Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beauty Scoop: Dermalogica Oily Skin kit Review

I'm just going to jump right in and say I was deeply disappointed with this line. If you were thinking of trying this, you're going to be depressed (or relieved you didn't risk the $) after reading this. I had high hopes for it and I probably expected way too much from this kit. Now I really wish I would have just saved my money for Pangea. Thank goodness I got the trial sizes and not the full sizes or I would have been out more than $40.
From left to right: Dermal Clay Cleanser,
Multi-Active Toner, Oil Control Lotion,
Skin Prep Scrub, Climate Control Lip Treatment

It comes in this zipper mesh bag (which I actually really like, haha, I've been using it to hold my everyday make-up in). It also came with two packet samples of the Soothing Eye Make Up Remover and the Skin Refining Mask--both of which did not have nearly enough for me to do a review on.

Here is the order I used these products:

The Dermal Clay Cleanser (1.7 oz*) is a kaolin clay cleanser and I thought it would really lift impurities from my skin (see my post on KAOLIN CLAY MASKS). It's supposed to sooth and revitalize skin. Instead it really didn't feel like it did much of anything. It left a bit of a grimy feel on my face, which the Skin Prep Scrub took off in the next step.

Skin Prep Scrub (0.75 oz*): WOW was I disappointed when I saw how tiny this was.  This is probably the best product of the bunch. It really did leave my skin quite smooth, but I don't think it's much better than my St. Ives scrub, no harsh chemicals and under $2, or Philosophy's Microdelivery ($15 for 4 oz) which I also really like, but is too expensive for me to replace constantly. I just don't think the Skin Prep Scrub is the perfect scrub for oily skin, but this is really the only product from the kit I may consider purchasing in the future.

After I pat my face dry, I moved on to the next step and used the Multi-Active Toner (1.7 oz*). I tried using this several ways: by spraying it on my face, rubbing it in, spraying it on my hands and rubbing it on my face, applying it with cotton swab to my face, spraying it on my face and not rubbing it in, etc. I really tried to give this a fair shot because I think toners are one of the more important steps in oil control. Unfortunately I really did NOT like this toner. It left a weird residue on my face and made my skin feel dirty.

Once my face air dried from the toner, I applied the Oil Control Lotion (0.75 oz*), the most disappointing product of all. Even the first time I tried this and my face felt gross and dirty, I was still excited about it because it seemed to hydrate and stop oil at the same time. However, an hour or so after applying it, my skin seemed even more oily than normal.  It didn't work any better than a primer in that aspect and at least a primer allows my makeup to go on over an even base. On top of that, I could feel it sitting on my skin (and let me tell you, barely any is needed to cover the entire face).

I was really hoping this kit would work out. I used this day and night hoping that maybe time made it more effective. It didn't. If you tried this kit and did something different that made it work wonderfully, please e-mail me what you did because I just can't get over how much this kit did not work.

I got this kit a month ago and I used it regularly for four weeks. In retrospect, I should have given up on it after the first week because then I wouldn't have had to deal with the breakouts and overly oily skin that resulted from it. I feel like I researched this really well before I tried it and there were tons of positive reviews. I'm not here to call the other reviewers liars, but I will say that this just shows how products work very differently for different people.

I will mention that I really liked the Climate Control Lip Treatment (0.75 oz -- a fancy name for lip balm) and use it everyday. It works really well over lipstick to give it a nice sheen, but not as glossy as a lip gloss. It is super hydrating, but it does require constant reapplying. I'm pretty sure this comes in all of their kits, but on it's own it is $8.

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read my rant.

* Oz for trial sizes, not for full size products.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Scoop on Healthy Living: The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

I began talking about organic products on May 22nd in the post "What Does Organic Mean?"

Today I want to talk about organic fruits and vegetables.  I think one of the reasons people become discouraged about buying organic all the time is the higher price tag. The good news is not every piece of produce you buy has to be organic. In fact, some non-organic fruits and vegetables--the "Clean 15"--are almost as clean as their organic alternatives. On the other end of the spectrum, there is what we call the "Dirty Dozen". These non-organic fruits and vegetables absorb more chemicals from the pesticides and fertilizers used to grow them than others. When possible, you should always buy the organic version of the "Dirty Dozen".

