Time For A Product Review Update! My Thoughts on Glossier’s Body Hero Duo After Several Weeks of Use

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Right off the bat, I knew that I would like Glossier’s Body Hero Duo. I like most of the things they put out; there are only a few products that I don’t care for (or some that I find cheaper dupes for). 

But this was different. This was new. This was Glossier’s first venture into body care – & no one had any idea what to expect. All we knew: the Duo comes with a special BODY HERO sticker (it looks a bit like a Supreme label) & a jumbo #glossierpink pouch – super handy if you can’t manage to fit quite everything into your smaller ones. 

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In my first impressions post of Body Hero (which you can read here) I mentioned that the prices are quite reasonable for the amount of product you get. However – I worried that the Daily Oil Wash (step one of the Duo) wouldn’t last long at all, once I actually saw & experienced the consistency. I said I liked the cream a lot, & that we’d see how the Daily Oil Wash lasted.

I think we’re at a “how’s it going” stage, so here I am, checking in with my thoughts on the Glossier Body Hero Duo after about three weeks of using it.

Daily Oil Wash

The consistency? It feels just as though you were putting oil on your skin. When I saw how thin & slippery the wash was, I panicked – there’s no way I can make this last long, I thought.

I thought wrong. Here we are, it’s the last day of September, I’ve been using Daily Oil Wash since I got it (September 8th) & I am not yet a quarter of the way full.

Before you think “she’s probably not hygienic, then,” let me assure you that I wash my body very carefully…very thoroughly. I have to, because of health reasons. So – no, I’m not taking a tiny drop to see if it lasted. I used an amount of product that I knew would wor kfor my body, because I wanted to see how it would last when using normal amounts of product.

It took a few tries, but I figured out the secret: do small pumps (don’t push all the way down on the bottle’s dispenser) & lather up frequently. Once the texture turns lathery, you’re all good – the foam is on your body, & you’re in no danger of losing any product. It’s before you lather the wash that product is lost. If you’re a sponge type of person (I like charcoal body sponges – just not loofahs) I highly recommend putting the wash on the sponge/loofah , lathering that first, then using the sponge on your body. Again – the more time the product has to lather up, the better it’ll work…& the less you’ll have to use.

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A few days ago, I was redoing my head (I do my buzz myself) & was frustrating by the prickly little hairs that kept shearing off my head onto my shoulders. It’s always really hard to get the tiny prickly bits off my shoulders & collarbone; when I had the Daily Oil Wash in my hands, I looked at it for a second, then hopped into the shower, putting a generous drop of the wash onto the back of my neck, my shoulders, & my collarbones. Then, because I just felt like it (& also because the Daily Oil Wash has a pH that is safe for any part of the body) I rubbed another pump into my “hair.” It lathered up nicely – & just like the rest of my body after I use the Daily Oil Wash, my head felt fragrant, soft, & hydrated. It’s a great replacement for a shampoo – at least, it is for me. Less work, better scent, less suds, more pink (bottles).

Daily Perfecting Cream

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In my post regarding my initial thoughts on Body Hero, I said:

“Daily Perfecting Cream takes the cake…it almost disappears on the spot. It feels extremely luxurious when squeezed out of the bottle; it doesn’t give off the sticky/sweaty feel that a lot of “heavy” body lotions or creams do. Now my collarbones are glowing – as is every other part of me.”

I don’t have much more to say – other than…I was right! If push came to shove & I had to choose one of the two, I’d still take the cream. It’s a more unique product (to me, at least) & I love the illuminating effect. Also, the scent lingers for a longer amount of time, which I love. I’ve raved about the scent before, so I won’t drool over it now – but just know that it’s truly incredible. Sexy, fresh, neutral – neither masculine nor feminine, it is just good. That’s what a good scent means to me. I don’t like hard implications of masculinity (aka cologne) or femininity (super sweet florals, candies); I like to keep a balance. The Body Hero Duo set managed to put itself firmly in the middle regarding “masculine/feminine” scents. It’s something that (I think) will be loved by if not all, than most. It’s not overpowering, it fades gracefully, & it leaves the skin soft & smooth for the rest of the day.

Is the Body Hero Duo worth it? Is the Daily Oil Wash worth it?

My answer is “yes” to both. I’m saying yes to Daily Oil Wash because it is lasting quite well; it’s also doubling as my “shampoo,” which – hey, I’m not complaining! Again, though: if you have to pick one, my advice is to go with Daily Perfecting Cream. It’s a few dollars more, but you’ll be getting a stronger scent, a thicker product (which means it’ll last longer) & an illuminating effect. I don’t seem to find anything wrong with that!

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Let me know your thoughts on Body Hero below, if you’ve tried it, if you haven’t, & your thoughts on the campaign in general!

Love,

Sof ❤

Good News, Brits: Glossier Has ARRIVED

By the time you’re reading this, Glossier is – or very, nearly, almost is – shipping to the UK. Congratulations; finally, right?

Glossier has been promising international shipping to customers for quite a while; we saw these promises in action when they did a few pop-ups (Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, & Toronto) – then released this announcement on Into The Gloss, entitled “Glossier Is Launching Internationally.”

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Coco Baudelle (one of the brand’s first “it girls”) going international – with her Glossier package

In this post, Into The Gloss (aka Glossier) said that it would first be launching in Canada (already done!). Then, they said “we’ll be bringing our talents to the UK! This one’s also near and dear to our hearts….We’ll be opening a small office in London in due time. And finally, we’re happy to say that France is getting Glossier, too—in 2018. Those French lessons are really coming in handy. À bientôt!”

What’s next? We don’t really know! All we know for now is that 1) Glossier is indeed available in the UK, starting today. It’s also available for sale (in person) in France, at the shop Collette.

There’s no information on other parts of Europe or Asia yet; same goes for those Down Under. However – Glossier’s moved quite fast this summer. I expect to see many more countries added very soon (that’s just my own personal opinion, not based off any information I was given).

Before Glossier announced their UK site, they hosted a pop-up in London: here’s some peeks below.

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“The Pink Room” – at Glossier’s London pop-up (courtesy Glossier’s Instagram)
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Although there aren’t any photos of the London pop-up setup, this is a photo of the Toronto, Canada pop-up. Setups were similar! (courtesy Glossier’s Instagram)

Okay, this is all very pretty – but Glossier doesn’t have an official showroom in the U.K. (yet). For now, it’s all online.

So – U.K. Glossier babes, what do you want most from Glossier, now that it’s at your very fingertips?

Here are my favorite Glossier products (& shades). Some of it is makeup, some of it is skincare. I think there will be at least one product on here that will appeal to everyone.  I have some fun photographs, too – ones of my own this time – as well as some tips for newbies. Let’s get started, shall we?

DISCLAIMER: I AM A GLOSSIER REP. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT GLOSSIER IS PAYING ME TO GIVE FALSE OPINIONS. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN, & I HAVE ONLY INCLUDED PRODUCTS THAT I TRULY DO USE (& LOVE).

Boy Brow 

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Glossier: “Inspired by moustache wax, Cara Delevingne, and the idea that the best brows are the ones are the brows you were born with.” It had a 10,000 person wait list (that took 4 months to take care of) when it first launched

#BoyBrow – the product that every single person who, when asked which Glossier product they would recommend first, says: “Boy Brow. No question.” I’m with them on that.

Boy Brow, as most of you know, is like a hair pomade – it fluffs your brows; it keeps them in place – but it doesn’t make them feel stiff or crunchy (like a hairspray might feel). The shades I use are Brown & Clear. I use Brown when I want some extra drama; I use Clear on an everyday basis, especially as my brows are thicker than usual at the moment. The result? Fluffy brows that stay in place the way you want them to – & it takes less than 15 seconds to do.

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Boy Brow in Brown

Generation G Matte Lipstick

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My two favorite fall shades of Generation G

Just yesterday, I was asked by someone which Generation G lipsticks would be suitable for the fall. I thought it’d be perfect to incorporate that question into this post.

Generation G is a lipstick – a sheer lipstick, but a lipstick nonetheless. It applies like a smooth balm, & leaves a sheer, blotted finish (without you actually having to blot it). There are a bunch of shades – & you’ll be able to see swatches of all of them on all skin types on Glossier’s site – but my two favorites for fall are Zip & Jam.

Jam was one of the four original. Two others were added earlier this year; there are now six shades of Generation G lipsticks.

Quick shade rundown, thanks to Glossier’s site: “Zip, Leo, Crush, and Jam, along with the super subtle Cake and Like….give some oomph to lighter lip tones.” Glossier also says that the lipsticks will “appear a bit different on everyone as your natural lip color shows through.” That’s not to say they’re buildable – they are, trust me! Still, I love how different (& how good) all the Generation G shades look on every skin tone.

Why Zip & Jam for fall? Well, because although the lip shades are sheer, they’re also buildable. Zip, a beautiful “poppy red” can be just lightly dotted onto the lips for the slightest hint of color. It can be used over a lip liner for a little extra pigment (& hydration) it can be slathered on as you run to work, school, or your night out. You don’t need a mirror for this red lipstick – that’s a huge plus. Also, the name is cute. Don’t lie to yourself!

Jam, “a deep berry magenta” also looks beautiful on all skin tones. I’ve worn this for casual looks (bare face, nothing but Jam) as well as for performances (with a lip gloss over top). There is something about the effortless finish that the Generation G lipsticks have that give them dimension & beauty – yet require no extra effort. These two are winners – trust me.

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Jam is on “top,” Zip is underneath

Milky Jelly Cleanser 

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If you really want to see me drool over Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, you can read an in-depth review here. I’ll keep it short, though. Just know: this cleanser is suitable for all skin types. Essentially, it’s a “jellified micellar water” (described by Glossier CEO Emily Weiss) & has a formula based around the poloxamer, the cleansing ingredient used in contact lens solutions. That means that it’s safe to use as an eye makeup remover & that it is extremely, extremely gentle. Throw in some Vitamin B (a powerful, natural moisturizer), comfrey root extract (heals dry, stressed skin), rosewater (gives the product its signature delicate floral scent), & you’ve got a winner. I can’t recommend this enough; neither can my friends. I have friends who use MJC – some have oily skin, some have normal, some have combo, & some have dry – but they all love Milky Jelly. So do I – & I’m betting you will, too.

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Wowder Brush

I have nothing against Wowder – I like it when I use it – but it’s not in my top list of Glossier products I love. That’s nothing against the powder, it’s just my dry skin talking. When I do use it, I prefer to moisturize heavily, then use Wowder as a “blurring” face product. But let’s talk about the Wowder Brush.

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Dense yet soft bristles – the Wowder Brush

I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this brush. This costs less than a MAC brush, it’s extremely dense, it has a nice angle, & oh boy is it sturdy! There are no signs of loose parts, a bad glue job, & the brush doesn’t shed, either. I also love the hygienic little pouch it comes in.

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Doubles as a pencil case/lip-liner case

Do I use this for Wowder? Sometimes – but I’ve been using it to highlight, too! In fact, that’s the main tool I’ve been using to highlight (if I’m using a powder highlight) ever since I got the brush. I’ve used this on subtle highlights & over-the-top highlights. The angle makes it easy to place the glow just where it needs to be. The silvery-pink color of the brush handle makes it fun to use (it’s just so pretty) & it really does a great job. Wowder isn’t in my “top ten” but the brush most definitely is. If you’re looking for a good-quality synthetic brush that is multi-purpose, this is a good option.

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Haloscope in Quartz 

There are three shades of Haloscope: Moonstone “an opalescent glaze,” Quartz, “a universally flattering, pearlescent highlight,” & Topaz, “a healthy, sun-kissed glow.”

I love all three Haloscope shades, but I decided to actually show photos of Quartz, as it’s literally described as “universally flattering.”

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If you don’t know the scoop on Haloscope, it’s described as a face highlighter (in a cream stick form/formula) that is a dual-delivery formula: “the outer halo is infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment, with a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish.” Don’t get scared by the word “oil” – this will not break you out (at least, it didn’t break me out). It doesn’t slip & slide, & I know that I’m dry-skinned (maybe it slips on oily skin) but I haven’t had a problem ever. If you’re more on the oily side, try setting it with a powder or just a setting spray.

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A peek at the inner & outer “cores” of Haloscope

This is definitely the highlight shade that I know will work well on all skin tones. Although it has a bit of that champagne/gold in it, it has the pearlescent reflects – meaning that it’ll work on cool & warm undertones. It’s also extremely versatile; use it as an eyeshadow, an inner corner highlight, or tap it on the cheekbones. For a super over-the-top look, apply Haloscope on the high points of your face – then layer a powder highlight over that. The results? Blinding.

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Read more about Haloscope here – or just start shopping.

Mask Duo

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Mega Greens Galaxy Pack mask on the left; Moisturizing Moon Mask on the right

This little mask duo is heaven-sent for people with all skin types. Combo skin? Apply the Moisturizing Moon Mask & the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Mask at the same time – just in different areas. Dry skin? Moon Mask will save your life this winter (I know it did mine). Just want a detox? No matter what your skin type, Mega Greens has your back – & it does some serious work at reducing redness/inflammation.

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Mega Greens Galaxy Pack….
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…..& Moisturizing Moon

So – Glossier says that their masks are “designed to work in harmony to hit the reset button on your skin. One detoxifies, while the other hydrates.” That’s definitely true. But they work just as well on their own, too. The Mask Duo is amazing – but if you know you won’t need one, just pick the one that speaks most to you. It’s hard for me to pick one, since they’ve both helped my skin out in such different ways – but they’re both good. Either way, I think you’ll have made a good choice (if you have to pick one).

Super Pure Serum

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My vial of liquid gold 

There’s a few Glossier skin care products that I treat like Boy Brow. Aka – cannot be without it/skin would look worse without it. Super Pure is one of those holy grails. I love it so much, I did a mini review on it. I love it so much, I tried out The Ordinary’s zinc/niacinamide serum to see if it was a dupe (similar, but definitely not a dupe). I love it so much, I can see a difference in my skin if I’ve gone a few days without applying it.

