Eye Candy: Wayne Goss, The Collection

My gosh do these look beautiful.  Wayne Goss, of YouTube fame, has come out with his own collection of brushes.  Love the sleek look of these.  And love that they are handmade and cruelty-free!  I just got a Sigma set recently so I can’t quite justify the $210 for this pack of eye candy, but maybe sometime down the line…

Wayne Goss, The Collection

Wayne Goss, The Collection via Beautylish

The production for these brushes is limited and requires pre-ordering.  More details at Beautylish.


REVIEW: Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Serum

Juice Beauty touts its Green Apple Age Defy Serum as a quick-absorbing serum that brighten, lighten, and tightens.  When I read that description, I was sold! Hyperpigmentation be gone!

Juice Beauty Age Defy Serum Juice Beauty Age Defy Serum

This had the hallmarks of a great serum.  It is lightweight with lightning-fast absorption.  Like your skin is just drinking it up.  Within seconds of application, your skin feels soft and hydrated.  I loved using it in the morning as a refreshing wakeup for my skin and as a primer under makeup.  The smell is very natural and apple-y.  The list of ingredients is impressive, with standouts such as a slew of antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, and hyaluronic acid. Plus, the serum comes with a responsive airless pump to keep all that goodness sealed in. So far so good.

Juice Beauty Age Defy Serum

Juice Beauty Age Defy Serum

The Juice Beauty Age Defy Serum is a lightweight, fast-absorbing serum that is a little on the runny side.

Alas, hopes that this would help me get rid of some hyperpigmentation spots on my cheeks were not answered.  I’m realistic.  I do think hyperpigmentation takes a while to lighten, especially if one is trying to stay away from harsh chemicals.  But I didn’t see any difference by tube’s end.  While it otherwise felt like a great, refreshing serum and served as a very pleasant primer, it left me a little disappointed at $52 a pop.

Still, I would reconsider purchasing even as a primer since it did offer great, lightweight moisturization.  This is especially true because I like having a skin-beneficial barrier between my skin and whatever else I might put on my complexion, whether it be sunscreen, a tinted moisturizer, or foundation.  That is, until a good CC cream hits the market.  (Ironically, Juice Beauty’s offering is close, with its natural formulation and physical sunscreen, but its ultra-dewiness and odd scent are too off-putting at the moment).  When that happens, I probably wouldn’t have a hard time leaving this serum behind.  Still, if you’re looking for a simple, natural serum with great ingredients and otherwise don’t need much else other than lightweight hydration, I would recommend you give the Green Apple Age Defy Serum a try.


REVIEW: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

The thing with being a product junkie is that, if you’re going to really give something a good try so as to formulate a trustworthy review, it will take you a long time to rotate through your products.  But I’m here now after getting to and through my Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer!  (I also got through the Green Apple Age Defy Serum and the Green Apple Peel Full Strength.  Reviews on those products are in the works.)

Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

Cute “AGELESS” packaging

I’ve been keenly interested/obsessed with finding more natural products these days.  The way I figure it, if I can find something that is free of purported or probable toxins while sacrificing little in the effectiveness department, then why not?  So I was very happy to find a brand like Juice Beauty that uses a lot of organic ingredients and fruit-based actives in their products.

The Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer is no exception.  It is packed with organic fruit oils and antioxidants, with vitamin C, resveratrol, and fruit stem cells rounding out the formula.  The moisturizer has a light lemony scent and it comes out from a fantastic airless pump.  I’m a big fan of airless pumps since I do think they keep creams fresher and protect the ingredients from light and air.  The consistency is fairly light and it absorbs nicely without leaving an oily residue.  In fact, with the absence of the usual grease film that are characteristic of many night creams, I was starting to doubt whether this product was being effective at all.

Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

The Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer (exaggeratedly swatched here) leaves your skin plump and moisturized without the look or feel of an an oil slick.

The Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer (exaggeratedly swatched here) leaves your skin plump and moisturized without the look or feel of an an oil slick.