Clean 15: The produce that let us skip the higher price tag!
The product that is practically always free of pesticides, organic or not, is the onion. The rest on this list have detectable pesticides on them, but much less than the Dirty Dozen. The Clean 15 include the following:

→Sweet Corn
→Sweet peas
→Sweet Potatoes

Dirty Dozen: Buying these fruits and vegetables organic will help drastically lower your exposure to pesticides (by up to 90%).
The dirtiest of the Dirty Dozen is the peach due to it's super soft and absorbent skin. From most pesticides to least, here are the Dirty Dozen:

→Sweet bell peppers
→Imported Grapes

The remaining veggies and fruits fall in between the two lists. You can always buy the organic version if you're not sure about whether the product would be closer to the dirty or clean lists. If you'd like to see a full list, check out Food News.

Takeaway: If you want to start eating more organic produce, think about what your favorite fruits and veggies are and where they fall on this list.  You can keep a list in your wallet of the the ones you love that fall on the Dirty Dozen list in order to remind you when to buy organic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beauty Scoop: Belegenza Hair Care

I've been using the Belegenza Growout Package (purcahsed from Hautelook) for a few weeks now. I have no idea if this has helped my hair grow (or if it's even possible for a product to do so).  Belegenza products are silicone-free, mineral oil-free, petrolatum-free, paraben-free, SLS-free, phthalate-free, & urea-free, which is the main reason I decided to buy this package.  
Belegenza GrowOut Package
A. GrowOut Shampoo and Strengthener $25: I liked the Shampoo. It makes my hair and scalp feel very clean and doesn't leave residue after being washed out. This is one of my favorite shampoos I've tried thus far. However, it also carries a pretty steep retail price so I'm not sure I'll be replacing it when it's gone.

B. DraMatic Daily Volumizing Conditioner $20: This definitely increases volume better than any other volume conditioner I've tried. Also, it smells AMAZING. It's scented from rosebuds (which I've never really been drawn too before).  It's seriously one of the prettiest and most feminine scents I've ever used. I want it in a perfume! However, it leaves buildup in my hair and makes it very difficult to go more than a day without shampooing (esp. since when growing out you're hair your supposed to try to go longer between shampoos). However, for days I want to style my hair, this is definitely a good choice. I just don't prefer to use it every time I wash my hair.

C. Romance Deep Conditioning Treatment $32: This has the same amazing smell, but also leaves buildup. Even though it's a conditioner, I've used it as a styling cream and found that it's good at taming fly-aways. Sometimes I just open it to smell it--I know that sounds insane, but seriously, these conditioners smell like heaven. If they have this in a lotion I'm going to be all over it.

D. PerForm Control Styling Gel $17 and E. Taffy Styling Cream $22: I haven't had the opportunity to use these very much. I used them one day when curling my hair. Normally my hair doesn't hold a curl for more than a few hours, but with these, they lasted all day. I definitely had to wash my hair the next morning due to all the product buildup, but that happens with most styling products.

In case you're curious, the "growout package" I got was $39 and came with full sizes of the shampoo, conditioner, and styling gel, and trial/travel sizes of the deep conditioner and taffy. 

Takeaway: I think Belegenza has some great products. They're also formulated without harsh chemicals, which is an added bonus.  I'm not sure I'm sold on the fact these products are supposed to help my hair remain undamaged for longer so it can grow. I won't be purchasing a package from them again, but I may try some more of their individual products. The salon prices may keep me from trying very many though. ← carries all of the products mentioned in today's blog.

♥ Danielle

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Scoop on Healthy Living: What Does Organic Mean?

Whether you've been grocery shopping for years or just starting out after living under your parents' roof your entire life, knowing more about how to read the labels on the food your buying is important. In today's blog I wanted to talk about what things you should consider when buying organic products.

First of all, how do you know the food you're buying is completely organic?

By U.S. law, companies have to label their products in accordance to the following guidelines:
→ If all of the ingredients in a product are organic, then the label will read "100% Organic"
→ If at least 95% of the ingredients are organic, then the label will simply read "Organic"
→ If at least 70% of the ingredients are organic, then it will say "Made with Organic Ingredients"

You should keep in mind that when a label claims to be "all natural", that doesn't mean it is organic. In fact, I doubt any company is going to hide the fact their product is organic, so it will say so on the package. The only time you'll have to ask is at the Farmer's Market. At the Farmer's Market, you'll want to ask how their food was grown to avoid any confusion--i.e. with or without pesticide, etc. (as compared to simply asking if the food is organic).

