Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner review: Love!

Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner

I have been using Giovanni Smooth As Silk conditioner for 6 months and I love, love, love it.

This is what the conditioner claims to do:
For damaged hair:
Infuses deep moisture for manageable smoothness
Detangles while protecting against split ends
Calms unruly hair to alleviate frizz
Increases shine while smoothing dry or damaged hair

The conditioner does all of the above for me. I have long, highlighted hair that I always blowdry on the highest heat and rarely cut (twice a year) so my hair needs all the help it can get.

The product has an almost "gelee" texture... not creamy nor siliconey. It smells lightly fruity and fresh. It doesn't detangle on its own but as soon as a bit more water is added, the tangles slip out effortlessly. So rather than combing it through immediately, I roughly spread it along my hair, then only attempt to comb my fingers through my hair once my head is back under the shower. It's almost as if the water activates the detangling properties.

Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner

The conditioner rinses out easily and after blowdrying, my hair feels soft, silky and light. It doesn't contain silicones so it doesn't leave any dullness. It is easy on my scalp too and doesn't make me itch or feel greasy.

I haven't tried the shampoo in the Giovanni Smooth As Silk range as I am still using my two favourite shampoos - The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff (or "Scalp Care" in the US) Shampoo and Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo. I haven't found any shampoos that beat those!

This conditioner costs between $7 - $8.95 for 250ml (8.5oz) depending on where you buy it. I usually stock up from Ricky's or Amazon. I just wish it came in bigger bottles because I get through one bottle quite quickly when my hair is long. Other than that, this really is the perfect conditioner for me!

The full ingredients of Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture conditioner are:
Aqua (water), cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, butylene glycol, cetrimonium bromide, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, natural fragrance, hydrolyzed soy protein, *chamomilla recutita (matricaria) leaf extract, *citrus aurantium dulcis (valencia orange) extract, *citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract, *cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass) extract, *echinacea purpurea extract, *ginkgo biloba extract, *glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, *lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, *macrocystis pyrifera (sea kelp) extract, *mangifera indica (mango) extract, *salix alba (willow bark).
*USDA Certified Organic
100% vegetarian ingredients.
No phthalates / artificial fragrance / dyes / sulfates / parabens.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

SweatBlock antiperspirant wipes: Tried and tested on a sweaty face

SweatBlock towelettes

That was the best I could come up with for this blog post title. There's just nothing glamorous about having to seek out clinical strength antiperspirant for the face.

I have always despaired that my body seems to try to cool down through channelling sweat through the bridge of my nose and upper lip instead of through armpits like normal people (seriously, it actually comes out as beads). Sunscreen and make-up usually stand zero chance of holding up on my face on hot days. With New York being 35°C (95°F) for the last few weeks, desperate times have called for desperate measures...

SweatBlock comes in a box of 8 pre-soaked towelettes. It claims to reduce sweat for up to 7 days per use. I paid $19.99 for a box from Amazon. It seemed expensive for just 8 wipes, but one of the reviewers on Amazon suggested that you could get several uses out of one towelette as long as you seal it back up in its packet each time.

The active ingredient is 14% aluminum chloride which can be found in other antiperspirants. The reason why I chose SweatBlock was because it doesn't need to be applied every day and it is a liquid (on wipes) and not a roll-on. That would just be too weird using on my face. There have been rumours about antiperspirants being carcinogenic but I figured I hardly ever use antiperspirant on my underarms so I'm probably ok on balance.

SweatBlock was designed to be used for underarms but on doing a few Google searches, it seems that a large proportion of their customers use it to prevent excessive facial sweating too.

I was a bit hesitant to use antiperspirant on my face because blocking sweat ducts sounds like a one-way ticket to blocked pores and spots. But like I said, desperate times!! (Fortunately, my skin has been completely fine.)

SweatBlock box

The towelettes come in sealed packets, and I use a bulldog clip to seal the packets back up to preserve wipes for future uses.

