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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A sheet of photos, directions, & instructions

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mini Beauty Elixir I (1,000 Roses)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mini Beauty Elixir II (Healing Bouquet) – $80

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Deep Forest Clay Mask

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

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Sealed & ready to go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glow Philtre Mask

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Antioxidant Dew – $72

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In her beautiful, beautiful glory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall thoughts?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Get the Antioxidant Dew! You are welcome.

Love,

Sof ❤

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

-S

Sleeping Masks – No, Not The Silk Kind!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPHORA COLLECTION: Sleeping Mask – $4

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

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

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

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

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

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

LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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

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

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

Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask – $17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask – $22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Herbivore Botanicals MOON FRUIT Superfruit Night Treatment – $58

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Sof ❤

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

 

The Milkiest of Jellies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Weiss says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Sof ❤

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

[Safe] Sun Fun: How I Kept Sun Safe at an Amusement Park

Amusement parks! The terror of some, the delight of others. Personally, I'm one of the people delighted in roller coasters, stomach drops, & the "I'm gonna fall" feeling.

IMG_4017Safe to say that I feel at home in amusement parks! I do! Just this week I went to one with my family. I hadn't been for three years & was excited to see what was new.

Why hadn't I been in three years? The summer I was diagnosed I was told I shouldn't be in evironments like that; the second summer I was out of state vacationing; this summer, finally…I would be able to return.

Obviously, many things drastically changed for me over the past three years. I'm sicker (boo) I'm more fatigued (boo) & I am very sensitive to the sun. It's incredibly important that I wear sunscreen; the medications I take increase risk of skin cancer. SPF is no joking matter for me!

So, without further ado, here's what I wore on my face to the amusement park!

  1. A tiny dab of CLĒ Cosmetics CCC Cream – SPF 45 (!!) in the shade Light
  2. Spot concealing with the Tarte Shape Tape Concealerin Fair (I use a little brush to get rid of blemishes or redness under my nose)
  3. Dabbing Milk Makeup's Glitter Stick on my cheekbones & eyelids (no longer available)
  4. Tapping a bit of Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze on the bridge of my nose & a tiny bit on my cheeks
  5. Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen – SPF 30 (this is a multi-purpose SPF product, but primarly a balm)
  6. Glossier Invisible Shield Sunscreen – SPF 35
  7. Glossier Boy Brow in Clear
  8. Milk Makeup Face Mist
  9. Glossier Generation G Lipstick in Crush 

There's a lot of debate on whether SPF 50 is truly more effective than SPF 30 or 35; there's not much research out there either. Most dermatologists agree that once you hit a 30 or 35 number, sunblocks don't really get much more protective. They all agree that sunscreen is important to apply frequently – especially when outside. That's why I brought my Invisible Shield – I'd never tried putting it on over makeup, but I would be doing that at the park. The gel formula hinted that I'd gently pat it into my face with no issues with my makeup moving. I also had the SPF from CLĒ's CCC Cream on my face, too –  safe to say I was very sun-protected.

 

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I started out the day fresh-faced, of course: here's a look at what I looked like on the way – 10 a.m.!

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I have to note that the weather was beautiful. It was partly sunny, but it was very breezy – sometimes even cool. Still: the sun's rays are there, & I knew I had to take care of my skin no matter what.

Around 2 pm (few hours later) we stopped to eat & regroup. I reapplied my sunscreen…this time OVER makeup. The sensation? A cooling gel that is easily tapped into the face – & doesn't feel sticky, even over makeup. I was super impressed by this. I wasn't wearing a full face, true – but it didn't mess up any spot cleaning I'd done with concealer & it didn't mess up my highlight. Usually, a sunscreen would mess up concealing. This one did not.

I finished up with a spray of Milk Makeup's Soothing Face Mist & we were off again. Here's my look, mid-day, after sunscreen re-application:

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Not much – if anything – moved around. I was very satisfied with the power of the sunscreen & the Tarte concealer. My brows were fine – I was wearing Boy Brow, after all…& everyone knows the brows stay put with that!

