Review: Akar Skin Balance Toning Mist

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What It Is: Toner

What It Does: Helps tone and balance skin.

Active Ingredients: Rose, Neroli, Saffron, and White Willow Bark

Verdict: If you’re one of those people who has always avoided toners because you’re afraid of alcohol stripping you away of essential skin oils, then throw away all your fears with this toner! This toner isn’t alcohol-based, but rather it uses soothing floral waters to hydrate AND keeps oily skin under control. I’m a bit picky when it comes to toners, they need to feel as though they’re getting rid of any dirt or grime there might be, but at the same time, I don’t wish my skin to feel like it’s dangerous to be near a match cause of the high alcohol content. I recommend this toner if you’ve got normal to combination skin. The only downside to this toner? Its hefty price. If you can splurge, the toner is worth it. If you can’t, then Pixi has more economical options.

Price: $55

Where To Buy It: www.akarskin.com

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Review: Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack

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What It Is: A deeply cleansing and detoxifying mask to help manage excess oil.

What It Does: Detoxifies oily skin.

Why It’s Special:

-Creamy, White Kaolin Clay gently cleanses, while vitamin-rich leafy greens and superfruit antioxidants nourish the skin.

-Minimizes the appearance of pores, so skin looks balanced with a velvety, clean matte finish.

-Draws out excess oil and impurities, particularly good for oily or combination skin types.

Good To Know: Allergy tested, dermatologist tested, appropriate for all skin types, appropriate for sensitive skin, fragrance-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.

Verdict: Glossier are best known for their skincare products, since their company motto is: Skin first, makeup second, and because of that I may have expected much more by their face mask. I don’t think the face mask is bad per se, but since it’s supposed to be clarifying, I was hoping that the clay at some point would’ve hardened more than it did and extracted some gunk as past clarifying masks have done (notably the Tony Moly one). I suppose since I have highly oily skin, I wanted a face mask that could temporarily dry out the oil. However, this face mask seems to be designed to clarify and moisturize. What that means is that when the clay dries down, it never makes your skin feel tight and when you wash it off, your skin feels silky smooth. So for that respect, the face mask works well, especially if you have sensitive skin. However, since my skin is very oily I was hoping for something that would leave my skin feeling a little dried out and clean. I recommend this if you have sensitive skin but need a clarifying mask. If like me, you’re on the oilier side, I’d recommend you invest in a charcoal face mask instead, as that will do the trick.

Price: $22

Where To Buy It: www.glossier.com

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Review: Dr. Botanicals Lemon Superfood All-In-One Rescue Butter

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What It Is: Balm cream

What It Does: Hydrates

Active Ingredients: Vitamin A, Coconut Oil, Lemongrass Oil, and antioxidants

Verdict: Since we’re living during a pandemic, I’ve had to up the number of times I wash my hands (let’s just say that I now understand why OCD people feel so anxious). But all this handwashing has caused me to get hand eczema (a very unsightly and painful issue). This butter is meant to be used all over the body, and under normal conditions, I probably would’ve considered using it as a face moisturizer. But these are unprecedented times, so I decided to use this all-in-one rescue butter for my hands (because of its Vitamin A qualities). Let’s just say that this butter has been a lifesaver. In a matter of TWO DAYS, my hand eczema disappeared and I was left with beautiful pre-pandemic hands. This butter is so rich that a dime-size is all you really need for hours of hydration (or up until you have to wash your hands, yet again). Apart from this butter being a miracle-worker, it also serves as a mini-aromatherapy session as it has a light lemon scent that helps ease any feelings of anxiety you might be feeling (and honestly who isn’t anxious right about now?). I love this product SO MUCH that I’m willing to purchase it when I run out (I received this in an Allure Beauty Box). I completely recommend this butter for all of your skincare needs, you won’t be disappointed.

