#I’mWearing: How I Did This Look

It all started with an Instagram live. I’d just gotten some new makeup & was fooling around with old things, so I decided to go on live & do a look that people wanted to see.

This ended in my friends encouraging (aka: yelling in caps) & teaching me how to actually contour – & giving suggestions that turned out to be one of the most fun looks I’ve done in forever.

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The completed #look

Let’s be clear; we all know my makeup style. That’s extremely light-handed face makeup (cc cream etc), some good highlight, & a pretty lip or eye. I don’t really go all out; I’ve never been into cut creases (they look odd on me) & the whole Instagram-style makeup doesn’t appeal to me – which means that I don’t enjoy contouring my cheekbones & highlighting/setting my undereyes with concealer then powder.

Basically – I don’t like a full face of makeup, & I usually only wear a complete one when I have an important event. Other times, I just feel like it. This was one of those times.

I started my look pretty simple, but once I pulled out the Fenty Beauty Killawatt Highlighter in Trophy Wife, everyone got a little bit excited – including me. This ended up in a glitter moustache on my cupid’s bow, super defined cheekbones, delicate, glossy lips, & a simple eye look that just boosted the green – my actual eye color. 

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Is this over the top? Absolutely. It’d look beautifully hilarious in the day time. But – in that moment, I felt like I was about to step on a runway for fashion week. I definitely would wear it for a fancy night out. Or…who knows! Maybe one day I’ll change my mind & wear it in the day time. Who cares what people think, right?

After I posted a few photos of my completed look, I got some people asking what I used on my face. So – with no further ado, here are the products I used to get the finished look. Mini reviews & photos included, of course. Side note: I usually love “photographing” (I use my iPhone) in direct sunlight. Golden hour is my favorite time of the day. Still – I decided to go a bit different this time. This is a very “lux” look, & everything looks shinier & more lux with some flash, surrounded by fluffy fleece. Okay. Let’s do this!

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The full line-up (with some pretty decorations)

Okay, this looks like a lot – but once I start breaking it down, I think you’ll find it quite simple. This doesn’t require a steady hand & it most certainly doesn’t require perfection. My brows are messy in the close-up of my eye. Who cares? It still is a beautiful look. Plus – I secretly love undone brows, anyway.

Primer

I actually didn’t use a primer that day. I was wearing my moisturizer that I’d applied in the morning. That was the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre ; if you want more information on that product, it’s right here in my September Favorites post. If you don’t have the time or desire, though, here’s a bit of a rundown: it’s very similar to the Glossier Priming Moisturizer (original) but the packaging claims that it’s a leave-on mask, a makeup primer, & a moisturizer. I figured I’d be just fine using this base. I was right!

Face Makeup

I still wanted to keep my face looking natural. My skin was quite clear that day, so I didn’t even really feel like using a CC cream for coverage; that’s when I turned to the CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Air Cushion.

This is one of my favorite face makeup products of all time!!! 1) it has an amazing amount of sun protection 2) it is sheer but buildable; it makes it easy to simultaneously look natural yet have some coverage 3) it is incredibly dewy – not in a sweaty, greasy way; just a from-within glow that looks beautiful. I use it in the shade Light, which is the lightest shade. It looks a lot darker in the “pan” (cushion) than it does on the face; that’s because the pigment of the cushion is fully saturated when in its case.

It comes with a tiny applicator sponge-like contraption, which is cute, fits inside the compact, & relatively easy to use – but I wasn’t getting the exact finish I wanted when I initially used it, so I decided to try my well-trusted foundation brush on the product: that’s the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. It was the first foundation brush I owned, & it is still doing its fair share of work. I make sure to clean it often (obviously) but this is truly one of the sturdiest brushes I’ve ever owned. It’s less than $10, you can find it at any ULTA Beauty (& lots of drugstores, too) & I promise you that it’ll last you for a long time & a good time.

How do I use this brush while applying the Essence Air Cushion? I just open the compact, remove the applicator from the compact, & gently press my brush into the sponge. I buff some into my skin, then repeat until I get the coverage/finish I’m looking for that day. Easy as pie!

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A trusty pair of friends
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Though it looks much darker in the pan, this is closer to what the Essence Air Cushion looks like on the face

Contour

never contour. Ever. I don’t think I’m good at it, & I don’t think it looks good on me. This one time, however, I was convinced. I had one bronzer lying around; it was the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer in Baked. I decided to go for it, & (with guidance) lightly drew that famous “3 shape” on the sides of my face & on my jawline.

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The highlight is a cream stick, so it melts very nicely into the skin. Milk claims that their “Milk Makeup Milk Melt Technology” is what makes the contour stick so creamy & blendable – but not greasy. That’s their “secret” ingredient; some other main ingredients are mango, peach, & avocado extracts – these are all hydrating & nourishing fruits, so I can see why they were used in a product like this.

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I used my Real Techniques brush – the same one I used for my Essence Air Cushion – to blend everything out. The result? Surprisingly amazing. It amped up the glam just a little – I didn’t even use that much – & made my cheekbones pop, which is perfect for a situation in which you’re trying to make your highlight stand out as much as possible.

Milk Makeup also has a darker Matte Broner shade, called Blaze – described as “a deep bronze.” Although I’m very fair, this contour is definitely buildable. I can see this being used for fair to medium skintones. I’m glad Milk Makeup came out with a second option for deeper skin. The shade Baked will not be an option for everyone, due to the pure nature of contouring , but I can’t say anything about it – I haven’t spotted it in store at Sephora, so I haven’t gotten the chance to even swatch it. I can’t say for sure.

I still won’t contour on the regular, but if I ever feel like doing it for a special occasion, now I know how – & the product I happened to have worked perfectly.

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I did a bit of spot-concealing with the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in Light; that was really about it. On to the more exciting parts.

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I’m happy – I promise 

Eyes

I primed my eyelids with Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion – just the original one. I didn’t feel compelled to photograph that because…well, everyone’s seen it, & it doesn’t look particularly interesting. It’s a good primer; the only eye one I’ve been able to use without my eyelids feeling dry/getting patchy eye makeup by the end I finish my look.

After I primed, I went into the palette I knew I would be using – the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette. This is a really nice palette for everyone to have, in my opinion. There are 12 shadows; 10 are matte, two are shimmer. It’s a great palette to use when you want something simple but multi-demensional. All of the mattes work amazingly well by themselves; they also work with each other very well. The shimmer ones are lovely, but the mattes are what makes this palette so good.

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I started off by lightly dusting some of the lightest shadow, called Charmer, all around my eye area. This set the primer I’d applied & was a precaution to make sure everything would stay smooth & even.

After evening out my eye area, I softly buffed Sweetheart & Rebel onto my lid & blended it up into my crease. I added a bit of dimension by lightly tapping the shimmery shade Firecracker (described as “a bronze copper”) on the lid area, too. I went on my lower lashline with Sweetheart & Rebel as well. Finally, I deepened the look a tiny bit more by blending the dark shades Smoke Show & Activist together, then gently buffing it into the outer corner of my eyelid, dragging it down to give an eyeliner effect on my lower lash line. This was the perfect amount of smoky for me – I already knew that my highlight would be very over-the-top, but I tried my best to make a simple yet smoldering look that would compliment my highlight – not out-shine it.

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Finally, I used one of my newest products: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Blonde, described as a “glimmering gold.” If you want some more details on the consistency of the product, check out my Fenty Beauty review here – otherwise, let’s talk about how I used it for this particular look.

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I rubbed some of the stick onto the back of my hand, then gently but firmly pressed it into the top of my eyelids & in the inner corners of my eyes (there was something else under that, but I’ll get to it in a minute). The result? Glimmering, extremely intense eyes that weren’t over the top on the smokinesss – but perfect with the amount of glitter. The Blonde Skinstick was then set aside, & Trophy Wife herself came out to play – also on the eyelids & the inner corners. Best of all: I used it as an under-eye eyeliner. I’ve seen some people using it as a pigment – blending a little of the powder with some face gloss & using it as an eyeliner – but I’m not that talented, so I just ran it under my lower lash line with a tiny, tiny pencil brush.

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Staring at myself (& my beautiful highlight compact)

I finished off with the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara – it’s one I heard a lot of hype for. Some told me it was a dupe for Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara; others swore that it was a dupe for Dior Diorshow Mascara. I was curious when I heard the Diorshow Mascara being mentioned; it’s my holy grail mascara & I wanted to know – would L’Oreal deliver?

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It definitely looks like the Better Than Sex packaging

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My full thoughts you can read here in my September favorites – but my quick review is that it’s good, but not amazing. I still think Diorshow sits way higher – which is good, because it’s a lot more expensive! I’d call this a combination of Diorshow & Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara (which I love). I don’t love this – but I don’t hate it. It looks good, it’s available practically everywhere, & it’s cheap.

I curled my lashes with my Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler; if I do wear mascara, I’ll always curl my lashes. This one is gentle, doesn’t tug on my lashes, & I don’t worry my lashes will be cut off every time I use it. Obviously, the wand of the curler can be used as any normal one; it can also be used upside down to curl your bottom lashes, which is unique – never used it like that, but again, never say never.

The result? Over-the-top perfection.

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Just checking on the state of my eyes

Finally, I used Glossier Boy Brow in Clear; as you can see, my brows are thick & messy right now. I’m okay with that – don’t get me wrong! But if I were to put Boy Brow in Brown on my brows right now, it would probably look too much; they’re already dark enough. The clear boy brow gives that same fluffy feel that keeps everything in place (yet doesn’t feel crunchy or stiff) & the consistency while applying is the same, too. Can’t recommend this enough for people with thick, dark brows who want just a bit of help with keeping brows in place!

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A better look at the satiny look of the product. It’s true, the bronzer is matte – there’s no glitter or shimmer to be seen – but it’s so creamy that it’s hard to call it matte. It doesn’t slide around, though. Don’t worry

Highlight

The true fun part of this look; the part I enjoyed most!

My highlighting hack is: if you truly want to have a blinding highlight that doesn’t fade, feels creamy yet stays on firmly, you need to first apply a liquid/cream, then a powder highlight. & that is exactly what I did for this look.

I started off with CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion in the shade Gleaming Buff; it’s a gorgeous gold-toned shade that isn’t too dark – but is not too light, either (check out the swatches in my review here). Although it comes in a cushion, it definitely behaves as a liquid or cream highlighter would. This is beautiful by itself; it’s even more beautiful when I want an intense strobing effect. My “secret” (I am 99% sure it’s not a secret) is to first apply a cream or liquid highlight, then layer a powder over. That’s what I did for this look – but we’ll get to the powder in a minute.

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The Essence Moonlighter Cushion looks just like the Essence Air Cushion; it’s just a bit lighter & less chunky in your hand
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I know – it looks like a bronzer in the pan. Don’t worry. Like I mentioned, this is just a super concenterated sponge & the product is sheer! (Swatches)

The Essence Air cushion comes with an applicator just like this one – only bigger – & I don’t use that applicator for that product. Like I showed you above, I dip my brush into the cushion. I have found that these are best applied using the cushion CLĒ includes in the compact. It’s smaller, so you can easily move in a C-shape, from cheekbones to upper temple. You won’t miss any spots, but you won’t mess anything up, either – the applicator just works very well for this!

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This highlight has enough gold in it to flatter the golden look I was going for; that also means that it’ll work very nicely on warmer undertoned complexions. Since the product is so sheer, I think that these could be used on all skin tones. Sheer but buildable, golden but not too golden, hydrating, & elegant.

HERE SHE IS! The famous: Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife.

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I know it’s with the flash on, but trust me: this is just as beautiful in person as it is on camera. Yes – I was worried it would look dirty on me; in my review here you’ll see that’s not the case, & it fits very well with the Moonlighter Cushion; it built upon the highlight “base” that the CLĒ product provided, then finished me off with a glamorous, glittery (yes, it is glittery) highlight. It felt (& looked) amazing. Of course, I also applied this on my inner corners of my eyes, tip of my nose, chin, etc. I used the Glossier Wowder Brush – I really like this brush…even more than the powder! It’s fluffy, it’s sturdy, & no bristles have fallen out since I started using it. I’ve used it for the Glossier Wowder itself (of course) but it works beautifully as a highlight brush – especially for a look like this, where I really spread my highlight up my temple. Perfect.