A few more hours, a bit more sun – I kept reapplying my Fresh lip balm & hoped that my sunscreen would last even though I only once reapplied. The day ended quickly, & we started to head back. I started to look at my face, wondering if redness or breakouts would pop up.

Nope!!! Nothing at all. Here's how my face looked on the way back home:

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So…conclusions?

  • Chemical sunscreens are my thing from now on – especially this one. I like the gel consistency & I love how it absolutely doesn't mess up any makeup (Peach & Lily has some great ones I'm dying to try)
  • If you spend a lot of time in the sun: TRY CLĒ COSMETICS' FACE MAKEUP! Both their Essence Air Cushion & their CCC Cream (the one I used at the park) have high levels of SPF – they work for a lengthy time – & they work well.
  • When out in the sun, SPF lip balm is more effective than regular. I haven't ever noticed a difference inside…but walking for some hours under the sun is a different matter. I kept reapplying the Fresh balm – it smells & feels great, just like their original balms – & my lips were soft & crack-free on the way back. Hack: apply it to your browbone area/bridge of your nose/other small areas. It's a multi-purpose SPF; safe to use all over the face! Just don't put it in, you know, your eyes.
  • I'm really getting into Milk's Face Mist. I love the way it feels going on. It's very cooling, so: great for summer! It's also seemed to clear my skin a little bit. The only issue I have with it is that it often stings my face for a few seconds after the coolness of the spray has dispersed. Anyone have similar reactions? Do you know what it's from? I haven't gotten a rash or anything like that; it just stings a few seconds after I put it on

Well…that's about all the groundbreaking conclusions I've come to today! Remember: amusement parks/fairs/other outside summer activities are great fun…but they're not as much fun when you're boiling like a lobster. I personally escaped this year with zero (0!) redness or ruddiness to my face. I just had a bit of a neck burn. That's nothing a little aloe gel won't fix, right?

What are some of your favorite products to use when you know you'll be spending some time outside?

Love,

Sof ❤

The Ordinary: Are They Dupes? Are They Not? Are They Good? Here’s My Thoughts:

“Have you tried it?” “Does it work?” “So cheap!” “There are dupes for everything!!!

The things being said in the opening questions are most likely about the line called The Ordinary. You’ve probably heard of it in the past half year or so, right?

DECIEM, a larger brand that carries several lines – all have different prices & effects. DECIEM by itself is described as “The Abnormal Beauty Company.” They carry one called Foundation & White RX, to name a few. Their most popular, however, is The Ordinary.

If you haven’t heard of The Ordinary by now, I might be a little surprised. I’m not quite sure how DECIEM pulled this off, but with virtually zero online/paper advertisements, The Ordinary became a cult-favorite line in the skin care community. Serums for $5! Oils for $7! DECIEM “Monkeys” (customer service employees) help you map out a personalized skin routine over email – for free. No one could figure out the catch. It seems that there is none. It’s good for beginners; good for old-timers, too.

I was introduced to The Ordinary thanks to an anonymous message on my Tumblr, telling me I should check out the brand’s prices. I was intrigued, of course – who can resist claims of $5 serums?! – but skeptical. I kept my distance for a while – but everyone else was way ahead of me. I watched the photos of these little bottles whisk down my Instagram feed. I tried to figure out what their “Advanced Retinoid” meant. Then…I started to hear that some products carried by The Ordinary contained some of the same (almost exact) ingredients as the Glossier Supers (Glossier’s famous trio of serums released last September).

Look – I love Glossier! (Duh) & I love using their products. But…no one can ever say no to trying a dupe that might be better than the real…right?

Still, I balked. I just didn’t feel like it. & then I got some Sephora sample rewards one day, & discovered Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. I was (obviously) floored…the results were incredible & an overnight difference was evident.

