Beauty

This is the home for all of my beauty posts-my skincare discussions, haircare tips, make-up trends, manicure colors, you name it.

Handcreams: Why I’ll Never Be Without Them

My name is Andrea, and I have a confession to make.

I am a hand cream addict. No. I am a hand cream Obsessive.

Now, if you’re reading this, then you’re probably wondering “Why is this woman acting as though she is is an addict about LOTION?” 

Yes, lovely people of the Internet. I am a hand cream snob, and I won’t apologize for it. 

It all started in 5th grade, when my mother (the OG beauty junkie and the person responsible for showing me the possibilities of this addiction) bought me my first hand cream, which was the Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Hand Creme. It was my first favorite hand cream EVER, and not just because it smelled like almond cookies. I loved it because it was a light texture, but packed enough grease to keep my hands soft. I still think of it whenever I smell almond-scented body products.

Fast forward 19 years later, and I still have a love affair with hand creams. However, I’ve now graduated to hand creams that you find in specialty stores like Sephora, Bluemercury, C.O. Bigelow’s and the like. Basically….the bougie stuff. I do a lot of things with my hands, and I need to know that my hands are well-hydrated and moisturized. However, there is a catch-my limit is $20.00. Here are my top three hand creams that I keep on current rotation from my third favorite to my first favorite,.

(3) M-61 Hydraboost Hand Cream (Peptide and Vitamin B5 Hand Cream)- I found this hand cream when I meandered into the Bluemercury near Grand Central while on my way to a P3 (Prayer, Penance, Pub) meeting. I had intended to restock on my all-time favorite, but I asked the saleswoman to show me another option, and this was the one I liked the most. A bit of background about the M-61 line: It’s Bluemercury’s house line, and it was founded by Marla Malcolm Beck as a luxurious, highly efficacious vegan alternative to the high-end lines that she carries in her stores. This cream is unscented, and very hydrating, but not greasy. I like to use it at night on top of other serums that I may use on my hands when I have the time to do so. 

 

Hydraboost Hand Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Deborah Lipmann’s “Rich Girl” Hand Cream with SPF 25- I decided to buy this hand cream when I got my copy of the May issue of InStyle magazine, and the editors voted this hand cream as their favorite.Since I’m a huge fan of their beauty section, I HAD to have it. So I went to the one place I knew had their entire line in stock, aka C.O. Bigelow, and I tried it out. Besides the rich, buttery texture and the perfume-like scent, this hand cream is one of the rare ones on the market that has SPF in it. I tested this at my nail salon on my hands AND feet when I wanted to protect them from the effects of the UV light during a gel manicure session, and I can say that it did the job. *A word of warning: This cream works really well on skin that has been exfoliated. If your hands are dry and crusty….nah. It’ll feel like grease on top of breadcrumbs.

 

Deborah Lipmann Rich Girl Dermstore com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) Caudalie’s Hand and Nail Cream- This is my favorite hand cream EVER. Besides the smell, which smells like a grape vineyard in your house, I love the feel of this hand cream. It’s thick, but it goes on lightly, and it makes your hands feel hydrated without being greasy, and the hydration was still there after a few hours. For me, this cream is an experience: I can feel it working, smell the French sunshine, see how it hydrates my hands instantly, and hear the lack of ashy crustiness as a result of using this cream.

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream Caudalie com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it. These are my three favorite hand creams which I actually use. What are your favorite hand creams? Are you into hand creams? Or do you not see the need for them? Let me know!

The Reward Is In The Routine-The Importance of Consistency in Beauty

Hello, everyone!

Have you missed me? Well, I missed you. If you were to ask me where I’ve been, I’d say that I’ve been taking care of the business of living my life. I’ve been working on my friendships, relationships, my blessings, my food, and everything else.

But I haven’t been as consistent in my beauty routine, and so I decided to talk to you today about how important it is to remain consistent in maintaining your routines. Not only for your outer beauty, also for your inner beauty.

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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.

 

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…..

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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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Three Product Round-Up :Cleansing Balms

Greetings, readers!

This is my first beauty post of 2018, and one of my resolutions was to create more meaningful content in the space of beauty which actually discuss care in detail.

So I’m starting a new series for this blog called “Three Product Round-Up.” In this series, I’m going to test three different versions of a product at three different price points:

Drugstore:$

Department Store:$$

Higher End:$$$

For my first foray, I’m going to do a three product round-up of cleansing balms. Now, what are cleansing balms, you ask? Cleansing balms are solid, oil-based cleansers which are mostly used as the first step in a skincare routine. Now, most people use them to remove sunscreen and make-up before using a second treatment cleanser, however, depending upon the product, there are some products which can be used as a second cleanse. 

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The three cleansing balms which I am going to be comparing are the following:

Pixi’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm ($20) Available at Target  

Clinique’s “Take the Day Off” Cleansing Balm ($29.50) Available at Sephora and Macy’s

Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm ($50) Available at Sephora and Space.nk Apothecary

Now…let’s begin, shall we?