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Glitter in my hair, too – honestly…good!

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Now – obviously, this isn’t an every day look. I wouldn’t put this much work into a quick outing to the grocery story – I was just having fun & seeing what I could do with Trophy Wife (as well as the other Fenty Beauty products I have). Trust me: it does a lot. I’m not even finished yet!

Lips 

For my lips, I used just a touch of MAC Spice Lip Pencil in Spice, which I’ve had for over a year now. It’s still not run out! That’s why it won’t be pictured – it’s too ugly (& well-loved) to photograph gracefully.

Then, I finished off with the Fenty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer – of course! How could I not?

“Universal lip luminizer” is code for lip gloss – & I’ve been wearing this gloss a lot. I think it’s incredible. It manages to look not only amazing, both in the tube & on the lips – but amazingly different on every single person I’ve seen wearing it.

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In the tube, it fits the description very well: “a shimmering rose nude.” The doe-foot applicator is nicely shaped & holds a lot of product; I only need to swipe once or twice – never needed to dip my wand back in for more. It smells amazing – very fruity, but in a nice way; it’s not “chemical-smelling” & it fades gracefully, too. For those worried about it being scented: don’t be! It fades quickly, I haven’t seen anyone say it’s unpleasant (although if you’re allergic to scents, that’s another story) & the effect you get is well worth whatever you may perceieve the scent to be – I’m lucky, & I like the scent as well as the gloss! Win win.

It’s extremely hydrating, not too glittery – you get enough of sparkle to make your lips pop but not enough to make individual pieces of glitter stand out. It does not claim to have a plumping effect, but I don’t ever overline my lips, & this gloss looked like it was plumping my lips. No sting or burn like a Buxom Lip Cream (for a comparison) – just a pretty enhancement to my natural lips.

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Then, just for fun – because why not! – I went ham on my cupid’s bow; I used my very thin pencil brush to outline the dip of my cupid’s bow, then slightly extended the line down my lip line. The result was a powerful cupid’s bow highlight (obviously) & lended a sort of “editorial” or “high fashion” vibe to the look. I loved it. It felt super fancy! Even though I wasn’t going somewhere, it was a fun thing to do & a good idea to try; I might very well go out like this some time soon.

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The finished look!

&…that’s all, folks! Although it looks very fancy, I didn’t need much to make it happen – I had a dramatic highlight, decided to make that the focal point of my “look” – & yes, I contoured, & I didn’t die. I actually looked kind of okay!

  • Top – Urban Outfitters
  • Earrings – Maria Black Jewelry 
  • Necklace(s) – Ventrone Chronicles 

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Would you like to see me do some other looks? Feel free to pop in your requests – I like going out of my comfort zone from time to time. In the meantime, here’s a gif of me looking like an alien, thanks to Kirakira+

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Shout what you’d like to see next below!

Love,

Sof ❤

NEVER HIT SKIP: The Albums That Are Too Good To Skip Through…Yes, Even That One Song.

It’s diary time! I wasn’t sure what to write about for a while; I have, however, recently made a playlist of some of my favorite albums: albums that I cannot bear to hit “skip” on. Do I not like singles? Or just one song? No, of course I do! But – liking a whole album in its entirety is a special thing, I think. I’m a big fan of albums that I can listen to from bottom to top, backwards & forwards, through & through & through. To me, it’s the ultimate sign that I will never stop listening to ___ album; that I’ll associate it with important events or people. These albums, in their entirety, provide a rush of emotion & color.

Some other contributing factors? Well, I have synesthesia, though it’s not crazy powerful. I can’t see colors in front of my eyes when I hear a single note, but I associate colors & textures with certain songs, pieces, or albums. If I hear a song, piece, or album & immediately start strongly associating it with various colors, moods, textures, color scales, etc., I know that I’ve found an album that speaks very strongly to me. Same goes with crying, believe it or not – oftentimes, I think one of the best signs that an album is a good one is that it prompts emotion. I’m all about music being an emotional outlet, & I listen to all types. They all provide me with relief, joy, happiness, melancholy…anything that I am feeling, I can find some music that helps me put a soundtrack to my life, no matter how happy or sad it is in that moment.

I listen to all types of music – a lot of classical, really. Makes sense, given my music background, but if I shared a top ten list of classical albums that I like & told you why, you’d be still reading, 12 hours later. It would take forever, & that’s what I use my musicology classes for. However – if you’re interested in getting some classical recs, don’t be afraid to hit me up on my socials! (Instagram, Twitter

Here I present: The Top Ten Albums I Can’t Hit Skip On (& Why) ***in no particular order. Also: here’s my Spotify. Feel free to follow me, check out my playlists, or do both! Or…do none. ALSO: I’ll be putting a few personal photos after each mini review of each album. Some will be photos of me listening to ____ album while doing something; some will be photos of things I associate with ___ album. Enjoy!!!!!!!

Some Nights – fun. 

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I was quite young when this album came out. I remember being at Interlochen Arts Academy Summer Music Camp as a violin student & going to “mixers” (you know the deal) & hearing the song “We Are Young (ft. Janelle Monae.” That’s when I first started associating it with positive events in my life. I continued on to hear the whole album. When I left Interlochen, heartbroken, (as one is after summer camp) the sadder songs served as emotional outlets. The fast-paced ones let me go on long bike rides. It was one of the first pop albums I listened to through & through – & I cried more than once. Okay, maybe I still do…but remember: tears while listening to or playing music are okay!

My favorites? Well…”We Are Young” of course. I adore the “Some Nights – Intro,” & how it seamlessly melds into Some Nights, the song itself. There’s an incredible amount of emotion bottled up in both those songs – both extraordinary opposites when it comes to style, but lyrically, almost identical. “Out On The Town – Bonus Track” is another favorite. One of those melancholy breakup songs you can cry to.

As a whole, this album incorporates a lot of different instruments & sounds, as well as featuring other artists. It works as an album, & all the songs work by themselves, too. It’s emotional, exposed, & I fondly think back to my 15 year old self when I turn it up loud once & a while.

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15-year-old Sofia was a strange bird.

808s & Heartbreak – Kanye West 

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Obsessed with everything surrounding 808s & Heartbreak – did you know that the cover art was designed by Virgil Abloh (designer, DJ, & founder of fashion label Off-White), Willo Perron (a disciplinary director & designer)  & drawn by pop artist Kaws? The album also heavily features the Roland-TR 808 drum machine – hence the inclusion of “808s.” What Kanye didn’t know until he’d already figured out the album’s name, however, was that Hawaii’s area code is 808 – & the Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii is where Kanye recorded the majority of this album.

Everyone fights me on this – but I truly do think that 808s is Kanye’s best album. Again – lots of raw, pent-up emotion. Kanye, for the first time, actually sang…but used auto-tune. This provides a somewhat distant, robotic effect while contrasting with the emotional lyrics & melancholy background music. It’s eerie in the best way possible. My favorites are…all of them, really. “Say You Will” & “Paranoid” are almost complete opposites, but I love the lyrics & drive behind both of them. My favorite, of course, is “RoboCop” – I don’t know what it is about this song, but it speaks to me. It’s very colorful – lots of neon lights, blue lights, disco balls…that kind of a mood. “Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live)” is also a great one: it truly is a live performance; there are cracks & dips in Kanye’s voice, & screaming fans sometimes make the lyrics hard to hear. Some are annoyed by it. I, however, love it. It reminds me of the sensation of performing; what it’s like to perform at your most raw in front of huge crowds. It’s an adrenaline rush, & it’s bitter-sweet.

I hadn’t heard this album until around November of last year (2016). I was going through a rough emotional time & there were a lot of lonesome listening sessions with this album in my ears. It brings back a lot of bitter memories, with a tang of sweetness. It’s funny how sometimes, frightening & overwhelming things can happen to you…but they turn into an elaborate memory, reflecting feelings, smells, foods, & so many more things that you thought of or consumed or felt at that time. So: I’ll say it once, & I will say it twice – I’ll say it 100 times if I must. 808s & Heartbreak is Kanye West’s greatest album.

Pure Heroine – Lorde 

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Okay. My obession with Lorde started when I heard her first song on the radio, late sophomore year of high school. That song, of course, was “Royals” – I looked up the music vidoe & was struck by this tiny, intense, curly-haired girl with a stare that could kill. The super minimalistic visuals of the video intrigued me, too. Lorde was mysterious, & so was her album – Pure Heroine is a teenager’s album, filled with an assurance, a sense of command, confidence, & times of freedom – & frustration. Her lyrics are rich. There is so much to dive in when looking at Pure Heroine. I dove in, alright. People started telling me I looked like Lorde: greeny-blue eyes, fair skiny, bushy, long hair…I embraced it & started putting on purple lipstick (the cheapest one I could find; a dark violet Revlon lipstick from my grocery shop’s cosmetic aisle), fluffing up my hair by letting it air-dry, wearing black, & developing a resting bitch face. I owe it to Lorde for people telling me I seem scary – I also owe her for helping me win my music school auditions. Songs like “Bravado,” “Tennis Court,” & “Swingin Party” helped me remember that I was worth something – they also allowed me to let my stress & emotions wash through me, rather than consume me. It was the soundtrack on airplanes, car rides – everywhere I went. I had finally found someone who was a “pop star” that I could identify with. She was human, she was odd, she danced weird. She didn’t care – & people loved her for that. Lorde was one of the best musical discoveries of my teenage years – no two ways about it.

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Yup – I dressed as Lorde for Halloween when I was 16. My proudest high school accomplishment? Winning “best celebrity lookalike” & being compared to Lorde. An exciting Moment In History.

Harry Styles – Harry Styles

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Need I say more? I am what they’d call “a Harrie” – meaning, Harry Styles was my favorite One Direction member. I followed 1D’s every move when they were touring & recording – when I got sick, I asked to meet them through Make A Wish…& when I (most luckily) got the chance to do so, I ran straight to Harry. I have a tattoo on me that he drew for me. His fashion is something that truly inspires & encourages me to develop my own style. His kindness & love for the LGBT community is something I hold close to my heart, too.

As you might be able to tell: I’m a big fan, yes. Yes – of course I went to see Dunkirk! (It was good just as a film, too. Don’t worry) Of course I bought his album. Of course I’ll be seeing him on tour next year! 

But, seriously. I was extraordinarily excited for Harry’s solo album. I wanted to hear more of his individual vocals & lyricism – & oh boy, did I get both! Some of the album sounds like classic British pop or rock. Others, like “Carolina” (which is about me, by the way…I’m Townes), are a bit of a tongue-in-cheek country song; “Woman” is an odd yet satisfying experience. Nothing can beat that quack noise in the background (but really, it’s a lovely song). I especially feel close to “From The Dining Table.” The lyrics are simple, but it feels like Harry is very up close to the mic – I almost get ASMR tingles when I listen to the song with the volume up. The subtle harmonies that actually do reach a climax contribute both to the delicacy & the power the song has. As for “Kiwi,” well…need I say it? HAVING YOUR BABY!!! NONE OF YOUR BUSINES-

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Taken while listening to “Two Ghosts.”
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Taken while playing “Woman” – look! I have hair!
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On my IG: taken while listening to “From The Dining Table”

Depression Cherry – Beach House 

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Now…who doesn’t love some Beach House? Yes, some of their songs kind of do sound the same after a while (with some excellent exceptions), but the focus on background music playing just as large (if not larger) a role as the vocalists is extremely striking. Definitely a great album to listen to when crying. The lyrics can be hard to hear at times; the music can really get that loud & sometimes words are slurred for effect. If you really want the real deal, look up the lyrics before bed, then turn off your lights & have some melancholy me time.

This sounds like I’m bashing the album – I swear I’m not! Each of these songs is special to me. Another great album I was listening to through my tough time in November. “Space Song” is on every aesthetic Instgram video ever, but that doesn’t make it not good – I’m still not annoyed! I would say that my two favorites are “Levitation” & “10:37.” In “Levitation,” strings give texture & urgency to the line, while the gentle vocals allow the listener to lay back. The lyrcis are beautiful, but can be hard to hear, like I said. In “10:37,” the gentle but steady drum beat(s) provide comfort & safety; the vocals contribute to it. It’s a warm, gentle song – a beautiful experience.

