#TopTenSeries: Top Ten Skincare Items of 2017

Hello, friends! Welcome to the end of 2017. I’m going to spare all of you the sentimental words, because I think there’s a time & place for that; right now isn’t the time. Right now, let me talk about my top tens.

My “#TopTenSeries,” as I’m calling it, is a collection of my…top ten ____ of 2017; an article for each category, if you will. In this post, you’ll see skincare. Next up, I have some makeup. Then: top albums, top songs…a few other cool things, too. These things will be either made/released in 2017, or heavily used/listened to in 2017. Basically, I’ll try to keep everything as “new” as possible. We don’t need to hear about the five products that I’m currently loving that have been on shelves for 5+ years…however:

I didn’t know much about skin care until late 2016/early 2017. 2017 was the year that I started nailing down a routine that worked (& still does work) best for my skin. Some of these products will not be brand new, because I didn’t always need the latest & greatest to make my skin look better. I made more of an effort to include makeup brand new to 2017, albums made in 2017, songs made in 2017, etc. Skin care is my one exception to this rule. If something has truly switched up my style, my music taste, etc., I will take care to mention it, even if it’s not made right in 2017. Don’t worry, though – I’ll stick to this year as much as possible!

I’ll churn out as much (quality) content as I can these next few weeks. Then, I’m off: back to school again. I’m incredibly excited to do this once again. You can rest assured that I’ll keep writing on here, but the type of content I write might change a little. Maybe more personal pieces/creative nonfiction pieces, which is what I’m choosing to focus my cognate on my last few years of undergrad.

You’ll come to see what’s next – & I’m not even quite sure what’s next myself – but for now, here’s my #TopTenSeries. These are in chronological order, not in the order of “most to least favorite” – for me to choose favorites in this list would be tortorous, truly. I hope you enjoy it

1. Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich


Glossier hinted & hinted last holiday season that they had something special for us in January 2017; we were not let down. Priming Moisturizer Rich was Glossier’s first new product release of 2017…& it remains one of my favorite Glossier products of all time. A cult favorite – as in, “I use this every day” kind of cult favorite.

In the dry winter months, I’ll wear PMR (as it’s affectionately nicknamed) twice a day. Glossier has a seeecret “Anti-Redness Complex” & an “Oxygenating Agent” which are the base ingredients of PMR. Add some murumuru & shea butters, lavender (one of my favorite, most relaxing scents in the world), red algea complex, & a few other things, & you have a rich – super rich – face cream that isnt greasy, cuts redness, & wears well by itself or under makeup.

I’m constantly asked to dupe PMR, & the true answer is that I really can’t. The texture, scent, & effect it gives my face is unique – that’s why I continue to fill & refill (& refill) my jars. It’s coming into 2018 with me without a doubt – probably 2019, too. Try to find a more luxurious-feeling face cream for less money than PMR…you can’t. Give this a go; you won’t regret it. Good for dry skin (obviously) & oily skin alike…everything in between, as well. Like I said, this is a daily staple for me – it’s a twice-daily staple for me in the cold dry months, but even in the humid hot summers, I can’t completely let go of PMR.

2. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial


This was the first Drunk Elephant product I ever tried. It was the beginning of 2017, I was at a hotel, staying the night because I had some hospital testing in another city, & I’d stopped at a Sephora on the way in to get some samples. When you’re bored in a hotel room, there’s nothing better than trying out the free samples that Sephora employees angrily dole out (seriously, why are they angry when giving you samples? Asking for a friend).

Anyways – thanks to Into The Gloss, I’d heard a lot of buzz about the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, & I was seeing the #millennialpink packaging on every top shelf I came across on Instagram. I had a few friends who assured me it was worth it, but I was still skeptical. Babyfacial isn’t cheap – as a brand, Drunk Elephant isn’t cheap – so I decided to get a sample, try it out once or twice, then make my call.

I’ll admit: I was scared to give this a go. The words “Drunk Elephant’s dream team blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids” in the product description had me shaking in my shoes. I hadn’t really tried chemical exfoliants before; I was of the (false) opinion that chemical exfoliants would dry out my face & only hurt my skin. In retrospect, I couldn’t have been more off the mark: chemical exfoliants are actually gentler on my face than physical ones (ex: sugar scrub masks, etc.).

I took my tiny sample of Babyfacial, braced myself for the tingle that I was warned I would feel, & started applying. Yes. It burned…but only for about 20 seconds. After that, I felt a slight tingle or two, but nothing major. I didn’t feel as though my skin was peeling off my face. I left it on for 10 minutes, which is recommended if you’re using it for the first time (especially if you have sensitive skin).

Immediately after I took it off, I sighed to myself, because I knew that I’d be buying it for real. My skin did actually feel baby-soft. I showed my mother. I showed my friends. I told the Internet. I told the man passing me by on the street. My skin hadn’t felt this soft in forever – & within a few days, I noticed that my skin looked smoother & brighter, too.

Long story short: it took me a little less than a year to use up one full-size “jar” of Babyfacial. Was it worth it? Yes. Did it change the way I treat my skin? Yes! I focus more on chemical exfoliants, especially AHA/BHA products, like Babyfacial – & Drunk Elephant Framboos serum, which you’ll read about below.

Are there cheaper options/cheaper AHA/BHA products? Absolutely! Try The Ordinary’s AHA peel, aka “the vampire facial.” It’ll run you less than $10, & it gives off a similar effect. I’ve tried a few different “peels,” “masques,” & “facials,” trying to dupe Babyfacial…but the truth is, this one stands on its own. If you want something cheaper, there are many options out there – but if you want the overnight results, Drunk Elephant is the way to go. A good way to spend some Christmas/holiday $$$. Trust me on this one.

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

IMG_9946Another product that wasn’t developed in 2017 – but a product that changed my life in 2017.

If you’d told me that I’d be religiously using this serum last year, I’d have laughed in your face, & said that no product this expensive was truly worth it.

Well, I’m crawling back now in shame to admit that I was wrong. This product completely switched up my skincare routine. It made my skin clearer, brighter, & it even made my routine shorter. This serum doubled as several things; suddenly, I didn’t need three serums to make a clarifying concoction. This one just did it all.

I use one pump a day – or evening, since it’s a night serum – focusing on the areas of my skin that aren’t too dry – this is an AHA/BHA product, so it’s no good to put it on dry areas of your skin (they’ll just get more irritated). Treat your skin gently – but don’t be afraid of this serum, even if you have dry skin. Coming from someone with extremely dry sensitive skin: this will not kill you. In fact, it’ll revive you.

The AHA/BHA blend is incredible: you have glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric, and salicylic acids, all blended with raspberry extract (hence the name “Framboos”). This cocktail of acids sounds overwhelming, but it is not. The balance is perfect. It won’t burn your face off; just prepare for a slight tingling if you have sensitive skin, like me. There’s no odor or color to the product. You’ll feel a slight tackiness, but that fades after you’ve put on a cream – plus, the effects of the serum are worth any tackiness you might have on application.