The Supers Pack is a great option for those new to serums – & it’s a good deal if you know you’re going to use all three – but the one I recommend across the board is Super Pure – always Super Pure. “It gets troubled skin in check and flushes out impurities, including excess sebum that builds up inside pores. The light, water-gel formula quickly absorbs into skin,” Glossier says.

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Almost empty; time for another!

It’s the water-gel formula that makes this serum so special. Not drying, not tingling, not oily – it’s just the perfect consistency for every skin type. No need to worry about clogging your pores; no need to worry about being dried out. This serum will keep you clear. It’ll also keep dryness at bay. I don’t know how many vials of this I’ve been through, but I’ll keep going until the end of time. I’ve said enough. If you want a true, good-quality review, here’s my #MiniReview on Super Pure.

Lip Gloss

Do you badly want one of the #glossierpink pouches, a sticker sheet, & a product…but you’re just not sure what to get? Or: are you on a low budget? I think Lip Gloss has your back here.

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Glossier Lip Gloss was first introduced as a limited-edition holiday collection: the Black Tie Set (read about it here), which included a Haloscope highlight in Moonstone (now also permanent), a #glossierpink nail polish (no longer available), a pretty black ribbon, an eyeliner – called the No. 1 Eyeliner in Graphite (hopefully will make a comeback) &, of course, the Lip Gloss.

Lip Gloss was officially released as a permanent item spring of this year – so it’s here to stay. It’s incredibly hydrating (I use it as an overnight lip mask sometimes), isn’t sticky (okay, every gloss is a little sticky, but as far as lip glosses go, it’s not STICKY), & has a surprisingly long wear time.

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Any more info? Well, it has a doe-foot applicator – just a standard one, like most lip glosses/liquid lipsticks do. You won’t have to worry about it drying out your lips as it wears off, thanks to one of the key ingredients: Vitamin E. That’s what makes it so hydrating.

Yes – as you may have already noticed, it does look slightly pink in the tube (which I love) but it applies crystal-clear. It gives me a transparent shine – yet it has sparkles…but there are no sparkles in it. Glossier describes it better than I can: “cushiony, crystal clear shine, no stickiness, no grittiness, no glitter…a comfortable, glassy finish that won’t disappear after an hour (oooh yeeeah). Shine on, friend.”

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Cute. It’s also the perfect size to throw in your bag – big enough to find, small enough to make it easy to carry. & the bubbles that form in the tube when you take out the applicator remind me of a lava lamp. I call it “the lava lamp of lip glosses.” Truly – shine on!

Cloud Paint Cream Blush

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Scared of blush? Me too – the only one I would ever use (& that was rare) was NARS Orgasm. When Glossier released their Cloud Paint Blushes in the spring, I was really scared. I knew I’d give one a go, because at least one would appeal to me. I picked the pinkest shade: Puff.

Time went on, & I ended up collecting all four. Do you want to know the best part? The colors that look best on me are the ones I would have never expected to look good on me. That is: Haze, a dark fuschia berry shade, similar to Generation G Lipstick in Jam; & Beam, an orangey-coral that ended up selling out because it was so popular (I get why).

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My two favorites (I think Haze will be perfect for fall)

There are a lot of great things about Cloud Paint. First of all – it last forever. You need a tiny dot of pigment (especially if you’re very fair like me) to do the job. Secondly: Cloud Paint is a cream – that means that they move with your face, not on top of your face. This makes your makeup look more natural; more you. Finally: every single shade looks good on all skin tones. There is no “ugly” shade of Cloud Paint for me. Sure – I like two more than the others, but I can’t complain about any of them. Glossier’s also made a Cloud Paint Duo – that’s where you choose your own two colors (& save some money to boot). I find this nice, because Cloud Paints look just as good when used together (blended) rather than by themselves.

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A bit of a throwback – longer hair, but the blush is the same: Cloud Paint in Beam

Some hacks: blend a little Cloud Paint on the bridge of your nose. It’ll give you a flushed, sun-kissed look without the sun damage or sunburn. It’ll also make the blush on your cheeks look more natural. As for swatches – I have one for you, but be sure to check out the mini videos on Glossier’s Cloud Paint page – you’ll see a lot of good tips on how to apply them, as well as how they look on different skin tones.

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Hand swatches of Cloud Paint. From bottom to top: Haze, Dusk, Beam, Puff

I never thought I’d say it, but I own an orangey-coral blush – & it looks good on me! Leave it to Glossier to convert me.

Body Hero Duo

I don’t have a lot to say about this, except that 1) I use the Daily Oil Wash as a shampoo, too 2) The Daily Perfecting Cream is like a highlight, except for your body. It smells amazing. I want it in a candle form. Stay tuned for my opinion on how long it lasts after a month has gone by (we’re almost there) but as of right now, I’m going with: it’s worth it, you’ll smell amazing, & you’ll have glowy collarbones, legs, & shoulders – plus, you’ll get a cute, cheeky sticker. The duo really is a shower upgrade, but if you have to get one, get the cream – read why right here.

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A pretty pair

Priming Moisturizer Rich

I saved one of my favorite products of all time for last. Priming Moisturizer Rich is one of the most exciting Glossier products to me – that’s because it is perfect – & I mean perfect – for dry, sensitive skin.

The “sister” of the original Priming Moisturizer was released in January 2017. I immediately bought it, & I have not stopped using it since I started. Okay…I have – just a couple times. Every time I’ve stopped, I’ve seen my skin dry out; I’ve had it feel more sensitive, & the ever-hated redness/sensitivity around my nose area gets worse. I switch back to PMR (as I affectionately call it) & boom – problem solved. My skin only gets better with PMR.

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This cream is rich in ceramides & fatty acids – “fatty acids” doesn’t sound very glamorous (& doesn’t even sound that great for your skin) but trust me: they help protect your skin’s moisture barrier, allowing hydration to stick around for longer periods of time. This is not a water cream – but it won’t clog your pores. It contains “Five Key Fatty Acids” – this all comes from kukui oil. It provides palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids which help lock in moisture. It contains a (secret?) “Anti-Redness Complex” which…reduces redness, yes, & also soothes the skin. It contains an oxygenating agent, too, which improves your skin tone & texture. Just like the original, it’s okay to wear under makeup – it won’t slide off!

Murumuru butter is a hard, dense butter that Glossier combined with shea butter; it’s this combination that puts the “Rich” in Priming Moisturizer Rich. Somehow, it still doesn’t feel heavy or greasy or oily…can you tell I’m in love with this yet?

My favorite thing of all: lavender oil is a main ingredient. Lavender is an anti-oxidant known for its healing properties; it’s also one of my favorite scents of all time, especially before bed. The lavender oil is what gives PMR its signature scent: herbal, but not spicy; a little floral, but not too fresh. The cream’s scent very much reminds me of an essential oil you’d rub onto those special points on your face & body. It’s an extremely calming scent; perfect for bedtime. On the other hand, it’s an amazing product to wear during the day, too – at least, it is for dry skin. I use this as a night cream only during the summer; as it starts getting colder, PMR will be my day & night cream. I can’t say enough good things about this cream, so I’ll stop after I say four things about it: “Intense Hydration. Redness Reducing. Nourishing. Oxygenating.”

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If that doesn’t speak to those with dry, sensitive skin – I don’t know what will. Just trust me. It’s that good – just as good (better) than more expensive creams out there. It’s one of my top four products as a rep, & when I said Priming Moisturizer Rich makes me feel like a queen, I meant it. Another golden product worth its weight.

Well – that’s about all I’ve got! Congratulations, Brits – you’re part of the Glossier family now. I hope this gives you some guidance on what to grab first. Tell me what you got or are planning to get in the comments below!

Oh – I almost forgot. Balm Dotcom is amazing. It’s amazing in every flavor, but especially in Rose, Birthday Cake (doubles as a highlight) & Cherry. Make sure you pick up a few of those. You can never have too much lip balm, right?

Love,

Sof ❤

Deals (make sure to convert over to your currency):

  • Boy Brow + Haloscope Duo = $30 – Haloscope Highlighter in the shade of your choice, Boy Brow in the shade of your choice, free shipping, & save $8. Lasts until this Friday (October 6)
  • Cloud Paint Duo = $30 – two cloud paints of your choice, save $6, & free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Body Hero Duo = $35 – Daily Oil Wash, Daily Perfecting Cream, “BODY HERO” sticker, & X-tra large #glossierpink pouch. Save $5, & free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Wowder Duo = $35 – Wowder + Wowder Brush (including the pouch). Save $7, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Mask Duo = $40 – Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Mask + Moisturizing Moon Mask. Save $4, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Balm Dotcom Trio = $30 – three Balm Dotcoms in the shades/flavors of your choice (yes, you can pick three of the same one!). Save $6, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • The Super Pack = $65 – the trio of the Glossier Super Serums. Super Glow, Super Pure, Super Bounce. Save $19, free shipping. Permanent deal! Just make sure you’ll be using all of them! It’s a good deal if you use them all. Otherwise, just get the one you think will be best (I personally vote Super Pure, then Super Glow)
  • Glossier Phase 1 Set = $40 – includes Milky Jelly Cleanser, Priming Moisturizer, & the Balm Dotcom flavor/shade of your choice. Save $10, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Glossier Phase 2 Set = $40 – includes Stretch Concealer in the shade of your choice, Boy Brow in the shade of your choice, & Generation G in the shade of your choice. Save $12, free shipping. Permanent deal!

Brand Review: Boscia, A Skincare Brand With Lots More Than That One Charcoal Mask

If you like funny videos/memes, you may have seen a video this past summer. A girl makes a huge slip-up: she rips off her eyebrow after using a charcoal peel-off mask. The reaction is funny – but, if you’re into face masks like I am, it’s a bit terrifying, too. Ever since, I’ve been extra careful with my peel-off mask application methods.

When you see or hear “Boscia,” you probably think of their crazy charcoal ball cleanser (still can’t make sense of that one) &, yes, their super intense charcoal peel-off mask. Here’s an oddly hypnotic video of the renowned Instagram beauty blogger/photographer @gelcream swinging Boscia’s Charcoal Jelly Ball Cleanser – her take on it is below (all credit to @gelcream; I did not film nor originally post/write this video or the review)/

“Gelcream Movie Series – Stranger Things. In these movie series I am holding weird but still breathtaking beauty tools. Pictured above – a jelly ball cleanser by @boscia. I am holding it in a latex cover, which you pop using a tiny wnd included. Then you wet your face and rub the squishy jelly ball around; it foams like a soap and despite of all the gimmicky features it actually works well – clean and soft skin afterwards. Pure fun.”

So – that’s really all I knew about Boscia as a brand. I knew they had a peel-off mask that some people jokingly described as “beauty is pain.” The mask also made the cut for an Into The Gloss post entitled: “Face Masks That Aren’t The Same Old, Same Old,” meaning: this is something different & interesting, as well as effective. That, & I saw the jelly ball cleanser all over Sephora’s home page this past summer. I knew they had a lot of charcoal products – I assumed they wouldn’t be suitable for me, as my skin is dry & sensitive. Mostly, charcoal products work best for people with oily/combo skin, & peel-off masks don’t take kindly to my sensitive skin, for the most part. I did a little research. Then Boscia (very kindly) sent me a (extremely generous) package that proved me wrong – very wrong – on several points. Firstly: maybe not all peel-off masks are for me…this one, however, absolutely is. Second: Boscia is actually incredible – & I truly do mean incredible – for sensitive skin! No matter oily or dry or combo, this brand is suited beautifully for those with sensitive skin. It gets rid of problem areas/spots/issues without clogging pores, causing “burns,” or making skin peel or flake.

Before I get into a review of the products I recieved from Boscia, let’s talk a little. What makes Boscia so good for sensitive skin?

According to their website, Boscia products are created “using a state-of-the-art Clean Room manufacturing facility where no human contact occurs. The Clean Room is classified at a pharmaceutical grade level. Air pressure is used to keep the space bacteria-free, moving the air in only one direction to avoid recycled air. The raw materials are mixed, filled, and sterilized at high heat. Boscia products stay fresh and completely bacteria-free without the use of preservatives.”

Okay, so we have a few answers. Firstly, Boscia products are manufactured in an incredibly sanitary environment – more so, it seems, than many other companies’ production facilities. They also use raw materials, but take care to keep them fresh & bacteria-free. Obviously, sensitive skin is more prone to infections – usually from bacteria. The “bacteria-free” claim is a big one to make, but if it’s true, bacteria-free prodcuts are safer to use – especially for those with sensitive skin.

That’s all great – but here’s the part I love most:

“What we don’t put in our products is just as important as what we do. To achieve superior results without compromising skin health, boscia products are formulated without preservatives, ethanol alcohol, bactericides, synthetic fragrances, synthetic colorants, mineral oil, animal ingredients, or gluten. We keep things clear. Up front about what’s inside every product – with packaging that shows off texture and color, and talks technique and ingredient.”

The jist? When you buy a Boscia product, you’re getting exactly what you’re seeing – nothing less, nothing more. The fragrance you may or may not smell is there only from natural ingredients. It is a brand that’s cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, & even good for those with gluten allergies/celiac disease. They claim to be transparent about what they have in their products. Whether this is from a transluscent container, instructions on the back of a product, or helpful tips on their blog, Boscia seems like a company dedicated to those of all skin types – but especially to those with sensitive skin.

Alright – with that in mind, let’s get on to the review! This will include details on packaging, presentation, scents (if there are any) as well as results – & whether or not it (a product) is worth it! Let’s goooo.

First of all, the package arrived in an elegant, black box (tied with ribbon!) with the Boscia name & logo on the top.

