Tag: Klorane

January 2014 Birchbox Unboxing

Affilier Acheté

New month, new January 2014 Birchbox. I finally got mine, days later than some. My post office is literally the worst.

(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.)

So, I followed through on my threat to stop making videos. (Actually, if I’m honest, that was decided by my oversleeping by an hour yesterday morning.) I’m sure you’re devastated not to watch my hack productions. (This will give me more time to hone my craft for next month?)

If you’ve read my previous unboxing posts and/or watched my videos, you know that I’ve been finding Birchbox disappointing for a while. Every month I’m THISCLOSE to canceling, and just never pull the trigger. I am not an optimist, but I guess I just WANT it to get better since I love getting my Birchbox (in theory).

Well, this month’s has not gone far to staying my hands. Especially considering one of the main things was tea. (Fine, it was a “lifestyle extra,” but still!) I got a couple of things that were, hmm, okay, cool. But only one thing that I’m like, “Yayyyyyy!!” about. Maybe my expectations are too high?

Anyway, on to the rundown!

January 2014 Birchbox

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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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Allongé (West Village Adventure part II)

Continuing the tale of our day in the West Village (and the fitting ballet terms), we finally made it to Aedes de Venustas. But not before being accosted by the beauty sales equivalent of a used-car salesman. Okay, that’s being harsh, because this guy was actually quite good at what he did.

We were walking down Christopher Street, on our way, and we passed by this man generously handing out samples in front of his skin care store, Shalva. (That’s how he reels you in!!) He promised us a treat (I swear, it wasn’t candy), so we came inside and were treated to a demonstration of the products. Our hands were scrubbed with a Dead Sea salt scrub, and then slathered in a really luscious body cream he promised we’d only have to apply once a day. (I told him I use hand cream about 4 times a day.) There was some special deal going on, but since I’m broke, I had to pass. (Which may have been lucky, if you read the reviews. I think they’re a little harsh; my hands felt soft hours later, but I can understand. As I said, he was really good at his job: trying to sell this stuff.)

With our hands feeling soft as a baby’s bottom, we made our way to Aedes. Sadly, they don’t allow photographs in the store, but I highly recommend you visit to see for yourself. It is a boudoir of visual and olfactory delights. Literally. There is carpeting and drapery and vanities and cabinets. It is dimly lit. But populated with the most high-end and obscure perfume brands you could hope to find. It really is special. If you’re looking for a scent that you won’t smell on everyone else, you know where to go. And they even will give you a sample of any one fragrance you choose. (For more samples, see their web site.)

DSC_0933The fantastical Aedes window, the only thing you’re allowed to photograph.

Once we finally made it out of there (trust me, you’ll never want to leave, either), we were trying to find a specific pharmacy, but wound up getting a little lost, having not yet resorted to using Google maps.

DSC_0934With intersections like this, can you blame us for getting lost?! How does this even work?!

DSC_0935But we just considered it as taking the scenic route. 🙂

DSC_0936I was inordinately pleased with my inspired nail color combination choices.

DSC_0944A moment’s rest, an excuse for more posing.

Ironically, in order to get where we had to go, we had to get back onto Bleecker Street. This time around, we passed by Goorin Bros., and I was so enamored of a hat in the window, I stood outside for five good minutes knowing it would break my heart if I walked in, tried it on, and then walked away. But I went in anyway. And it was as gorgeous as I feared. It is now at the top of my wishlist. But more on that on Wednesday. 😉

DSC_0949I also tried on this beauty. Believe it or not, I would actually totally wear this. (Sadly, I can’t find it on their site.)

I tore myself away, nearly in tears. But I consoled myself at Bisous Ciao with a couple of macarons. Feed the sadness, right?! And at least those I could afford.

DSC_0951Honey Lavender and Rose. Macarons make EVERYTHING better.

After all that meandering and getting lost, we finally made it to Avignone pharmacy (yup, still hate the misspelling), only to find out they didn’t carry what I was looking for, either. In the absence of this mythical Bioderma Sensibio H2O, I settled for Klorane eye makeup remover. (Of course it had to be French.)

Walking around all day in 80+ degree (Fahrenheit) weather, we definitely worked up a thirst, and so a nice cold beer was definitely in order. We stopped off at one of the best beer bars in New York, Blind Tiger, and indulged. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

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Outfit details here.
Nail polish: Peace, Love & OPI – OPI, Stance – Illamasqua
Ring: Shirley Dom