It’s Sunscreen Season

“It’s summer! Make sure to put on sunscreen this year!”

Well – even when it’s not summer, you should be putting on sunscreen every single day. I know…you’ve probably heard that from more than one blogger/website/brand/etc., but at the end of the day, it’s true. According to skincancer.org, “about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.” That means that by protecting your skin as best you can, you’re drastically reducing your risk of skin cancer.

Basically, we all should be wearing sunscreen – & we should all be wearing it every single day, even in the winter, even when it’s cloudy. However, it’s undeniable that more time is spent in the sun during the summer months: beach, pool, amusement parks…even having a picnic. It’s healthy to get sun & fresh air, but you’d better stay protected while you’re doing that.

If you’re a skincare junkie (like me) & use chemical exfoliants (here’s some info about them) you absolutely, positively should be wearing sunscreen every single day. If you’re on medications that increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun, you absolutely, positively should be wearing sunscreen every single day. Guess what: I’m lucky enough to fall into both of these categories – so trust that sunscreen is an absolute must in my everyday skin care routine, just like washing my face.

There are a lot of products out there at this point, & there’s a lot of information. It can get confusing – which is best for you? What are you looking for, & why? I know which types of sunscreens/sunblocks I prefer, but I don’t know which ones you prefer – so, without further ado, here’s your Summer 2018 guide to sunscreen. Remember – at the end of the day, as long as you’re putting on that sunblock, you’re doing the right thing…no matter what brand, what price, or where you got it. Just make sure it’s above 15 SPF, for God’s sake…& make sure it’s not expired, for God’s sake. Alright, let’s do this!

Let’s start with the simple question: What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a type of product that absorbs/reflects some of the sun’s UV rays. Short-term, sunscreen helps protect against sunburn. Long-term, sunscreen can slow or prevent development of wrinkles/moles, as well as prevent skin cancers like melanoma. There are two “categories” of sunscreen: physical sunscreen & chemical sunscreen. I’ll be walking you through the differences between chemical & physical, give some product recomedations & mini reviews…& then it’s up to you!

Side note: Although you should always be using a sunscreen/sunblock that is at least SPF 30, SPF 30 vs. SPF 50 is not necessarily more powerful/more effective. You will still need to apply just as regularly; the higher SPF number is more for marketing & less for more powerful sun protection. Sometimes, SPF 50 sunscreens can cause irritations for sensitive skin types – that’s really the only difference. As long as you’re using SPF 30+ (& reapplying, too), you’re doing the right thing. 

Read on…then, go forth & protect your skin from the sun better than ever before.

Physical Sunscreens 

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What is physical sunscreen? 

Physical sunscreen deflects sun rays by sitting on top of the skin. Its active ingredients are zinc oxide/titanium oxide – these two “types” of ingredient are what give many physical sunscreens a white cast/sticky or tacky consistency/that “sunscreen smell.”

Pros of physical sunscreen:

  • No need to wait for it to start working – as soon as you apply a physical sunscreen, you’re safe to go out in the sun.
  • Longer shelf life
  • Lasts longer in direct UV light than a chemical sunscreen would last

Cons of physical sunscreen:

  • Easily rubs off with water/sweat – this means that you may need to apply more frequently when outdoors
  • The zinc oxide/titanium oxide often leave a white cast on the skin, which is especially troublesome for those with medium to deep/dark skin tones
  • UV light can penetrate through sunscreen molecules, so it can be less protective if not applied generously, accurately, & frequently
  • May be too thick/chalky for use under everyday makeup

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Dr Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50. 

After developing interest in skin care – & after starting medication that made my skin even more sensitive to sun – I knew that I had to get serious about protecting my skin. This was the first “high-end” sunscreen I bought – aka, not from the drugstore.

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This is a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, but (on my skin tone, at least), there is no detectable white cast or tacky/sticky sensation. It has a slight tint to it; it’s not white. I’d describe it as a sandy/shell color, & while I don’t have even medium skin tone, from what I can see on the reviews, this slight change of color in the product helps eliminate any risk of white cast on most skin tones. It doesn’t feel greasy, either, which is great – I’d guess that that’s because of its “runny” consistency. It sinks in very quickly, & doesn’t leave a film on top of the skin.

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When I’m feeling like using a physical sunscreen, I reach for this one. Whether I’m using it on a bare face or underneath makeup, it does a great job of protecting me from getting burned – without making me feel oily or forcing me to tolerate the dreaded  “sunscreen smell.” all day long. In fact, it has a pleasant scent: kind of citrus-y, which I really enjoy. It’s very summery.

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Dr. Jart+ is a reputable brand, & most of their products are at the very least worth a go. I’m interested in what seems to be a transluscent version of their original Every Sun Day: the Every Sun Day UV Sun Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 30With a liquid gel formula, this sunblock “provides powerful sun protection and a cationic shield that blocks fine dust to protect the skin…it is designed to have the same electrical charge as fine dust in order to form a protective skin barrier. Cypress water and seaweed extract purify the skin while soothing and moisturizing.” It’s a transparent, lightweight formula, which is exactly the kind of sunblock I gravitate towards. It’s currently sold out, but maybe this will be the sunscreen I test out this summer when it’s back in stock. We’ll see!

Green Screen Daily Environmental Protector Broad Spectrum MineralSunscreen SPF 30. 

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A few weeks after realizing that it was, in fact, possible to find a physical sunscreen that didn’t feel or look gross on my skin, the brand Farmacy (whose Honey Potion face mask I am in love with) sent me their cruelty-free, paraben-free sunscreen, formulated with naturally derived ingredients, & stamped with the “Clean At Sephora” label (there’s a complete description of what this means on Sephora’s site – it’s a good way for vegans/those who are 100% CF to immediately find products that they don’t have to scan the ingredients list before clicking “purchase”).

Unfortunately, I can’t really use this on my face without getting texture/congested pores on the inner portions of my face, though I don’t have that problem with it creating texture on the outer portions/forehead area of my face. I do still use it on my neck & shoulders – they’re more sensitive than the rest of my body, & it’s been working nicely for that. I don’t think I’d purchase it myself, simply because I’m almost certain it was the cause of more texture around the time I was using it, but the reviews on Sephora’s site as well as Farmacy’s own site are overwhelmingly positive. I’ll blame the reaction I had on my sensitive skin.

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This sunscreen is of a slightly thicker consistency than that of the Dr. Jart+ sunscreen, but it has the same “off-white” tint to it. It has more of a sunscreen-y smell, but the scent fades within a few minutes of application. Despite creating texture, it did a great job of protecting my skin from the sun – a good example of a sunscreen with SPF 30 doing just as good a job with blocking the sun as a sunscreen with SPF 50 would. You can use it daily under makeup, or just by itself over your moisturizer. Farmacy suggests applying it 15 minutes before going out into the sun, & to reapply every 2 hours – which is a common suggestion for most, if not all, sunscreens.

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Side note: Drunk Elephant sent me a very generous package the day after I wrote this, containing their Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30. I didn’t have the chance to take photographs of the product because of this, but here’s a mini review: I like this a little more than the Farmacy sunscreen, because it has some luminosity to it – it kind of reminds me of M.A.C.’s strobe cream (toned down a little) with SPF added, of course. It works well under makeup – I think it works as a primer – though I have experienced a little more congestion in my pores than I usually do when using it. Not sure yet whether it’s the DE Umbra or something else, but we shall see. This comes in two versions: the Sheer, which may leave a white cast on deeper skin tones. That’s why DE also has Umbra Tinte™ Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, which is the same sunscreen as the Umbra Sheer – just with a tint to it, so that it doesn’t leave a white cast/is more suitable for deeper skin tones. Both of these products are also cruelty-free. If you know me, you know I adore Drunk Elephant as a brand, & I always encourage people to give any of their products a go. Some are more effective for me than others, but they’re an excellent brand & definitely worth a try for any skin type or skin tone. 

Chemical Sunscreens

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What is chemical sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreen absorbs sun rays instead of deflecting them. It contains combos of chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.

Pros of chemical sunscreen:

  • Thinner, lighter consistency – this makes it easier for wearing under everyday makeup. Most chemical sunscreens are almost if not completely clear, so they can be reapplied over makeup, too
  • Less is needed to adequately protect the skin, because it doesn’t operate in the same way that physical sunscreen does – UV light can’t penetrate through it
  • Leaves no white cast on any skin tone, thanks to its transluscency

Cons of chemical sunscreen:

  • Shorter shelf life
  • Needs about 20 minutes before it starts properly protecting your skin from the sun
  • Must be reapplied more frequently, because when in direct UV light, the protection chemical sunscreen offers is used up more quickly

Personally, discovering chemical sunscreen was a life-saver for me. My whole life, I assumed that physical sunscreen was the only type of sunblock (& for a while, it was), & because of that, I hated sunscreen – it smelled gross to me, it felt greasy & sticky, & it broke me out. Granted, I was using drugstore sunscreen up until last year, but still – it was a big reason behind why I wasn’t as diligent with protecting my skin from the sun as I am today: my skin felt dirty & sweaty the minute I applied sunscreen – & no one likes their skin to feel that way, so of course I slacked

You may have noticed by now that I have a lot of complaints about physical sunscreens; you might’ve also have come to the conclusion that I prefer chemical sunscreens…in which case you’d be correct! I do prefer chemical sunscreens. Yes – I need to wait about 15-20 minutes before going out in the sun to ensure that I’m truly protected; yes, I need to make sure that my dry skin won’t start screaming in protest (sometimes, chemical sunscreens can be more drying than physical sunscreens) before I find my next holy grail chemical sunblock, but in the end…chemical sunscreen was the catalyst to me finally properly protecting my skin from the sun. Every. Single. Day.

Glossier Invisible Shield

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Ah, yes. The first chemical sunscreen I ever tried, which introduced me to a whole new world of possibilities. Glossier marketed Invisible Shield as leaving no white cast (not even on deep/dark skin tones), having no sticky/tacky consistency, & easy to apply with a moisturizer for a bare-faced day, easily worn underneath makeup, & even easy to reapply over makeup – all thanks to its transluscency. I’d never heard of a gel-consistency sunscreen, but was eager to try it…& I wasn’t disappointed. Invisible Shield sinks in just as quickly as a water-gel serum would. It doesn’t mess with the finish of my makeup – & if I’m wearing no makeup, it doesn’t look odd over my moisturizer. In fact, I mix 2-3 pumps of Invisible Shield with my daily moisturizer, Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre – & have found that to be my dream combo for daily wear. It’s a lightweight yet hydrating combo, I have yet to get a sunburn once I’ve started using this, & my skin stays protected no matter what.

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A brief yet geniune review! The only complaint I initially had about Invisible Shield was the price tag. It was above $30, not more than $35 – but still too much for the amount of product you get. Glossier’s fixed that: Invisible shield is now $25, so I can recommend this without feeling conflicted, thanks to the previous price.

Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50

Another brand that I kept seeing last summer was Supergoop – a brand that, according to their product page on Sephora’s website, “is the first and only prestige beauty brand dedicated to UV protection.” This means that every single Supergoop product contains SPF, whether it’s good old sunscreen, lip balm, setting powder…even hand cream.

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I haven’t had the chance to try Supergoop’s most well-known product, which is their Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40(similar in packaging & formula to Glossier’s Invisible Shield), but it’s most certainly on my Sephora Loves List. I have, however, gotten the chance to pick up their Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 – recommended by @namvo on Instagram, an amazing makeup artist obsessed with healthy, dewy, glowing skin. I’m a fellow obsessee of that type of makeup, so I knew that I’d like the product when I saw her recommend it on her Instagram story, but did a little research nonetheless. Seeing that it was an oil stick, I figured that it’d work well on my dry/sensitive skin.

Sure enough – in the product description, it was listed that the Glow Stick was best for normal, dry, combination, &/or sensitive skin types – no mention of oily skin types. This was no surprise; most products containing oil aren’t recommended for oily skin, especially not ones that you’ll be wearing out & about in the summer heat. Supergoop said the Glow Stick was a solution for dullness, uneven texture, & dryness, going on to say that the “dry oil stick brightens and hydrates for a healthy-looking glow without leaving an oily residue.” It can be worn underneath makeup, it can be worn as makeup (highlighter on your cheekbones, collarbones, etc.), “or applied anywhere you want to glow!” It’s even safe to apply over tattoos – the oil won’t burn your skin (which was my first fear)…in fact, it helps preserve the pigment of your inked skin. “Amazonian oils protect the skin, and a blend of fatty acids delivers antioxidants and restores balance and moisture, creating a more even, smoother, healthier-looking complexion.”

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Glow Stick has a barely detectable scent to it – & I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s not overpowering or unpleasant, & it fades within a few moments. It’s most certainly not for someone looking to eradicate oil from their skin; this will give you some shine. I personally really liked it – it worked like a glowing primer for me, & I added a little extra on the high points of my face, as well as on my collarbones. I didn’t need much extra highlight when I started on makeup, all thanks to the Glow Stick. I was worried that the oils would break me out, but no worries – my skin reacted really well to this product, & I’d say that I’ll be re-purchasing immediately…except that it’s an extremely dense product & will, without a doubt, last me for ages. If you have dry/normal/sensitive skin (I can’t speak for combo skin, as everyone’s is different) this is a really neat way to combine skincare, sunscreen, & makeup. I’m a big fan!

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50

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After seeing a travel-size version of this in my Sephora’s checkout line, I decided to give it a go. I’d never tried a spray-on sunscreen, & figured that since I liked their Glow Stick, I might really like Supergoop’s SPF mist, too.

In the product description for the Defense Refresh Setting Mist, Supergoop says that the spray is intended for normal, oily, combo, or dry skin – no mention of sensitive skin, which I should’ve probably checked before using it, but no worries. My skin didn’t react badly to this, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you have dry skin. Supergoop describes the prodcut as an “innovative makeup setting spray that helps control oil and shine while refreshing your UV defense with an uplifting scent of rosemary and mint” & says that it’s a solution for oiliness.

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As soon as I sprayed it on my face, I felt that mattifying sensation start to set in as the mist dried. My skin didn’t flake off my face, but I did remove my makeup & chose to use my trusted Invisible Shield that day. I definitely need a hydrating setting mist (my favorite is the NYX Dewy Setting Spray) to set any makeup, & this one was not for my skin type – however, if you’re somone who prefers a matte finish, or has oily skin, this might be a great way for you to simultaneously set your makeup & mattify your face this summer. It smells really pleasant – very herbal, as the ingredients of rosemary & mint might suggest, & it felt cooling, too. If it was more of a dewy finish, I’d definitely love it & purchase a full-size, but this will probably end up going in a little goodie bag for a friend or sibling. I’ll be on the lookout for a more dewy SPF setting spray; let me know if you have a favorite!

Makeup with SPF

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Okay – finally, what about makeup? It’s no secret that there are countless BB/CC cream type products on the market that contain SPF. The rise of K-Beauty in the USA was a big reason behind this, & so the two products I have & enjoy using most are K-Beauty. Both of these products are pretty light coverage, & that’s because almost all foundations break out my skin/clog my pores/make my skin feel dirty. I stick to little-to-no face makeup if possible, & either spot conceal with Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer combined with Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint (which is very sheer) over top a sunscreen, or I use one of these two products, which are a combination of sun protection & coverage/tint. If you’re not a fan of either of these brands/these products in particular, just head on over to Sephora’s site & check for face makeup products that contain SPF. You’ll have a goldmine of products with a very nice price range. For now, though, here are my two favorite face makeup products that contain SPF:

Dr Jart+ Cicapair™️ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30

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This product is part of the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Collection, “inspired by the true legend of Asian Tigers, rolling in Centella Asiatica to heal their battle wounds. Also known as tiger grass, its medicinal use has been recognized for centuries. For generations, this active ingredient has also been recognized as a recovery system to help support wounded skin exhibiting inflammation, redness, or blemishes.” There’s a cream (with no pigment) that serves as a moisturizer, along with sheet masks, a serum, & now, “Camo Drops,” described as “an ultra-lightweight revitalizing serum and color corrector that neutralizes redness and turns on skin’s glow.” I’ve tried the cream (don’t hate it but don’t love it, either) along with the Color Correcting Treatment, but haven’t given any of the other products a go, though Dr. Jart+ sheet masks are always a winner. Enough of that – my point is that this line is great if you struggle with redness/hyper-pigmentation.