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Back at home for Christmas break was my prime time for Depression Cherry… 
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….& even before I left, the dark days & oddly glowing sunsets of winter, coupled with my blue mood…made Depression Cherry a soundtrack of my life at that moment in time.

Blonde – Frank Ocean

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The album that made me want to die my hair this color (I’m only kidding a tiny, tiny bit)

Well – of course! I was first sucked into the Frank Ocean hype when “Super Rich Kids” was everywhere – but it’s been years, & we’d all been clamoring for the next album. It even became a meme. The wait was worth it, though: all of these songs boast a variety of styles & effects. In “Nikes,” for example, Frank’s voice is sped up. It heavily contrasts with “Futura Free,” in which Frank sings in his natural voice about how lucky he has been – but also about how hard he has worked, & how he & his family deserve what he’s gotten thanks to the talent he possesses. “Be Yourself,” a track simply consisting of a recorded voicemail message from someone’s mother, calling her child at a university. The mother is telling her child not to “do that cocaine” or marijuana, & warns the child about “weedheads” & the danger of alcohol. Of course – substance abuse is always going to be a “thing” for parents talking to their children…& yes, you should be careful with what you put in your body. In this context, however, the 1:29 track is simply a humorous interlude to some more intense tracks.

Overall, Blonde was worth the wait – truly! It combines angst with humor; rapid sequences of lyrics along with one or two words repeated for a single track. There’s something for everyone in this album – & all of it is for me.

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September 2016 – last year, basically. I even played Blonde in my elevator.

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ANTI – Rihanna 

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Oooh. Yes.

I’ll admit – it took me a full year to really get into ANTI. I didn’t understand the flow of the tracks at first…still, I kept coming back to it. In the end, Rih did not disappoint – when does she ever? Famous features like SZA & Drake pique the interest of other fan bases – & yes, the songs with those two are great. In fact, it’s how I found out about SZA. Songs like “Desperado,” “Needed Me,” “Pose,” & “Sex With Me” are some real anthems of empowerment; of the beauty of independence; of the marvel of self love. Meanwhile, tracks like “Love On The Brain” are for the tenderest of moments; it feels much older than it actually is. Then – what better song to listen to than “Kiss It Better” with your crush, just to give you that extra boost of confidence….? Try it.

It’s a good album. I’m very sorry it took me that long to appreciate. But now, I appreciate it with all my heart. That counts, right?

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The real hours of ANTI – adequately expressed in this sign in a restaurant.

Yeezus – Kanye West 

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I only knew about Kanye West from the Katy Perry song more than a few years back: “E.T.” Oh – I knew about & liked “Mercy,” but he only had a few verses in it; it was more of a collaboration type of deal.

I heard about the Yeezus album on – believe it or not – NPR. Yup! Fresh Air (an NPR show) didn’t interview Kanye, but they did play one song: “Bound 2.” That was the first song that I truly ever heard Kanye as a solo artist, not a collaborator. I was intrigued by the mixing of retro tracks with new verses by Kanye himself. I loved the cover art. I was…taken aback by the music video Kanye made with Kim Kardashian (I was still young…okay?). But most of all, I was intrigued. That’s when I really started getting into listening to beats of songs. Yeezus flows exquisitely well, in my opinion. There are some intense – almost horrifically intense – songs like “On Sight,” or “Black Skinhead.” There are others like “Hold My Liquor” – this song combines some of the melancholy heard on 808s with a heavy, sometimes screeching beat, along with aggressive yet emotionally expressive lyrics. I was intrigued at how “Bound 2” seemed to be a goodbye to the world; a hello to his wife (wait, were they married then?) & the children they would soon be having. I like to think of it as a great depiction of how meeting someone you truly end up loving makes you feel – normal things are beautiful. “Red cups on the lawn,” not telling your mom, speaking about infidelity as well as loyalty. It depicts a faulty yet loving relationship, in my opinion – sure, told from the standpoint of a man, but nevertheless, Kanye’s right – sometimes you don’t remember the day you first met; that’s okay. It’s also okay to write a song about it being okay.

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The days of Yeezus – especially “Bound 2” were in the Adirondack mountains, summer of 2015.

Mind of Mine – Zayn Malik 

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Zayn Malik has not been…the most politically correct these past few years, let us say. He was the rogue – left One Direction, broke all our hearts, & went out & got cozy with Gigi Hadid, reinvented the importance of Twitter celebrity feuds – & released an album that knocked me speechless.

No, I’m not a fan of all Zayn has said & done. But his album is objectively good – “Pillowtalk” was a great single – both visually & musically appealing. His track organization was meticulous; each song flows into the next – literally. Each song ends with the beginning of the next song. Like I’ve already said – I have a weakness for that kind of album style. Each & every song from the album is pleasant to listen to, but all together they are a journey.

“Pillowtalk” will always be iconic for me…but “dRuNk” (thank you, quirky type style), “INTERMISSION: fLoWer,” “BLUE,” “BRIGHT,” & “SHE DON’T LOVE ME” all touch me in different ways. It’s a good album to listen to when you’re in your feelings. Zayn’s been flying quite low since he dropped his album & did a promo tour…who knows what he’s up to? I certainly don’t – but I do know that Mind of Mine is an excellent album with a great flow.

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At arcades, blasting Mind of Mine.

Melodrama – Lorde 

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Okayyyyy. Another album I waited for as eagerly as I did Frank Ocean’s. No…that’s a lie. I waited even more eagerly for this one. Like I said – Lorde is someone I really identified with – I still do. I wondered if she would be able to capture the sensation of late teens & early adulthood. That was the night before she released “Green Light” as her first single. The next morning, I woke up feeling like I should go dance on top of a car, or a roof…a strange bathroom. It was different, it was new, but it was undoubtedly Lorde. It speaks volumes when an artist’s sound changes subtly yet powerfully. There was no major “rebranding” here – no new lifestyle, no drastic changes. Lorde – or Ella – grew up. She cut her hair, she didn’t wear purple lipstick as much. She went through a big breakup. She vomited outside house parties. She was living & dying – every night. I could identify with that – big time. Melodrama was this year’s summer album, & it’s an album I’ll associate with this specific time for the rest of my life.

As for favorites? When people ask me, I have no idea what to say. They’re all uniquely appealing, & at the end, it depends on what I feel like that day. Sometimes, “Hard Feelings/Loveless” is all my soul needs. Other days, I need to cry to “Liability.” Some days, I want to dance on a rock in the middle of a creek to “Green Light” – & yes, I did that the other day…all by myself. It’s what she would do, isn’t it?

Lorde gave me some real material here – coming-of-age, romanticizing normalities, being more open & vulnurable with those around you. Making closer friends, not trying to increase the volume of friends. Realizing that loneliness can be beautiful, & sometimes a walk (or dance) down your beach/sidewalk/street/nearby mountains all by yourself is exactly what you need.

Lorde cut her hair – so did I. We both experienced crushing life events over the past few years. So did all of you. Lorde’s writing is now infinitely approachable – who doesn’t feel like a liability at least once in a while? What college student can’t relate to “Perfect Places” even in a small way? Why wouldn’t you want to feel dangerous & beautiful by turning up “Sober?” Don’t forget about Supercut – it’s raw, it’s real, it is infinitely emotional.

I was lucky enough to have the money to buy tickets to see Lorde – or should I say…one ticket? That’s right! I’m going by myself, I’m sitting in the nosebleeds, & I wil dance my heart out. It has long been a dream to attend a Lorde concert; I was sad I didn’t have my shit together to do it last time she came around. This time, however, will be better. More songs…more to talk about. I can’t wait. & I love Melodrama. Did I say I love Melodrama?

That’s it for the diary – for now! Let me know via social – or the comments! – what kinds of personal entries you’d enjoy seeing. I love being inspired by you, & I love feedback! Also: tell me your top 10 “never hit skip” albums – or just one album. I’m always looking for new ones.

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5:30 a.m…..
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…9:30 p.m.
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A “Supercut”

Love,

Sof ❤

August Favorites: Back To Basics

August has been a tremendous month! You can be sure to check out my diary section if you want more beautifully structured sentences & paragraphs on all that. It’s product time.

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.

This month, I made a few bigger splurges (& was gifted several others) that are, short-term, more expensive than serums/oils/other products I’d normally buy. However – if I was using less, I didn’t have to think about all the new things I’d be getting; I’d just be refilling my old favorites. I tried to cut back this past month. I think I was pretty successful! In doing so, I did go back to some old favorites, yes – but I couldn’t help but try one or two more new things. 

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. 

Side note: not all of these products are skin care! As you may have heard, I’m working part-time this semester at my local Starbucks as a barista. I’ve fallen back to some old favorites & new discoveries in the makeup realm that are beautiful – & easy – to wear every day. Some are even drugstore options. I know! Okay, let’s do it. 

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

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My (heavily used) “tub” of FAB Cream

I talked about going back to basics – let me prove it with this old favorite. It’s been in my moisturizer pile since late November, when I was having a skin infection. I started using it because it’s fragrance-free, paraben-free, & sulfate-free. It’s described as “an all-over moisturizer that provides instant relief and long-term hydration for dry, distressed skin and eczema.”

I’d definitely agree with that. This cream was the perfect day cream for me during harsh winter months, especially during the ones that my face had a painful rash on it. I started using it again, though – as a day cream, in the summer, no less. I was curious: this product was supposed to be the end-all, be-all for sensitive, dry skin. Would it be just as good in the day, during a hot Midwestern summer?

Turns out: yes. The cream has the same texture as it does in the winter: whipped, moisturizing (but not greasy), no scent, no unpleasant stickiness after application. It sinks in seamlessly & leaves my skin feeling plump & fresh.

Let’s also talk about bang for your buck – this face cream sells for $30…for 6 fl oz. Six. Fluid. Ounces. That’s about three of whichever medium-end moisturizer you’re currently using is (probably). You get a lot of product. I have the $30 version; I’m not even close to finishing it, & it’s been around a while. If you’re someone prone to reactions with face creams – texture, acne, irritation, lack of proper hydration – I highly recommend this. I also recommend this to people looking for “nicer” skin care than one may find in a drugstore (don’t sneeze at the drugstore though…ever), but don’t want to pay $50 for a face cream. I don’t blame you. This will give you quality & quantity. How better to sell someone on a skin care product?

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Notice: the “whipped” texture of the Ultra Repair Cream

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover

Well…you could’ve given me less of a mouthful, Garnier. I’ll let it pass though – your micellar water is amazing.

I’d previously tried a L’Oreal micellar water, but I just wasn’t a fan. If we’re talking textures, they’re both obviously the same (or almost the same) but it feels like the Garnier water really gets off all that makeup; it’s great for removing stubborn mascara. The L’Oreal one couldn’t do that.

I don’t use this as a cleanser, although some do – & love it! I use this as a makeup remover. Few drops on a cotton square, gently wipe in circles all over the face, & bam! Clean, fresh face.

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The Garnier micellar water, with its cotton pad pals

LUSH Honey Lip Scrub 

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Oh, look! Another affordable product – one that is good, one that has a lot of quantity for its quality, & is named after some of the world’s hardest workers.

This is a great lip scrub – I have only had one other lip scrub from LUSH (it was the bubblegum one) & I really liked it. I just put LUSH off my radar for a while – big mistake. Anyway, once I started putting some products that contained honey into my routine – & seeing great results – I saw more honey-related products pop up on my IG discover feed. I found this little baby, went to sniff it in-store, & left with a big pot of lip scrub that smells like honey & mint.

I like this so much, it made my “Lip Balm Post” in the lip scrub category. My only complaint is that some of the sugar grains are big; if your lips are super chapped, you could scratch your lip. Other than that? Great scent, great, feel, great taste (yes, you can lick it off) & it plumps & softens lips. The formula? A castor sugar base, combined with “a lip-smacking combination of syrupy honey, creamy white chocolate and aromatic vanilla” as well as jojaba oil – this helps prep lips for a tint or lipstick! Oh, & like I said: cheap.

Also: at large, LUSH is also an incredible company to support at large. They’re 100% cruelty-free, very vegan-friendly, & make active efforts to work against deforestation & have a hand cream dedicated to making donations from each sale to various charities. Whatever your taste in scents, LUSH is a great place to shop, & has good principles – & product.

Can you tell I love this product?