But, sure enough, my skin was consistently plumper in the morning and looked more refreshed.  And I love that it did so without any silicones in the formulation.  The product is touted to produce other great clinical results, whereby women have allegedly reported:

  • 100% improved hydration
  • 96% improved dark circles and puffiness around eyes
  • 88% reduction in 3D visual analysis of fine lines and wrinkles
  • 88% improved skin tone and luminosity
  • 75% improved elasticity of the skin

To be honest, I think I was a little overeager in purchasing this $65 jar of fruity heavy-hitters.  Fine lines and wrinkles aren’t really my concerns at this point; I was more intrigued by the skin tone and luminosity claims.  With that said, after going through the whole jar, I didn’t really notice much improvement in the skin tone and luminosity department.  My skin did feel plumper every morning, but I didn’t really see much improvement in terms of hyperpigmentation or with my dark circles.  Finally, for a brand that markets itself as green, I did not appreciate the inclusion of sodium benzoate in this moisturizer, especially given the presence of vitamin C in the formulation.

So, the verdict?  For my current needs, I decided to go hunting for something that is more targeted towards my specific concerns (hyperpigmentation and exfoliation).  (Spoiler: I think I might have found something I really really like!  More to come…)  I might give the Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer another try in later years, but definitely not before a tweak in the formulation.


Hitting Pan: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 – Oil Free

I should actually be calling this entry “Hitting Pan (Sort Of)” because a) I actually finished the product so the pan has been more than just “hit” and b) it’s not a pan because it’s a tube.

The tube is icky looking at  this point, so there’s no use for me to scar your eyes with its pixels.  The box is also long gone at this point.  But, I did want to take this opportunity to give you my two cents:

This tinted moisturizer ($43 at Sephora) has been a cult favorite for many years now, and after my failed experience with Tarte’s Smooth Operator Tinted Moisturizer (which, incidentally, I think has since been reformulated into a BB cream), I couldn’t wait to open up this tube of great expectations.  Sadly, this was not the holy grail I had hoped for it to be.  

First, it is just way way too dewey for my combination skin.  At the end of the day, my forehead is an oil slick with this on.  The kicker?  I got this in the oil-free formulation.  Second, these days I gravitate towards products with physical sunscreens instead of chemical ones, and so even if I had liked this tinted moisturizer, it’s questionable whether I would have repurchased it on account of this factor alone.  Third, even when mixed with Tarte’s Smooth Operator (which I found clung to my dry patches when used alone), it still left me with an Exxon-style T-zone by the end of the day.  In sum, this was just too high maintenance (think mega powdering and blotting) for daily use.

And so the hunt for a great tinted moisturizer continues…


RAVE: L’EauParKenzo

Oh L’EauParKenzo.  It’s light, it’s airy, it’s fresh and crisp, but with an underlying femininity that doesn’t make it smell just like a sheet of Bounce.  And it’s a fun compound name.  In sum? One of my favorite, go-to scents.  The fragrance was first released in 1996 and despite the plethora of choices on the perfume market nowadays, this scent still shines.

kenzo_leauparkenzo kenzo_leauparkenzo-2

(The more elaborate description from the Kenzo’s official website describes it as a “fresh, aquatic scent, captured in a bottle with gentle curves escaping on a wave of serene beauty with a blend of cool mint, lotus flower and the sensual lingering of pink peppers.”  Meanwhile, the over-the-top Sephora description reads: “It all began with Kenzo’s love of water.  Kenzo’s universe is a vast garden, and water is its source, the origin of every vital force.  Simplicity, purity, and sincerity.  The bottle of L’Eau Par Kenzo does not contain water – it is water.”)

There are only two drawbacks: availability and what I will term the “initial sniff”.  When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores, I’ve only found it at Sephora.  And then, there’s the “initial sniff.”  That is, the very first notes I get out of this perfume after spraying are too floral-y, so much that they veer into the pollen-y category.  The magic of a layered perfume, though, is that the first few notes are not indicative of the more lasting and more prevalent scents that you will carry with you for most of the day.  So aside from that first minute where I think my sinuses will bleed from an allergic reaction, I love love love the middle and base notes released throughout the day.  By the time I hit the office, the lingering notes of that initial sniff are long gone, and so I really don’t mind it at all.  This is in sharp contrast to some perfumes whose top notes I enjoy much more than their base notes.  (Hello, Daisy Oh So Fresh.  Which I shall review soon.) The wear time on this perfume isn’t the greatest, but that actually makes it a perfect, subtle daytime scent that naturally fades into your skin chemistry without irritating those around you.

All in all, L’EauParKenzo is a top-notch perfume in my books.  Makes me wonder about the “Wild Edition” listed on the Kenzo website.  Wished it was available at Sephora or Ulta so I could bring my nose to its nozzle!