Price: $14.90

Where To Buy It: https://us.drbotanicals.com/

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Review: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Facial Moisturizer

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What It Is: Moisturizing Cream

What It Does: Hydrates and soothes dry skin

Active Ingredients: Jojoba and Avocado hydrate and condition, naturally soothing Aloe helps calm kin, and Grape Seed Oil and Vitamin E, natural Antioxidants, help neutralize free radicals

Verdict: I’ve used Kate Somerville’s skincare products before since Allure has sent me a few samples my way through the Beauty Box. The products I had been sent were indeed good, but nothing too life-changing for me to praise to the heavens for. Now, I recently subscribed to the Fab Fit Fun and I decided to select the Goat Milk Hydrating Cream as one of my selections for the Winter Box. I’ll admit it: I’ll automatically try anything that has Goat Milk. I just love the benefits that Goat Milk provides that I’m willing to give it a go with any product that contains this ingredient. Confession time: When I first got this product I wasn’t quite certain WHERE on the body I was supposed to use it since it simply said hydrating cream. So I’ve been using it on my hands and face, although a quick trip to Kate’s official site claims that it is a face cream. I guess you can use this cream anywhere you have dry skin. I love that it’s purely scentless because while I do like a good scent, some creams have odd scents that can be off-putting or ones that are incredibly overpowering. This cream seriously delivers. It doesn’t matter where on your body you are using it (my mum went so far to put this on her feet since she’s always had cracked heels) you’ll wake up the following morning with rejuvenated incredibly soft skin! The only downside of this cream? For me personally, it’s the hefty price tag. $65 for 1.7 oz. is a bit pricey if you’re going to use this beyond your face. But if you’re just using this as a hydrating cream for your face then it should last longer than if (like me or my mum) you’re using this on your hands or feet. It’s an excellent product and I totally recommend you check it out whatever skin concern you have because a good hydrating cream is hard to come by.

Price: $65

Where to Buy It: https://www.katesomerville.com/

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Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Moon Child Glow Kit

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What It Is: Powder Highlighter Palette

What It Does: Creates effortless glow

Verdict: Anastasia Beverly Hills’ name is synonymous with “Brow Wizard” being the one who introduced the two products that have made having “brows on fleek” so effortless. With her Dip Brow Pomade and Brow Gel, she revolutionized brows as we know it. However, she recently dipped her toes in the highlighting pond of miracles and has brought her sorcery even to the newest Moon Child Glow Kit. I knew Allure’s December Beauty Box was going to kick some major beauty ass once it was revealed that it would be centered around Anastasia Beverly Hills products.

I’ll admit that despite owning various highlighters and occasionally using them to some degree, I still feel like a highlighting newbie. This palette packs some serious GLOW that even a highlighting amateur as myself can create some blinding light cheeks.

The palette contains highlighting colours that will suit every skintone possible. Even ones that seem a bit daring (Green? Silver-grey? Violet?) can not only be used as highlighters but also moonlight as glowy eyeshadows.

The colours are highly pigmented and the shadows themselves feel phenomenal. There’s a luxurious feel that is similar to anyone who has tried highlighters from Becca Cosmetics.

This palette is perfect for those of us who wish to ring in the new year with some serious GLOW vibes.

Price: $40

Where To Buy It: anastasiabeverlyhills.com

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Review: Curology The Cleanser

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What It Is: A lightweight cleanser

What It Does: Cleanses skin without stripping it of its essential oils

Verdict: I’ve seen this brand being advertised both on Facebook and Instagram. They promise to take your skin concerns and tailor them into a skin routine that is made to target and solve your problems. I received this in a current Allure Beauty Box, and since they know what skin type I have (combination, oily) I figure that they probably sent me a cleanser that would target my skin issues.

As far as cleanser goes, I love that it doesn’t have any strange scents. It’s actually scentless, which I prefer. It also is a lightweight gel consistency, which is also one of my favourite textures for cleansers. I’m not a huge fan of the foam ones or ones that are too thick or runny.