Buttt…Good Genes is over $100 for a not-very-big-bottle. I don’t have $100+ to spend on a single product. I wish I did! But I don’t. So, I started doing my research. I figured out what lactic acid was, what it did, & what it didn’t do.

A few months later, I was doing my nightly routine, browsing online as I waited for a mask to finish… & I came across (& read a review) of the Lactic Acid 5% on Into The Gloss – a serum I’d been happily using for over 2 months!

When ITG says it’s good, it’s good. When the Lactic Acid 5% got the ITG stamp of approval, I decided to give some others a go. I decided to get the Super Pure & Super Bounce “dupes” – as well as something completely unique.

Without further ado, here’s the list of products by The Ordinary that I already own; I’ll include a small wish list at the bottom & explain why each would be a good choice for my skin

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5%+ HA 2% /Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

I first bought the Lactic Acid because of my sad inability to regularly purchase something like Sunday Riley Good Genes. I quickly became grateful I’d found out about this product – even if I knew nothing about Good Genes.

The serums are either light yellow or a dusty brown rose color; the 5% is paler because it is less concentrated. Both have a gel-like consistency – not watery at all. It’s something I like putting between my hands then gently patting into my skin, kind of like an essence.

The serum smells rather odd – plastic-y yet sweet? – & has a tacky consistency even after it’s dried. That’s the only thing I don’t like about the serum(s); bad smells don’t matter to me – as long as a product works, it’s fine!

I noticed brighter, fresher skin & fading dark spots & scars. This got better as time went on. As with all acidic products, I take extra time to ensure that my face (& body) are protected. Remember – AHAs & other peeling products make your face more sun-sensitive!!!

After I used about 3/4 of the 5% serum, I decided to go for the stronger one to see if it would make a difference. I should say: I don’t think it does. The 10% is slightly more jelly-like in texture, & is a darker color. It might tingle a bit more, too The end result, however, is exactly the same as I have seen using my 5%.

I’ve gotten many questions as to whether the 5% vs 10% have different/better results. I’d have to go with no. perhaps, if your skin is less sensitive or oily-type, you could go for the 10% to start off – it might penetrate more easily. For me, however, I saw no difference in the strengths, & next time I refill, I’ll probably go with 5% again. It feels the same, is gentler on my skin, & I can’t notice a difference in results. All good!

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The two Lactic Acids. Excellent – but one is not better than the other

The AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution/ “The Vampire Facial”

 Described as a “10-minute peeling solution,” you may have seen this on various Instagram stories – more as a joke, since it’s hard to take an attractive selfie with this stuff on your face; you’ll end up looking like you were in battle.

Despite all the blood/vampire jokes (seriously, make sure you’re wearing something you don’t mind getting stained, just in case) this stuff works. It may be a great introduction to those curious about products like the Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask, or the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial – but those who don’t want to spend $40-80 just out of curiousity.

If you’re looking for a cheap, effective resurfacing masque, this one might be the one for you.

I will say it feels more intense on the skin as opposed to the Herbivore or Drunk Elephant products – & the results aren’t necessarily as good. Still – when I use this, I look & feel brighter/softer in the following days. I just have to be careful to leave it on for only ten minutes (the stuff burns) & to wash all of it off. When using this masque, I only find it necessary to use once a week. It’s that tingly! It can also be a bit drying. If you have dry/sensitive skin, I wouldn’t say it’s a product that gets a hard “no” – I’d just say tread carefully!

This product has barely any scent to it, & the liquid, although thick & gel-like in texture, dries down on the face very quickly. The only two things truly noticeable about the product are its color – & its burning (yet) effective sensation.

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I said “vampire”….
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….& I meant it. If you are squeamish to blood…this one may not be for you. Still, don’t worry – only needs to stay on 10 minutes

 Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

This was what everyone was telling me to get as a replacement to my Glossier Super Bounce. I’ll admit it – I was doubtful at first. Eventually, however, curiosity took the better of me & I ordered a vial about 2 weeks ago.