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A closer peek at texture

Drunk Elephant T. L. C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum 

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The Nightbright set – contains my first Framboos serum (the mini version)

I know, I know. You’re probably yelling “what are you doing buying a $90 serum???” Let me explain:

First off, I was iffy about the serum. I saw a lot people raving about it, but…it’s no cheap price, & I always ask myself – is it really worth it?

I decided to get the Nightbright mini set – a mini Framboos & a mini Marula Oil – to 1) have a mini-size that I can easily carry with me when travelling 2) see if the hype on the Framboos serum was worth it.

I started phasing the mini Framboos into my routine – it was when I had started to cut down on my skin care & figure out what I really, truly, needed. I know, sounds fake – but I figured that a clarifying serum would be nice; I have no serums specifically meant for nighttime. I thought it was unique/interesting enough of a product, yet not gimmicky. I’d be using it if I liked it. Like I said: I do like it – very much! As I started to turn down my routine a few notches, I began to use this. I noticed my skin getting brighter & smoother, as well as a bit cleare. The best effect I can say it gives (for me, at least) is a brightening effect. & I love that! The ingredients speak to the brightening claim; the serum has BHA/AHA 12% in it.

Let me be honest: In the back of my mind, I kept feeling like this wasn’t a good serum choice for me; I fully prepared myself for dryer skin, maybe some irritation or tingling, or a “skin purge” – aka, breakouts when using a new product.

Upon first applying it, I did feel a little tingling; no burning, though. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it irritating; I did see some reviews mentioning it felt uncomfortable when first applying it, but I myself didn’t experience. I was surprised – I’d expected some kind of irritation. Still – maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. One of Drunk Elephant’s claims is that they’re for all skin types, no matter which product of theirs you choose. That seems to be the case with this one! I’ve had different friends with various skin types tell me how good it was; I’ve now put my STAMP of approval on it, too! I’m a believer.

The first night I applied it, I took note of: scent (or lack thereof), texture, & sensation as I applied it to my face.

Thoughts: Framboos looks & feels like a cool water gel – & it feels like a cool water gel while being applied. The product itself has no scent (no DE products do) & it’s completely clear & transparent. Again: water gel vibes. After it’s been applied, the serum dries down a bit sticky. I don’t generally like that sensation – who does! – but the stickiness lasted about 5-10 minutes. By the time I apply moisturizer, the tackiness has gone away.

Conclusion: Is this product really that good? You probably already know what I think, but in case you don’t: the product is really that good. I wish I’d just gone to my local Sephora & gotten a sample of it instead of the Nightbright Duo. Why? Well, when I looked in the mirror the morning after I used this for the first time, I knew full size would be worth it. I know, sometimes the workers don’t like being asked for samples – especially when they’re asked by younger people for samples or expensive skin care products – but who cares? Spend less; it’ll be worth it!

But truly, conclusion: Brightening, retexturizing, & definitely, postitively worth it.

Side note: I’ll link a 20% off link for any DE products at the bottom of this post! That makes a $90 product a $72 product.

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Unopened…
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Open! I love the little twist-up, almost puzzle-like pumps on the DE serums. They’re cute! Even better, they’re hygienic.

Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen

I knowww. I know! There was & still is a lot of controversy about Glossier’s take on sunscreen. It may be hard for you to trust my judgement, but truly…truly! I stay honest. So! Here are my thoughts, both good & bad.

  1. Lightweight – sinks into the sink like water. Weren’t we just talking water-gel formulas?
  2. The lightness of the product makes it perfect for wearing under makeup. I’ve been using it as a cooling primer/sun protection all in one
  3. It smells great; very fresh & citrusy
  4. You don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. I wish the product was bigger. That was the thing that really did bring me down. At the same time, the other chemical sunscreen I want to try (Lagom one) is constantly sold out. I enjoye the non-stickiness/lack of white case to this product, & so I’ve refilled it. Until I can snatch up 10+ Lagom sunscreens, I’m sticking to this one. It’s been the most successful so far: no clogged pores, no stickiness, no gross smell.

The piece I wrote a few days ago (here) I incorporated Invisible Shield into my routine; both as a primer & as a sunscreen. Multi-purpose products! It doesn’ get more low-maintenaince than that.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

Another product that I have the right to scream about – because it’s good, but it’s also expensive. Kypris was super kind & sent me a box of goodies (check out my full review of the things they sent here). I liked all of them – I mean, if you’re paying more than $50 for a product you should expect nothing but the best, in my opinion.

This product, however, stood out. I’d had people tell me this was good, but I never really thought to get it. Drunk Elephant are the products I splurge on; I don’t really think to check out other high-end, indie brands.

Well, thank god I did! This is gold in a jar. I use two drops of it every morning, patted all over my face. It hydrates & restores vitality/radiance to the skin. Ocean extracts & herb antioxidents speak for the “Antioxidant”  in the product’s name. It also contains a lot of hydrating botanicals, as well as Vitamin C & Vitamin E.

I use mine after toning & before serums – Kypris advises to “use as a lightweight multi action moisturizer or as a potent layering piece in your skincare wardrobe.”

No residue, no scent, no stickiness. I felt tingly the first day I used it & my skin looked a bit flushed the next day. The next time I used it, however, I saw only positive results. Thanks to this beauty, my skin is brighter, dewier (“Dew”) & clearer than it was before. I said this in my review post, but I’ll say it again: If you’re going to buy one Kypris product, I suggest you go with this one.

Also: follow their Instagram; they’re into the moon (so am I) & post a lot of cool nature shots as well as product ones!

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An expensive product deserves bougie packaging. This takes the cake!

Aromatica Damask Rose Soothing Gel 100% 

I stumbled across this months ago while browsing low-price items on Peach & Lily’s site. I got it, simply because 1) it has rose in it 2) it was cheap as hell! $15 for 6 fl oz.

This is super cooling & refreshing. It smells of roses, but it’s not unpleasant or over powering. The scent fades in a moment, anyway.

So: what to do with it?

Well, I’ve used it many different ways. Peach & Lily says it can be used as a face/body moisturizer, but it’s way too lightweight for my skin to use only that as a moisturizer or cream. I do like to use it as a hydrating serum; one tiny press on the pump & you’ll get enough for your whole face.

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6 oz of soothing, rose-scented product

It’s just very soothing, very relaxing, & very cooling. I haven’t used it in forever, but I’m starting to use it now as a hydrating serum/emulsion-type product…& I like it!

For those who are allergic/sensitive to rose: there’s a great aloe vera version, too! Check it here.

Tonymoly I’m Real Red Wine Sheet Mask AND My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Mask

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If you’re looking for, let’s say: the one-night stand of skin care, these are your buddies. I’ve loved the Tonymoly masks for years. They’re all great! Lately, I’ve been loving this one especially. As you can see, it says “pore care.” That means that it reduces the appearance of pores or texture, & tightens/purifies skin. I’d agree! It’s a less-than-$5 facial, it works very well, & my skin always comes out looking plumper & smoother. & no, I don’t think it smells like red wine…at all! Doesn’t make it bad, though…so I’m not complaining.

As for the Beauty Diary mask, I’d ordered the Black Pearl ones up at university this past spring. They’re ridiculously cheap – less than $11 for a ten-pack – & they work! This claims to hydrate, fade dark spots, & scars. It contains actual pearl essence (!!!) which is mineral-rich & works to “rejuvenate” the skin; it also contains various botanicals like algae, yeast proteins, & lemon extracts. These hydrate & brighten…how about that!

This is the only line of masks I’ve gotten from Beauty Diary. There are a lot more options on Target’s site (& Amazon, of course). I’d forgotten about these Black Pearl ones – they were in the back of my bathroom drawer. When I pulled them out, I first squealed because I hate losing things. Then I put it on. I’m back on board! Reminder to self: buy more of these. They serve you well.

$2 mask that works? Can’t beat it.

O.R.G. Mineral Peel Face

I usually find “peeling gels” or “peeling liquids” to be a bit gimmicky. You’ll see skin coming off…but it’s usually not your skin at all – or it’s a very small part. It’s mostly your hands shedding skin. At least: that’s what I’d been told. I was admittedly skeptical when I received this, but I gave it a go.

Verdict? Best “peel” product I’ve ever had. I can actually see results. Who knows if the skin is coming off my hands or my face; the product works beatifully. It brightens, refreshes, & makes everything feel new & clean – squeaky clean.

Stay tuned for a mini review on this one! I’ll be focusing on this product – & this product only.

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Mario Badescu Whitening Mask

I find it funny that I was so “scared” to buy this mask for so long. It didn’t seem to be suited to my skin type – everyone was talking about it being an acne life-saver. Since I’m not really acne prone, I just shrugged my shoulders. But when I actually read the description on the Mario Badescu site, I saw the light: this is ” a skin-perfecting mask specially formulated to address discoloration and dehydration” & contains kojic acid, liquorice root, & mulberry extracts. These are all antioxidents that help prevent further discoloration; meanwhile, olive leaf extract & Vitamin E nourish the skin, & beeswax seals in moisture & important nutrients.

Because I was stupid & did no research, I was…really kind of missing out! I like how quick & easy it is; I like the results, & I have not (in the slightest) been dissatisfied with the result; nor have I been sucked dry of any existing moisture! I like this. A little goes a long way, so I’ll have it for a while. Best feeling ever, am I right?

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Origins Make A Difference™ Rejuvenating Hand Treatment

I’ve been trying to take better care of my hands. They were always dry & sore when I was playing violin (lotions mess up the speed with which you can play, since it’s slipper; they also can ruin the instrument’s varnish) but I decided to make a joke of it: now that I’ve lost my lifelong dream, I may as well have nice hands & nails. As for losing my dream: don’t worry…I will find another; I WILL!)

What was I saying? Yes! This is a great cream. I have a tiny travel size that’s not individually sold; however, Sephora has the full size.

This has a pleasant smell that doesn’t linger too long; I like to apply it when hands are still damp & wait for everything to sink in.

I love most of Origins’ products, as many of you may know, but I’d never expected a hand cream to feel so nice!

I’m still on the hunt for affordable hand creams, though – if you have recommendations, shoot me a shot in my DMs or in the comments below! For now, though, this one is working just fine. This winter, I will finally be able to apply hand lotion when I want to. Wow.

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Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Nail Treatment 

Okay. I thought Dior was upping their game thanks to all the versions of Diorshow that came out this past year. Turns up this particular product has been around since 1963. If it’s been there that long, it’s gotta be good, right?

Well…not always. But for this one, I’m right.

A little goes a long way, & it has a putty, sticky texture that fades into a balm once on the cuticle. I like using this with my hand lotion at night now; already, my cuticles look & feel softer.

It has a really pleasant smell – slightly apricot, yes, but not in a fake, peach-rings kind of way. It’s fruity, but also floral. It also fades quickly – not that it matters, because 1) I sleep with it on 2) the smell is pleasant anyway!

So far, so good. There are cheaper options out there wiht just plain old apricot oil (it’s a healing oil) but I’m going to be honest with you all: this is so dense in texture that I feel like I won’t need a refill until 2020. You really do need that little…& I love it.

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The classic “CD” initials against the circular, ivory background. So…so…pretty. A purse accessory, for sure.
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I love texture photos of skin care. This one is probably the best representation of how the treatment looks.

Essie Meet Me At Sunset Nail Polish

Essie’s shade “Clambake” was on the nails of every beauty blogger/influencer this past summer. For good reason: it’s the kind of orange-y red that looks good on all skin tones.

Unfortunately, Clambake got so popular that it’s virtually unavailable right now. Boo. No word as to whether that was a limited edition shade, but I found a pretty close dupe: also Essie, but this one’s called Meet Me At Sunset. It’s described as “a deep orange” on Essie’s site, but I’m going to politely disagree; it’s orange-red, & very close to Clambake’s color.

I usually don’t like bright red nails; there is something in this, however, that compliments every outfit I put together, looks elegant on my nails, & makes them look longer, too!

**Stay tuned on the nail treatment/polish/hand cream thing. I have an upcoming post!**

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I FOUND (a dupe of) CLAMBAKE 

CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Air Cushion

I’ve spoken many times about CLĒ! They’re helpful, friendly, & their products really work. This is no exception. I know I’ve included their CCC Cream in a past monthly favorites, but I’ve been loving this more as of late.

