Cleansers -Acure Organics - Facial Cleanser Cleansing Gel
paf0009 7/1/2012 8:53:00 PM
I first learned of Acure Organics through a friend and decided to try their Certified Organic Red Tea Toner. That didn't work out so well (I think it was the glycerin), but I gave the cleanser a try, being very natural, organic, and affordable, I thought why not? Well, it works very well and it has replaced my not-very-clean, harsh cleansers. It smells wonderful! A lemony scent that's very clean but not overpowering. The texture is a smooth gel that foams if you add more water, but I prefer to create a thin lather. The bottle is nice, pretty, and colorful, although I would prefer glass. At first, this cleanser dried the skin around my nose a bit (I think my skin was transitioning), but after the first week it cleansed gently and left my skin neither dry or tight; a sign it was working and agreeing with me. I cannot say if this cleanser helps breakouts or problem skin because I've been using evanhealy's Green Tea Clay mask, evanhealy's blemish roll-on, and Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar to help my troubled areas. But it works and fits in well with my current skin care regimen so in that sense I will continue using it. It's gentle and does not disturb the skin's natural acid mantle (In the past, I've used Purpose Face Wash and that wasn't doing me any favors). I even use it to cleanse the delicate eye area. Also, I only use it at nights because it removes my sunblock and moisturizer very well. In the mornings, I use a more grainy, exfoliating cleanser. Once, when I really needed a deep morning cleansing, I used evanhealy's Lemongrass Facial Polish and followed it with the Superfruit cleanser and my face felt very smooth and comfortable. Overall, I will buy this again, because its made of natural ingredients and is effective without incorporating harsh surfactants or chemicals. So many thanks to Acure Organics! UPDATE (1/2013): I am no longer using this cleanser. For some reason, it was not working all that well as temperatures dropped. Also, I am not sure if the olive oil in this may be clogging. In place of this, I switched over to Kahina Giving Beauty's Facial Cleanser; it's gentle and does not foam at all so it does not strip my skin of any moisture in the cold months. However, I think I will try the Acure Facial Cleanser in the summer, hotter months and see if it still works for me.
Masks -Unlisted Brand - Aztec - Indian Healing Clay
paf0009 7/1/2012 6:28:00 PM
I bought this mask as a replacement for evanhealy's Green Tea Clay mask and it failed. First of all, the packaging is not very convenient, but most powdered masks are packaged in jars, except this big, bulky, plastic jar is not easy on the eyes like others. Second and most important, this clay is just a nightmare to prepare. I took about a teaspoon in the palm of my hand and added an equal amount of water to it. As I mixed, I noticed it began to clump up and ball into small dry clay bits so I added more water and it just became more and more clumpy but water-y. It was a mess and impossible to apply to my face. So I removed it with tissue and threw in the trashcan, as I read a reviewer mention it can clog pipes. After using EH's Green Tea mask this not only pales in comparison, but fails to an ultimate low. I've never tried a powdered mask like this one. It was rather strange when it clumped up and became hard to dissolve for a creamy paste application. So I would not recommend this mask.
