close shave, but it also caused an allergic reaction. Both pairs of the my legs and thighs broke out in red itchy bumps -- contact dermatitis. It's also on the inside of my forearms, where I rubbed up against my legs while I shaved. I've never been so itchy in my life. I just want to tear my skin off. Even a prescription cream isn't working. I'm going back to the regular Venus blades. These are horrible.
Conditioner -Burt's Bees - Super Shiny Conditioner with Mango
ishhara 7/21/2012 2:29:00 PM
I tried out this product in an attempt to be a conscientious consumer. Big mistake. I've never been more allergic in my life. After using this product for a couple of weeks, I broke out in hives all over my neck. My ears were so swollen they were warm to the touch and would literally throb. The itching was so bad, I could hardly sleep. And yes, I'm sure it's this product. I did a spot test on my thigh and that patch also broke out in itchy hives. If you have sensitive skin, stay away! As for other aspects of this product, not so great. Even if I didn't break out in horrible hives, I still wouldn't purchase it again. It smells nice, but it didn't do much for my hair. Not only that, but I had to use a large amount at a time to see any sort of results. For its price, I expect some results! There's a red label on the bottle that says "new and improved." If this is new and improved, I'm very glad I never bothered to purchase the old version.
Eye Shadow -Unlisted Brand - Lucy Minerals-Raisin Shadow
ishhara 7/17/2012 11:35:00 PM
I'm a fan of Lucy Mineral's eye shadows. This is another very pretty colour - a grey purple. The intensity is easy to control depending on how much you feel like applying and easily blendable with other colours.
I've had issues with dandruff for most of my life. Also, I've recently developed an allergy to a certain hair products. Giovanni's tea tree shampoo keeps my dandruff at bay without aggravating my sensitive skin. The ingredients are also fairly natural and non-irritating. It cleans well without over-drying. No parabens, no sulfates, no synthetic fragrance, etc. The scent is lovely, where-as a lot of tea tree based shampoos can smell medicinal. The only reason I'm knocking down a lipstick is that it's a bit pricey and the product is watery. You have to use a generous amount to lather your hair. Despite this, I still recommend this product for those with sensitive, flaky scalp. I really enjoy's Giovanni's design team. The packaging is stylish and of great quality. Kudos!
The thing about Clinique's 3 Step System that is so appealing are the immediate effects. It tends to look and feel great on as soon as you try it. The problem is that there is no lasting effect. After the first month of usage, you hit a plateau and slowly revert. I've been using Clinique's system for over 5 years now and my skin hasn't really seen a lot of improvement. The good thing is that it hasn't gotten worse and it tends to react to Clinique better than most drugstore brands, but there really isn't any lasting positive effects. My skin is still just as oily and acne prone as it has been for years. In fact, after having used the Clarifying Lotion 3 (and the Acne Solutions on and off) for a while, I had to step up to Clarifying Lotion 4 (for very oily skin). In case you're wondering, it's not my diet. I eat healthy home cooked meals from scratch nearly every single day (with limited meat and lots of vegetables) and I purchase very few processed food products. I drink plenty of water each day. It's also not hormones since I was on BC for a while and my skin stayed the same. The ingredients in these products are an improvement from drugstore brands, but still aren't that great. There's still sodium lauryl sulfate in the cleanser, which is harsh on the skin. In the long run, it won't really help make oily skin produce less oil. Basically, this skin care system could be a quick fix. There had been a few times I stopped using it and went back to cheaper products. When I returned to Clinique's system, my face rejoiced, but after the first couple of months, those effects would wear off. These products are decent, especially for the price and volume they come in, but it's not a very holistic or progressive approach that improves your skin over time, which I expect it to since it's still not exactly cheap.
Makeup Brushes -Elizabeth Arden - Face Powder brush
ishhara 6/10/2012 6:07:00 PM
What a lovely brush! It feels as soft as a bunny's butt. The brush is just under 5 inches in length (~12cm) with a black acrylic handle. It's pretty hefty, with a good weight. The bristles are dense and tapered, about 1.5 inches at the longest part, of synthetic make and dark bronze in colour. I've already washed it a couple of times, with soap and water (as per the instructions) and it hasn't shed. It feels like a cloud on my face. I use it to apply mineral finishing powder. It holds plenty of product and deposits it in even amounts. It comes with a mini version of itself, only 1.5 inches in length. It can unfold and be used as a flat brush and stored in a compact. Since I use mineral makeup, I don't have a compact. Instead, I use the mini brush, which is also tapered, to apply blush. It works quite well. Before this brush, I was using one by Bare Escentuals that came with a kit and before that, one by Sonia Kashuk. Those brushes aren't even in the same league (despite the BE one actually be quite expensive on its own). I highly recommend this brush. It's a little on the pricey side, but well worth it.
Blush -Unlisted Brand - Lucy Minerals Matte Apricot Blush
ishhara 6/4/2012 6:47:00 PM
I got this blush for my mother, who wears Lucy Minerals foundation in Golden Medium. It's quite pigmented and very pretty. It's a bronzy peach, a bit coral. It gives a cheeks great colour without looking unnatural. I like it so much I may buy myself one in the future. It comes in a generous 5 gram amount. A little goes a long way.
