Me: 24, combo/oily sensitive skin.
The product: $12 for 1 ounce. If you're not familiar with purchasing sunscreens from Asia, the bottles are very small - don't be surprised! The current packaging of this (as of 2011) is a sky blue bottle with water droplets. Any other version is older and should be avoided. This sunscreen is zinc oxide & octinoxate. It is silicone-based and has alcohol. For more ingredients, visit MUA member Haruka's blog at ratzillacosme.com.
My experience: Mentholatum UV Moisture Milk SPF 50+ has been my go-to matte chemical/physical sunscreen for over two years now. I was wary of trying this one because of the alcohol in it. I assumed it would be TOO matte and drying. To my surprise, this is actually LESS mattifying and drying. It also does a better job of reducing my redness than the Moisture Milk. Perhaps it has more zinc oxide. I apply this to lightly moisturized skin, the whiteness goes away within 5 minutes and the greasy feeling within 10, and what I am left with is skin that looks much better than it did before I applied. This is easily my favorite physical/chemical sunscreen now. The only negative is how difficult it is to apply, since it really is like a runny white water -- but that is to be expected.
It is very waterproof, so make sure you use an oil cleanser or other form of makeup remover to take it off your skin. Even 12 hours after I first applied it, water will bead up on the surface.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - Sunbow Sunscreen SPF 30
stellarfungi 7/3/2011 9:31:00 PM
Me: 24, combo/oily sensitive skin.
The product: $13 for 5 ounces, which is nice and cheap. It comes in two different varieties - Dora the Explorer or SpongeBob Squarepants. The Dora version is tinted bright pink, the SpongeBob version is tinted bright yellow, but other than that they are both identical. The tint has allowed them to pack in a nice 21% zinc oxide without it being whitening.
My experience: I was wary of the bright coloring, so because I'm warm-toned (aka golden) I chose my BFF SpongeBob. If I apply it on dry, freshly-cleansed skin, it leaves yellow clumps and streaks, so I use moisturizer underneath. As long as it is applied on well-moisturized skin, it sinks in without leaving any sort of yellow cast or streaking. It is not fully matte and it does feel somewhat heavy on my face. I do feel comfortable using it without powder, but for the most elegant finish I brush silica powder over it. This helps tone down any greasy feeling or appearance. I should note that I use a full 1/4 teaspoon on my face, so if you use less, you might not have the same issues. However, those are small problems to work out for what is definitely a decent sunscreen. 21% zinc oxide without any sort of white cast (or yellow/pink, as the case may be) is impressive, and the fact that this isn't OVERPOWERINGLY greasy or tacky makes it one of the all-stars of the sunscreen crop I've tried out so far this summer. I've tried at least 10 different new sunscreens since March, and this is one of the best. And, because it's so cheap, it can also be used as a body sunscreen.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - DCL UVA-UVB Chemfree Superblock SPF 30
stellarfungi 6/29/2011 2:50:00 PM
Me: 24, sensitive combo/oily.
My experience: Despite the large amount of titanium dioxide, this did not leave a white cast on my skin. It went on white, dried within 10 minutes and left no residue. I had a sample, so I have no idea it would be drying or pore-clogging long term. It was moisturizing without being greasy or heavy. So why the two lippies? First, because it has low UVA protection. Titanium dioxide protects against some UVA rays, but is much less protective in that area than zinc oxide. Secondly, it caused a major reaction on my face that took over a week to clear up. When I was wearing it, it did not burn or itch the way some things do on my sensitive skin, but the next day I had the telltale rash of scratchy red bumps.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - MD Solar Sciences Mineral Screen Tinted Gel 30+
stellarfungi 6/14/2011 5:29:00 PM
Me: 24, sensitive combo/oily.
My experience: I've tried both this and the regular, untinted Mineral Screen Gel SPF 30+. In terms of finish, I prefer this version, because it feels slightly more moisturizing and silky without being greasy or shiny. The finish really is top-notch. However, it is MUCH too dark for my pale NC20 skin. It looks like a brown mask on my face and leaves the most obvious jaw/neck skintone disparity I've ever seen from a tinted sunscreen. I'd say this would start to be acceptable at around NC30. If you're darker-skinned than I and are in the market for a tinted sunscreen, this is a GREAT choice that I would definitely recommend for you.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - MD Solar Sciences Mineral Screen Gel SPF 30+
stellarfungi 6/14/2011 5:24:00 PM
Me: 24, sensitive combo/oily.
