Wowder Is Here!

Seen the memes yet?

You know – the memes where people call Glossier for the perfect-skinned; the memes where people coat themselves in Vaseline, saying "I love the newest Glossier highlight!"

Basically, what's been coming to pass is: Glossier's been criticized for appealing only to those with dry, clear skin. That their products don't suit those with more oily skin; that they're not being inclusive; that their "no-makeup makeup" only really works on one skin type.

Well, Glossier heard, & Glossier responded – in the best manner possible: by using a meme making fun of their own brand.

Two days ago, on Instagram:

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First: nice response! Light-hearted acknowlegment that yeah, maybe their products weren't for everyone – up til now. The link was wowder.net. This redirected to glossier.com/wowder, which claimed:

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A little information, a little video, & a waitlist. People complained that they couldn't stand the wait! That this was going to be Glossier's most unique product yet; a product that strayed from natural dewiness – & helped people with more oily skin control their shine.

Some of you into the beauty scene may have spotted "Wowder" in a video made by YouTuber Jackie Aina – you can watch it right here.

The video was titled: "Trying NEW Makeup! First Impressions and More." Jackie tried a host of products made by a host of brands, including Burberry, Natasha Denona – & a brand that Jackie said she could not reveal. In the description box, it says: "One of those products is a product I previously tested BEFORE agreeing to collaborate for this video. Today you'll get a sneak peak of that product!"

Jackie went on to test the "Wowder" – she used two shades: "Rich" & "Dark/Deep." Jackie said: "These powders are designed to set the makeup. They control oil, they are mattifying, they help with long wearing of makeup – BUT! These powders do not respond the same way some others do, & I'm going to show you what I mean by that."

Jackie went on to use this for her under-eye area, & also used a bit to dust all over her face. She mentioned that the product had a special brush – but used her beauty blender when applying Wowder on her under-eye area. She mentioned how neutral this powder was – no excess red or yellow under-tones. She seemed to be quite happy with her results, by the end.

For Glossier to send a product to Jackie Aina to test out speaks volumes. She's an extremely popular YouTuber – but she's "different." By different, I mean: She's not afraid to speak her mind about certain brands & their questionable ethics; she's not afraid to call out brands for their lack of shade diversity; she makes videos with a full face of cruelty-free makeup, or a full face of makeup made by black businesses.

Basically – Jackie is a hilarious, talented, politically correct YouTuber – & I trust her because of her unapologetic reviews. She's extremely open – so for her to say such positive things about Wowder? Again, it speaks volumes.

Right off the bat, this told me that Wowder would be good for those with oily skin, & there would be shades that would suit women of color – yes, even dark-skinned women of color. Great! I was a bit apprehensive, though – would I like Wowder? I have dry skin; I have pale skin. I love highlight & I love looking dewy. Would Wowder appeal to me?

Well, I got to find out a bit sooner than the rest of you. Full disclosure: I am a Glossier Rep, & while I am not paid for this review (or giving this information) I have been sent Glossier products in the past & continue to get sent new products if I make sales quotas as a rep. I was lucky enouh to make my quota (thanks to all of you!) & I got a mysterious email a few weeks ago, from "The Wowder Team."

I wanted to make sure that it wasn't spam, so I reached out to my wonderful community director. I got a winky face, & a bit of a tongue-in-cheek confirmation. Low & behold – my Wowder arrived about 5 days ago, & I have been testing it ever since I got it (quietly, that is). Let's take a look at my first impression photos. First: a letter to me from The Wowder Team:

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Basically: identities were revealed, & there was a box that I was extremely excited to open.

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As you can see, I got "Light/Medium." I was…extremely apprehensive about getting this shade. Turns out – this is the lightest one! & it suits me beautifully. Why? Well, turns out it's actually okay to have a powder that is slightly darker (or the same shade) as your skin, as long as it's neutral. For me, in fact, choosing a powder that is my exact foundation shade could be detrimental if I happened into a paparazzi event – the flashback would be terrible. Should I say James Charles terrible?