SubstandardFullSizeRender.jpgFullSizeRender.jpg-25I did not know what Boscia had sent me, so I opened this with no knowlege of what was inside. I only knew that I’d told them that I had sensitive skin, due to certain medications. They said they’d work with that – then the package showed up at my door!

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The goodies, all unwrapped at this point!

So: looks pretty, yeah? But before I start reviewing these pretty things, let’s clarify what was sent my way:

  • Everyday Gel-to-Mousse Cleanser – $30
  • Sake Hydrating and Brightening Essence – $50
  • Tsubaki™️ Swirl Two-Part Gel & Cream Deep Hydration Moisturizer – $38
  • Luminizing Black Mask
  • Tsubaki™ Oil Deep Hydration Hydrogel Mask – $38

Cheap? No, definitely not. Still – it’s not way up there, either. This isn’t nearly as expensive as the Caudalíe or Tatcha lines, or something else expensive: the Fresh face masks, for example. I’d put it in or around the price range of a brand like Dr. Jart+. Dr. Jart+ charges about the same amount for a one-time use mask, has some products that are more on the pricy side & others that are more budget-friendly. By no means is it drugstore-priced; still, like I said: there are other brands that sell products similar to some of these Boscia products – & they charge way more. I would put this around medium-end skin care. It won’t destroy most peoples’ budgets; some might have to save, others can pay on the spot – but none of these products will ruin your credit score (*cough cough La Mer*).

Okay, so it’s a mid-priced brand with a range of products. Which one is worth its price tag? Which one is not? Keep reading to enjoy some nice photos of some truly beautifully packaged products. Of course, you should keep reading anyway just because my opinion is invaluable. Just in case you needed extra encouragement.

Jokes aside! Let’s do this.

Everyday Gel-to-Mousse Cleanser<<<<<<<<<<
ing I have to say about this cleanser: a little goes a long, long way. The first time I used it, I pressed down on the aerosol button & held it too long. Within a few moments, the gel-to-mousse claims became obvious – & I looked like I’d had a pie in the face!

I tried again the next morning. One small squirt does the job for your whole face – & boy, does it feel good! It has a slight fresh scent; one that won’t linger for too long, but is still enjoyable while using the product.

The texture of this cleaser reminds me of the Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Pack – after it becomes mousse, that is. It comes out of the aerosol as an almost completely transluscent gel – similar to Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser. That resemblence is gone within moments. As soon as I begin to gently massage the cleanser into my face, it feels as though I’m putting meringue all over my face – in the best way possible. It isn’t a “detergent-y” (as I like to call it) cleanser; aka: The foam will not dry out your skin. In fact, after patting my face dry with a towel, my skin felt almost the exact way as it does with Milky Jelly Cleanser. I think this is a better option for the evening; I do believe that it removes makeup a little more easily, since there’s so much – froth.

How does it foam so nicely, yet not dry out my skin? Well, according to Boscia, each product of theirs contains a special “Botanical Blend, an effective mix of jojoba leaf and willowherb. Jojoba leaf is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent free radical damage caused by pollution, UV rays, and other environmental irritants.” Another important ingredient in this cleanser is willowherb: it calms the skin, as well as fights off inflammation & redness. Basically, you’ll feel hydrated, plump, & squeaky clean after using. At least, that’s how I feel!

Would I purchase this product myself? No, probably not. Even though I was very impressed by this cleanser & how it made my skin feel, I still am quite wary of most cleansers I use – even ones that my skin seemed (or seems) to like. At this point, I mostly rotate between Milky Jelly & CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser. However: this might be a great option for those with dry, sensitive skin who still enjoy a frothy face wash. This will give you that – that I can say for sure!

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A cute detail at the top of the cleanser’s packaging: the Boscia “logo”

 

IMG_2793.JPG-1The product itself[/caption]< strong>Sake Hydrating and Brightening Essence<<<<<<<<<<
f all the Boscia products sent my way, this one was the most surprising for me. Why? Because although its called an essence on the bottle, on the online listing, & on the packaging…it isn’t like any essence I have ever tried before. It’s the most lightweight texture; smooth, gentle, hydrating, but not overdone. It provides a huge amount of moisture to the face, but the light texture keeps pores from getting overwhelmed.

This product is for those searching for a hydrating, redness-reducing…essence. Again – it’s funny to describe this product as such; it is a very liquid-y essence. However, on Sephora’s site, the essence is described as “a hydrating face serum that soothes skin and visibly reduces redness with sake.”

So…serum, or essence? I don’t really know…but that’s okay. Whatever it is, it’s doing its job extremely well. When I first tried out the product on the back left side of one of my hands, leaving the other side bare, I was shocked at how hydrated, fresh, & clean my skin felt & looked – on the back of my hand!<<<<<<<<<<
imagine, I’ve been having the same results on my face as I did on my hand. I’m always looking for lightweight moisturizing layers & this one does the job beautifully.

The sake in the essence is vitamin & mineral-rich. This allows it to deliver long-lasting moisture – great for people who have (again, I know) dry skin – I always could use a little extra dose of hydration on my skin.

Would I purchase this product myself? Yes, I think I would. It’s very unique. It provides the moisture & brightness that an essence does; it just does so in a lightweight way that somehow works beautifully on someone with dry skin. The dropper is tapered, so it’s easy to let product fall onto your face directly from the dropper. It reduces the amount of times you touch a product, & ensures you’ll be clean. Plus, it’s fun getting a little rush of coolness every time you gently & methodically drop, apply, & massage in all your serums. I’m off-track now. Yes, this is a great product. I’ve seen an improvement in the way my skin looks (more even, tighter pores) & how it feels (hydrated throughout the day. It’s a yes for me!

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The color scheme of this essence reminds me of Glossier’s Super Pure Serum – both are clear, lightweight, & gel-like in consistency. Both have baby blue bottles & white dropper caps. They’re very similar in appeaance! This one, however, is larger.

FullSizeRender.jpg-40 As you can see, this essence isn’t even close to being a cream (or just a thick liquid); it is very thin & very lightweight.[/caption]<

caption id=”attachment_9821″ align=”alignnone” width=”3000″]

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The essence itself is clear; the bottle is tinted baby blue. I’m not complaining; it’s beautiful!
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The color scheme of this essence reminds me of Glossier’s Super Pure Serum – both are clear, lightweight, & gel-like in consistency. Both have baby blue bottles & white dropper caps. They’re very similar in appeaance! This one, however, is larger.
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As you can see, this essence isn’t even close to being a cream (or just a thick liquid); it is very thin & very lightweight

Tsubaki™️ Swirl Two-Part Gel & Cream Deep Hydration Moisturizer   When I took this little jar out of its outside packaging, a real *gasp* left my mouth. Boscia was not fooling around when they said “Swirl Two-Part” – the cream & the gel are completely separated inside the jar upon opening it. They blend together after starting to use them, since it’s important to get both parts. Still, though – the texture of this product upon first opening it is beautiful!

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The outside packaging…I was not prepared for what nestled inside!
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In all her glory

Like the essence packaging, this jar is tinted – this time baby pink instead of baby blue. The swirl of white cream contains the heavier hydrating and firming ingredients, like rice bran & camellia oil – aka, “tsubaki oil.” Hence the name. The gel swirls have a light pink tint to them, & they contain the lighter nourishing/hydrating ingredients, like sodium hyaluronate. Scent? There’s hardly a scent; maybe a slight whiff of something fresh, but it’s almost unnoticable to me.

I knew right away that I wouldn’t be using this as a night cream. Usually, things with a gel texture just don’t provide enough moisture to my skin overnight. That doesn’t mean it won’t work on others! It doesn’t mean the product isn’t good; my skin just needs a little help overnight. So: using it as a night cream would be a no-no (for me).

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The moisturizer comes capped with a little plastic “plate” On this “plate” is the small scoop included with the moisturizer. Getting little scoops is always a huge plus for me, & it’s a testament to Boscia’s claim: they are committed to hygeine & quality. The scoops certainly do that.

On Sephora’s site, the page for this product claims that “this moisturizer instantly absorbs into skin without leaving behind a greasy or heavy residue, leaving it baby-soft and smooth with no greasy feel. Dry, rough, dehydrated skin is left glowing, healthy-looking, and radiant—alone or under makeup.”

“Under makeup” implied to me that it would work better as a day cream. I wasn’t wrong – at all! It’s incredibly lightweight, thanks to the gel – that also gives it a cooling element. I love that burst of hydration that so many gel products give – but the initial burst doesn’t last for long…hence, my gratefulness for the cream swirls, as well.

Basically, this sinks into the skin incredibly quickly. It feels very cooling – like a gel, as I said – but the creamy texture is also immediately noticeable. Somehow, these two sensations – gel & cream – manage to work perfectly together in this moisturizer. The gel & cream remain very distinguishable, easily identifiable sensations throughout application. By the end, however, I’m left with glowy, hydrated, plump skin. I don’t feel greasy; I don’t even feel like I need to wait a few minutes for it to sink in. It sinks into the skin the first minute of applying it. This makes it a great double for a primer: no time? No problem! It’s something I did a few times this past week. Guilty but not guilty – because guess who arrived on time!

Would I purchase this product myself? It’s hard for me to give a 100% certain, loud, “yes.” I have other creams that I adore; this one is a bit pricier compared to the others. So: I can’t say yet! I’m leaning toward yes, since it is such a unique texture & sensation. At the same time, the price makes me pause.

Still – no matter what I decide, this is a great product. If you’re looking to buy a lightweight yet creamy moisturizer that is easy & quick to apply, this might be the one for you! I feel as though it would work as a night cream for those with oily skin types. The moisturizer is formulated for all skin types, Boscia says, but just because products work on all skin types doesn’t mean they’re the best for all skin types. This one, however, seems to have everyone covered; a decent amount of cream for those who need it. The cream, however, is balanced out by the gel – it is lightweight yet hydrating. Perfect for those with oily or combo skin types.

Long story short: I’m considering it seriously. As with the cleanser, a little goes a long way, so I think this one will be around for a bit. I’ll be able to make up my mind by then – I promise!

In the end, however, props to Boscia for making a moisturizer that seems effective on all skin types – & props to them on the gorgeous presentation. Packaging & product are everything, & this moisturizer has both.

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Up-close & personal with Tsubaki’s swirls

Luminizing Black Mask  Here you have it: the product Boscia is best-known for. The charcoal peel-off mask. Let me be honest. Peel-off masks are not my best friend. I’ll often feel very dry after removing one, & I worried about what this one would do. After all – charcoal is very powerful, & the back of the mask’s bottle said to leave on for at least 30 minutes – thirty!

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Instructions on the back of the mask tube, not the outside packaging – that’s just thrown away. I never understand why brands don’t print product information/instructions on the backs or bottoms of the actual product – we all throw out (recycle, excuse me) the boxes. Not every brand puts instructions on the product itself, so this was noted, & a definite plus

I know – crazy that a peel-off charcoal mask would be calming & reduce redness. I was a bit scared at first, but I did see that again – it was listed as being good for all skin types. & so: I went for it.

First of all, the consistency is extremely thick – it feels like a thick putty or paste. It’s jet-black. Not grey, not dark grey, not navy. Jet black. It’s also very shiny when applied onto the face. It dries down as the mask sits, but even when completely dry, it still has some sort of sheen to it. The mask is so thick that if you move too quickly, you’ll be pulling the skin of your face this way & that – no good! After I realized this, I applied portion by portion (of my face) & moved slowly & methodically. That made for a smooth, flawless mask finish.

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A quick close-up of the extremely thick, gooey Luminizing Mask

As I waited for the mask to dry, I took a deep sniff of the mask. I smell nothing. I did not notice any oder – even when it was on my face! I would call this product completely fragrance-free, unless you’re perhaps extra sensitive to scents.

The time came: time to remove the mask. Don’t worry, I avoided my eyebrow area. I peeled off slowly, as it was said to be most effective when done that way. I got it all off in only two pieces, once for each side of my face. I found that impressive right from the get-go; peel-off masks aren’t always the friendliest product to work with. This one is a (wonderful) exception.

I rinsed my face, toned, & moved on with my skin care routine. Then I went to bed.

When I woke up, I saw a noticeable difference. My pores looked tighter, my skin looked brighter; more…yes….luminous. Truly, though: it’s something I thought that I’d be suffering from the following day: dryness, redness, irritation, breakouts coming to the surface. None of those things happened. I woke up with soft, clear, transluscent skin after using the Luminizing Mask. I’ve used it two more times since then – same results. I would advise those with sensitive/dry skin to be careful with how often you apply the mask. Like I said, this is very thick, so it can drag a bit on the skin. Make sure you apply slowly, so you don’t get micro-abrasions from the mask pulling on your skin.

Would I purchase this product myself? YES! Yes. Yes. Yes yes yes. Absolutely: yes. This was a product that I’ve seen floating around in my beauty hemisphere for a good while, now. Still – it never occurred to me to try a charcoal mask, let alone an intense, peel-off one. Let’s get this clear: it’s not that intense. I don’t believe your eyebrow would come off; maybe if you don’t have much to begin with it would be a problem…but that can still be avoided by: 1) keeping product away from eyebrows 2) refer to the first answer!

“It’s not that intense” is not meant to be an insult, by the way – not at all. This one just took the cake for clarifying yet gentle masks – a peel-off, no less. I can see it being great for multi-masking. Some days, you can’t put one thing all over your face, especially with colder weather coming. I call it: the combination skin season.

Effective? Yes. Relatively affordable? Yes – cheaper than Fresh masks, Tatcha masks, & many others. Gentle. Did I mention it was effective? Well, it is.

I get the high ratings now, without a doubt. Just from looking at other product reviews, I can see those with all skin types & preferences raving about this mask.

My final opinion on this baby? Now I understand why Boscia is associated so closely with this one product. It’s because the product works. It works very well.

