Added to the Wishlist: Rodial Dragon's Blood

by Joyce in


A few weeks ago, I was browsing Space NK and found added a few things to my wishlist from the brand Sai Sei. (Check out that post here, in case you missed it!) During that same trip, this skincare range from Rodial caught my eye. 

Perhaps it was the summery packaging or the name, but I was really intrigued by the Dragon's Blood line. When the sales associate told me that the cleansing water was amazing, and also easy to use on the go or while traveling, I was sold. Then I spotted the hyaluronic mask and moisturizer, and both of those seemed perfect too.  

Sadly, I didn't take home any of the line, but I sure would like to. These goodies are definitely next on my wishlist once I've finished up more of my skincare and samples filling up my drawers.  

Have you tried Rodial or the Dragon's Blood line? If so, how did you like it?  

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2013 Empties: #4 The Sample Edition

by Joyce in ,


These last 2 weeks, I've been on a desperate attempt to finish up some samples. Even though my fiance helped, I think I did well!  

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Kate Somerville Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Serum (not pictured)
This was actually quite nice - light, and cooling on the skin. (Though I'm not sure that it is meant to be cooling, it may just be from cold AC, lol!) It absorbed quickly, and felt properly moisturizing. Yay!
Purchase?: Maybe. I'd love to finish up some stuff first before I purchase more skincare. At $65 for 1oz, it is a bit more than I'd want to spend!

Darphin Aromatic Renewing Balm
I was drawn to this stuff because it is lemon scented, and you know how much I love lemon and other citrus scents!  This neat balm was quite soothing on my skin, and really helped to keep my skin calm, hydrated, and dare I say radiant? I only had a small chunk of product in this container, and it lasted forever. Months, really, and I used it every few days. 
Purchase?: Maybe. I've been considering putting my $10 of Space NK points towards this, but it is also pricy at a whopping $70!

Sisley Emulsion Ecologique
I had this sample packet laying around and I smushed it on when I was having a particularly dry day. It was nice and did the job, but I don't even want to to think about how much it is. Plus it wasn't miraculous, so I'm going to pretend it doesn't exist. 
Purchase?: No! Ignoring the fact that this even exists, lol. 

ReVive Intensite Moisture Serum
This serum was SO nice. It was light, and absorbed nicely, and helped keep my skin really hydrated.
Purchase?: Maybe. I would love to, but sadly it is $395. Groan

Jack Black EpicMoisture MP10 Nourishing Oil
I really liked this oil. It absorbed quickly, and felt super hydrated. I'm glad to have tried it!
Purchase?: Yes! I was surprised to find that it is not too pricey! It is totally on my list. 

Pangea Organics Nigerian Ginger with Lavender & Thyme Facial Cream
This cream was decently hydrating, but left a strange not quite tacky feeling on my face. I also don't like lavender scents on my face at all, so this just isn't for me. I do like the idea behind the brand, and would like to look at more of their line. 
Purchase?: No. 

Origins GinZing Moisturizer
I think I received this sample when I bought this moisturizer - how funny! Anyway, I liked the orange scent and light texture of this cream, and it seemed to provide an appropriate amount of moisture. I'll be sure to review it soon!

Aesop Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion  
My fiance used this one after shaving one day, and was alarmed to find that it didn't absorb in right away. After a few minutes though, it totally absorbed in and did the job. I don't know if it is a miraculous product, but I have another sample packet that maybe I will try on part of my leg or something! Also, I vaguely hoped it would smell like Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, and it was more herbal/spicy. 
Purchase?: Not sure. Needs more investigation!

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Boscia White Mask
This white mask reminded me a bit of glue, which was a bit alarming at first as I didn't expect it. It also didn't peel off like I expected, but it left my complexion looking even, clear, and even a bit glowy! 
Purchase?: Maybe. I'd like to look at all of Boscia's available masks!

Lancome Milky Cream Face Cleanser
I'm a bit of a cheat on this one, as I didn't completely use it up, but it was an average non-drying cleanser that I didn't love or hate. Maybe I should've given it more of a chance, but I didn't love the slightly chemical scent. 
Purchase?: No. I have cleansers I love, so I'll pass on this. 

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque  
I used a sample of this a few weeks ago, and I was on the fence. The more I use this, the more I think that this mask really does keep your skin clear. I definitely want to try it now! 
Purchase?: Yes. It is on my list now, along with the Parsley Seed Serum!

Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment
I was a bit frightened to try this, as it seemed so intense, but it was a decent mud mask. I think we made a bit of a mess, but the mask was fun to try and not horribly drying or anything. 
Purchase?: Probably not. I don't need more clay type masks at the moment!

Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Masque
My fiance tried this one, and I have no memory of how he liked it. I know he had no objections, and liked the cooling texture, but I don't know what else!
Purchase?:
Probably not. I have too many masks now, haha!

Korres White Tea Cleanser
This smelled nice - light and fruity. It wasn't too drying for a gel cleanser, and it was just fine on my skin. 
Purchase?:
No. It wasn't bad, but I prefer the cleansers I have. 

Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloth
This cleansing cloth was quite nice - fresh scent, no residue, and not drying! All the things I look for in a pinch. I'm bummed that Sephora no longer carries the brand and it totally fell off my radar. 
Purchase?: Yes. It is on my list! 

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Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri
When I sniffed this at the store, it was a delightful concoction of orange and floral. Once I worked through this sample, I knew the scent wasn't one for me, but I still found it to be a neat scent. 
Purchase?: No. Not in love with them, so I gotta save my dollars!

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino
This is gorgeous, and I gladly used up the sample. Light and fresh, this is such a perfect summer scent for those who don't want too much floral or fruit but still like a hint of it in their fragrances.
Purchase?: No. I have Diptyque L'Eau de Neroli, which is also in the same family, and I'm loving my new perfume purchase!

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THE TOSS PILE
As I was cleaning up my collection, I found these things that were quite ready to be tossed. Mysterious perfume samples that aren't too thrilling and also probably at least 5 years old, a sad broken Chanel Aqua Crayon in Velveteen that had its fair share of fun back in the day, and a sample of 3Lab The Cream that my fiance managed to use and then leave in a drawer that he found to be quite mediocre.  

So there you have it! What do you think of all the samples I got through?? Have you tried and loved any of these products? 

 

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Hydrate Your Skin with Lush Ultrabland Cleanser!

by Joyce in


I recently had the opportunity to experience a Lush Emotional Brilliance reading, and I ended up with quite a number of swatches all over my hands. Lush Ultrabland was smoothed all over, and I was immediately sold. Luckily, the kind manager there decided to give me a pot of this creamy goodness!

lush ultrabland review

This cleanser is definitely rich and moisturizing, and that is probably my favorite thing about it. My skin has been going through cycles of dehydration this year, and this really helps make my skin feel normal again. One downside of this creaminess is the bit of residue it leaves on the skin. It seems to be unavoidable, and I like to think of it as a bit of moisturizer to get me started. (LOL) However, I do find that if you don't use a ton of product and rinse well, then the leftover bits are minimal, but if you are one who likes a squeaky clean feel, then I would skip this. 

Ultrabland is also a really nice way to remove makeup. It is creamy, and I find that it removes makeup better than my limited experience with Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil. (I also managed to scare my fiance by rubbing this all over my mouth with bright lipstick, and then smearing it everywhere... haha!) I don't know how it performs on waterproof eye makeup, as I just prefer to use my Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water on my eyes.  

All in all, I am really glad I tried this. I really want to try other cream cleansers now, so I'm not sure that I'll purchase this one just yet. I suspect it is a winner though, so I'll let you know if I'm buying a pot once I get to the bottom! :)

Have you tried Lush Ultrabland Cleanser? Do you have a favorite cream cleanser that I must try? I'd love to know! 

 Lush Ultrabland was provided for review and retails for $16.95-$29.95. 

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Lush Full of Grace Has Saved Me From Dry Patches!

by Joyce in


A few months back, Lush sent me their Full of Grace serum bar, and I was quite pumped to try it. The weather in Chicago was very cold and dry, and I was experiencing dry patches for the first time in ages. My skin just felt all over the place to me, so this seemed to be right time to give this a go.

Lush Full of Grace Review

So you may be wondering - how do you actually use this serum bar?? I know I was. Lush recommends rubbing the bar between your palms so that it melts into your hands. For those of you who have used the massage bars before, it is pretty much the same idea. I tend to dab this onto different parts of my face and rub it in from there!

This bar has a very light herbal scent, so that is good. Any stronger, and I probably would not be able to handle it! Some of you may have noticed that it was on one of my monthly favorites lists, and it is definitely a winner in my book.

When I first tried this, it seriously cleared up about 90% of my dry patches in about 2 days. To me, that is EPIC. When I arrived in California last week, I started to see the return of my dry patches because of the dry climate here, and thankfully, Lush Full of Grace fixed them right up. 

Have you tried Lush Full of Grace? 

INGREDIENTS: Murumuru Butter (Astrocaryum murumuru)Calamine Powder, Cupuacu Butter (Theobroma Grandiflorum)Fresh Rose Infusion (Rosa centifolia)Organic Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis)Perfume, Fresh Portobello Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)Chamomile Blue Oil (Matricaria Chamomilla)Rose Oil (Rosa centifolia)Tagetes Oil (Tagetes minuta)*Eugenol*Geraniol*Benzyl Benzoate*Citronellol*Farnesol*Limonene*Linalool 

This product was provided for review. Lush Full of Grace retails for $14.95. 

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Everyday Staple: Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask

by Joyce in


A few weeks ago, I got a lot of mask samples on a shopping trip. I was hoping to pick just one, but I've realized there are too many categories of masks to stick to just one kind! (Eeek! This could be painful for my wallet!) In any event, I had heard so much about this mask and found it useful enough to go and purchase it before I even used up my sample. But hey, I was at Sephora making an exchange anyway... (That is the start of all bad spending habits, right??)

origins clear improvement charcoal mask review

I purchased the full size, which is $23 for 3.4 oz. Sephora and other retailers also carry a 1,7 oz travel size for $16, which I should have probably purchased, but my Sephora was out of stock. In the realm of masks that are currently taunting me (hi Koh Gen Doh and Chantecaille!), this one is quite inexpensive in comparison.