I. Amount in packaging:

Pixi-3.04 oz

 NourishingCleansingBalm Open 04AUG16 web large

Photo Credit: Target

Clinique– 4.2 oz (Originally 3.8 oz)

 Clinique Take the Day Off Macys

Photo Credit: Macy’s

Sunday Riley-3.38 oz.

 Sunday Riley Sephora

Photo Credit: Sephora

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

Pixi: :A gentle cleansing balm that removes all traces of makeup as it nourishes, leaving skin silky-soft.”

Clinique: “Lightweight makeup remover quickly dissolves tenacious eye and face makeups, sunscreens. Transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Gently helps remove the stress of pollution so skin looks younger, longer. Non-greasy. Non-drying. Ophthalmologist tested. For all skin types.”

Sunday Riley: “Blended with gentle sugar-based cleansers, Sunday Riley’s ‘Blue Moon Tranquility’ balm will remove impurities and makeup without stripping your face of essential oils. It’s infused antioxidant-rich Cocoa Butter, moisturizing Mimosa Flower Wax and a calming blend of Blue Tansy and German Chamomile to soothe irritation. Tangerine and Sweet Orange Essential Oils tone and clarify while creating a relaxing, spa-like experience.” (Taken from Net-a-Porter.com)

III. Ingredients:

Pixi: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Behenate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Cetyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance. 90 ml / 3.04 fl.oz

Clinique: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water / Aqua / Eau, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday Riley: Glycerin & Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides & Aqua & Sucrose Laurate, Jojoba Esters (And) Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax (and) Polyglycering-3, Glyceryl Behenate, C10-18 Triglycerides, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Coconut Oil), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Moringa Oil/ Hydrogenated Moringa Oil Esters (Moringa Butter), PEG-8 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol (and) Ceteth-20 (and) Steareth-20, Polyglyceryl-6, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax (and) Cetyl Alcohol, Squalene, Tangerine (Citrus Tangerina) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile) Essential Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Ylang Ylang (Canaga Odorata) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Var. Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile Roman) Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin And Caprylyl Glycol. (Taken From Dermstore.com)

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Pixi: • Use AM & PM 
• Step 1: Apply a coin size amount onto dry skin & neck. 
• Step 2: Massage gently for 30 seconds. 
• Step 3: Remove with damp face cloth, using circular movements. 
• Petra’s Recommendation: For best results, follow with Glow Tonic.

Clinique:  How to Use
Use fingertips to massage balm over dry skin.
Rinse well with warm water. Pat dry.
Follow with your 3-Step Skin Care System.

Sunday Riley: How to Use
Massage balm into dry skin and remove with a warm cloth or apply as a hydrating mask on clean skin. 
Once open, most effective when used within 12 months. (Taken From Dermstore.com)

V. Texture and Scent

Pixi: This product feels like a solid oil. It’s very smooth, and goes on like a very slippery oil when rubbed on the face. I love the mild rose smell.

Clinique: This feels like Lard or Crisco. When you rub it between your fingers, it goes on like an oily cream. This has no fragrance, which is perfect for those who don’t like scented products.

Sunday Riley: This product feels rich, but it is quite grainy. I found the blue tansy scent quite calming, though. Still, the grainy texture..nah. I’m not a fan of it.

VI. How Did I Use It?

All products: I took a quarter-sized amount between my hands, rubbed them once, and then massaged it into my face for one minute to remove makeup. Then, I used a warm, clean washcloth to remove my make-up and sunscreen.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Pixi: This was my least favorite. I used my usual method, and my face felt as though it was coated in wax. I had to use a stronger second cleanser to remove the remnants of this cleanser. Even on my hand, my hand felt as though it was coated with wax. A really nice smelling wax….but still…I don’t like wax near my face. Ever.

Clinique: I really liked this product. I’m normally a sucker for scent, but the performance of this was so good that I didn’t miss the scent. I was able to remove this in 1-2 swipes, and it even removed my waterproof eyeliner as well as my makeup. WIN! 

Sunday Riley: I do like this product. It performs well, and it can actually double as a moisture mask. However, I will not be repurchasing this product because there are much better cleansers which can be purchased for the price, and the grainy texture just wasn’t my thing. 

VIII. Final Verdict

Pixi: I will not be repurchasing this. Ever again.

Clinique: I really love this product. The issue that I have is Clinique is one of the flagship Estee Lauder brands. If you don’t know…Estee Lauder Companies sells their products in China, which requires internationally-owned brands to test their products on animals before they can be sold to the Chinese market. This issue is a LOT more complicated than it appears, and I will be making a separate post on it in the near future.

Sunday Riley: If the price point were $20 lower, then absolutely. However, it’s just not worth it to me.