SweatBlock packet

The towelettes should be dabbed onto dry skin, not rubbed. They are designed to be used before going to bed so that the active ingredient can work overnight. The wipe comes out of the packet very wet so it really needs just the lightest touch onto the face otherwise it'll drip and taste gross. The smell is designed to be a "pleasant clove smell" and actually isn't too bad but it does leave a slight chemical smell until it's washed off the next morning.

SweatBlock instructions

After applying the SweatBlock around my nose and upper lip and leaving it to dry, my skin stings and tingles for several minutes. It feels like having dry, tight skin after using a strong astringent product. It was a bit worrying at first but the feeling passes, and there's no redness or rashes at least. After it dries, I apply my night moisturiser on top.

The day after applying, my skin always seems a bit drier and tighter than normal. But it really does stop my face from sweating. I have found myself waiting for trains at subway stations (which I can only liken to being in an oven) checking out people with sweat literally dripping down their faces, thinking "that's usually me..." I haven't noticed any side effects (apart from the tingling after the initial application, and the slight tightness the next day) and my pores seem clearer if anything.

Not having to constantly pat tissues on my face when I'm outside in the sun or underground in subway stations has made my second summer in New York even more enjoyable. I would say this has been a successful venture into facial antiperspirant!

I didn't want to write too much in this post, so I'd recommend checking out the FAQs on the SweatBlock website if you have any specific ponderings as the answers may well be there.

The full ingredients of SweatBlock towelettes are:
Active ingredient: 14% aluminum chloride hexahydrate
Other ingredients: Water, polyoxyethylenesorbitan monolaurate, polyethylene glycol 8000, eugenol, vitamin E oil, assorted tannins and phytosterols derived from natural plant extracts, 0.15% benzoic acid for preservative

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Physicians Formula Nude Eyes shadow and liner palette review

Physicians Formula Nude Eyes eyeshadow palette

I picked up this Physicians Formula Nude Eyes palette for the cute packaging and because you can never have enough shimmery champagne and taupe eyeshadows. Plus it was only $10.95 for nine different strips of color to play around with.

The "lace"-effect palette is very compact. Without a ruler on hand, I'd guess it to be around 5" wide. The lid is held in place with a magnet, and the whole thing is just so pleasing to hold and to have out on my dressing table.

The lid flips open to these ever-handy shades and a strange, slanted tip sponge applicator (which I haven't actually attempted to use):

Physicians Formula Nude Eyes eyeshadow palette

The shadows are not as pigmented as say Urban Decay shadows, but are nonetheless fine to apply (especially for the price!) and not crumbly at all. Here are the swatches:

Physicians Formula Nude Eyes swatches

The palette is split into three trios of shades. The first three shades on the left are for a "Dramatic" look, the middle three for a "Playful" look and the last three for a "Natural" look.

The four shades on the right are very pale shimmers, with white, champagne  and pink tones. All great for brightening up the eye area. The shades towards the "Dramatic" end are varying shades of taupe plus a dark brown and black. I usually avoid eyeshadow palettes because I know I'll end up using just one or two shades, but this one has all my safe colours in one little box. It's going to be great for travelling and for reducing clutter on my dressing table!

Physicians Formula Nude Eyes box

Here is a photo of me wearing the "Playful" trio with a bit of the black to line. I'm also wearing shades from this palette in this post here.

Physicians Formula Nude Eyes Beauty Scribbler

I'm glad I bought this palette and recommend it for anyone who finds even the Urban Decay Naked palette too "daring" and just need some really easy-to-wear, neutral colours to have around. Or if you just like cute packaging!

The full ingredients of Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Nude Eyes (yes, that's the full name!) are:
Mica, Polybutene, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Synthetic Wax, Silica, Dimethicone, Lauroyl Lysine, Beeswax, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Kaolin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol May Contain: Carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Iron Oxides, Manganese Violet, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Ultramarines, Blue 1 Lake, Red 40, Yellow 5 Lake

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain review: Rendezous

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain Rendezvous

When I see enough advertising for a product, I always give in. I only vaguely remember seeing Emma Stone's face promoting the new Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain but found myself subliminally scanning one through a CVS self checkout this weekend.

