LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask

There are aspects of this lip mask that I really love. In some aspects, I’d even say it competes with my beloved Aquaphor for favorite lip products. There’s just… one single thing… in the ingredient listing that I cannot wrap my brain around, and that’s alcohol.

First, let’s talk about the product itself. This comes in a cute, pink plastic tub, and has a very faint berry smell. The texture looks creamy, but applies clear, with just a tinge of red. The wax layer on this lip mask is long-lasting, so not only will your lips feel smooth and soft upon application, but the mask is intended to lock in moisture for the long term. It is advertised as a sleeping mask, but this is fine for use at any time of the day if you’re not intending on using lipstick or lipgloss over it.

There’s a lot of reviews that say this will make your lips more plump. I suppose with added moisture to anything, it will increase the thickness to some degree. But it’s not a plumper in the sense that it isn’t like products on the market specifically labeled “lip plumper” that create that minty, burning sensation on your lips and subsequently makes them look half a size larger.

Although this is listed as an overnight mask, the mask itself generally wears off after an hour or two. Still, after long-term use of this product over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed my lip “health” has been a little better, an impressive task considering it’s currently the dead of winter. I don’t feel like I need to re-apply other lip protectants during the day as often as I normally do.

I think what will encourage me not re-purchase this mask is the fact that there’s alcohol in this, as well as color additives, the latter of which I am finding are just not very good, in general, in anything. It’s a shame, because otherwise the ingredient listing is pretty tame (albeit super long) — I like the shea butter and plant extracts aspect of this. While the alcohol is low enough down the ingredient listing that I suspect it’s only intended for product dry-down, I can’t help but feel it contributes to actually drying out your skin, that skin sloughing off, and the user having a subsequent desire to want to reapply this product to fix the “dry skin”.

Mixed feelings toward this lip mask. It does work for a certain period of time, and it’s certainly better than your run of the mill peppermint-and-wax chapsticks. But it’s also working against the user. Sneaky marketing tactic for Laneige to get their consumers to buy more? We’ll never know. ~A

Fake product alert! Looks like Amazon’s loaded with fakes of this product — don’t take the gamble, and just buy it straight from Sephora instead.

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination SPF 50+

It Cosmetics CC Cream would be on my list of top foundations ever, but it’s non-compliance with dry skin and it’s inability to stack with other common products is a huge deterrent from me from buying any in the future. Not only that, but the apparent popularity of this $40 foundation has spurred a flood of cheaper fakes/dupes on the market which, sadly, perform the same, if not better than the original.

But first I’ll talk a little about the genuine product, straight from Ulta (which, hopefully, isn’t in the business of selling fakes). This comes in a soft plastic tube with a push-top. The tube is fairly large, but the product goes quickly, since the push-top tends to push out more than you actually need.

Applying this CC Cream is really satisfying. The color is very glowy and radiant. Although the shade range is incredibly limited for this CC Cream, I experienced with both the light and light-medium that the color can sort of “adjust” to your skin tone, within reason. This is helped by the fact that this isn’t full coverage to begin with, as you would expect from a CC cream — however, this still did a pretty good job of neutralizing any of my red tones from scarring. Even better, this foundation plays well with any product you put under it and doesn’t pill. …or so I thought.

I’ll walk you through a work day with this CC cream. I could hold my head up high at my desk and in the hallways, knowing I was only wearing a CC cream, and that my skin looked and felt great. Until hour four: I looked in the bathroom mirror and found the dreaded flaking around my lips and my nose. And it was bad. Sure, I know those areas of my face are a little drier to begin with, but yikes. The scaliness seemed to only worsen as I attempted to “buff it out” with a small dab of concealer. Eventually, I gave up. By hour eight, the CC cream was beginning to break down, and my entire face had become incredibly oily, except for the dry areas, which were still scaley and flaking off more by the second. Gross!

Artistic rendering of the author

After a few days of trial and error, I discovered that this product performs much better when you don’t use Vitamin C. Sure, I get that Vit C is an exfoliant and can cause a bit more dramatic of a skin turnover in drier areas, but I’ve never had this bad of an issue with “clinging to dry spots” with any other foundation. I also suspect I might have some sensitivity to the sunscreen component that was added into this product, since there are a lot of sunscreens, in general, that I don’t tolerate well.

It’s a huge shame that this product doesn’t perform as well after the first few hours, because it’s everything I would want in a CC cream, or even a foundation. It’s glowy. It’s just enough coverage to hide discoloration. There are no drying alcohols. There’s a ton of good stuff packed into this bottle like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and sunscreen.

As for the fakes? The fakes are sold all over Ebay and Amazon. A mark of a fake, without having the actual product in your hands is one or both of the following: a price point under $20, or the seller offering only the light, or medium shade. With a few exceptions of the font being slightly out of place on the packaging of the fakes, the imitation of the actual product is pretty darn good, except you will notice there is LITERALLY no shade differential between light and medium. They are the same color.

And sadly, they perform a bit better than the real It Cosmetics. Although the dry-cling still persists, the coverage is just as good (albeit a bit more “stubborn” to apply, since it’s not as fluid as the original), and also doesn’t devolve into a greasy mess by hour four like the original. I don’t condone buying a fake, and my purchase of these was purely accidental and ignoring of the adage “too good to be true” — and for all I know, these fakes could be pumped with arsenic, or something!