My point is – no one's face is "HD-white" – not even me, whitest of whites. So – we start with the lightest shade, which is "Light-Medium." Then there is "Rich" & "Dark/Deep," the shades Jackie used combined. The shades are sheer, so they are adaptable. They're not necessarily universal, but these three shades will cover the whole range of skin tones – becaues of the neutral undertones the powders possess.

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I was a bit suspicious of the color of the powder – & how it would look on my skin – but I had (& still do have) faith in Jackie Aina, so I persisted.

I don't use under-eye concealer, so I don't set my undereyes. I decided to be creative – that's what Glossier's all about, right??? I decided to use it in place of a "face makeup" aside from concealer. So, basically, I used a bit of Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer in Fair or Glossier's Stretch Concealer in Light for spot coverage/coverage in the middle of my face. Then, I would lightly buff Wowder over my forhead, center of my face, & other areas I might want to cover.

Wowder is truly amazing. Take it from an oily-skinned, extremely famous YouTuber like Jackie Aina – & a quiet, dry-skinned, not-famous-at-all writer (????) like me. We both love Wowder! We use different shades, & we use it in different ways – but we both love it.

I've found that Wowder has a blurring effect. It definitely prevents flashback in photos. It's almost like a filter when you wear it. It's buildable – I could see myself wearing Wowder, & Wowder only – I like it best, however, in the way I have been using it the past few days.

What're some other fun facts about Wowder? Read away:

  • Contains diamond powder for dimension; no flat effect here! & no, don't believe the people on Reddit – diamond dust does not hurt your skin
  • It has an airy, weightless formula – it absorbs oil, but vanishes into skin (this is why it's great for all skin types)
  • The "trampoline mesh" that keeps the powder safe = no mess packaging. It's easy to shake out a little; it's equally easy to make sure you're not wasting product, either.

"Does it come with the brush?" 

According to Glossier, the Wowder Brush was "specifically designed to work with Wowder" (I would hope, anyway!!!). The bristles are very soft, but they're also dense – great for a powder like Wowder, or even for a more intense powder highlight. Its shape makes it easy to buff Wowder all over the face, or focus on smaller areas: like under-eyes. Glosser: "The Wowder Brush ($20 USD, $25 CAD) & Wowder ($22 USD, $27 CAD) were invented to work together, so we've made you The Wowder Duo PDP - this includes Wowder & the Wowder brush, which total to $35 USD or $45 CAD. In both currencies, you'll save $7 by buying the duo.

Don't want a powder, but want the brush? The Wowder Brush is available separately! Don't want the brush, but want the powder? Wowder is available separately!

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Is dewy OUT now? Is Glossier being trendy by switching things up? Will they maintain their relevance?

I'm biased – but I think Glossier's here to stay. They're reaching out to more people by releasing Wowder. Now, people with oily skin; people who enjoy a matte finish; people who retweeted or reblogged the Glossier memes (!!) will start looking at Glossier with a more serious eye. Glossier itself said:

"Fresh, real skin is what we’re known for, and Wowder is an extension of that. Still healthy and glowing, but matte where you want it—no more shiny t-zone. We aren’t backpedaling on the dewy look that’s core to our brand (dewy isn’t dead!

we love dewy!). Makeup is a choice. Choose your finish."

Choose your shade. Choose your finish. Choose the way you want to do makeup – or not! I'm here for it – & I never thought I would say that I love a powder as much as I love this one! But I really do. I might be switching my CC Creams out for Wowder & a little concelaer on extra hot, sweaty days. I think my skin will thank me. But now, I can choose a finish – & still shop with one of my favorite brands.

As I type this, Wowder is now available, & you can get it here!!! Get it! tell me what you think. I can't wait to here your opinions on Glossier's latest – & most unique (for them, anyway) product. & while you're waiting for your shipping, here's a few photos of me rocking Wowder last night:

But it comes down to this: if you follow me on social, or if you read this blog, chances are that you have dry/sensitive skin, & you might not normally wear powder. Are you worried about using a powder?

Remember this (while checking out on Glossier.com with your Wowder Duo):

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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 ❤

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!

The Fragrance I’ll Be Wearing All Summer

I really like the idea of having a signature scent. I like wearing one fragrance consistently; it makes me happy to think of a certain scent being associated with me.