This is how the "balm stain" is described:
It’s a pampering balm fused with a lightweight lipstain in an adorable chubby crayon. Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain gives softer, smoother lips with a perfect flush of color that lasts hour after hour. The gel formula comes in 12 vibrant shades that match any look or mood.

I chose the shade, Rendezvous, which is a coral, orangey colour. I wanted a colour that would take out a bit of the mauve and blue undertones in my lips (they seem to be getting more blue as I get older???). The balm looks bright orange in the pencil but goes on with just enough coverage to even out the tone and shape of the lips without actually being an opaque orange.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain Rendezvous swatch

The balm comes in a fun twist-up chubby pencil. I was expecting the balm to be soft and melty but it's quite solid (like a fat lip pencil but with more glide) and doesn't squidge when applied. It's feel neither like a lipstick nor a traditional lip balm, but feels great to use.

There is a very faint minty smell to the balm but it's not noticeable once applied.

The balm feels really comfortable and weightless on the lips. I easily forget I'm wearing it. Unlike many other lip stain products, the colour lasts most of the day without drying the lips out. It is quite moisturising but I would still wear my usual lip balm under or over the balm stain though just for extra smoothing and plumping.

Once the shine of the balm wears off (after eating, drinking, licking etc), the colour still remains faint on my lips, but surprisingly still looks fairly even and not patchy.

I am wearing Rendezvous in the photo below:

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain Rendezvous Beauty Scribbler

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain costs around $8 in the US and is out in the UK too. The other shades available are mostly pinks with one light, beigey-looking one.

The full ingredients are:
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bis Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 2, Squalane, Bis Behenyl/Isostearyl/Phytosteryl Dimer Dilinoleyl Dilinoleate, Polyethylene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triisostearin, Diisostearyl Malate, Cera Microcrystallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Trimethylolpropane Triethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polyalmide 3, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerylthrityl Tetra Di Butyl Hydroxyhdrocinnamate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil (Mentha Peperita Oil), Limonene, Sorbic Acid, May Contain (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 27 Lake (CI 45410), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 6 (CI 15850), Orange 5 (CI 45370), Red 21 (CI 45380), Red 33 (CI 17200), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Manganese Violet (CI 77742)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash mascara review: My everyday mascara

Buxom Lash mascara

I've been using Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash in Blackest Black for a couple of months now. I really like it as a foolproof everyday mascara.

The product description:

An intensely volumizing mascara for bigger, fuller lashes. This vitamin-enriched formula deepens, darkens, and thickens from root to tip. The curvy hourglass-shaped brush holds the ideal amount of mascara to ensure every lash is coated evenly with our silky, clump-free formula.

Like the name, the wand is very voluptuous... a wide barrel which is wider and curvier at the bottom and top. The bristles are short, stiff and plentiful which makes it easy to quickly coat each lash with just a quick swipe. The "hourglass" shape may sound like a gimmick but it does actually help to get every lash and volumise. I can also use the wand at an angle to help shape the direction of my lashes because the curvy end acts a bit like the ball-shaped mascara wands that came out a couple of years ago.

Buxom Lash mascara wand

Buxom Lash holds a curl well for a non-waterproof mascara (I don't use waterproof mascaras because they smudge instantly around my oily eyes and they are too troublesome to remove). I also like that the ingredients don't include alcohol which means healthier lashes and also the mascara dries out less quickly in the tube.

The finish that the mascara gives is a very clean, glossy look even with multiple coats. It is definitely a volumising mascara rather than lengthening or thickening and doesn't contain any fibres or heavy thickening ingredients. Here is a photo of me wearing one coat:

Buxom Lash mascara

I love that Buxom Lash is non-smudgy (although it sometimes transfer a tiny bit under my eyes by the end of the day especially if I'm smiling and laughing a lot) but yet so easy to remove. It comes off cleanly with a face wipe - no pressure or rubbing required.