It Cosmetics truly has a great product on their hands with this CC Cream. The finish of this foundation is great, and I’ve never broken out from it. But I can’t recommend it to anyone with dry skin, anyone with sensitivities to zinc/titanium oxides, or anyone that wants to incorporate Vitamin C into their routine. That’s a lot of groups to have to exclude for a foundation! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3.75/5

Longevity: 1.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: For acne-prine skin, yes — for dry skin, no

Site Updates

Hello! Just me, checking in on my readers again. I hope you are all doing well and that you are all staying healthy!

I finally added a dedicated page for skincare routines for sufferers of cystic or severe acne. Don’t know what took me so long! That can be found by going to the top menu of my main page, or by clicking here.

For hopefully a large majority of my readers, the unintentional “good” thing that is coming out of COVID-19 is that you’re likely not wearing too much makeup while you’re stuck at home. What better time for a little bit of self-care? Here are a couple ideas:

  • Self-tanning! A lot of us are probably losing out on a lot of opportunities to do any real substantial springtime sunbathing — that’s where self-tanner comes in! My favorite self-tanner body lotion is Jergens; my favorite tanning drops are Tanwise!
  • Face masks! If you’re new to face masks, My Beauty Diary masks are inexpensive, and offer a variety of options for different skin needs. They’re also, weirdly, very relaxing!
  • Slug Life! Now’s your chance to lay around in emolliating and occlusive layers all day. If nothing else — your skin will be extremely bouncy after we’re let out of our houses! Try out Pixi H20 Skindrink for a pleasant-smelling slug life, and Elta MD Intense Moisture for the most extreme of occlusive layers.

But most important of all — eat well, Facetime your family, and wash your hands! 🙂

Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days to Glow Moisturizer

Three Days to Glow is Jergen’s mid-way product between their gradual tanner and their instant tan. I was excited to try this out because I’ve been happily using their gradual tanner for at least a decade (click here for my review on it) so my expectations for this self-tanner were high.

Although the price-point of 3 days is generally the same as the gradual tanner ($8-10), the bottles run a little smaller, likely due to a higher concentration of DHA needed to make your skin tan faster than the gradual tanner. The product is easy enough to get out of the tube, but it doesn’t give you enough to cover a whole limb, and it’s also not the most easily-spread of self-tanners I’ve used in the past. I had to go back to the bottle for more product quite a few times. The lotion dries down clear, until the color results are produced later on in the day. Since it’s not instant tan, the instructions don’t call for a mitt or for gloves, but I still experienced the usual color build-up in between my fingers despite scrubbing my hands, so I would recommend a mitt, personally.

Day 1 of application won’t bring around many changes, as expected. But I was actually already a little frustrated with the product by day 2. I was seeing the colorful results of inconsistent product drying. I noticed obvious tan/not tan color gradients on my arms and legs, and dark color deposits in areas that I don’t usually experience — like, my shoulders!? That’s a new one! Of course, some of this can be blamed on user error, since I’m not the most careful self-tanner-applier in the world. But also think it lends itself to the fact the lotion is not easy to spread out, and of course, there’s no color-guard since this is moreso intended to be a body lotion.

In general, the color itself, even after three days, was not particularly distinguishable. I’d say it was maybe half a step up from my regular color. I thought this was strange, since I see better results from the gradual tanner in the same amount of time. The good news is this tone did seem to stick around for about two weeks, which is pretty impressive for self-tanner longevity.

One other thing I’ll give 3 days credit for is that it doesn’t smell nearly as bad as the regular gradual tanner, which is bizarre, because I would assume 3 days had a higher DHA concentration, thus it would smell worse. I did a side-by-side of the ingredients of 3 days and the gradual and they are… identical. The only explanation is that, possibly, the concentrations of other ingredients that cancel out the smell in the 3 days are also higher, but I’m no scientist. Something I do know, though, is that there are no drying alcohols in this product! In general, this should not irritate the skin too much, so long as it is kept away from your face.

My conclusion to this review is one I didn’t really expect. If you want darker color, use Jergen’s Gradual Tanner. If you want something extremely subtle and want to dial down the DHA smell, use the 3-day product: but be prepared for the almost inevitable color-pooling. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Hello, lovely readers!

Hello my friends! Many of you across the globe are most likely experiencing a pretty strange and worrisome time right now. First and foremost, I hope that all of you are, and stay, healthy!

I’m certainly no expert on quarantines or living out a pandemic, and I have mixed feelings about buying things in a panic. So I’ve been trying to take it slow, and think about what’s really important to me. Here’s a few things I’ve done, or learned, over the past week.