Drunk Elephant says: “This high-tech gel resurfaces dull skin, lifting dead skin cells away by gently dissolving the glue that holds them to the surface. The results are greater clarity and a smoother, more even-looking complexion.” I couldn’t say it better myself. Drunk Elephant doesn’t need to overcompensate while describing its products…simply because they always work – hands-down. The product description of Framboos on Sephora’s site doesn’t quite do this serum justice, but it comes pretty close. Without a doubt – worth your time & money.

4. Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

IMG_9299.jpegI don’t usually expect my mother to introduce me to skincare products that will become staples on my top shelf – but this is exactly how I came to discover the Origins Rose Clay mask…a mask that I now admittedly cannot live without.

It was another hotel room stay. My mama suggested we do face masks, to relieve the anxiety I was feeling about the next day’s doctor appointment. I didn’t have any in my travel skincare bag, but she had a little 200 point Sephora sample of the Origins Rose Clay mask. I tried it out. I took it off, & I saw softer, smoother skin that had absolutely no redness – even around the areas of my face that are most prone to redness. I felt clean, detoxed, but not dry. Just super soft, clean, & nourished. I saw the sample was still available, so I snapped it up that evening when refilling a sheet mask I needed. By the time I’d squeezed the sample tube empty, I knew that it was time to go full size.

I’ve been through one full tube of the rose clay mask now, & I have another one (one-quarter empty) sitting on my top shelf, staring at me right now. I just did it last night.

This is a clay mask that I feel safe using even in the driest, coldest months of winter. The Mediterranean rose clay & Canadian willow herb are soothing & reduce redness, while the small jojoba beads give the mask its signature exfoliating texture – but don’t worry, it won’t rip your skin apart. Delicately swirl the product across your face with warm water when removing, & the jojoba beads will gently exfoliate without leaving any microabrasions.

It’s a deep cleanse; takes the garbage out of your skin & leaves behind refined pores, super-soft skin, & absolutely no redness – anywhere. It’s a mask that detoxes my face in the stickiest, most humid months of summer – & it’s just great for fall & spring, too. It’s a year-round must-have for me, & it’ll stay this way. That was just the beginning of my love affair with Origins; there are so many products I adore from that brand now…but this one has a special, special place in my heart. Thank you to my mother for putting me on to this one (but I’m still taking the credits for putting her onto Drunk Elephant, okay? Okay!).

5. CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser 


Ever since I discovered Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, I was strictly a fan of non-foaming cleansers. After evaluating my routine several times, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out that my skin dried out every single time I switched from a non-foaming to a foaming cleanser.

I was skeptical of CLĒ Cosmetics’ Oxygen Foam Cleanser because of this – in fact, I’d specifically ordered their Melting Cleanser instead, which is a non-foaming cleanser. They happened to include several sample packets of their Oxygen Foam Cleanser. When I was out of town for one night, I grabbed this packet, figuring that one night wouldn’t hurt.

It didn’t – it actually helped. I was in awe of my skin within half an hour of using the cleanser. I applied it as directed: massaging it into my dry skin with circular motions of my fingertips. Wait 30 seconds, & the gooey liquid turns into a foam – it bubbles up on your skin, kind of like the pop rocks of skin care.

Why’s this one work so well for me? I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t question it too much. it quickly oxygenates and forms bubbles, helping to produce collage and elastin to give skin a soft, healthy and youthful appearance. The first time I used it, I gently rinsed off my face, patted it dry, & looked in the mirror (side note: you can also simply wipe this off with a warm damp towel). My brows shot up. The sensitive, red areas around my nose were gone. My pores looked tighter. My face looked bouncier. All that…& not a sign of dryness.

I haven’t fooled around much with other foaming cleansers since then – the other two I’ve tried dry out my skin, too. If you like that bubbly, foaming sensation but do not like the way your skin responds to it afterwards, this is a great product. It’s a foam cleanser that somehow is also incredibly brightening & hydrating. Again – I won’t question it too much. I just keep an extra bottle (or two) on my top shelf. Besides Milky Jelly Cleanser, it’s the cleanser I use most.

If you want a lighter review on the cleanser, check out what I wrote on CLĒ’s blog right here!

6. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask


This was new to Sephora this year, & it was abuzz on YouTube in the spring & summer. Every single dry-lipped YouTuber was raving about it: so much product, so effective, good for day or night. It wasn’t expensive, either. After seeing 3+ of my favorite, trusted beauty bloggers sing the praises of Laneige’s Lip Mask, I decided to check it out. At the time, it was online-only – I couldn’t check it out in-store, & where I’m currently located, there still are not any Laneige products at my local Sephora stores. Sad.

Anyways…I took the leap, made the order, & applied it the night it arrived.

Sephora says that the special Laneige “Berry Mix Complex™ offers a nutritiously sweet and fragrant blend of raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, and blueberry extracts,” while the “exclusive Moisture Wrap™ technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture and active ingredients.” Basically: this lip mask’s formula has an antioxidant blend of “superfoods” that hydrate the lips & strengthen them, too.

I appreciated the way the mask was packed: it has a gloss-like texture (& can be worn as a “glossy balm” during the day to complete a makeup look) & is packaged in a jar. It is not solid; the jar comes with a little spatula (complete with its own little envelope case) that you scoop product out of & apply to the lips – like a lip gloss wand. I liked the sanitary way in which the mask was packaged, & found the texture to be super rich, glossy, & hydrating. Unlike many glossy-ish lip products, this texture didn’t draw moisture out of my lips…it felt like it was sucking moisture in. I struggle with perpetually dry lips – but I woke up with smooth, soft, supple lips.

Now, whenever I feel my lips getting dry again, I usually realize that it’s because I’ve forgotten to apply the lip mask before bedtime. The Lip Sleeping Mask has sat comfortably on my bedside table since I got it, & I reach for it every single evening. Sometimes, I might even wake up to apply it a second time. If you’re a fellow sandpaper lips, give this a go. You probably will feel as though your lips are a part of your face for the first time in what may have felt like forever. Also great to wear while doing your makeup, if you’re prepping your lips for a liquid lip/pencil/drying lipstick. A good, effective, cheap product to have around – & I’ve been using this almost nightly since July & am not halfway through it yet. I apply librally, by the way. Don’t worry. This will work, & it’ll last you forever to boot.

7. Kypris Antioxidant Dew

IMG_7315.jpgI was conflicted about including this product, but the last few days is what pushed me to include the Antioxidant Dew in my top ten.

This past summer, Kypris sent me a very generous box of gifts, including their famous Antioxidant Dew. I was skeptical, because the product looked so lightweight. I put three drops on my face in my morning routine (following toner, before applying serum) & by the afternoon, I could see my face looked brighter. It felt softer. I had little to no texture on my forehead.

I took a break from the Antioxidant Dew these past two months. I tried to dupe it with another product, after a lot of research into botanicals, & which ones would be best for my skin.

After 3+ weeks of testing this product…I tried a few drops of Kypris Antioxidant Dew two days ago, after not using it for nearly a month. By that evening, I could see – no texture, clearer skin, softer skin…it really had made a big difference in my routine.