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The front of the mask. Squeeze the tube, & product comes out. It’s simple, & isn’t wasteful – you can get almost every last drop with a squeezable bottle

Tsubaki™ Oil Deep Hydration Hydrogel Mask A sheet mask! A pale pink sheet mask, to be exact! I was elated when I pulled this out of the box. I started planning the cute masking photos I could take with it on. Unfortunately, as with most sheet masks, it’s almost impossible to move around when wearing one – unless you want your mask to flop to the floor like a dead fish.

Like the moisturizer, this mask contains tsubaki oil (hence the name) as well as Vitamin E & serine. Together, they work to soften, smooth, & plump the skin.

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The Tsubaki mask, with its sister: the Tsubaki moisturizer 

The texture of this mask is very satisfying; it’s that kind of rubber-gel feel that keeps your skin cool, no matter the temperature. Because of the materials used, it’s extremely soothing & hydrating. It’s #millennialpink, too!

If you’re sensitive to scented products, this is probably a great choice for you. It’s packed to the  max with hydration & soothing elements, & I can hardly detect a scent. It’s very soft, it’s cooling, & it has no scent. It’s a refreshing 20 minutes, that’s for sure.

IMG_5748.jpeg The mask comes in two parts – it’s not difficult to “assemble.” I’d just say to make sure you’re already in the position you want to be in while you wait for your mask to take effect. For this mask, it’s around 15-20 minutes. If I have a sheet mask that’s more than one piece, I like to use my iPhone front camera to make sure my mask is placed levelly. That’s what I did with this one, & I would call the operation a success. You may have to readjust a few times, but within a minute or so, the mask begins to stay in place.

Some people like to wash off the residue (or essence) from a sheet mask after taking off the mask itself; others prefer to pat it into their skin. For me, it depends on which mask I am using – if it’s a clarifying one (like rice or makgeolli), I rinse off the essence. I don’t want to leave drying ingredients on my face for too long. For this one, however, I patted the remaining essence into my face, just as Boscia suggested.

I used this after a clay mask. I needed a detox, but I needed to make sure my skin wouldn’t fall off my face from the clay. This mask did the job. My skin looked plump; healthier than usual. I felt more hydrated. I did it before bed, so that my skin would absorb the max amount of essence. I wasn’t disappointed in the morning: clear skin, zero clogged pores, & a brighter, more awake face staring back at me in the mirror.

Would I purchase this myself? Yes! It’s $8. It’s more expensive than the Tonymoly masks, which are around $3 each (depending where you buy them), but I think it’s a nice “treat yourself” kind of mask. If you’re looking for a little luxury but don’t have a big budget, this is a great option. It works, & it doesn’t cost an arm or a leg. Win-win.

Overall impression of Boscia as a brand?  I’m very impressed with how well all of the products sent to me worked on me. Boscia seems to know what it is doing! A lot of these products are extremely versatile, comfortable for all skin types, & work just as well – if not better – than an even pricier product that claims to do the same thing.

So: what would I personally buy again? What would I refill?Definitely the luminizing mask. That was a definite wow. I am angry I didn’t try it before!

  • Both the essence & the Tsubaki moisturizer are very unique. I can’t say which I’d rather pick; it’s too quick for me to say. I’d say give me a few months: wait until 20-degree winds are hitting me straight in the face. Then – & only then – will I be able to give my final verdict on the Tsubaki cream. But seriously, these are both great.

At the end of the day, if I had to pick one, it would be the mask. That’s the one with the true wow factor. I did not expect it to be so gentle to my dry skin yet also work its detoxifying, clarifying magic.

So: now that I have truly put some serious time into figuring out what Boscia is all about, I’m a big fan. They have a good message, good ingredients, are forthright about their products, what they do (& what they don’t) – & the products work! Truly!

Boscia, you convinced me: your line isn’t just for oily-skinned people. I see now that there’s something for everyone – & some of the things just work on everyone.

Have any of you tried Boscia products? Which one of these would you care to buy, if you had the chance? Are there any you’d recommend I purchase myself? Let me know in the comments, as always.

Love,

Sof ❤

September Favorites: A Lot of Favorite Oldies – & Some Incredible Newbies

I truly cannot believe that it’s October. I’ve been busy! It’s not “going to class” busy, but I have been writing, taking one online class that is about writing creative non-fiction (aka: the way I write on this site!), & just…Realizing Things…

I feel like I Realize Things every month (I mean, thank god I do) but this month was huge for me. I’m slowly starting  to slip into the shell that fits me most. It’s a long scary road ahead, but I think I’ll handle it fine. I have been more at peace with my mind lately; I laugh more easily & things are’t engulfed in dark thoughts. I’m becoming more myself, & for that alone – I will always remember this September in my mind.

This post isn’t really about “me” at all, as you can tell by my title – but I wanted to type it out that I am feeling more comfortable with myself every single day & it’s something I’m proud of & want to share. I never thought I’d be this busy & at peace with myself after having to give up violin in April (read why here). I have been more cheerful, more focused on my own thoughts & trying to trust my intuition; I dance alone in my room; I write, write, & write; I keep my family & dear friends close to my heart & try to love them as best as I can. Needless to say, feeling this way is amazing for me & it’s not something that came to me easily – so, I’m proud of the progress I have made & wanted to share it with all of you!

Now that I have that out of the way, let me promise that I have some amazing things coming up on here, including a few “interviews” with some friends of mine! I also have some upcoming things that are even more amazing with some other orgnizations 🙂 stay tuned is all I will say (for now).

My monthly playlist for September is already up! You can check it out here. For the first time, it includes a poem – by me! It’s the first time I have put my poetry on this blog, so I hope you like it. I have good things planned for the month of October, & I CANNOT contain my excitement for Stranger Things Season 2. AAA! Okay! Let’s talk products (& other little things)

I’ve written about simplifying my skin care routines – both morning & night. I really tried to stick to that this month, & I do think that the difference is noticable! My skin looks glowier & isn’t as congested. I think my face was being overwhelmed with products & was telling me to slow down…I’m glad I listened.

Don’t worry, I won’t be cutting off new products; you’ll still get reviews from me! I’m just using a different (slower, but worth it) method to see how I like a product: that is, make sure the rest of my skin care is consistent while I’m trying out the new product. That way, I can tell if there’s a noticeable difference – good or bad!

So, this September, I cut back my routine to fewer steps; fewer serums. I had to make one big purchase; other than that, however, I stuck to what I knew & loved. My cutting back on buying skin care has been good for my wallet AS WELL AS good for my skin. It’s a win-win.

In my September favorites, I’m returning to some old, much-loved products, as well as a few new ones that are helping me keep my skin calm, hydrated, glowy, & clear. You’ll see a lipstick I just remembered I owned; you’ll see a cream that triples as a moisturizer, leave-on mask, & makeup primer. I’ve categorized them loosely: Of course, we’ll have skin care; I’ll split up makeup favorites into another category; I also have some art pieces, photos, & jewelry i’ve been liking as well (side note: I may do a lookbook in the future; it might be fun! Tell me what you think about that).

You’ll see them all; you’ll see everything! Even better, you’ll be able to read all my thoughts on them starting…now! ENJOY!

Skincare 

My routine is pretty much the same as the simplified ones I’ve built (read my “back to basics” morning routine here; I’ve allowed myself free range on masks, which is fun! Most of my skincare favorites for this month are old & much-loved (though I haven’t talked in detail about all of them on this blog). Only one out of the three masks I loved the most this month is an old favorite. I figured we may as well start with the new stuff, then move from there!

 

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The tremendous trio of my September

Let’s start with the one I was most surprised by: the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask. I have an upcoming post that’s a review of some of Boscia’s other products – they were kind enough to send me some things, including this mask! I have some good opinions on the other products, & I won’t say too much about this one – just that I’m shocked at how effective yet gentle it was. Yes – it’s an intense peel-off mask, & you may have to tug a tiny bit, but it really, really works. I use it in the evening; I wake up with glowier, clearer, less congested skin every time I’ve used this mask. I will definitely be repurchasing this with my own money; I’m also recommending it to everyone I see!

Okay – on to our next mask. This is an old favorite; something my own mama put me onto, actually! You all know my love for Origins products – the Drink Up™️ Intensive Overnight Mask is now one of my cult favorite products from the brand. Here, I have a small travel size that came from a bigger kit with two minis (one of this mask; the other the Origins charcoal mask), but I will most definitely be getting full-size (or sneaking dollops of my mama’s) once I’m done with my little tube.

What made me start using this again? Well, I always have redness/sensitivity/dryness under my nose, but it got quite bad this past month for some reason (nothing changed; no colds; nothing!) & I was trying to find overnight masks that would give that are an extra boost of hydration. BAM! This one did the trick in about two days. Sensitivity & dryness are, for the most part, gone. It definitely is intended for dry skin types; even Origins mentions that in the product description. It contains a variety of hydrating oils: avocado & apricot kernel oil do most of the work here. Together, these oils build a moisture reservoir for your skin overnight. You’ll wake up with softer, calmer skin for sure – but it works even in a few minutes. The oils don’t just build a moisture reservoir; they instantly flood your compromised moisture reserves – aka: it’s great for using on super dry spots. It also contains Japanese seaweed as a main ingredient, which repairs the skin’s barrier, preventing future dehydration. The smell is soft but present; I’d describe it as slightly citrusy; tangy fruit for sure. It also is very cooling when first applied – another relief to tired, dehydrated skin cells. Best of all – this mask does not clog my pores, even though it contains oils, & even though it’s meant to be worn overnight! I can only thank Origins (of course) & my mama – for buying the mask before I even knew it existed.

Last mask? Mario Badescu Whitening Mask. I’ve been hearing things about this product for ages; I was a bit scared because it seemed quite intense. The mask itself looks a bit like liquid concrete (see above photo) & has a very thick texture. It also has an odd smell – that’s because of the liquorice as an ingredient.

Will this bleach my skin/lighten my freckles? No! It simply evens out your skin tone, soothing irritation & reparing discolored areas, like scars. To my surprise, it’s actually meant for dry skin.  Kojic acid, liquorice root extract, mulberry extract, & grapeseed extract  and  minimize the look of age spots and even out skin in general, while olive oil & Vitamin E lock in moisture, making your complexion bright & glowy – but still soft. I know a lot of dry-skinned people who struggle to find a brightening mask that isn’t drying. I’d hesitate to call this a “whitening” mask, as I don’t think that it lightens the skin. I think “brightening” is a better way to describe it, but that’s just me. Best of all? You only leave it on for ten minutes maximum – perfect if you’re up in the morning, want to treat your face right, but don’t have much time. Try using it as a spot treatment on uneven areas from time to time; your skin will thank you. I’m happy I finally gave this a go; it’s a great mask that’s quick, not too expensive, & lasts a long time (thanks to the consistency).

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 / Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum

You’ve seen these before in my posts; the fact that I love the Drunk Elephant Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is no secret. I love The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid as well – it’s dirt-cheap (unlike the Drunk Elephant) & works very well overnight to lock in moisture & keep my complexion plump & glowy. The one problem I have with all of The Ordinary’s serums is that they’re a bit tacky; I don’t mind this, however, if I’m using one as a night serum. I find the Drunk Elephant one to be a bit tacky, too – together, they work like a dream.

The Drunk Elephant serum works to gently exfoliate, thanks to the AHA/BHA blend & the glycolic acid. I do try to avoid the area under my nose when applying this serum – I am always dry & sensitive around there, & I don’t want to take too many chances. On my cheeks, forehead, chin, though – that’s a different story. This serum took my skin to the next level; think of it as a very gentle Babyfacial – except you use it every single night.

The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is another treasure. It’s more lightweight than some of the other serums by The Ordinary; because of this, it’s less tacky than the others – big plus! As most of you may know by this point: hyaluronic acid can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This makes it an amazing hydrating serum for any skin type – it contains no oil – & the added Vitamin B5 in The Ordinary’s formula enhances surface hydration. Basically: this is an amazing, hydrating serum for any & all skin types. It’s dirt-cheap, & it works beautifully.

Why do these two work so well together? Well, I like to think of the Framboos serum as a lighter version of the Sukari Babyfacial (also by Drunk Elephant). It gently exfoliates (chemically, thanks to the glycolic acid & the AHA/BHA blend) & gets rid of texture, keeps skin clear & bright, & just gives me a great glow. The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 locks in moisture; it gives me an extra layer of hydration without feeling too weighed down, & it ensures that no matter what, I will not have dry skin after applying the DE Framboos – no matter what. A dynamic duo, indeed.

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre 

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Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre – Jane Birkin’s go-to

Okay. I love Glossier with all my heart – & I loved their Priming Moisturizer for daily wear, until very recently. I noticed a few other people (including YouTubers like Ingrid Nilsen) complaining about the formula. I was confused. I noticed no difference – then I started using my brand-new tube. Suddenly, I got it. Keep in mind: this was Ingrid’s first impression of Priming Moisturizer; she hadn’t bought it previously so hadn’t tried the previous formulation. Here’s what she had to say about the PM in her video “GLOSSIER REVIEW! What’s Worth It + What’s Not”:

“I wanted something that would be a really good daily moisturizer; one that would provide a little bit more hydration. When I started using this, I really loved the consistency of it…but then after a few days of using this regularly, I started to notice that my skin felt kind of and irritated…kind of like how it feels when I use a retinol treatment. I was really confused about how my skin was feeling at first…because when I put the moisturizer on, it felt really hydrating, but not greasy…I looked at the ingredients in this, and sure enough, there is retinol in this.”

Long quote, but it’s still a shortened version of what Ingrid had to say. I love her videos – you should check them out! This was a great review of the brand (in my opinion).

Okay – so I’d been getting questions for a while about Glossier switching their ingredients. I was confused, because mine felt the same – then I got my new tube, felt a bit irritated & red for a few days, watched Ingrid’s video…&…you get it! 2 + 2 = 4.