This mask is definitely what I expected of a clay mask - it hardens quickly, and does clear out my pores quite well. What I was really surprised to find was that it improved the look of one of my not so cute pimples after I removed the mask! Look at the gray clay-iness of it! (Yes, I just said clay-iness, lol!)

origins clear improvement charcoal mask  swatch

So, once I discovered this, I proceeded to use this as an overnight spot treatment on some recent breakouts. I don't know what it was - perhaps a combination of hormones and bad face washing habits - but I broke out more in mid January than I have in the last few months combined. Ew.

In any event, I am going to keep using this as a spot treatment. For those painful breakouts, this really minimizes their size, and small little bumps nearly disappear with one use. Of course, everyone's skin is different, and perhaps even every breakout reacts differently to products, but I'd say this is definitely worth a try, both as a mask and spot treatment!

I do need to mention that this is a drying mask, at least in comparison to other masks I've tried recently. For me, it is nothing a good moisturizer or hydrating mask can't fix, but I do want to caution those with very dry skin. For reference, my skin is normal but leans dry, particularly in the winter. The first time I used this all over my face, I didn't moisturize well and found myself feeling tight around my mouth/nose the next morning. While it probably didn't help that it was 3 degrees out that day, I did need to add moisturizer to feel my normal level of skin comfort.

Anyway, I am quite enjoying this Origins mask, and urge you to give it a try if you're looking for a typical clay mask or a new spot treatment. Have you tried this or any other mask from Origins? What have been your go to masks lately?? :)

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Skincare Sampling!

by Joyce in


I'm slowly whittling away at the stash of skincare samples that I have... and seriously, I have too many. Also, I think I need to take a break, as my skin has been acting crazy from the dry air and drop in temperatures here in Chicago. I also have this urgent need to use up as many samples as possible, though! While I've been sampling like crazy, I also manage to lose the packets or give up on using them before I finish them. Does this happen to you, or is it just me? Fortunately, many samples are small and my boyfriend and I can typically use up a sample packet in one go.

Anyway, here's what we've tried in the last few weeks! Also, since these packets are small, these are really more like first impressions, rather than reviews. :)

samples

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream I found that this was a very basic, no frills moisturizer that got the job done. It did have a slight scent, almost like vegetable oil to me, but then again, I have a weird nose. The packet contents also changed color once exposed to air, as you can see in the photo. I thought it was nice, but then again, I have so much stuff to use that I don't need to run out for this one!

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion I've always wanted to like Murad skincare, but it just doesn't seem to work for me. I've had some positive experiences with some of the line a few years ago, but that was really at the beginning of my skincare exploration. I did not like the scent of this one, but perhaps my sample was old. Also, this did not have enough moisture for my skin AT ALL in this cold Chicago weather. I'm not sure if it would be enough moisture even in the summer! Definitely skipping!

Korres Sugar Crystal Cream There was something weird about this cream, as if there were little exfoliating grains in it. Now that sounds good in theory, but my skin just felt WEIRD. Like weird texture-wise. Also, it made my skin very oily within a few hours. It did initially smell like brown sugar to me, but my boyfriend thought that was also mixed with baby powder. Ick. I don't know how old this sample packet was, so maybe that's it?? Still, this is not for me!

Avene Cream (not pictured) Again, I'm not 100% sure on the name. Maybe it was one of the Hydrance ones? I somehow misplaced the sample, before I even got to use it more than once. :/ It definitely was very moisturizing, almost a bit heavy in texture. It had a floral scent too. I do want to try more Avene for sure, I just need to pick out the right product!

skincare samples 

Murad Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer (not pictured) My boyfriend tried this one, and did like the texture and moisturizing properties of this lotion. He liked that his skin didn't feel oily at any point in the day, and that the moisturizer absorbed very quickly, even when he put too much on. Otherwise, he thought it was pretty standard, "nothing fancy" and that we didn't need to run out and buy it. Phew!

Boscia Restorative Night Moisture Cream This had a really velvety texture, which we both enjoyed, but it never really seemed to absorb into our skin. Even an hour and a half later, our faces were tacky to touch. Sad!

Bobbi Brown Overnight CreamI'm not 100% sure this is the exact name, but it was definitely a night cream. I've thrown out the packet now, so I can't check! This cream definitely had an appropriate amount of moisture for me, and I woke up feeling perfectly moisturized. However, this would definitely feel heavy to me for daytime wear, and I very likely wouldn't wear this in the summer. The boyfriend's only reaction was "it is ok", so that means that it moisturized but didn't feel like anything special to him. Not bad, but I have no desire to rush out and buy this.

RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer This smelled like a standard clinical style moisturizer to me, but my boyfriend described it as something an old person would use, or a lotion you would get out of a dispenser at a hospital. Sad again! It was decent enough, but nothing special.

There you have it! I'm excited that nothing in this pile made me desperately want to buy things! :) Have you tried these skincare products? If so, how did they fare for you? How are you doing on your sample stash? :)

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