Firstly: oh boy, is it great!!!

Secondly: I feel like a fool not to have purchased this earlier.

This serum is truly great – probably my favorite thing by The Ordinary that I’ve tried. It has no scent to it – it’s just cooling, hydrating, soothing – I could go on. It has a slight tackiness when it dries down, but I’ve found this to be the case with most (if not all) Ordinary products I’ve tried.

I had a bit of a reaction on my face last week & I cut my routine down to the essentials…I added this on, however. I’m convinced my face calmed & cooled down more quickly because of this product. If a Glossier Super can be duped, this is the dupe for Super Bounce Serum. Good product, good quantity, low pricetag.

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Cooling, scentless, & hydrating – worth every (less-than-$7) penny

 Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Again, I was told, another perfect Glossier dupe – this time for Super Pure Serum. Some of you may know that Glossier’s Super Pure Serum is something I use every day, no matter what – it’s a holy grail for me, it’s improved my skin exponentially – so I was doubtful when someone told me that this serum was a dupe for it. I was also curious. Super Pure is $28, right? If a $6.80 serum felt the same as Super Pure, & had the same results, I’d certainly be reconsidering my favorites. So – I got it. & I used it for a week straight.

First impressions: same texture as super pure: a watery gel. There was no strong scent to it; no overpowering chemical scent. It feels very cooling & refreshing when first applied.

Then – & this is what I don’t like about the serum – it dries down tacky.

This is the big difference between Super Pure & Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Yes, they contain an extremely similar list of ingredients. But the Ordinary’s “dupe” dries down tacky, & doesn’t reduce inflammation or redness as well as Super Pure does, in my opinion. It’s also slightly drying – Super Pure never dries out my skin. That was another thing to consider. While this is a great clarifying serum, it is more drying than Glossier Super Pure & it does not reduce redness as well. I think by itself, it’s a good serum…but it’s not close enough to the Glossier Super Pure to be called a dupe. Dupes are supposed to perform almost identically to the original product. In my opinion, this one does not. If you want a dupe for a Glossier Super, go for The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid – it’s a great dupe for Super Bounce.

So…let’s go back to the question I’ve been getting all the time lately: “What do you think of The Ordinary?”

I think they’re an amazing company. They’ve grown exponentially in a very short time. They’ve kept their prices lowest of the low. This allows “skin care newbies” to feel comfortable. It’s very intimidating when you’re new to skin care & only see talk about products that are over $40. The Ordinary is a great source for those new to the skin care scene because of their inexpensive yet effective products.

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The supposed Glossier Super Pure “dupe” – good, but different. I’m sticking with Super Pure – might add this one in, though

It’s also great for people who’ve been “into” skin care forever. Who can say no to a bottle of 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oilfor less than ten dollars?

 I would recommend The Ordinary as a brand to anyone – & I often do just that. I would, however, advise you to regard The Ordinary as their own brand. Might you find some dupes for more expensive products? Absolutely! But don’t expect everything to be a copy. I think The Ordinary is very focused on its own message. You don’t to be looking for a dupe to shop their products. They will provide you with quality skin care (& customer service) no matter what. They’ll help you come up with your first-time skin care regimen…or help you refine/add to it. It’s just a great, affordable brand that’s been getting a lot of buzz – for very, very good reason.

What’s on my wish list for The Ordinary?

Well, as I type this, I am adding The Ordinary’s Rose Hip Seed Oil – the Marula Oil is also on my eye…as soon as it’s back in stock. Those are the two I have my eye on…especially the Marula. Drunk Elephant sells one for $70 – The Ordinary’s is under $10…which is why it’s always out of stock. A girl can dream, though!

Rose Hip Seed Oil reduces redness & calms inflammation – a great thing to have on any top shelf! I’m was using a Mario Badescu rosehip oil that was much more expensive than The Ordinary’s. I can’t wait to give this cheaper one a go – my sources say it’s incredible.