Kypris is not a cheap brand – & I made that clear in my brand review. I did say, however, that if I had to pick one product to keep purchasing myself, it would be the Antioxidant Dew. After trying it out the whole summer, taking a break to try a dupe or two, & seeing the quick & incredible improvement my skin made in the last two days after starting to use it again, I’ll say it again: this one is worth it. Spend $10 on your toners, spend $18 on your cleansers (hi, Milky Jelly – hi, Thayers Witch Hazel)…but Kypris Antioxidant Dew is worth every single dollar. Oh – & also, less is truly more with this product. Three drops is all I use. Just once a day. The bottle should last you 6 months at least. If that’s not another selling point, I don’t know what is. I’ll probably cry a little when I have to refill, but I still have a ways to go. Three drops a day = enough, which = good skin, which = me not having to buy it too often that it’ll hurt.

8. Thayers Alcohol-Free Lavender Witch Hazel Toner


“Your skin will think you’re at a Spa,” is the selling phrase on this product’s description page.

Thayers’ toners have been around forever, & they’re no secret to the beauty world; I’d go so far to call them a cult favorite. For whatever reason, I refused to try them. Don’t ask me why. I stuck to my Mario Badescu Facial Spray & just shrugged off my friends’ suggestions to try the (cheaper) Thayers toner. I think it had something to do with the fact that I felt odd putting product on a cotton pad & then applying it to my face. I finally broke in October when I was picking up a prescription at Target & saw a bottle of the Lavender toner. It’s no secret: lavender is probably my favorite scent, & it’s very soothing on my skin. I decided that it would be $11 either well-spent or wasted, but either way, I wasn’t throwing a huge amount of money at a product. I went for it.

Since then, Thayers has released spray bottle versions of their toner – but I’m actually more than happy with the cotton pad method at this point. I “upgraded” my cotton pads (I use the Shiseido ones; they’re worth it – trust me. Just don’t remove your makeup with them. I think that’s a waste) & my skin has been brighter, softer, & clearer since I started using Thayers Lavender. I’m not sure if I’ll try another…scent? Flavor? Whatever you want to call it – I don’t know. I’m not even halfway through my bottle right now, & I use it twice a day. Thank you to Into The Gloss, probably ten of my friends, & all the comments on Instagram urging me to “go for it.” I’m glad I did.

9. Jade Roller 

IMG_7492.jpeg“What’s that green thing?” is probably the most asked question when I’m doing my skincare on Instagram live. I’ve been asked this so many times, in fact, that I wrote a post about jade rollers…called “What’s That Green Thing?” I know; very funny.

Jade rollers aren’t new to the market; they’ve been used for thousands of years – especially in China (where they originated). They’ve broken the mainstream market, thanks to brands like GingerChi, Herbivore Botanicals, & good old Amazon.com. There are even different colored jade rollers now – & now, you can get rose quartz facial rollers, too. Fancy fancy.

Basically, it doesn’t really matter how expensive your roller is. You can get one for $200, sure – you can also get one for $10. The end result will be the same! Vogue says: “This Chinese skincare tool will cool, tighten, & de-puff your face in seconds.” That’s partly because of jade’s ability to stay cool for long periods of time – & even after it’s been warmed up by the heat of your face, set it down for a second, & it’ll cool down to its original temperature (stick it in your fridge for an extra dose of cool).

Jade rollers are tools that assist lymphatic massage: they reduce inflammation by moving – & improving – your skin’s circulation. This means that it’ll eliminate toxins (less breakouts!), tighten the pores (make your skin look younger & more lifted!),  improve blood circulation, elasticity of the skin, & reduce puffiness. For me, that’s especially helpful around my under-eye area. I use the smaller end of my jade roller to gently massage my under-eyes. Although my dark circles are still present, I don’t mind the look of them – I just want to get rid of the puffiness that my on-&-off insomnia gifts me.

All-in-all, it’s a super relaxing tool that you can use morning & evening. For a spa-like treatment, use a facial oil on your face before going in with the roller. It’ll massage all the good ingredients of whichever oil you choose deep into your skin, resulting in healthier, plumper, tighter, & brighter skin. This was a big win for me in 2017!

Check out some jade rollers here – Herbivore Botanicals & GingerChi both have high-quality double-ended ones, if you’re trying to target large & small areas of your face…but Amazon has the $10 ones that work just as well. Trust me – I’ve tried both.

Glossier Body Hero Duo 


Is this skin care? I don’t know, but I have to say: this was one of Glossier’s 2017 releases that I thought I could live without. After refilling both the cream & the oil wash, I take it all back.

What I love most about the duo is its amazing fragrance, shared by both the Daily Oil Wash & the Daily Perfecting Cream: the “Orange Blossm Neroli Blend,” which is light, but very herbal. I think it’s unisex, & I like the scent of it a lot – a solid perfume of this fragrance would be incredible.

The Oil Wash is probably my favorite between the two – surprising, since I fully expected the cream to be my favorite. I like the Oil Wash because it’s so unique to any other body soap/wash I’ve ever tried. The Oil Wash has 0% water in it; it’s made up of seven oils, which turn into a creamy lather when rubbed into the skin. They attract grime, then melt it away. Thanks to the 0% water, the pH levels of this wash are great, too – so you can use it anywhere on your body without worrying about imbalancing your skin. I suffer from perpetually dry elbows, but this wash helped eradicate that problem. Usually, when I step out the shower, I need to frantically apply moisturizer. My skin will feel dry & cold if I don’t. After using Daily Oil Wash, I step out of the shower feeling super clean – but already very hydrated. That’s because of the lack of detergents in the wash; I step out feeling like I already have a protective hydrating layer over my skin. You’d think that’d be an oily, unpleasant sensation, but it’s not. My skin just feels baby-soft & pampered, even before I’ve applied the cream. Oh – & the stuff is so good, I use it as a shampoo, too (shh). I know…I barely have any hair, but I need a moisturized, well-scented head anyways, okay? Okay.

As for the cream – I can only describe it as though someone decided to put a few drops of those beautiful illuminating CoverFX drops into the body cream, then blended it together. The result is a super glowy, dewy lotion that smells delicious (like its sister) & looks like you have a healthy, magical sheen on your skin. I especially love the way it looks on my neck, collarbones, & shoulders. The consistency is super rich, which I love. It’s a great cream for the cold months, but it’s not sticky or greasy, so it’ll work for the warmer months too. I decided to include this because I was truly surprised at how good it was – I didn’t think this would be one of my favorite Glossier releases of the year. But hey, we all learn something new every day.

That’s all for now, babies! Tell me your top ten skincare items in the comments – or just one, if you wish. Or none at all. Stay tuned for some makeup, music, & other cool top tens. 



#DrunkInLove – “Unboxing” Some Drunk Elephant Minis

A year ago, I would’ve looked at the price tag of a Drunk Elephant product & said “no way.” In my mind, no product was worth that amount of money – ever.


Then, this February, I caved – I asked Sephora for a sample of the Babyfacial. It was love at first application; I held out & saved some of my money & ended up buying the full size a month or so later. Yes – it really is that good.

Same goes for the Framboos serum, although I already had a pretty stronge knowlege of what Drunk Elephant’s products are like/how well they work before I decided to make that investment (glad I did).

Okay, so I love two of the products, but the fact remains that Drunk Elephant is not a cheap brand.