I didn’t have the same reaction Ingrid did; she mentioned feeling tight & dry. I felt hydrated still, but I felt as though my skin was tingling; it felt a little warmer than usual, too. I didn’t ever get a rash, but I had increased irritation/redness under my nose.

If you’ve been using Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer lately & haven’t had a problem, you’re fine – you probably just aren’t sensitive to retinol; some are more sensitive than others. The ingredient won’t hurt you – just make sure you wear sunscreen (otherwise, it will hurt you). But remember: you should be wearing sunscreen anyway!

I saw that Ingrid mentioned the Embryolisse cream. I asked a few others about it, & after seeing only positive reviews – & hearing that it was Jane Birkin’s go-to moisturizer – I ordered it from the online shop DermStore – you can get many French pharmacy products & other cult favorites on there. It’s quite inexpensive; you get a bit more product than the Glossier Priming Moisturizer, & you pay a little more for this tube than for the Glossier one. It evens out when considering product amount.

This moisturizer is quickly described as “A vitamin and antioxidant-rich moisturizer ideal for dry skin. Well – dry skin, that’s me! On the back of the tube, Embryolisse claims that this cream is a 3-in-1: a moisturizer (of course) a leave-on mask, & a makeup primer. Say no more. I’ve been eyeing leave-on masks since I saw Delilah Parillo use the ridiculously expensive (& luxurious) Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask in her GRWM video with Glossier.

The Sisley one is $162; the Embryolisse is $28 (& that’s the bigger size). I’m not saying they’re similar – I have no idea what the Sisley one feels like on the face – but if you’ve been looking for “leave-on masks,” this is a good inexpensive one to give a go.

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“Moisturizer. Make-up primer. Moisturizing mask.”

It’s very similar in consistency to Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer. Yet – it sinks in quicker, easier, & – best of all – doesn’t tingle or burn after application. It’s slightly less…oily…I suppose is the best word…than the Glossier Priming Moisturizer. I feel as though the finishes are slightly different. Somehow, the texture ends up feeling similar yet very different. It sinks in faster than the Glossier one; if you work too slow, the cream will actually sink into the back of your hand, leaving less than you put on the back of your hand (if that’s how you apply your moisturizer). Embryolisse boasts that the cream is quickly absorbed by the skin; I’d agree with that – in the best way possible, it is very absorbant. Hence, the hydrated yet not sticky or greasy finish. It works very nicely as a primer; if I need five minutes to get ready, this is the moisturizer/primer I would slap on before patting a little concealer on & running.

I will definitely be refilling my tube when this one runs out. It’s been the main player for the past month or so for a daytime moisturizer. Plus – Jane Birkin used it. It has to be good, right?

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This is a LOT of product – I won’t run out any time soon

Sunday Riley U.F.O / Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich

This is a “hack” that is most certainly not a hack – thousands of people have done this before I have. In fact, I got that tip from many posts on various skin care websites. Oils can be patted into the skin before or after moisturizing, but they can also be mixed into the moisturizer of your choice (just as long as it’s not a water gel cream; I can’t see an oil reacting well to that type of moisturizer).

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My newest night moisturizing routine – scoop, cream, & oil are used together every single evening

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil 

I love a good facial oil! This one was the first that I ever bought – & it is something that I have continued to return to, time after time.

First off – let’s start with some context. I was having some bad skin weeks in January; I asked a friend for help, & she recommended I try the Sunday Riley. When I looked it up on Sephora, I noticed that it contained some salicylic acid – something found very often in acne treatments (like Proactiv). I was nervous after seeing that – I was convinced I’d end up dry & greasy – but the oil itself was so beautiful, I had never tried a face oil, I had Christmas money, & my skin did need a litle extra help at that time. I figured that all of these were good reasons to justify my purchase, so I clenched my teeth, typed in my Sephora gift card number, & waited for the product to arrive.

I was not disappointed. Turns out: this oil is marketed for all skin types. Why? Well, because while the salicylic acid does its clarifying work, milk thistle and cucumber seed oil ensure that you’ll feel soothed & hydrated all day. Chamomile and neroli soothe stressed, blemish-prone skin, but they can also sooth dry/sensitive, too.

This oil has a very pungent smell to it. It’s very herbal, green, & very dark. I like it quite a lot, but I know some people absolutely hate it. If you’re unsure about scented products/are sensitive to heavy scents, I’d definitely recommend going to a Sephora to see what it smells like. Personally – I don’t really care what a product smells like, as long as it works. This one works – I also like the smell, which is a big plus.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich 

(Not to be confused with the original Priming Moisturizer I mentioned above with the Embryolisse cream)

Sigh. Will I ever shut up about how much I love this moisturizer? Well, even if I could, I wouldn’t. It’s that good to my skin. Seriously. When Glossier launched this product in January, I jumped on it as fast as possible. I was not surprised. Even on the coldest days, PMR would keep my face feeling plump & hydrated. I can wear it in the day without getting clogged pores, or I can slather on a thick layer all over my face after a rigorous tingling mask. I can use it for any occasion, really.

First off the bat – this stuff is butter-soft, so luxurious in texture, & smells heavenly. It isn’t too floral; it isn’t musky or fruity. A key ingredient in PMR is lavender; one of my favorite scents is lavender. It would make sense I gravitate towards that scent! Anyways: it smells luxurious, feels luxurious, & gives your skin a from-within glow. It’s one of the Glossier products I recommend to anyone – like Super Pure Serum (read my mini review on it here!). In fact, PMR was the first thing to pop into my mind when I was asked as a rep to name my favorite Glossier products. I said it “makes me feel like a queen.” I wasn’t wrong.

The only cream I can compare PMR to is Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cream. They’re not exact by any means; the rose cream is a pale pink, while the Priming Moisturizer Rich is an ivory-shell kind of shade. The end results, however, are very similar – there’s just one downside: the Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Mask is $75.

That’s a lot of money for a cream, & I do spend money on some expensive skin care (like Drunk Elephant or Sunday Riley), but I don’t look at creams much anymore (for nightt-ime, that is). Why?

Priming Moisturizer Rich. That’s all.

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A close-up of the products, with a bit of the spoon’s scoop showing itself. I love the color of the oil

So…what’s the deal with these products? What’s that stick in the jar of cream?

First of all – the stick is actually called the Stainless Steel Spoon, sold by NIOD, which is one of the few “brands” DECIEM owns (including The Ordinary).

I’ve spoken about how hygienic spatulas are – they keep bacteria away, & only scoop up enough amount that you need; cream you’ll have to touch regardless. Keeping the fingers away from your jar of moisturizer, however, will benefit me, you…the whole universe.

I used some plastic spatulas to apply my moisturizer initially; this past summer, I saw the Stainless Steel Spoon pop up when I was browsing DECIEM’s site for The Ordinary prroducts. I saw it pop up, I saw it was $2.50, & then I bought it.

Thoughts? Not much to say, except that it’s very pretty & shiny, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do – & it’s environment-friendly! No more throwing out plastic spatulas after they get old. I clean this one with rubbing alcohol, just as I did with plastic – but this one will last.

I use the Stainless Steel Spoon to scoop up the right amount of Priming Moisturizer Rich for my face (about one average-size scoop of the spoon), then I grab my vial of Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. & drop three drops right down into the cream on the back of my hand. I then mix them together; the dark green of the oil makes the cream turn a nice minty-green apple color. The scents of the two products combined is absolutely heavenly, especially at night. I like to think of it as aromatherapy. I apply the green mix to my face, close my jars & screw shut my vials – & there! I am good to go. The oil helps keep my skin balanced & clear, while the moisturizer keeps my skin get softer, dewier, & free of redness (YAY!)  & I think they work perfectly together. It’s a dreamy combination.

Glossier Body Hero Duo 

You know – the huge body-positive ad campaign that’s going around these days. The one that hasn’t been photoshopped or retouched. The one starring (let’s be real here) Paloma Elsesser, one of my favorite faces out in the beauty/fashion world right now. You can read my full review here if you’d like; you can also just keep reading to see why the duo is in my favorites.

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Another duo; this time: Body Hero Duo. (SIDE NOTE: special Body Hero sticker only comes with an order of the duo; same goes for the larger pink pouch that comes with it (which I’ve been loving as a quick makeup bag. The more you can fit, the better

In my first impressions review, I mentioned being worried about the Daily Oil Wash running out on me quickly. I was worried because the consistency is extremely thin, which often means you need more amount of product, which means you run out quickly…you get it. I’ve also been using it on my “hair.” The oils are gentle enough but foam up very nicely; I come out of the shower with soft skin, a nose full of orange blossom neroli (the Body Hero scent) & soft peach fuzz on my head, too! I’ve found it to be particularly useful after shaving my head. I get covered in particles of hair; the oil swipes the little ones stuck to my shoulders with no issue, & I can dry off without seeing more of my tiny hair spikes that I didn’t catch the first time around. Daily Oil Wash? So far, you’re doing well. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of my impressions of Daily Oil Wash – coming soon!

I will say with no hesitation that the Daily Perfecting Cream is my favorite out of the two. It truly does work like a liquid highlight; I’ve applied it while shining a flashlight on my hand or arm, & you can see a subtle glow (not even a shimmer!) that reflects slightly pink. It’s as though Becca’s liquid highlights now have a sister – just for the rest of our bodies.

I’ve been using the Daily Perfecting Cream as a body & a hand cream. It’s really hard to explain how nice the cream feels when it’s sunk into your skin…just know that you won’t feel sticky or greasy; you’ll just walk around feeling as though you just moisturized, but not in a bad way. It also smells like orange blossom neroli, & the scent lingers longer than the scent of the Daily Oil Wash – I’m not complaining. I absolutely adore the scent of this duo; it’s very neutral, yet somehow appealing to everyone that I know has tried it. I truly don’t have anything bad to say about it – & if you don’t want to buy the duo & don’t know which to pick…get the cream. You won’t regret it – I promise!

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Makeup

Yay! Time for some fun. Let’s get right to it. Here’s what I’ve been loving – get ready for some face photos, too!

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb / Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Weirdo 

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Two lip products that work amazingly together – & just as well as standalone products, too

I’ll get to the lipstick in a moment – let’s just take a moment to acknowlege that Rihanna came out with one single lip product for the initial launch – a lip product that looks incredible on literally every skin tone. I mean, it’s Fenty Beauty – inclusivity is a must, & I’m here for it.

Gloss Bomb is described as a “universal lip luminizer,” which, judging from the pictures I’ve seen, is completely accurate. The shade is in “Fenty Glow” which is described as “a shimmering rose nude.” Somehow, the gloss is sheer enough to be flattering on everyone; no one looks as though they’re wearing a heavy lip (or one that is waaaayyy too light). Even on my pale skin, my lips look plumper & shinier – enhanced, not modified. It truly does look incredible on everyone I’ve seen wear it.

The Gloss Bomb is also one of the cheaper products on Fenty Beauty’s display. It’s a gloss that wouldn’t take too many hours of work to buy. The shape & design of the gloss makes it a beautiful thing to carry around; plus, the octagonal shape of the chunky little tube makes it easy to find if/when digging around in a bag. The wand is chunky & thick, just like the tube. Don’t worry – it won’t be messy. One swipe with this big wand, a few smaller strokes to ensure full coverage, & you’re good to go. It’s something you can apply without a mirror; it’s something that smells good; it’s something that’s incredibly hydrating; it’s something that looks good on every. Single. Person.

If you’re overwhelmed by the Fenty Beauty launch (that was a lot of product dumped on us!) I recommend you start with this if you don’t know where to begin. I guarantee that you’ll look amazing in it. Trust me!

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Fenty Gloss Bomb on the lips!

Now – the lipstick. I’ve liked the Urban Decay Vice lipstick line for quite a while now. I have three shades: two are pinky-nudes, the other is a sheer red (which I adore). In my opinion, the quality of UD lipsticks have surpassed MAC’s – plus, I always try to go with the cruelty-free option…& if on top of that, it feels better than MAC lipsticks anyway – what reason do you have to not pick the Vice lipstick?

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This is just about the same price as a MAC lipstick & I think the packaging is prettier! (but that’s just me)

I wear the shade Weirdo all the time. It’s a cream finish; that means it’s hydrating but doesn’t fade too quickly. It also has a bit of sheen to it – it’s not a glossy lipstick by any means, but I enjoy the slight sheen. It’s described as a “pale baby pink” – & I know I’m pale, but looking at that lipstick, it just doesn’t seem quite a baby pink to me. When swatched or worn on the lips, it comes off more of a rosy coral for me – it’s not over the top, though. Definitely it’s something I pull out when I’m stumped on what to do with my lips when I have a dramatic eye look going on; it’s also good to smudge some of this on in a hurry & look hecticly polished because of it.

The lipstick formula contains a lot of hydrating ingredients, like aloe vera, jojoba, avocado, and babassu oils, as well as Vitamin E. Vitamin C is there, too; UD says it “delivers a hint of antioxidants.” Not sure what that means, but I am sure that the three Vice lipsticks I’ve tried have all been incredibly hydrating. No chapped lips, no need to prep before application – it’s all good to go, right there in the tube. Don’t worry about it being patchy during the day, either; the lipsticks fade out with elegance & grace. No ugly spots at the end of the day! Best of all, the shape of the lipstick bullet makes it extremely easy to apply in public without a mirror.

As you can see, both of my lip choices for this month were things that don’t need a mirror. I love that effortless look, & both of these products (one quite old, the other brand new) help me achieve that.

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This is a look I get asked how to do quite often. I have the product breakdown here – but to stay on topic, Urban Decay Weirdo is on my lips!

 

Fenty Beauty Portable Highlighter Brush 140 / Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Blonde

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A side view: the brush is white (with a reflective purple glimmer); the Shimmer Skinstick is the matte beige color 
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Glimmer in effect!

