New Companies Added to the Safe List

12 Apr

Bröö

Daniel Sandler

Eddie Funkhouser

Giovanni Cosmetics {P} {B}

Julep

Kate Spade

L’Anza (Davexlabs)

Nature’s Gate {P} {B}

Napoleon Perdis

Nubar

ReVive Skincare (Gurwitch Products)

Rituals

Styli-Style

this works

 

Brands Removed from Safe

12 Apr

Bliss

Dr. Brandt

OPI (Coty)

Review: Aubrey Organics EveryDay Basics Cleansing Gel for Normal/Oily Skin

19 Feb

3.4 oz/100 mL

AubreyOrganics.com: $8.85

http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ProductInfo/991.aspx

Aubrey Organics Cleansing Gel

According to Aubrey Organics, this “refreshing daily cleanser clears away makeup, excess oils and impurities to leave skin soft, rebalanced and healthy looking”. It is a clear gel with a menthol/minty scent. Organic aloe vera “hydrates and soothes skin”, organic eucalyptus, camphor, and menthol oils “cool and tone”, and organic quinoa protein “balances oils and promotes skin health”. This product is vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients:

Aqua, decyl glucoside, glycerin, leuconostoc/ radish root ferment filtrate, citric acid, xanthan gum, chenopodium quinoa seed extract*, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, alcohol*, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil*, eucalytpus globulus leaf oil*, cinnamomum camphora (camphor), menthol*, alcohol, citrus grandis (grapefruit) extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil*, salvia officinalis (sage) oil*, ascorbic acid, arctium lappa root extract, avena sativa (oat) straw extract, saponaria officinalis extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel extract, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract.
*Organic

This product literally lives up to every claim it gives. And then it goes and does more. When I use this, my skin is left clean (evidenced by the amount of dirt my toner removes afterwards compared to how much it removes when I don’t use it) and my t-zone not oily, but it doesn’t feel stripped or tight at all. It deals wonderfully with breakouts as well, whenever I am breaking out I will use this and the zits will be gone or almost gone within a few days. Immediately afterwards, they will look less red. I’m pretty sure something in the eucalyptus/camphor/menthol cocktail is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, but I am not completely sure. In any case, it works.

The product does have an amazing cooling property that makes my face feel more tight. Not in the way that skin gets when it’s dry, but in the way that puffy, tired skin feels de-puffed and awake again. My pores also look considerably smaller, redness reduced, and skin overall brightened. Speaking of redness- I use this after waxing my upper lip and this really takes down a lot of the redness and irritation. The actual skin texture is also much improved, almost like there is a a gentle chemical exfoliant in the gel. It really works wonders if you have one of those days when your face refuses to work with you, and just looks terrible. PMS face, for example. In addition to making your skin feel better, it will also instantly perk you up which is a good addition.

Though it says you can use it every day, I typically don’t. This is partially because my skin is not usually very oily or break-out prone, and partly because I’m lazy and I forget. I use this around 2-4 times a week, and I use it almost as a quick mask, leaving it on for 1-3 minutes. This usually happens in the shower after I put conditioner in my hair and before rinse my conditioner out. If I wake up and my skin looks gross, I’ll also use it quickly then, but not as a mask.

I have to say the packaging makes it easy to apply because the gel is pretty liquidey, but I think there might be some problems getting the last of the product out which is a bit annoying.

I will say, though, that the label normal/oily is accurate. Sometimes I get a combination deal where my t-zone is oily yet I’ve got random dry patches on my cheeks. Using this product doesn’t aggravate my dry patches unnecessarily, but I do definitely need a good moisturizer afterwards. So basically if this extreme combination situation sounds like you, this will still work but just make sure you’re moisturizing well. If you’re dry, I wouldn’t really recommend this.

Overall this makes my skin look amazing and is a real life-saver on those days when your skin looks dull and/or puffy. If you have normal/oily skin I would highly, highly recommend it.

Rating: A+

Dupe Alert: Rimmel Scandaleyes (001 Black) and Astor Artist Kajal (080 Black)

17 Feb

http://www.astorcosmetics.com/products/eyes/eye-liner/eye-artist-kajal-waterproof-and-long-lasting-eyeliner

http://us.rimmellondon.com/products/eyes/scandaleyes-waterproof-kohl-kajal

If you can’t get your hands on the Rimmel Scandaleyes eye pencils that have taken the beauty world by storm, you can get the exact same results from the Astor Artist Kajal. These are the kind of “gel in a pencil” type products, giving you the wear of a gel liner without the fuss. Granted, these aren’t going to be as precise as a gel on a brush, but they hold up great on both waterlines and are my go-to products for a smudge-resistant eyeliner.

