Tag Archives: moisturizer

Epicuren Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer

31 Aug

epicuren coconut

I have wanted both Epicuren’s Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer and their Tahitian Vanilla After Bath Moisturizer for quite some time, but was (understandably) put off by the price. Fortunately, I usually only see them sold at spas while I’m on vacation, so it wasn’t like I was having to control myself every time I went to, say, Target (which is always a losing battle, by the way – self-control, Target, and I generally don’t appear in the same sentence). When we took Gregory down to Hawaii this spring, however, I finally splurged and got them for myself, reasoning that I have wanted them for a long time and also just produced a tiny human so deserved a treat (don’t judge me).

I have been using Body Shop Body Butters for months now, for four reasons: 1) ease of acquisition; 2) ease of use; 3) quality; and 4) price. About a month ago, however, I suddenly realized I had these fantastic Epicuren lotions waiting to be used, and that I should use the coconut one while the sun is still shining, because smelling like coconut in the Seattle winter seems a little off. Additionally, I love Body Shop Butters for being so hydrating, but it’s been an uncharacteristically humid summer here, so I wanted something a little lighter weight. Epicuren fit the bill.

I think I would typically give this lotion super high marks, except for the price. What I mean is, it is a great summer lotion – light weight, fragrant in a nice, summery way, easy to dispense, and has lasted some time. I just think there are other lotions out there of the same quality for half the price that do the job just as well. This is really a case of paying for the name. On the plus side, I have gotten lots of compliments on the scent.

Long and the short of it – if you have been considering picking up a bottle of Epicuren’s After Bath Moisturizer, I’d say do it. It’s a great product and for use, I give it high marks across the board. But if you’ve never heard of it before and are just looking for a nice daily moisturizer, maybe think twice – you can get other products for less that will please you just as much.

Why, Kiehl’s, why?

23 Jun

Why must you discontinue the products I love most?

First it was your pretty, scented lip glosses. I could handle that, though – I have a million lip glosses, and yours really were no better than many others.

But your Milk, Honey & Almond Scrub? REALLY, KIEHL’S? REALLY???? One of two facial exfoliators I use constantly – the other being Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate – and you’re taking it from me? The girl at the store told me it “wasn’t as popular” as some of your other scrubs, but the reviews on your website seem overwhelmingly positive. She recommended some other scrub of yours that’s unscented – the smell of the Milk, Honey & Almond Scrub was half the reason I loved it!

I have run out of reasons to go into your store now. Thanks for nothing, Kiehl’s.

Tried and True: Body Shop Body Butter

10 Jun

Body Butter Stack.jpg

I have used many, many body moisturizers, and I am sure that trend will continue until I am well into old age. Still, it’s good to have a go-to, and the older I get, the more I realize: The Body Shop Body Butter is that go-to.

I can remember receiving my first Body Shop product from my cool Aunt Anne – a kiwi flavored lipgloss. At the time, there was no Body Shop store anywhere near my parents’ suburban home, so that lipgloss was more than just a cosmetic product to my pre-teen mind: it represented adulthood, a cosmopolitan life I could only imagine.

Now, having lived in places like Washington, DC, and Seattle, I rarely venture into the Body Shop. The constant sales and overeager sales staff put me off, even though I still respect it as a brand. There are just so many other products in the world to try that I often forget about my old friend TBS.

Recently, for one reason or another, I was reminded of their Body Butter, and I am glad I was. It’s even better that I remember – soft, smooth, sweetly scented, and easy to dispense. The tub design beats pump or squeeze dispensers all to hell, especially when you’re just out of the shower, moisturizing your whole self. The variety of gourmand scents – and even a couple flowery ones – is so fab I can’t even choose a favorite (today I’m wearing Passion Fruit). My only complaint is that they regularly discontinue scents, oftentimes my favorites, and replace them with others. But this seems to be my lot in life – or at least in the cosmetic world – so I guess I shouldn’t hold them responsible.

Anyhow, synopsis: Body Shop Body Butters good! Love them, always have, always will.

 

Caudalie

17 Oct

Ah the long awaited Caudalie Blog!

I have been promising this for months but failed to deliver. Well HERE I AM!

I started using Caudalie maybe six months ago (maybe a year ago? It’s been awhile) and have noticed a dramatic change in my skin. It’s better hydrated (so much so that the aesthetician I see a couple times a year for facials actually remarked on it), clearer, softer, more refined, and with fewer wrinkles and less noticeable pores. It feels healthy and looks healthy and honestly I think I owe most of the “pregnancy glow” comments I have gotten not to Junior but to Caudalie products.

So what am I using? Well, that’s the tricky part, and part of what has held me up from writing this blog for so, so long. Although I have stuck entirely to Caudalie products, I have drifted between different ones and found them all largely to work the same! Now obviously I don’t mean a cleanser is a serum is a moisturizer (duh), I just mean the cleansers are largely the same, the serums are largely the same, etc. ad nauseum. I have found it’s less about which specific Caudalie products I choose, and more about the regimen I follow. And that regimen is:

AM

  • Wash
  • Eye moisturizer (under eyes and around sides)
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

PM

  • Wash/Cleanse
  • Lip Balm
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

If you go to Caudalie’s website, you can customize what regimen you want, but again – I have found most of the products to be pretty comparable, regardless of price. This is important, because some of the products (such as the Premier Cru line) are priced OUTRAGEOUSLY and offer little benefit other than those I find from all their products (that line does smell especially nice). Additionally, part of the reason I have switched products multiple times is that they keep discontinuing the products I am using. I am not sure what’s going on, but it’s pretty annoying. Thankfully, since all the products are similar, it’s not been too much of a hassle.

