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.

 

Product Review: Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

Does this describe you?

Hate the effort of putting on lotion but loathe dry skin?

Easily get cold when getting out of the shower so you rush to the finish line sans adding back needed moisture?

Use lotion but just never feel like you have enough moisture afterwards?

Although embarrassed by your snaky scaly self, you somehow do nothing about it?

Hate the feel or smell of lotion?

Think lotion is just for women?

Introducing your new best friend and my favorite product I’ve stumbled upon in 2018 – Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

What it is

Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer is a silky, non-sticky feeling lotion (boom! #5) jam packed with additional emollient moisturizers and oils (bang! #3) that you use IN the shower (ca-chow! #2) that allows you to quickly slather it on (bye Felicia! #1 and #4) and makes your skin soft like a well-oiled cabana girl (or boy) plus smell like a tropical coconut paradise that is both appropriate for men and women (I got 99 problems but #5 or #6 ain’t one).  The technology in this is slightly different than the other in-shower lotions I’ve tried which instruct you to use during your shower and wash off, like an extra-moisturizing body wash.

This in-shower moisturizer is used after you turn your shower off and while you’re still wet.  Then, you just simply pat dry.  It works by entering your pores while they are open from the steam, and the oils trapping moisture into the skin.

Not having to stand in my bathroom freezing your coconuts off while slathering lotion on? Now THIS I can get on board with.

Packaging

The packaging comes in a soft blue plastic bottle, similar to what you’d experience with any body wash.  The bottle tapers to a wider bottom which also has the flip-top lid.  This provides a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over and eliminates any need for shaking to get the product out.  It looks appropriate for a man or woman’s shower.  The blue although pale, does not come across as overly masculine and there’s no flowery imagery which shouts girl-power.  It’s edges are rounded and although no frills packaging, it was well-thought out and is nice for the category. It’s a utility product which easily blends in with all your shower basics.

Application

When I squeezed the lotion out, it was a consistency you’d expect.  It’s a lotion, but much more oil-based.  It’s thinner, but not runny.  The creamy color also has some transparency to it. I put about a silver dollar-sized dollop in my left hand, and then scooped a little here and there to place on my arms, legs, stomach, chest, and back area so that it was evenly spread.  Next, I got to work rubbing it in everywhere.  My hands slid around like I was putting oil on, but there was no sticky/oily/tacky feel.  It was almost as if it dissipated into water.

I lathered myself up for about 30 seconds, making sure to pay special attention to my knees, elbows and decollete area which tend to get dry.  It too so little time that I hadn’t begun to freeze in the shower yet and ta-dah!  I was finished.

I purchased the coconut which caused some apprehension on my end.  I do not like overly sweet or sugary smells.  This was great.  It smelled like coconut oil without the sugar and reminded me of being at the beach getting a tan (without the fake Banana Boat waft).  It also wasn’t overpowering that it would interfere with other stronger scents.

The first time I tried it, I wiped myself down after the shower.  I then tried it again with patting, and this seemed to work better, allowing the moisturizer to remain a bit longer and penetrate deeper.

Overall

If you can’t tell by my review, I absolutely love this product.  I find myself touching my shoulders and my decollete which have been blasted by the sun over the years and they are soft as a baby’s behind.  It’s not going to solve all the dry skin problems (please don’t use this on your face), but if you’re like me who’s shower water is may be heated by nuclear reactors and ANYTHING better will be an improvement, this is a great option.  If you’re already using great products, this will also help kick it up a notch.

For 10 oz. at $5.59 on Amazon or availability in just about any drugstore which always carry sales, you can’t beat the price and convenience on this product. Ulta typically has buy one get one half off sales, so I plan to stock up.

I highly recommend that men and women alike give this one a try! I’m rating this one as a Certified ReadHead Best!

Overall: 5/5 

*Certified ReadHead Best 

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have an in-shower moisturizer or lotion you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Product Review: Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub

Since the first step is admitting, here goes.  My name is Stacie, and I am a lip picker.  Yes. My lips have been chronically dry since before I came out of the womb I suppose. Since I have sensitive skin that is prone to clogging, scrubs either weren’t enough or balms too rich or just flat out didn’t work.  So there they remain, dry, and totally pick-able.

I received Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub as a gift from a co-worker (hayyy Angie!) and the same night I took it home I used it with such enthusiasm. I had never heard of this brand but Sara Happ touts herself as “the lip expert” and word-of-mouth from a friendly beauty enthusiast is priceless to me. I appreciate when a product developer is focused on a certain area.  It gives me confidence that they know what they’re doing if they can be successful in one area.