My experience: Although they call it a gel (and it's not an emulsion), it has a very fluffy mousse-like texture. It's easy to spread at first, but dries very quickly, so I recommend using a small glob at a time for one part of your face. Because it is a silicone-based formula, applying a decent moisturizer underneath is a good idea, to prevent any flakes from being illuminated in stark white.
However, a good moisturizer was not enough to save this from making my face look quite white. I'm disappointed, because I'd been hearing rave reviews about this sunscreen from many other people. It's simply too ghostly for me to wear every day. It's a shame, because the texture is wonderful. It's not greasy at all, and it leaves a nice powdery-matte feeling on the skin. A drop of foundation might fix this, and perhaps I will try it eventually, but otherwise the massive sample pack they (very generously - excellent customer service!) sent me is going in my ever-growing discarded sunscreen pile.
Skincare - Face -Unlisted Brand - Homemade Hydrating Toner
stellarfungi 5/24/2011 4:19:00 PM
I've been into DIY skincare for a couple years now. I've made too many ruined batches of my intended skincare products to count, but the ones I liked, I REALLY liked. In my opinion, it's hard to beat knowing EXACTLY what went into your product and in what concentrations. To me, making DIY skincare is no different than cooking a meal vs. ordering takeout. It takes about the same amount of time, and if you're used to the recipe, it's a breeze.
My favorite product to make is a homemade hydrating/moisturizing toner. I decided one day that I was absolutely sick of trying lotion after lotion only to find them impossibly greasy or irritating. You name it, it irritated me. I set out to make something very simple and cheap that would condition my skin without overloading it in oiliness, and eventually, I succeeded. With practice, it really is simple.
First, you need to have the right tools - I prefer to weigh everything on my tiny jewelry scale, but the last time I whipped up my "toner", I decided to keep track of my measuring spoons to make it easy on people who might want to try this without shelling out money for a scale. However, small measuring spoons are important if you want to measure a preservative. I have spoons that range from 1/64, to 1/32, to 1/16 tsp and higher. This recipe makes 4 ounces of product, mainly because it is easier to measure, but if you decide to cut it in half, that's okay.
Secondly, you need to have some idea what various ingredients do and what you want your finished product to have in it. The most important consideration is your PRESERVATIVE. Some people make small batches of product every few days, but that's definitely not for me, nor is going without preservatives. But it's also not 100% necessary to muck around with a preservative IF you substitute the water in the recipe for something else. Witch hazel (the kind with 14% ethanol) will do. Alcohol-free witch hazel comes with preservatives, as do most aloe juices, rosewaters, etc. If you opt for a base with the (fairly typical) sodium benzoate/potassium sorbate preservative combo, you should still keep it in the fridge, but the shelf life will be long enough for you to use the product up without remaking.
All the ingredients I use can be found at lotioncrafter.com, at least at the time I posted this review. As a bonus, lotioncrafter also has preserved aloe juice and a few preserved hydrosols that can be used as the base.
Here's the recipe:
4 oz bottle (with pump, dropper or spray)
Distilled water (or, a preserved base) - 7 tbsp
Honeyquat - 1 tsp
Shea Butter WS - 1/4 tsp
Green Tea Extract Liquid - 1/2 tsp
Germall Plus Liquid (not necessary if using a preserved base) - 1/8 tsp
As an ALTERNATIVE to Germall Plus, if using a water base, you can try Optiphen - 1/4 tsp
I add everything straight into my bottle and shake. Start with the water, add the green tea extract and shake. Add the honeyquat and shake. Add the Shea Butter WS and shake. Add the Germall Plus Liquid last and...you get the picture. Every ingredient is water-soluble, so there is no muss or fuss with heating or emulsifying. They will blend together perfectly.
This recipe is both moisturizing and hydrating. The honeyquat is a humectant with the properties of honey WITHOUT being sticky. It is also comparable to glycerin - again, without the stick. Liquid green tea extract provides some glycerin and is an antioxidant. Shea Butter WS is what adds the moisturization. It became one of my favorite DIY ingredients from the moment I first tried it, because it is water soluble shea butter! How cool is that? Finally, Germall Plus Liquid, while not for everyone, has been my preservative of choice for a long time now and does not irritate me or allow a single speck of mold to grow on my formulations. If you prefer, Optiphen can be substituted.
If you don't like or want the Shea Butter WS in your toner - it may not be necessary for oily skin in summer - leave it out and increase the green tea extract to 1 tsp.