It’s hard to describe the finish you get from this, but I’d call it dewy. You’ll get light to medium (at best) coverage with this product – if you want something with more coverage, try the CCC Cream.

Back to the finish. It’s super dewy & glowy. It works like a Snap filter for your face, except it stays all day. It’s buttery, it applies like a dream (comes with an applicator) & is super versatile. I can use this all over my face; I can also use it in the center of my face, blending out for a more casual, carefree look that still balances out my skin.

The initial price is steep, but worth in the long run. The actual “cushion” – that is, the compartment it comes in – is a one-time purchase. After you have your compartment, you’ll just get refills (if you choose to refill) – that costs significantly less.

The sun protection in this product is unreal. 50+ SPF! Wow!!!! & no sunscreen-y smell, no stickiness, no clogged pores. Just a very nice, very even finish with just enough dew. Great for those who want a little something – more than skin tint, less than foundation or BB/CC cream.

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The gleaming gold letters: CLĒ

Glossier Cloud Paint – Shade: Haze

I’ve been a big fan of Cloud Paint from the beginning! It’s extremely user-friendly; great for people who, like me, are scared of blush. I just don’t want to look like a clown…okay?!

No worries with these, though – even I, palest of pale, can apply a tiny dot & get the perfect dose of color. They work beatifully on medium & dark skin tones, too – just check Glossier’s page, where they demo cloud paint on several different models, with different skin tones.

Haze was the shade I thought I’d end up liking least. Wrong! Turns out, Beam (orange-coral) is my favorite, & Haze is my second. I find that funny, because I thought I’d prefer the other two. Surpises around every corner, am I right…

Down to business, though: I think this is going to be the perfect fall/winter shade. It’d look very cute with a gently smoked-out eye, or a lip stain or liner. It’s a nice, deep, berry color that somehow manages to make me look, well…good in blush!

If you’re scared of blush & trying to get out of your comfort zone, I think these are a great start. Haze will be an even more specific great start: you’ll be getting your fall colors on, while experimenting with a new product you may not have previously cared for!

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As the name suggests, Cloud Paint comes in “paint-like” tubes

Lancôme Monsier Big Mascara 

Never really thought much about Lancôme! They never had anything that really appealed to me, so I always stroll by that section when I’m at Sephora. I took the wrong turn – because Lancôme is, apparently, stepping up their game.

I recieved a mini of this Lancôme mascara with my August Glossybox – it’s just like Ipsy or other makeup subscription boxes – & I’m so glad it was sent my way, because this is truly a good mascara – coming from someone who doesn’t like wearing mascara!

The Monsieur Big Mascara was released earlier this year. I find it to be similar in effect to Dior’s Diorshow Mascara (original version); maybe a bit more volume at the roots. Still, they’re very similar.

I have no doubt this tube will last me a good time. I don’t know if I’d replace my Diorshow with this mascara as they’re similar in effect to me. However! I’m currently trying the other Diorshow dupe – the L’Oreal one – & maybe I’ll do a comparison after I’ve gotten some real wear out of the L’Oreal one & give my thoughts on each.

For now, though: it is a more-than-okay mascara. It’s even a great mascara! I really do like it; I’m glad Glossybox put me onto it. & don’t worry – if you don’t want a full size because it’s too pricy, buy the mini version (the one I got in my Glossybox) on Sephora’s site. It’s only $12!

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Black & pink packaging 

Glossier Wowder Brush

This brush is sold both as a separate item & also with the Wowder (powder) that it was designed for.

I got Wowder, & I like it! I just don’t like wearing powder all the time. This brush, however, can be used at any time of the day or night, for any look you please.

Call me stupid, but this is genuinely a good brush! I’d say it’s Sephora Brand quality (their brushes can get pricy) for about half as expensive. Deal, no?

I use this for my Wowder (duh), for highlights – & I also use it as a fluffy blending brush. However I choose to use it on a certain day, it always pulls through for me. I also like the case it comes in – good for travel, yes! Also: good for pencils. You’ll be the class Glossier Girl, pulling your pencils/pens out of your special, rectangular, #glossierpink brush case.

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A quick look at the back: sturdy, has a pretty sheen, & I like the idea of the “G” logo on the bottom, rather than stuck elsewhere
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Close-up of the actual brush! As you can see, it’s fluffy. I wouldn’t use it for blending out a foundation product, but otherwise, I’d say it’s good for pretty much else

NYX Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray

I remember trying a setting spray for the first time last year – it was my mama’s, & she was using the Urban Decay one. I tried it, decided it wasn’t worth it, & looked for cheaper alternatives; maybe a dupe.

What I found wasn’t a dupe – it was better than the more expensive product! When I feel like I want a setting spray, I use this. It keeps me looking hydrated & dewy; it has a nice spritzer, so product is evenly sprayed.

I love using this for long days, whether it be at work, a hospital, or just a day at class. I come home looking tired, yes – but my skin is still glowing. All that for $7.99. Save the money & get on NYX’s (excellent) take on one instead. For those who don’t like a dewy finish, NYX also carries a matte finish one.

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My (very cheap & very good) ride or die

Well…my fingers hurt from typing, & it’s probably time for me to go to bed. I hope you enjoyed my favorites this month! I’d love to hear yours, so feel free to let me know what you’ve been loving in the comments. 

Love (& happy September),

Sof ❤

Thinking about Drunk Elephant? Here’s 20% off any of their products. It makes the purchase less painful!

What’s With All The Water?

“I just drink water! Sometimes I splash my face with it, too; no soap!”

You know it: the answer models hand to hungry, fashion week reporters. & isn’t it frustrating.

Of course I wish that’s how my skin worked. I’m eternally glad (& yes, a bit jealous) that some people can just drink & splash some water & that’s that! “That,” however, is not me. & it’s probably not you, either – statistically speaking, of course.

But…models have a point. Even though that’s the only way they might be using it in their regimen, water is an amazing, life-giving source. Thank you, Magdalena Fraçkowiack, for reminding me of this fact (I’m half-kidding).

Since water is good for your digestion, blood, heart, & yeah…pretty much everything else, too…it’s also great for your skin. That’s why things like hyaluronic acid – a compound found in our bodies to keep our insides hydrated – are amazing to use if you want plump, glowy skin. Plump, glowy skin comes from hydrating – & drinking water is number one, of course…but why not get some skin care in there while you’re drinking your two fluid ounces?

As of late, water-based moisturizers, masks, & eye gels have been popping up left & right. This oil-free, mostly-water formula can be traced back to Korea (no surprise) but other brands are jumping on board, & they’re jumping quickly. There are even cleansers that are only water-based – take, for example, my holy grail: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser 

The idea behind water-based products? The truth that a healthy dose of hydration is the best thing you can do for dry, parched skin. Since the products are lightweight, however, they’re also ideal for other skin types: oily or combo – or normal! The reason they work so well for everyone? The key ingredient is often hyaluronic acid, which can soothe, reduce inflammation, & decrease irritation…as well as plump & lift.

Hyaluronic acid is a universally effective product, so it’s no wonder that water-based products work so well on all skin types. Water-based products aren’t news or anything…but they do tend to pop up more during the summer: humidity, sweat, beating sun, & sticky nights. None of those things particularly make you want to apply an oil-based moisturizer, does it? Water-based products will do most (if not all) that oil-based ones do – they’ll just feel cooler & lighter on the face.

Today I’m going to briefly mention a quick Sephora steal (which also made my July favorites post) that is water-based: the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. Only $25, it boasts more than 2 oz. of product & comes sealed air-tight, with a small spatula to further improve cleanliness. Check it out next to the other product: Dr Jart Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask, which is $48:

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Check out my July favorites to see my full thoughts on the Laneige mask – today, we’re talking about one particular brand that I’ve personally loved for several years. This brand has released a water-based collection of products – that brand is Dr. Jart!!! Most of you probably know how much I love their Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Cream & their dedication to SPF in products. 

Dr. Jart was kind enough to send me their Hydro collection to try out – something I still cannot believe my typing! “Dr. Jart is like, big, you guys!” Seriously, though: Thank you so much, Dr. Jart! I’ve loved your products for years & it’s quite exciting to receive such a wonderful gift from such a wonderful brand. Okay, I’ll try to act normal now & not super excited & overwhelmed!!! Side note: you may have already heard some of my opinions on a few of these products already – consider this a full run-down; a research paper, if you will. 

The three products in the Hydro collection are:

  1. Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel – $39
  2. Water Fuse Hydro Soothe Eye Gel – $42
  3. Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask – $48

Let’s toss aside price, because it’s undeniable: Dr. Jart is a mid-priced, sometimes high-priced brand. Their products, however, work. They work for all ages, too: my mama is obsessed with their Beauty Balm; the photos of teens wearing the Dr. Jart #millennialpink rubber masks took over Instagram for a good month. So: they’re appealing to all ages, they have street (read: Instagram) cred, & their stuff really works. Oh – & they’re K-Beauty. You know how much everyone loves their K-Beauty.

So! A little realistic background on Dr. Jart, its prices, its products, & how it is so good for what it is. For reference, some of hte Dr. Jart products I have purchased myself in the past & will continue to purchase are:

  • Every Sun Day Sunscreen
  • Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment
  • Liquid Ceramidin

So, one more time for htose who don’t believe me or haven’t read my reivews of other Dr. Jart products: I really do like them, & I really do support their brand.

Now, let’s get on to the products, shall we?

Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel

Out of all of the pieces in the collection, this one is my favorite by far. You know how my Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich is my holy grail night cream? I may have just found a holy grail day cream.

A little goes a very long way; the jar comes with a spatula, something I always appreciate. The color is pale, baby-blue, but the product has no scent to it.

Described as a “lightweight gel-cream,” Dr. Jart says the product is meant to cool & refresh skin while giving a healthy dose of hydration. The gel-cream is formulated with a special (patented) “proprietary AquaMineral complex” which is supposed to grab & retain moisture (ideal for keeping skin soft & hydrated throughout the day). It’s also supposed to brighten & energize the skin, as well as repair it.

Well…those are a lot of bold claims to make! I’ll go ahead & stand behind the claim that it is cooling & refreshing. It absolutely feels extremely cooling, soothing, & refreshing – that’s why I like to wear in the day. It feels cooling even an hour after application. It also makes my skin appear dewy, not oily; great for no-makeup days…but it doesn’t mess up makeup application – probably from lack of oils which can melt/mess makeup – so it’s good for makeup days, too. Overall, this is a lovely, lovely cream – I really think I’ve found The One for me. It’s only slightly more expensive than Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich – which I’ll continue to use at night. A little goes a long way for both of these moisturizers; this is why I think it’s a worthy investment to make. I know it’s good when my dry, dry skin only needs “a little bit” – & I really do mean a little bit

I’ve been wearing this every day since I’ve gotten it, & have no complaints to make; it’s reduced my redness, makes me feel cool even on hot days, & I’ve seen some little abrasions on my face heal faster than usual – definitely a sign, since I hadn’t switched up my routine to take care of the abrasions at all…except for this product.

Props to Dr. Jart for putting me on to this, because it really is a winner. Think of it this way: this Hydro Gel is giving me the effects that I wouldn’t get from other products unless I were paying at least $20 more. That…plus it’s just as good – & even more hygienic? I’ll take it, please – actually, two. Thank you.

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A protective cap to the Hydro Gel – spatula neatly nestled between the jar & its lid
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Closer look at the spatula in action, dipping right into the Hydro Gel. “Gel cream” is truly the best way to describe this product – it’s lightweight & bouncy – but hydrating & replenishing
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A bare-faced look at a beautiful, baby-blue product

Water Fuse Hydro Soothe Eye Gel

Funny that I should follow up the product I liked the most with the one I liked least! Or maybe not; maybe I’m just good at compare & contrast. Anyways – why is this my least favorite? Let me explain what I like about it, first – because I don’t hate it! There’s just some reasons why it’s not the first thing I’d go for when looking at this collection.

It’s funny I say this, because out of the three Hydro products, this eye gel seems to be selling the best. I guess a lot more people liked this a lot more than I did…because it’s actually sold out on Sephora as I type this. Don’t worry, though: if people like it this much –  & the reviews/ratings show that they do – it’ll be back soon. Get ready for my personal experience with this gel!