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The price tag of the Color Correcting Treatment seems high, but trust me when I say: a little goes a very long way. It has a pleasant smell – kind of like mown grass – & I take about a quarter-size dot that I place on my MakeupDrop (check them out!), then gently dot small amounts of the product in the center of my face, on my chin, & in the center of my forehead. I then use my Real Techniques face brush to buff out the product. As you can see from the photos, the green-beige color of the product in the jar “includes a color-changing capsule within the formula to cover blemishes and restore the look of the skin’s strength, health, and vitality.” Basically, it works the same way that a CC cream would – white when you squeeze it from the tube, but then adjusts to the pigment of your skin. If texture/acne isn’t a huge concern for you, you can most definitely just use this as your face makeup – it takes care of redness without a problem. The SPF keeps you protected, & while the product is naturally dewy, it can easily be fixed (for those who want a more matte complexion) with a setting powder/setting spray. Because of the thickness of this product, it’s not one I reach for often, but I know that it’s an easy, reliable product that’ll get rid of redness, protect me from the sun, & maintain my hydration all at once.

CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Air Cushion

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You’ve probably heard/seen at least a few things about CLĒ Cosmetics on my social media or on here – that’s because they’re such a great brand. They sell both skincare & makeup, & I have favorites from each category – but right now, I’ll be talking about one of my all-time favorite face makeup products: the CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Air Cushion. Like a cushion foundation – except with SPF – this product “gives sheer to medium coverage with a healthy and luminous shine that feels feather light on your skin.” The initial $49 price tag might seem formidable, but don’t worry; a “refill cushion” (aka: another sponge soaked with the product) is included with the original cushion inside its refillable compact. My first cushion lasted a bit less than a year; I’m about to switch mine out for a new one – & the refills cost significantly less than the original.

I wear the lightest shade, “Light.” This has no sunscreen smell, no stickiness; it melts right into the skin & provides a luminous glow while managing to make you feel as though you’re wearing absolutely no face makeup whatsoever – quite the achievement. The SPF 50+ does its job well – & even on my sensitive skin (which is more prone to irritation from suncreens with higher SPF) doesn’t react badly to the added protection. This gives the exact amount of coverage & sun protection that I like when I feel like wearing “actual” face makeup. I’ll keep refilling this until I can’t find it anywhere any longer!

If you’re looking for a little more coverage than the Essence Air Cushion, CLĒ also has a CCC Cream, which works sort of like the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Color Correcting treatment, except it has SPF 45+ & has a shade range: Light to Deep. No sunscreen smell! Yay! Still, I prefer the lighter finish of the Essence Air Cushion – but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend the CCC Cream to anyone looking for something even a little more full coverage. Oh – both are buildable, too, so you can apply as little or as much as you like, as long as you blend it out. It’ll look even, don’t worry – & you won’t have to dig in your bag for the sunscreen you didn’t even need.

Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30

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What about your lips? What about your eyelids? The little areas that are too sensitive for a “regular” sunscreen – chemical or physical. Fresh has a nice solution with their Sugar Sport Treatment – packaged like a lip balm, it’s “a durable, water-resistant treatment ideal for on-the-go use that moisturizes and provides UV protection to the lips, face, and eye area during year-round outdoor activities.” I picked this up last year – I won’t lie, mostly because the packaging caught my eye – & I’m very glad I did. This stuff lasts forever, thanks to the balm-stick formula, it can be applied as “a highlight,” kind of like the Supergoop Glow Stick – except you can do even more with it! Apply it on the eyelids, on the browbone, on the lips, on the cupid’s bow…you get it. It won’t break you out – I promise – & the packaging is perfect for taking on a day-long outing.

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The bright orange packaging is eye-catching, & the stick is wide enough to find without a lot of digging (lip balm-type products are easy to lose, let’s face it) – this also makes it easy to gently glide over your lips, yes…but also wider areas of your face, like the browbone, eyelids, etc. It has the classic Fresh scent – citrusy & sweet, which I adore – & it contains moisture-preserving sugar (which is a natural humectant) along with a blend of oils, like avocado oil & black current seed oil, both of which are extremely nourishing, hydrating, & softening. It’s a product that falls right into the 30 SPF-50 SPF bracket, so you won’t have to worry about getting too little protection, it lasts forever thanks to the dense consistency, it’s easy to carry around, & it’s waterproof! You can cry over your summer fling; you can jump in a pool; you can survive a rainshower that’s followed by intense sun, & you’ll still be protected. The priority is to keep your skin out of harm’s way – aka, the sun’s UV rays. It’s still possible to have fun in the sun while protecting your skin!

That’s all I have for you, folks – what are some of your favorite sunscreens? I’d love to hear about them…I’m always hunting for more, more, & more.

Love,

Sofia

P.S. You’ll hear from me soon – sorry for the hiatus!

Glossier’s Latest & Greatest: Mascara…or…Lash Slick

Hey Glossier: you thought you were slick, didn’t you? Get it? Sorry.

I’ve had my eyes peeled for a Glossier mascara for a while now. Follow Annie (@annieokay) on Instagram? She’s Glossier’s Executive Editor. If you don’t, now might be a good time to hit that follow button – because I’ve gotten some pretty good clues about upcoming products from her Instagram stories & Instagram livestreams.

Quite a while back, Annie did a livestream where she was getting ready for some sort of event – I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that she applied the Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Color (“a liquid lip color that combines a lip stain with an ultra-glossy finish”), which is a ridiculously expensive & luxurious lip product that I’ve been eyeing ever since…& that she did her brows with Boy Brow(brown) & then started applying mascara. She didn’t mention the name.

I commented: “mascara brand? I have Diorshow & love it but am always on the lookout for a mascara that’s even MORE holy grail.”

A few other people asked questions in a similar vein. Annie smiled, & said “just a mascara,” leaving it at that. A bunch of eye emoji comments rolled in, a few pleas for more details…but that was it! Annie was done talking. She finished her face.

Ever since I saw that – & saw how careful Annie was to keep the packaging of the mascara out of site (even though it most likely was just in product development) – I’ve had my eyes peeled for more eye makeup from Glossier. I thought that that would be The Product of the year for Glossier: a mascara is a big product to launch, because it’s one of the most widely used makeup products. I was surprised to see the Lidstar shadows launch first (check out that review here) though I had been expecting to see some kind of eyeshadow/eye tint…again, thanks to Annie’s cryptic swatches that showed up from time to time on her Instagram story.

When Lidstar launched, I thought that that would be it for Glossier for a while. Eyeshadows are another big product to launch, & I expected a little more time to pass before we got our mascara. I was wrong. Less than three months after Lidstar’s launch, I got a mystery package from Glossier. As a rep, I sometimes get early access to products – this time, there was a single product box, similar in packaging to a Lidstar shadow or a Boy Brow brow gel. This one was labelled “Lash Slick.” I also got an email: don’t share photos or info before the product launches…but don’t worry, the product is launching soon! Glossier wasn’t lying. Just a few days after I received my Lash Slick, Glossier’s first mascara went live on their site for $16 USD, $20 CAD, & $14 GBP (don’t worry Frenchies: Glossier’s coming to you real soon).

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So – what’s Lash Slick all about? The name sounds a little racy, I won’t lie. Is that because it’s smooth? Is it a marketing ploy? Is it both? After trying it, I’d have to go with both – but let’s walk through some of the product claims & what I think about them after trying Lash Slick.

“248 formulations later: the perfect everyday mascara. Lash Slick curls and sculpts as it lengthens, enhancing the look of your natural lashes instead of clumping them together or spackling them in product. Teeny-tiny fibers coat lashes from root to tip to create a lengthened baby-extension, while flexible film-forming polymers lift and lock each fiber into place. And it’s water-resistant (not waterproof), so Lash Slick washes off easy with warm water at the end of your day.”

248 formulations sure is a lot. Glossier provided a lot of photos on their Instagram of various wands that were tried; various tubes that didn’t work & so forth & so on. It does certainly seem as though they’ve put a lot of effort into it – both from the product description &, ultimately, how I feel about the appearance & sensation of the product. Okay. So – Glossier’s been working hard on Lash Slick. Why’d it take this long to get here? What’s specifically special about it?

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  • It’s water-resistant, but not water-proofThat sounds dangerous – I thought that it would definitely run/flake if I started to cry or went in the rain…but that wasn’t the case. I tried both (mostly crying, but a quick CVS run in the rain happened, too) & the mascara doesn’t flake. It sticks right onto your lashes without feeling crunchy or stiff.
    • It still sounds dangerous – that’s because I’m paranoid of water-proof mascaras. I was wary that “water-resistant” would hurt/pull at my lashes. If I couldn’t cry it off, would I be able to gently remove it with warm water without yanking out some of my precious lash hairs? The answer to that: Yes. I can gently remove it with warm water without losing precious lashes. A pump of Milky Jelly Cleanser (my holy grail cleanser) massaged with that warm water works even more beautifully. I worked in gentle, circular motions with my warm water/MJC combination, & I had clean, dry lashes within a minute – no raccoon eyes here! That was a big factor in how much I ended up liking it. If a mascara is difficult to remove, I drop it quicker than a hot potato. This one fits my strangely specific criteria: “easy to remove – not waterproof – but doesn’t come off when crying.” Hard to believe that there’s something like that out there now, but here I am, claiming that Lash Slick did exactly that for me.
  • It’s…shiny?I know. That doesn’t sound great at first, does it? Hear me out: it doesn’t look like your lashes are coated in thick, greasy paint. It’s more of an enhancement. Your lashes don’t look shiny, but the “Natural Shine Polymers enhance the formula’s black pigment so lashes are extra shiny & sleek.” Basically, with that “natural shine,” Lash Slick is creating an illusion of longer, healthier lashes. That’s something I’m always here for
  • You don’t need a lash curler!!!!!!!If you know anything about my makeup routine, you know that 1. I hardly wear mascara in the first place 2. When I do, I always curl my lashes. I feel like I can’t get the lift that I want if I don’t curl them – I have long lashes, & though they curl upwards when I don’t wear mascara, they stick straight out when I apply (most) mascaras. The weight of the mascara is too much for my little lashes to handle while maintaining their curl. The closest I ever got to not needing a curler was Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara (which is a big favorite all over the world at this point) but the brush felt too I poked myself in the eye a few times, then decided it wasn’t worth it (is it odd that most of my endeavors to love Benefit products – ex. their Gimme Brow! brow gel & their Roller Lash Mascara – led to me finding Glossier products that are cheaper & more effective?). I shelved Benefit Roller Lash over a year ago & switched to Diorshow mascara – just the original one, in Black. I blame Bella Hadid’s millennial marketing campaign for getting me to notice Dior’s mascara, but hey…that was clearly the point, & it is a good mascara. However, for me to get the maximum feathered & curled effect that I wanted (& zero clumps) it took a good curl, a coat or two of mascara, & then a careful brushing session with a spoolie. Effective? Yes. Time-consuming? Absolutely. If there’s an easier way, I’ll always opt for that…& Lash Slick has, so far, given me a cheaper, quicker, easier way to achieve a lash look that I actually enjoy. Less tools, less time, but just as good (if not better) lashes.=
  • Tapered Comb Brush (made of rubber)This application brush is described as “sleek, comb-like.” It separates your lashes, kind of like a spoolie brush would. It also grabs your lashes at the very root, lifting, curling, & defining. The rubber makes sure you don’t have too much product on your hands – which eliminates any danger of clumps. I know some people like that thick, spider-lash formula for mascara, & if that’s the case, this one isn’t for you (unless you layered something else on top & used this as a curling mascara). For me, however, it was a big plus. I prefer individual separate lashes, even when I’m wearing mascara. This one does what Roller Lash & Diorshow do combined.
  • Glossier used “Japanese Fiber Technology” to make Lash Slick look like eyelash extensionsThe technology creates miniscule fibers that hook onto your individual lashes – which creates the curling effect without a curler needed
    • The lashes get extra definition &, therefore, extra pigment. Your lashes are natural-looking, but are long, fluffy, & super pretty when you blink.
  • It really does last 12 hoursGlossier claims that Lash Slick will not run if in contact with light water (tears, rain, sweat, etc.) & will last up to 12 hours. They weren’t lying. Yours truly had a good few crying sessions in the two days I tested Lash Slick, & there was no runny mascara, no lashes that had nothing on them while others had excess…it doesn’t look like the typical mascara does – that’s where the water-resistant part really helps.
    • Sometimes, mascara can get a little too crunchy. This one was very soft at the beginning of the day but was getting a little stiff by the time I took it off (worn for 12 hours). It wouldn’t keep me from purchasing it, because I really only noticed it for the last 2-3 hours or so of wear. It’s not uncomfortable; it’s just noticeable if you were to touch your lashes (which I did while testing the mascara) it’d be stiffer by EOD than when you first applied it.

Though this one was sent a few days before release to test, I will be refilling my Lash Slick, because this one mascara does everything I want & used to need to achieve that effect. It’s a cheaper, more effective way to do your mascara. I haven’t done the “swipe on mascara & go” look with Lash Slick, simply because I never have made that my “emergency” makeup routine. However, the way Lash Slick looked with eyeshadow…I’m curious to see how it’d look by itself. I think that’s going to be in my next round of new things to try.

IMG_2169IMG_2177I’d call this the Boy Brow of mascaras. It’s effective, it’s easy, it’s affordable. I’m glad it took Glossier hundreds of attempts & more than a year to develop: for me, this product is absolutely living up to its claims – doing better, even – while not pricing high as a Benefit mascara (mid $20s) or Diorshow, which is almost $30. This gives me a combined effect of the two, in fact – & I will only have to fork over $16. I’ll take ten more right now, actually.

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No enhancements besides Lidstar in Herb & Moon, Boy Brow in Brown, & Lash Slick

I’ve never finished a tube of mascara before because I don’t wear it often enough – it dries out before I get to the bottom. However, there’s a first for everything, & Glossier’s made a few “firsts” happen…let’s see if this is the first one you’ll see me finish. History might be made!

It’s now possible to make an entire eye look just out of Glossier makeup: Lidstar for eyeshadow, Lash Slick for mascara, & Boy Brow for brows. Done.

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Lash Slick, Lidstar in Moon, & Boy Brow in Brown 

Have you tried Lash Slick yet – or if not, will you be buying it? Let me know!

Love,

Sofia ❤

Lash Slick is cruelty-free cruelty free, paraben free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, allergy tested, dermatologist tested, ophthalmologist tested, suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, & non-irritating.

Check out my review of the Glossier Lidstar shadows right here!

The (Lid)Star of the Show – a Look at Glossier’s Newest Shenanigans: Eyeshadow!

Remember that time last year at the Oscars, when stars like Taraji P. Henson & Chrissy Teigen debuted the Glossier Cloud Paint blushes? I know, it’s been a year – & then some – already. Chrissy & Taraji were not the only ones. Rashida Jones, Allison Williams…even Reese Witherspoon had the delicate creamy shades blended onto the apples of her cheeks. A smart move on Glossier’s part – the perfect way to say: “See, they’re wearing it too!”

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Fast forwarding to February of 2018 – just about a year since Glossier’s Cloud Paints dropped – Glossier was on top of it. First, we got hints. Second, we got photos of celebs on the Grammys red carpet, wearing mostly Glossier – every shade/product type revealed in the captions.

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@glossier: #SZA wears Lip Gloss, Cloud Paint in Beam, and Boy Brow in Brown. Skin was prepped with Super Glow serum and priming moisturizer

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@glossier: Beyoncé wears ____ in _____ (coming soon)✨👀, Boy Brow in Brown, Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream, and perfecting skin tint in Dark + Deep

Let me be honest: I’m surprised Glossier didn’t release any eyeshadows/pigments up until now. God knows there have been a lot of sneak peeks over the past 7-8 months. Swatching cards covered in glitter! A Glossier employee doing her makeup on IG live, gently applying some shimmer onto her lid, then only smiling coyly when asked what it was…I could go on, but you get the point.

When I got an email explaining the “lidstar drill” & what I (as a Glossier rep) could share online right now or wait until the campaign is announced, I’m quite sure I let out an audible scream. We were given a teaser – just some swatches on a plain white background – but I, like everyoe else who wanted this product immediately, wanted more.

I was one of the lucky ones to actually get more than I expected! A package arrived at my door the weekend before the launch of the newest Glossier product. I hastily tore it open to reveal four…test tubes? Lip gloss? Something else I can’t think of?

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It was none of those things. It was Lidstar Glistening Eye Glow – or, rather, four of the Lidstars. The shades I received free of charge are called Cub, Lily, Fawn, & Slip; there are six shades in total. I now also have the shade Moon, which I purchased myself – surprise…it’s one of my favorits in the collection.

I read up the product description & decided to start testing them out. Glossier described Lidstar as individual eye shadows, saying “Lidstar lights up eyes with a wash of soft, glistening color that lasts all day….The cream dries down to a sheer veil, locking onto lids with no creasing (no need for primer). It’s one-step eye enhancement you can do every day.”