Lastly, there is some "wiggle room" here to add another ingredient of your choice, if you want, without radically changing the feel of the finished product. Some ingredients will add more hydration or moisturization (you could also slightly increase the amounts I gave in the recipe.) The preservative % in my recipe is neither the minimum or maximum indicated usage amount, and some ingredients on Lotioncrafter even come preserved.
Niacinamide - 1/2 tbsp (makes the formulation 4% niacinamide)
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (this must be pre-dissolved in a bit of water first) - 1/2 tbsp (makes the formulation 3% MAP)
Licorice extract liquid - 1 tsp (4%)
Propylene glycol - 1/2 tsp (2%)
Sea Kelp Bioferment - 1/2 tsp (2%)
The finished product will easily spray through a mister, but it can also be made into a gel. I strongly suggest transferring an ounce of it to a different bottle to test out the gelling. Xanthan gum is easiest - 1/4 tsp slowly added to an ounce of liquid, shaken wildly and left to sit for a few hours turns this "toner" into a slimy serum. 1/4 tsp of hydroxyethylcellulose will also gel it nicely, but I have never tried it - and it's not recommended for use with Optiphen.
Me: 24, sensitive combination skin.
The product: $32 or so, including shipping, from epharmacy.com.au - Finacea is Rx only in America, but OTC in Australia. I had no problems with customs. Although this is supposedly a "gel", it is actually an emulsion...the first time I used it I was quite surprised to see a cream when I thought I was getting a gel! However, it is not even REMOTELY moisturizing, so don't worry about the creamier base buffering the azelaic acid.
My experience: First off, my main problems have always been facial redness (the classic splash across the cheeks and nose, as well as a smudge of it on my chin to top it all off) and blackheads on my nose and chin as well as a random clog here and there elsewhere on my face. I have never been diagnosed with rosacea or SD - it is possible I have one or both, but I have no insurance, so I've never seen a doctor about my face. I bought Finacea because I was hoping it could treat both those issues, based on the reviews I saw on MUA.
This can be very irritating at first, which I suspect is why it is Rx in the US. It can be very difficult to tell if the irritation is normal or not. The first week I applied it, it itched for a few minutes and increased my redness/flakiness, but it wasn't anything I couldn't bear. The second week, it was actually WORSE. But then the worst was over and my skin adjusted to it, and now I do not feel any itchiness at all after I apply it, only dryness...and that goes away after I apply moisturizer.
I use Finacea once daily, although the insert recommends using it twice. I can't imagine even trying to use it twice, as I imagine that would really dry out my skin. As it is, my skin is EXTREMELY dry after I first apply it. I cleanse my face, squeeze out a pea-sized amount (the metal tube the Australian version comes in can be very finicky - be very careful how much pressure you apply! If it's at least half full, a very light squeeze on the end is all you need to get a pea's worth of Finacea), dot it across my face, and then rub in. I give it 20 (rather uncomfortable) minutes because I don't want to disrupt its pH level by applying any products immediately after it.
Now, on to what Finacea has done for me. More than anything else, I wanted it to reduce my redness...clog reduction was just a bonus. It really has not done all that much to tone down the erythema. I am less red than when I started (in late December 2010) but not as much as I had hoped, and I am not sure if it's the Finacea or other changes in my skincare routine/diet. But I'm going to give it 5 lippies, because it has absolutely revolutionized my facial texture/clearness. My clogged pores are almost GONE. My nose blackheads are totally gone, there's not a single hard sebum plug anywhere on my face, the little white bumps I'd get on either side of my chin (those ones that aren't very noticeable, but when you squeeze them, they're full of an incredibly long ribbon of goop!) are nowhere to be found - and I can use products I never would have dreamed of trying before Finacea without fearing that they'll clog me up, because they DON'T! I even think it has helped to reduce those pesky seborrheic filaments.
I really, really wish that I could be redness-free, but I certainly can't complain about what Finacea has done for my skin...it's definitely going to be in my routine for as long as I can purchase it.
If you like to use your products up to the very last dab, do yourself a favor and cut the tube in half once you think it's empty. I did this and found 3 more weeks worth of product stuck in the wrinkles of the metal insides, as well as pooled up at the top.
Crème -Graftobian - High-Definition Glamour Color Creme Foundation
stellarfungi 5/18/2011 6:49:00 PM
Me: 24, sensitive skin, combo/oily. I'm a MAC NC20, and Graftobian's Ingenue shade fits me perfectly.
