Sleeping Masks – No, Not The Silk Kind!

Up until last year, I thought a sleeping mask was one of those silky things you put over your eyes, like if you're on an airplane. Or, if you're my mama – every night. When I started seeing "sleeping masks" or "overnight masks" pop up on Sephora's site, & then started finding beauty hauls including this type of product, I was confused. Wouldn't leaving something as thick & concentrated as a face mask clog my pores/break me out/dry my skin down to a corn husk?

Actuallyyyyyy….nope! Not at all, in fact. In an online Allure magazine article, Patricia Tortolani set out to figure out what overnight/sleeping masks are all about – & whether they help.

According to Charlotte Cho, who's the cofounder of SokoGlam (a site similar to Peach & Lily), sleeping masks were first most popular in Korea. That's no surprise! Korea is the skin care capital of the world, famous for their 10-step methods, snail creams, essences, & so much more. It makes a lot of sense that the sleeping mask would become popular there, first.

Okay, so now we know where sleeping masks are from…but that doesn't mean they won't break me out, right?

Wrong! Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist, told Allure that "the purpose [of overnight masks] is to create a permeable seal on top of your skin that makes anything underneath it penetrate better." (x)

So: sleeping masks are meant to protect your skin. They're the sunscreens of the night. They protect your face while all those good serums, oils, & creams on your face do their work better than ever before.

"Okay. But: am I still supposed to moisturize if I'm wearing a sleeping mask?" That was one of the first questions that popped up in my head after I started seriously looking into sleeping masks. The answer – for me, at least – is yes. Sleeping masks are generally very lightweight – lighter than a night cream. If you have dry skin, like me, you'll definitely want to use a cream, too. I can't speak for the oily/combo babes out there, but maybe try first just the sleeping mask (oily-skinned people) & maybe apply apply moisturizer in your dry spots & leave the rest up to the mask (combo people).

I was absolutely terrified when I tried my first sleeping mask. I could hardly sleep – I kept thinking about how my skin might look congested & irritated the following morning.

No congestion, no irritation, no breakouts. Just skin! Glowy, glowy, happy skin. I was impressed. Overnight results are hard to come by – & I was seeing one right in front of me! After that first encounter, I started doing some serious hunting for other sleeping mask. I've collected quite a few these past few months – I have also kindly been gifted some, as well! Here's the ones I love most, organized from least to most expensive! I'll have some discount codes for you at the bottom, too.

"One last question. How do I apply a sleeping mask?" Good question! Gently massage it into your face as you would a cream. Let it sink into your skin so that your face doesn't stick to your pillow! Once you feel like you're just wearing a moisturizer, you're good to go. Just know that some sink in better than others. That doesn't make it a bad mask – it's just a different texture. Effects & sensations will vary!

Enjoy browsing my photographs of my favorite overnight masks – & enjoy reading why they're my favorites! I hope you find yourself a good fit.

SEPHORA COLLECTION: Sleeping Mask – $4

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Yup, they're actually that cheap. Well, a little more with tax. & no, there's not a huge amount of product – but oh boy do they work!

The product comes packaged in some kind of little pod. It's sealed; you have to peel open the top like a yogurt cup! That's the one downside to this product – no way to reseal. Storing in a Ziploc bag works just fine, though – that's what I do!

The masks have a gel texture & feel very light & cooling when going onto the skin. They sink in after 20 or so minutes (I've found that that's the case with most sleeping masks) don't feel sticky or oily. There are ten types, which is fun! I've tried Lotus (moisturizing & soothing), Green Tea (mattifying & anti-blemish) Pomegranate (anti-fatigue & energizing) & Pearl (perfecting & brightening).

Because the texture is so lightweight, none of the masks are drying. They're not oily or tacky, either, thanks to the gel texture. All of the "flavors" I've tried have that same gel consistency – Pearl doesn't feel (or look) different from Green Tea, except for colors.

I love all the ones I've tried, but I absolutely adore Pearl. It contains natural white pearl (evens complexion) & sorrel extrac (provides brightening properties). That makes it a filter mask, if you will! Everything's all even, there's less discoloration, & yes…there's defnitely a glow.

My favorite of all time, though…Green Tea. The one I picked up on a whim when I was panicking due to exam stress – & bad skin because of exam stress – & nervously applied right before bed. I woke up the next morning with almost no congestion or inflammation. It almost completely eradicated my bad skin episode in less than 12 hours! For $4, I'll take it. Each mask lasts you two times if you're generous, three if you're a little more careful.

LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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There's been lots of hype over Laneige, lately – KathleenLights mentioned their miraculous lip mask, the line came to Sephora online, & buzz grew. It didn't seem like anything of theirs wasn't amazing. I decided to try a face mask before I tried the lip mask, & I chose this one because 1) water's always great 2) this seemed to be a cooling, refreshing mask – something everyone could use in the summer!

This is a gel mask, so the texture isn't creamy – but it's not runny, either. I love Laneige's packaging – comes sealed, & every order includes a tool with which to apply the mask. In this case, it was a tiny spatulas. I love how hygienic this method is, & I hope more companies start doing it!

The gel texture definitely makes this a great mask for all skin types. It's incredibly hydrating, brightening, & plumping – but it doesn't feel greasy at all. I use a tiny bit of moisturizer first, then go in with the mask. It's as though water is sinking into my skin! Extraordinarily cooling & soothing – & after it has sunk in, my skin feels just as though I have some amazing kind of toner product on. It doesn't feel like a moisturizer at all…but it's incredibly hydrating. Whenever I use this, I wake up with very fresh, wide awake skin – all thanks to the extra H20 my skin recieved overnight.

Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask – $17

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If you've read more than 2 of my posts, you probably know that I adore Origins (especially their rose clay mask) – but believe it or not, my mama put me onto this one! She'd gotten a small 100 point sample at Sephora & was talking about how she used it instead of night cream. I decided to pick the Sephora points sample after she showed it to me, since I was curious. The sample arrived. Within a week, I was sold.

This mask has a very creamy, luxurious texture & sensation – so it's great for those of you who don't like feeling as though there's gle lingering on your face. Essentially, it is a night cream – the directions say only "twice a week or as desired, gently massage onto clean skin at bedtime."

This mask is best for dry skin types – it contains Japanese seaweed, which repair's the skin's barrier so as to prevent further dehydration & the signs of aging that come with it. I agree that it's good for dry skin – it worked wonders for me! – but people with normal or combo skin can most definitely be happy with it. People with oily skin: get a sample first (in fact, we should always get samples of anything new we're considering buying).

Effects? Well, I started using this mask in early March. Early March is no spring picnic where I'm at. It's still very cold, it most definitely might snow, & the wind's chill remains bone-rattling. By this time, I'm tired of being cold, tired of short days & long nights – & my skin is parched from the wind.

I used my Glossier Priming Moisturizer with this mask layered on top in the spring. I still use it in these hot months, too! I just use a tiny dab of cream to moisturize. Then I massage in the mask.

Origins is a great brand with so many different products. I've never tried anything I've hated – & I adore almost everything that I have tried. Just like the rose clay mask, the charcoal mask, & the Super Spot Remover, this product is one that will become an old friend.

If you've read more than 2 of my posts, you probably know that I adore Origins (especially their rose clay mask) – but believe it or not, my mama put me onto this one! She'd gotten a small 100 point sample at Sephora & was talking about how she used it instead of night cream. I decided to pick the Sephora points sample after she showed it to me, since I was curious. The sample arrived. Within a week, I was sold.

This mask has a very creamy, luxurious texture & sensation – so it's great for those of you who don't like feeling as though there's gle lingering on your face. Essentially, it is a night cream – the directions say only "twice a week or as desired, gently massage onto clean skin at bedtime."

This mask is best for dry skin types – it contains Japanese seaweed, which repair's the skin's barrier so as to prevent further dehydration & the signs of aging that come with it. I agree that it's good for dry skin – it worked wonders for me! – but people with normal or combo skin can most definitely be happy with it. People with oily skin: get a sample first (in fact, we should always get samples of anything new we're considering buying).

Effects? Well, I started using this mask in early March. Early March is no spring picnic where I'm at. It's still very cold, it most definitely might snow, & the wind's chill remains bone-rattling. By this time, I'm tired of being cold, tired of short days & long nights – & my skin is parched from the wind.

I used my Glossier Priming Moisturizer with this mask layered on top in the spring. I still use it in these hot months, too! I just use a tiny dab of cream to moisturize. Then I massage in the mask.

Origins is a great brand with so many different products. I've never tried anything I've hated – & I adore almost everything that I have tried. Just like the rose clay mask, the charcoal mask, & the Super Spot Remover, this product is one that will become an old friend. Oh! & they have recently started producing small, inexpensive mask samples – similar to the Sephora brand ones previously mentioned. It's a great way to give a new mask a go. This mask, as well as the rose clay & charcoal, are available in those little containers.

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask – $22

Ah, Glossier. You always sneak into my skin care routine somewhere, somehow.

Seriously, though – this mask is a great one. Described as "the most intensly hydrating treatment we could could make," I'd have to agree with that. This mask is probably not for oily-skinned people – at least, not as an overnight mask. This mask also is great to use for a multi mask (clay on cheeks, moon mask on forehead, for example).

Since it's moisturizing, of course the Moon Mask has hyaluronic acid in it. That helps plump your skin – the acid, however, is too lightweight to clog your pores. It just deposits moisture & doesnt leave residue. The mask has some other great stuff like sweet almond oil, honey, aloe, & plant-based squalane.

I have to say: Glossier was ahead of the curve on this particular mask! It seems to me that Sephora is just now amping up their "superfood" section of masks, like the Tatcha C-Radiance mask, the Youth To The People line, & many more.

Squalane has become very popular as of late – it's a healthy hydrator for all skin types, & it smooths out texture over time.

Since there's so many food-derived ingredients in this product, it feels incredible. Super cooling, super soothing, & so, so hydrating. I also get a bright glow after wiping it off with a warm towel – that is apparently all thanks to the liquorice root & lemon extract in the mask, as well.

Since there are so many food-derived ingredients in the Moon Mask, it smells incredible – kind of like the Korres Yoghurt overnight mask. There's no dairy in it, obviously – it just smells fresh, sweet, but also tangy. It's a super relaxing smell – I like using it after a long day, since it's so gentle on the skin & I know I'll just end up feeling more hydrated. Overall? One of my favorites – also one of the first overnight masks I did. I put on wayyyy too much. My pillowcase wasn't happy. But I learned – & my skin improved, too. Pro tip: stick it in the fridge when you're not using it. The cooling sensation will be even better that way.

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LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

Laneige has been getting some hype lately thanks to their lip mask – several beauty gurus raved about it, & everyone rushed to grab it (myself included). & yes, it's worth it – but let's focus on this mask.

Laneige is an actual Korean skin care brand – meaning they were founded in Korea, the country from which overnight masks made their way into the U.S. market. Some are great, but this one is truly something special.

First off, you get more than 2 fl oz. of product for only $25 – & you don't need a lot o product, because it's so beautifull concentrated. Yet – even though it is concentrated, & a little goes a long way, it does not feel greasy or heavy on the skin. It feels like a splash of water (I know) on your face – except the sensatoin lingers & lingers.

I have dry skin, like i mentioned, so although this mask is quite concentrated & hydrating, I still like to put a bit of cream underneath my layer of mask – the mask will have more work to do – by locking greature amounts of moisture that will absorb into my skin! Win-win.

I always wake up looking wide awake, dewy, & fresh. It's an amazing mask to have on hand in hot weather – I had a heat rash a month or so ago & this mask made the rash feel better – & leave my body more quickly.

In short, nothing to complain about it here – I am just glad that Laneige is now at Sephora. As far as I am aware, they're online-only at this time – however, what with all the hype over the lip mask, I am sure we'll soon see Laneige products in the K-beauty section, nestled between Too Cool for School & Dr. Jart.

So much product, such a great effect, good on all skin types. To me, that's a good mask. Oh! & cheap, too.

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Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask – $48

Oh, look at that! Another water-based sleeping mask, made by a Korean brand. Don't be fooled, though – these are actually quite different in texture, although they have extremely similar effects.

Dr. Jart was kind enough to send me their Water Fuse products (a collection that came out earlier this summer) to review, & I have a complete review of the collection coming very soon – but for now, here's the deal with the sleep mask.

This product comes in an air-tight pump – it reminds me a bit of the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial pump. It's definitely thicker & more concentrated than the Laneige mask. It's basically clear, but also has a slight transluscent blue to it. There's no overwhelming scent – it's just fresh, & fades very quickly, which I like. Like I said, it's a more concentrated product – that means it's quite sticky. I pump it onto the back of my hand & massage it in upwards motion across my face – then I'm careful not to put my entire face on the pillow while I sleep!

Seriously, though, this is a very good mask. It's not a life-changer, but it's also not bad – & it's very different than the Laneige mask. With the Laneige, I see a dewy, moisturized effect in the morning. With the Dr. Jart+, I see brighter, more perky skin – a lift, almost. They both provide great amounts of hydration. If you're looking for a sturdier overnight mask, this one is probably great for you – Laneige's sinks in quickly,  this one stays a bit tacky, which probably means it'll appeal to people with more mature, dry, or sensitive skin – it gives just one more punch of hydration; one you know won't break you out.

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Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask – $52

Is this a bit excessive for a gel mask? Probably. Could you find a cheaper gel mask? Absolutely. However – I will say that I got this mask around Christmas. I am not even close to being halfway done with it. That's because of how it is used. It's multi-purpose; can be used as a 10-minute mask if you apply a thicker layer. It can be used as an overnight treatment after it is refridgerated, then very thinly applied all over your face.

Like I said – I have sensitive skin. I'm always on the hunt for cooling products. That's why I love the Laneige mask so much! I'd say this one is quite similar. You get a huge boost of hydration – but the one extra thing? Roses. Roses make everything on your skin better (at least, that's what I tell myself). Here, rose stem cells (hence the name) are blended with rose extracts, using new technology. This helps reduce inflammation (& acne) helps with anti-aging, & hydrates & soothes the skin.

With all those rosy ingredients, you'd expect the product to smell like rose. It does! It is not that strong, however. I find it to fade very quickly; the only time I'll catch a whiff is if I am using it as a 10-minute mask.

Would I purchase again? I don't know! It was not a life-changing product, but it does smell incredible & has helped my skin heal quicker when I do use it. I'll have to think about it. Remember, though – less than half has been used!

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Herbivore Botanicals MOON FRUIT Superfruit Night Treatment – $58

Here we are at the finish line, folks! Here is the most expensive sleeping mask I own.

"Here" is the Moon Fruit Superfruit Night Treatment, by Herbivore Botanicals. It's gotten a lot of hype online…probably due to its striking violet shade & buttery texture. Some other pros? Contains AHAs, which exfoliate & resurface while you sleep. The creamy texture ensures that your skin will not tingle – not when applying, not after applying, not when you wake up the next morning. So, it sounded great for those with sensitive skin, or those who simply don't like the sensation of AHA peels/masks/masques. & finally, Herbivore Botanicals is 100% cruelty-free & vegan – & it was the first 100% cruelty-free & vegan brand to land a contract with Sephora.

I have both bought Herbivore products with my own money, as well as recieved some from the company (thank you!) but this product came to me a different way: it was actually given to me by a friend (@platosmuse on Instagram) who didn't like it & offered to send it my way. Why wasn't it liked? I definitely asked before accepting the kind offer, & I got "weird texture, not really that effective." Still – my skin type is dry, while my friend's is oily. I was very curious after hearing that opinion, & I wondered if my dry skin would react more positively (or negatively) to the treatment.

Well, it's true: Moon Fruit has a very, very stiff texture. I had to warm it up in my hands a little before using it. You also have to be careful with sealing the product – it fades if you don't screw the lid on tightly enough.

The stiff texture is a bit off-putting, & so is the purple tinge. Last thing? Scent. I don't know how to describe it, but it is quite powerful – not in a bad way. It's very herbal, very luxurious.

The first time I tried it, I used it overnight (obviously) – & how to use? I just skipped my night cream, & massaged this into my face in lieu of my usual. I:

  • Had trouble working the product into my skin. Don't get me wrong – I love a good facial massaage, but seriously? This one would not sink into my skin, no matter what I did
  • Eventually accepted some residue would stay on my face & went to sleep
  • Woke up with a blue face – & a blue pillow. My mother was seriously frightened because she leaned over & tried to wake me up…she thought something bad had happened!!!
  • Looked in the mirror & didn't see much of a difference

Let's just say that my first attempt was not successful. My skin hadn't broken out, no – there were no actual problems…but my skin didn't look as hydrated as it usually does when I use my normal night cream (Glossier PMR). In fact, it looked a bit duller. & my pillowcase was purple. Boo. I also had issues while applying the treatment: it felt like product was pilling on my face. Sure enough – when I looked closely, there were small rolled-up dark purple balls of product.

I wondered if I was doing it wrong, so I headed to Herbivore's site (their own site, not Sephora) to try & find some tips & tricks. I learned:

  • If your skin is still purple after massaging in the treatment you have used too much.
  • If you see there's too much purple on your face, continue to massage until satisfied. Blot off excess with a towel.
  • Herbivore suggests layering one of the oils they make over top the treatment, for optimal results (& the best moisture lock)
  • I gave it another shot – & I was much happier. I also tried Herbivore's tip to pat a little bit of oil over top the treatment. That makes the treatment seal into your skin & work better.

 

  • I felt dumb for not looking it up before, but I am glad I looked into it instead of brushing it off as a dud product. I also got some tips for applying it – using a jade roller, or just taking a good ten minutes to give your face a massage with the treatment – it is a facial of sorts, after all.

I felt dumb for not looking it up before I used it, but I was happy that I now had some tricks up my sleeves – & I truly wanted to like the product. It looks beautiful, it smells nice, & the ingredients are all wonderful – finding a hydrating yet resurfacing treatment is rare, so, again: I really wanted to like it. I decided to go for a second round a few days later. I applied a little moisturizer this time, just to ensure that the treatment would go on more smoothly, then started massaging in a smaller amount. I used my hands first, then went ham with my jade roller.

Still….not a success. There were patches of purple on my face, & product was still pilling off – it just didn't seem like it was absorbing. After struggling for a while, I decided to go ahead with the oil step. I used an Herbivore oil – the Orchid one, which I adore – & used about 4 drops, first rubbing into my palms, then pressing into my face.

Nope. The product pilled more as I applied the oil, until I wondered if there was even any treatment left. Don't get me wrong – the oil felt amazing anyways (I truly do love that oil) but as for Moon Fruit? It Just Was Not Working.

Moon Fruit, I am sincerely so sorry! I hoped I would love you. Your color, your claims, your 100% cruelty-free, organic, vegan certifications…I love Herbivore products with all my heart, & tried so hard to like this one – but after a third application (once again using a jade roller & an Herbivore oil as recommended), I decided that Moon Fruit & I were just not meant to be. & that makes me really sad…because what on earth sounds bad about an overnight resurfacing treatment that is also hydrating? I guess next time, I'll just use my Herbivore Blue Tansy – another AHA mask (not an overnight one) that actually works incredibly well for me. Then I'll put on my Laneige water mask & drift off.

I wish this product did all that it said, but it didn't. I'm not mad at Herbivore – I still think they're a great brand. They have good policies, good products, & a great philosophy. More brands need to go cruelty-free – & it would be great to see more brands with those "organic" or "vegan" certifications, too.

I just think that there are better sleeping masks/treatments than this one. I have mentioned most of them in my post. I wish it worked, but alas – not everything is peachy-keen. I'm just glad I didn't spend $60 on something that didn't work well! For people curious about Herbivore's line, I recommend you try their Blue Tansy mask, their soap bars, or their oils. Just don't reach for this one!

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Well, that's it, my friends! I hope I gave you a good bit of information about overnight masks if you've never used them before – & if you have used them before, I hope I put you on to a new one, or gave you a new idea to try yourself. It's a bit odd to think of a face mask staying on your face all night; I've found once I got past that initial feeling that it would clog my pores, my fear dissolved as I saw my skin actually start to show overnight results.

As I showed you, there are so many different brands & types of overnight masks, & there are so many affordable, good options out there. Remember – the most expensive product is not necessarily the best.

So – go get yourself a new overnight mask, do a treat yourself evening, & wake up feeling fresh & happy. You're welcome!

Love,

Sof ❤

Interested in the Herbivore products I mentioned, like the Blue Tansy Mask, the Orchid Oil, or any other Herbivore product? Here's 25% off! I especially recommend their oils, their lip scrub, & their Blue Tansy mask – like I have said about 5,000 times by now.

 

The Milkiest of Jellies

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This is how Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser is described on Glossier's site.

"Non-foaming, velvety on the skin, smells slightly of flowers, & removes all makeup – even mascara" is how I personally have described it on my blog (& to friends).

You've probably heard of Milky Jelly by now. You've seen it on Facebook – or on top shelfies – & you've probably seen the ad campaign that generated some…snickers in the comments section (we get it, it's goopy & transluscent-white, okay?)

Milky Jelly Cleanser is one of Glossier's best-selling products. It was also one of the first. About two years ago, Into The Gloss posted an article entitled "The Glossier Cleanser: Milky Jelly is Here!"

According to the article, this cleanser had spent a year in development. This was after ITG (& Glossier) CEO Emily Weiss posted an article on the site entitled "The Glossier Cleanser: What's Your Dream Face Wash?"

Basically, she was asking people to tell her what they wanted. The idea? A cleanser that would work on all skin types – & please all customers.

Of course, it's impossible to please everyone – we all know that. But I get a lot of questions about Milky Jelly, what skin is best suited for it, what's the scent, etc. These questions keep coming…so it means that people are still interestd. What is Milky Jelly like?

Recently, Glossier started promoting Milky Jelly again on their Instagram, as you can see here:

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Four milky jelly bottles? Backups on backups on backups? My first instinct was to laugh – then I scrolled through my feed. A few minutes later, I'd found at least three photos of Milky Jelly that I'd posted at some time or another – all of them featuring more than one bottle in the frame.

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I am that backup girl. That's me. I do actually freak out when I don't have at least one backup for this cleanser. I also drool over images like these uploaded to the Glossier Instagram story:

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So…why do I love this so much? What's so great about Milky Jelly Cleanser for me? What are the ingredients like? What about texture? Scent? Let's answer some of these questions. When a product is being promoted, curiousity arises. So – I'm here to (hopefully) answer some of these questions.

Why do I love this so much/what's so great about Milky Jelly Cleanser for me?

Well, I have dry/sensitive skin. Most foaming cleansers are a living hell for me – they absolutely strip my skin of any moisture…something that toner cannot make up for. The only exception is the CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser (read about it on their blog here), but that's a rare exception.

Milky Jelly works great mornings & evenings; it works well on dry or damp skin. It really does melt off my makeup – mascara can be difficult, so I'd advise you keep at least a little micellar water on hand. Other than that, however, I know that I don't have to worry about leftover makeup on my pillow if I wash my face with Milky Jelly before I go to sleep.

I also never get a tight or dry feeling after using Milky Jelly. That's good – it means that my skin is still hydrated, which is super important for someone with dry/sensitive skin.

I love the subtle, floral scent of the product – as well as the velvety texture. The texture is extremely difficult to describe; I'd say "velvety" is about as close as it gets. I can do better with the scent, though: let's call it rosy but not antique; summery but not cloying. It fades gracefully with time – like the best of scents.

So – I like Milky Jelly Cleanser because it keeps me hydrated, removes my makeup, has a relaxing texture & a fresh scent. It's easy to travel with & easy to use.

So – what's so great about Milky Jelly Cleanser that it's truly universal?

Emily Weiss says:

"Basically everyone wanted what we wanted—we were all thinking about it the same way. What we settled on is basically a jellified micellar water. Our formula is based around the same cleansing ingredient you find in contact lens solution—so super gentle—but with conditioning elements like comfrey root extract and betaine that moisturize and soothe the skin while you clean it. Once we had that down, it became about really nailing the right texture." (x)

So – soothing, hydrating. But what are some key ingredients that make it right for everyone?

  1. It's pH-balanced. That means straight off that it'll work to cleanse without unbalancing your skin's dryness & moisture levels. That means calm skin – which means clear skin.
  2. The gentle agents used in the cleanser (called Poloxamer) are also used in contact lens solution; that makes it safe to use around the eyes – which is why it's such a great (safe) eye makeup remover.
  3. Rosewater replaced 1/4 of the H20 content in Milky Jelly's formula. Rose anything is soothing & reduces redness/inflammation. This, again, means clearer, calmer skin. Plus…smells great. (If you're sensitive to rose as a scent this product is not for you! Take note)
  4. Comfrey Root Extract takes major credit for helping out those with dry skin – it contains allantoin, which heals skin that's dry or stressed.
  5. Sounds complex, but works pretty simply: Aquaxyl refills skin's water reserves & improves the barrier to improve overall hydration. Strengthened barrier = less bacteria. Less bacteria = clearer skin (see what I'm saying here)

Hold up….it says "soap free"??? That's okay. Soaps contain detergents, which are drying & irritating. Just because it's soap free doesn't mean it's not cleansing – ex. cleansing oils!

A few extra bonuses: appropriate for all skin types, paraben free, sulfate free, cruelty free, non-comedogenic. So, basically: it's good for your skin (no matter what skin type you have) it won't clog your pores, it smells good, no animals were hurt, it works as a makeup remover…Shall I continue?

No, but seriously. I love Milky Jelly with all my heart. In fact, it's one of my Top 4 picks on my Glossier Rep Page:

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Glossier's come out with some incredible products this past year – the whole time I've been a customer (& now a rep, too!) I've seen some amazing products that have changed the game for me. But – no matter what's next (& it's good, I promise) Milky Jelly will always have a place in my Top 4. For all of the reasons I mentioned above. & also more. I'll tell you more – you just have to ask. You might not even have to ask, actually.

Get yourself a bottle of that Milky Jelly! & oh – why's it called that? Says Annie Kreighbaum, the Executive Editor:

Once we knew what we wanted it to look like—a milky jelly—then the name was obvious. It’s fun to say. I actually don’t remember a time when we didn’t call it Milky Jelly—sort of like with Boy Brow or Balm Dotcom. Those names were always the names.” (x)

There you have it. Oh! One more thing. The more bottles of Milky Jelly you buy, the better your sticker game will be. Mine gets better with each bottle – & each sheet.

Is Milky Jelly your holy grail cleanser? Why or why not? Do you have another holy grail cleanser (that you think I should try)?

Love,

Sof ❤

Here's a link to my rep page. I'm honored & so happy to be working with Glossier! They've given me vision, direction, & creative inspiration (& good brows that stay put) & I am infintely grateful for that. 

Two Movies I’m Glad I Saw This Summer

~If you don’t like spoilers & haven’t watched Baby Driver or Dunkirk yet, this probably isn’t for you. Scroll on!!!~

I love movies! I am very picky about the movies I love. That’s why I was so surprised to see two really enjoyable movies (only one day apart) this summer. I usually skip out on theater hype, since, in my experience, it’s not really been worth it.

Baby Driver

The first movie I saw was Baby Driver. I went in without really knowing what to expect – I just knew it had Jamie Foxx & Ansel Elgort…& Kevin Spacey. I read a tiny bit on the concept of it & found it a bit eye-rolling: kid uses music to cope? Okayyyy…

But truly: it was done very well. Almost every shot in the movie is coordinated to the drop of a beat, the high note of a song; it’s almost like you’re watching a music video…except it’s an hour & a half. I mean this in the best way possible.

I also really enjoyed how Baby was just kind of doing his own thing, dancing to his own music & tunes. It’s something I’ve started doing (I mean dancing in the street or in the car, not doing criminal getaways) & have found that it’s an amazing positive stress reliever. I loved how perfectly the soundtrack coordinated with the mood & action of the movie. I love the soundtrack, period! Seriously: download it on Spotify; it’s a winner.

Overall, I think there was some potential character depth that could’ve been explored – but the visuals & coordination to music was what made this movie so unique & worth watching. Ansel’s cute!

(Lily James though…oohhf!)

Dunkirk

I am not one for war movies. I’m not one for Christopher Nolan movies, to be quite honest: I never got into The Dark Night, etc. But when Christopher Nolan pairs with some of Britain’s most renowned actors to recreate a battle from World War II…on location….IMAX 3D….Hans Zimmer on the score…& Harry Styles as a supporting act.

Would I have seen this movie if I knew Harry Styles wouldn’t be in it? Good question. He definitely made me seeing Dunkirk a priority – I was curious about how he’d perform & interact with the cast (I wasn’t let down!). I doubt I’d have seen it opening weekend if he weren’t in it…but who knows? There were several other actors – Kenneth Branaugh & Mark Rylance – that I really respect & enjoy watching. With the good reviews it’s been getting, I probably would’ve liked this one.

I really enjoy accurate detailed historical documentation of certain events; I think it’s how I get to learn & store a lot of things in my brain. I have to say this was a reenactment that felt very raw; very real. Of course, there are explosions – it’s a war movie – & of course, there’s drowning & bombing & running & all that. This is just done somewhat differently.

There’s a lot of helicopter shots of the beaches of Dunkirk; there’s also a lot of amazing footage taken in a fighter cockpit. Truly – seeing the cruising plane near the end of the movie, with the skyline tipping back & forth, beautiful soundtrack to support – it’s an emotional experience. The film relies heavily on these visuals to provoke emotion, in my opinion. I’m not complaining, don’t worry!

What did I enjoy about Harry Styles’ performance, you might ask? Well – I’m glad he had an acting debut with a part like this. Styles is absolutely not the epicenter of the film. We don’t get those sexy close-up shots paired with winks, sexual implications, or love interests. Styles is just playing Alex, a soldier, who wants to survive the situation that he’s been thrust into.

I’d go so far as to say Styles’ character was extremely unlikable – & to me, it is a testiment to Styles’ acting that I truly did dislike the character. It didn’t feel forced or overdone. It was done really well, in a convincing manner. & it’s hard to dislike Harry Styles – even when he’s not playing Harry Styles. I disliked Harry Styles in this situation.

I think Styles has some great potential that Nolan (& the casting director) clearly recognized. But there was no “Harry Styles” overload. I think he was treated the same as the other actors in that role type & it shows.

I think this was a great way for Styles to show off his acting chops without having to say (lines) too much. My mama described him the other day as a Renaissance man! I have to say that after seeing his performance, I might believe that.

Overall, however – Harry Styles aside – I truly enjoyed the movie. I’m glad I went to see it. Some of the plane footage reminds me of Roald Dahl’s chronicles of his time in the U.K. airforce – these books were read to me as a child so it was somewhat nostalgic to see this kind of activity displayed on screen, not paper. I think the visuals are incredible; the active is decent at worst; the setting is beautifully accurate: Nolan did most of the filming on the actual beaches of Dunkirk.

I’m wondering if this one will turn up at the Oscars. I’m hoping to see soundtrack nominated; I don’t think Best Picture or Actor(s) are really in the cards. I do think it’s an absolutely worthwhile movie to see. I learned a lot, got a close-up look, felt very emotional at times. It did all the things I want a movie to do…with some amazing actors stuck in there.

That’s all I’ve seen this month! Well, going out to see, anyway. I don’t watch many new films/movies at home, Moonlight being an exception. I tend to rewtach old things- so, I often am behind on the newer movie trend. Seeing two very enjoyable two movies in two days, however, reminded me to keep checking my Fandango. There’s always something great out there – & I want to be some part of it.

What’s next on my list? Not sure, but the film Detroit looks incredible.

What are the movies you’ve been loving this month? Old or new? Why? Let me know!

Love,

Sof ❤

I AM NOT YOUR INSPIRATION!

"You're so strong!" "Thank you for staying so strong!" "I seriously don't know how you do it!! If I were you I'd just wanna be dead oh my god!" "How do you do all this? Superwoman I swear!"

*Record scratch*

Okay, so those are all actually comments I have (unwillingly) recieved from people in real life & people on the Internet.

Look: I know that I may seem strong. Every chronically ill person may seem that way. It sounds like a lot to put up/cope with, none of it is fun – & all of it is stressful. But guess what: I'm not an inspiration just because I'm ill! Neither is any other chronically ill person.

Ever since I revealed that I'd been diagnosed with a chronic illness, people would never fail to say "stay strong!" "get better" or: "You're so strong. Keep it up."

This has always rubbed me the wrong way. Why?

Well, it's because I'm not always strong. Some days, I'm just existing. Others, I'm making the most out of the body I have. Sometimes I will stay up til 3 a.m., crying from pain or frustration – & then I'll see a comment about how strong I am.

It's funny, but when you're clutching your abdomen, lying on the cold tiles of your bathroom floor at 3 a.m., "strong" becomes less & less encouraging to see & more irritating. "DO YOU NOT SEE ME THIS WAY!" I want to yell. But I can't, because they don't know what I do at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m. They see the parts of my life that I broadcast on social media.

Have I cried before a surgery or an IV? Of course! Does that make me weak? No!!! Why on earth would it be weak? It's a genuine reaction of fright – one that is completely understandable & valid.

If crying over an IV isn't weak, then me simply existing as a chronically ill person isn't strong.

I decided to write this piece when I came across the lovely Instagram account of artist Mari Andrew. She posted two pieces of art in quick succession. Here was the first:

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When I read the remarks made on the illustration, I wanted to weep. It was extraordinarily relatable. Because…guess what? Mari Andrew is right. Some days, I don't feel like myself at all. I can get brought down, or I can get bad news from my doctor – & at the same time I'll be getting messages about how strong I am…as I'm sobbing my guts out in the doctor's waiting room.

Basically: this illustration is showing how disabled people become props or medallions to abled people. I've gotten people saying how my illness was a reminder of how lucky they were. I was a reminder that they're privileged.

Uh…news flash: I don't want to be reminded of my own physical & mental illnesses by someone who is able-bodied & of sound mind – someone telling me that my suffering is a cause for their inspiration.

So, if we're really getting savage, that's why calling a chronically ill or disabed person "strong" isn't the right word. No one is strong all the time – I know I'm not. Being sick & getting treatments or surgeries isn't something I do electively. I either put up, or I die. Which one would you choose? Probably the first one. & you probably wouldn't think that you were "being strong" to pick that option, right? That's how it is for me. Some days, I just want to collapse – that's normal. Some days, I want to go out with friends – also normal.

I know that I myself am not "normal" but being told that I'm "strong" implies that I'm a robot; that I'm nothing but some images you can send to friends to talk about my inspirational qualities (if you want to send pictures of me to your friends to tell them how hot I am that's 100% okay). It implies that I'm either more or less human. Neither option is an appealing one.

I also find the statement: "get better!" very very odd. Chronic illnesses are…chronic. There is no "get better." Sure, I can be stable – but after I was diagnosed, there bbecame a whole new normal – & its as difficult & dark & big to navigate through as The Upside Down in Stranger Things. So. Don't call me strong, & don't tell me to get better…because we both know that's a lie!

If you're abled, reading this, & feeling umcomfortable about having described me or some other disabled person as "strong" that's okay. I know that people mean it only with their best wishes & intentions. I know they mean well, but that doesn't mean that it is well. If you've told me this/something like this before, don't apologize or feel badly! Here's a follow-up to the first photo & the story behind it, also by Mari Andrews:

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Again, she says it better than I do. But seriously: the "therapy method" works. I do it with my chronically ill friends all the time! Listen! Say that you care about them & that you're sorry they're going through this. Ask what you can do to help; what you can do to make them feel more in control of a situation – or at least calm them down.

I also love the "no need to respond" text. I do this all the time with my friends. If they're not feeling well, I'll send them something nice but include a reminder that they don't need to respond…because guess what? Some days, people are too sick & not "strong" enough to answer. Sometimes responding to people takes up too much energy & too much of your mental capacity. It's okay not to engage with people – look for friends & lovers who understand that kind of need.

Let's be real: I've been in a bad place before, gotten a few "I love you" or "I am so sorry & I am thinking of you" texts…& started bawling…in the best way possible. These kinds of out of the blue messages are incredible, because they remind me that I am surrounded by people who care about me. That gives me incentive to keep crawling.

Let me just be clear. If you're chronically ill, I won't be offended by any "chronic illness jokes" that you tell me or share with me. I try to find as much humor as possible in certain situations. I share them with friends. My friends share theirs with me. It is a great way to laugh together about things you both relate to. I believe that if I didn't insert at least a little humor into my life, things would be horrifically drab & sad! Sometimes it's fake – but even fake fools me for a little bit.

By the way: I am not saying that people in a dark place about their illness(es)/bodies can just force themselves to be funny. Some people can't – that sucks, but it's also okay. Just know that if you're chronically ill & you want to connect with someone to make a light joke, I'm here for that!

If you're an abled person messaging me about how strong I am to get a painful IV placement, an abled person trying to be relatable & joke about chronic illness, or an abled person being generally insensitive about my condition…bye! Blocked. Reported. Not to say you can't relate…but you really can't relate. That's okay!!! Feel glad that you don't have to relate.

I think sometimes, people believe that I have this extremely positive view on my future & my life; that I have loving relationships with people & that things are always joky, & light-hearted. This perception would probably be described (by the layman, at least) as "being strong."

Let me spill the beans & let you know that you're not missing out. Not one bit. In fact, you're winning!!!!! Big winning. So. Much. Winning.

Here are things you can say to me (regarding my illness)that I would appreciate:

  • Being told that I've helped someone deal with their chronic illness. That's such a great feeling to have!!!
  • Being told I'm cute or hot – but not like "aw it's okay you're cute no matter what you're sick with." We all know THAAAAATTT!!! Just tell me I'm cute. No need to put my illness in there. Being cute or hot doesn't have to be "in spite of anything." Nope – I can just be cute!!! & you can tell me so
  • "Is there anything I can do for you?" "Do you want to just let it out to me?" "I love you, & this is a bad day, but maybe it'd be better if I sent you this playlist I made for you!"

Simple things like that. They don't require much effort. In fact, it's the same amount of effort to say "sending you good thoughts today!" as "you're so strong I could never do it" – & I feel really good about the first one, & really annoyed about the second one.

I'm not your inspiration. I'm not always strong. I've danced on tables, I've gotten too drunk at a party. I've made bad choices. I've made people cry. I've made people scream. I'm not always "a good person." My mama still yells at me for leaving empty cups in my room – that didn't change when I got ill. If my mama can still yell at me about my empty cups, you can definitely just…not…say "the s word" & say "I hope you're doing well today, & if not, I hope tomorrow will be better."

Listen to me. Listen to us. Remember that disabled people are the root cause of so events that have occured throughout history. Remember that we are PEOPLE. We are not flawless. I still make people mad, just like you. I don't always bite my tongue. & all of that is absolutely okay. Trust me – I'm not strong. You can start fresh by saying "you don't have to be strong, you just need to know that I can care." You can start fresh by not saying "oh no!! You're so strong, trust me!" You can start fresh by saying nothing at all.

I will continue to uplift & support women & girls who are chronically ill. I have spoken to so many wonderful people with illnesses. I've also spoken to mean people with illnesses. Just because you're sick doesn't mean you're an angel. For some reason, people still seem to think this – & it's just not true.

I find relatability by making friends with chronically ill young people. But I am not automatically your friend if I'm chronically ill & you are too. That would negate my whole point: I am a complex human being!  I've done mean things & embarrassing things. I'm a person. I have no problem talking to people who aren't chronically ill; just because someone's chronically ill doesn't automatically make me their friend…& that's normal. In fact, it's humanizing disabled people. It's making us more than bodies examined by doctors, nurses, or curious physician'a assistants.

So, next time you see me – or any other chronically ill person- talking about not feeling so good, say "I'm sorry." "I'm thinking of you." When I or another chronically ill person have something to say about ableism; have something to say about our treatments; have something to say about our life…listen. Just listen, open your ears. Provide love & support. Be a reminder that they don't always have to be stone-faced.

Being chronically ill is a huge burden. It never fails to make those who are chronically ill feel guilty, weighed down – & also feel like they're a burden to others. Calling chronically ill people "strong" is putting more pressure on us. It's making our burdens harder to carry. So: call me hot instead. Call me interesting instead. Ask me a serious question about my illness instead.

