- TheFabZilla: Another BB on the block! TheFabZilla reviews Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB Hydra+
- Lola's Secret Beauty Blog: Want to travel out of this world without leaving the planet? Then the gorgeous and pigmented purminerals Jupiter Palette is just what you need!
- Beauty by Miss L: Makeup products that suit every skin type and tone and for women of all ages? Check out Fusion of Color products.
- The Passenger Element: Natural looking blush with Revlon Naughty Nude blush! (swatch)
- beautyXposé: Control your hair with the Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Touch Control Digital Hair Dryer.
- New World Beautiful: An cleanser from a tiny British isle gives me a headache but feels so good
- My Stunning Nails: I'm back to blogging and I thought I'd start my first roundup with my favorite...pink nails!
Off the southern coast of England sits the beautiful Isle of Wight, home to a modest population, red squirrels, a surprising number of dinosaur fossils, and, last but not least, a naturally active skincare company called Liz Earle. One of Liz Earle’s flagship products is the Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and a few months ago, my lovely friend Kim was kind enough to gift me her sample from her Birchbox subscription.
I tried out the cleanser back when my skin was recovering from hormonal acne and I loved it. The concept behind the product felt novel. You massage the soap, which feels and looks like thick lotion, into dry skin, and then wipe if off with a piece of muslin cloth that is included in the package. You’re instructed to run the finely-threaded cloth square under “hand-hot” water, wring it out, and then remove the cleanser (and all your makeup) with it. It basically gives your face a little steam and some gentle exfoliation. I felt refreshingly clean every time I used it.
This product line was created to work on all skin types. In addition, the company website has a fantastic reference guide for cosmetic ingredients. Liz Earle basically does everything right, and twenty minutes ago, I would have confidently recommend the hot cloth system for anyone who was looking for a little exfoliation.
Unfortunately, the wonderful experience I had with Liz is tarnished by negative reviews I found online. In particular, the consistently poor reviews of the entire Liz Earle skincare line on Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Cops board.
Now, this is the first time that I am consulting paulaschoice.com for product and brand reviews, so keep in mind that in the future, results may vary. But Paula Begoun brands herself as the Cosmetics Cop and she has a team of researchers behind her. And don’t forget that Paula’s Choice products have worked wonders for me in the past. The hot cloth cleanser review argues that the formula is too oily for anyone other than those with dry skin. Paula’s Choice also notes that the accompanying muslin cloth is unnecessary because one could just use any old washcloth and get the same results. Plus the $25 price tag for a 3.3oz bottle is pretty pricey. Lastly, the recommendation to wash your face with hot water is all wrong- hot water will dry out your skin and maybe even burst your capillaries.
I agree that the cleanser is very hydrating and people with oily skin might do well to stay away. When I used it, my skin was recovering from a drought brought on by topical acne medication and I welcomed the hydration. And while I would love to replace my sample size with a full bottle from the Isle of Wight, instead of spending the money, I am happy using another, less expensive cleanser.
That being said, I feel like Liz Earle’s poor review on Paula’s Choice kind of missed the point. For me, using the hot cloth cleanser was an experience. It doesn’t matter that the muslin cloth is redundant, or that hot water is actually bad for your skin, because it just feels so good and sometimes that’s all that matters. Every time I used Liz Earle’s cleanser I felt pampered, clean, and more relaxed, and to me, that is worth a positive review.
But now that Ms. Begoun, amongst many other skin care professionals, has extensively warned me about using hot water, I can no longer ignore it. I am slowly learning to enjoy the pleasure of rinsing my hair with cold water and washing my face with room temperature H20. But when it comes to giving myself a luxurious, spa-like experience, you won’t be able to separate me from my muslin cloth and hand-hot water.
I am in the middle of my first week at a new job and between the pencil skirts and the early morning meetings, I sadly haven’t found the time to write a new post. I hope to get back into my routine next week, but in the meantime I want to share a bit of real life vintage beauty with you.
I found this picture of my grandmother earlier this summer. Her name was Anita and this was most likely taken in Bocolod City, Negros in the Philippines in the 1940’s. My jaw dropped when I first saw it because I never thought of my grandmother as a young woman. In this picture, not a thing is out of place. Her hair is perfectly curled and her makeup is simple with solid brows and stained lips. Looking at it, I can picture her practicing this pose in the mirror in the days leading up to the shoot. She must have been so excited when she saw how beautiful this picture turned out.
Have you found any good negatives of your older relatives? I would love to see any vintage photos you've dug up! Share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and see you next week!
I’m continuing the theme from last week’s post on my second look at black soap to revisit another product that I wasn’t too sure about when I first reviewed it on here. Last November, I told you that I would keep testing Quimica Alemana’s Esmalte Endurecedor para Unas, the fabled top coat from Colombia, and 9 months later, I’m keeping my word and keeping you updated.
QA (what I will be calling the top coat from now on) is supposed to be the most powerful nail strengthener on earth. Last year when I compared QA’s lasting power to Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails top coat, QA won by a landslide. The clear top coat stayed on my otherwise beat-up nails weeks longer than Sally Hansen.