There are always exceptions to every rule, however. That being said, here are the Caudalie products I STRONGLY endorse:

  • Caudalie Beauty Elixir – Not part of my daily routine, but a lovely, refreshing water you can spritz on your face any time. Especially nice in the hot summer months after spending some time in the sun.
  • Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser – LOVE this, my go-to face wash. NO sulfates but nice and sudsy, gets my face uber clean without drying it. Much prefer it over their gentle cleanser, which leaves me feeling greasy. Could not recommend this more highly.
  • Caudalie Vinosource Riche Moisturizer – Pricey but worth it, and lasts forever. Super thick and hydrating, maybe not for those with oilier complexions. For me it is PERFECT. I mix a pea-sized dollop with…
  • Caudalie Divine Complexion Tinted Mineral Cream – Don’t be scared! I do not get a line. I mix a pea-sized drop of this with an equal amount of the Vinosource Riche, rub them between my hands, and smooth them all over my face, jaw, and down onto my neck. The difference is VERY subtle but definitely brightens up my sometimes sallow complexion. THIS is the pregnancy glow, ladies, combined with a dusting of my favorite bronzer.
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water – A little of this on a cotton pad and all my makeup is gone. Soft and gentle.
  • Caudalie Moisturizing Concentrate – My go-to before bed serum. Smells fantastic and gives an extra moisture layer.

So I love Caudalie. I think this is the longest I have EVER stuck to a single product line in my life. I am actually convinced that there is nothing better at a comparable price currently available on the market. If I had to choose just one product to insist you try, it would be the Foaming Cleanser. Two, and it would be that and the Tinted Mineral Cream. Both have changed my life and my perspective on skin care.

Even so – the most important thing about caring for your skin is not the brand you choose but how it works for you. There are some fabulous drug store brands out there, and some fabulous top of the line brands. Be consistent, explore, and find what makes your skin look its best!

 

Caudalie Mineral Tinted Moisturizer

22 Jun

I realize I owe you a blog post on all things Caudalie, but for now, let me focus on my new favorite product: Caudalie Teint Divin Mineral Tinted Moisturizer.

I have been using Caudalie for a few months now and am absolutely in love with them. They claim to be “natural” (and very well may be, although we have since learned that can often be a lie), they’re gentle to my skin, they smell good, and my skin has never looked better (with the glaring exception of the recent outbreaks of pregnancy acne). I was using another of their moisturizers, which I will cover in a different blog, but before leaving for my recent trip abroad found their tinted moisturizer. I have never used a tinted moisturizer, and only just recently began experimenting with foundation. It all comes back to my stupid, stupid vitiligo, however – when I get tan, as I knew I was bound to do on the sunny Italian coast, my vitiligo looks especially horrid. I can handle the spots on my hands, my armpits, the one on my belly – but my face also suffers and it is honestly hard for me to look in the mirror and see all those spots staring back at me. No matter how I do my hair, what pretty dress I have on, or what sensational cosmetics I might be using, when my skin is GLARINGLY blotchy, it makes me feel really ugly. I get white patches by my mouth, around my eyes, and on my chin, and it just looks dreadful. The two things that make this worse are 1) I LOVE the sun, and 2) I tan really easily and well, and look good tan. This leaves me with three options: avoid the sun, load on sunblock and resign myself to never being tan again, or look awful. What a delightful array of choices.

I brought the tinted moisturizer along without really getting my hopes up about its abilities, and I am pleased to say I was VERY pleasantly surprised! Of course it cannot completely erase my vitiligo, but smoothing it on daily does greatly reduce the noticeability of the pigment-depleted areas, as well as give my face an overall “glow” that it sometimes lacks (for some reason, even before the vitiligo, my face never got as dark as my body – I probably sunblock it slightly more diligently or something). Coupled with my favorite bronzer dusted on my chin and around my eyes, I literally could not believe the difference! (Again, if you’re suffering from vitiligo, this does NOT treat it or even eliminate its appearance, but it did, in my case, make a huge difference.) My only complaint is I wish it was offered in a formulation that contained a light sunblock of SPF 15 0r 20 – if it did, I’d certainly use it twice a day, both before going to the beach and after showering.

It does have a slightly perfumey scent I’m not crazy about, but it disappears pretty much immediately after application. I have to give this tinted moisturizer a 10 out of 10, and if they make one with SPF, then it will be the only moisturizer I ever use – and coming from me, that’s really saying something.

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20

19 May

Those of you who know me know I am not a small person. I never have been. I was born weighing in at over 10 pounds, and I’m now 6′ tall with Amazonian hips and bountiful bosoms. I’m not fat, per se, but I am certainly “womanly,” “voluptuous,” and “curvy,” and even when I am as thin as I can get without looking sick, I’m not blowing over in a strong wind.