An eyeshadow that wouldn’t crease? Not only that, but wouldn’t crease even if you were wearing a primer? Sounded too good to be true – so, of course, I was skeptical. Most cream shadows I’ve owned have creased quite badly or flaked off over time. Doing the “crease” test was on my priority list as I started thinking about how else to make as reputable review as possible. I came up with these criteria:

  • When wearing Lidstar for the first time, put it on in the morning before your early class & don’t take it off until the evening – 9-ish or so
  • This will help determine whether or not it’s truly long-lasting
  • NO EYESHADOW PRIMER ALLOWED! I want to see what these babies can do without any help
  • I will take some photos of my eyeshadow throughout the day, to see if any creasing/flaking/patchiness is noticeable
  • Try mixing & matching the shades – coming up with cute combos, just like I tried (& still do try) combining Cloud Paint shades!
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From left to right: Cub, Slip, Fawn, Lily, & Moon
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From left to right: Cub, Slip, Fawn, Lily, & Moon

Application process

As with most things Glossier, Lidstar is very “easy.” It’s a product you could pull out of a bag on your way to *insert occasion* & be able to make a shimmery eye look. Some are more opaque than others, but it’s important to note that these are not matte shadows. That, in fact, was what made me so skeptical of Lidstar’s staying power. “A liquid with glitter in it? I don’t think that’ll work in the crease of my ey – wait, this looks…really good!”

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It is “really good.” It also is quick & easy. I applied it the same way the models on Glossier’s Instagram page were doing: sweeping across my eye with the lip gloss wand-type applicator & then tapping it gently onto the lid/crease/brow bone/inner corner. They don’t “set” as quickly as a liquid lipstick might, for example – but they do set at some point; it’d be impossible for them to have any staying power otherwise. Still, the time between application & “setting” is not that narrow. You can breathe! It won’t outrun your finger tips. Glossier calls this their “Softlock Technology,” which means that each Lidstar shadow contains a special coating that “allows the formula to lock onto lids for 12 hours without creasing, fading, or smudging.”

I’ve said enough. Let’s get to business: the wear test.

Wear test

I applied Lidstar at around 8:30 a.m., just before I left my place for the first class of the day. I made sure to pick a day in which I’d be moving around. The shadow might stay put if I’m sitting on my bed all day, I thought, but using it on a busier day will truly be stress-tested. I used the shade Lily, “a sheer lilac base with blue and violet pearls.” I applied as I mentioned above: like a lip gloss, I swiped it across my lids, then tapped it in. I made sure the coating was dry, then applied another few sweeps to see how vibrant it would be. Lily is certainly one of the more translucent shades, but With a few coats, it’s definitely noticeable – in a good way. 

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Lidstar in Lily – just after the shadow “set.”

After a whole morning of wear & tear at school, I came back to my place before my last class of the day. I’d done a quick check in my school’s bathroom, & noticed no creasing. Additionally, I was worried that there might be “fallout,” since Lily is a sheer glittery shade. Nope! Thanks to that setting technology, you shouldn’t be seeing any glitter around or under your eyes – unless you put it there on purpose. At home, I had a closer look. I noticed that there was a small patch very near the lashline on my left eye, but my right eye looked just as good as it had in the morning. I later figured out that it was because I didn’t apply Lidstar close enough to my lashline.

I headed to my last class, finished up, then came home. I took a quick glance – the one patch on my left eye was still there, but other than the color fading just a bit, I could see no difference. I can absolutely guarantee that there was no creasing whatsoever! This immediately added several points to its score. It really is an easy thing to pop on in the back of an Uber, in your drive-thru, at home…you get it.

I didn’t do a detailed analysis until 8:30 p.m. that night. That way, I’d be able to test the 12-hour claim to its full effect.

Once again: no creasing, no fallout, nothing. It looked pretty in the crease (which is difficult for a shimmer shadow to accomplish) – there was just that one patch by my lashline, which had gotten a tiny bit bigger. I wondered why this was – then, after watching an application video again, figured out that I hadn’t placed the wand close enough to my lashline – hence the “patch” which was in reality just a bare spot.

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Small patch evident right at lashline

Encouraged, I tried a more opaque shade the next day, making sure I applied it snugly near my lashline. Success! This shade was Fawn, the one worn by Beyoncé. It looks rather simple – just a brown-ish shade with not quite visible shimmer to it (in the tube) – but on the eye, it’s magic. I was able to create a whole look with this single shadow – first, I used it in the “traditional way,” using the wand directly on my lids. Next, I put a tiny bit on an eyeliner brush to put on my lower lashline. The results were sophisticated-looking, polished – & it had taken less than five minutes.

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Wearing Lidstar in Fawn + Lily 

For the benefit of the doubt, I’ll give Lidstar a 9/10 on staying power, just because of the spot I missed…& that was on me. Other than that, I’d had no problems with staying power, creasing, fallout, or fading. After Lidstar day two, when I’d made a combo (Fawn & Lily) I immediately ordered the Lidstar shade Moon. These are extremely fun to play with; extremely fun to combine or just wear solo…& they all look really good on the lids.

Glossier featured several different eye colors wearing Lidstar. In my opinion, they make any eye color pop, simply because the gentle shimmer draws attention. Brown, hazel, blue, green…all the colors suit all skin tones & eye colors.

Speaking of colors – which Lidstar shades did I like best, & which ones didn’t sit so well with me?

Shades

In order from least favorite to most favorite:

  • Cub – “a rose gold with warm shimmer effect.” Oddly enough, this seems to be a site favorite, as this shade is currently sold out on Glossier’s site. I don’t think that Cub is an ugly shade, but to me, it just looks like another red-brown metallic eye pigment, & there are some other rose gold shadows I prefer to this one. Still, if you’re “bad” at eyeshadow (no such thing!) & would rather have a more popular color that’s easy to use, this one might be the one for you. Or – maybe you’re a rose-gold fanatic, & this screams your name. The formula is good; the pigmentation is good. It’s just not one I’d personally pick myself.
  • Slip – “a sheer baby pink with golden highlight effect.” This one was a shade I fully expected to be my favorite – again, I was surprised. Not a bad shade; I love a shimmery pink shadow, but it didn’t stick out to me as much as the others. It’s one of the more opaque shades, along with Cub, Herb, & Fawn. If you’re looking for maximum color payoff, one of the four shades mentioned above would suit you very well.
  • Moon & Lily – “the sheerest cream base with blueish opalescent glimmer,” “a sheer lilac base with blue and violet pearls.” I can’t pick which of these are better! They’re both favorites of mine. I’ve been liking glittery eyeshadow lately, & these are nice options, as they give you some actual sparkle while staying put; like I mentioned, no fallout here. Moon is gorgeous on its own; however, I’ve been using it most for a “halo effect” by tapping it in the center of my lid, no matter what other eyeshadow I’m wearing. It’s an easy way to amp up an eye makeup look, & it’ll stay on. Lily is also beautiful by itself; I’ve been mostly wearing it as a single. Still – one of the best combos I made with Lidstar shadows was using Fawn as a “base,” then putting Lily in the middle of my eyelid with several coats. The result? A brown, shimmery look with a duochrome flash in the right lights. It looks really sophisticated, but – like I’ve said one hundred times by now – these are user-friendly. If the concept of creating your own eye makeup looks rather than using just one shade frightens you, these would be nice to expand your horizons with if that’s what you wanted to do.
  • Fawn – I know, I know. It’s the most “boring” one; at the same time, it looks incredibly unique. It’s easy to blend into the crease, giving the illusion that you’re using more than one product; it works really nicely with all of the other shades; it’s just incredibly versatile. While Moon & Lily are the “fun ones,” Fawn is practical. It’s also pretty. It’s also easy to apply. It’s also really pretty. Did I say that?
  • Herb –  “a smoky green with yellow gold pearl.” This is the one shade I do not have yet; I will be purchasing it soon, though, especially after seeing how unique it looks. It’s not transluscent, so there’s a lot more pigment to it; simultaneously, it contains a lot of gold glitter. I think this would look really pretty with a gold highlight, like Fenty Beauty’s Trophy Wife Killawatt Highlighter. I’ve seen a few demos where it’s being used as an eyeliner; that, to me is intriguing. I’m not a fan of eyeliner; I don’t think it looks good on my eyes; I do like a touch of color on my lashline, though – so, usually I’ll end up using a shadow as an eyeliner. This looks like it’d be a perfect candidate for that style of application/preference.
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Some “paper” swatches

Worth it?

Yes, absolutely! The Lidstar shadows are good for people who have little experience with applying makeup; they’re good for people who want a quick, easy look; they’re good as a combination for a more sophisticated vibe…I could go on. I’ll be greeting my final Lidstar shadow at my door later this month; until then, I am happy with these – & could go on & on about how much I like them. It’s difficult to create an eyeshadow-type product that is both easy to use & sophisticated in looks. Glossier nailed it.

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Oh, yes: They may stay on for twelve hours, but will that mean you’ll need to scrub it off? Nope! Absolutely not. When I removed my Lidstar for the first time (in shade Lily, one of the more glittery ones) I was shocked at how smoothly they wiped off. It was almost traceless after one swipe back & forth with some micellar water & a cotton pad. Again, only good things seem to come with this product.

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A bit less serious – wearing Lidstar in Fawn + Lily 

Have you tried any of the Lidstar shades yet? If so, which ones? You should tell me your favorite, too – of course.

Try getting the Lidstar Duo – if you want to play with combos, do it. It’ll save you some money!

Love,

Sofia ❤

#MiniReview: My First & Most Favorite Blush Was Orgasm. By NARS. Here’s Why

It’s common knowlege that I’m not a big fan of blush. I’m very fair, & in my opinion, even a little tap of most blushes make me look like a clown, & not in a cute way. I’ve gone a bit out of my comfort zone with the Glossier Cloud Paints (they’re easy to blend & very sheer but buildable – so they work nicely on my almost-transluscent skin) but before those were released last spring, I hardly wore blush; emphasis on hardly. There was one exception to that: NARS blush in Orgasm.

IMG_6013IMG_6017I think I first came across the blush in some beauty magazine, way before I even thought of putting makeup on my face – I was strictly eyeshadow-only until my senior year of high school: no foundation/BB cream, I didn’t even know what highlighter was yet (gasp), & I certainly didn’t think of putting blush on my face. Still – 15-year-old Sofia’s attention was caught by the NARS cult classic. Why? Obvious: name. Part of me wondered if it was even allowed to be sold at Sephora (it is). It’s marketing at its finest. Older folks might chuckle or sigh; younger folks might feel a little…risqué at checkout? Who knows. I didn’t even think of buying it – like I said, I didn’t know how to & didn’t want to know how to apply blush – but I definitely lingered on the page longer than I might have had the blush name been Dolce Vita, for example (another blush by NARS). With that, the NARS blush – & its brand – had planted a seed in my head. I started seriously looking at the blush after I swatched it in a Sephora store, years after I first saw it in a magazine. I glanced at the product description: “peachy pink with a shimmer” & dipped my finger in, giving it a go. The result? A very sheer, glowy finish that was most definitely a blush…but wasn’t overpowering – not even on the back of my wrist. It was like a highlight…except a blush. A highlighting blush. That was immediately more appealing than most other blushes I saw, which looked matte in the pan & harsh on my skin. They were difficult to blend out; Orgasm looked natural & dewy on my already-dry skin. It was one of a few exceptions to my “no powder products” rule. I knew this even with a wrist swatch. I put it on my “loves” list, & decided that since I was 19, I’d passed the age of embarrassment, & I could safely name the product on a birthday wish list for my mother.

I did – she laughed, & guess what I got on my 19th! I tapped a little on my cheeks, then applied some highlight over top/around that area. I looked luminous & glowy; healthy, but not feverish. Instantaneous fan.

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A little blush goes a very long way on me – so I experimented a bit with Orgasm. I tried it as an eyeshadow; it looks gorgeous if you’re into the pinky/red eye looks like I am. If you have deeper skin, it’d probably look beautiful as a dramatic highlight. I’ve dusted a little on my cupid’s bow/used it as a lip topper, & it’s a winner there, too.

Speaking of lips: after I got Orgasm blush for my birthday, I started looking more into the NARS blush collection; they have the shade Albatross, a white-gold used as a highlight (& an old YouTuber classic), they have Exhibit A – “a brilliant red” matte shade that I’m scared to purchase to this day…& they have the other “sexy” ones: Sex Appeal (a soft peach), Super Orgasm (peachy pink with gold glitter)….& Deep Throat (“peach with shimmer”).

I don’t wear enough blush to justify getting any of these, & though it’d probably be fun to have a whole collection like that – again, I don’t wear enough blush to justify getting them. I did peep the Super Orgasm lip gloss – a gloss that matches the Super Orgasm blush – at Christmas time last year, & I decided to go for it.

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A little goes a long way; I hadn’t purchased a NARS lip gloss before, & they’re very creamy. It’s definitely a glossy finish, don’t get me wrong – but it’s definitely a creamy texture/finish as well. Nothing wrong with that, especially not during the winter months. I thought the extra glitter that put the “Super” in Super Orgasm would make the gloss gritty, but it didn’t. There are glosses with less glitter that feel grittier to me (some old Sephora Collection ones, & a few Anastasia Beverly Hills ones, too).

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To me, Super Orgasm gloss has a texture similar to the Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb. They’re both really creamy, they stick on my lips all day, & they don’t make my lips feel dry or flaky, like many glosses do – especially in the cold weather. The Gloss Bomb & Super Orgasm are completely different if we’re talking shades, but the textures are very similar to me. If you have one & enjoy it, you’d probably enjoy the other. I will say that Gloss Bomb comes first for me, because 1. Rihanna 2. it’s more universal. Still, Super Orgasm gloss is pretty universal, too. You’ll get that pink tint – it’s pretty obvious in the packaging – but despite the thick texture, it goes on sheer…& just like its blush sister, it’s flattering on all skin tones.

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I haven’t picked up my Orgasm blush for a while, & now that it’s super cold & dry, I still might wait a little while; I just remembered I had it the other day while packing up for school, & made sure to put it in my “going with me” pile. Ever since the Glossier Wowder Brush dropped, I’ve been using that as my multi-purpose powder/blush/highlight brush,  & the super-fine, super-soft bristles make it easy to apply without any harsh edges. I barely have to blend out when I use blush with the Wowder Brush; I know that’s not its original intent, but hey – it works really well.

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Despite the eyebrow-raising name, the blush gives a gentle tint to the cheeks that could be sexy, sure – but if you go gentle, it can be sweet, too. Give her a go this year!

Do any of you have any items from the NARS “risqué” collection? If so, what’s your favorite?

Love,

Sofia ❤

#TopTenSeries: Top Ten Makeup Products of 2017

Welcome to part two of my #TopTenSeries! I’ll be honest: I’m not sure how many top tens I’ll be posting, but this is definitely one you’re getting. As you might’ve guessed from the title, these are my favorite makeup products of 2017. 

For my #TopTenSeries, I tried to pick things that had actually been released in 2017; there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, this is all brand new to 2017. 

What’s my makeup style like? Well, if you follow me on Instagram (you should; do it right here) you probably know that I keep it quite minimal if we’re talking face makeup. Foundation-type products break me out, clog my pores, irritate my skin…all that good stuff. I try to take good care of my skin/invest in skincare products that work well enough so that I don’t feel like I have to wear face makeup. 

Rant over – let me actually talk about my makeup style. I love a good dramatic eye look, I adore glowy skin, & *gasp* though I never thought it would happen, I actually do like lip gloss now – though I’m pretty sure I have it on record somewhere on the Internet that I’d never convert. Well…when it’s made by Rihanna, I have no other choice than to love it. 

So – glowy skin, minimal face makeup, bushy brows & a dramatic highlight/eye look when I’m feeling up to it are my “defaults.” Some of the products I’ve listed pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible; I wouldn’t ever have thought that I would like blush…but here we are. None of these products should be a surprise to you; I’ve probably posted at least a little bit about each one of these – but here’s a quick run-down on why I love these products so much, & what they’ve done for me. As with skin care, let me start from the “beginning” – or, what I tried earliest in 2017, then move chronologically from there. Enjoy!

1. Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette

I don’t have any actual photos of my personal Tartelette palette, because it’s that banged up – but I’ve included some photos of me wearing Tartelette In Bloom (& Tartelette In Bloom only) on my eyes.

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I picked this up last Christmas, & didn’t really start wearing it until mid-January – I was on a no-makeup run for the last half of December 2016 & the first half of January 2017, since I had a staph infection on my face (ouch) & needed time to let things heal.

I always have trouble finding simple neutral palettes that work with anything – anything at all, no matter what. I’ve been on a matte eyeshadow kick this past year, too, so I was drawn in by the fact that the Tartelette In Bloom palette only has two shimmer shades; the rest are matte.