I’m ashamed to say this, but I need to print out 50 copies of this poster and put them on every wall in my life.
  • I thought of the *most* essential skincare items for me that were running a bit low that I might miss over the next thirty days, and ordered an extra on Amazon today. For me, this includes CosRX Low PH Cleanser, Aquaphor, and Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner.
  • Body wash, as compared to hand soap, doesn’t appear to be experiencing the same level of price-gouging or running out of stock on Amazon. There are several different body washes available for less than $6. This is just as effective as regular hand soap or soap bars.
  • The label “antibacterial soap” doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily any more effective than regular soap — both will get the job done. Antibacterial soaps are best for hospitals — not for day-to-day use, because it will kill your ability to naturally fight off bacteria over time. So don’t worry about making that distinction during this time! Read a little more about the differences here)
  • If you find your local supermarket might be out of stock on items you need like toilet paper, paper towel, and hand soap, try thinking outside the box! Holiday-themed shops often stock paper goods (if you don’t mind a couple of Christmas trees on your paper towels in the middle of March 🙂 ). Discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Big Lots sometimes carry soap. (just please, please, please, don’t hoard! Pay it forward to the next person who needs the item, and leave some for them. Everyone needs a helping hand in times like this!)
  • And for all of my fellow women readers — I know this does not pertain to skincare, but please consider picking up one extra box of feminine products today! (I personally “forget” about needing these types of things until, well, two days before I need it).

I hope all of my beautiful readers stay safe out there — I’ll see you tomorrow for my regular Saturday post! ~A

Pacifica Dreamy Youth

I’m really digging Pacifica Beauty lately. They weren’t even on my radar until I bought this moisturizer. I was so pleasantly surprised by this product that I purchased a couple more items by Pacifica. What’s even better is that the majority of their products are under $15 — this face cream included, I think I grabbed it for $12 — and they seem to last forever. And it’s vegan, and it’s cruelty free, and the packaging is cute!

The “lasts forever” aspect of Dreamy Youth is that this seemingly standard-issue push pump is ridiculously efficient. One push will give you all the product you need — no more, no less. This white cream is somewhat thick yet it’s not too difficult to spread. It dries down clear in under 30 seconds. This has a very powerful floral scent — I personally like it, but it is strong, so this may not be for everyone.

Now, for a couple gripes about this moisturizer. It does leave behind a bit of waxy residue, similar to paraffin, without the “destroys every other product on your face” effect of paraffin (PS: paraffin itself does not make an appearance in Dreamy Youth!). It does make your skin feel very soft, of course. And while this plays well with makeup, I think this acts more as a barrier rather than a primer for makeup, so your makeup won’t completely “take”, making it seem dull and patchy in certain areas. For the most part, blending, as well as checking in the mirror at least thirty times before you leave the house, should mitigate this issue — but it’s still an annoying problem to have.

Dreamy Youth has a few good guy ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, aloe, shea butter and a couple choice peptides. Despite some of these proponents of age-reversal, I never really felt like this moisturizer was doing anything “extra” for my skin, besides, well, moisturizing! And even then, this isn’t the most moisturizing product on the market — while the cream is on the heavier side, I usually experience some skin tightness around hour six of wear.

I know I just complained a lot, but I do still like this moisturizer, as it’s never caused any issues for my sensitive skin! For skincare beginners especially, I would go so far as to say it’s a phenomenal purchase: there’s no outright “unfit for skin” ingredients, it’s foolproof to apply, and it does make your skin feel soft to the touch. Throw in the added bonus of purchasing from a cruelty-free brand? Sold.

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 3/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Olay Foaming Whip Body Wash

I wanted to sneak this quick review in of Olay Whips Body Wash before the cold season officially ends (although, where I live, that probably won’t be until May…). My mom picked this up for me for Christmas, and told me she had heard it was supposed to be “life-changing”. I decided to put that to the test.

This comes in a 10.3 fl oz bottle. I was scared it wouldn’t last a long time, since it’s foam and is essentially weightless — I figured I would always end up using too much product — but it’s been about two months now and the can still has a quarter of the product left. Not bad. The applicator sprays out, amazingly, close to the exact amount of soap needed to cover your whole body by the time it’s foamed up. Since you’re not going back to the canister to get more over and over again, it really does save a little time in the shower.

This acts a lot like shaving cream, so if you regularly use shaving cream in the shower, you can probably skip that step entirely when you’re using this product. The foam allows you to see what spots you’ve missed, and the soap itself is emolliating enough to not dry your skin out after you’ve shaved and pushed the product away. For some reason, most shaving creams really irritate my skin after I’ve gotten out of the shower — not so, for this soap.

I think what I like most about this product is, besides the fact it smells really nice and actually lingers well after you’ve showered, is that it’s actually hydrating longer-term. As I mentioned before it’s pretty cold where I live, so usually my skin starts to itch immediately after I’ve gotten out of the shower and before I’ve applied body lotion, but I didn’t feel like that was happening so much after I started to use this product. It didn’t seem to dry out as much during the day, either. I’m actually surprised by this because this product does not exclude sulfates.

Time-saving? Absolutely. Hydrating? Yep. Smells great? Yes! Cost effective? Err… well, I’ve seen this at Wal-Mart before for $5.97 and, I think for that price point, yes, it is cost effective. But I just looked on Amazon and a “pack of one” will run you $14.80 — insane! So, in-store, yes, online, no. I recommend sensitive skin and cold weather sufferers alike to pick this up if they can find it in a store for under $7. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes