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

I AM NOT YOUR INSPIRATION!

"You're so strong!" "Thank you for staying so strong!" "I seriously don't know how you do it!! If I were you I'd just wanna be dead oh my god!" "How do you do all this? Superwoman I swear!"

*Record scratch*

Okay, so those are all actually comments I have (unwillingly) recieved from people in real life & people on the Internet.

Look: I know that I may seem strong. Every chronically ill person may seem that way. It sounds like a lot to put up/cope with, none of it is fun – & all of it is stressful. But guess what: I'm not an inspiration just because I'm ill! Neither is any other chronically ill person.

Ever since I revealed that I'd been diagnosed with a chronic illness, people would never fail to say "stay strong!" "get better" or: "You're so strong. Keep it up."

This has always rubbed me the wrong way. Why?

Well, it's because I'm not always strong. Some days, I'm just existing. Others, I'm making the most out of the body I have. Sometimes I will stay up til 3 a.m., crying from pain or frustration – & then I'll see a comment about how strong I am.

It's funny, but when you're clutching your abdomen, lying on the cold tiles of your bathroom floor at 3 a.m., "strong" becomes less & less encouraging to see & more irritating. "DO YOU NOT SEE ME THIS WAY!" I want to yell. But I can't, because they don't know what I do at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m. They see the parts of my life that I broadcast on social media.

Have I cried before a surgery or an IV? Of course! Does that make me weak? No!!! Why on earth would it be weak? It's a genuine reaction of fright – one that is completely understandable & valid.

If crying over an IV isn't weak, then me simply existing as a chronically ill person isn't strong.

I decided to write this piece when I came across the lovely Instagram account of artist Mari Andrew. She posted two pieces of art in quick succession. Here was the first:

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When I read the remarks made on the illustration, I wanted to weep. It was extraordinarily relatable. Because…guess what? Mari Andrew is right. Some days, I don't feel like myself at all. I can get brought down, or I can get bad news from my doctor – & at the same time I'll be getting messages about how strong I am…as I'm sobbing my guts out in the doctor's waiting room.

Basically: this illustration is showing how disabled people become props or medallions to abled people. I've gotten people saying how my illness was a reminder of how lucky they were. I was a reminder that they're privileged.

Uh…news flash: I don't want to be reminded of my own physical & mental illnesses by someone who is able-bodied & of sound mind – someone telling me that my suffering is a cause for their inspiration.

So, if we're really getting savage, that's why calling a chronically ill or disabed person "strong" isn't the right word. No one is strong all the time – I know I'm not. Being sick & getting treatments or surgeries isn't something I do electively. I either put up, or I die. Which one would you choose? Probably the first one. & you probably wouldn't think that you were "being strong" to pick that option, right? That's how it is for me. Some days, I just want to collapse – that's normal. Some days, I want to go out with friends – also normal.

I know that I myself am not "normal" but being told that I'm "strong" implies that I'm a robot; that I'm nothing but some images you can send to friends to talk about my inspirational qualities (if you want to send pictures of me to your friends to tell them how hot I am that's 100% okay). It implies that I'm either more or less human. Neither option is an appealing one.

I also find the statement: "get better!" very very odd. Chronic illnesses are…chronic. There is no "get better." Sure, I can be stable – but after I was diagnosed, there bbecame a whole new normal – & its as difficult & dark & big to navigate through as The Upside Down in Stranger Things. So. Don't call me strong, & don't tell me to get better…because we both know that's a lie!

If you're abled, reading this, & feeling umcomfortable about having described me or some other disabled person as "strong" that's okay. I know that people mean it only with their best wishes & intentions. I know they mean well, but that doesn't mean that it is well. If you've told me this/something like this before, don't apologize or feel badly! Here's a follow-up to the first photo & the story behind it, also by Mari Andrews:

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Again, she says it better than I do. But seriously: the "therapy method" works. I do it with my chronically ill friends all the time! Listen! Say that you care about them & that you're sorry they're going through this. Ask what you can do to help; what you can do to make them feel more in control of a situation – or at least calm them down.

I also love the "no need to respond" text. I do this all the time with my friends. If they're not feeling well, I'll send them something nice but include a reminder that they don't need to respond…because guess what? Some days, people are too sick & not "strong" enough to answer. Sometimes responding to people takes up too much energy & too much of your mental capacity. It's okay not to engage with people – look for friends & lovers who understand that kind of need.

Let's be real: I've been in a bad place before, gotten a few "I love you" or "I am so sorry & I am thinking of you" texts…& started bawling…in the best way possible. These kinds of out of the blue messages are incredible, because they remind me that I am surrounded by people who care about me. That gives me incentive to keep crawling.

Let me just be clear. If you're chronically ill, I won't be offended by any "chronic illness jokes" that you tell me or share with me. I try to find as much humor as possible in certain situations. I share them with friends. My friends share theirs with me. It is a great way to laugh together about things you both relate to. I believe that if I didn't insert at least a little humor into my life, things would be horrifically drab & sad! Sometimes it's fake – but even fake fools me for a little bit.

By the way: I am not saying that people in a dark place about their illness(es)/bodies can just force themselves to be funny. Some people can't – that sucks, but it's also okay. Just know that if you're chronically ill & you want to connect with someone to make a light joke, I'm here for that!

If you're an abled person messaging me about how strong I am to get a painful IV placement, an abled person trying to be relatable & joke about chronic illness, or an abled person being generally insensitive about my condition…bye! Blocked. Reported. Not to say you can't relate…but you really can't relate. That's okay!!! Feel glad that you don't have to relate.

I think sometimes, people believe that I have this extremely positive view on my future & my life; that I have loving relationships with people & that things are always joky, & light-hearted. This perception would probably be described (by the layman, at least) as "being strong."

Let me spill the beans & let you know that you're not missing out. Not one bit. In fact, you're winning!!!!! Big winning. So. Much. Winning.

Here are things you can say to me (regarding my illness)that I would appreciate:

  • Being told that I've helped someone deal with their chronic illness. That's such a great feeling to have!!!
  • Being told I'm cute or hot – but not like "aw it's okay you're cute no matter what you're sick with." We all know THAAAAATTT!!! Just tell me I'm cute. No need to put my illness in there. Being cute or hot doesn't have to be "in spite of anything." Nope – I can just be cute!!! & you can tell me so
  • "Is there anything I can do for you?" "Do you want to just let it out to me?" "I love you, & this is a bad day, but maybe it'd be better if I sent you this playlist I made for you!"

Simple things like that. They don't require much effort. In fact, it's the same amount of effort to say "sending you good thoughts today!" as "you're so strong I could never do it" – & I feel really good about the first one, & really annoyed about the second one.

I'm not your inspiration. I'm not always strong. I've danced on tables, I've gotten too drunk at a party. I've made bad choices. I've made people cry. I've made people scream. I'm not always "a good person." My mama still yells at me for leaving empty cups in my room – that didn't change when I got ill. If my mama can still yell at me about my empty cups, you can definitely just…not…say "the s word" & say "I hope you're doing well today, & if not, I hope tomorrow will be better."

Listen to me. Listen to us. Remember that disabled people are the root cause of so events that have occured throughout history. Remember that we are PEOPLE. We are not flawless. I still make people mad, just like you. I don't always bite my tongue. & all of that is absolutely okay. Trust me – I'm not strong. You can start fresh by saying "you don't have to be strong, you just need to know that I can care." You can start fresh by not saying "oh no!! You're so strong, trust me!" You can start fresh by saying nothing at all.

I will continue to uplift & support women & girls who are chronically ill. I have spoken to so many wonderful people with illnesses. I've also spoken to mean people with illnesses. Just because you're sick doesn't mean you're an angel. For some reason, people still seem to think this – & it's just not true.

I find relatability by making friends with chronically ill young people. But I am not automatically your friend if I'm chronically ill & you are too. That would negate my whole point: I am a complex human being!  I've done mean things & embarrassing things. I'm a person. I have no problem talking to people who aren't chronically ill; just because someone's chronically ill doesn't automatically make me their friend…& that's normal. In fact, it's humanizing disabled people. It's making us more than bodies examined by doctors, nurses, or curious physician'a assistants.

So, next time you see me – or any other chronically ill person- talking about not feeling so good, say "I'm sorry." "I'm thinking of you." When I or another chronically ill person have something to say about ableism; have something to say about our treatments; have something to say about our life…listen. Just listen, open your ears. Provide love & support. Be a reminder that they don't always have to be stone-faced.

Being chronically ill is a huge burden. It never fails to make those who are chronically ill feel guilty, weighed down – & also feel like they're a burden to others. Calling chronically ill people "strong" is putting more pressure on us. It's making our burdens harder to carry. So: call me hot instead. Call me interesting instead. Ask me a serious question about my illness instead.

&, you know. "I love you" is always great, too.

Love,

Sof ❤

#JulyPlaylist: Some Thoughts. & Tunes, Of Course

Fast, Sof! You don't have time! 

I actually do, but I think it'll be better for all of us if I explain why I chose some of these songs – & then we get to actually listen to them.

