Moisturizers

What’s In My Skin Care Travel Bag?

What's in my skin care travel bag?

What's in my skin care travel bag? - cleansers and sunscreen

After talking about the contents of my travel makeup bag a few days ago I thought it would be fun to also share with you what skin care items I brought on my vacation to Florida. Here is where samples really come in handy, in my opinion, and I have enough of them thanks to Birchbox, Glossybox, and my recent sample swaps.

In terms of cleansers I packed my tried and true Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (3.8 oz, $28.50) and REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (5.1 fl oz, $28). The first does a great job at removing makeup. I don’t plan on using makeup very much during this trip but I will be using waterproof mascara and sunscreen which will be a breeze to remove with this cleansing balm. As a general cleanser the REN cleansing milk is great for everyday use because it’s gentle and nourishing so it won’t irritate my skin.

The second step in my routine is toning. On this trip I brought the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (4 fl oz, $23) as an exfoliating toner and the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (3.4 fl oz, $49) for the hydrating toner step. I was a bit afraid that the Beauty Elixir would be too harsh for everyday use because it contains alcohol but this was the smallest container I had in my stash. So far so good.

I decided to pack two different eye creams on this trip: a lighter one for daytime use and a heavier one for nighttime. During the day I’ve been using the Clinique All About Eyes Serum (0.5 fl oz, $28). I like the the metal rollerball applicator which makes for a very refreshing application. I also packed the Lancer Eye Contour Lifting Cream (0.5 fl oz, $95) to use at night because its more nourishing than the Clinique eye serum.

For the mornings I brought the Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (1 fl oz, $30) and Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum (1 fl oz, $62) to use together under my moisturizer. Both contain antioxidants to help my skin fight sun damage. For use in the evenings I packed the Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (1.7 fl oz, $50). I like to use a face oil in addition to my nighttime moisturizer for extra nourishment. This sample is tiny so it’s perfect for travel and I hope to use it up during this trip.

In terms of moisturizers I brought two: one for day and one for night. The Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (1.3 fl oz, $39) has been my go-to daytime moisturizer and I didn’t want to be without it during this trip. For nighttime I like a moisturizer that’s bit heavier and more nourishing. The Lancôme Absolue L’Extrait Regenerating Ultimate Elixir (1.7 fl oz, $360) fits the bill perfectly and the sample I got in my last Glossybox is tiny which makes it perfect for vacations.

The last step is, of course, sunscreen. I packed the Clinique Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 40 (1.4 fl oz, $22) to use for most days, as well as a bunch of different samples I got in my subscription boxes and swaps. I wanted to have some smaller sizes on hand to pack in my purse for use on the go and reapplication during the day. The samples I have are by Supergoop, Coola, and Neutrogena and I’m curious to see how they perform. Who knows: I might find some new favorites.

What skin care items to your like to bring on a vacation?

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Kate Somerville – Goat Milk Cream

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Kate Somerville - Goat Milk Cream

One of the products that I added to my skin care routine earlier this year is the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream. I first discovered this moisturizer on Carolin Hiron’s blog (where else?) and after reading more reviews I was sold. It has since become a staple in my skin care routine and is now my go-to nighttime moisturizer.

“As restorative as it is gentle, Goat Milk Cream moisturizes and soothes dry or damaged skin. Along with natural ingredients—like Aloe, Jojoba, and Avocado—this gentle formula utilizes Lactic Acid to reveal a fresh, renewed complexion.”

Kate Somerville - Goat Milk - Ingredients

The first ingredient in the Goat Milk Cream is aloe instead of water which hydrates and calms dry and dehydrated skin while jojoba and avocado oils provide nourishment. The consistency of this cream feels rich without being heavy or greasy. It absorbs well and doesn’t leave any sticky residue which also makes it suitable to use in the mornings although I personally prefer something a bit lighter.

This moisturizer contains lactic acid which is derived from goat milk; hence the name of this cream. The lactic acid will gently exfoliate the skin, making this a good option for acneic skin. I’ve found that this cream really helps to calm those pesky under-skin bumps. By the morning my skin is a lot smoother and even.

Kate Somerville - Goat Milk - Instructions

Kate Somerville - Goat Milk - consistency

I’m a big fan of the packaging of this moisturizer. Removing the cap reveals a pump mechanism. Pressing down on the rim of the container will dispense the product. The packaging is air-tight and opaque, keeping the product hygienic and the antioxidant ingredients stable. At the same time, the pump can be screwed off in order to remove the last traces of product from the jar.

Although the Goat Milk Cream is a bit pricy I I love how nourished it makes my skin feel and how well it calms redness and irritations. I also think that the jar will last a long time. I only need a small amount, less than a pump-full, to cover my whole face and neck. I’ve been using this cream for two months and I would estimate that I still have at least half of the jar left. For me it’s well worth the price.

The Kate Somerville Goat Milk retails at $55 for 1.7 fl oz and is available from Sephora, Nordstrom, and KateSomerville.com.

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Recent Repurchases #2

Recent Repurchases #2

After testing a whole bunch of different skin care products over the past few months I’ve got a pretty clear idea what does and what doesn’t work for my skin. I’ve made some great skin care discoveries and have repurchased a few stand-out products which I wanted to share with you today.

Now that the weather has started to warm up a bit I’ve been really enjoying the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (1.3 fl oz, $39 value) that I got in the Caudalie Vinosource Hydration Set last month. I love the light sorbet texture which makes this moisturizer hydrating without being greasy – perfect to use in the mornings under makeup. Unfortunately for me, the sample I got in the set has been running low so I stocked up on the full size when I saw that Birchbox was offering a gift with purchase. I also had some points saved up that I was able to use toward this moisturizer.