The product: There are a few ways to go about trying this. Several websites, such as camerareadycosmetics.com, offer samples. I've heard those samples are tiny, so I avoided that. If you're confident of your shade, you can buy a pot of it for only around $12. I opted to buy the Warm #1 Palette for $20, and I'm glad I did. Each shade is a small size, but you use up so little of it each time that it will last you a long time! And it's a great way to figure out what shade you are.
My experience: I really love this! I've always heard negative things about "pan makeup", but this is meant for HD, where all of your flaws are on sharp display, and so it looks nothing like the cakey, obvious stage makeup of yore. I've tried RCMA foundation in the past and found it very dry and cakelike, but Graftobian HD Creme is creamy and easy to spread.
The only thing I DON'T like about this is that it does not look nice over my silicone-based sunscreen. This is why Graftobian has a mattifying setting spray, instead - this foundation is meant for a moisturizing primer, NOT a mattifying primer. If you do need a mattifier or something to help it set, whether in powder or spray form, it goes on top. It does apply well over my non-silicone based sunscreen, which is Burnout Eco-Sensitive SPF 32.
To apply the HD Creme, I use three different products: the foundation itself (obviously!), a BeautyBlender sponge, and Reviva Labs Rosewater Facial Spray.
For a sheerer but 100% flake-free and foolproof application, I moisten the BeautyBlender, dot the foundation around my face, spritz my face with the Reviva spray, and then buff it all in with the large end of the BeautyBlender. Once it's been blended in, I mist my face with the spray again and leave it at that. Both the damp BeautyBlender and the spray sheer out the foundation a little, but it melts into my skin perfectly.
For heavier coverage, I spritz my skin with the rosewater spray and wait for that to sink in. I dot my face with the HD Creme and buff with the BeautyBlender, following up with a spritz once I am finished.
This DOES lack staying power, but I've found that buffing pure silica powder on top works like a charm for getting this to set and stick for hours.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - Solanoveil Protect Face Milk SPF 50+/PA+++
stellarfungi 5/9/2011 2:36:00 PM
Me: 24, sensitive combo/oily.
The product: $12 or so plus shipping at Sasa.com. This is a 50g bottle, which is about 1.5 ounces, so it's quite small for those of you aren't familiar with buying sunscreen from Japan and China (their bottles are usually around that size or smaller.) This sunscreen is totally unscented and very watery. The filters are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, octinoxate, and Uvinul A Plus. You can find full ingredient information at MUA member Haruka's website, ratzillacosme.com.
My experience: This is quite difficult to apply because it's VERY runny. I've used milky sunscreens before, but this has almost no thickness to it at all, so some is going to run down your fingers no matter what you do. To apply, I shake the bottle and then squeeze out 1/4 teaspoon into my measuring spoon. Then I pour a small amount from the spoon, onto my fingers, and apply it to a small area of my face. There is no way you could apply 1/4 teaspoon of this stuff without using an actual spoon, in my opinion.
It looks like a sheer, bluish-white liquid when you apply it, and it takes a few minutes to sink in. I apply it, go do something else for a few minutes, then return to rub in whatever is left (which is usually just a streak here or there - I would never wear any sunscreen that took intense rubbing to sink in.) I like that this has no alcohol and no scent. It has a lot of silicones, and so it feels very weightless on your face - nor does it leave a residue when you touch your face, which is always nice. Despite the titanium dioxide, it isn't whitening. However, this does have "light diffusing particles" in the formulation. It's not glittery, like I feared, but it does look dewy. So, while it FEELS matte, and would make a good makeup primer, it doesn't LOOK matte. It imparts somewhere between what I'd term a "glowy" finish and a "shiny" finish. That's a very fine line, but the Protect Face Milk is enough on the "glowy" side for me to feel comfortable wearing it out of the house. However, in the end, I prefer a sunscreen that looks closer to 100% matte, so I probably will not repurchase it.
Where has this been all my life?! I've always had a lot of problems applying foundation, no matter what I used, whether it was a regular makeup sponge, a foundation brush, or my fingers. The only tool I hadn't tried yet was a stippling brush. The Beautyblender blows everything I've tried out of the park, and then some. There isn't much I can say about it that hasn't already been said - this magenta sponge is AMAZING.
