Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Best Lip Balm .EVER.

If there is one product I hate searching for, it's lip products. Lip balm, lip stain, lip crayon, lipstick, lip gloss, lip shimmer, blah blah blah. There are so many beautiful colors in adorable packaging and far too many choices.

However, that's not the main reason I don't like looking for lips products. You probably know by now that my skin is very sensitive. My lips are no exception. Just about every lip product I've ever tried gives me those annoying blemishes on the edge of the lip line that stay for weeks. When I get one of those suckers, no amount of spot treatment will help. I just have to wait it out.

Then, I found Elemental Herbs All Good Lips. It was completely random. I was in a tiny market with my mom and there was a small basket full of these lip balms. I needed a new one and liked that this was natural and organic, so I decided to chance it.

And boy, am I glad I did. Not one single breakout from this stuff. I'm in love. It moisturizes deeply, lasts a long time, and though it does have peppermint in it, it's not overwhelming (I'm not a fan of the tingle that menthol lip products give). 

Elemental Herbs also has several tinted lip balms. I've seen swatches and they actually contain a lot of color, so I'm going to try those next because I have zero lipsticks I can use at the moment that won't break me out. 

If you're looking for a new lip balm, definitely try this one! 

Update: Skincare Regimen

I haven't written anything on here for months! Absolutely crazy.

Last time I gave a skin update, the oil cleansing method had wreaked havoc on my face. Well, that only got worse. From April-June I had the worst breakout of my entire life; I couldn't even sleep very well because if I turned in my sleep and my chin touched the pillow, I would wake up from the pain of the cystic acne. It was that. bad. During that time I tried multiple (probably too many) things, including the Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial cleanser (which I don't recommend). Finally, after adding some new vitamins, using a serum by Burt's Bees, and switching from liquid foundation to powder, things starting clearing a bit. I'm still struggling with some breakouts on my chin/neck occasionally, but for the most part I can keep it under control.

So anyways. The summer madness left me with horrible hyper pigmentation (thankfully, I don't think I earned any really bad scarring). So my next step is to find a product that will help to heal and lighten that. However, for now, this is what my current skin care routine looks like:

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash

This was in a local natural store and I just had to pick it up. It claims to remove makeup, cleanse, and tone, contains coconut water sea algae complex, antioxidants, and is sulfate and paraben free. 
Thankfully, since I stopped the coconut oil, this stuff does remove foundation quite well. I use it on my eyes sometimes, and while it doesn't cause irritation, it doesn't quite get rid of all my eye makeup.
My face feels CLEAN without being totally stripped after using this wash, which comes out as a clear gel and lathers as it's rubbed into the skin. I haven't noticed much of an improvement with my acne, but it hasn't made things worse, either. I've also only been using it for a couple weeks.
The cleanser says it is good for all skin types, but I would recommend it for oily and combination. As the colder weather comes here in New England, I know it's going to be too much for the winter months when my skin gets wicked dry. 

Burt's Bees Brightening Tonic

I've had this since August. I use it right after my cleanser as a toner to help with hyper pigmentation. This is another one of those "conflicting" products. When I first started using it, I broke out and so stopped for a few days until things cleared up. When I went back to it, it seemed to work fine, but then I had another episode of breaking out/waiting until it cleared up. I have a feeling there are exfoliating elements in this toner,  so what I do is put at bit on a cotton ball and then DAB it all over my face. That seemed to really help. Have I noticed it lightening my hyper pigmentation? No. So I'll probably use this up and then go to something else. 

Burt's Bees Brightening Dark Spot Corrector

This was the miracle product when I was going through my horrible breakout this summer. A week after using this, my acne had cleared up about 75%. That horrible, cystic acne that had been there for two months straight was healed within about two weeks. After using 1-2 pumps of this morning and night for about three months (I'm on my second bottle), my hyper pigmentation is definitely lighter but not drastically. So if you want a fast-acting spot lightener, this isn't it, but something in here is magical for acne. 

Elf Zit Zapper

Not the most…elegant name, but hey, at least it's to the point. I use this every day…sometimes several times a day. It has salicylic acid, tea tree oil, witch hazel, and camphor. It keeps things at bay fairly well. It's not an overnight wonder, but it might help a really deep spot from forming any further or swelling to be gone within a day or two. My only major complaint is the design. Hardly any product comes out, so I have to roll this stuff over and over again, which doesn't help irritation.