First of all, let me just say that I don’t 100% believe in luxury beauty. I think that some products – take a Tom Ford body oil or a Dior liquid lipstick – just aren’t worth it. Packaging? Sure. Aesthetic? Absolutely. Effectiveness? I’ll go with “ehh.” Buying high-end skin care or makeup is fun & satisfying, & it makes you feel a little more pampered if you carry a Dior lip balm rather than a Carmex – but a higher price doesn’t always mean that the product is better. We have thousands of examples of this; the first example that comes to mind (if we’re truly talking affordable) is The Ordinary; almost all the products are under $10; all are under $15 (excluding shipping). So – yes, you absolutely can have a cheap & effective skin care routine. If you know your skin type & do your research, you shouldn’t have that big of a problem, no matter what price point you’re considering.

Now that I’ve lightly bashed some beauty brands that I really actually do like (Diorshow Mascara is incredible & unable to be duped, in my humble opinion) let me quickly explain why I Drunk Elephant is truly worth the amount they charge for their products.

Tiffany Masterson is the founder of Drunk Elephant. She claims that the idea of Drunk Elephant came to her as she began fiddling with her own formulas, trying to make a cleanser that would work on her unpredictable skin (sometimes oily, sometimes combo, even some rosacea). The result: Drunk Elephant, the brand we know & love today.

So – why are Drunk Elephant products worth their weight in gold?

  • None of the products contain what DE calls the “Suspicious 6″which the founder believes were the root cause of her skin issues. According to DE, the Suspicious 6 (Essential Oils, Drying Alcohols, Silicones, Chemical Screens, Fragrance/Dyes, & SLS.
  • Drunk Elephant’s philosophay is that eliminating these ingredients from your skin care routine will result in calmer, clearer, smoother skin.
  • All of the products are suitable for all skin types (even sensitive). This is because they’re (again) fragrance-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free – free of the Suspicious 6
  • Drunk Elephant focuses on natural vs. clinical – they try to keep everything as organically sourced as possible. Everything is manufactured in the United States, all products contain high concentrations of various extracts – but safe pH levels, so nothing bad will happen no matter your skin type.

I could go on with a few more reasons, but I think that this is a good introduction to Drunk Elephant as a brand, why it’s expensive, & whether it’s worth it.

Long story short – yes, I do think it’s worth it. I understand why it’s expensive, too – the packaging is very sturdy, yet eye-catching; pretty neon or pastel-colored caps contrast the plain white background of each product, feauring a delicate doodle of an elephant. Needless to say, these products won’t break while travelling. & yes – manufacturing in the U.S. is more expensive. Using organically-sourced products is more expensive. Plus – every single DE product that I’ve tried so far has been worth its money – no question.

The real question: sure, it’s worth the money, but how to afford it? Especially if you’re a college student – or just on a tight budget in general.

Well, let me first assure you that a little DE goes a long way. No need to worry about running out within two weeks – these babies last forever, thanks to their high concentrations. Just one pump or several drops is all you need for the true DE effects – & yes, sometimes they’re overnight.

Still worried about the budget? Let’s talk about The Littles™, the mini-size Drunk Elephant products – some of which come in bundles, some of which stand alone. These tiny vials will still last you a good while (obviously not as long as the full-size, but still – long enough for you to decide whether or not you’re a fan) & they cost a lot less.

I can’t drop $90 on a serum just like that – I know a lot of other young peopl can’t, either. This is why I love the concept of The Littles; you’re given enough product to actually last you long enough to see whether or not there’s a clear difference in your skin; you’re not charged heinous amounts that’ll make your bank account cry. It’s a good way to sample the brand & see which things are worth it to you.

Quick story-time before I get into The Littles – I’ve been a big fan of Drunk Elephant since early this year (sometime in February). I’ve saved my pennies for some of the products & I’m glad I did – I don’t hate any of the DE things I’ve tried; I really love some of the DE things I’ve tried. That’s why I was so overwhelmed, humbled, & happy to get an email for Drunk Elephant, saying they’d like to send a few things my way.


When my package arrived, I cried a little (okay, no sobbing session…but I wasn’t 100% dry-eyed either; it was a big honor alright?!!!) & then actually opened the bag.

There they were – a bunch of The Littles. Some of them I’ve tried, some I haven’t – but I have some first impressions of the new DE things I tried, as well as some opinions on the DE products I’ve tried myself before.

Remember – everyone’s skin type is different, but this brand is specifically meant to be kind to all skin types. I tried to keep this in mind, but you don’t have to worry – my skin’s quite sensitive & will react to a product quite quickly if it doesn’t like said product. I can almost always tell within a day or two (sometimes less) whether the product is good or bad. Then, I have to decide between good & amazing. None of these products are bad – that’s for sure. Some I like more than others; some of you will probably disagree with me on some things. I’d love to hear what DE product you love most/which DE product you most want to try. Let me know in the comments!

So: let’s go! Time to talk about Drunk Elephant’s more affordable bundles – the student discount bundles, if you will…also known as “The Littles.” I won’t be talking about which is best for which skin type, because Drunk Elephant prides itself on their whole line working for all skin types (thanks to eradicating their Suspicious 6). I will talk about which products I like the most – & why – if my skin didn’t like it, I’ll say so, but it’s hard for me to say “don’t try that [DE product]” because everyone’s skin is different, & all DE products are suitable for all skin types.

All of The Littles™ – mini products but major effects
The highlighter pens I dreamed of owning as a high school student – except now, they’re in skin care form…& they’re mine!

Full disclosure – I was sent this bundle of minis or “Littles” by Drunk Elephant, but was not paid to write this review or post any photos. I keep it as honest as possible (if you’ve seen my posts of Glossier products, you’ll know that I keep it real – if I don’t like it, I say so) but Drunk Elephant truly is a brand I adore. I’ve been using their products since the begining of 2017 & have paid for every single one up until now – my monthly favorites can prove it, too. I hope I don’t come off as defensive; I just want to make sure every reader knows the context of this review. 

Okay! On to the goods.

Baby Juju™ + Baby Pekee™️ Travel Duo<<
lieve me when I say: both these cleansers are little bars of soap, very hard & dense in texture, but gentle & soft as a cloud on the skin, accompanied by a pleasing lather.

e funny thing about both of these bars? They're not really "soap." In fact, both are "are totally free of fragrance and soap and are formulated with skin-friendly ingredients designed to cleanse and soothe the skin. Both have an ideal pH-level of 6.3, to ensure sufficient cleansing without drying or stripping the skin of its protective barrier."

I'm a big fan of non-foaming cleansers/gels; it's why I like Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser so much. I was a bit curious on how these would act. Would they pull through with the claim that the bars' cleansing properties would balance the skin's oils without stripping the skin of everything good? I was a bit nervous – I really never had used a bar cleanser for my face…unless we're counting those few ugly times I forgot a facewash in a few random hotels & had to use their little bars of soap as my cleanser. Moving on…

Of course, both of these bars can be used by themselves, but the purpose of this duo is to provide a good morning cleanser & a good night cleanser.

The JuJu Bar™ is meant to be used in the morning. It has physical exfoliants, like thermal mud and bamboo powder, which brightens, balances, clarifies, & retexturizes. It’s the cobblestone-colored bar – the white one is the Pekee Bar.