Usually, the fragrance I wear (& love!) is YSL’s Black Opium. I’ve loved it for more than a year now, & after emptying several travel sprays of the fragrance, was finally gifted the full size fragrance for Christmas last year.

I truly, truly do love Black Opium! It’s the scent that my friends & significant other associate me with. It’s powerful, but not overwhelming – doesn’t make me (or anyone else) sneeze, it’s sexy, but super laid-back. So, yes…I do love my Black Opium.

The one problem I have? Black Opium is, admittedly, a little heavy for the summer. I’d wear it on a night out, but during the day, not so much. Don’t get me wrong – I love the scent – but there’s a difference between loving a perfume & loving it so much that you’ll wear it at 9 a.m. on a morning stroll. This definitely isn’t the fragrance for that occasion.

I’ve been playing around for the last few months, searching for a summer fragrance. I’ve been loving two of Margiela’s fragrances – Lazy Sunday Morning & Beach Walk – but Lazy Sunday morning was just…a little too heavy at times. I’m not sure how to describe it…it just got too far up my nose once & a while, not in a good way. Beach Walk I truly do love, but several of my friends already have it, & I now associate the scent with them! Not to be that person…but if my friend is wearing the fragrance, I probably wouldn’t want to be wearing it as well. It’s kind of like stepping out in denim overalls & white Converse on the same day…without meaning to.

So…yes! I love the little Margiela rollerballs that I picked up. I also gave the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb a go – but that was a no for me. For once & a while, maybe…for every day? I love floral scents, but this one was a bit much.

I kept playing around with these three options, wearing them to bed, when I woke up, right after a shower, or on a night out. I just couldn’t make up my mind.

I recently came into contact with Europerfumes, & started speaking with one of the PR Coordinators: Claudeene. I mentioned to her that I was sometimes sensitive to various scents (hence my unfortunate rashes when I apply rollerballs directly to my neck or wrists) & asked for her opinion on what might suit me best. She discussed with her colleague, then got back to me, saying: “We all decided that the bottle we would like to send you is from the brand, Juliette Has A Gun, and the fragrance is ‘Not a Perfume.’ We feel that this is a great addition to you and your followers as it is a fragrance with only 1 ingredient! It smells differently on everyone’s skin as people have their own chemistry. With this fragrance, once you spray it on your arm, don’t rub it in with the other arm as this will take away from your skin chemistry.”

I was truly intrigued by the “1 ingredient” claim, & did a little research myself. According to Claudeene, as well as some other fragrance retailers, this fragrance is a #1 bestseller. Although I didn’t have it myself yet to see why this was so, I looked up reviews & the famous “1 ingredient.”

This one ingredient is Cetalox, also known as “synthetic ambergris.” It’s usually used in perfumery as a base note (onto which other fragrances are added). This perfume, however, contains only Cetalox. Sephora describes it as a “woody & earthy” fragrance, “minimalist, fresh, & clean…ideal for those who don’t normally wear perfume. Additionally, it’s hypoallergenic – aka, unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, even for those who are sensitive to fragrance.

I really liked the fact that it was hypoallergenic (great for me & others who might have more sensitive skin!) & really liked Claudeene telling me that it smells differently on everyone who wears it. Like I said – I’m all about individuality, & a perfume that smells different on everyone was really appealing to me.

So, having digested all this information, I sat back, eagerly awaiting my package.

When it arrived, I got a sweet note from Claudeene, saying she hoped I (& my followers!) would enjoy the fragrance, & see why it was a #1 best seller. The box it came in was luxurious, to say the least. At the same time, it was minimalistic, clean, & fresh – just how I hoped the perfume would smell when I unwrapped it.

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The outside of the box – lovely font, but simple packaging.

I got to the inside of the box, & took out the bottle. It was quite heavy in my hands, &, unusually, was completely opaque. Most fragrances are packaged in some sort of transparent bottle (even if the whole bottle isn’t transparent, usually some part of it is, so you can see the actual liquid). Not so with this fragrance. The bottle is white, & you cannot see the fragrance itself. I could only spritz it onto my wrist, & hope for the best.