Now that it’s summer again, my toenails are not allowed the leave the house unpainted, and my seasonal hobby has only increased my love for the Colombian nail polish. It not only strengthens my nails over time, QA also makes my nails look instantly better. It primes my nail polish by creating a smooth, even surface that any pigmented polish will stick to. And if you apply QA over the nail polish, it will make your pedicure last for twice as long.
Usually, no nail polish on earth can withstand a week on Cape Cod, where I grew up. Between barefoot beach walks, swimming in ponds, pools, and the ocean, I can’t count on any pedicure to last more than a few days. But once you apply QA as the top coat, all of a sudden the game changes. I was shocked to notice my toenails looking perfectly polished with nary a small chip in the paint to give away my weekend on the Cape.
You can get Quimica Alemana’s Esmalte Endurecedor para Unas on Amazon. Even as someone who doesn’t pay much attention to their nails, I am so happy that QA is a part of my beauty routine.
Black soap was one of the many miracle products I put great faith in during my war on adult acne, and even though none of the products I used fulfilled the promised miracle, black soap was the only one that actually caused me pain.
In my zealotry, I neglected to read the directions or even the label on my Dudu Osun black soap. Instead I vigorously rubbed it into my skin with a hot wash cloth and consequently gave myself an unwanted skin peel. Needless to say, it was a long time before I was brave enough to try it again, but when I actually learned how to use it, I finally got the results I’d been promised.
Black soap can have many variations and most commonly originate from Ghana, but the main ingredients are always the same: roasted plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm oil, and coconut oil. Dudu Osun is made in Nigeria and adds honey, camwood (osun), shea butter, ash from burnt cocoa pods and palm bunches, lemon and lime juice, and aloe vera to its soap.
You’re probably wondering what’s so damned special about this finicky soap and why I would ever use it regularly after my first encounter with it. Well, for one, it is an acne killer. Now, if you have hormonal acne like I did, no amount of scrubbing will help stop breakouts, but black soap will easily dry out any active pimples (I mean, roses) on your face or body, prevent bacterial growth and curb excess oil production. Since it is so powerful, it cuts right through makeup and dirt on your face and you will feel as clean as a virgin at Sunday service.
To prevent extreme dryness and unwanted skin peels, never rub black soap directly onto your face. This soap is nothing like the bars of soap you find in the grocery stores. It’s not a smooth, solid mass, but it’s flaky and pliable. It will dissolve very quickly in water and only needs a little bit to get a healthy lather. It also should not be used every day. When you first try it, use it only once a week until your skin gets used to it. Only then can you start using it once every few days. Personally, I only use it once a week and it is enough. Work the soap into a lather in your hands and gently massage it into your face. The skin on the rest of your body is a bit tougher and can handle direct skin-to-soap bar contact.
Every variation of black soap will cause your skin to tingle at the very least, and I think that’s due to the caffeine in the cocoa pods. Most people experience extreme dryness, and if you’re like me, it can basically burn your skin. Even though black soap is beneficial to all skin colors and types, if you have very dry skin, it’s best to find a formula that contains shea or cocoa butter, and always moisturize afterwards.
I guess it’s in my nature to be forgiving, because even after black soap completely destroyed my dermis the first time I used it, I’ve since become a Dudu Osun evangelist. It will work its magic for everyone, all it asks is that you respect it. It reminds me of Jareth in the Labyrinth- "Fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave." Ahhh, Bowie.
Guess what I found?
A little while ago I made a beauty wishlist of products from different countries-- things that I personally had trouble getting ahold of. But I recently learned that one should never underestimate the randomness of Asian supermarkets, because hidden between aisles of bok choy and tortoise jelly, I found one of my coveted cosmetics: Emu oil lotion from Australia!
I was really confused about this box until I went home and looked it up (see above link). It's actually a a dessert and turtle shell powder is supposed to help your complexion when ingested. I'm guessing you would have to eat a lot of this stuff to notice any difference in your skin, so if you're waiting for me to review this at any point in the future, don't hold your breath.
For $4 I purchased this large pumpbottle of emu oil lotion made by Australian cosmetic company M&G. Emu oil is an anti-inflammatory and has been used traditionally as an aboriginal medical treatment for anything from coughs and fevers to burns and and cuts. Cosmetically, it’s been used to treat stretch marks, scar tissue and supposedly works wonders as a hair treatment.
For the past two weeks I’ve replaced my handy bottle of Lubriderm for the emu oil lotion, and I am very happy with the results. The formula is thick and velvety, but it absorbs into the skin surprisingly fast with minimal massaging. It doesn’t leave any sticky or oily residue and there’s just a hint of baby powder smell, which I happen to really like.
I’d love to get my hands on pure emu oil to test out its many uses, but for now I’m quite happy with my lotion and I predict I’ll be reaching for this stuff more than my usual stand-bys.
And if you've never been to an Asian supermarket before, I highly recommend you seek one out. The food is fantastic and you never know what crazy products you can find.