Category: Skincare

New Holy Grail product alert: Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil

I don’t say things like this lightly. If something becomes a Holy Grail product for me, it’s because it’s been tried and true and complete surpassed any expectations I may have had. And I have to try something out for a while, at least 2 weeks, before I can render any verdict on a product.

No one was more surprised than I was. My skin was a mess after my Liz Earle experience, and I needed something to help with the breakouts. Did I ever in my life think that for my oily, acne-prone that thing would be…an oil?!

In a word, no.

1258669_fpx And then you walked into my life.
(Please forgive the non-original photography. My work schedule is kicking my ass.)

I don’t even remember how I came across the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil as an option for treating a breakout, but I’m so glad I did.

Naturally, I was skeptical, so a sample was procured from Sephora. (Not easily, either! Despite it being listed as being in stock in many stores, I had to go to three on the list before I found it!) I took it home and used it at night.

And woke up and saw a NOTICEABLE improvement in my poor, broken out skin. FROM AN OIL. When everything else had failed to make a dent. So let’s just say, I went back out and quickly procured another sample from Sephora.

Clarins call this a purifying treatment oil, and they say it hydrates, tones and balances oily skin types. I don’t know how an oil can do that, but it’s true, it does. Its blend of Rosewood, Geranium and Lotus extracts are supposed to tighten pores and refine the skin texture, while Hazelnut Oil softens, soothes and seals in moisture to minimize the appearance of fine lines. (Or so they say. We’ll see if I keep looking this young. 😉 )

It does have a strong smell, that I’ve read some people don’t like, but I quite do like the scent.

I’ve been using it since then and my skin has continued to improve. I even dab a tiny bit on just my pimples in the morning to keep up the healing (but I’d be afraid to have the oil all over my face…although, it might be okay. One of you try it, first. 😉 ).

And, as the biggest mark of my esteem, I have actually invested in purchasing it. (Yes! I bought something! But I had a discount voucher. So there.)

So Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil officially has the SheDreamsInPerfectFrench stamp of approval! And if you’re having skin problems, I highly recommend it.

Have you tried this? What did you think?

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Review: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish – Unluckiest of the lucky ones

I know that it’s been a while since I received the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit that I won through Birchbloggers. You may or may not have been wondering about my review. Well, it’s finally ready.

Excited? 😉

Before I go any further, I do need to say that I feel truly thankful (heh, get it?) for having won this to try. It’s very hard writing a blog when you can’t afford new products to review. That’s probably why I took it as far as I did to really be able to give you a fair assessment.

The Liz Earle cleansing system works in two parts. The first step is the cream cleanser. Free from mineral oil, it contains naturally active ingredients, including eucalyptus and cocoa butter. It’s supposed to be a gentle cleanser, suited to all skin types, that still removes even the most stubborn of makeup. The second step is polishing with the muslin cloth. A gentle way to exfoliate your skin, it makes for a really lovely regimen.

Everything I’ve been reading about skin care lately has said to use cream-based cleansers, even if you have oily skin. Any cleanser that foams is supposed to be the devil. So this system definitely fits the bill.

Reviewing a cult product like this, one that has won over 90 beauty awards, one that so many people consider a holy grail product, you feel a certain burden of responsibility.

DSC_1289It’s just such a lovely system. Look at it.

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November 2013 Birchbox Unboxing

It’s right around mid month, so that means another Birchbox! And that means another Birchbox unboxing video!

(In case you’re not familiar with it, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service where, for just $10 a month, you receive a box full of deluxe-sized and travel-sized samples. You receive Birchbox points for every purchase you make and every review your write, which can be redeemed in their store. It’s pretty much a cycle of awesome! Get your own here.)

Despite the fact that I learned a few things about editing video, as I showed off in my How To Style Curly Hair video, I somehow managed to cut off the top of my head this time. Well done, me. Someone’s already given it a thumbs down, and I can’t really blame them. :p

Last month, I was kind of disappointed, so this month I decided NO SPOILERS, I didn’t watch the sneak peek video or looked at the links on Facebook, so that I couldn’t possibly disappointed since I wouldn’t know what I didn’t get. I did actually watch the video after I opened my box, just because I’m a masochist. :p I did get all the things in the video that I would have wanted; I’m just not so enthused overall this month. (But maybe it’s not just the box…)

Anyway, on to the mediocrity! (My video-making skills, I mean.)

http://youtu.be/DfGk516mv7o

As always, If you have any questions about any of the products mentioned or anything else, please let me know. I’ve listed links to the products on Birchbox in the video information, so you should watch it on YouTube to access that. If you have any suggestions for future videos, let me know!

What did you get in your box?

Turning Japanese

Look, I’m a New Yorker. It takes a lot to get me to go to New Jersey. But Rose, being from New Jersey, found a way to tempt me. (Besides for fair play, since she comes into New York all the time. But, I mean, come on.)

I had heard about the Japanese supermarket Mitsuwa several times before, but Rose was always telling me about the amazing cosmetics and skincare items they have there (including overpriced Bioderma), and so we planned an outing whereby I get myself to Hoboken.