The Sara Happ brand’s promise is conscious-friendly: “No animal testing, ever. 100% paraben-free, always. Using the highest grade essential oils and extracts, every time. Dressing our gems in eco-friendly packaging. Manufacturing in the USA, proudly.”

Off I went to scrub the day away!

Ingredients:

Unlike your run-of-the-mill gas station last minute buy, this one has few ingredients that are natural.  I didn’t see anything that caused me pause, or made me afraid to try it given my acne prone skin. Plus there were some nice additions of vitamin E and oils that both moisturize and pack an antioxidant punch.

From the box: Sucrose, Petrolatum, Caramel, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) seed oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba) see oil, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Anuus (Sunflower) seed extract

Packaging:

This comes in a clear glass jar with a silver top, adorned with the moniker of sh.  It looks sleek, and higher end.  The box it came in was a gorgeous dark, rich caramel-y brown that appropriately paid off the name of the flavor I was gifted – brown sugar. It is small but well-crafted.  On top the box had foiled Sarah Happ in a cute script and her claim to fame, “lip expert” with a lip smooch. I did have to frown there. So sophisticated until that last bit.

Application:

I opened the jar and saw a tightly packed concoction of dark brown sugar.  However, there’s no whipped or gel about it.  It’s a super condensed and somewhat hard to dig out of the jar.  I had to use my ring finger with some gusto but I found that works because you really don’t need that much.  *You may want to invest in a tiny spatula for sanitary reasons. Then, spread it on around in circles with my ring finger even outside of my lip line to exfoliate where those little lines like to creep up.  Around and around I went for about 2 minutes, making sure to get the creases and the driest parts of my lips.  The product held on for dear life, didn’t dissolve, didn’t feel too scratchy but wasn’t a fine grain, either.

I tasted the brown sugar and it was pretty good.  Not artificial or overly sugary.  You could taste the caramel.

Overall:

Once I was complete I wiped it off with a tissue and voila! Moisturized, buffed lips that felt buttery and smooth.  They, and the area around my mouth didn’t feel roughed up or slathered in oil.  It felt, well, just nice.  I’ve used this a few times and follow up with a lip balm (currently using Hempz Sweet Pineapple and Honey) to which my lips stayed moisturized, happy and flake free.  I didn’t notice myself picking because there was no dry skin!

It is on the pricier end at $22 for .5oz.  It states on the box 30 uses, but after using it a few times I’ve hardly made a dent.

If you’ve got dry skin and enjoy a glass of red wine (but not the leftover evidence) then this is a great option to try!

Overall: 5/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you tried a Sara Happ product or have a lip product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Product Review: Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

While perusing the makeup aisle at Walgreens looking for some fun additions before a work holiday party, I wandered over to the Milani section which I must admit, I’ve never taken seriously because it’s all the way in the back.  I pass my trusty go-tos long before I reach their products, which is next to the off-brands and hodge podge of nail/tweezers/cotton balls.

I have been hearing more and more about Milani’s quality drugstore items and I was in the mood for a new highlighter, so I snatched this one up.  And I must say, if this product is an indication of Milani products in general, well it’s time I get on the fan-girl bus!

What is Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

Milani’s Strobelight Instant Glow Powder is a finely milled highlighting powder that comes in an impressive array of colors – seven to be exact. There’s a great chance that you can find one that works with your skin tone, and that you can experiment with for different looks. It’s best used to highlight the high points of the face and body (much like bronzer, you use it where light would reflect off your skin) and to give you a soft – or high wattage – sheen. Highlighters provide a “dewiness” effect which can make skin look younger, more awake.  It is also a nice final trick to a contour job to help further emphasize the good – eyes, bridge of the nose, lips – and divert the eyes away from problem areas.

I tend to have dehydrated, oily skin and use a lot of emollient products, so highlighters aren’t something I use everyday.  But, when I’m going glam or feel winter dryness sucking the life from my face, I appreciate the look that a good one can provide. I surprised myself by reaching for a powder because I’m borderline obsessive about not putting anything powdery by my impending crow’s feet so I’ve gone the liquid route in the past.  But for the price and the sheer curiosity, into my basket it went.

First Look & Packaging

I went with the color 01 Afterglow because I’m fair-skinned and I believe it was the last one left which hints at its popularity.  The presentation of the product itself was nice; it has a raised swirl pattern to it which picks up light and also provides additional texture to help lift the product from the pan onto the brush. Typical to your average drugstore product the packaging is just fine.  That’s it.  Just fine.  No frills here but it was sturdy enough at the hinge and was easy to hold.  It didn’t come with a mirror or a brush which is not a deal breaker for me.  I don’t do my highlighter on the go and the brushes you get are generally junk but if you’re looking at a convenience factor and those things are important to you, what you see is what you get.

