Three Product Roundup: Cleansing Oils

Hello, people!

I’ve been MIA for awhile, and I’m sorry! I’m currently in the midst of trying to get my life together (#adulting), and a lot of things have fallen off. However, I’m back with a three product round-up to show you that I’m still in this to win this.

Now, first things first: cleansing oils are not new to the beauty scene. For millennia, women have been using oils to cleanse their faces throughout the world. However, the modern iteration of cleansing oils (which originated in Asia) use emulsifying agents housed in oil bases to break down makeup, sunscreen, pollution, and other impurities on the surface of the skin. Some people say that they aren’t necessary, but considering the fact that we in the West wear long-wearing sunscreen and makeup which boasts about lasting more than 24 hours, we do need to safely break down those products. Water-based cleansers won’t cut it because those long-wearing products I told you about are housed in silicone, oil, and wax bases. Translation- They are made to stay ON.

Cleansing oils are one of my favorite products. I tend to use them as a first cleanse on the days that I’ve worn sunscreen, but not any makeup. If I wear makeup, then I use a cleansing balm. With that in mind, here are three different cleansing oils that I’ve tried, and here are my opinions on each.

They are:

(1) Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Cleansing Oil ($12)

Shea Moisture CLeansing Oil-Target

Photo Credit- Target

(2) Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30)

Biossance Cleansing Oil

Photo Credit- Sephora

(3) Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil ($44)

Fresh Cleansing Oil-Sephora

Photo Credit- Sephora

I. Amount in packaging: 

Shea Moisture: 4 fl. oz

Biossance: 6.7 fl. oz

Fresh: 150 mL (5.1 fl. oz)

 

II. Marketing Jargon (Taken directly from company websites whenever possible)

Shea Moisture: This natural cleansing oil gently yet thoroughly melts away make-up, dirt and impurities without leaving an oily residue. Enriched with skin-nourishing certified organic Shea Butter and our proprietary complex of Alpine, Damask and Musk Rose Oils, it transforms into a creamy, soft emulsion when blended with water. Sensitive skin is left softer, smoother and refreshed.

BiossanceAn antioxidant-rich cleansing oil that gently removes long-wear makeup and leaves skin with a beautiful, healthy look and feel. Formerly known as “The Purifier”—it’s a brand new look, same effective formula.

The lightweight oil lifts away makeup and impurities, then rinses completely clean with water. Formulated with our sugarcane-derived, sustainable squalane oil, it helps keep skin hydrated and feeling fresh.

Fresh: Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil helps remove impurities and makeup, including waterproof. The blend of nourishing oils and protective extracts effectively cleanses the skin while maintaining natural moisture levels, so skin feels soft and supple and looks healthy and radiant.

 

III. Ingredients:

Shea MoistureHelianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Rosa Centifolia Flower Wax, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Rosa Canina Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Balanites Aegyptiaca Kernel Oil, Rhododendron Ferrugineum Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.

Biossance: CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 CAPRATE, SQUALANE, C13-15 ALKANE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 SESQUIOLEATE, TRIETHYLHEXANOIN, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) OIL, LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) OIL, ROSA MOSCHATA SEED, OIL, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL OIL, OENOTHERA BIENNIS, (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL, MORINGA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, LAVANDULA HYBRIDA OIL, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY), LEAF EXTRACT, ANTHEMIS NOBILIS FLOWER OIL, HELIANTHUS, ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, TOCOPHEROL

FreshVitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Haberlea Rhodopensis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Water, BHT, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene, Linalool, Citral.

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Shea Moisture: Massage the oil onto face with hands. Add warm water to transform the oil into a milky emulsion. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Biossance: Apply to dry face with fingertips and gently massage. Add water and continue to massage to [break down] makeup and impurities. Rinse.

Fresh: Gently massage 3-4 pumps onto dry face and closed eyes. Add warm water to emulsify. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

 

V. Texture and Scent

Shea Moisture: This smelled like the generic European-style rose-scented soap that I like to buy from time to time. However, it felt like the cheap liquid handsoap you get from Target.