Of course I had to put these together as some of my favorites. The little brush was made for the highlight stick – no, seriously: they were made to go together. That’s why they’re magnetic (I can’t stop sticking & unsticking them together). The brush is small, & I was scared it’d be flimsy. Not so! Both of these products are very solidly made; they fit comfortably in your hand without feeling too heavy; at the same time, they’re able to have some weight to them. They don’t feel cheap.

I’ve been using the highlight brush with the highlight skin stick, of course – I’ve also been using it with other highlights, cream or powder; I will say that the brush works best with cream stick products. That makes sense, since it was built to work for the Shimmer Skinsticks.

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Even at an angle, these buddies like to stick together

Blonde is described as “a glimmering gold.” I like to call it the cream sister of the Fenty Beauty Trophy Wife Killawatt highlight. It’s less glittery & more dewy; it does shine a “pure” gold, though. I was scared that this wouldn’t work on me, but it’s beautiful. They’re very buildable; Fenty Beauty describes the formula as a cream-to-powder that’s “weightless, blendable, & LIVES to be layered.”

I was a bit nervous that “cream to powder” would be too dry on my skin, therefore causing patchiness if I tried to apply it in layers – not to worry! It goes on smooth the first layer; it goes on even smoother a second time around. It’s not drying; in fact, I’d say the main effect of this product (though the shade Blonde does contain some little sparkles & a bit of shimer/glitter) is dewiness. It gives my cheekbone a golden glow that (for once) doesn’t make my cool-toned skin look muddy. I’ve been smudging it all over my eyelids, too – & since Rihanna made it clear that the Match Stix are safe for eyes, lips, or anywhere else on the face, I’ll be experimenting with Blonde. Maybe it’ll be an inner corner highlight one day; maybe it’ll be on top of my lipstick the following day. We’ll see. With these (very versatile) highlighting sticks, the world is my oyster.

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A pretty side view. These are just very pretty to photograph…okay?

CLĒ Cosmetics Melting Lip Powder(s)

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Two out of the three newest additions to CLĒ Cosmetics’ collection of lip colors: these come from the Fall 2017 Collection (Desert Rose on the left, Plum Medium on the right)

I’ve talked a good amount on here about my love for CLĒ Cosmetics’ products. Whether it’s a skin care product or a makeup product, all of CLĒ’s collection is gentle on the skin & suitable for all skin types. All their face makeup (Essence Air Cushion & CCC Cream) contains high levels of SPF, which is great. Best of all: the people behind the brand are infinitely sweet.

I was extremely excited for their Fall Collection to launch – mainly because of the Essence Moonlighter Cushion highlights (we’ll get to that in a minute) – but also because of the three new shades of their lip powders.

I know – lip powder. You’d think it’d be drying – but I swear it’s not. “Melting” is a great word to put in there. The lip products arrive in litle lipstick-like tubes; inside the tubes is a wand (like a lip gloss one) & the powder itself. It looks like a matte powder pigment, but the moment you swipe a little bit across your lips with the wand, it melts (thanks body heat!) & creates a buildable stain that looks almost like a liquid lip – just without the dryness & without the stress of reapplying every 3 hours.

The two new shades I have are Plum Medium, a gorgeous, muted, eggplant color; I also have Desert Rose, which I love for daytime. It’s a dusty deep brick/rust that doesn’t show up super red or super brown; I love how muted both of the shades are – yet the color scheme is perfect for fall. CLĒ won me over yet again! CLĒ has a third shade of lip powder for their fall collection, too. It’s called Blushing Peach, a beautiful cool-toned peach shade that works so beautifully on the eyes – just check out this photo on CLĒ’s Instagram, featuring Blushing Peach as an “eyeshadow” – how cool is that!

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clecosmetics🍑 @katybaileyx wears Melting Lip Powder ‘Blushing Peach’ on eyes, lips and cheeks + Essence Moon Lighter ‘Apricot Tinge’ 💫 #clecosmetics

These powders are multipurpose & are safe for the lips, eyes, or face! They’re also waterproof, smudge-proof, & long-lasting. Those are some big claims – but they’re true. Once the powder sets down into the skin (of the lips, cheeks, eyes, etc.) it stays put.If I want to use one as a blush, I like to put a bit of lip balm on the back of my hand, then blend in a tiny amount of lip powder. That creates a paste that’s easier to blend into my skin than the powder alone. The balm gradually fades (just put a tiny amount on your hand – otherwise, it’ll slip & slide around your face), leaving a barely-there cheek tint. If you like versatile & interesting products, these powders are definitely for you. There’s lots of things I love about the CLĒ Melting Lip Powders; probably the biggest one is that it provided me with a hydrating lip product that looked just the right amount of matte. That’s all thanks to the Vitamin E (known for its hydrating effect on the lips) – & CLĒ’s genius, too. I’ve been starting to do bold fall lips & these have both been put to use. Stay tuned for more looks – they’ll come, don’t worry! I’ll probably challenge myself & do a full face of CLĒ products soon; they have enough to build a full face around just their products! Congratulations on the beautiful colors, CLĒ babies!  I can’t wait until it’s time to wear very thick sweaters. These fall shades will be perfect for every gloomy (or sunny) autumn day.

Eye makeup

I haven’t been reaching for many multi-dimensional eye looks lately. I’ve been preferring one shade blended all over the lid, crease, & lower lash line – maybe with a bit of highlight dabbed on the center of the lid. Mascara (sometimes) & then run! Here are the three eye products I’ve been using the most this month. One’s an oldie – the other two were purchased (or recieved) this month.

 

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Two eyeshadows, one mascara – all three incredibly affordable.

Let’s be clear – I’m always reaching for my Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette. All the shades are matte except for two. It contains the perfect balance of warm mattes & cool mattes, as well as a few neutrals. Usually, I’ll end up “embelleshing” an eye look with one or two shadows from that palette. It’s just one I use consistently, since I like every single one of the shadows. Still – I’ve talked about that palette more than once (probably 5 or 6 times, actually), so I’ll focus on the three products I haven’t talked about.

Vendome Paris Beaute Pearl Eye Shade in Espresso

I received this product in the September box that Glossybox sent to me (a box of a variety of full size & travel-size beauty/skin care products, similar to companies like Ipsy). The eyeshadow is from the company Vendome Paris – a brand I’d never heard of. From what I can tell from Vendome’s website, the company is mainly focused on making eyeshadow singles as well as blushes – all with magnetic bottoms that can fit into an artist’s palette – or in the customizable palettes Vendome also sells on their site. The eyeshadow I got retailed for $26. It’s a very big eyeshadow; I’d say it’s just about the size of a dollar coin, maybe a bit bigger.

Not much is said about the color itself (which I would call a warm brown, shimmery; the color of iced coffee with some milk in it) on the site. The Pearle Eyeshadow, however, is described as “a wonderfully fine textured shadow with a lightly pearled brilliance,” with technology that “allows for a soft luminosity that is both modern and polished.” I’d agree with this. I get an incredible three-dimensional look from using one single eyeshadow. The many times I’ve worn this shadow (& this shadow alone) thi past month, I’ve been asked almost every time I’m out with it on about what is on my eyes.

I can’t predict if I’ll repurchase, simply because it’ll take me so long to get through this big one. All I know is that I’ve been loving it – & so has everyone & their mother who’s seen me in it.

L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara 

I started hearing about this product at the end of July. Some swore that it was a dupe for the Diorshow Mascara (my favorite mascara); others said it was more like Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara. Either way, everyone seemed to love it – strange, because I think the Better Than Sex Mascara & Diorshow Mascara are incredibly different (I don’t like the Better Than Sex). Still, I got curious by the time September hit, & when I had a spare $10, I picked it up at my local grocery. Convienient.

Conclusion? Smells nice, feels good on the lashes – but definitely not a dupe for Dior’s. I could see it being a dupe for Lancôme’s Monsieur Big Mascara – maybe if Monsieur Big & Better Than Sex had a baby, this is what that mascara would be. It’s not bad by any means; I’d even go so far as to say that it is good. It’s just not as good as the Diorshow – which made me sad, because I was excited by the concept of paying less for the same product. It’s okay, though – this is a good mascara, I haven’t stopped using it, I don’t plan on stopping using it, & when I run out, I may very well buy a new tube. At my local grocery store.

Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Arrow 

Ah, Colourpop. I remember late 2015, when it suddenly became possible to buy $5 eyeshadows…online! That were good!!! I had a Colourpop craze in summer 2016, & I still have & love a lot of their products – mostly their eyeshadows (my favorites are the super glittery or pigmented ones, like Bubbly or Coconut). This shade, Arrow, was released in the Valentine’s Day 2017 collection, & I thought it was limited edition. I thought wrong! When I checked today, Arrow was still up on the site.

It’s a great eyeshadow – sheer, but buildable. It has a lot of different color shifts. In some lights (like in the photo above), it looks like a copper penny. In other lights, it looks red. In others, pink. Colourpop descibes it as “a vibrant red topped with pink & copper glitter” – hence the red shift.

I love this color for fall. It looks beautiful tapped all over the lid; it looks beautiful as an inner corner highlight or cupid’s bow highlight; it also looks good used as an eyelid topper. It’s very versatile, it contains all the right “fall colors” & it’s only $5. 10/10.

Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife / CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion in Apricot Tinge 

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Fenty Beauty Trophy Wife on the left; CLĒ Cosmetics Apricot Tinge on the right. Don’t worry – Trophy Wife is about 100X more glittery than it looks here (as it should be). The CLĒ highlight does not look this dark on your cheeks. It is sheer & very, very shiny (as it should be)

Trophy Wife is probably going to be ending up The Beauty Product of 2017. It was one of the first things we were given a sneak peek at on Fenty Beauty’s Instagram page; Rihanna wore it to the official Fenty Beauty Launch party; every YouTuber I can think of has reviewed (& screamed over) this highlight; there are looks upon looks on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube…

As of right now, Trophy Wife is sold out on Sephora’s site, but is still available (as I write this) on the Fenty Beauty site. Trophy Wife was available in my Sephora store when I went a few days ago, & I have no doubt that other stores have them, too. Sephora has a huge sign next to the Fenty display: “AVAILABLE ONLINE & IN ALL SEPHORA STORES.” Of course, you can’t always keep up with the demand – & Trophy Wife was definitely the most talked about, both online & in-store (from what I could hear). Still, the big sign next to the Fenty display has me believing that Sephora is committed to keeping the product in stock both in all stores & online.

So – that being said, yes, you can still buy Trophy Wife right now – & restocks will be coming soon, too. You can check out my full thoughts on Trophy Wife in my Fenty Beauty review, but just know this: Yes, it is that glittery. Yes, it looks that beautiful. Yes, it’s over the top, but I’ll still wear it in the daytime when I want to – because I can. Yes, somehow Rihanna created a solid gold highlight that looks good on my pale skin (like the Shimmer Skinstick in Blonde) & I do not know how she did it, but I’m in love with it. 

Check out these few photos here – I’ll have full look details on this one out very soon! In all of the photos, I’m wearing Trophy Wife on my cheekbones, high points of my forehead, cupid’s bow, chin, lower lash line, inner corners, & tip of the nose. So basically: everywhere.

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Earrings are Maria Black Jewelry; necklaces are Ventrone Chronicles

As for Apricot Tinge by CLĒ Cosmetics? Well, if you’ve read my review on it (it’s here if you’re interested) you’d already know: it’s the perfect pinky-white reflective highlight that I need to look incredibly glowy in all the right places. It’s super hydrating; although it sinks into the sink very fast, leaving a smooth – not sticky – finish, I’ve also used it as a “cream” highlight, then layered a powder over it. The results? Blinding – blindingly beautiful.

Like I predicted, Apricot Tinge is the perfect shade for my skin tone. However, it contains enough undertones & is sheer enough that someone with a very different skin tone could love it just as much as I. However CLĒ put this one together, I thank them with both hands – everyone knows how much I love highlights!

For a more in-depth look at the Essence Moonlighter Cushions, the way they apply & feel, the way they wear, & some more detailed ingredients information, click here for my review!

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Apricot Tinge (CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion) layered with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit shades Starburst/Pearl (sadly this particular kit is no longer available)

Well – that’s all I have, if we’re talking about skin care & makeup! I think that this month I was a bit more “makeup-focused” – that’s because I spent a lot of time (maybe more than I should have) thinking about Fenty Beauty…because it really is…so…good….anyways, I thought I’d share what jewelry I’ve been loving lately, too, because I’ve been wearing these quite often.

I love gold jewelry; I have an olive leaf necklace & earrings made of white gold, but that is the only “silver” jewelry I currently own (& love – let me be clear…I LOVE that necklace & those earrings!).

I think gold is very fun to play with in terms of jewelry; it can compliment a cool or warm-toned look, gold earrings can look either very delicate or extremely chunky. They can be embellished; they can stay simple. Crystal studs with gold backs, or golden hoops. Both can complete a simple look while making everything fall into place; that’s how I’ve been feeling about the photos of the earrings below. They’re the ones I’ve been wearing most over the past month. The pearl hoops are by Ventrone Chronicles; the other two pairs of hoops are by Maria Black Jewelry (thank you for sending me such lovely ones!!). I love the Ventrone Chronicles Grand Perla Ring Hoops, because they look almost exactly like something my mother has that is jewelry made in Croatia – a lot of jewelry there is made with “sea gems.” I like to pair these earrings with my coral bracelet from Croatia (!!!) & think back to the several (extraordinarily) happy summers I’ve spent there. I’m a big fan of Ventrone Chronicles’ jewelry anyways – this was just another big love for me.

Tthese pairs of earrings for making my shaved head look even cooler – because now hat my hair is gone, you can see my ears. Turns out: my ears are a little pointy, like an elf’s! (I never knew that until I got my hair so short) & my ears look a little odd but very cool with circular (preferably small & light – my ears can’t take a lot of weight) hoops on. I like the look. It’s cool but it’s relaxed; it’s classic but hip. Basically – how I’m trying to be this fall. How I’m always trying to be.