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There are some cool shades, some warm shades, & some neutral shades. I would recommend this to anyone of any skin tone. It’s the perfect palette to travel with – if I take this & this alone for a trip, I know that I can create a two-minute neutral eye for the daytime…& I can also amp it up in the evening, smoke things out with some of the darker shades, & even pop one (or two) of the shimmer shades in the very middle of my lid. This palette is a winner from start to finish, & that’s because it truly works for any & all occasions. The mirror & sturdy packaging score some extra points in my book, & again: if you’re looking for one palette that can do it all, this is the one for you. My favorite thing to do: use these shadows as my base, then grab whatever “crazy” eyeshadow color I’m feeling at the moment. Try some Colourpop Super Shock Shadows, yeah?

2. Diorshow Mascara

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It’s hard to aesthetically photograph a mascara – but here’s my feeble attempt.

I’ll be the first to admit it – seeing Bella Hadid plastered all over Sephora, Instagram, & basically everywhere else was what initially spiked my interest in the Diorshow Mascara. I had never tried any other Dior makeup product before; I’d assumed they were outdated & that I could get better for less. So – Dior, if you’re reading this (which I highly doubt) good job! Your campaign succeeded. It sold me.

I’m not a big mascara fan; my lashes are pretty dark & I usually just focus on eyeshadow if I’m going to be doing eye makeup. Pre-Diorshow, I was wearing Benefit Roller Lash Mascara, which I really liked. I saw this in the checkout shelf at Ulta when I was shopping with my mama in the spring, & decided to put back my refill of my Benefit & give the Dior a go. They’re both about the same price, give or take $2. I swiped it on, & I was sold.

This gives all the volume that Roller Lash does, but the wand makes the mascara feel less stiff. My lashes feel more like they have a pomade on them, as opposed to a heavy, sticky paint (which is how most mascara feels on me). It felt light, but my lashes looked extremely long, dark, & luxurious. If I’m wearing mascara, I’ll usually curl my lashes – but Diorshow Mascara doesn’t make me feel like I need the extra boost of volume that a quick curl might give.

Long story short: I’m sold on Diorshow, until I find a better one. But I doubt I will. I guess casting Insta-Girls really does work. (See above selfies for a closer look at Diorshow in action; I’m wearing that mascara plus Tartelette in Bloom palette on my eyes in both of the above photographs!)

3. Glossier Cloud Paints in shades Beam & Haze 

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I’m not “a blush person.” My fair skin makes most blushes pop – not in a flattering way. I usually just end up looking sweaty, or like a clown. Sometimes, I’ll look like a sweaty clown. The only blush that ever really worked for me was NARS Orgasm – & I have to use the tiniest tap for it to look flattering. No swirling of the brush for me.

I was skeptical of Glossier’s Cloud Paints, because they were cream blushes (which I thought would be more difficult to work with) & they looked very pigmented…& they are – but they’re sheer to buildable before they’re pigmented.

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I did not expect to like Haze & Beam best; those were the two shades that I thought would be least flattering on me. Once again, I was proved wrong. Beam is the only coral shade of blush that has ever looked flattering on me; I used it all summer long on the apples of my cheeks & on the bridge of my nose (for a sun-kissed look). Now that it’s cold, & darker colors are “the thing,” Haze works just as beautifully. I’d compare it to the Generation G Lipstick in Jam; both are a berry shade. Haze has a little more brightness to it than Jam, but they’re quite similar. I was very nervous about Haze being too over-the-top for my skin tone, but I didn’t have to worry. A tiny dot on my fingertip works just fine. I tap it onto my cheeks (use it as a contouring blush or on the apples of your cheeks for a more natural flush) & blend it in with a face brush if I feel like it’s still a bit much.

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Wearing Beam on my cheeks & the bridge of my nose in May 2017 (before my big buzz. Obviously)

All-in-all, these were a big win for me in 2017. I discovered that I could actually wear blush without looking like a clown. Don’t worry about them sliding around, either – these set very nicely, even if you’re not wearing setting spray. It’s just a natural flush that you can make as pigmented (or as sheer) as you wish. That’s why they’re so great for all skin tones, too. Try mixing them together if you own more than one shade; I love combining Puff & Dusk for a dusty rose blush. Super pretty. I’m now a tentative blush fan; I say tentative because I have yet to find any other blushes (besides NARS Orgasm) that work on my face as well as the Cloud Paints do.

4. CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Air Cushion

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This wasn’t the first CLĒ Cosmetics product I tried, but it’s remained a favorite ever since I put it on my face. The Essence Air Cushion is great if you need a lot of sun protection (50+ SPF? sign me up) but don’t like the heavy/tacky feeling that a lot of foundations/BB creams/CC creams can give you. It feels like CLĒ’s cushion was made for me; it goes on sheer, & blurs everything beautifully. It acts almost as a color corrector, but doesn’t smudge or cake up in odd places. The cushion comes with a little applicator sponge, but I use my $8 Real Techniques brush to apply it; I just dip my brush into the sponge, buff the product over my face, & go from there. It’s like a snap filter for my face – my skin still looks like my skin…just a little better. Extra points for the shade range – most cushion foundations have two shades at most. CLĒ has five. For reference, I wear light.

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This is what the shade Light looks like in the “pan.” I know – I was worried, too! It goes on very sheer. Remember: this is a cushion completely soaked with the product, so it will look darker in the container.

The price will probably make you blink the first time you buy it – but after you’ve purchased the compact, just re-fill the cushion when yours runs out (or runs dry). Those will only run you $23. Much better.

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The included applicator, if you choose to apply your product that way.

Even more extra points for the all-day dewy glow it gives me. I’ll be carrying this into 2018 without a doubt.

5. Glossier Boy Brow in Clear 

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Glossier’s Boy Brow is a product that’s been around the block a few times; I’ve been wearing Boy Brow in Brown since early 2016. Clear was a new shade debuted in spring 2017, though – & it became a regular for me. I’d say I use Clear even more than I use Brown now.

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Sporting Boy Brow in Clear 

From February to April of 2017, I had had bleached brows – then, when I was growing them back, they obviously had some color to them, but they weren’t their natural dark color (just scroll through my Instagram; you’ll see!). I relied on Boy Brow in Brown to make my brows look their normal dark shade, but once my brows went back to normal, I started making use of Clear.

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Even my cat can’t let go.

There’s nothing different about the formula; it looks transluscent-white in the tube, but doesn’t dry down white. It doesn’t feel crunchy – it has the same pomade texture that the colored Boy Brows do. Not something that was revolutionary for my face this year, but definitely something I picked up more often than I picked up the brown BB. Give it a go, if you’re unsure about which Boy Brow shade is best for you.

 

6. CLĒ Cosmetics Melting Lip Powder in Desert Rose 

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I first tried the CLĒ lip powders around the same time I tried their Essence Air Cushion – but the shade Desert Rose wasn’t released until September, for CLĒ’s fall collection. It’s currently sold out…for good reason. This is a shade that’s very flattering on any skin tone & all skin types.

As the name might suggest, the powder is primarily for lips. I was a bit skeptical when first applying one of these; I worried that they’d have the dreaded liquid lipstick effect: aka, my lips dry down to the texture of sandpaper in less than two hours. Not so with the Melting Lip Powders. I apply a little to the center of my lip – yes, it’s a powder in the tube & comes out of the tube as a powder as well – then wait for the heat of my skin to melt it down. I pop my lips together, apply a lighter layer to the remaining parts of my lips, pop them together again, & I’m all set. This gives a great liquid lipstick finish – without the drying effect. Even better: they can be used on the cheeks & eyes, too! I’ve had a lot of fun with the shade Red Cherry on my eyelids (I love a bold red eye look) & the shade Milk Choco (the first shade I ever tried from CLĒ) looks beautiful as a dusty, contour-y blush. If you have deeper skin, try Hot Choco for the same effect.

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Powdery texture evident here, just as the name promises!

When using the powders as blush, I like to take a little smear of Glossier Balm Dotcom & mix it with a tap or two of the pigmented powder. I then dab it into my cheeks. The balm sets within a minute, & it’s easier to move around on my dry skin. If you have oily or combo skin, you probably can skip the balm step & just apply straight to your cheeks!

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You could probably build Desert Rose up to this color, but I’d say it’s a little dustier than this colored sticker. On the lips, it’s truer to the color that it looks to be in the tube.

All-in-all, this is a super unique product. I’d never heard of a lip powder before I heard of CLĒ’s products, & I haven’t seen any other products like these powders! They’re worth a go. A very cool, unique product with lots of fun shades, from neutral to wild. Desert Rose is my favorite – as you probably could tell from the listing of the name – so if you’re interested in this shade, sign up on their site to get notified when Desert Rose is back in stock.

7. Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb

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Like everyone else on Planet Earth, I could hardly contain my excitement for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launch in September of this year. We got some sneak peeks in the weeks leading up to the brand’s launch, & I deliberated very carefully. Almost right away, I decided on getting the gloss, because I was shocked at how “affordable” the gloss was. Okay…it’s not a $4 gloss from e.l.f., but for a celebrity brand, $18 isn’t bad at all (let’s just take a look at Kylie’s prices). I was also intrigued by the fact that it looked different – but beautiful – on all of the models. Fenty made sure to be diverse from the moment they dropped their first “intro video” – we had a fair-skinned ginger, Mallory Merk, all the way to Duckie Thot (one of my favorite models of the moment, & the face of the deepest shade of Fenty Beauty’s foundation). There was only one shade of the gloss: Fenty Glow, which everyone found quite surprising – in fact, Fenty’s Gloss Bomb is the only permanent collection lip product for now, along with the Stunna Lip Paint (there are lots of lipsticks coming the day after Christmas). The gloss looked beautiful on all of the girls, & it showed off different undertones on each skin tone. I was really curious about how it’d look on me, so I made sure to snap it up. I was not disappointed.

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If I’ve done an eye look & want some color in my lips (no clear gloss) but am not really sure what to reach for, I grab Gloss Bomb. If I’m wearing some Glossier Boy Brow & a little concealer, I grab Gloss Bomb. If I’m wearing no makeup at all & am running out the door – but want a little polish to my face – I grab Gloss Bomb. No matter what, I get compliments. It smells amazing, it looks incredible. The shape & shine of the packaging itself makes it its own accessory; it’s not something you’ll be embarrassed to pull out of your pocket/purse/backpack/sock/whatever you carry your lip products in.

Gloss Bomb didn’t live up to my expectations…it went above & beyond. This is something that I’ll continue to refill until the day I die. Also, Rihanna’s little statement about it is beyond cute:
“I made it because I wanted the girls to get kissed more.”—Rihanna, Brand Founder (via Sephora’s site)

8. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

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Second purchase that month – Fenty again. I couldn’t help myself. Trophy Wife was the shade that had been teased most, tested most, & the one Rihanna herself had worn to the brand launch.

I knew this wouldn’t be a “natural highlight on me” – & I was right. I was, however, surprised at how wearable this product is as a highlighter. I worried I’d have to return it if it didn’t serve the purpose of a higlighter…but I’ve been pleasantly shocked at some of the looks I’ve been able to accomplish with Trophy Wife & Trophy Wife alone.

If you don’t like glitter, this isn’t the one for you. Just know: it looked beautiful lightly dusted across my cheekbones for the daytime (still calling that a soft look; I wasn’t wearing any other eye makeup or lipstick); it looked dramatic when built up on my inner corners & cheekbones as a night look; I use it all the time as a lid topper & love using it on my cupid’s bow.

Long story short – the color is beautiful. If you have medium/deep skin, you’ll probably be able to wear this as a comfortable highlight. If you’re not in that range – it’ll still be a very fun product, & I don’t believe it’s looked ugly on anyone I’ve seen wear it. It’ll turn heads, but let’s be real: we already kind of get that vibe just looking at Trophy Wife in pan.

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Trophy Wife is a winner for me, because I’ve been able to do several things with just the one product. I can glimmer slightly, or glitter like a disco ball – that’s up to me. New Year’s Eve look? Most probably.

9. NYX Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray

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Let’s not pretend this product is news to anyone. It’s been around the block more than a few times – but I decided to include it because I’m often asked how to keep makeup on while maintaining a dewy/glowy finish to the skin. I’ve given a few sample-size setting sprays a try this year, & none of them lived up to the NYX. I tried Caudalíe Beauty Elixir (okay…almost as good, but not as much staying power & way more expensive), a few spritzes of the famed Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist (don’t waste your $$$), & stole my mama’s Urban Decay Setting Spray, which is probably the best known out of the three I just mentioned. My mother loved it – until she ran out, & I converted her to NYX as well. Now we’re both the spray’s #1 fans. You can join our club if you like.

Truly, though: this spray is great. The spritzer doesn’t soak one part of your face while keeping another part completely dry; it dispenses very evenly. It doesn’t smell of alcohol or burn when first applied (a problem I get a lot when using setting sprays), & it just lasts really well…& it keeps my skin dewy all day long. Remember: I have dry skin. Oh – & if you’re about the matte finish, NYX has one for you, too. Same price. I’m sure it’s great, too.

If you’re looking for a high-quality setting spray for under $10, go for the NYX. Save your money – buy a Tom Ford lipstick you don’t need or something instead.

10. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal

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This was not (surprisingly) one of the first Fenty items I sprung for when Fenty Beauty initially launched; I was getting mixed reviews on the powder highlights, & I decided to wait a little while. I finally made the choice to spring for the dual panned Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal highlight, part of the Killawatt powder highlights the brand has (along with their cream shimmer sticks). I was worried it would be too chalky or glittery, because the arm swatch wasn’t that promising – but I was desperate. I’d finally run out of my Anastasia Glow Kit in Gleam, which was what I used for two years. It was cool-toned, it was luminous, it was finely milled…it was perfect. Then Anastasia decided to make it limited edition, & I never had a chance to pick up a second before they were gone for good. From what I could see, Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal was close enough to be a combination of the shades Crushed Pearl & Starburst from the Gleam kit: my two favorite shades to combine, & a highlight that could be blindingly bright or just perfectly natural, depending on how much I layered. It didn’t look muddy or dirty on my cool-toned, fair skin – & this Fenty highlight seemed to have the same undertones that the combination of those two Anastasia highlights had. I heard they applied better on the face than when swatched, so I decided that if I didn’t like it, I could return it the next day.

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Don’t let the pan fool you; this is a glowy highlight, not a glittery one. I promise.

I love it. I love it; it’s almost identical to the finish of the Gleam kit – though I will say that Gleam will always hold a special place in my heart. Still, the highlight lived up to the reviews. It didn’t swatch well on the arm, but it applied beautifully on the face. I tried it layered with a cream highlight underneath for a truly blinding effect; it looked more natural when just used by itself.

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See this shine on my cheekbones? Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal combo. No sparkle – just glow.

To close the case: I’ve found my “natural” higlight. It’s one that I can use without worrying that it won’t go with my eye look or my lipstick; it’s one that I can build up to look super dramatic (in a natural way); it’s one that I can use day in & day out without having to worry about whether it’ll be limited edition. Fenty Beauty is here to stay, & so is this highlight. Stay it will.

There you have it! My top ten makeup items of 2017. I tried to keep it as interesting as possible – but I also tried to be most honest about what I used most. I think I nailed it as well as I could. Tell me your top ten (or just top one) makeup product of 2017! I’d love to hear it. Maybe it’ll inspire me to bring something new into 2018.

Stay tuned for another #TopTen very soon. Until then!

Love,

Sofia ❤

#NovemberFavorites: Layers on Layers – Both Clothes & Skincare

*Standard message of wow hasn’t this month gone by quickly! This also gives me the opportunity to link you to my November 2017 playlist; enjoy it right here!*

Hello, it’s me! What a jam-packed, emotional month. I’m now officially preparing to get back to school for my winter term; very excited & very dedicated to staying there – no falling down on the street this time.

Truly, though – I’m very excited (& a bit nervous) to be back; I’m sure you’ll be seeing some posts on how to function at university as a chronically ill person as I get back into my groove. For now, though, let’s talk skin care – & a little makeup, too.

This month, I didn’t buy many new things; I’m trying to just build a routine that is hydrating & soothing for the winter months – but also brightening & clarifying. I want my skin to be clear; I also want it to be soft; I also want it to glow. Those are hard to achieve simultaneously, especially in the winter – my skin gets extra dull, thanks to dry wind & cold temperatures.

I’ve been keeping my skin care routine pretty much the same – but I’ve incorporated a few things that were lying around forgotten, & I’ve tried to be as consistent as possible with my current routine – because it’s working so well! If you’d like to see a post about my “staples,” or something like that, let me know – that way, I can focus simply on my current routine, give more detailed information about products you probably have already heard me mention, & perhaps try a few out for yourself, too.