Like I said – I have absolutely nothing bad to say about The Ordinary! They provide quality service & products; they make everything easy to read/learn about on their site; they give good recommendations. They keep rolling out new products: their foundation drops were all the buzz about a month ago, & they’re coming out with some very cool-looking Vitamin C products that I’m very excited for. Because of all this buzz, shipping can be slow – especially when a new product drops. It can take up to two weeks to get a product.

Once I noticed Beautylish was carrying The Ordinary, I started shopping that brand through Beautylish. Shipping is slightly faster – but my favorite thing about Beautylish x The Ordinary? The stickers that come with every order (as seen in cover image). A small sheet contains labels like “1” “2” or “3.” Some say “Niacinamide” or “Vitamin C.” It’s great for someone trying to build a regimen who has trouble keeping track of the steps to their skin care. It’s great for me too – I’m a Glossier aficionado, after all. Who doesn’t like free stickers with a skin care order?

Love,

Sof ❤

What Ordinary products have you tried? What are you thinking of trying? Are there any favorites – or hates? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

High & Low – My Favorites of Each

We all know that some high-end skin care really isn't all that. At least, I know it…I hope you do. We've all seen beauty gurus doing their "hot or nots" on Youtube, trying out $200 face primers, $100 face masks, & $60 lip balm by La Mer (Jackie Aina says it's not worth the money; I'll trust her).

All that sounds super appealing – I mean, the thought of putting a gold leaf sheet mask on my face just because of the aesthetic concept. But…I know that some of my dirt-cheap, K-Beauty face masks will do more than any gold leaf ever could. I know that oftentimes, I'm just paying for packaging when I buy a higher-end product. However…there are some that are worth the money, just like there are some that are not. I'm going to give two of my top high end skin care products, & two of my top low-end skin care products – & provide reasons as to why they're worth it, or why they're so cheap & still so good. Read on!

Drunk Elephant Babyfacial – $80

 

I've purchased this only once (in early March) & I am not close to being finished with it – even so, I know I will be buying it again. One of the reasons I'll be buying it again is because I'm still not done with it! A high-end product's longevity is a huge concern for me. Yeah…the full-size Caudalie Beauty Elixer is beautiful & wonderful & I adore how cooling it is on my skin – but I cannot drop $50 on a facial spray, no matter how much I love it (I get the $18 travel size when I want to give my skin a special treat). So, since I only need 2-3 pumps of the Babyfacial – not more than two times a week – I can justify the $80 price tag.

Also: the Babyfacial has drastically improved my skin, & continues to do so. It's a powerful, effective detox – I always have softer, clearer skin after using it, & despite my sensitive skin, I've never gotten a bad reaction to it (like a burn or a rash). Plus, Drunk Elephant's super hygienic packaging (Babyfacial comes in an airtight container that doesn't expose it to the light) is just one more reason for my immunosuppressed skin to love it. I'm not ashamed to say I bought the Babyfacial, & I'm not ashamed when I say I will continue to buy it. This stuff lasts, it's effective, &…yes, it has beautiful, pale-pink packaging.

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Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream – $46

Eye creams don't really…work on me. I have dark circles constantly – thanks anemia! – which I'm not really bothered about. I think they give dimension & contour to my face & have come to accept, even love them. However, what I do not accept or love about my under-eye area is the puffiness I wake up with in the morning. This is all thanks to late nights – thanks chronic pain! Thanks anxiety! – & even though I tried a couple eye creams before this one, they didn't do anything to help my puffiness. Sure, my skin under my eyes was softer…but that didn't make me look any less sleep-deprived.