&, you know. "I love you" is always great, too.

Love,

Sof ❤

Wowder Is Here!

Seen the memes yet?

You know – the memes where people call Glossier for the perfect-skinned; the memes where people coat themselves in Vaseline, saying "I love the newest Glossier highlight!"

Basically, what's been coming to pass is: Glossier's been criticized for appealing only to those with dry, clear skin. That their products don't suit those with more oily skin; that they're not being inclusive; that their "no-makeup makeup" only really works on one skin type.

Well, Glossier heard, & Glossier responded – in the best manner possible: by using a meme making fun of their own brand.

Two days ago, on Instagram:

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First: nice response! Light-hearted acknowlegment that yeah, maybe their products weren't for everyone – up til now. The link was wowder.net. This redirected to glossier.com/wowder, which claimed:

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A little information, a little video, & a waitlist. People complained that they couldn't stand the wait! That this was going to be Glossier's most unique product yet; a product that strayed from natural dewiness – & helped people with more oily skin control their shine.

Some of you into the beauty scene may have spotted "Wowder" in a video made by YouTuber Jackie Aina – you can watch it right here.

The video was titled: "Trying NEW Makeup! First Impressions and More." Jackie tried a host of products made by a host of brands, including Burberry, Natasha Denona – & a brand that Jackie said she could not reveal. In the description box, it says: "One of those products is a product I previously tested BEFORE agreeing to collaborate for this video. Today you'll get a sneak peak of that product!"

Jackie went on to test the "Wowder" – she used two shades: "Rich" & "Dark/Deep." Jackie said: "These powders are designed to set the makeup. They control oil, they are mattifying, they help with long wearing of makeup – BUT! These powders do not respond the same way some others do, & I'm going to show you what I mean by that."

Jackie went on to use this for her under-eye area, & also used a bit to dust all over her face. She mentioned that the product had a special brush – but used her beauty blender when applying Wowder on her under-eye area. She mentioned how neutral this powder was – no excess red or yellow under-tones. She seemed to be quite happy with her results, by the end.

For Glossier to send a product to Jackie Aina to test out speaks volumes. She's an extremely popular YouTuber – but she's "different." By different, I mean: She's not afraid to speak her mind about certain brands & their questionable ethics; she's not afraid to call out brands for their lack of shade diversity; she makes videos with a full face of cruelty-free makeup, or a full face of makeup made by black businesses.

Basically – Jackie is a hilarious, talented, politically correct YouTuber – & I trust her because of her unapologetic reviews. She's extremely open – so for her to say such positive things about Wowder? Again, it speaks volumes.

Right off the bat, this told me that Wowder would be good for those with oily skin, & there would be shades that would suit women of color – yes, even dark-skinned women of color. Great! I was a bit apprehensive, though – would I like Wowder? I have dry skin; I have pale skin. I love highlight & I love looking dewy. Would Wowder appeal to me?

Well, I got to find out a bit sooner than the rest of you. Full disclosure: I am a Glossier Rep, & while I am not paid for this review (or giving this information) I have been sent Glossier products in the past & continue to get sent new products if I make sales quotas as a rep. I was lucky enouh to make my quota (thanks to all of you!) & I got a mysterious email a few weeks ago, from "The Wowder Team."

I wanted to make sure that it wasn't spam, so I reached out to my wonderful community director. I got a winky face, & a bit of a tongue-in-cheek confirmation. Low & behold – my Wowder arrived about 5 days ago, & I have been testing it ever since I got it (quietly, that is). Let's take a look at my first impression photos. First: a letter to me from The Wowder Team:

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Basically: identities were revealed, & there was a box that I was extremely excited to open.

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As you can see, I got "Light/Medium." I was…extremely apprehensive about getting this shade. Turns out – this is the lightest one! & it suits me beautifully. Why? Well, turns out it's actually okay to have a powder that is slightly darker (or the same shade) as your skin, as long as it's neutral. For me, in fact, choosing a powder that is my exact foundation shade could be detrimental if I happened into a paparazzi event – the flashback would be terrible. Should I say James Charles terrible?

My point is – no one's face is "HD-white" – not even me, whitest of whites. So – we start with the lightest shade, which is "Light-Medium." Then there is "Rich" & "Dark/Deep," the shades Jackie used combined. The shades are sheer, so they are adaptable. They're not necessarily universal, but these three shades will cover the whole range of skin tones – becaues of the neutral undertones the powders possess.

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I was a bit suspicious of the color of the powder – & how it would look on my skin – but I had (& still do have) faith in Jackie Aina, so I persisted.

I don't use under-eye concealer, so I don't set my undereyes. I decided to be creative – that's what Glossier's all about, right??? I decided to use it in place of a "face makeup" aside from concealer. So, basically, I used a bit of Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer in Fair or Glossier's Stretch Concealer in Light for spot coverage/coverage in the middle of my face. Then, I would lightly buff Wowder over my forhead, center of my face, & other areas I might want to cover.

Wowder is truly amazing. Take it from an oily-skinned, extremely famous YouTuber like Jackie Aina – & a quiet, dry-skinned, not-famous-at-all writer (????) like me. We both love Wowder! We use different shades, & we use it in different ways – but we both love it.

I've found that Wowder has a blurring effect. It definitely prevents flashback in photos. It's almost like a filter when you wear it. It's buildable – I could see myself wearing Wowder, & Wowder only – I like it best, however, in the way I have been using it the past few days.

What're some other fun facts about Wowder? Read away:

  • Contains diamond powder for dimension; no flat effect here! & no, don't believe the people on Reddit – diamond dust does not hurt your skin
  • It has an airy, weightless formula – it absorbs oil, but vanishes into skin (this is why it's great for all skin types)
  • The "trampoline mesh" that keeps the powder safe = no mess packaging. It's easy to shake out a little; it's equally easy to make sure you're not wasting product, either.

"Does it come with the brush?" 

According to Glossier, the Wowder Brush was "specifically designed to work with Wowder" (I would hope, anyway!!!). The bristles are very soft, but they're also dense – great for a powder like Wowder, or even for a more intense powder highlight. Its shape makes it easy to buff Wowder all over the face, or focus on smaller areas: like under-eyes. Glosser: "The Wowder Brush ($20 USD, $25 CAD) & Wowder ($22 USD, $27 CAD) were invented to work together, so we've made you The Wowder Duo PDP - this includes Wowder & the Wowder brush, which total to $35 USD or $45 CAD. In both currencies, you'll save $7 by buying the duo.

Don't want a powder, but want the brush? The Wowder Brush is available separately! Don't want the brush, but want the powder? Wowder is available separately!

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Is dewy OUT now? Is Glossier being trendy by switching things up? Will they maintain their relevance?

I'm biased – but I think Glossier's here to stay. They're reaching out to more people by releasing Wowder. Now, people with oily skin; people who enjoy a matte finish; people who retweeted or reblogged the Glossier memes (!!) will start looking at Glossier with a more serious eye. Glossier itself said:

"Fresh, real skin is what we’re known for, and Wowder is an extension of that. Still healthy and glowing, but matte where you want it—no more shiny t-zone. We aren’t backpedaling on the dewy look that’s core to our brand (dewy isn’t dead!

we love dewy!). Makeup is a choice. Choose your finish."

Choose your shade. Choose your finish. Choose the way you want to do makeup – or not! I'm here for it – & I never thought I would say that I love a powder as much as I love this one! But I really do. I might be switching my CC Creams out for Wowder & a little concelaer on extra hot, sweaty days. I think my skin will thank me. But now, I can choose a finish – & still shop with one of my favorite brands.

As I type this, Wowder is now available, & you can get it here!!! Get it! tell me what you think. I can't wait to here your opinions on Glossier's latest – & most unique (for them, anyway) product. & while you're waiting for your shipping, here's a few photos of me rocking Wowder last night:

But it comes down to this: if you follow me on social, or if you read this blog, chances are that you have dry/sensitive skin, & you might not normally wear powder. Are you worried about using a powder?

Remember this (while checking out on Glossier.com with your Wowder Duo):

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Love,
Sof ❤

#JulyPlaylist: Some Thoughts. & Tunes, Of Course

Fast, Sof! You don't have time! 