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Tell me about your September favorites in the comments here (or don’t, & risk hurting my feelings). I’d love to hear your thoughts on my monthly playlist, too.

Love (& happy autumn!),

Sof ❤

Want some Drunk Elephant but don’t have quite enough $$$? Here’s 20% off!

I’d love if you’d help support me & buy Glossier products (if you want them!) with my link. Again – much, much appreciation.

Shower Time! First Impressions/Review of Glossier’s New ‘Body Hero’ Collection

Shower? Without me? 😉

Had to get that one out of the way.

Glossier did another “HERE YOU GO!” launch just today (as I type this). This launch? Shower products.

I know Glossier is pumping out product fast these days (they released about one product or a new shade of a product per month in the past year or so); this release, however, was a surprise. I’d been seeing Glossier beauty editors swatching glitters, liners, shadows, & there were many implications that “actual makeup” would be making its way to glossier.com very soon.

It probably will – Glossier can be transparent when it comes to their “hints.” Again, though: this launch in particular surprised me.

Full disclosure: I am a Glossier rep (as some of you may know) so I got an email on Monday night, talking about the product(s) that would be dropped bright & early on Tuesday morning.

I read through the descriptions, & kind of felt like: “Okay!” I’m not very into body creams or washes – though Lord knows, my dry skin needs some more cream on it – so the descriptions sounded nice…but I didn’t know if it’d end up being a true Glossier product.

When I say that, I mean: not every Glossier product is equal. Some I have refilled countless times; others I tried once & kind of shrugged. For me, it’s either “can’t live without it” or “can get same effect for cheaper.” I was told that Glossier would be sending me the package on launch day, & so I watched the campaign slowly release over the morning.

First of all – the new Glosser Girls are incredibly beautiful. Glossier had a bit of a cheeky theme to this product launch; all the models are completely nude. Stickers & cleverly placed arms cover up the “unsuitable for Instagram even though breasts are just breasts” parts – but you still get to see & appreciate all of these women.

There is more than one body type in this campaign – I know…shocking! Fenty girl (& the woman I want to marry) Paloma Elsesser is on the campaign; so is Swin Cash (retired professional basketball player). Mekdes Mersha, who worked on Glossier’s Invisible Shield & Cloud Paint campaigns, joins as an old-timer. There are several other lovely girls present!

There’s a lot of emphasis on natural beauty, body diversity & bare skin. Stomach rolls exist in real life; they exist on some of these models, too! I don’t know whether or not the photos were touched (& I mean the actual bodies) but again: Glossier seems to be putting serious work into appreciating more than one skin tone, body type, or age. That, straight off the bat, was great to see. May the diversity continue!

Enough chit-chat: let’s get down to business. What is body hero? Why’s it special? What are my thoughts on it so far? I’ll be answering those, for sure. I’m even more sure that more details will pop up as I continue to write.

I like to keep things creative, so all photos are on location. In my bathroom. But still, on location. Artistry is key.

What is Body Hero?

Glossier calls Body Hero “a shower upgrade” – but in real language, Body Hero is a shower duo: a cleanser & a cream. Into The Gloss mentioned a talk about how little time people spend on their body care – you know, the vast majority of the skin you have. & so: Body Hero was born.

I’m someone who doesn’t really pay attention to body wash – I do love my LUSH soap bars (especially the Christmas ones), but if I run out, drugstore is no problem. I do, however, try to make an effort to use body cream every night, though I often forget. Anyways – my skin is dry, so I predicted I’d end up liking the cream. The cleanser confused me, but I was intrigued.

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The Body Hero duo in the flesh

Alright! So what’s in the Body Hero Duo?

  1. Daily Oil Wash – $18
  2. Daily Perfecting Cream – $22
  3. A huge – & I mean huge – #glossierpink pouch
  4. A very cool sticker
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Power couple (plus sticker)

There you have it: cleanser & cream. Both are 8.4 fl. oz. – the cream is denser, however, so I knew at first glance that it would last longer than the wash. The sticker reminds me of Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection. Intentional? Maybe slightly, yeah. Okay, probably. Scent? “Orange-blossom Neroli Blend.” I find it to be very herbal & calming, but with a hint of brightness to it. I think it’s gender neutral; there’s not anything particularly “masculine” or “feminine” about the scent; it simply is pleasant! fruity fragrances make me sneeze. Both have the same scent – makes sense.

Alright! We got the big details out of the way, but I’ve yet to tell you about the actual product, & what my thoughts on it are after using it for the first time this evening.

Daily Oil Wash

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First impression upon squirting some on to my hand: feels like a facial oil; any oil, for that matter. The scent is quite strong initially, but fades gently as the product rinses.

Daily Oil Wash is made of a blend of seven oils – it contains 0% water; it’s completely oil-based. “But oil will make me feel dirty!” some of you may be screaming. I thought that too, for a minute. It felt a little odd on first application, but I tried applying it to damp, not soaked skin…& it worked much better. it gradually lathers into a creamy foam; there’s no detergent sensation (makes sense, as it’s oil-based). The oil blend attracts dirt & grime, creating the foam – which then rinses away easily.

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Pump is bagged separately – but comes with the duo, of course

Ingredients? Well, like I said, the oils are a big deal:

  • Coconut, Meadowfoam, Olive, and Soybean Oils – all are known to soften skin. I’d agree with this; my skin felt softer & smoother after application
  • Sesame Oil – soothing & purifying – also attracts oil-soluble grime. Basically, it’s the face cleansing balm for your body
  • Grapeseed Oil – extremely lightweight & is not at all greasy. It also contains some powerful antioxidants, like Vitamin C – which brightens the skin, as we all know!
  • Sunflower Seed Oil – contains mainly Vitamin E, which simultaneously hydrates & keeps the skin’s barrier safe. This decreases the threat of dry skin

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A peek at the back: ingredients, as well as tips on how to best use the wash

Color? Consistency? The wash is a pale yellow when in its “oil form” – it obviously turns white as it lathers. It reminds me of canola oil; perhaps a light rosehip oil, too.

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Texture

Overall: I liked the way this felt when I stepped out of the shower. My skin felt a lot more hydrated than usual; it felt as though I’d already put moisturizer on, or as though I’d taken a bath with a hydrating bath bomb. It felt more like a facial cleanser – except it was for my body. 8.4 fl. oz. is a decent amount of product, & the bottle is sturdy, as is the pump. However – the consistency is thin, so although the amount of product is generous for a mid-priced brand, I might go through it very quickly. I just don’t know yet – we’ll have to see how long this lasts! I used maybe four pumps total; that seemed to do the trick. I don’t know how this would work with a loofah or sponge; I don’t personally like loofahs as they’re rather rough (for me, at least), so I’d be curious to see what the results would be like if anyone tried it. Let me know in the comments if you have!

I also liked that they included a guard for the bottle. The pump is rather large, so it’s incredibly easy to dispense a lot of product – accidentally. That’s always annoying, so I think this guard will help prevent spills or accidents like that. Just make sure you screw on your pump tightly! I did not do that initially, so I spilled a little product. No big deal – just a heads-up.

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A guard for the (overly eager) pump

Would I purchase this myself? I cannot say for sure yet. I really like how the product feels on my skin; it is definitely very hydrating, & the sensation of the product is unique. I like unique products! However, I’ll hold my final thoughts on the wash until I get a better idea of how long one 8.4 fl. oz. bottle lasts.

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Going for a swim

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Daily Perfecting Cream

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“Highlight for your body! Highlight for your body!” Everyone was yelling this when talkign about the body cream. Glossier says the cream contains “tiny light-reflecting particles for an instantaneous, dewy sheen that lasts.” So…yeah! Body highlight, I guess. We’ve all had our fair shares of shimmery lotion, though, & you can find those at Target. What’s special about this one?

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Unwrapping the present 

I was taken aback by quickly this cream absorbed into my skin. Glossier’s claim that the cream leaves no residue or stickiness is definitely on the mark. I tried some on the back of my hand before giving it a go everywhere else. The result on my hand? Something between a normal lotion & MAC’s Strobe Cream.

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Application instructions

The texture is incredible; perfect for the body & hands. It has that same heavenly orange-blossom neroli scent as the Daily Oil Wash. The scent is more intense in the cream & lasts longer. That’s not a problem for me, since I really enjoy the scent, but obviously if you’re not a fan of scented body products/scents in general, the cream might not be a good option.

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Ingredients? Let’s talk main ones (like Oil Wash)

  • Desert Plant Blend: An antioxidant-rich mix of Cactus Flower Extract, Prickly Pear Extract, and Yucca Extract for prolonged moisture
  • Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract Complex – like Vitamin C, this complex brightens skin tone & fades dark spots/scars
  • Tamarind Fruit – Magnesium, Potassium, and AHAs gently exfoliate, leaving skin very, very soft
  • Light-Reflecting Particles: reflects light, makes skin glow (hence the “body highlight”

If we’re talking the duo, Daily Perfecting Cream takes the cake – at least, on my first impression it did. I mentioned being shocked at how smoothly it blended into the skin – it almost disappears on the spot. It feels extremely luxurious when squeezed out of the bottle; it doesn’t give off the sticky/sweaty feel that a lot of “heavy” body lotions or creams do. Now my collarbones are glowing – as is every other part of me. Because of that, I know what’ll be on my shoulders every single time I wear a sleeveless piece from this point forwards. Can you guess?

Would I purchase this myself? Hands-down, yes. This is amazing. I love it to pieces already. I would also predict that the cream will last longer than the wash; though both are very lightweight, a little goes an extremely long way with the cream. I went through more wash than I did cream; I’ll assume it’ll continue that way. Regardless – this product is something I want, it’s something I’ll keep & use daily, & it is something I’ve added to my “special Glossier” collection.

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A demo of how much I love the cream – I hugged it so tightly I squeezed it out of shape (don’t worry, it came back to life)

Overall thoughts on Body Hero? I think that if you’re looking to spice up your shower routine a bit, these may be some good options. I’m not sure how long the Daily Oil Wash will last. I like it, but I can’t say if it’s worth it yet. I really don’t know, & I don’t like to hide my thoughts about a product! It feels amazing during & after application…I’m just wary that it’ll go fast. The cream is a hands-down “yes” from me. I love the effect it gives; dewy skin is always something I strive for, & a dewy face is possible thanks to highlighters. It’d look a little odd if we all started patting luminous powder all over our bodies, so this cream does that – just in a more elegant way. 10/10, all the way.

I spotted a shirt on someone’s Instagram story: white, with the Body Hero logo on it. I hope it’s part of the new merchandise that (hopefully) is coming soon…

Did I convince anyone to get the Body Hero Duo? Did I make some of you say “absolutely not?” I’m interested in other oil body washes, now, & I’d love to hear some of your recommendations, if you have any.

Shop Glossier here! 20% off your first order! Free shipping on the Body Hero Duo! & free shipping on any 2+ items for returning customers (like me).

I have some cool cool stuff coming up! So I’ll see you…very soon!

Love,

Sof ❤

P.S. I forgot to go into detail on how big the pouch is. Serious upgrade! We’re talking the size of a small purse/pouch purse. Loves it. 

-S

Getting Handsy (In An Appropriate Way)

Many of you might know that I was going to major in violin performance & continue on to become a professional violinist; it was my whole childhood & adolescence. Unfortunately, due to chronic illness & an unexpected bout with inflammatory arthritis, professionally pursuing violin would be unrealistic…& I like to keep it real.

So…on to other, different things! Not better – just different. Violin is something I’ll always hold close to my heart, & I do not think I will ever “recover” from having to give it up. But I look forwards to the opportunities in my future – ones that will come about, no doubt, from the ambition, drive, & determination I developed after hours (& hours!) in the practice room. If you want to hear more about why I decided to finally stop, you can read the post I wrote right here. If not, just continue reading!

Here’s a problem that I have always had: dry hands.

Honestly, it’s not a surprise. My whole body, including my face, is dry – why shouldn’t my hands be that, as well? The problem with my dry hands? They really couldn’t be taken care of – to the best of their abilities, anyway. This is because hand treatments, creams, lotions…etc…all messed with my ability to play violin. If I applied a hand cream during the day, I’d definitely not be able to play to the best of my ability. Hand creams make hands slippery (sometimes greasy, too), making it more difficult to grip the fingerboard, & making it more difficult to have necessary traction between the strings & fingertips.

During the warmer months, I left my hands well enough alone. During the winter, I’d apply a hand cream at night if things got really dry or painful – but still, I basically avoided them like the plague.

As for nails? Nail polish was…not forbidden, but it wasn’t encouraged. I’d wear a neutral color that blended in with my skin – my favorite was OPI’s “Tickle My France-y.” It still is my favorite nude nail polish! Nails had to be kept very short – otherwise, it messes with…you’ve guessed it! Your playing/playing quality.

How about cuticles? Again: oily/greasy/creamy products anywhere near the hands or fingertips weren’t encouraged, since they make playing the violin a LOT more difficult (& I truly do mean a lot).

Basically: my hands were dry, as were my cuticles. I refrained from wearing nail polish, hand creams, & absolutely, positively no rings. That’s not a “rule” persay…it just was very painful & awkward for me to play when wearing rings (on either hand).

Did this bother me? Did it make me insecure? No, absolutely not!!! I was doing what I loved most. If my hands had to be cracked & dry in the winter because I was doing what I loved, so be it. But now…I can’t play violin like I used to (I don’t play it much at all, & certainly never will play at a professional level again. So, I decided to have a little fun with my hands. I decided to do a little research on hand creams that wouldn’t break the bank, start painting my nails, & maybe even wear a ring or two. Handcare post: let’s go!!!

Hand Cream

I’m still on the hunt for a truly dirt-cheap, extremely effective hand cream. I want one of those in my life – so if you have any recommendations, hit me up in the comments. Currently, I’ve been using the Origins Make A Difference™ Rejuvenating Hand Treatment. I have a mini (???) size, which currently isn’t sold on Sephora – they just carry the 2.5 fl. oz version, which isn’t expensive – it’s just not the cheapest. I’m trying to remember where I got my mini one – I think I got it in some kind of Origins travel set – but regardless, you’re probably already wondering what my thoughts are on it.