Application

I used a typical blush brush and first lightly swirled it in one circle around the pan.  I do this for all products especially the first time because I had no idea how sparkly or opaque this would be and to make sure I pick up any variance in color throughout the pan. I then started at my upper cheek bones (and cringed while putting powder here…I digress), swiped it back and forth in a diagonal line to follow my cheek bones and then blended by changing that to a C shape –  bit under my eye area and up around my temples and brow.

I was impressed at how buttery this came out.  No glitter, no dusty chalkiness.  Because I was feeling frisky I did one more light pass just the same and came out with an impressive “lit from within” look to my skin.  I then proceeded to do the same down the bridge of my nose, a dot on my chin, a smidge in the middle of my forehead by my nose, and my collar bones.

Pro tip: use a shadow brush, dip it into your highlighter, and trace your Cupid’s bow (where your top lip dips) and bottom lip, and add a dab to the middle of both of your lips.  Make sure to blend it out.  This will help accentuate your lips without using a gloss. Get multiple uses by using it as a brow highlight or inner-corners of your eyes.  You can also give yourself some quick dimension and all-over glow by using a big brush and running it down your shoulders/arm, and front of your legs.  I recommend using a different pan for your face and body, however.

I did use this another time and added more than a light second layer.  It gave me that Instahighlight that really caught the light.  It was more bold than I like to go with my highlighter, but wasn’t garish, still blended nicely and proved you can get some serious color pay-off with this little gem.

Overall Thoughts

For $10 at .3 oz which will last me forever, and the convenience of finding this at any drugstore (if it’s in stock) I think this is a fantastic buy.  The highlight is versatile to fit lots of different looks for different occasions (yes, you’ll light up the floor at your unce unce unce club if you want!).  It’s fun for baby-faced glowsters, and also very age-appropriate for the um shall I say “slightly more matured” woman or man.  It has no glitter or sparkles, and was very buildable.  You will want to be moisturized before using this, but it did not dry me out, settle into fine lines or accentuate texture issues.  This is #1 of importance to me as an aging woman with large pores.

New Year’s is right around the corner and is a perfect opportunity to have some fun with your routine to ring in the new year.  I may grab up one of the golden colors to try something new.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep Milani on my radar as a strong contender for amazing drugstore finds!

Overall: 4/5

Packaging: 3/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used Milani products or have a highlight tip you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Nars Lip Pencils

It quite possibly took me 25+ years to wear a colored lipstick out of the house that wasn’t either for Halloween or some shade of nude/clear/light pink/balm.  Lipsticks can be tricky and ESPECIALLY when you are a natural redhead (hello clown face) and uncomfortable with the wrong formulation.

There are less than five lip colors that I own and have purchased with my own money.  Two of them (and my favorites!) are Nars lip pencils: the Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal and the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella (gasp – a red!!).

The Difference:

The names are pretty indicative of what you’re getting with each. The Velvet Matte is a true matte (meaning without any shine) that gives you that sultry-looking pout.  The Satin Lip is a bit more buttery – closer to your standard lipstick – but still maintains the pencil application.  It does have a slight satin shine finish to it.

Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Cruella

Color – this is a great classic red that is versatile. It is in between vampy and ring the alarm red. Highly rated by almost every beauty blogger out there, it goes on with precision due to it’s chubby pencil formula which means you can go without a lip pencil if you like.  It provides a brightness to the face, a whiteness to your smile, and is daring enough for those like me who have typically steered clear of reds in the past, while still approachable for an everyday red for those who are used to pulling it off. It can withstand the idea of either playing up your eyes or your lips so that you can go from girl next door to glam.

Application & Wear- as mentioned it goes on really easily with it’s pencil-like tip that isn’t as thin as a typical lip pencil, but easy enough to grip, creates a defined line and you can hold it with ease and no worry of breakage.  It glides on smoothly without much tugging, which can happen especially with matte lipsticks.  This is not meant to be a 24-hour lasting formula, and it doesn’t but I find that it has enough staying power to last you a few hours and it’s fade, although lighter, doesn’t become a blotchy mess.  Typical to most matte lipsticks, it was a bit drying on me so it would require some good exfoliating and moisturizing before application.

Satin Lip Pencil: Palais Royal

Color – this one is a beautiful sangria color, perfect for the winter months or glamourous night out on the town. To me, this one feels more at home than a typical red, and is probably my favorite lip color I’ve owned to date.  It goes on a true burgundy color, but can be softened or fades on it’s own to a brighter plum.  It’s the perfect color to bring some pop and brightness to your face, while bringing an elegance and refinement.