I actually do, but I think it'll be better for all of us if I explain why I chose some of these songs – & then we get to actually listen to them.

I saw Baby Driver. I related to it a lot – soundtrack to my life to cope with experiences. That's why you see a lot of it scattered on here. There are some good, old-fashioned bobs like A$$ – there's also new, like SZA & Kendrick's duo track. Harry Styles' album is all about missed connections; missing & yearning for what one can no longer have. Lorde's latest album & Dua Lipa's latest single are about taking independence – while also revealing their raw emotion. They're two very talented women that are very relatable to me right now. Creep? This is a cover by the Vega Choir. If you watched The Social Network, you'll have heard it. I hadn't listened to it in ages; found it, played it. Keeper! Aminé's album came out only a few days ago – I already loved one song enough to put it on my monthly playlist.

This choice makes sense, though. Wearing yellow, being happy, laughing more, dancing more. Those are things I need to work on. This playlist is about old & new people & things; it's about people I can relate to; it's about just really liking a song; it's as good a description of my month as I can give. Let's get to listening. I'll link something special at the very bottom.

Love,

Sof ❤

  1. bellbottoms - the john spencer blues explosion
  2. harlem shuffle – earl, bob
  3. chinatown – girlpool
  4. new flesh – current joys
  5. water - jack garratt
  6. doves in the wind – sza, kendrick lamar
  7. fetish – selena gomez, gucci mane
  8. new rules – dua lipa
  9. drowning - a boogie wit da hoodie, kodak black
  10. dance (a$$ remix) - big sean, nicki minaj
  11. creep - vega
  12. yellow - aminé, nelly
  13. from the dining table - harry styles
  14. supercut – lorde
  15. debora - t. rex

Here's a video of my month of July, in 55 seconds.

July Favorites: A Whole Lot of Hydration (& Silk, Shimmer, Mint, Honey)

Happy Aug – holy shit, it's August??? Summer??? Didn't we just have the Solstice???

I'm panicking too – but I'm also reflecting on some of my favorite products I've used this July. Most of them are brand new & were wonderful surprises – some are old favorites. There should be at least one that fits your budget! I hope you enjoy a little tribute to the month of July. I'm ready to start testing things for August.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – $25

I heard about Laneige (the brand) thanks to KathleenLights. She'd been raving about their lip mask in several of their videos. I immediately checked them out on Sephora & was shocked by the low prices – & high ratings. I didn't get the lip mask right away, but I was in need of a sleeping mask – this water one looked amazing, & compared to most overnight masks, this was practically pennies to pay.

I was 100% NOT let down by this product. You get 2.3 fl. oz. for $25, & the jar comes packed full to the brim. It's also sealed air-tight – like a yogurt cup, you have to peel off the top – & includes a little spatula for application. Major points for the hygienic packaging & the large amount of product for the price paid.

The first time I applied it, it sank in very easily, felt extremely cooling & hydrating, but didn't feel tacky or sticky – it also didn't stick to my pillowcase, which is a problem I often have when using sleeping masks. I woke up with extremely glowy, bouncy, hydrated skin that had little to no redness (big problem of mine waking up, especially around the nose area).

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Definite repurchase – & a reminder that KathleenLights always puts me on to good products with low price tags. The success I had with this mask led to my next purchase:

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask -$20

Okay – the success I had with my first Laneige product was a direct cause of my next purchase. Now that I knew that Laneige's other products were good, I was ready to try the lip mask that everyone – Kathleen, Instagram beauty bloggers, & the people reviewing on Sephora – was raving about. This has an almost full 5-star rating on Sephora, which is incredible…so I was excited to see what the hype was about.

Again – massive amount of product compared with other brands like Bite or Dior (both have overnight lip masks). A little product goes a very, very long way; it feels a bit like a gloss, just a little creamier. It could be worn during the day – you'd just get some shine, so if you don't mind that, I'd go right ahead & wear it during the day (I have done it!). It smells like cranberries & strawberries, & the consistency surprised me – I thought it would be a harder, balm-like texture. It's very soft, similar to the Dior Creme de Rose balm if we're looking for comparisons. This also comes sealed & with a spatula – again, major points.

According to Laneige, the mask's "exclusive Moisture Wrap™ technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture and active ingredients. A generous layer of this soothing mask at bedtime helps reduce flakiness so you can wake up to lips that feel refreshed, supple, and soft to the touch." This includes Vitamin C, antioxidants, & fruits like…you guessed it! Cranberries.

The first night I used this, I didn't exfoliate my lips, I just used this product, & this product alone. I woke up for the first time in months with extremely soft, plump lips. I tried it again the next night, this time using the Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Polish first. The results were even better – lips looked healthy, hydrated, full of color, & plump without looking fake (I hate that look).

As someone who's continually dehydrated (thanks, chronic illness!) it's hard for me to find balms/salves that work really well on my lips. Glossier's Balm Dotcom in Rose (or Birthday if I'm feeling fanc) is my go-to for the day time, but it doesn't always work perfectly as an all-night lip mask. This Laneige mask is now a staple in my night routine – & I think it'll stay that way for a long, long time.

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Lip Balms

Now that we're talking lips, let me share with you the three balms I've been using this past month during the day that have been life-savers.

First off – Fresh Beauty Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 – $25. I know $25 is a lot for a lip balm – but this isn't "just" a lip balm. It can be used on other areas of the face (like the eyelids or cheekbonees or nose) that sunscreen might not settle into so easily. The SPF made a big difference on my lips – protecting them from the sun makes them less chapped, & using this treatment was proof of that. I talked about using this in my post about being at an amusement park for the day, which you can read here, in a lip balm post which you can read here, & also in an SPF post, which you can read here. Just know: it's great. & it is very cute, too.

Secondly – Glossier Birthday Balm Dotcom – $12. This was released in June, but I developed new appreciation for it over the month of July. I've been using it as a balm – of course – a highlight, & a lid gloss. The shimmer in this product makes it very multi-purpose. Think of it as a cream highlight, but cheaper. Yes – this balm is permanent collection! The special Milk Bar sticker it comes with, however, only lasts for the summer…so if you're all about collecting limited edition stickers/pins/products I'd hurry up & buy this, since I do believe the sticker is gone by September. Also – remember that Glossier changed their shipping policy! Now you can buy any 2 items or more & get free shipping. That means that you can get two Balm Dotcoms (which is $24) & still get free shipping. The minimum previously was $30. Good stuff! Oh, I almost forgot. This smells like birthday cake, of course – it also tastes like it. 10/10, will continue to use.

Finally – Caudalíe Lip Conditioner – $12. I also included this in my lip balm post, & I mentioned that it's a great little luxury to have. $12 is practically pennies if we're looking at the price range of most other Caudalíe products, & it's a lovely alternative to Balm Dotcom for those of you who live in areas where Glossier is not yet shipping. This smells like champagne, has a waxy texture – which I personally like – & is a lovely little luxury. It looks chic, works very nicely, & is available internationally! Win win.

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WINKWINK CALM Mask – $40 (*PR-gifted)

WINKWINK is an indie brand that's gotten some attention on Instagram lately! They were kind enough to offer to send me a mask, & asked if I had a preference. I told them my skin type (dry-sensitive) & asked them to pick one for me! They sent me their CALM mask. The key ingredients are olive green clay (helps rebalance oil flow, strengthen skin & aid scar-healing); matcha powder (powerful detoxifier); & peppermint (eases swelling, reduces redness and calms itchiness. Also a source of salicylic acid).

Basically, this is a clay mask that detoxifies – but is gentle enough for dry, sensitive skin. I was a bit apprehensive when I saw a main ingredient was peppermint; my skin doesn't always love that "minty feeling" (I know, I'm weird) & I was worried I might get a rash or something. It's a reaction I had (unfortunately) to Lush's Mask of Magnaminty several years ago. It's a me thing, not a brand thing.

Surprisingly – this was incredible!!!!! Truly…incredible. I've used it three times now, & always feel detoxed & clean. I also feel hydrated & cool – but in a good way. This is probably the only minty mask that I actually love & want to keep using – the results are lovely & it really does feel good, to my surprise & delight! Check out their range – there's some other great detox masks. But especially check out CALM. You won't regret it.

