Product Review: The Ordinary 30% AHA + 2% BHA Peeling Solution

BOO! Nope, it’s not your friend’s gory Halloween makeup, it’s The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA peeling solution! I posted a picture of myself on Facebook and immediately got questions on PRP (or the vampire facial), getting into a fight with a cheese grater, a chimney sweep and my favorite – my husband proclaiming he did not inflict any damage to his wife. Take a look at my goofy face. For many reasons it’s a little frightening.Ordinary_30

The Ordinary is a great little company that has taken the beauty market by storm. Anything but ordinary, they make really good, straightforward products that are both effective and very affordable. It’s a great way to inexpensively try things you’ve never heard of before like HA spheres and squalene. They’ve also recently been incorporated at Sephora, which is an interesting play for them to bring in lower cost options but goes to show you they’ve been making enough noise in the industry for the big players to notice.

A quick intro to acids

Acids are the absolute most essential part to my skincare routine and I suggest that Readhead readers incorporate them as well.  My skin both loves it, and requires it. I have dehydrated oily skin.  Think of the dehydrated skin as saran wrap over oil.  If you don’t get that layer off, the oil gets trapped in my large pores and breakout city. For drier skins, they may be too delicate for harsh scrubs and a lack of cell turnover can produce dull, crepey skin.

The main thing to know about acids is they fall into basically two camps – AHA (or alpha hydroxy acids) or BHA (beta hydroxy acids). AHAs are great at removing the “glue” that holds the top layers of skin together.  They will brighten and tighten.  Common names are glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids and come in formulations from 7-75%.  They are great for resurfacing, treating sun damage and fine lines. BHAs are generally lower percentages, with most functioning properly at 2%.  They bypass sebum (aka oil) to get into the pore to unclog them and are generally a form of salicylic acid. You can see some peeling at higher percentages, but this is more of a getting down and dirty type of acid vs. the AHA which will show immediate brightening effects.  Rest assured though, they are both acids and require careful use and SPF!

The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA

As mentioned above, it should make sense to you then why formulation in The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA has a much AHA higher percentage than the BHA.  But, it’s great that this formulation includes both. especially for skin types like mine – read anything other than very sensitive or reactive.  I would also like to throw out there that if you don’t plan on a good SPF/hat/shade game, then please skip this.  Not only will you undo any of the benefits, but you’ll also make your skin more photosensitive.

Ingredients:

Here’s the ingredients from The Ordinary’s site: Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

You’ll see the AHAs glycolic, tactic and tartaric and citric acids listed which help get to that 30% formulation. Salicylic acid is the BHA.  Then you’ve got a host of hydrators and soothers like sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide, glycerin and what gives this stuff it’s signature (and frightening) blood-red color is the Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf extract.

Packaging and Application:

This states, and I agree, that this is for seasoned skincare folks who know how to use and can tolerate high percentages of acids. It comes in a bottle with a dropper.  No frills, but looks clean and in line with the Ordinary’s slightly hipster anti-packaging flare. I started with a clean, dry face and put a few drops on my hands and then slathered it on.

The reddish-pink color was a bit shocking but I have to admit that I appreciated that you could easily see where you put the peel on.  I then patted in a few extra goes on my forehead, nose, chin and cheeks which need some extra de-clogging. You’ll see that is the more streaky areas from the picture. I let it sit for 10 minutes; it was very simple to use and didn’t require extra steps or tools. I can dig that.

Result

I am very acclimated to OTC acids and I could feel this one.  It certainly wasn’t unbearable, but I could feel it.  Definitely do not use this with any open cuts, acne, after sun exposure or recent exfoliation.

I rinsed it off and voila! My face was tight, bright and shiny.  Here’s my face again with no filter and no makeup…or hair styling for that matter.  See Readhead readers, there’s nothing but keepin’ it real here.Ordinary_30after

You’ll see I’ve got a nice glow customary of AHA peels.  My pores were temporarily diminished and the majority were clean.  I have two stubborn blackheads that didn’t budge though, unfortunately.