This month, I’ve been “layering” – that is, I’ve been using smaller amounts of product, but I’ve been using them exactly as directed. I’ve found that a little really does go a long way; I’ve seen better results by using less product in a gentler, more thorough way than just pumping out 4 droppers full of serum & slathering my face in it. For me, it’s all about gently patting things into the face – not rubbing – doing a little massage (thank you, jade roller!) & staying away from rough physical exfoliants. That’s always something I keep in mind, but it’s especially on my mind in the winter, when my skin is more sensitive…which means that it’s more likely to break open & start either a blemish or an infection. Neither are good.

So: here are some old products I’ve started religiously incorporating into my routine, & here are a few fun things that I picked up during the Sephora 20% off sale. Enjoy! Happy December; I hope these give you a few ideas for gifts, whether they’re for others or just for yourself.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling – Green Tea 

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Let’s start with the things I’ve never tried before! This was something I got when Sephora had their sale; I’ve been looking for a peel like this for a little while – something like the Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel, except cheaper. I love Dr Jart+ as a brand, but sometimes…you just don’t want to pay $40 for some cotton pads & liquid. Maybe I’ll be kicking myself in the future for saying this – maybe it really is that great – but for now, I’m staying on-budget.

These are cheap! The container holds 30 single-use pads. You’re not supposed to use these more than twice a week; even if you use them twice a week, they’ll last a good while – 15 weeks, if we’re going to do the math. That, plus the 20% off & the good reviews sold me.

Neogen was originally sold only by SokoGlam, a K-Beauty website similar to Peach & Lily. That means that Neogen, like Dr. Jart+, is a K-Beauty brand; in my eyes, this meant that I was paying for a K-Beauty product that promised to do the same thing that Dr. Jart+’s product did…just cheaper.

There were two types: green tea & lemon. I initially leaned towards the lemon ones, until a friend told me that lemon was too harsh for dry skin. I was a bit scared after that, but the positive reviews on the green tea ones settled my nerves.

These pads are three-layer, & claim to be “perfect for sensitive skin.” They’re tinted a slight green; I’m not sure if it’s natural or synthetic. The scent is very pleasing! It’s very fresh, very…green. It reminds me of some aromatherapy oils – just not as heavy, of course. Main ingredient is green tea, of course: it soothes, reduces redness, & exfoliates without drying the skin. It also contains tea tree extract, which helps speed up the skin’s natural healing process. I saw a few reviews mentioning that it helped fade scarring & dark spots; I saw a lot of reviews saying how bright their skin got after they started using these.

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These are easy as pie to use! The little pad has a tiny pocket that you slip your two fingers into; once your pad is appropriately placed, swirl “the criss-cross side” over your clean, dry skin. I do about 30 seconds for each side; for me, less is almost always more when it comes to chemical exfoliants. Then: flip the pad around to its quilted side, which is very soft. It gets rid of any dirt/debris that the initial exfoliation would have brought to the surface of the skin. Then, rinse with warm water. Done!

I kept close tabs on my skin to see if I noticed any drying effects. Nope! None at all. All I noticed was brighter skin, clearer skin – & a lot less redness, which I’m always trying to combat. This is definitely a winner for sensitive skin; I have seen some noticeable results, I haven’t had any negative side effects, & I’m calm with the knowlege that this product will last me a good long time. When it’s over & done with, though, I know I’ll be getting another jar.

(Since this is a chemical exfoliant, make sure you wear sunscreen! You should always wear sunscreen, but you REALLY need to wear sunscreen if you’re using chemical exfoliants like these pads, BHA/AHA products, glycolic acid, lactic acid…etc. They increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, & we all know what that means. Wear! Sunscreen!)

Lilah B. B. Merry Divine Duo Lip & Cheek Set 

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As the name might suggest, this is a holiday exclusive! Definitely a deal; lilah b. products are not cheap. This has a $92 value, & you get two lip & cheek products, a cute little box in which to put them – & the coolest packaging in the world.

I’m not sure where I first heard of lilah b., but I believe it was on YouTube; I can’t remember who was using it or what was being used, but I do remember that the review was positive, & the packaging really caught my eye. I forgot about the brand for a little while, but when this popped up in the holiday sets on Sephora’s site, I was intrigued & decided to give it a go.

lilah b. is a green beauty brand; they’re cruelty-free, vegan, & most of their products are multi-purpose – all are enriched with botanicals (my skin loves botanicals) like aloe & agar, just to name a few. “Their luxurious formulas deliver a healthy, glowing finish” & “each product is housed in their sleek & modern signature stones.”

That was what first caught my eye, of course – & I was very curious to see how these “stones” felt & looked in real life. When my set came, I was shocked at how heavy the packaging was; it’s extremely weighty. I’m not sure what the packaging is made of, but it feels like ceramic. It fits in the palm of your hand, it slides open, & it snaps shut magnetically with a very satisfying “click.” If you’re an ASMR junkie (like me) you’ll love opening & closing these little pebbles for hours upon hours.

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Okay – so what about the actual product, though? The two shades in this set are “b. memorable” & “b. dazzling.” b. memorable is a dark wine color – darker than the outside of the packaging, b. dazzling is a glowy champagne color, similar to that of Glossier Haloscope in Quartz.

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In the description, Sephora said “Long-wearing yet creamy and moisturizing, lilah.b’s innovative formulation provides blendable and buildable color, perfect for going from day to night. Apply as a cream eyeshadow for the ultimate multitasker.” That’s a lot to live up to, so I was looking closely as I applied these for the first time. First time was a charm; these are beautiful.

b. memorable (the wine shade) is incredible for fair skin because it’s so buildable. Usually, I’ll look like I just need some sleep if I put on a color like this – either that, or I’d better really make up the rest of my face so I don’t look like that. That’s why I love this: one little tap of my pinky finger in the “pebble” of product, & you get a lot of pigment…but the pigment blends out seamlessly, & I can pat it out to get a light layer of pigment – or put on a bolder swipe for a little more color. Same goes for b. dazzling: it’s extremely pigmented, but there’s no actual glitter; my cheekbones, lips, or eyes (wherever I choose to put it) just have a beautiful, dewy glow. It’s hard to describe the finsh of these products – but I’d go with cream-to-powder…except not really. Again – hard to describe, but trust me when I say: these are beautiful! I’m glad I got the set. I really want to create a monochrome look with b. memorable; I love red pigments because it makes my green eyes pop – & trust me when I say: these do not crease. They do not budge! They stay in place; they stay put. For the price, they definitely should…but not all luxury-priced products live up to their pricetag. I’d say that lilah b. does – no doubt about it.

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Both of the shades are permanent collection; you just save money if you buy the holiday set – so, if either or both of these shades are appealing to you (& I recommend both for any & all skin tones & types) spring for the set – you’ll save some money, & you’ll have two cool pebble-type products that you can carry in your purse. You’ll probably even start a conversation around them. They’re that cool. It’s truly the perfect holiday duo: a dark, winter wine color coupled with a shimmery, dewy champagne. I’m in love. You probably would be, too. Purchase for some nice shades, green clean beauty, & some “ASMR tingles” thanks to the packaging.

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder

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Not a cheap product – that’s why I waited until the holiday sale to try it out. I’d have probably gotten this sooner, if the indigo version of the rice powder (I’ll explain the differences in a minute) was in a mini $15 size, like the regular one – but alas, sensitive-skinned folks need to go big or go home with this one…so I waited for the right time to go big. But not as big. Because it wasn’t as much. Anyway.

Tatcha is known for it’s Instagram/Youtube famous bright purple mask, its gold-plated lip balms, its dewy skin mist…& then you hear about this from time to time, too. I wish people heard more about it; I wish that the indigo version was talked about more! According to Tatcha, the rice enzyme powder line “provide non-abrasive daily exfoliation to create a smooth, makeup-ready canvas.” They’re made up of Japanese rice bran that’s a powder – until it comes into contact with damp skin. Then, it transforms into a very light, delicate foam. It’s a physical exfoliant that contains rice and papaya enzymes, which exfoliate & soften the skin, plus the trademarked “Hadasei-3™” formula, which is “a trio of anti-aging Japanese superfoods: green tea, rice, and algae.” Together, they hydrate, exfoliant, soften, & brighten.

There are several versions of the Tatcha Enzyme Rice Powder – Original, which is best for normal/combo/dry skin; Deep, which is best for combo/oily skin; Gentle, which is best for dry skin; & Indigo, which is best for sensitive skin. I was split between Gentle & Indigo, so I emailed Tatcha for help. They suggested Indigo – so I went with Indigo.

Along with the rice bran, special formula, superfoods, & papaya enzymes, the Indigo powder contains  natural Japanese indigo, which – you guessed it! – “calms and soothes easily irritated and inflamed skin.” I was a bit nervous to use this, because I’ve never tried a powder-to-foam cleanser, & my skin doesn’t generally like foams. Still, I knew Tatcha was famous for this product, I was curious about the sensitive version, & I knew just by looking at the container that it would last a long while.

When my powder arrived, it came packaged very nicely – which is as it should be, like I always say for luxury brands. It came with some folded up instructions – Tatcha recommends that those with sensitive skin using the Indigo powder only use it 2-3 times a week; that seemed reasonable, & I didn’t want to switch out my (much cheaper & very effective) cleanser for this one. It’d be a nice bi/tri-weekly treat for my skin.

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This powder is a very pale purple; it looks like crushed up Smarties, being the color that it is. It doesn’t really have a scent, from what I can detect.

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You definitely need to make sure that your face & hands are damp when using this, just like the instructions say. If they’re not, you’ll have a flop, just like me. I was sitting there with some half-foaming, gritty powder in my hands, angry that I’d wasted product (not a lot, but still…it’s product). Second try was successful: the purple powder transformed into the light foam, as promised, & I started gently swirling it around my skin – about 30 seconds per area. I cleansed for about 90 seconds total.

I’m not sure if this is making a huge difference, but it’s either this, the Neogen pads, or  combo of both – those are the completely new skincare products I’ve tried this month. I’ve seen brighter, clearer skin – & my skin is definitely softer after I use it. I’d give this the thumbs-up for people with sensitive skin; I’m curious  to see if my skin would get worse if I stopped using it – but then…I get scared. I’ll see if I can find a dupe some time in the future – or, maybe it truly is worth its weight in gold, like Drunk Elephant has proven to me (more than once). Only time will tell.

Tatcha Kissed With Gold Holiday Set 

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  1. I’ve been lusting over Tatcha’s Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm for over a year now
  2. Tatcha has free shipping on any order $25+ on their site
  3. Tatcha had 20% off on Black Friday weekend

That was all the convincing I needed to get this. For $32, you get the lip balm (which is $30) & a little box, which is pretty for a vanity (but not necessary) as well as a very handy – & again, very pretty – Gold Leaf Travel Mirror.

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Essentially, you’re getting a travel mirror for free, & you’re paying $2 more for the balm. I think that I just made free shipping; it was around $28, I believe – so a big win for sure. This is still available on Tatcha’s site – so if you’ve been drooling over the balm like I have, go get it in the set & get a free mirror. Gold-plated anything is really nice, right?

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This is definitely a bit gimmicky. I don’t think that anyone needs this balm. It’s kind of like Glossier’s Birthday Balm Dotcom – you get a little shimmer, & it tints your lips slightly golden. It’s pretty; more of a shimmer than glitter. It’s not tacky like a lip gloss – so maybe it’s a must-have for someone who wants a bit of sparkle but doesn’t want to deal with the stickiness of a lip gloss. I will say that it did keep my lips very hydrated throughout the day, & I only re-applied once because I wanted a little more shimmer. It has a pleasant scent – unexpected, but pleasant. I expected it to smell floral; it has a citrus-y scent to it, which I like too. It’s invigorating! The texture is also pleasing; it’s not gooey, but it’s not waxy. You need to let your finger warm the product a little bit if you want to scoop out more than just a touch, which I like – you’re not going to be dripping with product. A little info about the balm itself: as the name suggests, it’s enriched with camellia oil, as well as squalene oil. Both of these are extremely hydrating & protect the skin’s moisture barrier along with locking in extra hydration. Camellia especially is “rich in oleic acid and vitamins A, B, D and E as well as Omegas 3, 6 and 9.” I’m seeing a trend with the superfood ingredients here.

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Again – at the end of the day, it’s not a must-have; if you’re looking for a nice gift for either yourself or someone special, it’s a nice little touch. Let’s be honest here – it is truly a beautiful thing to look at. It makes you feel fancy. Feeling fancy makes you fancy – & there you go.

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As for the gold-plated mirror – not much to say about that, except that it’s cute. It’s gold-plated. It’s a mirror. I used it to apply my lip balm when I retouched it; it fits nicely even in my (quite small) Pop & Suki Camera Bag – so it’s a nice thing to have on hand no matter what kind of bag you carry. When you’re already buying a $30 balm, might as well pay $2 more for a fancy-looking mirror, right? You’ve already reached free shipping status on Tatcha’s site at this point, anyway.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser 

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I know…I know. You’re probably saying (or thinking): Oh for God’s sake…again??? I know. Hear me out – I’ve been using MJC differently lately. Also – look! A product you don’t have to save up for 3 weeks to afford!

For a long time, I watched people talk about how they used Milky Jelly on dry skin vs. damp skin. I knew that it could be used either way; for whatever reason, I had no interest in trying it. So: what made me finally go for it?

Laziness. I had a headache one day, I didn’t want to move outside my room, & I blindly grabbed for my bottle of Milky Jelly, thinking: I know this works on dry skin. I used it, patted my face with a towel I dampened with my water bottle (listen…I was sick, okay?) patted on a toner, slapped on some moisturizer, & buried my head in the darkness of my pillow again.

I woke up the next day with softer, smoother skin, & I couldn’t forget the sensation of using the cleanser on dry skin. It’s bouncy, it’s soft; it takes a minute to warm up, but after it’s settled down, it essentially feels as though I’m massaging my face with a gel-type mask. I think the “massaging” has helped, too – it improves circulation in the face & defines/lifts your features. Just a new tip (that’s only new to me) that I’ve recently been following. I can say with confidence: I haven’t used Milky Jelly on damp skin since I started using it on dry skin. This method really is that much better. Just make sure your hands are clean – then, go to town.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 

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Let’s switch to a more affordable product for a second – because let’s be honest, almost everyone can afford a $6 serum. Here’s The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

Are you surprised that I’ve mentioned this as a favorite? I am, too! That’s because I previously wrote about not liking the consistency of this particular serum on my skin, when I bought it to see if it was a dupe for Glossier’s Super Pure Serum (it’s not: same ingredients, but completely different texture & results – at least, different results for me). I stopped using it because it felt too sticky/tacky on my face, & I started noticing that it was drying my skin out. I put it at the back of my top shelf.

The other day, when I was sifting through things I don’t use to give away/sell, I found this vial again. It’s kind of hard to sell a $6 serum – let’s be real. I just let it hang out for a little while longer.

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A few days later, I noticed a blemish forming. I don’t know what prompted me to grab this serum & use it as a daytime spot treatment, but I did it – & I’m glad I did. By the end of the day, my blemish was almost completely gone. There was almost no redness, & any actual inflammation was gone. I shouldn’t be shocked – the niacinamide/zinc combo is praised because of its anti-inflammatory properties – but I think I was just shocked that I ended up liking this product…just not the way in which I originally intended to use it.

Perhaps this works well as a full-face product for people with oily/normal skin; it’s just too drying for me to put all over my face. However – it did just as good a job with calming any breakouts or blemishes as the Origins Super Spot Remover. Granted, I haven’t been breaking out much lately, so maybe my skin is just more balanced now; still, it’s worth a try if you’re truly looking for a dirt-chip spot treatment.

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is also a serum by The Ordinary. This one is genuinely meant to be a spot treatment – I won’t be buying it, because

  1. The Ordinary suggests in the product info that the salicylic solution shouldn’t be used on very dry/sensitive skin. So, I’ll take their warning & won’t be trying it for myself, because…
  2. The niacinamide serum works just fine as a spot treatment for me; no need to spend another $6. Still, I think it’s valuable information, if you’re looking for a spot treatment made with the intent to treat spots, which the niacinamide serum was not. That’s just me improvising.

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How much should you use if you also want to try the niacinamide serum as a spot treatment? Not even a dropperful. Just squeeze out a tiny tiny drop. If you’re using it this way, it’s a spot treatment – & just a little dot of a spot treatment is the most successful method. Less is more.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

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I’ve talked about this before. I’ve talked about it the most in my “brand review” of Kypris, which you can read here. The main point of my post on that brand was to find out which products would be worth purchasing myself – would I like them enough to pay the price?

I specifically mentioned that the Antioxidant Dew was my favorite Kypris product, & that I’d recommend that one before any other Kypris product. That’s because it’s unique! It’s a thin, milky liquid – not quite a serum, but not exactly an essence, either. I pat about three drops into my skin in the mornings; I don’t use it in evenings. It’s not bad to use it twice a day – but I’m a bit skimpier with my more expensive products, because I want them to last.