The Green Tea Clay mask was the first product I discovered from the EvanHealy line. I found it at Whole Foods and looked up EH's website and decided to give it a try. The packaging, while simple and elegant, is not very convenient (have to be very careful with glass jar and when taking out clay, powder will spill out sometimes). At the time, I mix about a teaspoon (the recommended amount) of clay with an equal amount of water in the palm of my hand and apply to problem areas on my face. After about 15-20 minutes, the clay is completely dry and there is a slight pulsating feeling on my face where I have applied the mask. I then splash water and the tight feeling disappears and the clay dissolves rather quickly. I sometimes massage some of the left over clay on my face before a final rinse. My skin is red/pink, but that fades quickly (I use it at night so by the next morning there is no redness). The first time I tried this clay, the results were not as I had hoped. I used it once weekly and also used the Tea Tree Gel cleanser with the Lemon Thyme Hydrosol and Rosehip Serum-Blue. While it left my face feeling really soft, I didn't see any benefit for my congested, problem areas. I kept using it and steaming beforehand sometimes. But since I saw no beneficial long-term result, I slowly stopped using it. It wasn't until I tried the Aztec Clay mask that I decided to go back to EH Green Tea Clay mask. This time around, I began using it just about every night for about two weeks and finally I saw positive results for my problem skin. I don't use the Tea Tree Gel cleanser anymore instead I use Acure Organics Gel cleanser and it works great in conjunction with the clay mask. I still use the Lemon Thyme Hydrosol but only in the mornings and don't use the Rosehip Serum. I suspect it could have been the culprit exacerbating my already-troubled skin. My skin has slowly cleared up. It tames current breakouts and also helps prevent future ones. It's so great because it's effective while being natural, organic, and long-term safe. I will reduce my usage though as my skin is not needing it as often as in the beginning. I tend to use a very thin application and it works just as well as thicker applications so all in all this clay is wonderful. Also, I think the EH clay mask kit would be a good accompaniment to this because the clay bowl and fan brush would make it easier to mix clay thus avoiding being wasteful while mixing in palm of hand.
Masks -Renee Rouleau - Triple Berry Smoothing Peel
paf0009 6/10/2012 11:50:00 PM
I had high hopes for this product, given all the acids in it, but it failed to live up to its claim. I first tried this peel as a sample in one of my orders from Renee Rouleau. The peel itself is a very colorful, vibrant gel with raspberry seeds in it. It spreads nicely, but very thin on the skin so it is a bit hard to know if you've applied enough or need more. The first time I used it (sample), it was pretty good. It tingled a bit but nothing uncomfortable. Left my skin soft and glowing. However, the next day I had a big spot along my jawline and I am sure it was caused by the peel as nothing else had changed in my routine. The spot healed quickly and I attributed it to purging since it does contain acids and/or fruit enzymes. After using the full-size for a little over a month, I cannot warrant using it or spending $$$ on it. I bought it to help minimize some post-acne marks and blotchy skin tone, but noticed no improvements (the RR AHA/BHA cleansing gel is more effective than the peel). Therefore I won't be purchasing this peel again.
I wanted to like this product as it is natural and from a brand I generally like. However, after going through the jar I can honestly say I saw no improvement. I bought this peel to help with some minor post-acne marks and overall dull complexion. The glass jar is nice as you can reuse it after using up the peel. But it is not the most sanitary packaging so I took off a lippie for that. Also, the smell is not very pleasant. It was a very off sour apple, overpowering odor. The consistency is almost gel-like and spreads easily on the face. After rinsing it off, my face was very red, but after a while the redness faded. Although it made my face soft, there was absolutely no other benefit from using this.
Toners -Unlisted Brand - Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
paf0009 6/10/2012 11:20:00 PM