Literally the next morning after I used this cream for the first time, I woke up with absolutely zero puffiness. Yes, I was still tired, & grumpy, & wanted to get back in bed – but it didn't look like I felt that way. I was truly shocked. I don't expect most products to work overnight; I understand that sometimes, skin takes a while to get used to/garner full effects of a product…but this one wasted no time. Now, I use the Saturday Skin cream every night, paired with the Milk Makeup Cooling Water Stick (also a great product that I adore – just not truly categorized as "high end") & (eventually) fall asleep, content with the knowlege that no matter how tired I am when I wake up, I sure as hell won't look that way. This will keep being refilled on my top shelf. Thank you x 10 to Saturday Skin for keeping me looking fresh!

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Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater – $8 or $12

Truly ride or die. This isn't just good because it's cheap…it's good because it's good. I have backups of this absolutely everywhere; I use it as a toner, as a light hair fragrance, as a refresher in the middle of the day when I'm feeling parched & dull, & as a setting spray. It's so multipurpose, so effective, works for all skin types – & you can purchase it in the tiniest little 1 oz. bottle (at Ulta's checkout) for your weekend getaway for $5, in the 4 oz. version for $8, or the jumbo 8 oz. bottle for $12. I have it in all three. You'll always catch one in my purse, two on my top shelf (one for a backup, one for use) & probably another tiny one in my bag – just in case. Are you afraid it's going to smell like your grandma's potpourri? Don't be – it's fresh, light, & absolutely not grandma-y. No offense to grandma. Mario has treated me better than any man ever has – & he'll be here with me til the day I die.

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The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% – $6.79

You know the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment? The one that costs $105 for 1 oz.? Try this lactic acid, instead. You get 1 oz. for $6.79. No, it's not as good as the Sunday Riley – but it's nearly as good, & is more than 10 times cheaper for the same amount of product. The 5% version made Into The Gloss'sBeauty Editor's May Favorites article – I initially used the 5%, then worked my way up to 10%. I can't say that the 10% is significantly better than the 5% (10% does tingle more & sometimes I wake up with brighter, clearer skin than when I used the 5%, but it's hard to tell whether it's that product or just chance)…but I can say that they both work beautifully as a chemical exfoliant – even on my poor, dry, sensitive skin. Seriously, it's amazing. Just ignore the smell…some call it "maple syrup," some call it "burnt plastic" (I'm team "burnt plastic") & some say, oh so eloquently, "ass but it still works really well so I don't care" (thanks to one of my followers for giving me that priceless description). Regardless of what you think it smells like, this stuff works. Give it a chance; I don't think you'll be let down. In general, try all of The Ordinary's products – you won't break your bank, & you won't be let down. You might even be let up.

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There you have it! Two things I'm unashamed to say I love (& why) & two things that, even if a higher-end brand has something similar, I'll politely pass on & continue to use my cheap, effective, good products.

Remember – a high price tag does not mean a product will be life-changing! Oftentimes you might just be paying for a name, for packaging, & just because some pricing markups are ridiculous. Don't feel bad about not getting that $60 La Mer lip balm. I'm happy with my $12 Balm Dotcom.

Love,

Sof ❤

Get 20% off any Drunk Elephant purchase here, & get $10 off a $50 purchase from Peach and Lily here!

I’m Authentic Now: I’m Using “Real” Toners

I’ve always known the three crucial steps to taking care of your skin: cleanse, tone, moisturize. Sure, all the other things (like serums, oils, & face masks) are great, fun, & (hopefully!) beneficial – but if I were to take three things only for my face, it would be a cleanser, a toner, & a moisturizer.

For the longest time – actually, ever since I can remember – I’ve been using facial sprays as toners, like Caudalie’s Beauty Elixer, Herbivore Botanical’s Rose Hibiscus, Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist, & my holy grail: Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs, & Rosewater. I thought that was the default for toning.

I started seeing people on social media, especially Youtube & Instagram, talk about their favorite toners; sometimes even demonstrate them. Yes, I saw a lot of facial sprays! I also saw a lot of “real” toners – you know, the ones you drip onto a cotton pad & swipe all over your face. I also got told by a lot of people that I should try one like that (Thayer’s Witch Hazel, for example), but I balked. I was perfectly happy with my spritzer toners. They worked just fine for me, & I didn’t like the concept of rubbing a fiber on my face – it just sounded irritating. I have sensitive skin, so the idea of such a thing kind of sent some shivers down my back.