I love that it gets rid of oiliness or residual makeup without drying out your skin. In fact, it leaves your skin feeling hydrated and soft. As a cleanser, I am happy with the way this one made my skin feel and may look into purchasing their custom skincare in the future.

Price: $19.95 and up for a set that includes the cleanser, a custom treatment cream, and moisturizer

Where To Buy It: curology.com/allure

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Review: Kneipp Mineral Bath Salt in Dream Away

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I always prefer a bath over a shower. However, being always on the run in the mornings I can’t really indulge in a luxurious bath. So, I often make it a staple for my Sunday nights. I love using bath salts cause they smell amazing, make my skin feel exfoliated and soft, and they just really relax me. When Allure’s Beauty Box for October included these bath salts from Kneipp, I was intrigued.

What It Is: Bath Salts

Active Ingredients: Valerian & Hops, Essential Oils

A little bit about the product: The high content of pure and natural thermal spring salt is obtained from pure natural brine in Europe’s only remaining open pan salt works, the Saline Luisenhall. The brine is free of chemical additives and environmental influences and contains natural trace elements.

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting the water to become an electric blue once I popped these salts in, however, the child in me kinda really loved that added perk. I liked to sit back and imagine that I was a mermaid chilling in some extra blue waters. The salts felt extra soothing, and the scent was also relaxing. Valerian root is known to aid with sleep, so I can see why this was used as a means to coax you into a night of better sleep. Luckily, I took a bath at night, so that I wasn’t expected to be uber perky after basking in this pond of chill for twenty minutes. I recommend these bath salts if you’re looking for a way to relax and also feel very glam about it too.

Price: $20

Where To Buy It: www.kneipp.com

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Review: Mario Badescu Dermonectin Eye Cream

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So I’ve been dealing with some serious itchiness on my eyelids since May. I thought that maybe it was an allergic reaction to something new so I stopped using any of the newer products, and still so no relief. I invested in Aquaphor and it soothed my problem for a few days, till it came back up. I’ve been Googling possible skin conditions, and finally, at the end of May, it became so unbearable that I made an appointment with my eye doc to find out what it is that’s been causing this itchiness.

Fast forward to July when I finally have my eye appointment only to find out that my doc can’t prescribe any eye creams, only eye drops. He didn’t think I needed eye drops. By then the rest of the month was consumed by ongoing dentist appointments for a root canal that I couldn’t fit in a derm appointment. SO….yet again I tried to self-medicate and just wanted a very nourishing eye cream that could help curb the itchiness as well as be non-allergic. So that’s how I ended up purchasing said eye cream.

Packaging: Simple and sleek

What It Is: Super hydrating Eye Cream for extremely dry skin

Active Ingredients: Vitamins A & E, with a special blend of vegetable, peanut, and coconut oils

Verdict: Emollient, soothing, and rich are three words to describe this cream. It feels very refreshing and moisturizing the moment you apply it, and for my recent condition, it even soothes the itching and doesn’t burn (which seems to be the norm with most creams right now). Did it stop the itchiness? Not entirely, but that’s not what this cream is designed for. Did it provide incredible moisture and calm the dryness? Yes, it sure did! I really recommend this eye cream if you’re looking for something that’s rich and intensely hydrating (it will quench any dry skin’s thirst for moisture). I’ll probably be repurchasing this eye cream again, whilst I still try to figure out exactly what it up with my odd skin condition (at least it’s not unsightly, just a tad bit bothersome).

Price: $18

Where To Buy It: Amazon

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Derma Roller System: One Step to Beautiful Skin

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Every since micro-needling has become a thing, I’ve been curious about this scary yet simple procedure. But I didn’t really take the plunge to try it out until I was contacted by Derma Roller System to try out their product. Not being a fan of needles, I decided to opt for the smallest needle model they had (0.5mm) and hoped for the best.

So what exactly does a Derma Roller System do?