So – what else makes the Antioxidant Dew so special? If you want it short & sweet, here it is: it’s jam-packed with ocean extracts & herbal antioxidants. Vitamin C & E nourish your skin’s barrier; sea algea extracts calms the skin; reed extract, which is a sea vegetable used to release heat/calm irritations. The list goes on; it’s long enough that I’d be tired after finishing describing each of them in detail. Just know that despite being jam-packed with all these antioxidants, botanicals, etc., the Antioxidant Dew doesn’t feel heavy on the skin; not even a little bit. It just leaves a radiant glow to the complexion. About three days after I started using it, I began to notice my complexion looking brighter & clearer; it also seemed to tighten my skin.

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This has been a beloved product ever since I received it; I’m sadly watching the last of the dew disappear – I love it, but I’m not quite sure if I’ll be buying it. The price tag is high. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m currently trying out a product that’s $35 or so cheaper; a product that might end up being better than the Antioxidant Dew! I’ve just started using it & am keeping my eyes peeled; I have a feeling that this new product could “replace” both the Antioxidant Dew & the product next up in my favorites.

For now though, let me say this: the Antioxidant Dew is absolutely a unique product, & the product I’m using has a different consistency. It’s not a bad product; I absolutely love it! But if there’s something cheaper out there…well….

Saturday Skin Freeze Frame Beauty Essence 

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& here we have: a product I forgot I owned. Let me rationalize it by saying that I own the Saturday Skin Wide Awake Eye Cream (which is excellent) & both bottles look the same – the essence is just bigger. So – in my defense, the packaging is identical except for the size. Millennnial pink on white, silver caps, same shape…you get it.

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Okay. So how did I rediscover it? Believe it or not, I rediscovered it from the site I bought it on: Peach & Lily. Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily, took over the site’s Instagram story on Black Friday, naming some of her favorite products. I find her voice incredibly calming, & I love watching her talk about products she loves, especially new & exciting ones. When she popped the Saturday Skin essence into the frame… *record scratch* – oh wait! I have that! I don’t need to drool over it, I can just take a trip to my cabinet!

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A trip to the cabinet was made, & I tried out the essence that evening. I remembered that the reason I put it away was because my skin was congested, & I wasn’t sure if that was the root cause of it. Just in case it was, I decided to use it in the way I’ve been using all of my products: less is more. I only used one pump for my whole face, & I took my time patting it in, then going over my face with a jade roller.

This essence has Saturday Skin’s patented secret formula (that appears in all their products) & also contains pomegranate extract, which helps elasticity; avocado protein, which nourishes skin & protects its barrier; & peach extract, an antioxidant that brightens yet keeps skin supple & smooth. It smells amazing – probably not a surprise to hear that, after seeing all of those ingredients. It’s white & slightly transluscent; definitely more of a gel cream than a liquid. It won’t slide down your hand.

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Results? After about a week of using this, I’ve noticed that my skin looks tighter & brighter. But:

Like I said – I’m currently trying a product that is a ~sort of~ dupe for the Kypris Antioxidant Dew, & when I think of the Kypris & Saturday Skin products being mixed together, that’s the best way I can describe the consistency of the product I’m trying right now. If it lives up to my expectations (& it has been so far) I probably will not repurchase this or the Kypris product. Why pay more when you can get it for less – & get the same (if not better) results? I don’t need to answer that qestion; let me just say again: let’s see what happens with this new product.

Glossier Balm Dotcom (Original)

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I’ll keep it short & sweet on this one. You all know about Glossier Balm Dotcom & how much I love it. Recently, I made a return to the original version; that’s the unscented one with no tint at all. It was the first Balm Dotcom Glossier released; the flavored/scented versions were follow-ups that rolled out slowly.

Why do I like this one so much all of a sudden? Well, I ran out of my tube of Rose Balm Dotcom (which is a big favorite, too) & I was waiting for my order to arrive; I found a half-used tube of the OG Balm Dotcom & decided to use it while I was waiting for my rose balm to arrive.

I forgot how good the texture is. Don’t get me wrong – none of the Balm Dotcoms are bad. None of them dry out your lips (I have this problem a lot with several lip balms); they all smell amazing, & I love the shimmery Birthday Cake flavor, I love the Rose (obviously) & I even love the Mint – even though I hate almost all “mint-flavored” products.

But…there’s something special about the original Balm Dotcom. The texture is better than the rest of them – I’m not going to lie. I started using it on some dry patches on my face, too, & the dry spots were gone within 48 hours.

My lips are always dry, & I need to wear a lip mask at night if I want to wake up without feeling as though my lips might fall off, but the Original Balm Dotcom is a great daytime balm for me. Sometimes, I even use it overnight. All the balms are hydrating, but this one is the most hydrating & nourishing, in my opinion – & this is coming from someone who has tried every single flavor. If you’ve forgotten the Original, go revisit it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you can’t pick just one, consider the Balm Dotcom Trio – they have limited edition packaging for the holidays, & you can pick your three favorites. If I were to build a trio right now, I’d go with Original (no scent or tint; good for all areas of the face & body); Rose (amazing scent with a texture almost as good as Original); & Birthday Cake (works as a highlight, a lip luminizer, & looks pretty on eyelids, too).

I got a bit off-track, but my point is: go revisit Original Balm Dotcom. You won’t regret it.

Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Mask 

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I mentioned this mask in my last point right here, & I gave quite a detailed description, so I’ll keep this one short.

This is a self-warming mask that contains Farmacy’s trademarked “secret” Echinacea GreenEnvy™, a blend 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.” The mask looks like actual honey in the jar, as you can see; it’s a bit goopy, too – kind of how raw honey is. The honey-gold gel turns into a soft, white cream that has a self-warming effect. The mask transforms from gold to white thanks to the glycerin in it, another key ingredient. Glycerin attracts moisture to the skin while providing its own benefits, which make the skin more supple.

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The honey/honey-derived products = lots of antioxidant effects. This mask makes me feel warm & toasty (it is most certainly warm) & when I rinse it off, my face feels softer & my skin looks & feels more elastic. It’s not a mask I use in the summer – I feel like it’s a bit heavy for warmer/more humid weather – but it’s a mask I pulled out of my cabinet as soon as I detected a cold wind. It’s like a heated blanket for your face – combined with lots of things that leave your skin feeling good, even when the “blanket” is washed off. I give a few extra points for the cool metal spatula, which magnetically snaps to the top of the mask’s jar.

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Warm & cozy – perfect for those winter nights when you feel like you need 10 electric blankets on top of you. Your skin will love it, too – just be prepared for a little “detox” the first time you use it. Second time is better, third time is the charm. After that, you’re in the clear. Say hi to your new skin: moisturized, plump, elastic, & toasty-warm.

Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Facial Oil

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Again – another product I talked about in my post on hydrating products for the wintertime, which you can read here; again, I’ll keep it short & sweet, since I’ve already talked about it.

Basically, this facial oil is a great step up for those of you who want something a little ~fancier~ than an oil by The Ordinary (their rosehip oil is great, I will say) or Mario Badescu, perhaps. The price tag is high, but you get a lot of product – way more than a Sunday Riley oil – & you’re paying way less for the larger amount that you’re recieving.

This is an oil I recommend for all skin types, because it’s kind of the middle ground out of Herbivore’s three facial oils. It’s also the cheapest – & it smells & feels delicious. As you might guess from the name, it contains orchid extract, which is a powerful antioxidant that attracts moisture to the skin, fights against free radicals, & contains calcium, magnesium, & zinc – these all have great anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s soothing, but it also won’t break you out or clog your pores.

This oil also contains camellia flower oil – which I mentioned just a few products above, when I talked about the Tatcha balm. Camellia is an oil that absorbs easily, doesn’t leave any greasy residue, & contains Omegas 3 and 6, which increases the skin’s elasticity – & makes you glow.

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One last main ingredient: jasmine sambac oil, which, according to Herbivore, “comes from the night blooming variety of jasmine,” & has “been used in skincare and perfumery for centuries.” This is what gives the Orchid Facial Oil its beautiful, delicate floral scent; it also improves the skin’s elasticity & increases moisture content.

All-in-all, it’s a great oil to use all the time if you have dry skin; it’s great to use even for oily skin during drier months. It smells incredible, applies smoothly with a velvety finish, & works either by itself  (2-3 drops patted into the face before applying cream) or mixed in with your cream. Either way, you’ll see baby-soft skin, & no negative side effects. I wish there was a perfume out there that smelled like this – well, maybe there is, & I just don’t know about it.

Glossier Lip Gloss / Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer 

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Two glosses that I’ve raved about in the past & will continue to rave about – I’ve been wearing them “differently” this month & this is why I’m talking about them both yet again.

The Glossier Lip Gloss looks a bit pink in the tube but has a crystal-clear finish; it’s very shiny & makes your lips look “sparkly” but there is absolutely no glitter in it. I know MAC calls their lip glosses “lip glasses,” but I associate “lip glass” with a lip product that’s crystal-clear & has no specks of glitter in it. Some MAC’s lip glasses have glitter; some don’t. I don’t use their glosses, but I like the term “lip glass” – it’s probably the best way to describe the Glossier gloss. You’ll get lots of shine, lots of hydration (thanks to the Vitamin E) & you can even use it as an overnight lip mask – that’s how hydrating it is. Thank me later, because it’s cheaper than MAC – & it’s cruelty-free, too.

Fenty Gloss Bomb – again, something that I say everyone needs. This one does have shimmer in it. I’m still floored at how Rihanna managed to make a lip gloss that looks different yet beautiful on every single person who wears it; I’ve heard that Fenty Girl (& big crush) Slick Woods has gone through five tubes of it since it came out. I don’t blame her. It looks good no matter what. I can put this on if I’m wearing absolutely no other makeup on my face – & I will look more put together, without a doubt. This is a big win, & it’s something I’ll keep purchasing. It’s also affordable – especially for a brand that has a big celebrity’s name on it. Rihanna really is looking out for all of us; I know “FentyCare” is a joke…but…Rihanna, can you make it happen please? Asking for a friend. I know that everything you do is stellar. Please? Please. Thank you!

Why did I list both of these? Well, because although they’re quite different (Glossier’s gloss is clear, & Fenty’s Gloss Bomb is not) they both work really well by themselves – by that I mean that you can slap on either of these without wearing any other makeup, & you’ll look just a bit more put together. Also, they’re both affordable. Also, they both have beautiful packaging. Also, they’re incredibly hydrating. I could go on – but I don’t think I need to. Both of thse prodcuts sell themselves.

Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails

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I’ve talked about this in my post about “nail care,” which you can read right here. If this one is out of your price range, there are some great dupes in that post – but I think this is worth the $27, & here’s why: you need the tiniest bit to cover all ten of your cuticles. It smells incredible. It lasts forever – I’m not even close to being finished. In fact, it looks like I just started using it, when I have in fact been using it since the end of August. A little goes a very long way.

The color is beautiful, the texture is a bit tacky, but not bad at all, especially because it works so well – if you have dry cuticles, this is definitely a product to consider. As Sephora says, “Created in 1963, Dior’s ‘Cult-favorite Magic Multi-tasker’ is the key to truly terrific nails. This creamy salve encourages nail growth, improves nail strength, and conditions cuticles. It can be massaged into the base of nail pre- or post- polish.”

This is a cult-favorite, like the description says. Into The Gloss has raved about it, it has nearly 5 stars on Sephora’s review page, &…it’s just a really good product, okay? Plus – the packaging is beautiful. It’s hard to resist that perfect, ivory-white circular jar with “CD” engraved on the top. The color & texture is beautiful & it smells delicious. Maybe this sounds weird, but it looks good enough to eat.

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Think about it, especially if you have dry/sensitive skin in general (face, body, nailbeds…you name it). I like to think that if it’s been around since 1963 & is still going strong, it has to be good, right? That’s what I told myself when I bought it – & when it arrived, it lived up to expectations. My hands smell incredible, & my nailbeds are always soft now. It’s good. It’s really good. A nice stocking-stuffer for sure.

Jade Roller 

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I’ve talked about these before – in fact, it was one of the earlier posts I put up on this blog. If you don’t know much about them, here’s some more detailed information on them – if you already know what they do, read on to find out why I’ve been using this all the time this past month – & why I intend to keep doing that.

Jade has properties that allow it to remain cool on contact with skin – yes, they’ll warm up after a little bit, but they stay cool for a good while, & once you take it off your face, it cools down right to its “starting point.” This coolness helps close pores & tighten skin; it “lifts” your face – hence why it’s used as an anti-aging tool – & it also helps keep your skin clear, thanks to its pore-tightening properties.

I don’t really have an explanation for why I set my jade roller on my shelf for a while & left it be; I just know that when I started using it again regularly (every time I do my skin care) I noticed a difference: skin looks brighter, I don’t have as much puffiness around my eyes when I wake up (thanks to this double-sided roller that I have; the smaller end really works under the eye area), & I feel extremely pampered & relaxed while “rolling my face.”

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How to use? Well, I’ve been talking about applying my products in my routine in light layers – let’s take 2-3 drops of…Kypris Antioxidant Dew for an example. After gently patting/pressing the product into my skin, I go over my face with the roller. It feels cooling & soothing, which is always nice, & it allows the product to absorb even better – at least, that’s what I’m assuming, because ever since I started using it in this way, I’ve seen better results with my routine that’s been pretty consistent for more than a little while. Less product, more massaging. I think that’s a good philosophy to go by. Plus – you’re saving money…so, less product, less $ spent, more massaging that makes you feel like you’re getting a spa treatment in the comfort of your own bathroom/bedroom.

This is great if you have anxiety! Oftentimes, I’ll have pain in the morning or evening – mornings especially. This isn’t “a cure” for anything, but it allows me to preoccupy my hands while closing my eyes, imagining that I’m in a quiet, calm spa environment.

The three recurring questions I get are listed below, with my short & to-the-point answers:

  1. Are they (jade rollers) worth it? – Absolutely! You can get one for $10 on Amazon (they work just as well), you can get one for $25-30 (Herbivore Botanicals, Mount Lai, & GingerChi all have good ones in that price range) & if you read the full post I wrote about rollers, you can even find one for $100. Obviously that’s excessive, but my point is that you can find a good-quality roller for a small amount of money. If you do a little hunting, you can find some truly unique ones, too! I know that rose quartz facial rollers are currently “buzzing.” I’m not sure if the properties/results are different, but maybe I should get one to see. If any of you have a rose quartz one, let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
  2. How expensive was your roller? The one I’m currently using – the one in this post – is from GingerChi, & it’s $24. Like I said – even if you’re paying for an “authentic, good quality roller,” it doesn’t have to break the bank. The GingerChi roller is a perfect example of that.
  3. How do you clean your roller? I just wipe it down with a few drops of micellar water on a clean cloth after using it! You don’t need anything fancy. Just don’t use super hot water – jade doesn’t take well to that – & don’t use any harsh cleaning chemicals. Treat it gently, just like you would your skin! If you’ve been doing that all along, just keep going at it.

All-in-all, I’m really glad I started using this again this month! I picked it up off my top shelf on a whim when I was feeling anxious; after using it, I kicked myself for not using it every single day & night the past few months, then cleaned it, & put it at the top of my shelf. It deserves to be treasured, not forgotten.

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Seriously, though – are you anxious? Do you find that your skin care routine is a way for you to de-stress? Throw a jade roller into your routine; you won’t be disappointed. & yes, sometimes I just use this absentmindedly if I’m chilling out at home. Why not, right?

Well – that’s all I have for you! I put the jade roller last, because it’s been a key tool for me this past month. Smaller amounts of product, layered carefully – then massaged in with my jade roller. It’s no coincidence that I noticed a very noticeable positive difference in my skin once I started doing this. If you have one that’s laying there unused, take it out! Use it! If you don’t have one, head to Amazon, head to Herbivore, head to GingerChi…just get yourself a good one, okay? Okay.

Happy end of November; happy beginning of December. I cannot wait to share my projects with you in December, & I cannot wait to get back on my grind in January! This year was incredibly difficult, & I’ll save all of that for a different post, but let me just say: I’m incredibly grateful to all of you! Thank you for reading my posts; thank you for telling me you want to hear/see more! Thank you for being so enthusiastic about my “blog.” It means the world. It’s been a big motivator in me realizing that I can do a lot of things; I’m still talented, I still have a lot of strengths, & I have a lot to share & a lot to talk about. I can’t wait to keep that going.

Love,

Sofia ❤

If you’re considering a jade roller/quartz roller – or any purchase at Herbivore – here’s 25% off! Yay!