Application & Wear – similar to the above matte version, this goes on as a pencil which has precision to it.  However, the final product is noticeably different.  The Satin Lip comes out with a sheen.  Not a shine, but will reflect some light.  Whereas I see the matte as giving you a smoky, sultry look, these will give you some added moisture and a brighter look without any high wattage.  This one also wears and fades very well but can tend to cling to dry pieces on your lips. Both options should be removed with a good oil-based cleanser.

Overall

I really like these options, and in particular, these colors.  This blog is geared towards redheads, but these colors would look gorgeous on just about everyone.  At $27 for both options, they rival your typical higher end beauty counter purchases. The matte has slightly more to the pencil (.086 oz vs .07 oz per Sephora’s website) but it wouldn’t be enough to sway me either way given the varying finishes.  They look sleek in a black outer package with the color block at the tip.  I will say that these are slightly tricky to sharpen, but contrary to what you think it can be done.  That is the only con in it’s presentation in my opinion.  I will also say that Nars was cruelty free for a while, but seems to have dipped it’s toes back into no longer being so.

Overall: 4/5 

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 4/5 

Have you used Nars Lip Pencils before?  Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Urban Decay Brow Box

As you would have read in my earlier blog post touting that eyebrows are the new LBD, the eyebrow industry has exploded not only because if the increased attention to a perfectly arched brow, but also capitalizing on those poor souls growing up in the 90’s when pencil thin brows were in – and just never filled back in.

There are a ton of great products out there, but where I find a common denominator that separates the winners from the losers is color.  Many fall either too ashy or too red (and that’s coming from a redhead!).  Smashbox discontinued my fav brow shadow, so off to find a new BFF (brow friend forever) I went.

About Urban Decay’s Brow Box

Urban Decay is well known for their primers and shadows, and while on the hunt saw a bunch of high ratings which landed this in my beauty basket.  They have this alt-rock glam/grunge thing going on, targeting those who are into beauty and associate with the fringe, apparent with palettes called “Naked,” photography more goth than glam and bright, bold colors. As a rocker at heart, I enjoy the demo they are going after.  I also happen to love them because Gwen Stefani is a spokesperson and she’s my all-time fav. I digress.

Packaging:

They have done a great job of putting this brow kit into a beautiful and functional design. The outer shell is a textured black and deep purple metallic plastic with that although small, has some weight to it.

Their Brow Box kit is one of, if not the best, value as far as handy tools and an all-in-one you’ll come across. The top lid opens up to reveal the brow powders, and then sort of opens like one of those Caboodles from back in the day to present you with some tiny yet helpful tools.

For those who travel a lot, have limited space for beauty tools, or are type A and like everything packaged nicely, you’ll really enjoy this one.  You get your choice of three brow powder color options to choose from, and each has an accompanying color to give you some blendable variations.

Here’s what comes in one box:

  • 2x colors of brow powder
  • Brow wax
  • Mini tweezers
  • Mini angled brush & spoolie
  • Mirror

Isn’t that awesome? The tweezers and brushes won’t replace a higher end version, but they are fantastic when you have that one hair you just need to get and don’t want to go digging, are new to the brow game, or if you’re attempting to pack light.

Application:

Even though I’m a redhead, my brows pull more to a brown. I also deepen my root so I sometimes go a little darker on my brows. I use the color “Brunette Beauty” and mix the lighter color in my inner brow closer to my nose, and then go darker.  I’ve had mine for about two years at least, so it’s lasted me a lonnnnng time and I’d say that if I wasn’t running out of wax, it could still go on for another year.

These are also best used for a defined and filled-in brow look. For those who like a more natural tamed look, or just want to fill in a spot here or there, this may be too dramatic for you.  Finding a good middle ground between filled in and drawn on, it’s more typical of your Insta brow consumer.  Because of that, it also takes some time and care to apply. I do LOVE that it comes with a wax, though. It adds that one extra step of definition and hold.

The down sides are that over time it does become a bit crumbly vs. buttery and the colors don’t blend as well.  This also creates some fall out which is easily brushed away, but annoying.  Those of us oily-skinned gals may also have some trouble on the most humid days.  It certainly isn’t budge-proof.

Overall:

Overall I really like Urban Decay’s Brow Box and would recommend it for the right type of buyer considering the type of look it will give you mentioned above. At $30 for one box, it isn’t the least expensive but certainly approachable for a brow-conscious buyer, and does provide everything you need in one place which is a great selling point.

It isn’t bullet-proof and does have some down sides, so I may venture out to try something else next time.  But, I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to my trusty Urban Decay because it is really that good.