Well, it’s supposed to help rejuvenate your skin, treat acne scars, ease hyperpigmentation, and get rid of the first signs of aging. It’s also touted to boost any product absorption by 90%. I was a sent the DermaC+ Anti-Aging Serum and PerfectDerm Collagen Face Mask to use with the Derma Roller System, and some advise to prep the skin with serum before, although the guide I was sent with the product suggested to prep the skin by cleaning it thoroughly, then to roll the Derma Roller gently over the area you wish to treat 4 times vertically, 4 times horizontally, 4 times diagonally to the left and 4 times diagonally to the right. This should help stimulate collagen and elastin formation in the skin. One note of caution, despite what some Beauty Gurus may suggest on other blogs or YouTube, you should AVOID using the Derma Roller on your eyelids or lips. After you’re done with rolling then you should apply a collagen cream, serum or mask. You may leave the product on, or keep it on your face for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

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I’ll be honest, I was kinda skeptical at first and a tiny bit afraid. The idea of rolling 200 tiny needles into my skin didn’t sound pleasant in the least, and also had me worrying about possible staph infections (which could happen if you don’t clean your roller after each use, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO CLEAN IT WITH RUBBING ALCOHOL OR HYDROGEN PEROXIDE). So, before I began, I decided to watch a few videos so that I wouldn’t end up like Pinhead from Hellraiser cause the only time that look would be cute is Halloween.

Putting aside all my worries, I decided that I was going to see what all the hype was about, and if this medieval torture device looking contraption actually delivered amazing skin.

Now, it takes 40 days for cell turnover to happen, so you need about that time to see some results. I decided to abide by that rule.

I don’t have any hyperpigmentation or acne scars, so I decided to focus on my forehead where I have a slight fine line. It’s advised to use the roller even up to five times a week if the needle size is 0.5mm (like the one I chose). I decided to first use it about two times a week before upping the dosage. The first two weeks I didn’t see much difference, but after the fourth week, I noticed that my skin looked glowing and just overall nicer in appearance.

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I can’t say how this will work on deeper wrinkles (since I currently don’t have them), but I can say that the Derma Roller System does help improve one’s skintone and that if you’re looking to try out a microneedle, then Derma Roller System would be a nice one to try.

What I liked about the product itself is that it is small, easy to use, and durable. Although it is noted that one needs to change the head after a number of uses.

Should you consider getting a Derma Roller System?

If you want to see some improvement in your skin, I would recommend using this to help you fix any of your skin concerns you might have.

Are the needles painful?

I can’t say about the other sizes, but the 0.5mm were unbearably painful at all. So, if what’s keeping you from trying it is the eventual pain, then go with small needle size and maybe once you get accustomed to it you can always size up later.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s some science to this whole micro-needling hype, and it does help the skin’s appearance in ways that I can’t even explain. If you want to achieve amazing skin, then maybe you should look into investing in a Derma Roller System. It currently retails for $49.95 on their website.

*Thank you Derma Roller for sending me a bundle kit of three of their products free of charge for an honest review.

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Review: Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara

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Pat McGrath is one of the most famous and influential makeup artists in the world. She has done makeup for runway shows, editorials, and ads. Many people love the bold looks she creates, especially when it comes to the eyes. So when I was sent this mascara to review* I was really looking forward to it!

What It Is: Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara

Distinguishing Factors: Conditioning Peptides help keep lashes long and healthy!

Verdict: I am very conflicted when it comes to this product because I do love the formula, however, I really HATE the brush! The formula is clump-free and it has intense pigmentation, but then the brush was designed too big that even a person with the steadiest hand is bound to create a mess, let alone someone who’s running on little sleep in the wee hours of the morning attempting to get ready for work. I think that this mascara would 100% improve if it had a smaller brush that will help lift lashes without smudging the product on your eyelids. I’ll most likely pop in another brush and still use the mascara, but if you’re looking to purchase this item, I think you’re better off with something else. Life’s too short to waste your money on mediocre mascara.

Price: $28

Where To Buy It: Pat McGrath website

*Product was sent to me free of charge from Allure Magazine for an honest review

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