Biossance: The scent of this is very mild. It smells like the beginning of orange creamsicle, but it never actually gets there, so it’s not an annoying smell. It’s pleasant, but not cloying and annoying, as I like to say. Due to the squalane, this cleansing oil feels very decadent. It’s a thick oil, so if you prefer oils to remove your makeup, you will like this one.

Fresh: This smells like a mild version of berry and citrus together. Very mild, but a lovely scent. Unlike the previous two, this oil is very thin.

VI. How Did I Use It?

I used all according to the package directions. Like I said in the intro, I usually only use oils to remove sunscreen. However, for the Biossance and Fresh oils, I used four pumps each every time I used the product, and then I used a warm clean washcloth to remove it.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Shea Moisture: This. Crap. Burned. My. Eyes. It removed my sunscreen quite well, but it burned my eyes. To be honest, this is more a soap than a cleansing oil. I hated it. I used it twice to be sure I had the same reaction, and then I put it in my cabinet and forgot about it until I needed a brush cleanser.

Biossance: I love this product. I love the size, the smell, and the feel of it on my skin. This product removed all of my sunscreen and the minimal makeup (on the rare occasion I wore any.) I’m a firm believer in the double-cleanse method for my skin, but if you are someone who likes a single-cleanse, then you should try this. Furthermore, you can’t beat the price for the size. This product had me questioning whether or not I needed my second cleanser. Major.

Fresh: This is another “I love it” product. The texture is very thin and delicate, but it packs a punch in terms of removing sunscreen and surface dirt. My washcloth looked disgusting when I used this for my first cleanse. I did also use this for a second cleanse, and I liked how my skin felt. Furthermore, this bottle may not look like much, but I bought this bottle at the end of August, and I just finished it about a week ago…so clearly, it’s worth the money, even though I did complain about the price. when I first bought it.

 

VIII. Final Verdict

Shea Moisture: For the skin, this product is not my cup of tea. I have very sensitive eyes, and if a product burns, I usually get rid of it pronto. However, this does make an amazing brush cleanser so I would buy it again to use exclusively for that purpose. But only as a last resort.

Biossance: I like this one so far. I’ve only been using it for a week, and I can tell that there has been some improvement in my skin since I’ve started using it. My skin is not nearly as dry as it usually is in the winter, and the texture of my skin seems to glow more. I find that it’s made my treatment cleansers work much more effectively. I will definitely be repurchasing this.

Fresh: I love this product. It’s compact, but it definitely does what I need it to do. The only thing that bugs me is the price. Since I live in NYC, the price of this goes from $42 to $45 thanks to sales tax. That being said, the Sephora VIB sale is approaching, and I would add this to my list of “nice to haves” that I usually consider buying once I’ve bought my essentials.

 

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My Favorite Shops in NYC-Beauty Edition

Happy Tuesday, peeps!

So I was running an errand for my mom at the Macy’s on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and I was perusing the makeup floor to look at some of the new(wish) goodies. It was weird seeing such a shiny new beauty concept store with brands that I’m used to seeing in Sephora. I mean, I remember the days when the cosmetics were sold by women in white lab coats behind elegant glass counters and I would watch my mom buy a compact and a lipstick, then leave with the GWP (Gift With Purchase). I wonder if Estee Lauder knew what she was getting herself into when she started the concept of GWP back in the 1950s as a way to get women to try new products…..

Anyway, so I saw that Tarte had a new palette out, and I searched for the tester. After being helped by a lovely associate named Octavia, the two of us began talking about beauty business and the state of the industry today. You know, which conglomerates are buying certain indie brands, which makeup brands have enough shades for us Brown girls, the glory of Aunt Jackie (aka Jackie Aina), and so forth. Then she mentioned to me that she was also a make-up artist looking to expand her kit with some different products. When I heard that, I couldn’t help it. I started fangirling, and I mentioned to her that in order to diversify her kit, she had to diversify where she shopped for her products. So in honor of the women who are constantly searching for new and better, I present to you my favorite beauty shops in NYC.