October Favorites: Keeping Calm (& Hydrated) With A Little Glitter Thrown In

Happy November! November isn’t that happy of a month (in my opinion) but we are almost done with the year. I’m not going to harp on for too long about how short the year was & how time flies even when things aren’t going well but I will say: I have a lot of upcoming things (creations of my own!) that I can’t wait to share with all of you, & I also have some things I’ve already cooked up for all of you – check out this video & this video for now. Don’t worry – I’m growing every day, I have new things in mind every day, & I hope to share some more of them very very soon!

#MonthlyPlaylist is also out & you can take a look at it here!

Now, let’s get into my favorites of October.

For me – a perpetually cold human being – I look at October as “my last chance.” By last chance, I mean: last chance to go out wearing only a sweatshirt & not a heavy coat! Last chance to leave a clay mask on for too long without paying dearly for it (dry skin for weeks…or months…)! Last chance to…not be miserably cold & dehyrated. All. The. Time.

I’m sick, & I’m underweight (I know, I know, let me tell you something you don’t already know) so I get cold easily. Because of some medications I’m on, I also have quite sensitive skin. I’m dry-skinned to begin with, but add a little extra sensitivity & you have my face: not really prone to acne, but sensitive enough to break open (hi, micro-abrasions!) & easily retain bacteria if not properly hydrated.

Essentially: from the middle of October to the end of April, I do everything in my power to keep my skin exfoliated (chemically), hydrated, hydrated, & hydrated. Most of the products in this month’s favorites have to do with hydration, or calming the skin. So – sit back, relax, & enjoy my skin care favorites first, followed by a few makeup mentions, & one new yet beloved fragrance. If you have oily skin…maybe skip to the makeup. Or, if you’re in need of entertainment, by all means: learn about how dry my skin is!

Skin Care 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Cucumber, & Green Tea

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I know, I know. I swear by the rose version! Hear me out: I’m currently switching up my toner routine (trying to find an easier, hydrating method that doesn’t involve more than one product) & this one seems to be doing the job very well. I’ve found that my skin looks less red/sensitive when using this spray as opposed to the rose version. I’m assuming that’s because of the green tea & the cucumber: my skin loves both those ingredients, especially green tea. Green tea gets rid of leftover dirt & reduces redness, but doesn’t dry out the skin. I’ve been saying I would be switching up toners – & I am (probably to a Thayer’s toner; stay “tuned” for that next month, if not sooner in a mini review) but for now, this spray is my go-to toner. It’s cooling, it keeps breakouts at bay, but it never dries out my skin. To me, that = a good toner.

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Also, Ulta now carries the 8 oz. size in-store. No more worrying about paying shipping (& choosing rose because of that). Score!

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – as a 2-minute mask

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Hear me out. I was skeptical, too! But…it really works. It even works for people with dry, sensitive skin.

Although this cleanser is marketed for all skin types, I was quite wary when looking at it as a cleanser. It’s foaming, it claims to be “the brightening solution” (always a bit of a warning sign if you’re worried about drying products) & it contains quite a lot of glycolic acid. An even bigger flag: Mario Badescu saying in “instructions” to use it only 1-3 times a week in replacement of one’s daily cleanser. Again: big head-shake from me. It sounded way too drying, even if I were to use it once a week.

I know, I use (& love) the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum, but Drunk Elephant is a different animal (hah). All of their products specifically claim to work for any & all skin types. For the most part, I’ve found that to be true of all DE products, & the Framboos serum is certainly no exception. But – back to the Mario.

Like I said, Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Foaming Cleanser wasn’t on my radar. I was perfectly happy with my two main cleansers (Glossier Milky Jelly & CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam) & didn’t really need any others. Then, I saw @aafterglo on Instagram (check her out – she has great tips!) mention it in several posts. She mentioned it, but she didn’t mention it as a cleanser – she said she used it as a face mask. That’s right!

After reading her method, I was intrigued. “Splash masks” or “shower masks” or “5/10-minute masks” are all the rage (check out this amazing Into The Gloss reviewof some splash masks that I’m coveting). Another friend of mine tried it (check out Han, too!) & this friend has very sensitive skin. When I got a “THIS IS SOOOOO GOOD” text, I decided to head to Ulta to pick it up. $16 for 6 fluid ounces of product isn’t bad at all…especially if it’ll be used once/twice a week as a mask, not a cleanser.

So – how do I make this work? I make sure my face is clean & a little damp – not soaking, but just damp enough to squeeze out some of this gel-textured cleanser & rubbing it in circular motions until I have a light coating of foam all over my face. Then, I wait two minutes.

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The bottle dispenses product like the Mario Badescu cleansing lotions (toners): squeeze the bottle – don’t worry, it has a gel-like consistency – then go to town.

Let’s just say – both of the people I know who tried this method raved about it; I’m on that boat, too! I’ve had no issues with dryness (I don’t apply it around my super dry areas, such as around my nose) & my skin is incredibly, silky-smooth soft once it’s been removed. The results are almost immediate: bright, soft, clear skin that feels squeaky clean but not one bit dry. I’ve had it for almost a month now & it barely looks used – it’s a great way to test out an exfoliating product or “splash mask” without dropping $40+ on one you don’t know that much about.

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Standing upright, ready to go 

I’m curious to see how my skin may or may not react to my “cleansing mask” (as I call it) in the deep of cold hard winter. I’m not sure if this is an all-year-round type of thing; for now, though, it’s approved by me. Unless I come back with a sad update, this “mask” has been & continues to be the bomb…dot com.

WinkWink “CALM” Skin Mask with Matcha Green Tea + Peppermint

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Speaking of masks…here’s an old one (well, not that old) that I’m revisiting & loving even more. I love when I pull out a product I haven’t used in a while & remember how nice it is to my skin; this mask is one of them! WinkWink says “This superfood skin mask is just that, super food for your skin.”

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Texture (& a very cute lid to the mask’s jar)

The mask contains olive green clay, which helps heal old scars, strengthen skin, & balance your skin’s natural oils. The matcha is a big deal – it’s a powerful detoxer, & it can aid in fighting/removing harmful toxins, as well as fight free radicals (what happens when an oxygen molecule splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, which are called – linked to aging & other not so cool skin ailments). Just like the olive clay, matcha balances the skin’s natural oil & sebum production. & finally: peppermint! I’d never tried peppermint in a mask before this one, & I’m sorry I hadn’t. Peppermint reduces redness/swelling, which is nice for sensitive skin; it also naturally contains salicylic acid, which is one of the most well-known acne treatments.

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Not going to lie – I was wary of the peppermint at the beginning. I don’t always like minty sensations (especially on my face) & worried that it would feel too odd. Not to worry, though! This mask is cooling & soothing thanks to the peppermint; it’s calming & redness-reducing thanks to the matcha; it’s held in place with the olive green clay. I love using this before bed; something about the scent makes me very sleepy! It’s minty, it’s green. It smells…calm! This is a clay mask that I will not be afraid to use during the winter; it’s hydrating yet clearing. Big. Fan!

Skinfood Egg White Pore Mask

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I know, I know! This is the third mask. It’s the final one, too – don’t worry. I’ll keep things moving.

This is another product that was pushed to the back of my face mask cupboard; I hadn’t used it for a good while until an anonymous message on Tumblr recommended it for a pore treatment; I don’t really have a problem with pores myself, but it reminded me that I actually owned the product. The message also said it helped their skin look tighter & firmer, too. I decided to give it another go!

Like the name may suggest, this mask contains egg white. It’s a quality protein source, which strengthens the skin; Skinfood claims that the egg white ingredient “regulates excessive sebum, eliminates pore-clogging impurities, tightens pores and minimizes their appearance, eradicates skin bacteria.”

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The color of snow, the consistency of meringue 

This is another mask that I won’t be afraid to use during the winter, although it’s clarifying & tightening. I apply it simply by following directions on the packaging; no DIY necessary on this baby. The instructions: “After cleansing, apply to the face, avoiding the eye and mouth area. After 10-15 minutes, wash off thoroughly with warm water.”

The texture is very smooth; it’s kind of like a mousse. It most certainly is the color of egg whites! It goes on smoothly & doesn’t suck the moisture out of your skin, like so many pore-targeting masks do. You don’t have to scrape it off the face, either – big plus for that. Overnight results? Yes & no. Yes – because my skin feels more hydrated, softer, & cleaner after using the mask. I don’t immediately see a tightening effect. That comes after a few uses.

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Skinfood’s packaging is cute – it’s also durable

In the end, I say this is a great mask for all skin types & all budgets. It’s $10.50, it’s effective, & – oh! The packaging is cute, too. Skinfood is a great K-Beauty brand that’s easily accessible to anyone near an Ulta (or, if you have a computer, amazon.com). As a whole, the brand is cheap, cute, & it works!   I like their Pineapple Peeling Gel, I’m curious about their Freshmade Watermelon Mask – & of course, I like this mask, too.

Eco Tools Dry Body Brush

Although it doesn’t photograph well (which is why I haven’t got any photos included) this body brush is incredibly good. Eco Tools says “Enjoy an at home spa treatment using this Eco Tools Dry Body Brush (with cruelty-free synthetic bristles) for beauty you can feel good about! Inspired by spa dry brushing treatments, used to exfoliate and detoxify, improving appearance and leaving skin soft, smooth and glowing.”

I was worried that this brush might be a bit too harsh for me/create some micro-abrasions on my body. Not to worry. Though the bristles are stiff & definitely do some serious work while you’re moving the brush over your body, there’s no redness, scratches, or anything else of that sort after using it. My body just feels super exfoliated, soft, & clean. I love using it with my Glossier Body Hero Daily Oil Wash (read why here). I put about two pumps directly on the (dampened) brush, then go to town, following the instructions: “Use the dry brush to gently brush using long, upward strokes. Start with your legs, then mid-section, then arms, always brushing in an upward motion.”

The wash froths up beautifully; it’s the perfect thing to use with something as hydrating as the Daily Oil Wash. I’ve also used it with the Mario Badescu AHA Body Wash – almost as good!

I don’t like using my bare hands to clean my body; before I found this brush, I was using a large charcoal vegetable sponge. I like this even better. Like I said: I feel smoother, softer, more exfoliated, & extra pampered – especially if I slather on a good bit of body cream afterwards. Oh, & it’s vegan, improves circulation (always great)…& best of all, it’s only $4.99. I can’t think of anything bad to say; that’s probably because there is nothing bad to say. 10/10.

Dr. Andrew Weil For Origins™ Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion

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Full disclosure – this baby was sent to me by Origins (thank you – you’re the best!) but I will absolutely, positively, no question be purchasing this myself when I run out.

I’ve been eyeing this product for a while – it looks incredible, & the fact that Origins went out of their way to mention how good it is for sensitive skin in the product description was already clueing me in; I had a feeling I would like it. I was right.

This is formulated for all skin types, & it’s extremely lightweight – so if you have oily skin & are worried about this clogging your pores/breaking you out, I would stop worrying now. It’s lightweight, it’s fresh, but it’s hydrating. It has been “clinically proven to reduce redness,” is described as an “anti-irritant, redness-reducing facial treatment lotion,” & is (as you may have already guessed) in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Weil, who is (according to the incredibly reliable source of Wikipedia, “an American celebrity doctor who is a physician, author, spokesperson, and broadly described “guru” of the alternative medical brands: holistic health and integrative medicine.”

When I first looked this up & saw what Dr. Weil was all about, I was a bit hesitant to rave about the products. I have mixed feelings about alternative/holistic treatments &/or medications; however: I do believe that integrative medicine is important & deserves a respectful place in the medical field. Alternative treatments can really help those with chronic pain/chronic illness/terminal illness; pharmaceutical drugs are crucial for keeping me alive, but alternative treatments can make my days easier. They’re not an answer to everything, but they can be a big help.

I then saw that Dr. Weil donates all his after-tax royalties from the sales of his products (in collaboration with Origins, like this product right here!) directly to his foundation, which is supposed to – according to him – fund “mechanism for the advancement of integrative medicine through training, research, the education of the public, and policy reform.” NICE.

As for ingredients? It features Dr. Weil’s “proprietary mega-mushroom blend” which soothes, hydrates, & balances the skin. This is a blend of “Chaga & Reishi extracts” (which I am guessing are different types of mushrooms). It also contains narcissus lily bulb as a main ingredient, which has anti-aging properties. Finally, sea buckthorn helps futher soothe & calm the skin.

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This smells incredibly fresh, & feels incredibly hydrating. It has a green/fresh scent; nothing overpowering, just very relaxing; very herbal. Shake bottle before use (ingredients may settle if you don’t), pour onto a cotton pad/directly on the fingertips, & pat into the face. I use this both morning & night, after toner & before serum(s). I have to say: Origins’ biggest claim for this product – that it reduces redness – is right on the mark. My skin feels calmer, softer, & more…at peace. It’s truly incredible, & it’s not horrifically expensive. I know I’ll be purchasing this myself, & I really truly do want to get that big deluxe size Sephora is offering. Yes – I’ve had it for about a week & I already love it so much that I’m planning a restock.

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Keep in mind – this product is runny. Be ready to catch it with your fingertips – or use a cotton pad. Otherwise, beware!

This is a great product for all skin types – it’ll provide an extra boost of hydration to dry/sensitive skin types, & it’ll balance out oily/combo/normal skin types. Love, love, love!!!

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Facial Oil

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I’ve been a big fan of Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra Clarifying Facial Oil since December 2016 (I was ahead of the curve on that one, okay? I used it before Harry Styles leaked that it was in his skin care routine) – but the Sunday Riley Juno Oil is the bomb (dot com) for those who need some extra overnight hydration.

Yes – this product is expensive; I think it’s unnecessary to get the full size, unless you use it two times a day without fail. These oils are extremely rich – you only need 2-3 drops (three at most) to satisfy your whole complexion…especially with this particular oil.

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A rich, colorful, luxurious product – no two ways about it

Sunday Riley describes their Juno Oil as a “superfood oil.” It contains a botanically active blend of cold-pressed superfood seed oils. Antioxidants? Check. Vitamins? Check. Essential amino acids? Check. Omegas 3, 6, and 9? Check. Naturally soothing agents? Check. Vitamins A & C? Check.

That packs a big punch for one product – like I said, you don’t need a lot of it to see some clear results.

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The bottle alone is beautiful; though the vial has an ombre effect, the oil does not – it stays the same color as it is at the top of its vial

I’d say that this oil is best for dry/sensitive/combo skin types, but I don’t think that it’d necessarily be bad for other skin types. It’s hydrating yet exofoliating (thanks to the Vitamins A & C); it sinks in without leaving a greasy finish or an oily residue; best of all, it leaves your skin feeling extra hydrated, extra soft, & it’s as though you have a shield over your face, protecting you from those super cold, super dry winter winds. I like mixing 2 drops of this with moisturizer at night. I think it works better overnight than it does during the day – I’m not really a fan of using heavy oils during the day, since they can interfere with the way makeup stays on my face. Overnight, though? It’s a winner. Oh – & it smells amazing (not floral – I can best describe it as “fresh & bright”) & the packaging is beautiful. As it should be. The mini is $45; the full-size is $90. We better be getting good packaging for that price tag!

Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich

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I am unashamedly putting this in my favorites again because…it is an all-time favorite of mine. Yes – you’ve probably read everything I have to say about this (amazing) cream because I tend to talk about it 24/7. In case you haven’t, here’s a brief rundown:

I call PMR (Priming Moisturizer Rich) the “prettier sister” of the original Glossier Priming Moisturizer. Glossier “dropped” it in January of 2017 (so, this year) & I haven’t gone without it since I first purchased it. That’s right – I continue to refill this product over & over again, because it’s never treated my skin badly.

It feels incredibly…rich (I know, what a description!) but doesn’t leave any greasy residue. It sinks into my skin smoothly & softly & just feels extraordinarily hydrating & soothing.

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My photograph doesn’t do this product justice – it looks even more luxurious, creamy & hydrating in the flesh

During the summer, I use this only as a night cream. During the colder months, I’ll wear this morning & night. Nope – doesn’t slide under makeup! Trust me: check out Paloma Elsesser’s Glossier GRWM – she uses PMR under her makeup, & she has one of the most beautiful complexions I’ve ever seen. It has one of my favorite ingredients: lavender oil, an anti-oxidant known for its healing properties. It’s also an extremely calming scent for me; I love using rollerballs of lavender oil as a sleep aid/relaxer, & if my whole house, face, body, & everything else I own smelled like lavender, I’d be a happy person for the rest of my life.

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No, but seriously – this stuff is incredible. Red algae complex protects the skin’s natural moisture barrier, five key fatty acids lock in moisture, lavender oil soothes & calms, murumuru butter melts into the skin without feeling greasy or clogging pores…& so on. Like I say over & over again, this makes me feel like a queen. It continues to do so, so I suppose this means that I’ll keep talking about it until the day I die. I don’t have a problem with that.