I saw Baby Driver. I related to it a lot – soundtrack to my life to cope with experiences. That's why you see a lot of it scattered on here. There are some good, old-fashioned bobs like A$$ – there's also new, like SZA & Kendrick's duo track. Harry Styles' album is all about missed connections; missing & yearning for what one can no longer have. Lorde's latest album & Dua Lipa's latest single are about taking independence – while also revealing their raw emotion. They're two very talented women that are very relatable to me right now. Creep? This is a cover by the Vega Choir. If you watched The Social Network, you'll have heard it. I hadn't listened to it in ages; found it, played it. Keeper! Aminé's album came out only a few days ago – I already loved one song enough to put it on my monthly playlist.

This choice makes sense, though. Wearing yellow, being happy, laughing more, dancing more. Those are things I need to work on. This playlist is about old & new people & things; it's about people I can relate to; it's about just really liking a song; it's as good a description of my month as I can give. Let's get to listening. I'll link something special at the very bottom.

Love,

Sof ❤

  1. bellbottoms - the john spencer blues explosion
  2. harlem shuffle – earl, bob
  3. chinatown – girlpool
  4. new flesh – current joys
  5. water - jack garratt
  6. doves in the wind – sza, kendrick lamar
  7. fetish – selena gomez, gucci mane
  8. new rules – dua lipa
  9. drowning - a boogie wit da hoodie, kodak black
  10. dance (a$$ remix) - big sean, nicki minaj
  11. creep - vega
  12. yellow - aminé, nelly
  13. from the dining table - harry styles
  14. supercut – lorde
  15. debora - t. rex

Here's a video of my month of July, in 55 seconds.

[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 Lip Trio I’ve Been Loving Lately

"Blurry lips" have had a bit of a moment this summer. Whether it's dabbing a bit of creamy lipstick into the center of your lips & patting it outwards or carefully dropping a red, ink-like substance into your lips – I say into because it literally sinks into your lips as you watch – waiting in satisfaction for the slight blur it provided the outer lines lines of your lips.

Blurry lips look effortless, easy, & windswept. They look beautiful on days out; they look sexy when paired with a good liner & mascara. They can be done all kinds of ways. Here's a look I've been loving lately:

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This is the easy, care-free, blurry look I'm going for. However – I was about to go out for the evening when I snapped this photo. I had to make sure my lips would last at least an hour or two – it's no use to keep applying a product that simply flies off in thirty minutes or less.

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To make sure my lips stayed blurry…but also stayed in place, I took a few extra measures here. I used the Stila Lush Lips Water Plumping Primer Stila Lush Lips Water Plumping Primer – described as a "two-in-one aqua balm treatment and primer to keep lips looking and feeling full and plump." I don't think this is necessary if you don't struggle with dry or chapped lips; this is a product I use simply because it's like a lip balm underneath a lipstick or liner – without the greasiness. This one melts into my lips, & makes sure they have enough hydration to keep on a lip color without flaking or feathering. I don't think it's a "necessary" product & I have done many a look without this…but if you struggle with chapped lips, this is a nice primer for you.

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For a little definition, I used MAC's Lip Pencil in Burgundy. I know there's a lot of controversy over buying MAC, & I understand why; this pencil was purchased before I did research on brands, so I do still use it. To replace this one, though, I'll probably get Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in the shade Blackmail. The liners are very similar in effect & quality, & Urban Decay is a 100% cruelty-free option.

When I apply the liner, I'm not 100% precise with it; I'll make some areas a bit darker & others a bit lighter. I just make sure to define my cupid's bow & the lower bottom lip. Everything else is fair game. I blot the liner over with my finger before I use Glossier's Generation G Lipstick in Jam – my favorite shade, besides Zip. Jam is a great autumn/winter shade because it can be built down to a quite dark, berry, "jammy" shade. It's also gorgeous during the summer when lightly patted into the lips – which is exactly what I did for this look. It glosses over the feathered look the liner gives; softens some harshness. Then you're ready for the final step!

I used the Milk Makeup Oil Lip Stain in the shade Feelz to finish off my look. This product is very self-descriptive; the oil gives a good bit of sheen to the lip; it is not, however, glossy or sticky. This sheen eventually gracefully fades into the color already onto the lip. It's beautiful by itself; I also love using it as a lip topper. Whether sheen or matte, this product is a great finishing touch & ensures the color will stay for hours – thanks to the "stain" in the actual name of the product.

 

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I've swatched all three of the lip colors used on my hand below. I love this plummy shade at all times of the year; it just depends on how heavy a hand you want to use, really. I love using these products alone or combined – all three or just one. They're great products – all three are super easy to apply…even if you use more than one.

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The end result is slightly sexy, illusion-of-wine-stained lips. I like pairing it with a few sweeps of reddish-bronze eyeshadow. It looks sleepy – again, we're going with the effortless theme, remember? It's summer.

What's your favorite summer lip/eye/cheek? Tell me about it!

Love,

Sof ❤

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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!