Raw Skin Ceuticals Spot Treatment

This stuff is actually amazing. I don't use it very often because a) it's expensive, and b) if I use it too often I'll have a breakout I can't deal with. Let me explain that last point: this stuff brings everything to the surface. Everything. Within ONE day. If I apply this stuff in the morning to a really deep, painful spot, by the afternoon/evening that spot, which normally would take several days to come to the surface, will be a whitehead. I know, gross, right? But if you want something that will help get rid of a spot quickly or before a big event, this is worth investing in. 

Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream

I use this as my daily moisturizer. Honestly, I'm not too thrilled. I'm going to use it up, but I have to apply quite a bit for it to be moisturizing and it often leaves a heated, almost burning sensation on my face for a few minutes (I haven't decided if that's irritation or just normal blood circulation after applying it). I think it would be a great moisturizer for oily/combination skin types. I also LOVE the pump design. Very hygienic :) 

There you have it! I am going to be adding some different products soon/when I run out of certain things, but for now this is keeping everything manageable. After this summer, that's all I care about!

Have you used any of these products? Let me know what you think in the comments! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Product Review: Wet n Wild MegaImpact Mascara

I've been looking around for a good, paraben-free mascara for several months now. I've tried Physician's Formula, which smudged, felt heavy, and irritated my eyes, and Maybelline Falsies (which I will review soon). Neither worked for me. I finally picked up Wet n Wild MegaImpact Mascara, one because it was cheap, and two because I love the Wet n Wild makeup line so figured why not. 
This mascara claims to add both volume and length, both of which are needed desperately for my lashes. So does it?

I have to admit, I was surprised that it did. I would describe this mascara as one that enhances your natural lashes. I noticed a definite improvement in both the look of length and volume after applying this mascara, however, it wasn't a drastic change. My lashes look very natural, and I have to say I really love it. It doesn't flake, I don't feel like I'm wearing anything, it doesn't seem to irritate my eyes, and it comes off easily with a makeup removing towelette! Win, win, win, and win! 

Plus…the packaging is easy to hold and apply, and it's super cute ;)

Oil Cleansing: This Is the End

I'm back on the hunt for another facial cleanser. After using a solution of grapeseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, and tea tree oil for over a month, I've decided that such highly concentrated oils are just too much for my skin to handle. Overall, I feel like the oil cleansing made my skin worse. Obviously this method of cleansing works wonders for quite a few people, but for me it just didn't work. 

PROS of Oil Cleansing:

---  Feels AMAZING. It's like having a mini facial every night. 

--- I'll admit I had days my acne was better than ever, but that was also around the time I was drinking my skin detox tea as well. The only high point is that my dry skin is so much better, and I can often forego moisturizer at night. 

--- A little goes a long way.

--- Non-irritating

--- Don't need a makeup remover, however, I found I'd have to cleanse my face twice to remove all of the makeup.

CONS of Oil Cleansing:

--- I hardly ever felt like I got all of the oils off my face and often found myself reaching for a cleansing towelette to get the excess off. 

--- A bit messy

--- Made my skin worse (those bumps all over my once-clear forehead I talked about last time? They are still there. I started getting acne - painful acne - in places that had been clear for a long time, and I now have more blackheads, something I rarely use to get.) 

Again, this is what didn't work for me, but it may work for you. Other people swear by the oil cleansing method. Don't be afraid to try something new if your current skin care regimen isn't working, but do try to stick to one thing at a time and not flip flop between lots of different products (including makeup products, ect.), or you'll confuse your skin (unless you severely react to a product, that is). 

What's next? Probably either Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Facial Cleanser or Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Facial Cleanser. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Oil Cleansing: Rant

So it's only been three days since I gave my 3 week update on oil cleansing, but I just have to rant a little because I'm feeling rather frustrated, and I guess y'all should know the bad and ugly as well.

Three days ago my skin was looking great and starting to clear of blemishes. I thought I was reaching the turning point. The next day…I woke up to a horrendous breakout. Now, to be fair, this could be tied to hormonal acne, I'll admit it. However, I suddenly broke out with FIVE cystic acne spots, from my cheekbones to my chin. Throughout today, I've broken out in about three tiny whiteheads — most of them were a pretty quick fix with some treatment, but one doesn't seem to want to be going away. 

My face kills. It's inflamed. It's bumpy. I started thinking and paying attention to how my skin looked before I started this treatment compared to now, and really, my skin is so much worse. I really don't think the oils are for me. I think they are just too heavy and not suited for my sensitive skin. I just feel like if I was going to see much improvement, I would've seen it by now. 

I'm sticking with it for the full four weeks, so I will give another update at the end of the week. But I have a feeling it's going to be on to the next thing…. 