Like all Drunk Elephant products, neither of these little bars have any synthetic fragrance. I couldn’t detect even a hint of fragrance in either of the cleansers, so if you’re sensitive to scented products in general (even naturally-scented ones) these are both great cleansing options.

The top of the packaging says “cleanse + exfoliate” – hence, the physical exfoliants packed within this tiny bar.

I was nervous that the physical exfoliants of Juju would tear up my skin – nope! The particles are miniscule. I run the bar under some warm water, work up a lather between my palms, then gentle swirl the lather across my face in small circles. The lather is extremely creamy, which I love; right away, it’s obvious that Juju will not dry out the skin – in fact, I’d say it hydrates! I can feel the bamboo powder & mud particles travelling across my face, but it’s not harsh; it hasn’t caused any extra breakouts – or extra dryness. Less like sugar or salt crystals; more like very fine sand at an expensive beach. A brightening, physical exfoliating cleanser that somehow manages to keep the skin in balance. What a product – & what a suprise for me, the biggest hater of physical exfolianting cleansers out there!

The Pekee™ Bar is meant to be used at night. When I glanced quickly at the top of the wrapped Pekee Bar, I saw the words “clarify + balance” – two of my favorite words when it comes to describing skin care.

I love brightening products, but my dry, sensitive skin makes it difficult to truly brighten my skin without it feeling as though my skin is literally cracking with dehydration – & that’s where the Pekee™ Bar comes in. It’s infused with rich, hydrating ingredients, like marula oil, blueberry extract, & honey. These are all incredibly nourishing & hydrating – they’re also “antioxidants” so the combination of these three key ingredients results in a hydrating yet clarifying bar. Long-term, it claims to fade dark spots/reduce texture. Short-term, it’s brightened my complexion but kept my skin’s hydration barrier intact. I don’t know if I would leave it for my beloved Milky Jelly, but I think it’s a great thing to have on hand. Pekee behaves the same way the Juju does – except it has only lather, no tiny exfoliating particles. After patting my face dry, I feel extraordinarily hydrated; much more so than I would normally feel after using a foaming cleanser from another brand. Also, like Juju, Pekee is fragrance-free, as well as  cruelty-free, paraben-free, & vegan.

So – which would I choose, & why?

A few days ago, I might’ve said Pekee; it contains everything that my skin already loves. But – it gets redundant when I start mentioning every single gentle hydrating cleanser. Pekee? It’s great, no doubt about that. But Juju is the one that stole my heart. That’s just because I don’t just like how it feels on my face – I love how it feels on my face. It’s really been brightening  & tightening my complexion, while keeping it clear & soft. No micro-abrasions, no irritation from the exfoliants. I’ve used this both morning & evening; I’ve used it just in the morning or evening, & also used it two times in one day (one time for each routine). Although Juju is “intended” to be used in the morning (especially if you’re going to purchase the mini duo) I’ve that found it works beautifully, no matter the time of day (or night).

I can’t predict how long these cleansers will last – I don’t think I’ll be using them every single day…I just like my Milky Jelly Cleanser most of all. I will say that they seem to get a good amount of use, even if they’re being used every day, twice a day. The duo is $18; for a full-size bar (of either) it’s $28. That’s not bad at all. If these minis last as long as some of the reviews claim – I’ve seen at least three saying they’ve lasted more than a month & a half – I think it’s absolutely worth it to buy a full-size if you’re only interested in one. Or…buy the little duo & see which works for you best before forking over a little extra money for the larger, single bar.

I can definitely see myself purchasing the full-size of the Juju™ Bar. It’s been good for my skin, it will last long since it’s a bar product, & it’s very travel-friendly; no stressing about special TSA travel vials. Out of the two, I’d pick Juju. Sorry you had to hear that about ten times…but I really do like it!

As a whole, though, I was pleasantly surprised with how gentle & effective both of these cleansing bars are. I’d say it’s definitely worth $18 – probably worth $28, too, if you’re considering buying one of the full-sized ones.

right – it's time for the real Littles! These are the ones you’ll see as duos, at Sephora & on Drunk Elephant’s site – the Rise + Glow, The NightBright™, etc. You can also purchase all of them at once by buying The Littles™ bundle.

I don’t think it’s necessary to own every single one of these products; there are some that have been amazing & others that I just haven’t cared for as much. I decided to talk about each product separately as though it were the full size version, because pairing them up in duos would take too much time – & cause too much confusion. Maybe…read this first, then check out duos, & see which one seems to suit you best (if any do at all).

Oh – & how long does each little last? According to Drunk Elephant: “about 45 days.” I’d say that’s worth it! You get enough time to get acquainted with the product, but not so much that if you truly hate it you’d be throwing away $60+. Like I said – The Littles are a great way to try out Drunk Elephant products, even if you’re on a budget. There’s aboslutely no difference between The Littles & the full sized products – texture is the same, effects are the same, results are the same. They’re just different sizes, that’s all! Okay. Let’s go!

C-Firma™ Day Serum

Yes – it’s a day serum, but there aren’t really any rules. You can use this serum at night if you choose – & don’t worry if you already are – but there are some specific benefits for using C-Firma in your morning routine. Described as a “super potent vitamin C day serum,” C-Firma is a combo of an antioxidant complex, fruit enzymes, & essential nutrients – & a chronopeptide, which is what makes this serum so good for the day time. It works up to 72 hours, provides the benefits that Vitamin D would (so hello, extra dose of healthy sun exposure!) & even if you wash your face, C-Firma will keep doing its job until those 72 hours are over.

I have tried to incorporate this into my routine several times, but it just isn’t the one for me. For whatever reason, the serum feels a bit too heavy/sticky on my face during the day, & it felt tacky even after I put a moisturizer over top. That made applying makeup a lot more difficult, needless to say. & no – I don’t wear makeup every day, but it was just another reason for me to realize: I don’t really need this.

I did notice some brightening for sure, as well as tightened pores. My skin looked a bit smoother, thanks to the 15% potent antioxidant complex of l-ascorbic and  ferulic acids C-Firma contains – they act as chemical exfoliants. There really wasn’t a problem while applying the serum…the not-so-enjoyable parts came later. By “not-so-enjoyable,” I mean that it felt too heavy on my skin & though I don’t believe it made me break out, it just didn’t work as well for me as I’d hoped it would.

Some people say they love the product but hate the scent; it’s sort of smoky; hard to describe – but no, it’s not artificial. The scent will linger, though so be careful if you’re sensitive to scents, even if they’re natural.

I ended up giving this product to my mama to see how she liked it – & she loves it. She follows that up with Marula Oil (get to that soon) & now says “I’m so firm!” when talking about her skin. She’s also said her skin has been clearer; less congestion, less breaking out. Drunk Elephant got her excited; I feel like she’s the biggest C-Firma fan out there now.

How does she use it? She’ll use it all over the face, but on more sensitive days she just pats some on darker spots/sun damage, which she says is helping them fade. This has “day serum” in the title, after all, so she applies it after cleaning/toning, & before moisturizing.