I immediately liked it! It’s very, very fresh, & very clean. I wouldn’t describe it, however, as being “woody” or “earthy” as Sephora called it. There’s quite a bit of sweetness to it, but there’s no unpleasant powdery effect that so many sweet fragrances have – the freshness of the fragrance cuts the sweetness. It’s truly a perfect cocktail. I sprayed it first on my wrist, then on my mother’s wrist. We waited half an hour, & compared. Indeed – both of us smelled similar, but there was definitely a difference. I’d compare it to two people wearing different fragrances but from the same line. There’s similarity, but also noted differences.

I tried it in the morning, the evening, on a walk, before bed, & after getting out of the shower. My conclusion? This is my summer fragrance! It’s fresh, yes – but also sweet enough for me. There’s no musk to it, however, which is what makes it so summery, in my opinion. Best of all – I won’t feel weird about spritzing some onto a friend’s wrist when they come over before going out. I know we’ll smell different in a few minutes.

I first thought it was a little…edgy…that someone was trying to call a perfume “Not a Perfume.” However, after wearing the fragrance for a few days, I can see why. First of all, the one ingredient is usually meant to be built on, not used on its own. Second of all, it adapts differently to everyone’s own chemistry. That makes it more of a fragrance, less of a fixed scent…or a perfume.

As I’m writing this on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I’m wearing this on my wrists & neck. The window’s open, & it’s just warm enough. I wore it a few nights ago on a crisper evening for my sister’s high school graduation. I’m sure I’ll wear it next week for some other occasion, as well. This really does fit every situation, & I see myself returning to it again & again. Who knows – maybe it’ll even become my fall, winter…my year-round fragrance! If it changes with the weather, the temperature, & with my own chemistry, it just might become my lifetime fragrance. Time will tell.

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The opaque (& elegant) perfume bottle itself

For any of you interested in checking out Europerfumes, go to their site, www.europarfum.com! If you’d like to make a purchase, enter code 10SOF for 10% off any purchase over $40. Not an affiliate code, just a fun discount.

Love,

Sof ❤

Products I Didn’t Expect To Go Crazy For

Sometimes, I buy a product on a whim without expecting much. Or, I get sent a product & try it without too much excitement. Most times, those products end up being “okay!” for me. I won’t complain about them, but I don’t rave about them, either. Here are some products I’ve bought/been sent lately that absolutely shook my expectations & made me want more, more, & more – even before I’m halfway done with them!

OSEA Sea Vitamin Boost

The 100% cruelty-free, pure, & vegan skin care brand OSEA (based in Malibu) sent me a few of their travel size products, including this toning mist. I loved their message right off the bat (they’re also a family-owned business!) but as always, tried to be as objective as possible. Right when I opened the box to see this product, however, I fell in love with the color – this glowing, coral-red color was extremely eye-catching & strangely soothing. This toning mist is meant for dry/sensitive skin (that’s me!) & claims to deliver instant hydration & a “radiant glow to dull, thirsty skin.” It contains organic algae & pomegranate, among other things, all of which claim to lock in moisture & reduce signs of anti-aging.

I first tried it as a toner. It was nice, but I didn’t like it as much as my Mario Badescu Facial Spray. I had an idea a few days later: on a particularly muggy, hot, sticky day, I misted this on my face after doing my morning skin care. Instant results: I looked glowy, but the extra boost of moisture also, in some magical way, managed to keep me from looking sticky & sweaty. I kept misting it on throughout the day. Amazing.

All in all, the color, the really nice spritzer that evenly disperses the mist, & the cooling, soothing effects of this spray make it a winner! I’ve tried sticking it in the fridge a few days ago on an extra hot day. Even better. This is a summer win for me! Thank you, OSEA 🌊🍉

Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Pack

I’m normally super wary of foaming products – in my own experience, they strip my dry skin of any moisture I might have, making my skin feel tight & uncomfortable. After having great results with CLĒ Cosmetics’ Oxygen Foam Cleanser, however, I decided to give this TCFS mask a go. TCFS is also a K-Beauty company, & since I’d had such a good experience with the Oxygen Foam Cleanser, I decided to be brave, & try this mask.