Overall: 4/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you used the Brow Box? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

Product Review: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

Here at ReadHead, we’re just a tad bit (a lot) nerdy about science in skincare.  I will start this post off with saying three things right off the bat before you read on: 1) this is clinically proven to work 2) you will never get over the sticker shock 3) there are some funky ingredients.  Ok now that that is settled, read on!

SkinMedica is a physician-only skincare line – meaning you have to get it from a place that is licensed like a dermatologist, medical spa or plastic surgeon’s office.  Their products contain top-of-the-line ingredients, and a price tag to boot.  Their #1 flagship ingredient is TNS, which I’ll talk about more in a second.  This line, and TNS Essential Serum in particular, is well known, top-rated and a part of the daily skincare routine by just about any certified dermatologist/plastic surgeon/medispa professional out there.

The science behind SkinMedica’s TNS

Major contributors to both intrinsic (meaning the actual aging process we all go through as part of our biology) and extrinsic (meaning things like diet, improper care and damage that humans expose themselves to) aging are splotchiness and freckling, wrinkles and loss of collagen.  You can read my post about drinking collagen to learn more about the role and effects of losing collagen here in my blog.

SkinMedica has done research that founded and brought to the commercial pharmaceutical landscape the importance of stem cell and human growth factors into topical skincare.  TNS includes a patented and to some, shocking and confusing ingredient called Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media.   This ingredient, which is sourced from discarded neonatal tissue (i.e. foreskins…and here’s usually where the confusion/shock/intrigue/distain sets in) is housed in chambered solutions that allow it to function and generate as our natural bodies would.  This growth factor and other cytokins mimic the skin’s natural production of elastin and collagen synthesis to promote younger-looking skin over time.

As also stated in my post about collagen, there is speculation on how much penetration these molecules have due to their large size.  There is agreement that it can penetrate pores and hair follicles, but that they function at their best after skin has been compromised i.e. microneedling, a strong peel, or laser, to get deeper and get more of the benefits of the technology.

Unlike many skincare products out there, this one has been proven in multiple clinical studies, and as mentioned, is THE choice for doctors and specialists to have access to just about anything in the world to choose from.

If you want to learn more about growth factors and clinical studies, you can find sourced information from the NIH here.

Ingredients

This SkinMedica product dispenses in a dual chamber, so that you get two different “sets” of product that you mix together.

I’ve already mentioned the Human Conditioned Fibroblast Media which is the differentiator in this product, but it also has an impressive array of vitamins and extracts.

Here’s the info from SkinMedica’s website:

Chamber 1:

TNS Recover Complex – Human Fibroblast conditioned media. A physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and texture.

Chamber 2:

APS Corrective Complex made up of peptides and antioxidants like green tea, vitamin E, alpha-arbutin and hyaluronic acid.

Full list of ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Unsaponifiables, Alpha-Arbutin, Isoceteth-20, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ergothioneine, Hydrolyzed Sericin, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Aminobutyric Acid, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax (Oryza Sativa Cera), Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth-10, Steareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Coumarin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Isoeugenol

Packaging & Application

The packaging that this bottle comes in is top notch.  It’s a presentation, as it should be with a $280 MSRP price tag. It has SkinMedica’s signature taupey-gray color with the silver chromatic lettering.  While the box it comes in is substantial, I wouldn’t call it or the bottle the product comes in as beautiful.  SkinMedica wouldn’t compete with a Lancôme or other products that spend a lot on marketing and packaging.  It’s straight-forward and appropriate, but you know you aren’t paying for a beauty bottle on your counter.  I care more about the science than the look of packaging, so that doesn’t bother me.  But, if you like to be delighted with your packages, this one may leave you wanting more.

The chambers are also a bit annoying.  Over time, the two products can misfire so that you get more of one product vs. another.  I end up having to store it upside down, or forcefully tap it on it’s top to get the chambers to work properly.

I dispense a shockingly strange color of white and bright orange onto the back of my hand, dollop them around a bit to mix them up, ad put it on my skin.  I’m a terrible baker, but I envision when you use a spatula device to layer in whipped egg whites – scoop and flip gently. The look, nor the smell will take you anywhere close to organic or botanical.  It’s a kick you in the ass real-deal “if you don’t like it oh well” type of thing.  It smelled to me like whatever chemicals they use in a Port-o-Potty.  I can’t even make that sound any more refreshing.  I’d turn my head and “whiff.”  Not my favorite. At all.

But dammit if it doesn’t work, and then you have to suck it up on the painful price tag, it’s faulty mechanics and it’s awful smell because your face glows, your skin is tighter and your wrinkles less.  And such is life.