The product is a delightful aqua color; it’s reminiscent of the color of the water in the Carribean – a sort of green aqua blue. It’s transluscent, so once a little is dabbed onto your finger tips, you won’t notice any pigment – even before you’ve tapped onto the eye area.

The scent is light – extremely light. There’s something vaguely herbal or citrus-y about it, but it’s hard to actually put a name on it. Regardless, the scent fades quickly, which I always appreciate – especially if it’s a daytime product & I don’t want to ruin the perfume of the day.

This product does happen to be a daytime one, yes. It acts as a solution to puffiness, loss of firmness & elasticity, & dryness. Those are actually all things I battle with – thanks, lack of sleep! But seriously: I thought I’d found the perfect eye combo, & when I saw what this one did, I wondered if this would become my new one.

Conclusion: No, I don’t think I’m going to make this an every day kind of product. Why? Let’s talk. First of all, this gel has no SPF in it – that’s what bothers me about this product. It’s meant to be a daytime gel. It’s extremely hydrating, leaves eye area dewy & fresh, as well as brightened. But…if I go out while wearing it, I’m not getting sun protection on my lids, & might have to make some adjustments to make sure I’m protected.

Remember that I am writing this as a chronically ill person who’s extra sensitive to the sun. I don’t think lack of SPF would otherwise be a big deal.  It’s amazing at making me wake up a little. It’s amazing at making me look less dead – & it’s less expensive than the product combo I currently use. It’s also like the Hydro Gel, it’s super cooling. It also reminds me of the sensation of Milk Makeup’s Cooling Water Stick (something I currently use).

Still – something about it just didn’t quite work for me.  At first, I didn’t know, but I’m still giving it some go, but after breaking down the ingredients a bit more, I concluded that there was one ingredient I didn’t see in this eye gel: caffeine. I think it was the missing caffeine that made the this product “oh!” instead of “OH!” My Milk Makeup Cooling Water Stick has caffeine, & it majorly reduces puffiness/dark circles.

So….I guess I’ve cracked the code (my code, anyway): I need caffeine applied directly onto my skin to make it look more alive. I wish there were some SPF in it – that’s something I feel to be necessary in a daytime eye product. Still – the reviews (& sales) on Sephora Dot Com say loads more than I ever could – & the masses love it! It’s probably just a “me thing.”

Again – don’t dislike the product by any means. It feels & looks great – I just didn’t find it life-changing. If this gel just contained a little SPF & maybe some caffeine, it would be a holy grail for sure. I’ll keep using this – but my trusted eye combo is still my trusted (& expensive) combo. For those of you wondering: I use the Milk Makeup Cooling Water Stick on my eye area twice a day (morning & night) & apply Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream over the Cooling Water at night. That has completely eradicated my puffiness – except for those nights you cry, you know. It’s like that sometimes. That’s okay.

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Also comes with a little cap – doesn’t include a spatula, like the Hydro Gel. 
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A closer look at the very cool color/consistency of this gel cream
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An even more intense close up. I love the ocean/summer vibe I get from this color

Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask

Here we have our final product! & what a coincidence: the last product I review from this collection is meant to be used while sleeping (this is me reminding you to take a nap today if you can).

Sleeping masks: masks that are gel or cream consistencies, meant to be massaged into the face & left on overnight.

When I was first introduced to sleep masks – I read an article around age 13 of Miranda Kerr using Korres Yoghurt Sleeping Facial (still pining) & was very confused. Wouldn’t that kind of thing just get all over my pillowcase?

Well, yes – at least, if you’re me doing a sleep mask for the first time (shouts out Glossier Moon Mask!) & apply too much…then toss & turn. That’s no good for your pillowcase – no two ways about it!

Giving it two more rounds, I came up with a product amount that would protect me overnight – while leaving my pillowcase intact.

I also worried about pores clogging overnight – if skin is being masked for more than 6 hours (hopefully), won’t your pores start to scream in anger?

Answer: Nope! Not if you pick the right ones & have faith in me & every other person who’s used one. That includes Miranda Kerr, & she seems a bit more famous than me.

For me, the “right ones” include Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, Glossier Moon Mask, Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell, & now: Dr. Jart Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask.

Like the eye gel, this mask has a slightly citrusy, herbal scent to it. It lingers a bit longer than the scent of the eye gel, but it doesn’t last too long that you’d get sick of it – plus the scent is not cloyingly sweet.

The Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask comes in packaging reminiscent of Drunk Elephant’s products – not an imitation…more like an inspiration. The colors & bottle shapes are completely different; the pumps, however, are very similar.

This mask is meant to boost firmness/elasticity, get rid of dullness/uneven texture, & (of course) hydrate. It’s good for all skin types – again, thanks to hyaluronic acid. This contains a bit more than hyaluronic acid, however. Like this whole line, the Hydro Sleep Mask contains Dr. Jart’s AquaMineral complex, which “is made of exact amounts of skin-identical minerals—sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These four specific minerals possess the ability to improve water absorption.”

There you have it! Clarifying contents, yes – hydrating ones as well. You get the best of both worlds.

This is an admittedly pricy mask – $48 is nothing to sneeze at. However, the first night I tried it, I could see that I needed an extremely small amount of product – it’s very concentrated; you can practically feel all the minerals in it. So: I know this will last me a long time.

After pumping some out, I massaged it into my face for about 30 seconds, until it was nice & absorbed. I then went to bed!

I did have a bit of a problem with my face sticking to the pillowcase, but this could have been because I didn’t let it sit for long enough before sleeping. My bad!!!

I woke up the next morning looking super refreshed: kind of that look you get when you emerge from a pool: a little disoriented, yes (who isn’t in the mornings!)….but also: fresh & sparkling with hydration.

I also noticed some micro abrasions that I get occasionally on my face had almost completely healed – & they had looked very different the previous evening. Overall, I felt refreshed, excited, & very hydrated & healthy after using this mask. Just make sure you let it sit on your face before putting your head to the pillow. I’ll be keeping this around, checking in with long-term results. Then I’ll decide whether or not to purchase this myself. I am, however, going to have to go with “yes” – for now, anyway. I do think this mask is slightly more effective than the Laneige one, but I can’t say for sure. I can tell you that you’ll see similar results if you use the Laneige – & if you’re on a budget, the Laneige is a respectable dupe for the Dr. Jart Sleep Mask Side note: this is meant to be a sleeping mask, but I’ve used it several times now as a “leave-on day mask” on no-makeup days. It doesn’t look weird or greasy when massaged in well; it does improve hydration, gives a little glow, & plumps up your face really nicely. 

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A look at the packaging (& packaging only) of the Hydro Sleep Mask
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A quick peek at how the pump works – reminds me of Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial pump. As you can see, this is definitely more of a cream than a gel or liquid – it still has that transluscent quality to it, however, that makes it incredibly easy to silently sink into the skin & get to work

Parting thoughts, perhaps?

Well, I think this Hydro Collection is absolutely worth taking a look at. If you have problems with clogged pores or don’t react well to heavily-scented, oil-containing products, this is very likely the line for you.

I know I’ll be repurchasin the Hydro Gel as a face cream. I’m interested to see how it’ll behave in the winter. I haven’t ever used water-based products as my “main thing” during the cold, dry winters I have to face. I guess we’ll have to wait & see for this one, right?

Seriously, though – thank you, Dr. Jart! Thanks for sending some great stuff my way (that I hope other people may like, too), & thank you for making my face feel like I’ve just dipped it in cold water – except I feel that all day long. I don’t know how you did it, but you did! Here you are on my top shelf:

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#millennialpink, meet #oceanhydroblue

Water-based products are “trendy” now, it’s true. They’re also extremely effective. Try one out. Since every water-based product I’ve ever seen is said to work on all skin types, I’m going to bet every one of you reading this will find at least one of these products worth it. After all, I taughtt you everything you need to know. Now that you’ve learned all about it, it’s time to give it a go!

What Dr. Jart Hydro collection product do you have interest in? Why is it so? Do you own some part of this collection – or all of it? Do you like it? Tell me in the comments! I love getting feedback.

Love,

Sof ❤

 

Yes, This IS Crazy Expensive – What’s Worth It, Though?

There are some things people will splurge on for their skin. There are others that can be bought for less than $10 at your local drugstore (or, you know: theordinary.com)

However- there are, in my opinion, some pricy products that are worth splurging on. Does it mean your entire routine has to consist of Sisley-Paris, La Mer, & Tatcha? Absolutely not! We all know that high price tag does not necessarily mean a good product. Again, though – some products really are worth their weight in gold. These special products can be added to a simpler, cheaper routine. A few drops a day can enhance an otherwise ordinary, simple, & effective routine into a glowing, constantly clear, “I don’t need concealer” kind of look.

Introducing: Kypris Beauty. Kypris Beauty is a brand that flew under my radar, for the most part, until I started religiously reading sites like Into The Gloss. That’s because 1) they aren’t carried at Sephora, so it’s a separate process to purchase a Kypris product 2) nothing is under $70. It is admittedly a very, very pricy brand – I put it in the league of Drunk Elephant, Sunday Riley, & Tatcha.

Still – Kypris products really stood out. They seemed to focus most on their Antioxidant Dew, which I was confused by (moisturizer? serum? both?), as well as their Beauty Elixir I 1,000 Roses, an oil that is allegedly infused with the oils of – you guessed it – 1,000 roses.

So – like I’ve mentioned (several) times, skin care does not have to be outrageously expensive – it is absolutely possible to achieve clear, calm skin with drugstore or middle end products. That is what the majority of my skin care consists of.  & so: would owning full cabinet of Kypris products be something I would be able to financially maintain? Absolutely not! Still, I was genuinely curious. Would this brand that is organic, cruelty-free, & paraben-free truly stand up to its high price tag? I decided to try the products with the mindset that I could only pick one or two, & see if they actually were a life-changer in my skin routine.

Kypris was incredibly generous – they sent me a lovely box filled with products – products that, if I’d chosen all those items, I would not have been able to purchase myself.

So – is Kypris a brand that I could completely drop all my other products for? No, because it’s too pricy for a university student. But – after applying the “pick one or two” mindset, I think I have found at least one product that, for me, is worth it – & if I start narrowing down my routine like I have been considering (more on that to come, & check the bottom of the article for more information), these are products I would take along with me.

So, sit down, get some popcorn or something, & get ready for a review on Kypris products.

First of all, packaging. I got the most beautiful package, truly – the packaging was beautifully wrapped & protected, & came wrapped in a big pink satin bow.

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The stuff dreams are made of
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Gold-leaf detailing on the box
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Soooo much gold!
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Protective crinkle paper, an extremely sturdy box – & yes, those are the product boxes in the background.  I couldn’t help myself – I had to tear them all open!

Also included in the package was a little flyer of sorts; it explained the Kypris philosophies & motives on one side – on the other, it gave a little extra information on each product, which was nice – I like getting “secret” tips from the retailers. Skin care products can be used in so many ways by so many people, so it’s nice to have little life hacks, if you will, included in my  package from the actual company.

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A sheet of photos, directions, & instructions

 

Mini Beauty Elixir I $90 // Mini Beauty Elixir II– $88 

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Let’s start with the products that have the most jaw-dropping price on the Kypris site: the Beauty Elixirs. $90 is expensive, right? It’s one full-size Drunk Elephant serum, a Tom Ford Bronzing palette, 88 LA Girl lip glosses…you get my point. Not cheap!

What’s funny: These aren’t the full-size versions.

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The Mini Elixirs (there are three total for the face) are .47 fl oz. Not…a lot of product, especially when we’re looking at the price range: none of the three are under $70. 

Each of these Elixirs come in a full-size – those are $225 & $200. YUP! Clearly, this is in the leagues of Sisley-Paris. After I saw how much the elixirs cost, I really put them to the test – meaning, I microanalyzed my skin, I checked on daily photos of my face to look for improvement…& a whole lot of other things.

Before I review them individually, let me just briefly explain what these elixirs are all about.

“Elixir” is a pretty vague term. It could mean a setting spray, a toner, a serum – anything that has a potion-like consistency (at least, that’s how I like to think of it). & what are the Kypris elixirs like?

To be very brief: the Kypris Elixirs are oils. Described as “100% active, reparative beauty oils formulated by skin type,” all three elixirs contain vitamins E & C for brightening & hydrating; they contain various antioxidants to help repair/plump/heal. They all come in a full-size (the $200 size) & a mini (the $88 size).