Makeup 

Time for the “fun stuff!” I put that in quotations because I think that skin care is just as fun, but that’s just me. If you prefer makeup, this is your section. Let’s go!

CLĒ Cosmetics Melting Lip Powder in Desert Rose

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I mentioned the shade additions to CLĒ Cosmetics’ Melting Lip Powder line in my September favorites; I own Plum Medium & Desert Rose. Plum Medium looks quite dark on my fair skin, & it’s a fun night color – maybe a little later in the season, I’ll wear it during the day, too. For now, though, I’ve been loving Desert Rose most of all.

In my September Favorites, I described Desert Rose as a “dusty deep brick/rust that doesn’t show up super red or super brown” & added that I couldn’t “wait until it’s time to wear very thick sweaters. These fall shades will be perfect for every gloomy (or sunny) autumn day.”

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Well – I was right. I was especially right when thinking of Desert Rose; some of my favorite colors to wear lately have been mustard yellow, rust, black & dark grey (what’s new) & some dark greens/bright reds. I’m enjoying all the color-blocking trends. What I’ve been loving most, though, is mustard yellow or rust – & Desert Rose looks beautiful on my lips when I wear either of the colors mentioned above.

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I’ve mentioned that one of my favorite things to do with the Lip Powders are tap a little on the back of my hand & mix it with a smudge of Glossier Balm Dotcom – it makes it a very easy, very creamy/sheer blushy type of product, perfect for cheeks or eyelids – or even lips, if you want more of a satin finish. I want to try this with Desert Rose as a powerful blush on my cheeks & eyelids – I think it would be quite a fall look! We shall see. For now, though – I love this shade, & I think it’ll continue to be a staple throughout the fall/winter.

Bite Beauty Multistick in Praline

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Okay, I’ll admit it: this color is pretty close to that of CLĒ Cosmetic’s Desert Rose lip powder – but I think that, as the name suggests, it’s more of a multi-purpose product.

I’ve never tried a Bite Beauty product before this – all I knew is that you can technically eat their products. The brand itself claims “Bite is beauty for lips that’s good enough to eat. With highly pigmented, trend-forward color palettes, Bite’s hydrating formulas are infused with food-grade ingredients—so your lips feel as gorgeous as they look.  Bite is beauty for lips that’s good enough to eat. With highly pigmented, trend-forward color palettes, Bite’s hydrating formulas are infused with food-grade ingredients—so your lips feel as gorgeous as they look.”

So – yes, you can eat them, which is a fun fact…though I don’t know why anyone would truly want to. I knew that, & I knew about their Bite Lip Lab, which has locations in NYC, San Francisco, & Toronto – where you pay (a good amount of money) to “mix up” the perfect custom lip shade, just for you (watch Safiya Nygaard’s cool video where she experiences it, if you haven’t already)

I don’t live near enough to any of those cities to go spend (a lot) of money to get my own custom lipstick, but I was curious about Bite Beauty. It’s been around for a hot minute now, & is best known for their lipsticks – especially in the famous shade Honeycomb.

I have enough lipsticks, but their Multisticks intrigued me. I liked the idea of being able to put the pigment on eyes, lips, & cheeks for a monochromatic look – or, just popping it on the lips (eyes, or cheeks) with contrasting makeup. Just another option. It seemed easy, portable, & quick. It was all those things – & more.

I really like the texture. Bite describes the formula as a cream that “wears like a powder for weightless color application—just apply with your finger or a brush on the eyes, lips, and cheeks.” Bite also claims that all of their Multisticks are universal shades that look good on all skin tones (& types). They’re also silicone-free – which makes them buildable, easier to blend, & allow your skin to breathe.

All the shades looked tempting, but Praline “a spicy peach” spoke to me – like I said, I’ve been loving those rusty, dirty peach shades lately. It most certainly lives up to expectations – whether I’ve used it smudged all over my lids as a messy, pretty fall eye look…or as a simple lipstick that’s small enough to carry around; easy enough to apply without a mirror. I have yet to use it on the cheeks, but I really want to do a look using this on my lips, eyes, & cheeks all at once. I think it’d look quite cool!

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As for the packaging – it’s very pretty. The tube is small, but it has weight to it. It snaps closed magnetically, which is a nice “modern” touch. All in all, I love the formula, & I love the product – & how it works on my skin. I can most certainly see myself getting another. If you like multi-purpose products, this one is a great option. I have my eye on the shade Mochi for a lovely red holiday lip; I love the shade Nectar for a 2014-2015 Lorde-esque, goth girl look. Best of all? They’re slightly cheaper than the lipsticks – & they do more! Praline’s an easy color to pull off on all skin tones, yet it has a slight twist to it that makes it natural yet eye-catching I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Any skin type, any skin tone. It’s perfect.

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Fenty Beauty Galaxy Collection – Quick Run-Down (What I Got & What I Didn’t)

I have two “favorites” from the new Fenty Beauty release, which dropped Friday October 13 (HAH!) as part of the Galaxy Collection.

The Galaxy Collection is limited edition, & is being marketed as a holiday collection. In contrast to the initial Fenty Beauty releases – which were all about a natural glow, perfect skin, & an elegant highlight – this collection is glitter, glitter, & more glitter. Nope – not one single product in this new collection is matte. That’s refreshing, I won’t lie. The matte trend was getting old, & it was drying out my poor lips. All of these products promised shine, hydration, & glow. The packaging was exciting, too – it had that “galactic theme” – I liked the oil-slick detailing on the caps of the glosses & liners, & the reflect on the eyeshadow palette’s outside packaging. According to Sephora, “Rihanna wanted her first holiday collection to wow from every angle: ‘Glitter on glitter on glitter. That’s what The Galaxy Collection is all about, no exception.’—Rihanna.”

Now – I definitely knew I didn’t want all of this stuff. God knows I don’t need another eyeshadow palette – I mainly stick to matte neutrals when choosing palettes (& if I want a crazy eye look, I’ll usually just get a single eyeshadow). I definitely didn’t need an eyeshadow brush, I wasn’t too intrigued by the lipsticks; the shades just weren’t my thing, & I don’t really need more lipsticks, anyway. What really stuck out to me were the glosses (Cosmic Lip Glitters) & the liner. I’ve been into lip glosses lately, & all of the shades looked appealing to me. As for liner – well, let me explain below why I decided to “go for it.” I think Rihanna’s making me take more risks. I’m not complaining.

Fenty Beauty Eclipse 2-In-1 Glitter Release Eyeliner in Nepturnt

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As I type this, this shade of liner is sold out on Sephora’s site – Fenty Beauty’s official site seems to still have it. I’m not sure whether or not these Galaxy Collection items will be restocked (they were marketed as limited-edition from the start) but if they are, I’d advise running over to wherever you can, to get whatever you want (aka: need).

If you’ve followed me for a bit, you probably know that I’m not an eyeliner fan. At all. I don’t like the way it looks on my eyes; I’ve tried the cat eye (failed), I’ve tried a crayon liner (failed) I’ve tried a gel liner (failed). When we’re talking eyeliner, the only ones I use are the NYX Faux Whites: a collection of “white” pencil liners with hints of color. Easter egg pink, lavender, mint, baby blue. I use them on my waterline occasionally, (or perhaps the inner corners of my eyes) & they really make things pop.

Still – I don’t really consider those eyeliners. When I think “eyeliner” I usually think of a black crayon liner, or a black liquid liner. I wasn’t at all sure if I’d like the Fenty Beauty liners, but Trophy Wife was a bit of a risk for my skin tone – & it ended up working beautifully, so I figured that it was worth the risk.

Nepturnt is described as a “green-black metallic / smoky emerald glitter.” It’s hard to see from the packaging, but you can detect those small amounts of glitter in the liner’s tube. When actually “painting” on the liner, it looks almost completely matte. The magic arrives when the liner dries down; when you smudge it lightly with a pencil brush. As you rub, the glitter magically rises to the surface. With Nepturnt, you’re left with a dragon-scale black-green-blue color – it’s magical. You can probably see by these photos that I can’t do it justice – but I’ve tried it on my lids already, taken photos, & should be able to give a better representation of what it looks like on the face some time soon.

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Do you need a precise hand to apply these? No, I don’t think so. If it were a matte liner, I wouldn’t have even considered getting it – the fact that you’re supposed to mess around a little with these liners after they’ve dried down is what really sold me. It’s a bit more forgiving than your average liner, & it gives a really unique touch. I’m not really well-informed on eyeliners on the market, but this one is definitely something special.

I’ve used this for the daytime with my much-beloved Tartelette in Bloom palette; I think I’ll also be able to do some very dramatic nighttime looks with this if I want. We’ll see! For now, I’m happy. & if you’re not a fan of glitter eyeliner – that’s cool! Leave it be, & it’ll give just the slightest touch of shimmer if it catches the light. That’s what’s so amazing about this product. I hope that in the future, she releases a permanent-edition liner that has a similar effect to this. I’d love to see a burgundy one give off a similar effect. Oooh.

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The Fenty liner with its Sephora PRO buddy

Fenty Beauty recommends using the smudger end of their Galaxy 2-Way Eyeshadow Brush for best results for the liner. I don’t have the brush, & didn’t really want to get it – I think I have enough, & I don’t think it’s necessary for the liner. I used my (already-purchased) Sephora Collection PRO Smudge Brush #11. It’s a few dollars cheaper, it does the job just beautifully, & if you have a brush similar to either the Fenty one or the Sephora one, you’ll probably be able to get the exact same results with the one you have. If you’re looking for just a smudger brush, I do definitely recommend the Sephora PRO one. Like I said: it does the job nicely: makes the glitter pop, & works for the rest of your eye look, too – it doesn’t disrupt already-blended eyeshadow, which is nice. I think it’s a good duo, & slightly cheaper than if you purchased the Fenty Beauty brush!

Fenty Beauty Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter in Astro-Naughty 

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I won’t lie – it was really hard for me to choose just one gloss because they all looked so beautiful. The only one I wasn’t really torn over was Plutonic Relationship – I don’t really look that good in cool-toned fuschia colors like that, so it was off my radar, so to speak.

The other three – that was more difficult. I wasn’t able to make it to a Sephora in-store, so I relied on the help of my friend Ursula (check her out on Instagram) who has pretty much the same skin tone, face shape, & perhaps DNA. We don’t know. All we know is that our faces register as the same person under iPhone face recognition – so she’s a pretty good match. She managed to make it to an actual store to swatch, & I checked out her hand & lip swatches, then made my decision. Here’s what I learned from her swatches (keep in mind this is on very fair skin with cool/neutral undertones). The only one not “discussed” between the two of us was Plutonic Relationship; neither of us like that shade on our skintones.

  • Gal On The Moon (“holographic pink orchid”) – most certainly a dark gloss. Definitely will give a “fall look” to whatever makeup you’re doing for the day. Slap this on, & you’ll look spooky. This has a lot of cool-toned reflects in it; you can visibly see blue & purple sparkles when flicking your hand around so the gloss can catch the light. I decided not to go with this one, because I haven’t really been feeling cool-toned lip/eye makeup lately; I get enough of that from my cool/neutral highlights. I need something to warm up the face, unless I’m just in it for the drama. Drama’s cool, & I knew that no matter what, all of these glosses would be dramatic – but I needed a bit of warmth, so that I could make it a daytime look if I wished.
  • Spacesuit (“glittering peach”) – this was very tempting. It looked gorgeous on Ursula’s hand swatch, & it looked gorgeous on her lips, too (she ended up buying it). It’s very glittery, & it has warm reflects in it – I mean, the peach description makes that almost immediately obvious. By warm reflects, though, I mean: coral, pink, & orange. It was definitely eye-catching, & I loved it a lot – but I have a similar gloss (Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Girly) & decided that it was just too close of a call. I needed something different.
  • Astro-Naughty (“glittering garnet”) – I knew as soon as I saw this swatched on Ursula’s hand that it was the one for me. It has an incredible amount of warm reflects; I don’t know quite how to describe it. The color of the gloss itself is that garnet-blackberry shade. I wouldn’t call it cool or warm. The glitter in the gloss is what gives the shade all its warmth. Mostly, I can see orange, warm purple, & coral glitter. It’s very easy to distinguish each “piece” of glitter in the gloss, which is what gives these glosses such amazing dimension.

I ended up getting Astro-Naughty, & leaving it at that. Like I said, I already have a peachy gloss that’s glittery; I don’t need one that almost exactly matches it. This shade is unique enough that I felt like it wasn’t a waste of money to purchase it.

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The first time I applied this, I tried to take note of scent, whether or not it was “gritty,” & how pigmented it was/how long it lasted/how gracefully it faded. Here are my quick thoughts on that:

  • Scent – it’s sweet, candy-like. It’s not fruity, like the Fenty Gloss Bomb; I think it has a different scent. It’s not very powerful, though, & it fades after a minute or two. If you’re sensitive to scents, I wouldn’t worry too badly; it faded very quickly – for me, at least.
  • Texture – there’s a little bit of grit, but nothing that I would consider intolerable. The consistency wouldn’t keep me from purchasing it; it just feels like there are a few pieces of glitter in your gloss – that’s true…except that it feels like there are 2-3 flecks, when in reality, your lips are reflecting like 1000 mirrors. I noticed some people on YouTube saying that these tingled upon application, but I didn’t notice that – & my lips are pretty sensitive to that “plumping gloss” sensation.
  • Pigment – super pigmented. One swipe will give you a lot of color to work with. It’s a little hard to spread around the lips; what I did was dip my wand in once, spread the color over, then retouch with the “empty” wand – & finally go in again with a little extra if I had some patchy spots. Overall, it applied very smoothly, & I didn’t need much product to get a very full effect.
  • Long-lasting? – I would say this lasts just as long as a normal gloss. The pigment might give it a little extra time; I think the glitter helps keep things together, as well. I wouldn’t say that it stays on through a meal, but it does stay in place quite well. I  didn’t find that it faded patchy.

Overall, when looking at the Galaxy Collection, I’d direct most people to the glosses. I guarantee that you’ll be able to find one that works for your style; I personally don’t think the shadow palette is worth it, because it contains 100% glitter shadows. Nothing wrong with glitter (& I know – it was the point of the collection) but it would be difficult to create a full look using just the Fenty palette alone.

With the glosses, you’ll be getting some fun colors, cute packaging, & you won’t be throwing $50+ for a palette. The lipsticks didn’t appeal to me, because the finish looked a little odd, & I wasn’t a huge fan of the colors. Still – I’ve seen some amazing looks out there with those lipsticks. Just because it didn’t appeal to me doesn’t mean some other people will love it. This is just my personal opinion! If you want to play safe, go with the gloss (or lipsticks, if you like the shades). If you want a little adventure, try the liner. I promise you won’t be let down by those.

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(Check out a review of the whole collection by Essence Magazine)

Glossier You Eau de Parfum

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I already made a big post about how much I like Glossier You, including lots of pretty photos & more fun information – but let me just give a quick description of the fragrance & why it’s a favorite of the month for me.

Glossier You is mainly built on “base notes.” Base notes are a starting point for fragrances; some build on that base, others stick to that base, with just a few little extra cherries on top. Glossier You is like the latter – it’s mostly “You” as Glossier says in the fragrance description.

The key base notes are meant to melt into the skin; they’ll smell different on everyone, because they adapt to your own personal skin (did you know you have your own personal skin?).

Seriously, though – the base notes are:

  • Ambrette – comfy & warm
  • Ambrox – smooth, salty, animalistic.
  • Musk – long-lasting, addictive

I love musk in fragrances, so right when I got my sample, I knew it’d be a great one. I also noticed that the scent does indeed vary from person to person – because of that, it reminds me of Juliette Has a Gun’s Not A Perfume fragrance. This fragrance is also made up of base notes & adjusts to each individual’s skin & body heat in a different way.

In a world where we seem to see the same fragrances over & over again, it’s refreshing to see a fragrance that smells different on everyone – even though each vial has the same exact formula (of course). There’s something very appealing to me about that.

Glossier You also has a few “top notes” – I think that they give it a little extra “zing,” as a Vogue Magazine writer described it. The top notes are iris root (“earthy, green, woody”)
& pink pepper (“spice, sparkling”).

Another fun fact: the Glossier You vial is about the same size as the Not A Perfume vial (the smaller NAP vial, not the larger) – & Glossier You is nearly half as expensive. That’s a win right there.

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The result of all this ~science~ & all the articles & explanations behind it? Well: a really good fragrance, one that will smell like…you. Not to be cheesy. If you really want a strong opinion on it, check out my post about it here!

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There you have it – another month, another few great discoveries…& some old favorites revisited.

What weres some new things you tried this month that you like – & maybe even think that I’d like, too? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Halloween – forgot to mention it.

Love,

Sof ❤