Final Assessment

This is a supreme luxury treatment and is right for the right type of consumer.  This is prime for someone in your 30s or 40s (who can afford it) before you start to see the full signs of aging.  This is a bit overkill for anyone younger.  I’d suggest a drugstore or Sephora-like buy of the beautycare basics an exfoliant, moisturizer, retinoid and sunscreen for that age range.

There are other products that will do great things for your skin.  But, they won’t do great things like this.  Growth factors are the future of pharmaceuticals, but they also have their risks.  It’s new and groundbreaking, but it is also not tested over time.  I also maintain that no topical product is a replacement for surgery or injections, so you have to be realistic about what it can do for you.

For now I’m going to hold my breath and wait until my local spa has it on sale.  For $281 MSRP for one oz, that is a bit of like breathing in smelling salts (or Port-o-Potty chemicals) and feeling like you need to go o confession each time you press “buy.” But I’ll give it a ReadHead best and save my pennies to purchase this little dose of the fountain of youth.

Consumer warning: this is a product that is certified to be sold at licensed skincare professionals only.  You buy at your own risk from Amazon and other sellers.  In my opinion the savings is not worth the risk.

Overall: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Packaging: 3/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used SkinMedica TNS? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: CeraVe SA Renewing Cleanser

Of all the beauty products in my arsenal, the one I am happy to pluck from the drugstore shelves and will never be convinced of a need to do otherwise is a facial cleanser.  There are literally thousands out there shouting from the rooftops about this ingredient and that, but the reality is that all you need is to get a good formulation appropriate to your skin type (dry, dehydrated, oily, congested) that can tackle the appropriate amount of dirt and makeup removal from your face while not stripping your skin and causing irritation.  A face wash stays in contact with your skin for less than one minute, so all those fancy ingredients don’t have the time or strength to do much of anything miraculous. Save your money on those pricey cleansers!

CeraVe’s SA Renewing Cleanser has been my go-to and permanent staple to my beauty routine for about two years.  I found out about it as a loyal CeraVe fan (their products contain excellent ingredients and technology for the money and convenience) and because I needed something a bit more heavy duty on makeup removal than their hydrating version.  My skin is also sensitive, so I needed something gentle enough not totally strip my skin and to keep it balanced.

What is it?

This one is going to be targeted to those who are combination/oily and are clog-prone. It is also a good option for a transition cleanser for those who get more oily in the summer time, or when you need a heavier-duty formula to combat that super SPF.

It does not contain dyes or fragrance (yay for sensitive skin), foams up which is an indicator that it’s going to break through oil and grease, and includes salicylic acid which lightly exfoliates and penetrates pores to clean them out and also gives it it’s namesake.  The description on Ulta’s website does a nice job of summing it up:

CeraVe’s SA Renewing Cleanser exfoliates and detoxifies to remove dirt and oil while softening and smoothing skin. Unlike some exfoliating cleansers, CeraVe’s SA Renewing Cleanser does not contain harsh beads or grains and is gentle on skin. It better prepares skin for essential hydration by helping to slough off dead skin cells while cleansing. And, like all CeraVe products, it hydrates and helps restore skin’s protective barrier.

Benefits:

  • Developed with dermatologists
  • Detoxifies and exfoliates to remove dirt and oil
  • Salicylic acid softens and smooths skin
  • Three essential ceramides help repair the skin barrier
  • Enriched with antioxidant vitamin D
  • Gentle and non-drying
  • Non-comedogenic and non-irritating
  • Fragrance free

Ingredients:

What I like about CeraVe products is that they include an impressive array of ingredients that benefit the skin barrier – glycerin, niacinamide, ceramides and hyaluronic acid.  Together these help to nourish and protect the top layer of your skin that keeps moisture in and bad things out. I guarantee you won’t find a better-priced option with all the goodies in there like this one.

Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Sodium Methylcocoyl Taurate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Salicylic Acid, Ceramide 6-11, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol Sodium Benzoate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholecalciferol, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide

Application:

I found that one whole squirt was too much, so I do about a half.  It comes out in a clear watery-gel like consistency with no smell and no gritty particles. I rub it in the palms of my hands with some water and it begins to suds up into a rich soapy lather.  I then rub it around in circles on my face making sure to spend extra time in my trouble areas – on and around my nose, forehead, and chin.  I do rub this on my eye makeup and luckily don’t have to tug much for it to be effective.  I do double-cleanse because I’m so clog-prone and get oily throughout the day, but those of you who don’t have those problems or don’t wear heavy makeup should be OK with one pass.

I wash my face and it feels clean but not squeaky clean.  Just a pleasant clean with a good foundation for my serums and moisturizers.  There’s not leftover residue, however this stuff does get pretty sudsy so if you do too much you can feel like you have to keep rinsing to get it all off.