Foundations -Unlisted Brand - Lucy Minerals Foundation
ishhara 6/4/2012 4:53:00 PM
Before I get into the details, I want to say that I highly recommend this brand. If their foundation doesn't work for you, I still think you should try their other mineral makeup: blush, eyeshadow and eyeliner. Quick take: Pro -- excellent coverage; very pigmented (a little goes a long way); overall, great effect; incredibly reasonable price/value; fantastic customer service Con -- a bit of a steep learning curve, does not apply like any other mineral foundation; may not be for all skin types; shades are a little limited/require experimentation ----- I had mix feelings when I first tried out this product. I felt like I didn't have the right colour match and it just didn't look that great on, so I gave up and tried another brand (Everyday Minerals). One day, while visiting my parents, I decided to try a Lucy Minerals sample on my mother. Golden Medium matched her skin perfectly and the effect was amazing. Her face positively GLOWED. It looked incredible on and covered most of her age spots. She looked a few years younger -- that's saying something since my mother already looks great for her age. I decided to give Lucy Minerals another try, mixing my shade samples until I got the right colour: 65% Creamy Olive, 35% Medium Olive. By this point, I was a pro at applying the foundation and I started to really like the results. Compared to Bare Escentuals (I used Matte in Light) and Everyday Minerals (Light Olive), Lucy had the better coverage and overall better look. It makes your skin appear luminous. It's now my go-to foundation. I finally decided to put in an order for a full sized foundation, which they custom mixed at my direction. I got it in the mail today (it came in a little jar with my name on the bottom instead of the usual shade name) and just put it on. It looks fantastic! I got it in oil control with calcium carbonate. I find that their oil control actually does do a bit to keep my oily skin from getting too overwhelming. I also bought these items during their Memorial Day sale (they're always having sales and deals) and it was well worth the money. Warnings and recommendations: Use a good primer to even out your skin and exfoliate regularly. Use a very sparing amount (don't treat it like other mineral foundations and buff loads on). Use a stippling/flat top brush. Step back and wait a few minute between layers. This foundation works best if you have pretty good skin texture. My mother, bless her genes, may be just shy of 60, but has great skin texture. I, on the other hand, have issues with oiliness and acne, thus some uneveness and dry spots, but it's not that bad. With a gentle hand, and the correct application process, the foundation looks just as good as any other kind I've used (liquid and dry), if not better. Also, whatever you do, don't buff it on in globs! I recommend using a concealer brush to brush a little on problem spots. Then, use a flat-top (or any other stippling brush), pick up a tiny bit of powder (you may need to shake off some excess) and gently stippling it on over your face. And then do a few gentle sweeping motions to even it out. I want to stress again how great their customer service is. Every time I've had questions, I got a response within 24 hours. I also like all their free gifts and samples when you order. The only detraction is their rather difficult to navigate website, but it's forgivable. They're a "mom & pop" operation, not some big corporation that can afford to hire marketing firms and expensive designers. They put a lot of their money into their product and it shows.
I used to use the Clean & Clear kind until I bought these on Amazon (had to add a ~$10 item to make it to the free shipping amount). They work quite well at soaking up oil and leaving my makeup in place -- better than the previous brand I used. I also love how large each sheet is, the high quality materials and the dispenser. It cleanly delivers one sheet at a time. I don't have to take time to separate 2-3 sheets that likes to get stuck together with Clean & Clear. The only reason it's not getting 5 lipsticks is because the sheets are a little on the fragile side (make sure to blot and not wipe!) and a touch pricey.
Eyeliner -Clinique - Brush-on cream liner in TRUE BLACK
ishhara 5/27/2012 12:56:00 AM
The only reason I'm not buying this product again (or giving it full 5 lipsticks) is because of the ingredients. It's not awful, but these days, I prefer my beauty products to have progressive or natural ingredients and show some sort of transparency on their product website. What it's like: a little glass pot with a black gel cream inside. The brush they provide is kind of crap so I recommend using a liner brush (a soft paint brush) or an angled eyeliner brush (an actual cosmetics brush). I prefer the latter unless I'm doing something very specific and nontraditional. How I use it: I have oily skin so I always use a primer base. These days, I either use a sample I got from MAC's paint pot line in Painterly, or Bare Escentuals Brightening Primer. I carefully paint the cream on my lids with a brush in small strokes. You can get pretty detailed with this stuff. It goes on smoothly and isn't runny, clumpy, or difficult to work with. How it wears: the end result is very pigmented and lasts all day. It won't budge after it's fully dried (just a few minutes). I basically only use this product for special events or going out, when I actually take time to apply more dramatic makeup. It's never disappointed me as long as I have some sort of eyeshadow primer on underneath. I did the winged eye look for a friend's wedding earlier this year. This eyeliner lasted throughout the wedding and after party, flawlessly. It only came off when I washed it with soap. As long as you're not extremely strict with what goes into your cosmetics, this would be a great eyeliner (not that this is full of incredibly harmful ingredients or anything). It's not irritating; it's easy to work with, wears well and lasts long.
This was my first foray into the world of mineral foundations. It works reasonably well and I wouldn't go back to using a liquid version. However, with the advent of better competing products out on the market (at better prices), I wouldn't buy this product again. The foundation: the powder is smooth and easy to apply. However, it's not very pigmented. It may be buildable, but at most provides moderate coverage. I have oily skin and I didn't feel an noticeable differences in using this product, but it didn't hurt, either. If you only need light coverage, this brand will work just fine. I will say this: they have good costumer service. I contacted the company via email with questions concerning some of the ingredients. I got a courteous and informative response within 24 hours, even though it was the weekend.