I was quite ambivalent about the whole thing, but as I started to see more & more people talk about “real” toners, I decided to give one a go.

I’d known about the Mario Badescu Cleansing Lotions for a bit, mainly because I saw them at an Ulta, decided to check out the cleansers, picked one up a while back to test…& jumped in surprise when a watery product spilled all over my hand, without a single soapy bubble.

I’d read the label “Cleansing Lotion” & had assumed that it was a cleanser. It was not. I went home, googled “Mario Badescu Cleansing Lotion why?”, & saw a post MB had made on their blog (which I recommend checking out!). According to Mario Badescu, the Cleansing Lotions are absolutely toners – & absolutely not for washing your face or body. “Cleansing lotion” is just the original or classic name for “toner.” Mario Badescu formulated his toners when the term “cleansing lotion” was more commonly used, & the company now wants to “keep the label true to Mario Badescu’s original product names so his legacy remains intact and we remain authentic to the brand’s heritage.” (x)

After finding that answer, I still didn’t feel like trying one out. Laziness? Lack of interest? Already having a toner that worked just fine for me? To be completely honest, it was probably all three. But – I decided to finally give it a whirl, & was futher encouraged by some friends that also had sensitive skin – if they could do it, why couldn’t I? I (tentatively) decided to give it a go. I went to Ulta about 10 days ago, looked for some cotton pads that wouldn’t be too rough on my sensitive skin (these are great: cheap, 100% cotton, unscented, & quilted for extra softness), &, once I’d found those, wandered over to the Mario Badescu shelves.  I figured that since my friend Mario had already given me the best toner of my life, I might as well try one of his “real” toners. Or maybe even two. I ended up with two – if you’re intruiged, keep reading!

Seaweed Cleansing Lotion

This was the first of the two I picked up. I did a little online research on the MB website & blog before making a trip to Ulta, & this one seemed to fit my criteria. It’s labeled as being ideal for dry, sensitive, or combo skin, & is described on MB’s site as being their “most universal toner.” This description, & the fact that it’s alcohol-free (yay! No stinging or burning!) were selling points for me. Alcohol-based toners can be great for oily skin – sometimes even combo skin – but it’s a whole mess for my dry & sensitive skin.

This toner contains witch hazel, which clarifies without being too rough or drying; aloe vera, which soothes & moisturizes; &, of course, the seaweed: bladderwrack extract, which also soothes the skin, & is rich in minerals. It’s a pretty moss-green color, & has a clean, fresh, green scent to it that doesn’t linger for an uncomfortable amount of time.

As I started applying the toner to my face with one of the cotton pads, I felt completely comfortable. I didn’t feel irritated or dry after I’d finished gently swiping the toner-covered cotton pad over my face. I just felt clean. I even noticed that it had removed a tiny bit of makeup which my cleanser had glossed over. I didn’t feel tight or dry – & my face didn’t sting, either (something I was really nervous about). Basically, it was love at first use. I went to sleep, hoping I’d see something the next day. I woke up, looked in the mirror straight away, & saw a brighter, fresher face staring back at me. My pores looked tighter, my skin looked (& felt) clearer & cleaner, but I had no dry patches or sensitive, stinging areas. I kept using it, wondering if I’d break out, or if I’d end up with drier skin over the course of the week; sometimes, products take longer than one night to do something to your skin – good or bad. Nope. My skin only got better. I was truly floored. Yes, my facial spray was (& still is) amazing…but this took my skin up a level or two.

 

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Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion

After I saw amazing results with the Seaweed Cleansing Lotion, I decided to give the other MB dry/sensitive/combo-targeted toner a go. This product is described as a brightening, energizing toner, enhanced with AHAs. It is also alcohol-free, which, again, is a plus! I was a bit warier of this one, however – I know what AHAs are like, & they work well on my skin…but I’d never tried a toner containing AHAs – just masks or masques.