Packaging:

This is a nice frosted clear plastic pump bottle.  It closes easily for travel, and I’ve never had a problem with it leaking.  It always pumps out what I expect it to, and stands up sturdily in the shower.  No frills, but nice for the category.

Overall:

Overall I love this cleanser because it does what it’s meant to do, at an affordable price, and conveniently available at almost any drugstore.  It has better ingredients than what you’ll find in most, and it’s a reliable formulation that helps keep my pores clean while being appropriate for my aging (cry face) skin. Whether or not the ceramides, SA and HAs actually can get deep down to do what they’re meant to do, I really don’t care.  Even if it’s a little bit, it helps.  And if it doesn’t, the product still works appropriately and I’m not counting the dollar signs after each wash watching the formula go down the drain.

It’s sensitive enough for me to use after peels, and I use it on my face, neck, chest and upper shoulder/back area with no issues.  All places I can break out (blegh).

If you’re in the market for a new cleanser because you find yourself seeing a lot of leftovers when you tone, or were oily and need something that will help with acne that doesn’t feel like a tingling nightmare on your face, this is one I highly recommend.  I’m going to take off .5 stars though, because I do have to double cleanse.

Overall: 4.5/5

Packaging: 5/5

Price: $$$$$

Have a CeraVe product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: belif’s The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

As ReadHead readers and friends will know, I am pretty upfront about the struggles of my skin both as an early teen and continues in adulthood.  While I’ve thankfully never struggled with the extremes of the worst, I’ve experienced, and continue to experience, the bits of bad things that add up to being detractors of beautiful skin.

One of the hardest products for me to find is a suitable moisturizer.  I am guessing there are a lot of you out there like me, the Goldie Locks of moisturizers – too oily, not enough moisture, ingredients break me out, causes skin irritation, not enough skin-beneficial ingredients….on and on.  I definitely don’t turn my nose up to drugstore finds which have some excellent products with good technology for the money (I’ll review a few of those) but I’m also willing to drop some coin on the thing that will work for me because most just do not.

The Introduction:

I ran into the JC Penny Sephora since it was closer to where I was running errands to pick up what I was currently using that I used up the last drop.  They don’t offer all the same products as a true Sephora store and didn’t have the Drunk Elephant La La Retro I was currently using, so I went on the hunt to see if there was a new relationship to be made.  La La Retro is pretty good, but we were transitioning from winter to spring which changes my skin, and it wasn’t HG (holy grail) status for performance or price.

I was also doing some research for a client looking at packaging and in a sea of overdone sameness this one caught my eye as a Korean brand and therefore worthy of a closer look.  It has about ten lines of ingredients ranging from every botanical and antioxidant you could think of on the box, so I pulled out my phone to look up reviews on my trusted sites and into my bin it went.

THIS, the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb from belif, IS my holy grail.  For a skincare expert to say HG status, well, that’s a league all in its own and its also a Certified ReadHead best.  Read on!

What it is:

Belif is a Korean skincare brand that touts itself as the most truthful skincare company that focuses on superior botanical ingredients, safety, honesty and efficacy originating from Europe hundreds of years ago.  They are definitely on the natural and botanical side and approach skincare as a natural benefit vs. the scientific cutting-edge new innovation to hit the interwebs.

I’m typically the science-buyer focused around results and clinical studies, so this one is a bit off the radar for me. Truthfully their brand positioning pangs me in a way that my day-job background just won’t let me let go, but their product is so good that I’ll give them a pass. ::Belif – call me!::  This one definitely got consideration due to reviews and ingredients.

There are two belif products that have entered cult status – the Aqua Bomb and the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb.  The Aqua Bomb is a lighter formulation geared towards those with oily skin and may be a better option for some in the summer and in humid climates.  The True Cream is for those who are on the dryer side.  I use a lot of anti-acne and aging ingredients which can dry my skin, so while I’m oily/combo by nature, I went for the option that would help keep my skin barrier in tact and hydrated.

Ingredients:

Remember me mentioning the ten lines of ingredients on the package?  They are impressive.  There’s no fillers in there.  Where I will say that it’s not always the case that more is better, if your skin likes natural products it will love this.  It does have traces of alcohol and ‘cones in it as well as a slight fragrance that occurs naturally, which could be problematic if you’re very sensitive to these ingredients.

In happy excess are hydrators like glycerin and traces of oils (traces being the optimal word here to someone who gets clogged pores), and botanicals/extracts. Noticeably absent is SPF and targeted anti-aging ingredients like retinoids or AHA/BHA acids.  This means you’ll need to apply them separately.