Sorry, C-Firma – it’s not you, it’s me! Everyone around me – even my mother – who’s tried it either likes or loves it. I don’t think it did anything special for my skin, but I’m not bitter. There are a lot of other Drunk Elephant products that did & still do something special for my skin, so it’s all good. Worth a try? Yes, sure! I think it probably works best on less sensitive, slightly more mature skin. Maybe I’m just too young for this one to really make a difference.

Be sure to wear a sunscreen while you’re using this product. It’s a chemical exfoliant, which increases your sensitivity to the sun, which can lead to a greater risk of skin cancer, if you’re not careful. Don’t panic if you haven’t been doing this – just find a good one & start today! Of course, you should be wearing one no matter what, but if you’re using this product, sunscreen is a must. No two ways about it. < strong>B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Gel <<
eight words: a cool splash of water for your face. Even Drunk Elephant says so, calling it “a cool drink of water for your skin” – & no, I didn’t look that description up before I wrote my own.

The descriptions are almost identical because it’s aboslutely true; this is something that feels cooling, even in 90-degree weather..but it’s not something that will give you literal chills in the colder weather. It’s extremely lightweight, extremely hydrating, & sinks in beautifully. It’s most defnitely a gel, but the way B-Hydra settles into your skin feels like a liquid serum. That’s how smooth it is!

Pro-vitamin B & pineapple ceramide hold in moisture, creating a barrier for your skin. You’ll feel hydrated all day. More moisture means brighter, plumper skin. I’d be confident in saying that B-Hydra does exactly that. Barberry extract has soothing properties, a watermelon rind/apple/lentil complex (or combo) ensures that your skin will be hydrated properly for up to 24 hours. Then, the fancy name “sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer” is what makes this product so lightweight; it’s how this gel turns into a lightweight spritz of water once it’s been swiped over your skin.

It might look a bit underwhelming, but B-Hydra is a good product. Although lightweight, those specific ingredients ensure that no moisture will be lost for dry skin. Meanwhile, the lightweight consistency will also appeal to those with oily/combo skin.

I don’t use it all over my face; I think that that would be a waste, since not every area of my face needs it. I focus it around my nose: that’s where I get the most redness & dryness. It works – morning & night, I use about half a pump of B-Hydra on that area & after a few moments, my skin has stopped burning or itching, & redness slowly begins to fade. It’s a product that looks underwhelming but does a lot of hard work. The color? A transparent white, similar to that of Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. There’s no scent – don’t be scared!

The mini C-Firma & B-Hydra, which make up the Rise + Glow Duo ($23)


lt; strong>Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 <<
you know me, you know that I really dislike physical sunscreens. Most of them feel greasy/tacky, which causes me to break out – & even on my very fair skin, I'll often get a white cast. They're hard for me to blend, I dislike the scent…I just don't like physical sunscreens, okay??

unk Elephant won me over here. The Umbra Sheer was sent to me for the first time for me to try, & I skeptically swatched it on my hand. I twisted open the bottle (it has a cute little circular dispenser) & sure enough: there was the dreaded "white liquid." I put it up to my nose. Nothing. No scent. I already felt encouraged – that, & the fact that it felt so light on my hand, even when I hadn't yet blended it in.

ce I started blending it in, magic really started to happen. No stickiness, no grease, no tacky consistency – just this incredibly lightweight, hydrating cream that gave a bit of…luminescence? <<
at's right – the best way I could describe this sunscreen is: an extremely lightweight physical sunscreen with no scent that also happens to act as an illuminating primer. It's as though someone dropped a little bit of liquid highlight into a tub of this sunscreen. I tried it under makeup, using it as a primer, & I really liked it. It looks & feels good on its own, too. It's light, it hasn't broken me out, & it doubles as a magically glowing primer. I'll take ten, please.



lt; strong>T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum<<
ve I screamed about this enough? Yes, probably – but it keeps saving my skin, so I'll keep singing its praises.

Framboos: one of Drunk Elephant's priciest products…&, maddeningly, one of my favorites. I first purchased it in the NightBright Duo, figuring that I should get a cheaper version before fully committing myself. Within a week, I knew I'd be committing. By the time the tiny vial of Framboos was finished, I had a squeaky-clean full size version waiting for me. I can't say enough good things about this serum. Exfoliating? Check. Clarifying? Check. Brightening? Check.

It's not surprising I love this serum so much – it contains a special AHA/BHA blend. My skin loves product containing both AHA &/or BHA; Framboos has both. This blend is made up of glycolic acid (hence the name). lactic acid (another great exfoliant that my skin loves), tartaric acid, citric acid, & salicylic acid. All of these are whipped up with raspberry extract – which, by the way, is why this product has the name that it does: "framboos" is "raspberry" in German.

The night I tried it, I worried about potential tingling/burning, as well as dryness. I took special care to hydrate my skin after I applied the serum, but I already knew it was going to be a good one.

This serum is transparent & has a gel-like consistency. It's extremely concentrated – I only need one pump for my whole face – but doesn't strip my skin of its moisture. The opposite, in fact. If I apply Framboos then properly hydrate my skin, I always wake up looking softer, brighter, & smoother. Tingly? Yes, a little – but not for more than a few seconds. It sinks in quite fast. It has a bit of a tacky consistency, even after it's absorbed, but it doesn't pill off when applying moisturizer over top, & the tackiness fades as the moisturizer begins to sink in.

This is hands-down one of my favorite Drunk Elephant products. I use one pump every night before bed – after toning, before applying cream. The serum is very concentrated; very dense – yet somehow, it's lightweight enough that it can be easily blended out all over the face. That's why I need only one pump for it to work.

I try to avoid my extra dry areas (under the nose, mostly) & I won't use it on an open cut/abrasion, because you should never do that with any kind of acidic serum – ever! By applying it to my cheeks, forehead, top of the nose, & chin, I'm balancing out the areas of my skin that truly do need that exfoliation & clarification; I'm also preventing my dry areas from getting worse. I won't lie – if you have dry skin & don't properly hydrate after using this, your skin may suffer. However, if you go in knowing this, it is absolutely 100% worth it. Your wallet may cry, but your skin will thank you. This is on my permanent repurchase list.

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil<<
is is a Drunk Elephant cult-favorite – but surprisingly, it's not at the top of my list. Described as "rehab for your skin," this oil is packed with antioxidants & omegas 3 & 9. When combined into one little bottle, Virgin Marula blocks environmental stressors & free radicals, & reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, & redness. It also improves the skin's elasticity, which makes the skin feel more hydrated. Marula oil is appropriate for all skin types, so even if you're oily: don't worry, it won't hurt you.

Why's the Virgin Marula such a big deal?

Well, "virgin" means that it comes straight from the "pip" (seed) of the marula fruit. It's cold-pressed, which preserves all of the oil's nutrients & gives it a longer shelf life. It is 100% pure – there are no other essential oils or add-ons, which Drunk Elephant says would decrease the effectiveness of the product. Totally pure, "the way it is used by African women," which is where the marula oil is harvested.

There's nothing wrong with this product – it feels extremely luxurious, as the name would suggest, & it feels great when mixed in with a night cream. It’s also nice to use after the Babyfacial – it helps calm the skin, seal in moisture, works overnight to plump & hydrate the skin.

So – is it good? Yes. Would I personally purchase the full size? No. I don’t use enough facial oils to justify purchasing a full-size vial, but I can appreciate the smooth, luxurious feel of the product.