I've amassed what seems like enough foundation samples to cover the whole United States military, and I tried the Beautyblender with a few of them. Without the Beautyblender, no matter WHAT I did, foundation just looks cakey and very obvious on my skin. With the Beautyblender, foundations I never would have dreamed of wearing out of the house apply perfectly. I wouldn't say that this makes crappy foundations good - some are just poor quality. But it certainly makes good ones better. Run it under warm water until it inflates, squeeze the water out, dot foundation all over your face and bounce the Beautyblender until everything is buffed in. It could hardly be any easier. The reason why it works so well is that the bouncing deposits pigment evenly across your face without exfoliating your flakes up to the surface the way rubbing with fingers, regular sponges, or brushes would. I'll never go back to any other application method again.
I was skeptical about paying so much for a sponge, but it's well worth it.
Cleansers -Jason Natural Cosmetics - Red Elements Gentle Gel Cleanser
stellarfungi 4/23/2011 5:37:00 PM
Me: 24, sensitive combination skin.
The product: $8 for 7.5 ounces. It's a slick red gel, with no added fragrance and no harsh detergents. It foams very well.
My experience: Color me shocked! The last foaming cleanser I used an entire bottle of was Alpha Hydrox Foaming Cleanser...5 whole years ago. I have tried several foaming cleansers since then and hated all of them. They're normally too drying or have SLS/SLES, neither of which I can use regularly on my face (both irritate me and give me red bumps.) I tried this one because the ingredients list seemed so benign and innocuous, and to my great surprise...this is the best foaming cleanser I've ever used. It does not leave my face feeling stripped (although obviously my face does feel less moisturized than when I use my typical cream or oil cleansers), it does not irritate my skin or cause flushing, it's cheap and it actually does cleanse well. When I apply this with dry hands to a dry face, I can take off most sunscreens. It's also great as a second cleanser following an oil cleanser, to remove any residual oil.
Sunscreen -Unlisted Brand - DCL Super Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50+
stellarfungi 2/11/2011 3:33:00 PM
Me: 23, sensitive combination skin.
The product: $28 (with free shipping) for a 2.5oz bottle on Dermstore.com. On DCL's website, they claim that this has a PPD of 16, although they provide no documentation for their claim. It is PA+++, however, so it's definitely over a PPD of 8. The ingredients list is full of silicones, if you're sensitive to that, and while it has no added fragrance, it does have a medicinal smell to it.
My experience: I emailed DCL and subsequently received three large (.17 ounce each) samples of this sunscreen, but I'm still debating whether I'll finish them. This sunscreen is matte, which is my prime criteria for any sunscreen - I can't bear the feeling of grease or heaviness on my face. Although it is a thick cream in consistency, once it's spread over the skin and given a couple minutes to sink in, it dries to a nice, powdery finish. The problem is that it comes with a white cast. I'm very pale, but the ghostliness was obvious. After about an hour, the white cast was fully gone and it even seemed to improve my skintone a little...but I don't have an hour to wait for my sunscreen to look normal in the morning. Another problem is the smell - it isn't strong, but it DOES linger. I'm happy when my sunscreen is still on my face hours later, but not when I can still smell it there.
In the end, DCL Super Sheer SPF 50+ reminded me a lot of Sunkiller Baby Milk SPF 38 PA+++, which I've also reviewed. They're both very matte, they're both slightly whitening, and they're around the same price...but the Sunkiller is all-physical (a major plus for me), is fragrance-free, and feels even lighter on the face. I won't be purchasing the full size of the DCL Super Sheer sunscreen for this reason - I can get its benefits elsewhere with fewer problems. Perhaps I'll keep my samples for days I just lounge around in the house.
Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10.5%, Octinate 7.5%.
Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ubiquinone, Sodium Dihydroxycetyl, Phosphate, Citric Acid, Squalane, Polysilicone-11, Ceteareth-20, Polysorbate 60, Chlorphenesin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Methylisothiazolinone, Tropolone.
Me: 22, sensitive combination skin - oily nose/chin, dry/cheeks forehead.
The product: This is mostly titanium dioxide, which is not the best sunscreen filter ever. It is very protective against UVB rays, but offers almost no protection over the long range of UVA rays. There is a small amount of zinc oxide, but not enough to provide the kind of UVA protection I expect from my sunscreens. This ingredients list contains no oils and has a silicone quite high up, providing a decently matte texture but very little hydration or moisturization.
My experience: I emailed Verdure asking for a sample and they responded very promptly. They sent a generous sample - enough for about three 1/4 tsp applications in a little jar. They also sent a very cute handwritten note. So, in other words...their customer service was great!