It comes in an aerosol can, which is pretty cool! It dispenses almost exactly like whipped cream. Another bonus: only $20 for about 3.4 ounces, which might not sound like a lot of product, but as you’ll see below, the amount I put on my hand was enough for my entire face – & that took about half a second to come out of the can.

TCFS calls this “a whipped foam facial mask made from egg yolk & egg white extracts that creates a smooth & radiant complexion in as little as 5 minutes.” I was pretty taken aback by the 5 minute claim, but was encouraged to see positive reviews, & TFCS’s promise that this would leave my skin silky soft & smooth. I decided to give it a go on a day when my face felt particularly dry & irritated. I know – I took a risk with this one…but it was worth it.

I left it on for about 10 minutes, rather than 5, & after rinsing off, was pleasantly surprised to see a brighter complexion,  & felt a lot more moisturized immediately afterwards.

It’s also a super fun mask, I have to say. Foam is fun! I wish more foaming products were good for my skin, because I would be using them like no tomorrow. Unfortunately, most are too drying for me – but this one was a pleasant, fun surprise.

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All the product you need for your whole face! Less than 1 second of a spray. It looks & feels like meringue.

 

Sephora Birthday Gift: Caudalíe (!!!)

As most of you probably know, Sephora Beauty Insiders (doesn’t cost anything to sign up! Just an email address or phone number) recieve a mini set with any purchase during the month of their birthday. The gift sets change from year to year, & there’s usually two options: a mini makeup set, & a mini skin care set. I have plenty of makeup & don’t really wish to collect more at the moment, so I decided to go with skin care – especially when I saw that this year’s skin care set was by Caudalíe!

I’ve raved about their beauty elixir (which smells like champagne or white wine & is super cooling & soothing) in a few previous posts, but hadn’t tried anything else by them. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go. The set included a mini of their Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (described as a gel-cream meant to instantly moisturize & calm dehydrated, irritated skin), & a mini of their Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (described as a highly concentrated, oil-free serum that improves the appearance of dark spots, promotes even skin tone, & boosts radiance). Together, the set claims to instantly refresh, moisturize, & brighten skin.

Neither of these products are cheap – in fact, the Vinoperfect Serum is $80 before taxes – so I took this as an opportunity to try out more Caudalíe products without breaking the bank.

These are both minis, & don’t pretend to be anything else – both products are 0.33 fluid ounces – but if nothing else, they’re a good opportunity to try out an expensive brand, & also good for travel (collect free minis as much as possible if you travel a lot!).

I expected the products to have a powerful scent, given that the beauty elixer does, but neither of them have much of a scent. I wouldn’t call them fragrance-free, but they just have a slight, fresh scent to them. Both products sink instantly into the skin! I really, really like the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (& hate myself for liking it so much since it’s so expensive) & I also really, really like the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (I hate myself less for liking this one, since it’s $40 instead of a whopping $80). The sorbet sinks into my skin really well, leaves it super moisturized, but not at all sticky. I’d call it a really good daytime moisturizer. It could almost be a primer for dry skinned people, since it leaves your skin moisturized but has just a tiny bit of “tack” (I don’t mean this in a bad way at all) to it.

Caudalíe, I love you, I hate you. I see myself buying at least one of these in the future. They really are…so good….& let’s not forget about their whimsical yet elegant packaging.

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My Caudalíe minis shining in the sun, with my Beauty Elixir by their side. I especially love the dusty rose packaging of the Sorbet.

Fresh SugarBath Lychee Body Lotion

I purchased this body lotion on the same day that I got my Caudalíe minis. I’d been looking for a body cream for some time, but was leaning more towards a body butter, since my skin all over my body is pretty dry. I was considering the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, which everyone & their mother raves about, but the $45 price tag really had me questioning it. I didn’t love the smell all that much, & the texture was okay…but it didn’t have me sold.