SNEAK PEEK: Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel, Green Apple Age Defy Serum, and Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

I’m always on the hunt for great skincare go-to’s.  So, recently, I went on an organic splurge and bought all the Juice Beauty products I could lay my hands on at my local Ulta.  Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.  It’s just that it sure felt that way to my little wallet.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel, Green Apple Age Defy Serum, and Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

I’m super excited to give their best-selling Green Apple Peel a try.  And also excited to see how effective their Green Apple Age Defy Serum is at treating hyperpigmentation.  And a night cream made with fruit stem cells?  Too intriguing not to give it a go.  All of these products are certified organic and formulated without parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, silicones, pesticides, artificial dyes or fragrances.  Kind of a mouthful, but I can summarize all that in three letters: yay!  I’m a fan of minimizing the amount of chemicals in products like serums and night creams since these incubate on your face for hours.

I suspect these will take me quite a while to assess, so stay tuned for a full review in the relatively not-so-distant near future!  A little spoiler: I was given a sample of the Green Apple Peel Sensitive and have been testing it out before easing my way into the full strength peel.   So far, I L-O-V-E.  Juice Beauty wasn’t lying when it poetically said that the peel brightens, lightens, and tightens.  It’s like a 10-minute-spa-treatment-in-a-jar.  Hopefully, this bodes well for the rest of these products!

REVIEW: Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat

A good base coat is a must, in my opinion, to prevent your polish from staining your nails.  Because the base coat comes in direct contact with my nails and because my nails tend to be on the drier side, I was looking for a base coat that would give my nails a little more TLC than a plain ol’ clear base coat.  I looked into OPI’s Nail Envy line and Nailtiques’ protein formulas, but was disappointed that they all still contained formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin.  (The Nail Envy for sensitive and peeling nails is advertised as formaldehyde-free, but didn’t seem to have good reviews.)

So when I read that Deborah Lippmann’s Rehydrating Base Coat was touted as protecting nails from drying and and was 3-free, I decided that investing the whopping $18 for the bottle might be worthwhile.

While I wasn’t completely wrong, I was definitely not right.

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REVIEW: Super by Perricone Brightening Activator

“It’s ok because it’s good for you.”

Ever told yourself you should tough something out because the ultimate benefits were worth whatever it was you were enduring?  It’s probably what your mother told you when she was touting the benefits of eating liver or, in my case, eating bell peppers.

I bring this up because, after you’re done ooh-ing and aahh-ing at the distinctively pretty pink and white packaging of this toner, the first thing you notice—upon switching out the screwcap for the handy pump included with the bottle—is the smell.  As long as you’re expecting it, though, you won’t be as taken aback.  So, just so you know, this smells like cantaloupes gone bad.  Not excessively foul, but not heavenly pleasant either.  (We’re talking about cantaloupes that are overripe by say, 24 hours, and not much more.)

“If this product works,” I told myself, “I can deal with the smell.”  (In all honesty, I could deal with the smell even if the product didn’t work.  But it’s so much more fun to hold hostage what you think is your sought-after satisfaction.)

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RAVE: Lioele Blooming Gloss (Vanilla Pink)

I usually stay away from lip glosses because aside from the obligatory lip balm / SPF protection, the idea of something sticky, icky, and smelly on my lips is utterly unappealing.   Basically, if you’re going to do lip gloss in my books, you really have to do it right.  Otherwise, the  downsides are just too numerous: sticky lips, gross taste, gross smell, etc.

So when I heard that Lioele had among its cosmetic line a divine-smelling lip gloss, I quickly seized the chance to meet my potential holy grail lip gloss.  As the title so subtly imparted, I do believe I have found that HG gloss!


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REVIEW: Origins Starting Over Age-Erasing Moisturizer with Mimosa

No matter how this review was going to go, thumbs up were going to go to Origins and Sephora. For Earth Day 2012, Sephora teamed up with Origins and offered a full-size bottle of either Origins’ Starting Over Age-Erasing Moisturizer with Mimosa or A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer with White Tea just by bringing in an empty cosmetic product container to a Sephora store for recycling. It didn’t even have to be an Origins container or even a container of a product sold by Sephora. These moisturizers retail for $46.00 and $39.50, respectively. So, really, thumbs up all around.

I was on the hunt for a good night time moisturizer so I opted for the SPF-free, Starting Over moisturizer.

Origins Starting Over Moisturizer Origins Starting Over Moisturizer

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