I was very skeptical of the cream when I first saw it, because it is very white and thick in the jar. However, once spread onto the face and rubbed in a little (which is technically a no-no with sunscreen...but 1/4 tsp is already a bit much for my facial size, so I let it slide...) it actually does disappear on my (very pale) skin. It is fairly matte and non-greasy, but not the most matte sunscreen I've ever used. However, I do not think it would be moisturizing, either. It's hard to say from just a few uses, but I had to use a moisturizer underneath it to keep my skin from flaking. I prefer that to super-greasy sunscreens, though.
All in all? It's a decent, semi-matte sunscreen. It does not offer enough UVA protection for me to want to purchase the full size, but if I were to receive it as a Christmas present or something, I'd use the whole thing up.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - MOOM Nourishing Botanical Hair Remover
stellarfungi 1/8/2011 6:51:00 PM
This stuff is THE BEST. Seriously! I was always afraid of waxing my eyebrows at home because it just seemed so fussy and difficult - getting the wax just right, applying it just right, removing excess wax with oil, etc. MOOM has been my first and only product for eyebrow waxing, and I don't see myself ever trying anything else.
I only use this to wax my eyebrows, not anywhere else. As an eyebrow wax kit, this will last you forever and ever...even if you're clumsy and scatter-brained, like me. I dropped the glass jar on my bathroom floor and it broke. I managed to salvage some glass-free wax in the bottom of the jar and depot it into a plastic jar I had laying around (which is not a bad idea even if your glass jar is still intact), so I actually have only around 1/10 of the product left, but 6 months later I've barely used any of it. It comes with several eyebrow-sized cloth strips, but you can easily cut the larger strips it comes with if you lose the smaller strips (like I did!)
Steps I take to use MOOM on my eyebrows:
1) Wash my eyebrow area with a fairly strong cleanser to get all the oils off, as if the area is too oily, the wax won't work as well. I do this first to let it dry completely before I'm ready to apply it (again, moisture = impossible to wax.)
2) Warm it up. When I bought MOOM, I didn't even have a microwave, so I never warmed it up. The instructions for eyebrow waxing say it's not necessarily, and it WILL work without warming, but it's very difficult to spread...so if you have a microwave or the patience to warm it up through other means, do so. I pop my little plastic jar in the microwave for 7 seconds and the wax becomes perfectly warm.
3) Spread the wax LIGHTLY over your eyebrows in the direction of the hair growth. If the MOOM is too thick, it won't work. If you have any doubts about the placement of the wax, wash it off - I learned that the hard way, too!
4) Tamp down the cloth in the direction of the hair growth. I believe the instructions (which I lost a long time ago) say not to press down too hard, but I find pressing it down firmly to be the best way to go about it.
5) Hold skin taut and rip very quickly against the direction of hair growth.
6) Marvel at how much hair is on the cloth.
Me: 23, combination skin - oily nose/chin, dry & sensitive cheeks/forehead, red all over.
The product: About $20 for 1.7 ounces, which is really good for an AHA/BHA serum...or any serum at all, considering how jacked up prices for treatments can get! This comes in an airless pump and has an unmistakable propylene glycol/glycerin feel. As in, slippery, slick, and somewhat gooey. Although it contains fragrance, it doesn't smell very much at all. It has a faint metallic odor, but that's about it. I tested the pH with my own strips, and got 4.
My experience: SO MUCH LOVE. I've used both AHA (in cream form) and BHA (in toner form) separately, and neither had the impact I wanted them to have. It appears that an AHA/BHA serum was just what I've needed. I've used up about 20% of the bottle, and I've already seen a dramatic difference in the texture of my face. I have less flakes, less roughness, and all my other products are sinking in much better. I've even been able to experiment with some makeup, which is a miracle, because foundation ALWAYS highlighted every single flake on my face (of course, the search for a good foundation would probably bankrupt me - lol!) Now, that said, this hasn't loosened up my blackheads to a tremendous degree - yet. I still have a rather annoying case of nose/chin blackheads, although my skin is pretty clear elsewhere. Hopefully by the end of the bottle, those pesky nose comedones will be lessened. If not, I'll probably try a stronger AHA/BHA product. But so far, I love this, and I'm perfectly willing to give it time.
The best part is how hydrating it feels. Rather than spending 20-30 minutes after I apply it counting down until I can put a moisturizer on (after using any acidic product, you're supposed to wait at least 20 minutes before using anything else), I've actually applied it and then realized an hour later that I hadn't used a moisturizer yet.
I did experience what I consider purging when I started using LacSal serum. There is some question about whether BHA actually does make you purge, but whatever those whiteheads/pimples were caused by, they were gone after 2 weeks.