(1) C.O. Bigelow Apothecary:
Address: 414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

This is one of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in the US, having been founded in 1838. After a negative experience here many years ago, I had to get a prescription filled here last year because they are one of the few compounding pharmacies left. (Compounding pharmacies make certain prescription medications on-site.) When I came here, I’ll admit, I spent more time perusing the beauty section than anything else. This is a great place to visit if you are looking for high-quality sunscreens that go beyond the typical drugstore fare, and they are always rotating new ones. Some of my favorite finds here include Supergoop, MDSolarSciences, and COOLA. They also carry Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, ByTerry, as well as Smith and Cult nail polishes.

C.O. Bigelow Pinterest
Photo Credit-Pinterest

(2) CAP Beauty
Address: 238 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Ahh, CAP Beauty. The eco-chic playground of the super-rich and (not always) famous. Founded in 2015 by the former owners of the fashion boutique Castor and Pollux, Kerrilyn Palmer and Cindy DePrima Morrisse, CAP Beauty has become the premier shop to find high-end natural skincare brands which actually work. This is the place to come if you want to find that obscure but high-quality natural skincare line from Hawaii (Leahlani Skincare) that everyone’s been raving about. If it’s a high-performance natural brand, chances are that you will find it here first, and they offer a full range of spa treatments in their gorgeous treatment rooms. They also have an in-house brand of supplements and foods which are yummy, but again…not cheap. The makeup lines they carry are not necessarily brown-girl friendly, but it’s okay. The skincare selection more than makes up for it.

CAPBeautyMotherMag
Photo Credit- Mother Mag

(3) SHEN Beauty,
Address: 315 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Founded by Jessica Richards, this Cobble Hill gem tucked away in South Brooklyn, is the place to go if you want to find both established brands and new brands which are going to be the next big hit. What I love about this place is that there isn’t a lot of faff and clutter. Jessica’s philosophy is to carry only the best of the best of a brand. She’d rather have the best three SKUs of a line than 15 SKUS which do nothing. Another aspect of this shop that I love is her expert curation of natural and cosmeceutical products. So while you’ll see Skinceuticals and Verso Skincare, you’ll also see Antonia Burrell and 37 Actives by Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas. This shop also offers brow services by Josh, who also happens to be the assistant manager.

ShenBeautyAllure
Photo Credit- Allure Magazine

(4) Apthorp Pharmacy
Address: 2201 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

This pharmacy has been an Upper West Side Legend for over a century. Built as the ground floor of the historic landmark the Apthorp Mansion, this is the place to go if you’re some who has a preference for the classic French brands but prefers to buy them at a mom-and-pop shop. They also sell the classic German body care brand Kneipp (AMAZING bath soaks), Mason Pearson brushes, as well as a host of other up-and-coming brands. I personally love the Kneipp section and the T. LeClerc polishes. They are also one of the oldest-running pharmacies in NYC, and they fill specialty prescriptions as well.

ApthorpPharmacyApthorp
Photo Credit:  Apthorp Pharmacy

(5) Anwaar Co.
Address: 354 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

This gem is located in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn along the beautiful Atlantic Avenue commercial strip. It’s one of my favorite places to shop for minority-owned natural cosmetics brands. They also sell perfume oils, supplements, Shea butter, and…….bulk raw oils! You can buy some amazing carrier and essential oils such as argan, moringa seed, carrot seed, pumpkin seed, pomegranate seed, and jojoba to name a few. Plus, the expertise of the owner is amazing. Go there. Your inner hippie kitchenitican will thank you. Trust.

Anwaar Co. Yellow Pages
Photo Credit: Yellow Pages

(6) Metro Integrative Pharmacy
Address: 931 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065

I found this pharmacy on the Upper East Side when I stopped in to grab a healthy snack on my way to a function, and I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty selection they had here. This shop is a licensed pharmacy which dispenses medications and vitamins, in addition to cosmetics. The cosmetic product selection at this place is classic French pharmacy brands meet classic and new natural brands.  Think Avene, Institut Esthederm, and Leonor Greyl meets Dr. Hauschka, Trilogy, and David Goldfadden, M.D. They also have lower-priced brands in both the classic and natural categories for people on a budget. Another aspect that I love about this place is that they have dietitians, nutritionists, and aestheticians on staff to assist you with selecting purchases. WIN!

Metro Drugs-Natural Awakenings
Photo Credit: Natural Awakenings

Anyway, this is Round one of my favorite beauty shops here in NYC. I’ll be bringing you the scoop on more places as my travels expand.