I recently read an article about shoes (another love of mine) and how plus size women love shoes because shoes don’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5’10” and 110 pounds or 5’2″ and 180, if you’re a size 8, you’re a size 8, and you can walk into any department store or shoe store in the world, pick out a pair in your size, and know they’re going to look fabulous. Those of us who wear larger-sized clothes (again, even at my thinnest, I am squeezing if I wear a 12) will never know the pleasure of buying off the rack. I don’t even bother with vintage clothing stores, much as I love the styles of the 40s and 50s, because they NEVER have anything in my size. To make matters worse, I am ALSO screwed in the shoe department – at a size 11, sometimes 11.5, I can’t usually buy off the rack for shoes, either. 9 times out of 1o – nay, 99 times out of 100, I will fall in love with a pair of shoes only to find out the largest they come in is a 10. And usually they don’t even have those in stock. And vintage shoes? Pahahahaha, right. Apparently women in those days maxed out at an 8, or they wore the boxes.

Now I have managed to amass quite the shoe collection in spite of (or maybe because of?) this disadvantage. I have found brands – Naturalizer, Aerosoles, Nine West – that make a large variety of shoes in my size. And I buy them with gusto and the satisfaction that I DESERVE these shoes because I am not like other women – I have to take them when and where I can find them! Still, it’s not always easy, and I can’t usually see a pair of shoes on a friend and ask where she got them, feeling I could go pick myself up a pair. Because they more than likely don’t even make them in my size.

What does that leave me with? PRODUCT. Product really and truly does not discriminate. One size blush fits all. A tube of mascara, used normally, lasts every woman the same amount of time. Lipgloss is lipgloss is lipgloss. You can have fat lips or thin lips and that lipgloss looks the same.

Okay okay okay. So getting to the point, which I am sure by now you thought I’d never do. I present you with Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20 in Glow (ain’t that a mouthful).

I love me some lotion, and I moisturize every day after showering. I got a generous sample size of this with my May Birchbox, and was stoked to try it. It’s a tinted, slightly sparkly moisturizer WITH SPF – what a great idea. So basically, it evens your body skin tone, protects from the sun, and gives you a nice, summery sheen. Love it! The sample was 0.5 fl. oz., and it took the entire thing to cover my body. It didn’t seem to come off on my clothes, gave me a really nice glow, and seemed to moisturize well. You may consider this a plus or a minus, depending on your proclivities, but it hasn’t much of a smell. I personally prefer lotions with a yummy, gourmet smell, but I don’t really like lotions that are too perfumey, so having no smell at all is really probably okay.

I liked this moisturizer/bronzer/suntan lotion SO much that I promptly bought a full-size bottle of it from Amazon. If you click above, you will note that it does not clearly say the size of the bottle, but since the sample size was half an ounce, I figured the full size would be quite large, especially for $34. I received the lotion yesterday and was surprised and more than a little disappointed to discover the full-sized product is – get ready – 3.38 oz. REALLY? I used half an ounce in ONE application! Please tell me if I am being crazy here, but that means there aren’t even seven full uses in this full-sized bottle! Not even a week’s worth of applications for THIRTY-FOUR DOLLARS? I mean, okay, yes, I am impressed by this lotion – its multi-functionality is unique and awesome. But $10 and ounce??? IS IT MADE OF LIQUID GOLD????

This brings me around to my opening. If you are short and thin, hey, this may last you a month. But if you’re 6′ tall and of ample body, it may be a waste of money. I’m so disappointed – even the product sphere has found a way to make me feel awkwardly large. Thanks, Sarah McNamara. Thanks a lot. :/

Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Calming Creme

11 Apr

This is probably the most boring product I will ever recommend, but I use it every single evening, so it’s worth a mention!

Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Calming Creme is a thick, unscented moisturizer that I use nightly on my hands before bed. It softens and protects my hands without leaving behind a film, and the fact that it’s unscented makes me feel like I am using something designed less for the beauty realm than for the health realm. During the winter, when my skin gets especially dry, I’ll use it after showering over my whole body, and it definitely works better than my standard smell-good moisturizers at eliminating dry, flaky alligator skin.

I had a friend with sensitive skin visit last summer (shout out to Shari!), and I took her to my favorite mani pedi place in Seattle, Hoa Salon in Madison. The only complaint I have about Hoa is that I can’t be sure what’s in the lotions they use on you – it’s not a “spa” atmosphere where everything is organic (and thus ten times more expensive). I recommended to Shar that we bring my Eucerin for her, to ensure she didn’t have a bad reaction to Hoa’s lotion. (Incidentally, Hoa is always happy to use anything you bring – I actually bring my own lotion and Zoya nail polishes and they’re always extremely accommodating – love that place!) She had no bad reaction to the lotion, and quite liked how well it absorbed and the fact that it didn’t leave a fragrance behind.

At less than nine bucks for a tube that will last FOREVER, I suggest everyone picks up a tube or two of this for those times when you just want your skin to be moisturized without any scent. Well worth the money.