The two formulas are basically identical, I guess because both are made by Coty- I use them interchangeably. Unfortunately, though, Astor does not have the shade range that Rimmel does- including the Nude and Taupe. This really does suck because the Taupe shade is one of my favorite pencils ever. However, if you are in need of a long-wearing, creamy black eyeliner and can’t get the Rimmel one, the Astor one should work well.

Review: Nature’s Gate Aloe Vera Moisturizing Conditioner

15 Feb

18 fl oz/500 mL

Nature’s Gate: $7.79

http://natures-gate.com/Shop/item?Product=42100053&category=233&WithLinks=1

Found on Natures-Gate.com

This conditioner is advertised as “effectively condition[ing] hair while helping to restore moisture”. The Nature’s Gate exclusive “Healthy Hair Blend” include panthenol, soy proteins, vegetable proteins, jojoba oil, borage flower seed oil, vitamin C and vitamin E; these ingredients supposedly provide “enhanced body and bounce”.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin (Vegetable Derived), Stearyl Alcohol (Vegetable Derived), Cetyl Alcohol (Vegetable Derived), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Vegetable Derived), Benzyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride (Vegetable Derived), Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Tocopherol Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Viola Tricolor (Pansy) Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hydroxyethylcellulose (Plant Derived), Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Fragrance*.

* Phthalate Free

 

This conditioner lived up to most of its claims, it was reasonably hydrating and did keep my hair detangled and shiny. Essentially, it performed like any other decent conditioner on the face of the planet. If you have seriously damaged hair this might not be enough for you, but if you have anything from moderately oily hair to somewhat dry hair, this should work nicely. It also doesn’t leave any sort of residue to weigh down my semi-fine hair.

The thing that really is memorable about this product, that might make or break it, is the smell. For some inexplicable reason, it smells like Skittles. What would drive someone to wake up one morning and say, “hey, I wish my hair smelled like Skittles” is beyond me. I don’t really like that feature, it is too sweet for me. But, I can see some people enjoying this, so it really is down to personal preference. The smell also did not last in my hair so it was manageable, if not pleasant.

Overall, it was a decent conditioner, but it really didn’t blow me away. I was not a fan of the scent so I will probably not be repurchasing this again, but will finish it up.

Rating: B

 

Image

NOTD: OPI I Don’t Give a Rotterdam!

9 Feb

20140209-131509.jpg

This color is a gorgeous greyed cool periwinkle with fine silver, pink, and lavender glitter. This is such an unusual color, I really love it. The glitter also runs pretty densely through the polish, which is surprising considering the pigment is rather sparse and it is a glitter, not a shimmer. It is very sheer, so it takes three coats to build it up, but it dries extraordinarily fast so that doesn’t really cause any problems. The formula is also rather brittle in a way (possibly from the density of shimmer?), which can lead to a shorter wear time. A good topcoat (like the fabulous NYC Grand Central Station) will take care of that. Honestly the quality of the polish isn’t stellar but the color is, and you can certainly work with it. It’s certainly worth it!

Possible Dupe for Rimmel Apocalypse Lip Lacquers

28 Jan

ATTENTION: If you currently reside in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or Spain and you have been wanting to try the Rimmel Apocalypse Lip Lacquers, the Manhattan Lip Lacquers may be a dupe. Though I have not tried them myself, both brands are owned by Coty and have nearly identical packaging, so I think there is a good chance that the formulas are similar or even identical as well.

The line contains 4 permanent colors and 4 limited edition.

Manhattan Lip Lacquers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.manhattan.de/en/products/lips/product/Productline/list/lip-lacquer-le/

Review: Hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil Creamy Oil Body Lotion

25 Jan

13 fl. oz./385 mL

Ulta: $6.99

http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod4190131

Found on OrganixHair.com

This “lavish creamy oil body lotion” is described as having “an exclusive moisture lock system” made up of Moroccan argan oil (“to restore skin’s elasticity”), sugar cane and willow bark (“to soften, giving a radiant glow” and “promote cellular turnover” ), and finally rice milk and bamboo extract (“to make skin supple and touchable all over”). The “moisture lock system” uses a PCA complex (whatever that is- a quick Google search did not clarify anything) that apparently draws moisture in, and a ceramide complex (stuff that resembles the natural lipid barrier of the skin) to lock in the moisture. The argan oil is supposed to be a dry oil, meaning that it sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.

Ingredients

Water, Disodium Laureth Sulfocuccinate, Socium C14-16 Olefine Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide DEA, Glycerin, Clycol Distearate, Acrylates Copolymer, Saccarum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Cocamide MEA, Laureth-10, Polyquaternium-11, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Milk, Hydrolyzed Collagen (Collagen Peptides), Paullinia Cupana (Cuarana) Extract, PCA, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Ceramide 3, Argania Spinoza (Argan) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Paullinia Cupana (Guarana) Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexlglycerin, Parfum.