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I enjoyed the consistency of the oils – they’re nice by themselves, & they’re nice when mixed into moisturizers. These can be used both day & night, according to Kypris, but I prefer using them at night.

The elixirs are very concentrated. I would say 2-3 drops (3 at most) does the job for your face. Yes – your entire face! Another positive: the dropper tapers down to a narrow point (similar to the Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Oil, for reference) which makes it easy to use a small amount – & also keeps the serum’s dropper from getting clogged. Small details matter when using an expensive product – truly! No excuses should be made. I was glad to see that this kind of design had be used for such an expensive product. It shows that the brand is committed to selling something that not only works, but can be dispensed & used to its full potential. That should be a given, especially for higher-end brands.

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Tapered dropper, with a rounded end – see the drop lingering there? This styleof dropper improves application exponentially

Scents: beautifully fragranced – floral but not cloying. They’re almost like a perfume – they just fade faster. Which, I think, is for the best – you all know I hate when my skin care & fragrance combine into one big mess.

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Alright. Let’s get into the individual reviews of the two Kypris Elixers I have, shall we? (see all the elixirs here)

Mini Beauty Elixir I (1,000 Roses)

Mini Beauty Elixir I is also called “1,000 Roses.” The name speaks for itself – the essential oils of 1,000 roses (surprise!) combined with some other “magic” ingredients to live up to the elixir label. Some other key ingredients? Pomegranate seed extract, kukui oil (extremely hydrating) & a few other “superfoods,” too.

I’ll narrow it down to this: it’s essentially a rosehip oil, with some other things in there. These things brighten your skin, balance hormonal acne, & plump & lift. That’s thanks to Vitamin C, E, & even some liquorice extract.

Kypris says this is the most universal of their three elixirs – it can benefit any skin type in some kind of way. That’s because rosehip oil has so many healing & soothing properties. The oil consistency of the elixir, meanwhile, ensures that dry-skinned people can reduce breakouts without drying to a crisp. “For rose lovers,” is the opening line in the product description. I’m a rose lover, & I absolutely love this. It has a lovely, subtle, floral, rosy scent that isn’t dry or stuffy – just very fresh, soothing, & calming…basically, it smells exactly how this kind of product should.

Now, this can be used many ways. Kypris recommends using it twice daily – but I’m keeping it ~relatively~ affordable here. Out of practicality & affordability, I wouldn’t use this product twice a day. That’s because although these products were sent to me (for which I am very grateful), I am trying to review as though I actually did buy all of these products with my own money. We’re always more careful when it comes to spending our own money – no one wants to waste any. That is, not any product, & not any money. Even so – price tag aside, I think 1,000 Roses is extremely effective used once a day – that’s how I use mine- & doesn’t need applying twice.

I have found 1,000 Roses is best either patted into my skin in my morning routine, or mixed with a small scoop of my night cream in the evening. Personally, I like giving rosehip oil some serious time – so I now apply it only in the evening. It’s very soothing, super hydrating, & behaves the same way by itself as it does mixed with a cream. I’ve noticed a decrease in redness since I started incorporating this.

Like I said – yes, this is a very expensive & fancy oil. If you’re looking for similar benefits that you see rosehip oil does, there are definitely many cheaper alternatives to this product – more bang for your buck. However – if you want a 3-in-1 kind of deal, this product is probably a good choice. Just a few drops will hydrate, balance, & brighten your skin. Again – it can be expensive, but if a little goes a long way, & you are looking to narrow down a skin care routine, it may be worth it. I’d suggest this for people who are more experienced in skin care/looking for some more sophisticated results than plain rosehip oil (which – don’t get me wrong – is amazing) – & looking to get rid of those boxes of unused skin care items & just find something effective, quick, & multi-purpose.

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The color of the actual product: 1,000 Roses is a golden-yellow, with a very luxurious consistency.

Mini Beauty Elixir II (Healing Bouquet) – $80

We’ve been through one of these. Let’s talk about the other: Healing Bouquet. Again, this is a pretty universally useable product. & again: it’s because an oil is hydrating – but an oil can be clarifying & soothing, too. Using an oil? Doesn’t mean you’ll end up a greaseball. I promise.

Healing Bouquet lives up to the word “healing” in its name. It contains 24 active natural ingredients – admittedly very impressive. These ingredients are meant to heal & sooth inflamed or irritated skin, prevent further damage to skin that has been overexposed to sun, & is a good product for more mature skin types, as the ingredients sink deep into the skin, plumping & lifting.

I used this as a night treatment: mixed it into my Glossier Priming Moisturizer, my favorite night cream. I had a small microabrasian on my chin from a healing spot – the next morning, all redness & irritation was gone. Like I said, it lives up to its name.

The scent is also extraordinarily calming, thanks to the essential oils: Indian jasmine, rose geranium, aged patchouli, and lavender. These give off a musky, floral scent that is definitely heavier than the scent of 1,000 Roses – it is absolutely not, however, an unpleasant scent. Kypris says that Healing Bouquet is also an aromatherpy. I’d agree. In fact, treat yourself: apply Healing Bouquet, then massage into your face for a few minutes. It’s like you’re in a spa. Turn down your lights, too. Atmosphere is key. 

Don’t get me wrong…I am 100% a rose lover, as Kypris would say. However, I have a great rosehip oil already. 1,000 Roses does a little more than that oil, but it’s not entirely unique. I have found Healing Bouquet to be extremely fast-acting, effective, &, yes, unique.

I find it odd that this elixir is $10 cheaper than its sister, 1,000 Roses – but then again, I don’t. If that elixir really includes the oil of 1,000 roses, that probably takes some work. Roses can get expensive, I do know that. However, if I had to personally choose between the two if I were to purchase one, I’d go for this one. It’s a great way to do some self care at night (try the jade roller), it heals skin (even my weak little immunosuppressed organ that I call skin!) very quickly, &…yes, it’s $10 cheaper. Is it still kind of crazy to pay $80 for half a fluid ounce? Yes, probably. But like I said – if you have problems with your skin healing, or have problems with recurring spots, this is probably a great choice. I think would also be great for immunosuppressed skin – I mean, here I am, testing it out, & seeing very quick & effective healing results.

So: which one? This one. Healing Bouquet, I like you lots!

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Here’s the actual color of this product: it’s slightly darker; more golden, I think. They don’t vary much in terms of color or consistency, but the scents are very different

 

Deep Forest Clay Mask – $88 // Glow Philtre Mask – $88

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The dreamy (& frighteningly effective) Kypris masks, in the flesh. Or clay. Or gel.

Okay. $88 for a product that stays on your face for an average of 20 minutes. That’s…a lot of money for a product like that.

Masks are my guilty pleasure. I love the sensation of wearing them, I always feel as though my skin will be flawless when I rinse off – even though that is most certainly not always the case – I love seeing before & after effects of masks.

I love me a good mask. $88 good? I was unsure. These masks are more than the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, one of the most expensive products on the trending market right now. Still – Babyfacial is worth its weight in gold. It was a good investment, & it lasts forever. So: is this duo worth it? Let’s see.

Deep Forest Clay Mask

I applied the Deep Forest Clay mask one morning when I had a lazy day. It comes sealed, which is another detail I appreciate seeing. Again – if you’re paying a higher price, I feel that you should expect a certain level of packaging, customer service, & effectiveness. It is a very soft clay; similar to soft ice cream when first applied (except…it doesn’t melt). Like most clay masks, it starts to dry until it cracks. Wash off in 20 mins. Voila.

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Sealed & ready to go

I looked in the mirror to check for results right off the bat. My skin looked more transluscent & less red, after washing off, but most of my other clay masks do that, too; ones like the Origins Rose Clay Mask, Glosiser Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, & Laneige’s Water Clay. Deep Forest Clay is a bit of an exception, however. Again, we’re back to the “multipurpose” product. I could see some pretty normal effects right after washing, but after a day, I could notice brighter skin, too. I saw my skin getting a little less congested, too.

I usually despise physical exfoliants – & this mask has a bit of texture to it. However, it’s soft & fine enough to not break skin (even sensitive skin) or irritate anything. It feels like a very filtered, thin, sand scrub.

Reduced redness makes sense. The mask contains algae, ocean salt, &, of course, ingredients from “the forest” like botanical exfoliants, roots, leaves, & flowers.

This has a very green, lemony scent. It gives off a whiff of mint, but it wasn’t cool or tingly upon application. The scent can get strong after a minute or two, but I’m not the best to say whether or not it’s worth it, since I truly don’t mind “odd” scents that many skincare products have (ex. Drunk Elephant C Firma).

Overall, this mask brightens, clarifies, exfoliates/resurfaces, & reduces redness & congestion. It can be used as a 20 minute treatment (that’s how I like to do it) but also as a quick detox if left on for five. I wouldn’t want to waste product for a five-minute mask, but Kypris also mentions that sensitive-skinned people seem to gravitate towards the five-minute masking method.

Will I purchase when I’m done with this? I don’t know yet! I’m leaning towards no, since I have a lot of effective masks that cost much less – & I think Kypris has some products that can be duped. However – there were more than a few that I was exponentially impressed by, & since I said I will act like I spent money on these products, I’m saving what I think is truly worth it for the lasts!

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Kypris suggests you apply “a generous dollop” of Deep Forest Clay for best results. I scraped off the amount stuck to the seal; this amount was able to cover my entire face. Softness of the clay is also quite evident here.

I will say: it’s an excellent clarifying mask & did a great job reducing some congestion on my skin. I know that a little goes a long way with this product, so I’m not worried about running out any time soon. Not sure if I’ll repurchase, but I think this is hands-down a very nice clay mask. Maybe not worth it for some, but at all sensitive-skinned people who struggle to find a clarifying treatment: this might be the one for you. The five-minute version will help you avoid bad reactions; the softness & moisture of the mask will keep you frome drying out. & remember – created to clarify & detoxify!

Glow Philtre Mask

This was a product I fell in love with before I even tried it. Why? Because I am weak. Because the packaging was white & gold, & the mask itself has flecks of glitter in it. Mention anything gold in my skin care & I will get right on it.

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The sparkle is subtle, so it’s not easy to catch on camera – however, when actually looking at the mask in person, it looks exactly like the outside packaging. In other words: we already know this is a “treat yourself” kind of mask.

The other golden mask I own is the Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask – it’s supposed to tighten & brighten, & maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see results when using it – at all. I was mad that I used Christmas money to buy it – & I was mad that I didn’t return it in time to get a refund. I use it as a hydrating, somewhat brightening mask, now – I don’t expect any other results. However, if you’re looking for something like the PTR Mask – but something that truly makes you smoother & glowier. I mean…the PTR mask is $80. The Kypris mask retails for $88. If you’re considering getting the PTR mask, I would point you this way instead. It is only $8 more expensive – & if you’re already thinking about investing that much money in a mask, I think the Glow Philtre will give you the results you might think the PTR one does.

Although the Glow Philtre Mask doesn’t have actual gold in it like the PTR one, it might as well be its first ingredient – that’s how much glow this mask gives you. Instant.

This is a mask that I applied, left on for 20 minutes, rinsed & patted dry – & saw a face about 10 times brighter & glowier. After a second use, my skin looked tighter & plumper, as well. There were very noticable results that occured in an incredibly short amount of time. Usually, I’ll use a mask more than twice before giving my thoughts on it – this one, however, I don’t need to worry about.

This is a gel mask, but it is an exfoliating mask, thanks to: pomegranate enzymes.  Brands like Drunk Elephant & Peter Thomas Roth use enzymes in their products, too – they’re brightening & resurfacing without being too irritating.

Is it an AHA mask? Nope, not as far as I can tell. It feels cool upon application, like any gel mask would. It smells fruity – not pomegranate, funnily enough, though some of the ingredients lower down specify citrus extracts – & citrus does have a powerful smell, so it probably would cut out any scent of a cranberry. That’s not a complaint, though: it smells very fresh & invigorating. I think it’s an amazing morning mask. Kypris thinks so too, actually: they say that it’s lovely to use post-skin care, pre-makeup. That’s because of the dewy glow it gives – without being oily.

When applied, the mask does not tingle at all. In fact, the whole 20 minutes I had on the mask, I was waiting for some kind of tingle or burn & I got none – hence my suspicion before I took a good look in the mirror, post-mask rinse.