What's the difference between organic and non-organic?

→ Organic meat means the animal was raised on 100% organic food. The animal was also never given growth hormones, antibiotics or any other type of drug. The meat was also never irradiated which means it wasn't exposed to radiation in processing in order to kill bacteria, germs, etc. (Don't worry, the process of cooking your meat actually takes care of this just fine.) All organically raised animals have access to the outdoors, but there is no minimum time requirement nor a space requirement.

→ Milk and eggs are organic when the animal was raised with 100% organic food and never given growth hormones or antibiotics.

→ Organic Fruits and vegetables were grown without chemicals like synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. They were not genetically engineered (which has been done in areas of the U.S. with corn, tomatoes, rice, etc.) or grown near sewage.

→ Also note there is no such thing as organic seafood. One thing you may want to ask about seafood is whether it was wild or farm-raised.

→ Another side note: irradiation is hardly ever used in Europe. They have stricter (better) safety guidelines than the U.S. and typically only use irradiation on certain spices and herbs. The main use of irradiation in the U.S. is on red meat (which I don't eat anyway, but I wanted to mention it for those of you who do) and that's due to the fact it's not always cooked "well done"; but irradiation is certainly not limited to that industry.

I hope you feel more informed about organic products. If you'd like more blogs like this, please let me know below.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beauty Scoop: Mary Kay Satin Hands

I got the Mary Kay Satin Hands kit as a gift from my landlady, she's so sweet!
[From Left to Right]
Extra Emollient Night Cream;
Satin Smoothie Hand Scrub;
Hand Cream
I honestly never realized how rough my hands were until I started using this a few days ago. They are much smoother since I've been using this. This kit runs around $30 depending on where you get it.  Maybe you're local Mary Kay girl can give you a deal! The scrub smells so peachy and yummy.  The other two don't really have a scent, as far as I can tell, but the scrub certainly makes up for it.

How I used it:
First i applied the emollient cream all over my hands and let it sit for a few minutes. I later saw the main ingredient in the emollient is petrolatum and research suggests that petrolatum may not be as safe as we once thought (it's probably a carcinogen, yikes!).  The next two times I used it, I skipped the first step and it worked just as great.  

Next, I used the scrub over the emollient. I massaged it over my hands for a minute or two and then I rinsed it off in the sink.  I followed with the hand cream and was left with smooth looking and silky feeling hands. Overall I really love this product and I'll definitely be using the scrub and the hand cream regularly! My favorite item from this kit is the scrub.

Also, even though it says it's for "satin hands", there's no rule that says you can't use it on your feet too. It's great for manicure or pedicure prep and has that perfect summery scent!

Takeaway: If you have dry hands/feet, I would definitely make a scrub and cream combination a part of your daily routine.

Other options:
If this price is a little steep for you, then you have other options. Check out The Body Shop for one of their fruity scrubs and use whatever hand cream you have on hand. Don't care for fruity scents? DIY with some brown sugar, honey and olive oil! [CLICK HERE for some great DIY scrub recipes!] You can even use some olive oil as an "emollient" for a minute or two before applying the scrub.

I'd love to hear what your solutions for dry hands are, or if you have any DIY scrub recipes that you've tried. Feel free to comment them below, or post a link to your video if you're a Youtuber.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day <3

Monday, May 09, 2011

Food Scoop: Yummy Spring Juice Recipe

Now that it's Spring and almost Summer, I've been craving more fruit based juices. This recipe is a blend of fresh and hydrating fruits and veggies. Even if you're a first time juicer I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

What you'll need:
3-4 Medium carrots
3-4 Celery sticks
1 Peach
1 Asian Pear

Rinse all fruits and veggies and scrub the carrots. No need to peel, but if you're a first time juicer and want to avoid the bitterness found in the skin, this is an option.  Just remember, there are tons of nutrients in the skin, so if you can it's best to leave it on.