Virgin Marula works nicely on my young adult skin – I think it’d work even better on more mature skin, simply because it contains so many hydrating ingredients & is so highly concentrated. I always enjoy using it when buying a mini size if I want the NighBright duo, but it’s not something that’s a staple in my routine – still, as with most Drunk Elephant products, it’s worth a go. Your skin may fall head over heels for it. Mine isn’t exactly committed, but I wouldn’t kick this facial oil out of bed, either. It’s fun to use when I’m in the mood for a little extra luxury in my routine!

Be sure to wear a sunscreen while you’re using this product. It’s a chemical exfoliant, which increases your sensitivity to the sun, which can lead to a greater risk of skin cancer, if you’re not careful. Don’t panic if you haven’t been doing this – just find a good one & start today! Of course, you should be wearing one no matter what, but if you’re using this product, sunscreen is a must. No two ways about it. 

The mini Framboos & Virgin Marula – these two buddies make up the NightBright Duo (a good investment, & only $28 (with a $45 value)


lt; strong>Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream< img class=”alignnone wp-image-13387″ src=”https://sofhoney.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/img_4515-1.jpeg&#8221; alt=”IMG_4515-1″ width=”3096″ height=”2320″><<
ve been hearing a lot about this product for ages, mostly because I was so intrigued by the packaging – it has an air-tight "pump" – or, a dispenser that hands you product without having to stick your fingers in a jar. It's a great bonus for those who try to keep their skin care products as clean as possible.

The little jar I received is not air-tight; you have to get the full size for that. That didn’t mean I wasn’t excited to finally try it, though.

Why “retro?” Drunk Elephant says that it has all the old-timer benefits – “the luxurious texture of your grandmother’s face cream” that won’t suffocate the skin. It’s not greasy; it’s incredibly hydrating yet lightweight. You’ll be shocked by this (sarcasm) but it is also fragrance-free.

The “whipped formulation” is what keeps the cream so lightweight – yet so hydrating. Lala Retro has a blend of six rare African oils that lock in moisture for hours on end; plantain extract plumps up the skin & increases elasticity (like Virgin Marula) & will also brighten the skin. It contains sodium hyaluronate, too – just like B-Hydra! It works in the same way: the cream will sink in quickly & easily, but the hydration doesn’t disappear. In fact, it’s the opposite – sodium hyaluronate releases long-lasting hydration for hours at a time. It also contains fermented green tea, which is rich in antioxidants & has anti-aging/anti-inflammatory properties. To top it off, the omega acids brighten dull. dry skin while providing a punch of moisture.

re's the hard part: loving this so much, but knowing that it's more expensive than a moisturizer I already own & love (Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich). I use that religiously every single night. This one is significantly higher in price – up about $20 or so. That does make me pause. My face needs hydration, so I go through more cream – especially during the winter – faster than someone with normal or oily skin might. So…I love this cream. I love it a lot. I’m going to have to use up the jar & save a little bit if I want to invest in the full size, as well as deliberate & go back & forth with myself about how good this stuff has been for my skin.

In the larger packaging, the cream would have the built-in dispenser. Again, as you can see, that’s not the case with my mini version. Not a problem! I just scoop it out of the jar with my little NIOD Stainless Steel Spoon that I use with any other cream I own that doesn’t have an air-tight dispenser. Side note: this spoon is only $4, is eco-friendly (I just wipe it down with alcohol after using) & will keep your product clean.

Anyway. Lala Retro. I fell hard & fast here. The texture of the cream (as you can see in the photos) is light, whipped, airy…all that good stuff. It looked lightweight. It was lightweight, but it also felt like an extremely rich night cream or hydrating mask; once I scooped out a little of the cream & put it on the back of my hand, I could see the thick, rich consistency it was as though I had buttercream frosting on my hand.

Okay, so that might throw people off – no one really wants buttercream on their face. Not to worry; Lala Retro has your back & mine. When first applying it to my face, I could feel the rich thick texture. I massaged in the cream & within a few minutes, my skin felt softer – but it wasn’t sticky or greasy. I don’t know how to describe this cream other than: it feels rich & luxurious, it has no scent, & though it’s packed with good, natural things, it doesn’t overwhelm the skin. I’ve tried this for the day & night; it works as both, though it might be a little much for oily skin – I can’t say for sure.

– will I buy this? I really, really want to. My skin is loving it, I feel hydrated, plump, & firm. But.


But. The price tag. I am very happy with my Glossier PMR & I don't believe this cream is a necessity for me personally, though it feels incredible & continues to tempt me (I'll probably end up buying it at some point, let's be honest). That doesn't mean I don't like it – if this is in your budget, go for it. Use nothing but it. Love it. I sure do.

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ Mini (VERY Limited Edition)<<
ll – Drunk Elephant wasn't lying when they called this "VERY Limited Edition" – because it's sold out on both Sephora's site & Drunk Elephant's site. I'm not surprised. Babyfacial is one of the most hyped products online, but it's expensive – not everyone can get it. People were screaming in the streets when Drunk Elephant dropped a $25 mini of the Babyfacial, which contained a .5 fluid oz. Babyfacial & a "little" size Virgin Marula. Well, no, they weren't screaming. At least – not out loud.




he mini Babyfacial is gone, but you can get either the full-size, get a sample from your local Sephora, or buy The Littles kit if you're curious about more than 2 or 3 of the products I've talked about. No matter what, Babyfacial is good & it’s worth talking about – so let me talk about it for the 100th time.

What is it? It’s “a pro-quality AHA/BHA ‘facial’ that resurfaces to reveal greater clarity, improved skin texture and tone and a more youthful radiance,” according to Drunk Elephant. It was the first “chemical” (chemical doesn’t necessarily mean artificial; it definitely doesn’t mean that in this case) exfoliant I’d ever tried, & it set the bar very high for me. I got a little sample from Sephora, & after seeing how soft & smooth my skin was…overnight, no less, I scrounged together my money & a small balance on a leftover Sephora gift card. I bought it in February 2017, & it is still yet to be finished. Needless to say: it’s worth it.

I was drawn into this product because of the packaging, to be honest. It’s pretty! The delicate #millennialpink top contrasts with the body of the packaging, which is a funny little white, tubby, & air-tight container.

This “facial” or “masque” is intended to be used twice a week at most – that’s because it has a high concentration of AHA (25%!!!) & BHA (2%). This makes your skin more sun-sensitive, just like C-Firma & Framboos, so be sure you’re constantly wearing sunscreen during the day.

The full size Babyfacial (1.69 fluid oz.) compared to the mini Babyfacial (.5 fluid oz.)



ngredients? Babyfacial contains the same blend that the Framboos serum does: the signature AHA + BHA blend, which contains glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric and salicylic acids. The texture of Babyfacial is a bit goopy, sticky, & a tan color – all because of the chick pea flour, which was used in place of clay. Chick pea flour is brightening, exfoliating, & balancing, but it's less drying than clay. Niacinamide tightens pores & reduces redness while matcha tea, apple fruit and milk thistle soothe the skin. The result? Glowing, smooth, soft skin. Soft as…a baby's.