Thoughts: I really like it! A little goes quite a long way, so a tube will last a good bit of time. It smells super fresh: it’s infused with rose of Jericho, trehalose, sea haricots, meadowfoam seed oil, & a whole lot of other ingredients that sound incredibly luxurious. It feels luxurious, too! The scent is lovely; it’s fresh but not citrus-y; floral but not stuffy. Hard to describe, but it’s a subtle, luxurious scent that lingers for just the right amount of time. I use this on (slightly) damp hands – the cream absorbs better that way. Just a dime-size amount works. I like applying this morning & night.

I’m not sure what other hand creams I might try, but L’Occitane’s hand creams look beautiful (packaging!), are quite inexpensive, & offer a variety of scents. They might be next, when I run out of the one I have. Again – tell me what you’re loving. I’d like to hear about it!

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My Origins Make A Difference™ Hand Treatment (1.7 fl. oz)

Need cheaper options? The Soap & Glory Hand Foodcontains shea butter, macadamia oil, & marshmallow root – all super hydrating ingredients – & it’s only $8. Need one that’s under $6? Say no more. The Yes To Coconut Protecting Hand & Cuticle Cream does two jobs in one – & it’s available at most Ulta Beauty stores, Target stores, & even your local drugstore.

Cuticle Treatment

My cuticles are just as dry as the skin on my actual hands – they get worse in the winter, of course. I started doing a little hunting, & came across this articleon Into The Gloss, praising the Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails, described by the writer as “a much-beloved nail-fortifying cream that the brand conceived all the way back in 1963. The peach-colored cream is thick and viscous and a little bit gluey, so a little goes a long way.”

Okay, so it’s a cult-favorite, it lasts forever (reviews on Sephora’s site confirmed this) & it smells like apricots. & it has gorgeous packaging. I was sold.

I tried it for the first time today: the ITG review is spot-on. It is indeed a little gluey – definitely will work best when applied before bed. The smell is faint, but if you like apricots/peaches, you’ll love the aroma. Like I said, though – it’s faint, so if you do decide to apply it in the daytime, you won’t have to worry about it messing with any fragrance you might be wearing.

The tiniest dab covered all ten of my fingers. I probably won’t run out of this for about 2 years…I say that in all seriousness. This retails for $27, but I think that if this truly lasts as long as I think it will, it’s absolutely worth it.

If you’re familiar with the Dior Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm, this comes in the exact same circular, ivory-white packaging, engraved with “CD” on the top – same as the balm. In fact – the balm is described as “the sister product to Dior’s legendary Crème Abricot, a nail care product dating back to the 1960s.” The Crème Abricot has been around longer, & I already have a good feeling about this product. My cuticles look shiny & feel soft. There’s no obvious improvement right now, of course, but I did just get it. I’ll give it a week, & see what has happened.

Benefits of apricot oil? It’s rich in essential fatty acids, & is high in Vitamin A. It easily penetrates the skin – making it perfect for dry, sensitive skin. It also has excellent softening & hydrating properties, making it a great multi-purpose product – hands, face, nail beds…even hair!

While you’re deciding what to do with apricot oil (if you’re going to do anything at all), check out the pretty photos I took of my Dior Crème Abricot.

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If you’re looking for some cheaper options, try Essie’s Apricot Cuticle Oil – it has great reviews. Mind you, I doubt it’ll last as long as the Dior, but regardless…it’s easily accessible, it’s significantly cheaper, & it’s a good way to try out a cuticle product containing apricot oil. If you want an even cheaper option, try making a multi-purpose hydrator yourself, courtesy of this Bustle article: “two parts coconut oil, one part apricot seed oil, two drops of lemongrass, and two drops of rosemary.” These are all easily accessible at a health foods store, a Whole Foods, or even The Vitamin Shoppe.

Nail Polish

If you’ve been on any beauty site this summer, you know that Essie’s “Clambake” was the shade of the summer. I didn’t get my hands on it before it sold out (on multiple sites), so I tried to find the shade “Geranium,” which everyone was saying was an exact dupe (also an Essie polish).

Well – “Geranium” was sold out too, as it turns out. However – I managed to find the shade “Meet Me At Sunset.” It’s almost exactly the same, & it looks beautiful on my hands – surprisingly beautiful, in fact. I never thought an orange-red would look so good on my skin tone…but here we are. Hopefully, this will help some of you fellow “Clambake” hunters out.

I’ve also had the dark, eggplant shade in “Kimono Over,” also by Essie, for quite a while. It’s been chilling in a drawer, because I found it too dark for the summertime. However, fall is (sadly) almost here, so I think I’ll be wearing it some time soon. Don’t worry – I won’t forget about my beloved OPI “Tickle My France-Y” – how could I, when it was the only nail polish I wore for almost four years straight?

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Essie’s “Kimono Over” & “Meet Me At Sunset”

Rings

Like I mentioned – I have found rings to be very uncomfortable for most of my life, especially while playing violin. As I started playing more & more, it became basically unnecessary to even think about wearing one as an accessory, since I’d just be taking it off all the time when I had to practice or perform.

I was recently sent a ring by the company Mejuri – it’s the Olive Ring& it’s extremely comfortable. I’m wearing it on my middle finger – it’s very understated, but the fine detail makes you look closer. The gold vermeil goes really well with the reddish Essie polish I’ve been wearing most, so I’ve been looking at other jewelry stores now – mostly indie ones.

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The Mejuri Olive Leaf Ring 👼🏻

My favorites so far? Mejuri (obviously), Byboe, Verameat, & J.Hannah. J.Hannah is up there in price, though – I’ll have to wait for Christmas for something like that. But she has some amazing nail polishes that I might get before then. Those are more in my budget. For now, though, let’s make it official: I’m a ring fan!

&…that’s my dramatic announcement: I’m going to start using hand cream/cuticle treatments religiously now, paint my nails more, & wear a ring or two. Groundbreaking…I know.

Tell me about your favorite nail polish colors/rings/hand creams/cuticle treatments in the comments! I’m excited to hear yours.

Love,

Sof ❤

Back To Basics: Morning Edition

“Okay. This past month, I’ve been trying to cut back on the variety of products I use. I tend to want to try the latest & greatest of everything; that often results in finding amazing products, yes! It also results in my skin getting confused – more & more, as time goes on. That is: I try so many new things that if my skin doesn’t like something new, it can take me forever to get the bad product out of my system, since I have to sift through so many other options. I’ll probably make a more detailed post on this to come – but yes, I’m trying to simplify my routine. Doesn’t mean I won’t have lots to say on here, don’t worry! I’m not going to stop trying new things. Skin can always look better (i my opinion) & I’m always open to new options. Over these past few months, especially after starting my site, I’ve learned that it’s just good to have some solid, staple products always in my back pocket – or my top shelf.”

Well, I mentioned this in my August Favorites post –  & now you’re getting the “more detailed post,” as promised. However, since I tend to overdo everything, I figured that I’d split my “Back To Basics” skin care products into two posts: one for the morning, one for the evening. Because – I’ll admit it – my morning & night routines are still different. I wouldn’t call that cheating, though – my skin does need different products at different times of the day, & I could always use an extra layer of hydration in the evening. Let’s call this splitting decision a good one, alright? Plus, you get two articles to read! By me!

What is my “Back To Basics” thing all about?

Well….I am a skin care hoarder. I own too many serums, masks, & other products. I am the first to acknowlege that I don’t need it all – some of it I give to my family or donate.

However…I’m always pulled in by a new campaign’s promises & sneak peeks (I see you Fenty Beauty!). That results in me spending more money on a product I might only use once or twice – I might not even like it.

Even if I do like the product, I have to remember – using 10 serums that all work really well on me isn’t necessarily good for my skin. Sure, it’s good to use a hydrating or brightening serum – it amps up your routine a bit & sometimes is that last thing you needed to achieve your “skin goals.”

I came to realize that I was skipping around products too fast; too soon. If I ever had some sort of reaction, it’d take me weeks to figure out which product was doing that – if any at all. I decided to narrow down my routine & keep it a bit more consistent.

So! I sat down in front of my top shelf, I made some hard cuts, & I came up with a much simpler, quicker skin care routine. I allowed myself to layer some serums & oils – but like I said, I narrowed it down & simplified it. I gave myself one pass: I would do whichever face masks I thought necessary. No limits on masks! Everything else, though…cut!

I have been doing this routine for about 10-14 days now, & have been loving how my skin looks. Brighter, fresher, more awake – even though I’m actually working a “real” job now! Gasp!

Now: let me get to work. Here are the products I’ve been using every morning for the past 10-14 days. Photos & mini reviews included, as always!

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser 

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I’ve raved enough about this cleanser for you all to know how much I love it – & why I love it. If you don’t know, here’s a piece I wrote all about it. Anyways: this cleanser is soft & gentle on my face in the morning, feels like a nice floral massage when I use my hands to cleanse, & when I pat my face dry, it doesn’t feel tight or painful. Most other cleansers make my skin feel this way; that’s one of the reasons why I love Milky Jelly so much. There are many more, too. Trust me.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, & Rosewater

I have been using this for years & have loved it; it’s the simplest, easiest toner out there, in my opinion. I know a lot of people have complained about this product in the past, saying that there’s better out there, but I like what I get with the price. Still – I’ll be switching up, soon. I’ve been recommended the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin Spray – people say it’s the Mario Badescu one, but better; there’s more actual rose in there. I like that; my skin loves rose (though I know not all skin does) so I think upping the percentage of “real” rosewater will further help calm redness & sensitivity. Still, it’s Mario for now – til I run out!

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

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This stuff is liquid gold. Truly! The only other “high-end” brand I’ve seen such instant results with is Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial/Framboos Serum. The Kypris Antioxidant Dew contains a bunch of herbal antioxidants, as well as Vitamins A & C (for moisture & brightness) & “an array of botanicals.”

This is quite a combination, & this product has quite the price tag…but I assure you, it’s worth it. For sensitive-skinned people looking for a clarifying, brightening product, this will be perfect for you.

The Dew is a very lightweight texture; no stickiness, tackiness, or goopiness. It looks a little like almond milk, just a little bit more substantial in consistency. I use only two drops: into my palm, pat hands together, pat on the face. Done. Kypris advises that this product be used as a lightweight moisture layer – & that’s exactly what I do with it.

Aromatica Damask Rose Soothing Gel

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Described as a lightweight moisturizer for “the face & body,” my face would be way too dry if I used this alone to moisturize! I layer it as a hydrating serum-type product

Sorry – I just realized that most of these products were in my August favorites; that’s okay, though…at least you know what I’m really using! This gel has essentially been used as another lightweigh, soothing layer of moisture for my skin. I’d hardly call it a serum as it’s 95% water; it’s more like a gel-consistency toner that sinks into the face. I use a dime-size amount for my whole face. It’s very cooling, soothing, & leaves my face refreshed & feeling even cleaner.

Glossier Super Pure 

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My vials (one empty, one full & ready to use) of Super Pure 

I’ve said over & over that if I had to pick one Glossier Super Serum for the rest of my life, it would be Super Pure. This has an amazing water-gel consistency that doesn’t dry down tacky; it soothes redness & calms the skin in general – but it also keeps breakouts at bay. It’s a serum that does several things at once; to me, those are the products that are most worth it if you’re trying to narrow things down. You’ll only be applying one thing; many things, however, will be happening to your skin. In a good way.

Embryolisse Lâit Creme Concentre

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A quite affordable, French pharmacy product now much more easily available to acquire in the U.S., thanks to shops like Beautylish & Dermstore. It’s described as a “moisturizer, make-up primer, & moisturizing mask.” That was super exciting to see! I’ve been trying to find a cheap leave-on mask, ever since I drooled over Delilah Parillo using a Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask – also a leave-on mask, except it’s over $200. That obviously wasn’t in the budget, so it was a nice surprise when I read the label before purchasing it.

I’d been asking for some good day creams that weren’t too expensive; although some swear they can’t tell, my skin hasn’t taken well to the higher amount of retinol in Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer (formula was changed for some reason; I don’t know why) & I needed something similar in consistency but not too expensive. A bunch of people recommended this cream to me; Jane Birkin used it, apparently, which was a selling point for me.

I was not disappointed when this product arrived. It’s very lightweight, but it’s still very possible to feel the hydrating effect this has throughout the day. I use a primer over it anyway if I really want to do something nice with my face, but it feels amazing on a “no makeup makeup” day. It feels amazing every other day, too. It’s just really good, okay? I love my French drugstore skin care.

Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen

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Because everyone needs their SPF. I like this one because it’s lightweight, not sticky, & leaves no white case, since it’s transluscent. When I wear makeup, I use products with SPF in them (CC creams, etc.) but when I’m not, I make sure to apply some sunscreen – just over top my moisturizer.

I won’t lie: I usually use this even if I’m layering another product containing SPF in it, anyway. I just am that careful.

Yes – this one is on the pricy side, but I love gel-consistency sunscreens, & at the moment, Lagom’s famous Sun Gel is sold out (yet again, no surprise) on all the sites that carry it (in the U.S. at least). So, until I’m able to snag a bottle of that (much cheaper) Lagom sunscreen, it’s Invisible Shield for me.

Well: that’s all – for now! I hope you’ve found some products that sound appealing, whether or not you’re trying to make a simpler, more concrete routine. These are all products I have loved since I started using them – that’s why I included them in my back to basics, of course!

What are the products you wouldn’t be able to leave out of a skin care routine? Let me know in the comments if you like!

Because I love overdoing things, I also made a YouTube video where I did this exact skin care routine (excluding sunscreen). Check it out here!

Love,

Sof ❤