I decided to wait a couple of days to review this to see what happened.  My skin felt somewhat dry, but did not visibly flake. That ultra bright glow did fade but as the days went by my skin was still brighter than previous.  My one caveat to that was that I broke out in tiny white heads in a few places.  Since you’ve read my pimple puzzle post I knew that this was caused by some irritation from this peel.  They weren’t ragers, but they popped up and came to a head very quickly. I had read some reviews from others that this happened to. I don’t believe in purging, especially my skin since I’m not starting a skincare routine from scratch, so I chalked this up to irritation. For those who have sensitive skin, you may want to patch test first. I would also caution using this on your neck or your chest area without patch testing as these areas are typically more sensitive and delicate than your facial skin.

Final assessment

This did what a mask of this type should do.  It was kind of fun to use in the process as well!  The ingredients are good and YOU CANNOT BEAT THE PRICE.  It’s a whopping $7.20 compared to the $80 that my beloved Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial retails for.

It’s got a lot going for it, and now that I’m basically back to being a poor college student (more on that in another post) I think this is a great option for budget-seekers. Where it does fall down for me though, is the irritation. For someone of my skin type it is missing that extra blend of luxuriousness like the Babyfacial which left me with similar results, no irritation and missing that feeling of dry “if you rubbed your finger over my skin it would sound like Tupperware” skin afterwards.

When you’re talking $8 vs. $80 though, you’re willing to forego some things.  I’d recommend this one, but with a cautionary note.  It’s high powered and makes no excuses. It lacks overall availability like a drugstore product, but you can easily order it online or stop by Sephora or another Ordinary shop.

Overall: 4/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging:  5/5

 

Have you used The Ordinary products? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-foam Clay Trio

As someone who loves Korean skincare, I’m definitely a Dr. Jart fan.  My love with the brand started when my skin went haywire and still needed protection, so I tried the Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm.  With all the options in my arsenal, this is the one I still use today. Pretty impressive coming from a beauty junkie!

When I see a new (to me anyway) Dr. Jart product comes on the market and it addresses exactly what I need, I snag it.  It was winter time and my skin was angry.  Between flying back and forth between Cincinnati and New York, an absolutely brutal winter, and those pesky pimples that I assessed via my trusty way thus figuring they were caused by dehydration and bacteria while using a scarf to literally cover my face.  A straight up clay mask was too dehydrating, and ding! Dr. Jart to the rescue.

What it is

Dr. Jart’s Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay Trio is pretty darn descriptive of what it is.  You get a package with three different tubes – pink, white and green – that are in essence still a clay mask that busts through oil and debris in your skin, but targeted to different needs.  The pink is moisturizing, white is clarifying, and green is calming.  I’ll take that, that, and that.

Packaging

These three flexible metal tubes (think toothpaste) come in a see-through plastic box with a sturdy piece at the bottom where all three caps rest into.  This would help them stand up if needed.  I liked that it kept them separated and easy to know which one I was pulling out, but the “stand” did get stuck and was hard for me to pull the tubes out the first few times.  I also liked the toothpaste-like tubing which would make sure you could get the last drop out.

Much like most of Dr. Jart’s products, the look is a clean and clinical.  All three tubes are white with silver and black lettering.  The differentiation between pink, gray and white is very subtle on the label, reminding me of those pastel chalky buttery mints you get.  If you weren’t paying attention, they could easily get confused.

Application

Since I was breaking out, I tried the white (or clarifying) one first. I squeezed it onto my fingers and low and behold.  Trans-foam clay was exactly what it felt like.  It was substantial, yet airy.  It almost felt like liquid styrofoam. Not gel-like, not mud-like, not granular, not pasty…just…airy and foamy clay.

I squeezed out about the length of the tip of my pointer finger. It held it’s shape, but spread easily bordering between clay and soap.  Such a strange consistency!  I put it all over my face, tapping it in areas where gunk tends to accumulate and let it sit. The smell was somewhere between clay and Dr. Jart’s signature herbal scents.

It dried down, but not to an uncomfortable dryness that can happen with clay. I could still move my face without it feeling like it was cracking and tugging. There was no tingle.  I didn’t see hoards of oil pouring out of my face.  What was this stuff doing?  I had no idea.