This mask is a great choice for sensitive skin. It’s a great exfoliator (& brightener) that will not irritate your skin. Truly – I didn’t even feel a tingle. When I took it off, though, I looked as though I’d used an AHA mask – but I hadn’t! It was all Glow Philtre.

This mask is not recommended to be used more than 3 times a week – I definitely agree with this. I would even go so far as to say that once a week is plenty. That means: 1) there is more product for a longer period of time 2) there is a reason to look for Sunday evening: detox day!

Would I purchase this mask? Out of the two of the masks, this is the one I would consider splurging on. I loved the results. They were very unique, literally instant, & didn’t dry me out, clog my pores, burn my skin, or even tingle. All in all, it’s a great product, I think it’ll last me a good long time, & like my beloved Babyfacial, this is a mask I would consider investing in (hit me up on Venmo, though).

Seriously, though – I found these results to be very good & very unique. When a product is unique, that’s what helps me know it is worth it (usually). The zero tingles but extremely bright skin was what did it for me. I don’t think I’ll have to be purchasing it myself due to the amount of product you need (not that much) & the fact that it doesn’t have to be a daily treatment. Maybe for Christmas? We’ll see. But, again: if you’re thinking about a luxury mask similar to the PTR one, skip over it & head for the Kypris Glow Philtre, instead. If you’re paying a lot for a mask, it better be good! This one is absolutely, without a doubt, very, very good.

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From the air: Deep Forest Clay on the Left, Glow Philtre on the right
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Sealed packaging. The little white circle works great as extra protection to the product, even after the seal has been broken. Nice!
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Thing 1, Thing 2.
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(I like Thing 2 better). Shh.

 

Would I repurchase both? Well, I definitely wouldn’t do it at once. I do think there are a lot of clay masks out there that work just as well as this one, although this one has a few unique features that generally (though not completely) would explain the high price tag. Maybe if Kypris had a mask duo that would help save a little money, I’d get them as a duo. However: Glow Philtre blew my mind. It’s truly incredibly unique – & again, if you’re in the market for a truly excellent mask that works, this one will do it for you.

 

Antioxidant Dew – $72

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In her beautiful, beautiful glory

Aaaand this is it folks. This is it. THIS IS IT! This is the product that I will be telling everyone they need for the rest of…forever, probably.

Okay, so: what the heck is an antioxidant “dew?” I was very confused when I saw that a product labelled as a “dew” came in a vial. I had expected a spray of some sort; maybe a toner. Not so!

Essentially? It’s a fancy word for “serum.” But what a serum! It is thin in consistency, & is a light, almost opaque milky-white. It looks very…underwhelming. Boy, was I wrong.

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The long, long, long dropper of the Antioxidant Dew. I found it odd that this dropper wasn’t pointed, like the Beauty Elixir droppers. No problems, though – everything dispenses just fine. I’ll keep an eye out for a clogged dropper, though, just to be safe!
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Against a bright light – it’s the best way to describe the consistency of this product.

Kypris claims that the Antioxidant Dew “restores hydration, vitality, & radiance to skin.” That’s a very simple way of describing all the things it does, so let’s go:

First of all, it’s gluten-free – I personally don’t have a problem with gluten in my products, but for people who do: this is probably a really nice serum for you. It is good for all skin types, but especially those who have imbalanced complexion, signs of environmental stress, or acne. But wait, there’s more! The Antioxidant Dew is free of any essential oils, which is pretty amazing for some sensitive-skinned people. It provides moisture (hence “dew”) but doesn’t do it in a way that incorporates oils. Think of it as a water gel cream, but in serum form.

This was the first Kypris product I gave a go. I patted it on my face after toning & applying one other serum: Glossier Super Pure, a holy grail of mine. Throughout the day, I would stop & marvel at my complexion. It was an extremely dewy look, but it didn’t feel or look like sweat or oil. It was more from underneath the skin, not on top. This means that the product absorbs incredibly well, which it does! There’s more evidence for this, too: it doesn’t pill off of my face like some serums tend to do (help! Anyone have this issue with some of The Ordinary’s serums?), which always messes up my routine & ends in frustration.

Nope! Just drop 3 or so drops into the palm of your hand & gently pat into your skin. I apply it the way I would an essence. Three drops is all you need…truly! If need be, rub on palms first, then pat all over the face. I’ve tried it both ways, because in my experience, the application method I choose to use depends on the serum I am using. Palms on face seems to work best with this product.

Like all the other Kypris products, Antioxidant Dew is chock-full of antioxidants & other naturally-sourced ingredients. It contains a ton of ocean extracts and herb derived antioxidants, which provides hydration without unncessary heaviness, enhances plumpness, helps skin heal faster Vitamins C & E (as well as a variety of botanicals) provide the brightening, dewy effect.

This is supposed to be beneficial to all skin types, & I agree. Again – that’s because it is a multi-purpose product. It can be used “as a lightweight multi action moisturizer or as a potent layering piece in your skincare wardrobe,” Kypris says on the product page. Oily-skinned? Maybe use just this as a day moisturizer. Combo? Apply extra where you need it. Normal? Of course you’ll do fine! Dry? Use it as, yes: a layering piece. That’s what I have been doing.

Again, Kypris suggests using this twice a day, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Three drops in morning or evening is all you need! I prefer morning for this particular product, thanks to the brightening effect, but others may feel differently…& that is fine.

Honestly, out of all the products I recieved, I can absolutely say that this is one Kypris product I won’t hesitate to refill when I run out of the one I recieved. This stuff works – you don’t need as much of it as you would a mask (ex. Glow Philtre), it’s incredibly hydrating, incredibly cleansing & purifying, & all-round a truly amazing product.

To put some pricing reference here, let’s compare a similar high-end brand’s serum to the Antioxidant Dew. How about Drunk Elephant C-Firma? It’s 80 dollars, one pump works for the entire face (no more is necessary) & it contains 1 fl oz. of product. Antioxidant Dew is $72, & is nearly 1.6 fl oz. – technically, it’s 1.59 fl oz.

So, okay, let’s clarify. I initially thought this was a $72 dollar toner or face mist. Something like that? A hard nope. $72 for a toner is…very extra, as you can find incredibly cheap & effective ones online, at Ulta, at the drugstore…heck, even at Whole Foods, if you’re a fan of good old rosewater & glycerin.

This is not a toner. But…it’s not exactly a serum, either. It’s not thick enough to be an essence. I’d feel safe in calling it an emulsion. What’s an emulsion? It’s a beauty product founded in Korea, & was only up til recently carried by Korean brands. American brands have started expanding their product lines with essences, emulsions, & other K-beauty products, since they are so effective.

Sorry, got off track. What’s an emulsion?

It’s a skin-balancer. It ensures your skin maintains good levels of oil & hydration – healthy levels! This balancing act (hah) keeps skin clearer & glowier over time.

That’s what I feel safest comparing the Kypris Antioxidant Dew to. But – no matter what you want to call it, this is a product that 1) I know will last me a good while 2) I know I will be purchasing it myself after this magical vial has done all its work.

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Some very fancy packaging called for some fancy objects to be casually placed next to the product. Just because, you know?

Overall thoughts?

Kypris is an admittedly expensive brand – no ifs, &’s, or buts about it. You will pay a pretty penny for a vial or jar of a Kypris product, & in my opinion, not all were created equal. Some are absolutely worth every penny (hello again Antioxidant Dew); some can be gently passed over. Here’s a list of the order I would put the products in – aka, the ones I would seriously consider buying vs the ones I probably wouldn’t purchase unless I had a good bit of extra cash.

Remember, though: everyone’s skin type is different, & some of you may gravitate more towards the Deep Forest Mask! Maybe you absolutely need an Elixir! But – if you have the same skin type as me & are considering a “treat yourself product,” check out the list I have made. Even if you don’t have my type of skin, this still might be helpful. After all – Kypris products do work on all skin types. Some just work better on certain types than others. It’s all about knowing what you need or want to improve, & finding a product that matches that. So, enough rambling: here’s my final verdict. Kypris sent me these products, but let’s theoretically say that they’re all gone now – & I can only pick one product to use again & again. Here they are, listed by priority:

  1. Antioxidant Dew – The cheapest of the lot, the most unique of the lot, & the one that had the most instant results, in my opinion. A little goes a long way, & I think this vial is worth keeping on hand. It’s truly magic in a bottle.
  2. Glow Philtre Mask – An expensive-ass gel mask, but an effective-ass gel mask. Like I said – if you’re going to claim that your mask glows, go right ahead – but if it costs over $50, it better make my skin glow glow. This one does that. If you’re on the hunt for a bougie mask that actually works, this is the one. There are a lot of $80 masks out there – they all claim they’re groundbreaking. Not so for 99% – this one, however, is doing just great.
  3. Mini Beauty Elixir II (Healing Bouquet) – A pricy, pricy product, no two ways about it, & you don’t get a lot. But…but…there are a lot of great ingredients, it feels luxurious, the dropper is well-made, & you only need a very little amount. It truly works wonders on inflammed, irritated skin. Again – it does what the name says, & it does it well.
  4. Deep Forest Clay Mask – Yup, there are a lot of clay masks on the market. You can definitely find a great one for a lot less money…but if you have sensitive/dry skin, have trouble finding clay masks that don’t leave you feeling like a painful piece of sandpaper, & don’t have much time, either (five-minute mask method, remember?), this is the one for you. The softness & soothingness of the clay is what makes this product unique. That is why I think it would be great for people who are otherwise too sensitive for clay masks – but still want the clarifying effect of a clay mask.
  5. Mini Beauty Elixir I (1,000 Roses) – Yes, it’s good. Yes, it’s luxurious. Yes, it’s a high-quality oil. Yes, it smells good. But it’s not that good. You can find a lot of enhanced rosehip oil products, & to me, this was not unique enough to justify the price. It is a dream to use a product named “1,000 Roses,” isn’t it? I don’t dislike it – but if push came to shove, Healing Bouquet would come out the winner…for me, at least.
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A happy, luxurious little family.

At the end of the day, when I’m reviewing an expensive product (or products) I really look for the most unique products. Obviously, they must be effective, too – but my point is that if I’m shelling out a considerable amount of money for a serum, mask, cream…it better be good. Really good. Honestly! This isn’t meant to be dramatic, I am just being up front. Some things are much better when they’re more expensive…but as brands like Tonymoly, The Ordinary, & Glossier (some products, not all) have taught us, skin care doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. You can find wonderful rosehip oils for $6! You can find decent moisturizers at CVS. You can maintain a cheap & effective routine, & keep up clear skin while you’re doing it. Then, add a few little luxuries. If you do your research, get some samples, & read some reviews, you’ll be able to find ones that work as beautifully as they look – & look as beautiful as they feel. There are products out there that are worth every penny & make you savor every drop. So, what’s the Kypris product that meets that criteria? Hands-down, Antioxidant Dew.

 

Hold up: I want to take a couple moments to say thank you: firstly, thank you so much to Kypris for sending me these jars & vials of liquid gold! I feel incredibly lucky to have recieved these beautiful products. I also want to thank all of you reading this, all of you who follow me on social medias & look forwards to reading what I have to say. Your support means the world, it always will, & you are what make things like this review possible – & this was so, so exciting for me.

& so, after all those photos, all those thoughts, & all that ingredient-listing, & the thank yous, here’s my conclusion:

Get the Antioxidant Dew! You are welcome.

Love,

Sof ❤

What product, based on my descriptions & reviews, would you considering purchasing a Kypris product? If so, which would it be – & why? Do you own any Kypris already? If so, what do you have? Do you think it’s worth it? Again: why? Let me know…I love hearing from all of you!

-S

Sleeping Masks – No, Not The Silk Kind!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPHORA COLLECTION: Sleeping Mask – $4

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

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

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

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

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

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

LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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

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

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

Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask – $17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask – $22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Herbivore Botanicals MOON FRUIT Superfruit Night Treatment – $58

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Sof ❤

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

 

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

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

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

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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

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

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

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

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask -$20

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

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

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

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

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

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Lip Balms

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

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

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

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

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WINKWINK CALM Mask – $40 (*PR-gifted)

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

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

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

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in "Mars" - $28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday Skin Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream – $47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Sof ❤