I wandered over to the Fresh products, & saw this body lotion almost immediately. I was shocked by the price – $23 for 10 fluid ounces is super cheap for a Fresh product – so I tried some out on my hand. I first tried the Sugar Lemon scent, but slightly recoiled. The texture was nice – really nice – but I find citrus scents a bit too powerful for body lotions or creams, especially if I’m planning on wearing a fragrance. I saw the Lychee scent, saw that it was based off their best-selling Sugar Lychee fragrance, & gave that one a sniff. Much better. It had a much more subtle scent, was a bit sweeter – yet not sickly – & still had a slight whiff of citrus to it, which I actually really liked. I tried it on my hand, & quickly saw that my skin appeared firmer, more radiant, & felt much more moisturized. If it worked this well on the tougher skin of my hand, I thought, it would be amazing for my body. I went with it!

Fresh describes the lotion as leaving the skin “feeling dewy and soft, thanks to the therapeutic qualities of real brown sugar. The light, supple texture of this superb body moisturizer makes it easy to use any time of the day, in any climate.” It’s described as  “a sparkling with delicate grapefruit, lemon, lime, juicy lychee, & mango.” I love the slight citrus-y scent of this lotion, which slightly cuts the sweetness of the lychee & mango – basically, it’s a perfect balance between sweet & citrus. Plus: the bottle’s classically beautiful, simple packaging (that Fresh is famous for) looks beautiful on my windowsill, & the generous amount of product will definitely last me all through the summer, possibly even longer. Lightweight, not greasy, but super moisturizing & dewy. So much bang for your buck!

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Simple, elegant packaging
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A look at the consistency & texture of the lotion – it’s definitely a lotion, not a cream or a butter.
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The after-effects: dewy, plump, & moisturized! Definitely can be a hand & body lotion.

 

 

Biossance 100% Squalane Oil 

A relatively new brand to Sephora! Biossance is a skin care brand that mainly utilizes squalane oil (a natural 30-carbon organic compound) for skin, body, & hair products. I was sent their 100% Squalane oil, a fragrance-free product that claims to be multi-purpose, hydrating from head to toe, & locks in moisture. Biossance also says it’s a solution for dullness, dryness, & rough/uneven texture. As much as I love multi-use products, I was a bit hesitant on this one. Since I have sensitive skin, I’m always a bit scared to put multi-use products on my face (if they’re powerful enough for the rest of my body, I’m a bit frightened that they’ll react badly on my face). So, I decided to give the Squalane oil a go on my hair first. I’m a big fan of using oil on my hair (I’m super low-maintenaince with my hair: I let it air dry, & usually smooth some argan oil in it when it’s damp), so I decided to replace my usual argan oil with this one for a few days to see results.

The morning after applying the oil on my damp hair, I woke up, looked in the mirror, & saw bouncier, shinier, healthier-looking hair. I already have super-thick, pretty healthy, virgin hair (I’ve bleached in the past, but shaved it off…another story…) but this was on another level. I was truly blown away! I raved about it on Instagram, & tried it on my body. Again – amazing body moisturizer, especially right after showering. I have yet to use it on my face (since I already have so many good oils for my face, & I LOVE! this for my hair especially!) but I will give it a try soon. I haven’t been this blown away by a hair product in…probably forever, since I spend so little time on my hair. But for those who don’t like to do much with their hair: this is probably the thing for you! Your hair will look & feel better. I promise. Biossance, I love you with all my heart!

 

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I expected the oil to be green, kind of like the Sunday Riley U.F.O. Howvever, it’s just the packaging that’s green – the oil is 100% transparent (& 100% fragrance-free).

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A look at the oil on a tin: again, 100% transparent.

 

 

 

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How I achieve the sleek, center-part, Bella Hadid-esque bun: bobby pins, bobby pins, a scrunchie in the back, & Biossance oil on the top for some shine. It holds things in place, like a hair spray – but doesn’t smell bad or feel gross on your hair.

 

So…those are the products I’ve tried the past few weeks without the highest of expectations…& ended up being absolutely, 100% wrong. OSEA, Too Cool For School, Caudalíe, Fresh, Biossance…I love you! Thank you for switching up my skin & hair routine(s) in the best way possible.

Love,

Sof ❤