What are your favorite shops for beauty? Let me know in the comments below!

Consistency in the Midst of Despair: The Key to Success

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It’s a rainy day here in the Five Boroughs. A very warm and rainy day here, perfect for cuddling up in bed with hot chocolate and a good book. Or maybe you’re someone who prefers to take advantage of this warm weather by spending the day outdoors. In either case, you do you. No judgement in my corner.

If you had the opportunity to have dinner with Jeff Bezos to ask him about his billion-dollar secret to success, I’m sure that he would give you a variation of these three cornerstone answers: (1) Hard work. (2) Dedication. (3) Sacrifice.

Yet, no one talks a lot about the fourth cornerstone in that foundation of success: (4) Consistency.

Now, consistency is very important in regards to helping you achieve success. In fact, I would argue that it is even more important than the previous three answers because it is what keeps you successful. The ability to be consistent is what separates the Oprahs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos of the world from the Billy McFarlands (Magnises & Fyre Festival), Bernie Madoffs (Ponzi scheme), and Doug Evanses (CEO of Juicero) of the world. Being persistent in the pursuit of consistency is what gets people the corner office with all the perks. In short, if you can’t deliver the peak results on demand every single time…in today’s economy, you’ll be replaced by someone or SOMETHING who can.As I always say: “Persistence is the key indicator of consistency, for what someone works hard to get, they work even harder to KEEP.

But when you’re in the midst of a low period, though…….consistency is, quite understandably, incredibly difficult to maintain.

I mean, how can you be expected to produce the same stellar results day after day, week after week, month after month and so forth when you’re in one of the worst periods of your life?

The answer is simple: Know your limits.

We all know that the ultimate mantra of super millennial everywhere is #NoLimits, and that’s fine. The #NoLimits mentality has inspired us to reach new heights beyond what our parents ever imagined for us, and it is our rallying cry when we need to crush our goals. However, when things hit the fan and you’re in a place where you have no desire to be in without an end in sight, sometimes, you have to make peace with the fact that limits exist for a reason.

Keep this in mind: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t keep pushing forward regardless of what heartbreaks and tragedies you may be going through at the moment. You absolutely should. However, the key to producing consistent results during that time is knowing when to take a break and replenish yourself. You can’t run on empty forever. Sooner or later, your engine will stop in the middle of the road after burning through the last dregs of fumes.

If you must do work of any kind during times of despair, know that there will be times when you have to stop and acknowledge the fact that you are not in a healthy, emotional state. You will have to feel the feelings. You will have to cry in the bathroom, write in your journal, offer a prayer to God for help or strength to get you through things, release a woo-sah, whatever. Furthermore, please realize that doing so does not make you weak. Rather, it strengthens you. Why? Simple. Releasing pent-up and pain renews the body, mind, and spirit. Releasing these previously avoided emotions allows your worst fears to happen so that you can move on and focusing on your tasks at hand. Most people believe that consistency is about recreating the same results for the rest of your life. Rather, true consistency is the ability to maintain the same level of effort to produce greater and greater results over time. You can’t produce greater and greater results if your energy is depleted on all fronts.

So…take that time to cry if you have to. Go on that vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Eat the croissant. Whatever you need to do to replenish yourself…just do it.

And watch yourself soar.

Three Product Roundup-Vitamin C Serums

Happy Friday, lovely people!

For the second Three Product Roundup, we’re going to talk about Vitamin C serums!

Now, I love Vitamin C serums. They are great for two distinct reasons: (1) They work wonderfully in conjunction with your sunscreen to provide you with antioxidant protection from the sunlight and environment during the day, and (2) They work really well at percentages over 20% during the nighttime to help brighten dull skin. If you are someone who chooses to ignore warnings about the sun and go out during the hottest times of the day especially, you need a Vitamin C Serum. Period.

However, here’s the catch: there are a LOT of products on the market, and as with most skincare trends, we are now seeing an explosion of products coming out at lower price points with the intention of making such ingredients a line-item in someone’s skincare budget. So, with that in mind, we’re going to discuss three well-known Vitamin C serums today which are well-known and figure out….which one is the best!

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