I like what Drunk Elephant put on their page about Babyfacial: "Glycolic acids get a bad rap for being sensitizing, but we believe that the pH level and accompanying ingredients (think fragrant oils or high amounts of alcohol) can often be the real problem. We formulated Babyfacial™ at the ideal pH level of 3.5 – 3.6 with a blend of acids that work together synergistically to ensure higher efficacy without the redness and sensitization."

It's true: I was very nervous about using exfoliants/acids before trying Babyfacial. The only reason I did was that I had another friend – also with sensitive skin – who'd tried it before me. Reassured, I got a sample, & smeared the tacky stuff all over my face. Tingly? Yes. Absolutely. If you don't like a tingly/burning sensation, I would hold off on getting this. It'll take about a minute for your skin to adjust to the sensation. It didn't hurt my skin at all – I had no rash, extra sensitivity, or any other ailment after washing it off for the first time, & it continues to be this way. I don't believe it'll hurt your skin – just be careful, as you should be with all acids/exfoliants. & wear sunscreen! Also: start with a short time period & build up to the suggested 20 minutes; this is especially helpful/important if you’re sensitive, like me.

Out of all the Drunk Elephant products, this is the one I think has the most bang for its buck. Like I said, I bought this in February 2017 – it’s November now, & I’m not close to running out. I only use it once a week (because I don’t want to overwhelm my skin) but even if I used it twice, I don’t believe it would run out extra fast. Even better: it comes with a teeny vial of the Virgin Marula – a great opportunity to invest in one product & test out another that may be beneficial.

Lippe Balm <<
ll, here we go: a good old lip balm. This one is $18; less than Dior, more than Baby Lips/Balm Dotcom. This comes in funny, tubby packaging, similar to the Babyfacial. The product claims to " help nourish super-delicate lips for a noticeably plump, youthful-looking pout." It also is supposed to enhance your lip line; it's not a plumping balm (by that I mean that it doesn't burn) but by supposedly making the outer lines of your lips more noticeable, your mouth looks larger.

m not particularly interested in getting bigger lips, but I was curious to give it a go & see what it truly did. I knew that no matter what, it wouldn't be extreme, & it most certainly wouldn't be permanent.

The main hydrating bases of the Lippe Balm are avocado, mongongo, cranberry and marula oils – all incredibly hydrating, even for sensitive lips. Peptides and sea fern algae work as moisture locks, continuing to plump & hydrate the lips. Finally, antioxidant-rich green tea leaf and Vitamin C brighten & exfoliate the lips, while neutralizing free-radicals. Sounds fancy – so what does it feel like?

To me, it feels very similar to a Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. It's just a bit "fatter" – the stick of balm twists up, & while it's small, the circumference of the stick of balm itself is very wide. I'd say that while it looks small, you're getting a good amount of product.

for effectiveness, I can't say that the Lippe Balm does absolutely everything it claims to do. It feels like a nice, hydrating lip balm, & it most definitely helps define the lip line (after a few days of use) – but I can't say in good faith that it'll plump your lips. My lips feel smooth with the balm on, & it fades without parching my lips. It’s not bad, but it’s not the first Drunk Elephant product I’d recommend to a friend (or stranger). Yes – it will make your lips look more defined, thanks to the enhancement of the outer lip line. Because of that, I think it provides an illusion; almost a lip liner effect without the lip liner. It’s an interesting product for sure – just make sure you know what it does before investing. Still, I say this for all skin care!

&…that’s all, folks! If you haven’t given Drunk Elephant a try, maybe this will give you some motivation to do so. If you have, I’d love to hear about your favorite products – I personally pick the Framboos serum & the Babyfacial; they’re the most unique. Coming in at a close second is the Juju Bar & Umbra Sheer – both are products I hadn’t tried previously, & both are excellent. I’m definitely considering purchasing full size versions of both of those products at some point, when my littles run out.

ke I mentioned when opening, I wouldn't ever say anything from Drunk Elephant is bad. Some products are definitely better than others, but that’s the case with every brand. For Drunk Elephant in particular, I’d say that if I had to toss one product, it’d be the Lippe Balm – we all know that you can get a good balm for cheaper. Still, though: that doesn’t negate all of the positive qualities of Drunk Elephant’s brand or products. They’re good for all skin types, they really do work (truly!) & while your wallet might cry, maybe I’ve convinced you that some of these products are worth the splurge.

At the end of the day, expensive skin care (or makeup) isn’t always the best. Drunk Elephant is another story. I would definitely say their products hold their own – as they should. I’m of the firm belief that if you have the money to invest in a good product, it had better deliver – & Drunk Elephant delivers.

ew! That's all, folks! Thanks for sticking with me, if you're reading this at the bottom. I hope my opinions/experience with Drunk Elephant products gave you some inspiration to treat yourself & your own – I was quite cautious of Drunk Elephant from the beginning because of how powerful they claimed their products were.

They definitely weren't wrong on that. The products are powerful, but I’ve come to realize that “powerful” & “sensitive” have to be mutually exclusive. If you do your research & try out some things, your skin might very well end up better than before – one of those life-changing skin care products. You know the feeling!

So – what are my old favorites/what would I recommend first off the top of my head?

  1. Babyfacial. This is an amazing product for any skin type. You will not regret the purchase, & it’ll last you for ages
  2. Framboos. I’ve tried to find a clarifying serum that didn’t dry me out; Framboos came along & saved my life. My skin’s been glowier & healthier since I started using it.

These are both 10/10 on my list. Again – these are products I’d recommend to any person with any skin type. They’re unique; they work for all skin types, they work quickly, & they work effectively.

New favorites?

  1. Juju Bar. I really like the exfoliation the Juju Bar has been giving me. I’ve been using it as a night cleanser for quite some time now; I believe my skin has gotten clearer because of it.
  2. Lala Retro. This cream has a unique texture & sensation. I find it to be similar to some products, but the lightweight effect it manages to pull of for both oily & dry skin is what really makes it unique. This is something I’d feel comfortable recommending to anyone. It’s cute, it’s fun, & it feels incredibly expensive. What’s better?

What else to say? Hashtag Drunk In Love? Not sure. Is that a good way to close this? Oh! 20% off Drunk Elephant here. What an incredible outro.

Seriously, though: thank you, Drunk Elephant! It was unbelievably exciting to get such a lovely care package from a brand I already love.

Tell me what your top Drunk Elephant picks are, if you’ve tried any of their products. If you haven’t, I’d love to know what you’d think about picking up first!


Sof <3<<

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


The tremendous trio of my September

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich 

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

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

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

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

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

Priming Moisturizer Rich. That’s all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glossier Body Hero Duo 

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

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

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

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

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



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

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb / Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Weirdo 

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

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

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

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

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

Fenty Gloss Bomb on the lips!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Even at an angle, these buddies like to stick together

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

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

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

CLĒ Cosmetics Melting Lip Powder(s)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eye makeup

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


Two eyeshadows, one mascara – all three incredibly affordable.

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

Vendome Paris Beaute Pearl Eye Shade in Espresso

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

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

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

L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara 

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

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

Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Arrow 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Earrings are Maria Black Jewelry; necklaces are Ventrone Chronicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Love (& happy autumn!),

Sof ❤

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