This stuff is amazing. It lives up to basically every claim that was thrown my way. Moisturizing? Very. Makes skin supple? Yup. Sinks in quickly? Yeah, pretty much. Gives skin a radiant glow? Actually, yes.

So yeah this lotion was moisturizing, but that doesn’t necessarily set it apart from the other good moisturizers out there. What does stand out, though, is that one bit about glowing skin. It sounds gimmicky, but to my astonishment it proved to be actually true. What happens is you apply the product, and it sinks in fairly quickly, but leaves this sheen on your skin. I think it might be the combination of the ceramide complex and the argan oil, but damn it is great. It doesn’t necessarily hide imperfections like say a tinted product might, but it certainly does minimize the appearance of discoloration and cellulite. So as it is winter right now, my legs are very pasty and more than a little bit infested with cellulite. This lotion makes them look so so much better. I cannot wait to see what this does when I have a tan! This doesn’t to my knowledge reduce cellulite necessarily, though- just diminishes appearance. I don’t know how they do it but I absolutely love it.

The sheen is a layer of moisture and definitely feels it, but it isn’t like those products where it takes forever to sink in and you feel sticky. It doesn’t bother me at all, it doesn’t stick to my clothes or anything, but I might see some people that are really sensitive to that sort of thing not loving it.

Something that the description doesn’t mention, though, is the scent. I personally love the smell, it’s sort of sweet and floral (it’s the same smell from the conditioner- it’s probably standard for the line), but it is pretty strong so again this might be a turn off for some people.

Overall, though, this is an outstanding product if the slight sheen and the smell don’t bother you. I will definitely be repurchasing this when it finishes and cannot wait to use it in summer!

Rating: A+

Brands Removed from the Safe List

24 Jan

Algenist

Biore (Kao Brands)

Calvin Klein (Coty)

Chloe (Coty)

Curel (Kao Brands)

Davidoff (Coty)

H2o+

Jil Sander (Coty Inc.)

OPI (Coty)

Salvatore Ferragamo (Estee Lauder)

Paco Rabanne (Puig)

Review: Avalon Organics Awapuhi Mango Deep Moisturizing Conditioner

24 Jan

14 fl oz (400 ml)

AvalonOrganics.com: $10.99

http://www.avalonorganics.com/awapuhi-mango-therapy-deep-moisturizing-conditioner

Found on AvalonOrganics.com

According to Avalon Organics, this conditioner  is “fortified with awapuhi, mango, calendula, and wheat protein for soft, vibrantly rehydrated and manageable hair”. It supposedly “infuses dry, brittle hair with intense hydration” and “conditions without stripping moisture”, while it “restores a health moisture balance in the hair and scalp” and “strengthens to protect ends without weighing hair down”. It is pH balanced and contains 70% organic content, without the use of synthetic fragrances, phthalates, harsh sulfates, or parabens.

Ingredients: 

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Aqua (Water), Glyceryl Stearate SE, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (1), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil (1), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (1), Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil (1), Myrocarpus Fastigiatus, Myroxylon Pereirae (Balsam Peru) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (1), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (1), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (1), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract (1), Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (1), Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract (1)(2), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Sorbitol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vanillin, Alcohol (1), Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Limonene, Linalool

(1) Certified Organic Ingredient (2) Awapuhi Extract

The thing that most bothered me about this product was its claims about its “deep moisturizing” properties. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This product doesn’t even live up to the title of “conditioner”, let alone “deep conditioner”. This literally did nothing for my hair. The product was so thin, even with huge amounts it would almost dissolve away into nothing as soon as it got on my hair. When I would get out, my hair would be just as dry and brittle before I got in. I had to use more liberal amounts of serum to compensate, so that my hair maintained some level of moisture. I guess on the bright side, it didn’t do anything detrimental to my hair, like weigh it down or make it greasy.

It smells interesting, there are some traces of the mango and ginger (awapuhi is a kind of ginger, apparently- I didn’t know that!), but the smell is more herby. I personally didn’t love it, it made me feel slightly nauseous, but honestly it doesn’t stick in your hair so its manageable. It was also not as bad as other conditioner smells, like the Organix Macademia Oil one (read my review here) or the one I am currently using by Nature’s Gate (review coming).

Another thing I noticed was the number of different kinds of alcohols in the conditioner, there are 4 separate kinds. I honestly cannot say what effect this has on hair, but this may be one of the contributing factors to the product’s poor performance.

Overall I was pretty disappointed with this product, especially considering the price and the other cool ingredients.

Rating: F

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