Derivatives of vitamin C like L-ascorbic acid that you’re typically used to seeing will not be listed.  You’ll have to do more digging into the benefits of botanicals to really understand what they’re bringing to the table and quite honestly is one of the frustrations I have with natural products over the more straightforward scientific approach.

belif – and other natural brands that fall into this camp – should better educate their consumer about why they are choosing what they are and the benefits of those ingredients.

From Sephora’s website:

-Comfrey Leaf: Detoxifies skin, leaving it smooth, soft, and clear.

Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Dipropylene Glycol, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Triethylhexanoin, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, PEG-40 Stearate, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Imperata Cylindrica Root Ferment Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteayl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Poncirus Trifoliata Fruit Extract, Panthenol, *Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, *Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, *Nepeta Cataria Extract, *Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, *Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract, *Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, **Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract, **Viola Tricolor Extract, **Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, **Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract, **Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium Flower Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Thuja Occidentalis Leaf Extract, Menyanthes Trifoliata Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Chelidonium Majus Extract, Urea, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium EDTA, Tromethamine, ***Fragrance, Citronnellol, Limonene. *Napiers Original Formula. **Napiers Moisture Formula. ***Fragrances of Natural Origin.

Packaging:

The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb comes in an understated box with a texturized cardboard feel, light blues, black and white.  It’s appropriate for it’s earthy vibe and it’s price tag.  The jar itself is a sturdy and white plastic jar with a black plastic top.  It feels sleek, does the job, but I always prefer a pump for sanitary and product stability reasons.

Application & Consistency:

I opened the jar to find an opaque white cream that was heading more towards a typical moisturizer with a bit of a gel-like consistency and some slip, rather than anything super heavy or whipped.  It had a very slight clean, citrus smell to it which didn’t scream chemical, and wasn’t overpoweringly flowery or earthy as some botanicals can be.  These are both deal-breakers for those with very sensitive skin (or noses).

I use a Q-tip to apply my moisturizers from a jar to save any contamination from my fingers.  I scooped some up, dabbed it across my face, and here’s where the magic comes in – smoothed it on.

This spread on like a dream.  Thin yet substantial, moisturizing but not oily, calming but not tingling.  It sank right in to my skin and left a matte yet hydrated look in impressively appropriate timing – meaning not instantly which means watery and alcohol-filled, and not forever and risking too heavy or emollient.  I didn’t glow like a disco ball, but when I touched my skin you felt that moisture was there.  Wow!  Did I just stumble upon the 8th Wonder of the World? This porridge was JUST. RIGHT.

As we all know with skin care and skin like ours that is finicky and reactive, the true test is the days afterwards.  This stuff continued to power through and provide me unparalleled moisture and if anything, helped to clear up some of my pimples likely caused by the stress of products on my skin.  I’ve been around the block and don’t overhype products for that reason, but my skin has never – even after peels and scrubs – felt so soft.

I’ve noticed my skin elasticity on my neck getting a little firmer because it’s being more properly hydrated and bouncy (and not breaking out praise the Lord) and my decollete, which is prone to wrinkling due to being blasted by the sun over the years mixed with how I sleep and that I have to wear substantial over the shoulder boulder holders to function everyday, is soft and hydrated more than it ever has been.

I actually look forward to and enjoy putting this on each time.  I haven’t said that about a moisturizer in well…maybe ever.

Overall:

I went into this purchase with no expectation given it was a brand I had never heard of, and was in a category which has let me down in the past.  This is absolutely, hands down the best moisturizer that I have ever purchased.  And, the fact that it has out-performed and cut my cost in half to replace my other go-to, puts a smile on my face and some dough in my pocket.

For you to love this you’ll need to really understand it’s purpose because it’s going to do only that – hydrate and calm your skin so that it functions in an optimal way.  It’s not a super anti-ager, nor is it a multi-tasker to get you out the door in one step.  This is designed for the no-frills simple-yet-effective type of person who is ingredient-conscious, or those like me that already have targeted products to take care of the heavy lifting.

For $38 for 1.68 oz, it’s not outrageously priced, either, and is approachable for the average skin-conscious consumer.  I’ve had it for about two months and use it twice a day.  I see it lasting for another month or so.  As I mentioned I’m using the heavier/more moisturizing option and that seems to be OK for me in the summer, albeit right at the line on the most humid days.

Anytime a product does what it says, is affordable, improves my skin complexion and function AND doesn’t break me out in pimples or a rash, it’s miracle-status.

This is one I highly suggest you run out and try (or get a sample of) yourself.  I’m looking forward to using this for years to come.

Overall: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Packaging: 4/5

Price: $$$$$

 

Have you tried the belif brand?  Drop us a line in the comments.