I purchased Bragg's ACV at my local Whole Foods and tried it on my skin, but for some reason it just didn't work. Maybe I needed to dilute it more or less. However, on my scalp it has worked wonders. Before using it on my scalp, I was trying organic sesame oil and then I tried jojoba oil. Both oils (although jojoba worked better) did not resolve my dry, flaking scalp. On the suggestion of a friend, I tried it on my dandruff. I dilute it 50/50 with distilled water which you can find at Whole Foods and put it into a spray glass bottle. I spray directly onto my scalp, avoiding to douse my hair too much in it (if it saturates my hair too much it makes it kind of dry, straw-like). I let it sit for about two minutes. Then I wash my hair and scalp with Acure Organics Lemongrass shampoo, mainly to get rid of the ACV smell which I don't like, but also to gently cleanse. So far this has worked and just to let you know my scalp dandruff was truly bad. It would sometimes get inflamed and red and very itchy. The ACV seems to have calmed and healed my scalp. I still get tiny flakes and minimal itchiness, but nothing compares to before and especially to using the chemical-laden Head and Shoulders. Also, I don't find the need to use it every time I shampoo so I only use it occasionally during the week so it lasts for a while. All in all, great product! Update: My hair is rarely dry or straw-like anymore from where I apply the ACV mixture. I attribute this to using the Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Conditioner, so I no longer have to deal with dryness. Also, I am using ACV on my face and it's working pretty well so far. I use a 2oz glass spray bottle; half distilled water and half ACV and I top it off with 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil. I shake it and spray some onto a cotton cloth and apply to my face like any other toner. Since I started doing this, only at nights after cleansing, my skin is clearer, current breakouts are healing and I haven't had noticeable new ones. Some post-acne marks are a little less darker although I will update again as I continue to use. The smell is not as bad because of the tea tree oil and it kind of fades after a while. I think I will also experiment using green tea instead of distilled water; I will update on this as well. UPDATE (1/2013): I am still using the ACV mixture on my scalp and it's still working. Although I am not using it as often and I think I will dilute it more as the smell kind of lingers more than I can stand it. Also, I switched (for no particular reason other than to experiment) to Giovanni's Golden Wheat Shampoo and Giovanni's Deep Repair Conditioner. I have shampooed and conditioned w/o using the ACV mixture and my scalp is still pretty tame. Also, the last ACV toner I was using has changed since. I do not use tea tree oil in it anymore as I think it was a bit irritating (although I use it in the mixture for my scalp; it's TTO w Lavender Oil). I did try the green tea recipe and did not like it at all. I think it goes rancid pretty quick and even though I kept it refrigerated, it still smelled off so I quit that. At the moment, I use (in a 2oz spray bottle) 4/5 distilled water, the remaining 1/5 is split even with ACV and fresh lemon juice (from an actual lemon, not store bought lemon juice). So far this is working very well on my sensitive, acne-prone skin. The left side of my chin (where I had stubborn continuous breakouts) is calm. Most importantly, I think the lemon juice is providing my skin with much needed exfoliation and that is what is lessening the breakouts and post-breakout marks. I only use it at night, and I wait a couple to five minutes and apply 1-2 drops of Kahina Giving Beauty's Argan Oil. I pat it on lightly and that helps to set off some of the dryness associated with exfoliation. I have only been doing this for about two weeks but I will update later.....sorry for the long review but I hope it helps someone : )
Cleansers -Garden of Wisdom - Simply Clean Tea Tree Oil Cleanser
paf0009 6/10/2012 10:46:00 PM
I tried the trial w/ glycerin version of this cleanser. I'm glad I tried the trial because this cleanser did not work for me. The ingredients seem pretty good. It's an all-natural, clean product. Unfortunately it didn't even cleanse my skin, defeating its own purpose (when I swiped a cotton ball with toner after cleansing, I saw all the gunk it left behind). As for the product itself, it doesn't foam which is a good thing as foaming cleansers strip skin of its natural oils. I thought it would be kind of like Mario Badescu's Botanical Gel, no foam but gently cleanses. But nope, it didn't and I could actually feel traces of my sunscreen on my face after rinsing. Not a good feeling. Luckily Garden of Wisdom offers trial sizes of their product.
I found out about this product thanks to makeupalley! I was dealing with textured and blotchy skin when I decided to give it a try. The jar itself is pretty nice but I wish the product were dispensed differently so contamination would not be a problem. To make up for this I use a tiny spatula (received from Garden of Wisdom with one of their scrubs). I was amazed at how well this scrub worked for my skin. It literally smoothed out my complexion and minimized post-acne marks and pigmentation. I've tried a lot of scrubs and this one is by far superior to all. I use a tiny amount and spread some on my forehead and cheeks. Then I gently scrub for the recommended 30 seconds on problems areas. At first it does cause some redness by it subsides in a few minutes. It rinses pretty clean despite the oils in it and does not leave my face tight or dry but comfortable and soft. And I only use it at night. I tried using it in the mornings, but I think it was too much exfoliation and I actually broke out. After that I used it only at nighttime and it slowly but surely cleared up my breakouts and smoothed out minor scarring.