BAH! :P So there you go. A bad skin day. Sometimes you've just gotta let off some steam… 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Product Review: Pond's Evening Soothe Towelettes

I've been on the hunt for the perfect drugstore makeup removing towelette. I still love Olay Fresh Effects S'wipe Out, however the package contains only 20 (though is usually priced a little cheaper than other towelettes) and I've been wanting to find one with at last 30 to last me a whole month.

I picked up Pond's Evening Soothe Wet Cleansing Towelettes after reading numerous good reviews online (and my mom tried and likes them as well). 

The wipes are soft and ridged, good for cleansing, however…they are a bit soapy. I have this thing about soapy cleansing wipes — I don't. like. them. :P Don't ask me why, but it's just a personal thing, and I don't like the feel of them.

As far as removing makeup - so so. I use one whole side to remove foundation, the other side to remove eye makeup, and if there is any clean section left I'll run it over my face again. More often than not, there's at least a little bit of residue left. I can also never fully remove my eyeliner and mascara is pretty stubborn. 

The smell of these is a bit odd, but I do agree that they are soothing. Now that I'm oil cleansing, I'll only occasionally use them at night to remove eye makeup, but I usually use them in the morning. But they do give you a "deep breath" moment.

For sensitive skin - maybe not. I have sensitive skin and I find my skin is a little red for a while after using them. However, these do not dry my skin out.

Overall: Good for a quick cleanse in the morning, not amazing at removing heavy makeup, maybe not suitable for very sensitive skin.

Would I recommend to a friend? : Not based on personal experience, but I would mention them as others seem to love these.

Oil Cleansing: Week 3

Earlier today I posted a very late "first impression" of oil cleansing. Today is exactly three weeks since I started this routine, so I'll go into some detail of how I cleanse with oil and what I think of it so far. 

I've now created a blend of grapeseed oil (3/4) , pumpkin seed oil (1/4), and tea tree oil (I believe I put in two or three drops. I didn't make a very big solution since I'm just testing it out). I also bought two 100% polyester towels from Walmart; they're very soft and non-irritating to the skin, unlike most regular wash cloths. (I use one towel per wash, so I don't use them every time.)

I pore a liberal amount of the solution in my hands and rub it all over my face (I don't have to mix it with water in my palms or on my face first). After gently rubbing it all over in a massage-fashion for at least a minute, I'll rinse my towel in medium-warm water and lay it over my face to help open my pores. (**I first started rinsing the towel in water as hot as I could manage, but my skin reacts much better to slightly-warmer-than lukewarm water.) After that, I'll wipe off the oils. This first step is to remove my makeup. As my last step, I'll rub another small amount of the solution onto my face and flip the towel over, use the same temperature of water, and do my best to completely wipe all of the oils off. This second step may not be necessary, but I have a thing about removing my makeup before cleansing. It just doesn't make sense to me to say I can thoroughly cleanse my face while makeup residue is still present on my skin. Finally, I'll use my hands and rinse the skin a few times until my skin feels smooth instead of just oily (it's a subtle difference, but it's there). You really want to make sure the excess oil is completely rinsed off. 

First off, the process feels AMAZING. It's like having a mini facial each night, and it's so simple. I love not having to use 4 different products each night. The only extra step I include occasionally is, if I'm having a bad breakout, I'll take a q-tip and put a drop of tea tree oil on it and dab that on the trouble spots. 

Unless I use the tea tree spot treatment, I usually don't have to moisturize my skin at night. I still could without it feeling oily, but the oils are doing a pretty good job helping my dry skin.

I'm only oil cleansing at night. I've done it occasionally in the morning, but usually I don't have enough time before work to go through this process. I use a facial towelette instead (right now I'm using Pond's Evening Soothe Towelettes, but I'm not a huge fan). 

As far as ACNE goes: Your skin has to go through a detoxifying period when oil cleansing. At first I didn't break out - in fact, my skin looked great. However, within about the last week and a half, I started experiences major breakouts. I was in a lot of discomfort, but I stuck with it. Within the last few days the acne has calmed down a bit, and I would say the worst is on my forehead and jawline. With makeup and from a distance, my forehead doesn't look bad, but I have lots of tiny bumps (not exactly whiteheads) and blackheads. I'm trying to decide if it's just the icky stuff trying to release from pores or if I'm reacting to one of the oils. I'm going to give it another week and if it doesn't start to clear up, I'll eliminate one of the oils.
(I do want to quickly mention that yes, my skin has been clearing up in the past few days, but I also started drinking Yogi's Skin Detox tea and I think that has been contributing to it.)

I hope to post again next week at the one-month mark and let you know how it's going. 

Again, this is what I'm using for MY skin. I did a lot of research, as I mentioned in my "Day One" post. If you're wanting to try oil cleansing, make sure to research your skin and different oils.