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80

I spoke about this in my brand review of The Ordinary (read it here) & talked about how I think it's the only serum that can truly be a dupe for a Glossier serum (as of right now, anyway). This one is a hyaluronic acid serum, so it's a dupe for Glossier's Super Bounce Serum. Both have plumping, hydrating, soothing qualities – this one just has those qualities for much less.

I love the cooling sensation of this product,  & my skin has been a lot calmer since I've started using it! Even when I did a bit of a product detox, I made sure to keep this one in my routine. I'm glad I did, because my skin looks & feels more balanced thanks to it. Also – order through Beautylish! Faster shipping, comes with cute stickers – & also, you often will get unexpected samples (ex. I got tiny Bioderma bottles with my last order).

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Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy™️ - $56

Okay – expensive, I know. But also – there was a sale when I bought it (a $15 off special & I was curious!) so it wasn't only a good deal when I bought it…it's an old friend.

I used this on & off throughout the winter but didn't really pay it much attention. It was the first "warming" mask I'd ever used, & I was confused on how exactly to use it. I put it in the back of my cabinet & didn't take it out much.

When I was straightening up this month, I found it again, & decided to give it a serious go. The goopy, honey-textured mask (it's called Honey for a reason) is golden-yellow, until you start massaging it into your cheeks. It melts into a creamy white, & warms your skin; not uncomfortably…just right.

The mask contains "honey (a natural humectant used since ancient times), propolis (an antiseptic found in beehives), and amino acid-rich royal jelly. Echinacea GreenEnvy™ is a unique variant of echinacea purpurea, which contains a high concentration of the phytochemical cichoric acid—a potent, natural antioxidant that enhances hydration and the purifying benefits of honey. Glycerin attracts moisture to the skin and provides hydrating effects for a suppler appearance. " Basically, it's a product sourced from honey & derivatives of honey. It's supposed to plump, clarify, hydrate, & renew – all at once.

In my opinion, this mask is a 2-3 day process. In fact, Farmacy recommends you use it 3 times a week. It's detoxing, so you might see some small breakouts the first day after using it. After I used it three times, however, I could see that my skin was clearer & more transluscent. It's not drying, either – so it's great for dry-skinned people. Just be aware that warming masks don't work well with some skin. Patch test a mask like this if you're not sure how you'll react to it!

Personally, I now adore this mask & will be getting a refill – even though this time it'll be more expensive. Farmacy's released a whole honey line since this mask was put out, & it all looks beautiful & worth a try. This mask, however, will be purchased first.

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Dr. Jart Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel – $39 (*PR-gifted)

I don't have many water-based moisturizers or masks. Well, not until this month, anyway! Dr. Jart was kind enough to send me their Hydro collection (this moisturizer as well as an eye gel & sleeping mask) so stay tuned on a complete review of those products.

I do know already, however, that this Hydro Gel is my favorite of the trio (that's why you're seeing it here). I've only tried one other water-based moisturizer, & that was the Sunday Riley CEO. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it – I only had a travel-size, & I definitely didn't feel like it was worth getting a full-size. I felt like I wasn't maintaining hydration; the gel sank in, but was I getting anything out of it?

With this one, I know I am. It's incredibly cooling & soothing – "hydro" is right. It truly feels like a second face wash after I've put this on. I've been using this as a day cream ever since I bought it; it pairs beautifully with my daily sunscreen: Glossier Invisible Shield. Both are incredibly lightweight & invisible.

This product made me reconsider water-based moisturizers! It showed me that they do work; you just need to find the right one. I know that this was gifted, but I will be purchasing this myself if it continues to work so beautifully.

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Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in "Mars" - $28

Milk Makeup's been around the block a few times – but they really started getting hyped after they released their first Holographic Stick: "Supernova," a holographic, purple-y opal highlight that caught the eyes of YouTubers, Refinery29, & beauty blogs amass. Everyone wanted that holographic shade. I never ended up getting it – I own the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit & didn't feel as though another silver-purple highlight was necessary.

My interest in Milk's Holographic Stick became a bit more intense when Milk announced their addition to the collection: the shade "Mars," described as a golden pink. It was said to be universally flattering, great on the deepest & lightest of skin tones.

I looked at the shade online, in videos & photos & decided that this highlight was targeted for those with deeper skin – that's who mainly featured this product, anyhow (I'm not trying to say that marketing is a bad thing; on the contrary I support & try to highlight brands & products that market to all skin tones).

When I swatched it in-store this past month, I decided to take the plunge. It felt very smooth, & I figured I could use a little fun in my life.

Happy ending! The stick is extremely soft, doesn't pull on the face (it might take off foundation if you're applying it directly & have a heavier amount of face makeup) & leaves a duo-tone, peachy-pink sheen. It's not oily, it doesn't smear – it looks dewy yet unique; subtle enough for my cheekbones but cheeky enough for my eyelids. I love this & was shocked on how well it worked on my skin tone – just as beautiful, but very different from some of the swatches I'd seen on deeper skin tones.

I think this is a great product if you're looking for a bit of a fun highlight that's easy to apply, travel with, & can be multi-purpose!

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The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil – $9.80 &Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil – $22

Clearly, I'm on a rosehip oil kick. Why? Well, it's because rosehip oil is one of those oils that works on every skin type – it does a lot of things, & none of them are bad. It reduces redness & inflammation, soothes skin, reduces texture, clears pores (which reduces acne) & a whole lot more. Basically: if you have oily skin, use rosehip oil. If you have normal skin, use rosehip oil. If you have…you get my point.

So, these are the two options I have tried. I first tried out rosehip oil with the Mario Badescu Nourishing Oil. It was good! It reduced redness & cleared pores – it always felt a bit runny, though; hard to pat onto my face or even mix into creams.

This past week, I got The Ordinary's Rosehip Seed Oil…worlds of difference. This oil's vial is UV-protected, so the oil doesn't lose potency over time due to light. This oil is extremely pigmented & rich in texture…just two or three drops is all you need for your face.

The Ordinary's version of rosehip oil is less than half of what the Mario Badescu one costs…& it's been changing my skin in the most positive of ways: more hydrated, less irritated or red, clearer, too! Even though it's only been a week, I know this one's the winner. This is a great example of cheaper product being much more effective than a higher-end product. They're the things we all want & strive to obtain! This is one of them.

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Saturday Skin Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream – $47

I have raved about this product before, & for good reason: it's extremely hygienic (similar air-tight packaging to Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream), extraordinarily hydrating, & beautifully soothing.

This was a cream I used during the day during my skin detox. Only a cleanser, a toner, a serum/oil, & a cream…this was my day cream! Chaology Beauty (the company behind Saturday Skin) has developed a special formula: one that is in every single one of its products. According to Chaology, Saturday Skin's effectiveness is from "the Cha-7 es Complex, an exclusive peptide formula that promotes skin's natural regeneration process…increases collagen and elasticity while reducing melanin production for a flawless, stress-free complexion."

Basically, every Saturday Skin product ever makes you glow, lifts your face, & keeps infections & irritation away. This is how I've felt using this product. It does the job just well enough that absolutely nothing is imbalanced. Definite repurchase, definite old friend.

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Slip Silk Pillowcase in "Pink" – $79 (*PR-gifted)

I know, I know!!!! This is definitely not one of those things you just casually go to pick up. But silk pillowcases are amazing for your skin, hair, & scalp – especially for those with compromised or sensitive skin. Slip was so kind to send me their (very luxurious take) on a silk pillowcase! There are cheaper options (still wonderful, too) on Amazon for those who can't take this kind of purchase plunge.

Hate being that person, but yes: I really do feel more refreshed. My skin is softer & more relaxed – no pillow wrinkles anymore! My scalp is softer but not rubbed to redness – something I might notice more accutely, now that I'm you know…bald. I'm not sure about the anti-aging claims – remember I'm still just 20 – but my skin does feel softer, looks brighter, & feels more pampered. Going to sleep feeling like a king won't hurt your skin – ever.

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That's all for this month! Things were brought back, new things arrived – I was surprised by new & old products, several times! I'm excited to see what August will bring.

What have your July favorites been? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

Sof ❤