I tried the trial size of this cleanser and felt it was alright so went on to purchase the full-size. The gel takes a bit to get used to. I felt like I needed a lot of the product to foam up and lather onto my face. If I didn't use two to three pumps then the gel would sort of disappear or dry out on my skin. That made it go by pretty quickly. The smell is very nice; smells of lavender and tea tree oil (of course!) and the glass packaging is aesthetically nice (like all of EH products). I tried very hard to like this product, but at the end it did not work for me. I am not sure what in it did not agree with my skin, because everything in it is clean. It kind of made my breakouts worse after a while. At first (trial size) my skin felt really clean and soft after washing, but two weeks in and I noticed an increase in underground tiny bumps and it made my skin blotchy. As a matter of fact, it increased the pigmentation of my facial skin so my neck looked awkwardly pale compared to my face. Alas, I had to quit and move on. I still like EH's philosophy, but could not go on using this cleanser. Also, I don't know if the pump on my cleanser was faulty, but sometimes I would come back to find gel dripping from the pump. It was very messy and frustrating to deal with as it dripped frequently.
This roll-on reminds me a lot of Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish stick with the exception that this does not contain alcohol. I used this on under-the-skin breakouts and while it reduced the size of the bump it also left an unsightly mark on the breakout and the skin immediate to it. Also, it was not as consistent as I would have liked; worked about half the time. The packaging is very convenient. The roll-on top can be removed easily to dispense more product. Also, if you spray some EH hydrosol on your skin and then apply the roll-on it helps the oils to penetrate the problem area. Update: I decided to use the EH Green Tea Clay mask just about every night and the roll-on in conjunction onto breakouts and it has worked pretty well. I am not sure if I will purchase again (I need more time to assess if it's essential, not sure which one is working better, clay or roll-on), but so far it's been very effective. I will update again.
I've gone through three bottles of this cleansing gel but I don't plan on purchasing again. The reason is this cleanser is pretty good at tackling stubborn breakouts but it beats out the moisture of one's skin. I've tried moisturizing with RR Matte Moisture (used with RR Balancing Tonic), but it does not make up for the stripping nature of the cleanser. As a consequence my skin is oilier while using this gel. The gel itself takes some while to get to the right cleansing consistency. If you add a lot of water you get a milky type of cleanser, but if you use less water it is very dry, grainy and hard to move on the skin's surface. I tend to use it with more water and it suds up just a bit. The jojoba beads in it are not very exfoliating as the workhorses are the glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids. The smell is pleasant, if you like citrus smells; grapefruit scent. Also, the cap-top becomes constantly clogged with the gel and it is hard to clean so product is always stuck at the opening.
Treatments -Peter Thomas Roth - AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel
paf0009 6/10/2012 8:42:00 PM
I used this product all up and was glad when it was gone. I bought it at Sephora and in retrospect I should have returned it but I was dealing with a bad breakout situation and it seemed like the best option (given its active ingredient is salicylic acid). I was consistent with it, using it about every night till it was gone and didn't notice any differences to my skin, well actually I didn't notice any "positive" differences to my skin. While it did not cause new breakouts, it did not tame current breakouts and made skin shiny and more oily than usual. It gave my skin a bad type of texture appearance also so I do not recommend this product. Really a waste of $$$. Drugstore stuff may just be better than this snake oil. Note: The gel itself is sticky upon application
Cleansers -Neutrogena - Oil-Free Acne Wash Foam Cleanser
paf0009 5/3/2009 1:53:00 PM
I tried this product before and it was always overdrying. However, I decided to try it again in a desperate attempt and sure enough it was so overdrying that I had to quit by the third day. I found that the body wash worked better for some reason. I think it contains the same ingredients though.
Treatments -Renee Rouleau - Glycolic Serum 10 Percent
paf0009 5/3/2009 1:46:00 PM
Well in short this product made me break out worse than before. Also, my skin texture became tough and shiny. I thought it would be a good exfoliation product, but nope it did not work out well plus it's pricey.