I washed it off and the consistency changed to almost a thick, moisturizing yet foamy face wash.  It took me some extra rinses to get it all off.  Once I finished my skin was clean, but not squeaky clean.  My skin looked clear, but it didn’t blast through my blackheads on my nose.  Hmm.  Could Dr. Jart be letting me down?

Final Assessment

I used these a few more times, and while I can’t say that I felt a noticeable difference between the colors (although the pink did have a different smell), they were “nice.”  They certainly didn’t hurt my skin, but I didn’t see miracles happening either.

However, what I found as an AMAZING way to use them, is after working out.  I tend to break out because my gigantic pores clog so easily.  Now, after a good run I come home and slap some of this on and let it dry.  This gets in my open pores with sweat and grime and pulls it out gently before I hop into the shower where I can rinse it off and use my trusty CeraVe SA.  I can use this multiple times per week which is great.  A straight up clay mask, or ones with acids would be too harsh to do this frequently.  I’ve noticed a marked improvement from when I wasn’t using this, especially where my jaw meets my neck.  I’ve been plagued with pesky pimples in this area for a few years now.  Finally!

Would I buy these again?  If I’m on a health kick, or in the summer when I have the potential for sweat and sunscreen to wreak havoc on me, then I probably would.  But, it’s not something, at least at this point, that I feel I couldn’t live without.  If you’re someone who suffers from breaking out due to sweating and you have sensitive skin, this might be a great alternative for you.

At $35 for three tubes it’s not a budget buster, but if you had to make some choices in your beauty routine, this is one I think you can do without.  Sorry, Dr. Jart, one of the first products you make that’s not HG for me.

Overall: 3.5/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 4/5

Do you have a product from Dr. Jart that you love?  Drop us a line in the comments.

 

The Cheap Mask for the Pumpkin Everything Lover

Ahhh fall.  It’s almost that time again.  When I was younger it was noted by the cooling temps and the leaves changing vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow.  Now it’s because well…IT’S PUMPKIN EVERYTHING SEASON!

This mask is sure to make the pumpkin fiends out there as happy as enjoying a pumpkin late with a slice of pumpkin pie.  Andalou Naturals is a bit off the radar as a brand, but has some impressive products.  Their Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask retails for drugstore friendly pricing and works as well as it’s luxury competitors.  Beyond the fact it works, it literally smells like pumpkin pie on your face.  And that, ReadHead readers, is a little slice of heaven.

For those who also like a little granola on the side of your scientific skincare, you’ll like Andalou’s brand promise: “Andalou Naturals, the first Non-GMO Project Verified beauty brand, is the ultimate culmination of their many years developing meaningful policy and healthy products partnered with their deep commitment to uplifting people and the planet.”  Hug your skin and the world while you’re at it.

Ingredients:

Andalou Naturals is full of natural products and little fillers.  That’s why I like this brand.  Sure, you’ll see straightforward ingredients which means you could make something similar at home, but by the time you get the ingredients and the formulations right, whether it be hard costs for ingredients or opportunity cost, I’d pass and go for this little gem that’s ready. set. go.

Pumpkin is a double whammy of goodness, providing vitamin-rich C and glycolic acid, which both help to brighten skin by reversing free radical damage and removing dead skin cells.  It’s the #1 ingredient, and is supported by the stand-alone glycolic acid ingredient, which is what you want to see when you’re judging effectiveness. You’ve also got pineapple juice and sugar cane which aid in the breakdown of old, dull skin.

Ingredients like glycerin, honey and sodium hyaluronate help to calm and moisturize, as well as many other “extracts” that help to aid in exfoliation or soothing of the skin.

This does have cinnamon in it, which can add in that tingle that you’ll feel and is supposed to help invigorate the skin, but being towards the end of the list I think it’s more for the smell to evoke that pumpkin pie feeling, and can be irritating to some.

Here’s the list of ingredients:

Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Puree*, Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Manuka Honey, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Juice*, Pectin, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cyamopsis Tetragonolobus (Guar) Gum*, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Lecithin, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract*, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) and Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Oils, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Extract*^, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon), Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) and Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Powders*.