Buxom Lash is a little pricier ($19) than I normally pay for mascaras but the tube does last a long time before getting crusty and flaky so it's probably all the same in the end. If you already have naturally great lashes and any old Maybelline or Covergirl mascara usually does the trick, you probably don't need to spend double for Buxom Lash. But if you have straight, mediocre lashes like me and need a bit of darkening, volumising and curl hold, you might want to give it a try. Sephora always has really amazingly good value sets that include Buxom Lash as well.

The full ingredients of Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash are:
Water (Aqua), Beeswax (Cera Alba), Butylene Glycol, PVP, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Sucrose Polystearate, Acrylates Coploymer, Stearic Acid, Tribehenin, Behenyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Triethanolamine, PEG-800, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Rhodochrosite Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Squalane, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Disodium EDTA, Bisabolol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hematite, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate. May Contain +/-: Mica , Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) , Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser review: Another hot cloth cleanser alternative

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser

I started using this Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser after running out of my stock of Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. Being too cheap to pay the shipping costs to get Liz Earle over to the States, I picked this up instead and have since got through two tubes. Anything I've finished more than one pack of must be good!

The blurb:
This soap-free cleanser is clinically proven to moisturize sensitive skin while gently cleansing away dirt, oil and makeup without over drying or causing redness or irritation. Distinctly formulated with cotton extract to soften, rice extract to moisturize, and aloe to soothe. Naturally gentle and skin friendly for daily use.

  • Soap- and fragrance-free
  • Hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic
  • Allergy- and dermatologist-tested
  • No parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals or animal testing
  • 99.0% natural

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser back

This cleanser comes in a large 170g squeezy tube, which is 70% more than comes in the standard Liz Earle pump bottle. I'd prefer it to come in a pump bottle to control the amount that comes out but otherwise I'm happy with the packaging.

The product is slightly more waxy and thick than Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. But it's still smooth and easily spreadable. The instructions say to massage it onto a wet face and then rinse it off, but I prefer to use it as a hot cloth cleanser so I apply it to dry skin and wipe it off with a warm, damp muslin cloth before rinsing. It feels a bit too waxy to rinse straight off the face - it does rinse off eventually but needs friction as well as water to rinse off nooks and crannies so takes longer to rinse off than it does to wipe off with a muslin.

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser swatch

I always wipe my make-up off before cleansing so I'm not sure how this cleanser would fare taking off a full face of make-up, but with the help of a muslin cloth, it does remove every last trace of eye make-up that I didn't even realise was still around my lashline. It's very satisfying to see those traces come off on the muslin cloth!

I don't find that this irritates my eyes at all. In fact, I can open my eyes with it on my face while I'm reaching for a muslin (and I have very sensitive eyes). It's also unfragranced.

(BTW I have also tried the Burt's Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Creme, which looks almost like the same product, but that does sting my eyes because unlike the Sensitive cleanser it contains menthol. I wouldn't recommend it.)

My skin has felt great while I've been using this cream cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling clean and soft, and I don't seem to be complaining so much about blocked pores these days. It's definitely a keeper for me - and much cheaper than Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish to boot. It's my favourite alternative I've found to date.

The full ingredients of Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser are:

Aqua (Water), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Sucrose Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut), Gossypium Herbaceum Flower Extract (Cotton), Oryza Sativa Extract (Rice), Beta Vulgaris Root Extract (Beet), Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa), Yucca Schidigera Leaf, Root, Stem Extract, Artemisia Umbelliformia Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana Water (Witch Hazel), Saccharum Officinarum Extract (Sugar Cane), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Silica, Sucrose, Fructose, Glucose, Coco-Glucoside, Inositol, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Trehalose, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, CI 77947 (Zinc Oxide), Alcohol Denat., Phenoxyethanol

Burt's Bees is pretty widely available in drugstores here in the US. This cleanser costs $11.99 for 170g (6oz) which seems to last me a good length of time. You can find it cheaper if you are organised enough to shop around for it online too.
Related Posts with Thumbnails