If you didn't buy organic, you're going to need to skin the carrots and Asian pear (if you know how to peel a peach without boiling it then feel free to do this as well). Peeling non-organic fruits and veggies is how we avoid ingesting pesticides.  I usually cut off the top root area off of the carrot.  Depending on the size of your juicer's mouth, you may need to cut the fruit into smaller sections.  I cut the peach in half and the pear into quarters. Make sure you cut out the pit of the peach, and if you think you're juicer needs it, then slice out of the core of the pear as well.  I usually just get the seeds of the pear and leave in the rest.

Get your juicer ready, put your cup beneath the spout and start juicing. The juice should be bright orange and you should have around 16 oz. The color may change if you plan to keep it an hour or longer in the fridge. If you want the juice to maintain its color longer, then squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon juice on top and stir it in.

What's your favorite fresh juice? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Cooling off before frosting
Today I'm making Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes from Amanda's Cookin' on blogspot. Definitely check out her blog for the recipe and other great recipes and food ideas! I found everything I needed for this recipe at my local Vons.  The Abuelita Mexican Chocolate and the Nestle Dulce de Leche were in the Hispanic/Asian aisle, and the rest in baking. The only ingredient I couldn't find for this recipe was the Breakstone sour cream she used, but I subbed with Daisy sour cream so I'm sure it will be fine. I'm also not going to use the little silver balls. These cupcakes are for a Cinco de Mayo potluck at a friend's house so there's no need for me to get fancy. Here is the before picture with all of the ingredients:

finished product
Oh my goodness, this cake batter was so light and fluffy, and it tasted good too ;) which must be why i ended up with 23 cupcakes instead of 24, whoops! The frosting was also good. I usually find frosting too rich, but vanilla frosting mixed with the caramel was so light and perfect.

Obviously I had to try one before the potluck, and it was so delicious. It's not as sweet as other cupcakes, because the spices compliment the sweetness so well and tone it down. This recipe really makes a great tasting cupcake!  Thanks Amanda's Cookin'!

Thanks for reading! I hope every one has a fun Cinco De Mayo! Remember to subscribe/follow at the top left of the page.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Beauty Scoop: Liquid Foundations for Oily Skin

If you've read 'The Facts' page above, then you know I have fair, combination skin. My T-zone gets very oily throughout the day, while the rest of my skin is normal, or even dry at times. I have tried SO many liquid foundations and honestly, if I could, I would forgo them all together and just use a powder or mineral foundation. But, I have redness around my nose and chin areas so I do need some sort of foundation or concealer to take care of that. 

As far as primers go, most of them are too thick for my sensitive skin and make me break out.   Primers can make my makeup look great for the first hour, but after that, my skin tends to feel irritated and gets oily. I do use an eye primer, but that's completely different.

The foundations I do like to use for oily skin are the Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation by Make up For Ever and Clean Liquid Makeup Oil Control by Covergirl.

My color: No. 15 Alabaster
Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet $34
This is by far my favorite foundation I have ever used.  I will say however, if you have dry skin, you'll probably hate it. For those of you with oily skin or normal skin, you'll love it! I first heard about this on MakeupByTiffanyD's Youtube channel when she was discussing her foundation routine. She also has an oily T-zone and she raved about it, so I decided to try it. I'm so glad I did!

It matches my skin perfectly, which is so rare for me. This foundation also has really good staying power and it covers imperfections pretty well. I do still need concealer on the corners of my nose and under my eyes, as this doesn't correct those areas for me.  It is supposed to be a full coverage foundation, but I find it looks pretty natural. 

I like to apply a thin layer with my fingers and gently pat it into my skin.  I haven't tried building it for more coverage, because I generally don't like how that feels, but for a night out it would be possible. So far, I haven't noticed this foundation causing me to breakout. It definitely matifies, but I like to set it with my Bares Essentials Mineral Veil. It doesn't stop oil production (because that would take a miracle), but my skin seems much better with it on and I need to blot less throughout the day. It's a pricey foundation for me, but a little goes a long way--and like I said, I only apply a thin layer and it does the trick! I'm not sure how I feel about the bottle it comes in. I don't like pump bottles, but sometimes it's hard to get the amount I want out of this small tube spout.

Takeaway: Must have for those with oily skin. Dry Skin types may want to pass. Good shade selection and a little bit goes a long way with this product.