Non-GMO verified *Organic ^Fair Trade

Application & Consistency:

Right when you open the jar, you get a whiff of pumpkin which smells slightly like pie but a little less sugary.  It looks like an earthy concoction with an orange tinge as anything with pumpkin should.  It comes in a jar, which I prefer a pump top to maintain the ingredients, but for the price is expected.

I put it on my face and immediately felt tingle.  I’m used to acids, but if you are a newbie, know that this will have some kick.  Negative reviews will state this, that it burned or left their face red.  I say that they may not understand the role of acids (they can burn and turn you red).  Pumpkin also contains niacin which can give you a bit of a flush if you’re sensitive to it.  It’s always best to patch test if you are reactive to ingredients or have very sensitive skin.

The consistency was a bit of a gel-like puree.  It spread easily, but felt earthy.  It’s a bit inconsistent in it’s application which is fine by me.  It doesn’t contain silicones that will give this a beautiful slip.  It’s a bit clunky, not like oatmeal, but you get the idea.

I sat with it on my face for 15 min.  The tingle stopped in that time, and it dried down to a nice feel.  It wasn’t overly tight or harsh like a clay mask.  I rinsed it off and voila!  Bright, clear skin that had a slight orange tinge to it that went away quickly.

Final Assessment:

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a mask with this type of quality and is yummy to use.  Especially with fall time coming around when we’re trying to undo all the summer sun damage and get ourselves into the swing of cooler weather and flannel.  For around $15 for a 1.7 oz jar, it’s one I forget I own as I pillage my more pricier options, and continue to kick myself after using it because it’s great and for a great price.

Sit down and slather this one on. It’s time to treat yo’ self without feeling guilty from your wallet or the calories.

Overall: 5/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 3/5

 

Have you tried any Andalou products or want to know more about them? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

Product Review: Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

I am a self-proclaimed Drunk Elephant product line fan.  I believe in what they stand for (like saving my favorite animal, the elephant) and that their products contain what’s good and leave out what’s not.

The T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial does not disappoint. Since I am a Sephora VIP Rouge customer, I was able to get my trembling hands on this baby before it was available to the masses. The cute, yet not over-the-top packaging in eggshell and light pink flanked by one happy pachyderm was convenient and reflects understated luxury.  True to my trusted favorite brand, it’s rated a certified ReadHead best.  It’s pricey at $80 for 1.69 oz but I’ll make it rain for this product.

What is it?

The Babyfacial is a wonderful mask + peel.  Two pumps of the wheat-colored concoction of goodness covers your face and after 20 minutes provides an effective shellacking of your skin due to the powerful punch of 25% AHA and 2% BHA acids.

Ingredients:

Drunk Elephant’s products always contain top of the line ingredients that are designed for effectiveness but cut down on irritants. There’s no fillers here.  Chock full of acids, sodium PCA and hyaluronate for hydration and extracts (which equal antioxidants) and this gem is sure to brighten and tighten dull, dehydrated skin.

Here’s the list from Sephora’s website:

-Blend 25% (Glycolic + T.L.C. (T) Tartaric, (L) Lactic, (C) Citric Acids) and Salicylic Acid (BHA) 2%: Exfoliate surface dead skin cells and support surface turnover to smooth and brighten the appearance of skin; exfoliates pores as well as on the surface of the skin, refining pores and providing greater skin clarity while soothing redness.
-Gram/Chickpea Flour: Absorbs excess oil without over-drying, balances, and brightens skin’s appearance while combating dullness.
-Pumpkin Ferment Extract: Aids in gentle exfoliation with a rich source of fatty acids and antioxidant components, carotene, lutein, and carotenoids, and contains naturally occurring enzymes.
-Matcha (Green Tea Leaf Powder), Milk Thistle, and Apple Extracts: Contain potent antioxidant and anti-pollution properties, helping to condition and soothe.