The AHAs in this product come from grapefruit & lemon extract – hence the product’s name. Once I saw that the other key ingredients were aloe & linden (both have soothing properties), I was less worried about how this toner would feel on the skin. I took it home & gave it a go.

This one does sting a bit, & it is definitely less moisturizing than the Seaweed Cleansing Lotion. I don’t find it to be drying in & of itself – but if I were having a bit of an extra sensitive skin moment, I probably wouldn’t reach for this one; I’d grab its sister, Seaweed, instead. For me, this is most similar to a Vitamin C serum – it brightens, tightens, closes pores, & reduces dark spots.

I wondered whether this toner would be more clarifying than the Seaweed, but I don’t believe so. I do think it’s been helping even out my skin tone a little bit; nothing fancy, but it’s definitely doing something. It’s a super pretty color: a soft, glowy orange. The scent is, surprisingly, not at all citrusy. I just get a slight whiff of herbs. This one doesn’t have a heavy scent, either. I really was surprised that I didn’t detect any citrus-y smell in this product…it does have “grapefruit” in its name, after all. I’m not complaining, though: in my opinion, most skin care products shouldn’t be heavily scented (I have a few exceptions that I enjoy).

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Overall? Both of these are a game-changer. I have fully incorporated them into my skin care routine, & have only seen good results. I will say that I prefer the Seaweed Cleansing Lotion to the Alpha Grapefruit one. Both are good! I think it just comes down to personal preference. If you’re more interested in a soothing toner, & less interested in a brightening one, I’d recommend you give Seaweed a go. If you’re trying to make your dull skin a bit perkier, I’d say go for Alpha Grapefruit! Like I said, I enjoy using both…but I think Seaweed has my heart. I can’t guarantee I’d repurchase Alpha Grapefruit, but Seaweed is definitely going to have a permanent place on my top shelf.

The funniest thing about all of this? Well…I kept excitedly telling everyone about it, like this method of toning was a new discovery. I got “we know,”&  “told you so” a lot. I even got: “Wait…you’ve never used a toner like that?” That’s my personal favorite.

Nope! I hadn’t. I was perfectly happy that way, too – so was my skin. But…now that I’ve finally tried it, this method of toning will now have a permanent place in my routine. The MB facial spray was, is, & always will be amazing – so will the Caudalie Beauty Elixer, & so many others. I’m just experiencing a new feeling with this method of toning…& I’m really enjoying it. So is my skin!

To all the sensitive-skinned people out there who might have worried about how abrasive this kind of toning method may be, let me assure you: it’s not! Just make sure your cotton pads are soft, & that the toner you’re using is for your skin type. You can get a pack of 80 hypoallergenic, unscented, 100% cotton pads for less than $4 at Ulta. You can probably order even more for even less online. Both of these toners cost $15. This isn’t expensive skin care! It’s cheap, it’s effective, & there’s one for everyone. Oh, & don’t worry about spilling product all over your hand, like I did once upon a time. Unless you’re treating it like a gel or a cream, the little flip-up tube that’s built into the product’s cap dispenses the toner just fine. No spillage!

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The tiny tube dispenser in action on the Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion
So, to all of those new to this toning method: come join the club! It’s pretty big over here. I find it pretty funny that I’ve been taking care of my skin for a good while – & never given this method a thought up until a few weeks ago. But I’m here now! I’m loving it! & I think you will, too. To those who might be rolling their eyes at my “discovery” over here: I hope at least one out of the two toners I mentioned sound appealing to you, if you haven’t already tried them.

I’m always figuring out new things when it comes to skin care! This time, I figured out an old thing – but it was new to me. I’m just glad I finally went for it. Maybe it’s time for you to do the same.

Love,

Sof ❤

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