Drugstore Alternative:
CG Clean Liquid Makeup, 
Oil Control $6
My Shade: 505

This is the foundation I used before Make Up For Ever. It is a good foundation for under ten dollars, but the problem I have with many liquid foundations is how they darken awhile after they has been applied.  When I first apply this shade, it looks flawless and matches my skin perfectly. However, within a hour or so, it darkens to a shade or two darker.  I have this issue with a lot of brands because of my oily skin.  The skin's natural oils can react with the foundation, causing it to become a more orange pigment or in my case, a darker pigment. This can happen with anyone, but obviously more oil means it is more likely to happen.  I don't have this problem with Make Up For Ever.

If you want to try this CG foundation, try a shade lighter than you normally would to avoid the darkening--unless you're like me and the lightest shade will be too dark once oxidation sets in. This foundation doesn't matify like Make Up For Ever, but for a drugstore foundation, it is the best I've tried for oil control. I used a thin layer of this for a more natural look--using too much can cause it to cake, but a thin layer seems to be the perfect consistency for me. It sets well with a powder on top, and if it only came in a lighter shade I would love this foundation. I do have to blot throughout the day with this foundation, but much less so than with other drugstore foundations I've tried. I find it's good with sensitive skin because my skin feels comfortable with it on and it didn't cause me to breakout.

Takeaway: If you're looking for a cheaper alternative for oil control, try this one.  Consider buying a lighter shade than you normally would, especially if you have oily skin.

What's your go-to foundation? Share it with me on Twitter @danielle0900

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Beauty Scoop: Kaolin Clay Masks

Clay masks. What girl doesn’t love them? They can be the perfect way to pamper stressed-out skin at the end of the day, and they are a must have in any home spa.

Kaolin clay is used in many masks because it is the mildest of all clays used in beauty products and considered suitable for all skin types. Kaolin clay exfoliates, cleanses and increases circulation. It also draws out the impurities from skin without removing natural oils.

Sounds fantastic, right? It’s no wonder we’re drawn to them. So where can you get your hands on the best Kaolin Clay masks on the market?

Start at the Drugstore 

Drugstore Kaolin Clay masks tend to be less concentrated, gentler, and can be used more often. Still, I wouldn’t recommend more than twice a week to avoid drying out your skin. St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask dries in about five minutes, so I love to apply it before I get in the shower in the morning to help with oil control. If I’m going to use it more than once a week, I’ll apply it only the T-zone. This one also tightens as it dries on the face, but not as vigorously as the Michael Todd mask (a much pricier alternative).

I’ve never had any redness with this product and I’ve been using it for about five years, may be even more. Unfortunately, I used up the remainder of my tube a week ago and forgot to jot down the ingredients before tossing it. However, I know all of St. Ives products are formulated without parabens and phthalates, which is pretty rare for an inexpensive drugstore brand.

Bottom Line: Gentle enough for regular use. Tightens and firms skin. Drugstore, yes; but no parabens & phthalates! If you aren’t ready to spend big bucks on a luxury mask, chances are you’ll be happy with St. Ives.

I’ve seen quite a few Youtubers post positive reviews of this mask so I thought I’d give it a try. It comes in a huge 8oz tube which I thought that was pretty cool. The description on the bottle says that it helps dry up pimples, rinse away blackheads, and shrink enlarged pores. I have only been able to find this at Walgreens.

This mask goes on thick and creamy. It actually tingled and stung for the first few seconds so I was relieved when that subsided. I was nervous I might have had a reaction. Like it says in the title, it smells like mint. It tightened and dried like the other clay masks, but it wasn’t tight to the point where I couldn’t move my face.

It washed off easily, turning back into its creamy consistency under the hot water. Overall, my skin felt clean and smooth, and not as dry as the other two masks. But when I was looking at the ingredients, it did list Methylparaben, which I am not a fan of. But hey, I can’t expect everyone to jump on the paraben-free bandwagon.

Bottom Line: Less than $3.00 for 8 oz tube. Skin doesn’t feel as tight and dry after, but it definitely feels like it’s been deep cleaned. NOT paraben-free. I like it, but I think I like St. Ives better (this could my paraben bias talking).

Do you have a favorite face mask? Send me the link on Twitter @danielle0090.