Water, Glycolic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Silybum Marianum Seed Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder, Cicer Arietinum Seed Powder, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium PCA, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Dextrin, Polydextrose, Sorbitan Isostearate, Amylopectin, Niacinamide, Phytosphingosine, Lactic Acid, Propanediol, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polysorbate 60, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.

Application:

Application was easy and fast.  The directions say to leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse off. I did feel some tingling, which means those who have sensitive skin should take it easy and start off with shorter amounts of time. It does have a bit of a smell to me, which probably is the pumpkin ferment and apple.  It isn’t off-putting and smells natural.

Results:

Ooh baby this stuff is the ish. My skin glowed and the acids helped tame some of my acne I had popping up.  I had no irritation and my texture smooth.  I didn’t have any peeling or dryness.  Kudos again to the developers at D.E.  I’m totally fan-girling over this one.

Overall Rating: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Do you love Drunk Elephant or have tried the Babyfacial? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

 

Product Review: Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque

Full disclosure, I have only used this a few times, so I will come back and update it once I’ve used the whole tube. But, I’ve used a lot of masks in my day and do think that the initial use is worth the review.

I bought this mask because of all the skin care steps, a mask is the one I probably lack on using enough and the ingredients were impressive. I am prone to clogged pores and milia (those little white bumps you get) due to my large pores yet dehydrated skin that produces and traps oil or heavy products, so I’m always on the hunt for something that is either a miracle worker or fits well into my current routine. Enter Dermalogica’s Charcoal Rescue Masque.

Texture – This goes on as a smooth, yet grainy mask due to the physical exfoliating properties in it. Unlike a mud mask, or other clay masks, I did not get an immediate cooling sensation with this one. It spread easily, and came out of the tube in the appropriate amounts. It went on as a sort of wet(ish) grainy mask that is a mud green color.

Ingredients – wow, wow, wow my acne-prone skin did one of those double takes when you see someone too hot to be real.  Lots of clays to pull out the gunk (kaolin and bentonite), lactic and mandelic acid and physical exfoliators to tackle that glow, acne fighters like witch hazel, charcoal, volcanic ash, sulfur and tea tree oil…I mean…drool.

Full list of ingredients here:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Kaolin, Bentonite, Maris Limus (Sea Silt) Extract, Sulfur, Lactic Acid, Niacinamide, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Butylene Glycol, Mandelic Acid, Calcium Sulfate, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Charcoal Powder, Volcanic Ash, Peumus Boldus Leaf Extract, Phytic Acid, Naringenin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Panthenyl Triacetate, Glycerin, Galactoarabinan, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.

Application – was easy. I used about a quarter size to cover my face. My skin is feeling winter dry, so I only applied it to my T zone area. I made sure to be gentle when putting it on due to the exfoliators in there. It covered adequately, not too thin and not goopy.

Experience – it took about 10 min for it to really start to dry down. It dried to a light, sandy green and once it started drying felt really tight. Although I have sensitive skin, I am well acclimated in physical and chemical exfoliators, so I did not get a tingle that was of any intensity and my face did not turn red, but I would caution anyone with very sensitive or dry skin against using this, at least for any extended period of time.

Washing it off – unlike some of the other masks that I’ve used, this was fairly easy to get off. I appreciated the physical exfoliators and liked that this product included a lot of things I needed in one. My face looked smooth and evened out. Blackheads were less but not completed decreased.

To Sum It Up: This is not a mask that you’ll feel pampered using. It’s a POWER WORKER to get all dirt and grime out of your face.  It certainly doesn’t feel luxurious, but hey, if you’re blasting through my acne problems, who cares. The ingredients are known to be effective, and smell. The sulfur smell (think rotten eggs) wasn’t intense to me when I put it on, but it did linger all night. You might not want to use this one before a romantic night! I used a rather heavy duty moisturizer last night, but my t-zone area feels dry/tight today, a little roughed up albeit squeaky clean. Those with oily skin may want to use this a few times a week, but for me, this is no more than 1 x per week or after a heavy makeup day.

I’m very impressed with the heavy-duty ingredients in this one mask and would highly recommend it.

Overall Rating – 4/5

Price$$$$$

Packaging – 4/5