Naturally, hilarity ensued, when I got there and texted her that I was there. And then waited for 15 minutes. Then got a text from her telling me she was just walking around Sinatra Park. My actual response to her was, “You speak like I know what or where that is.” She told me to walk towards the water. I said, again, I had no idea where that was. She told me to walk to this clock tower I saw. Except, the PATH Station was in my way. I didn’t know how to get around it.

Yes, she had to come get me.

But it was worth it, because the view was gorgeous. (I maintain, the best part of New Jersey is the view of New York. 😉 )

DSC_1252Kiss my ass, Banksy. I like it!

DSC_1254Even though the skyline will never look the same to me.

DSC_1255

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It’s here! It’s here!

You may remember that I was supremely disappointed not to have gotten the Liz Earle sample in my October Birchbox. (In case you’re not familiar with it, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service where, for just $10 a month, you receive a box full of deluxe-sized and travel-sized samples. You receive Birchbox points for every purchase you make and every review your write, which can be redeemed in their store. Get your own here.)

My friend Rose  went on and on about her delight that these products were now available in the US, and she did get the sample. So did another friend of mine. And Lisa Eldridge recommends the products.

AND I HAVE NO MONEY AND CAN’T BUY IT AND DIDN’T GET IT IN MY BIRCHBOX.

So, basically, my life sucked. Right? Wrong!!

I had joined Birchbloggers, who, right after this all happened, had a giveaway of the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser Starter Kit. And the planets must have aligned (or they were doing damage control because I expressed my disappointment), because I was chosen as a winner! Serendipity!

And it took 3/4 of a month to get to me, but IT’S FINALLY HERE!!

DSC_1250How darling is the packaging??

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The skin I’m in—My basic skincare regimen dissected

Someone asked me to do a post (someone asked me to do a post!!) on my basic daily beauty routine, so I thought I would start with my skincare.

My oily skin has been the bane of my existence since I was a teenager. My favorite joke about my skin is that there is enough oil on my face when I wake up in the morning to solve the energy crisis. (There really is.) When women talk about wanting a foundation that makes them look “dewy,” I know that with me, all I have to do is put on foundation and wait an hour and POOF! Dewy.

Much like my perfume-buying habits, I’ve been through practically every oily skin line of skincare trying to find the holy grail of mattifying moisturizer (or cleanser or toner). My conclusion: There is no such thing. The companies will claim to eliminate all your shine, but if you’re as oily as I am, you’re always going to be a little bit shiny. The thing that you can work on, though, is how shiny you’re going to be.

I feel like I need to state that one of the problems with taking care of oily skin is that in an attempt to eliminate oil, we sometimes strip away too much oil. Doing what? Causing your skin to produce more oil to compensate. So don’t forget: some oil good, too much oil bad. I use moisturizer even at night, even though it seems counter intuitive.

I had a fantastic run from March to April this year, where by the end of the work day, I just had a slight sheen, and just needed to dab a bit before going out. I had started a new skincare regimen and also discovered a new line of foundation (that I’ll talk about in the follow up to this post).  What was the magic combination, you’re wondering?

DSC_0999Clockwise from left: Lush Ultrabland, Tea Tree Water, Grease Lightning, Enzymion, Fresh Farmacy Soap

I have friends in Scotland who are big believers in Lush, so I decided to go in and buy a skincare system and see how it worked. The routine was, take my eye makeup off, then use Ultrabland to take the makeup off the rest of my face. This step was something new to me. I had never taken my makeup off my face before cleansing, or, double cleansing. It feels completely counter intuitive to put Ultrabland on oily skin, because it feels oily (and is in fact made with essential oils), but seeing how much dirt came off my face when I used the Tea Tree Water on a cotton pad to take it off, I was amazed. I also did not break out more because of it, and rationalized that it was probably good to be putting some oil back into my face (see factoid above). The Tea Tree Water smells fresh, feels refreshing, and is really a great product. The person who helped me told me she even sprays it on her face during the day to help mattify and refresh her skin (I haven’t tried that for fear of my mascara running, heh).

Next step was to wash my face with the Fresh Farmacy Soap. She chose this cleanser because I do have some pimples, but don’t need an exfoliating cleanser since I use a Clarisonic Mia brush. Fresh Farmacy is made with calamine, so it’s the same color as the old mosquito bite remedy. You can smell it, too. It kind of feels medicinal, but in a good way.  At night I (still) use a prescription retinol on my face, generic Retin-A. During the day, I uses Grease Lightning for oil and pimples. Then I used Avibon (which is a French skincare secret: pure vitamin A retinol, used by French women to keep wrinkles at bay) under my eyes and whatever eye cream in the morning I was using at the time (probably some sample I got), and then moisturized with Enzymion. I’ve heard that they do demos of this moisturizer on people’s hands, showing how it sucks up oil. I’m sure it does, and like I said, it worked really well for a spell. It smells citrusy and fresh, which is especially nice in the morning.

In April, I went to Spain for a week and a half, and I don’t know if it was the traveling, the change in regimen while I was away, or the changing of the season, but when I got back, my skin did not respond to this routine as well. Quel disappointment! So what’s a beauty product addict to do? Go find some more, of course!

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