The tarte Pure Maracuja Oil Rollerball (0.6 fl oz, $17) wasn’t really a purchase per se as I received it in a recent sample swap. This facial oil has been wonderful for my dehydrated winterskin so I was happy to get a backup.

After I used up my sample of the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser (6.8 fl oz, $32) I didn’t waste any time to get the full size. I’ve been using this cleanser almost every night for my second cleanse and it’s really been helping to keep those pesky spots at bay. At the same time it’s gentle enough to not dry out the skin. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed, cleansed, and soft, without any tightness.

I absolutely love these three products and even though I’ve only been using them for a few months they’ve become firm staples in my beauty routine. Stay tuned for more in-depths reviews of them in the near future.

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Love It Or Leave It? Empties #4

Last time my empties pile was a little overwhelming and needed a whopping two posts to cover. Since then I continued to clean out my stash and used up a bunch more skin care samples as well as some other bits and pieces.

Love It Or Leave It? Empties #4 - Skin Care
Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

Full Size: 1.7 oz, $37
Verdict: Love It

This is one of my skin care staples and I already purchased a replacement. It’s moisturizing but absorbs well and isn’t greasy in the slightest.

Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer

Full Size: 1.7 fl oz, $65
Verdict: Like It

While this samples was pretty small I liked it a lot. It’s nourishing but still light enough to use under makeup during the winter. I think it might be a tad too heavy for the summer months but it would still work well as a nighttime moisturizer. The main reason that I’m hesitant to purchase it is the hefty price tag. I might get it as a replacement for the Kate Somerville Goat Cream when I run out and the temperatures are getting warmer.

Origins – GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream

Full Size: 0.5 oz, $30
Verdict: Love It

This is one of my favorite eye creams. I love using it in the morning since it has a slight shimmer to it that brightens up my dark circles really well.

Kinerase – C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment

Full Size: 1 fl oz, $98
Verdict: Leave It

This wasn’t bad as a moisturizing serum but I don’t really have any wrinkles yet so I wasn’t able to assess its effectiveness in that respect. I don’t think it’t worth the $98 price tag.

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk

Full Size: 5.1 fl oz, $28
Verdict: Love It

This cleanser has been phenomenal for my dehydrated winter skin and I’ve been using it a lot over the past few months. It’s really gentle and hydrating. I already purchased the full size.

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

Full Size: 6.8 fl oz, $32
Verdict: Love It

I really like this cleanser for days when my skin is acting up. It’s balancing but doesn’t dry out my skin and really helps in keeping my blemishes at bay.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

Full Size: 3.3 fl oz, $21.50
Verdict: Leave It

This cleanser does a pretty good job at removing makeup but I don’t really care for the muslin cloth that comes with it. The cloth just doesn’t keep heat very well so it doesn’t feel as nice on my skin as your average wash cloth. I find the essential oils in this cleanser a bit much for my nose. It didn’t irritate my skin but I prefer something that’s more calming in the evenings so I’d rather stick to the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm.

Love It Or Leave It? Empties #4 - Hair, Bath, and Body

Jergens Shea Butter Deep-Conditioning Moisturizer

Full Size: 21 fl oz, $4.99
Verdict: Like It

I really like this body lotion for the colder months. It’s nourishing, smells great, and doesn’t cost much.

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Moisturizer Lime Coolada

Full Size: 16 fl oz, $7.99
Verdict: Leave It

I originally bought this as an after sun lotion but it’s not very effective in that regard. I’m also not a huge fan of the lime coolada scent as I don’t care for coconut. I used it as an all over body lotion for a while and after the summer just moved on to use it on my feet. I’m glad it’s finally empty.

Philosophy Raspberry Sorbet Shampoo, Bath, and Shower Gel

Full Size: 16 oz, $16.50
Verdict: Like It

I love the scent of this shower gel. I have so many different shower gels to use up right now so I won’t be repurchasing it at this point but I’d come back to it in the future.

Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream

Full Size: 3.2oz, $13
Verdict: Like It

I got this hand cream in a limited edition Birchbox a while back and have been using it almost every night since. I must say that it lasted for a really long time. It has a bit of a thicker consistency, which I like, but it isn’t greasy. I don’t think that this is the best hand lotion ever but I would purchase it in the future.

up&up Exfoliating Cotton Rounds

Full Size: 100 ct, $3.79
Verdict: Like It

I bought these in the hopes that they would make removing glitter nail polishes easier but that wasn’t really the case. Beside that they are pretty good. They don’t fall apart during use, like some other cotton rounds I’ve used in the past which is a definite plus.

LA FRESH Eco Beauty Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover – Individual Packets

Full Size: 20 ct, $9.99
Verdict: Leave It

I didn’t care for these nail polish remover pads. The idea is pretty ingenious and they are nice to leave in your purse in case of a polish emergency. However, these don’t really do a good job. The pad is tiny and it takes forever to wipe the polish from each nail. It probably took me 15 minutes to remove my whole manicure. For the price I was expecting more.

Pureology Pure Volume Thickening Spray (discontinued)

Full Size: 4.2 fl oz
Verdict: Leave It

This volume spray didn’t really do anything for my hair. It’s been discontinued so I’m not too broken up that it didn’t work out for me.

Phew, that’s all folks. Thankfully, this one was much shorter than the last one and I’m glad I can finally remove this bag of trash from my bedroom.

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February Favorites

February Favorites

February Favorites

February Favorites

I’ve really been getting into skin care lately, in case you couldn’t tell, so this past month has been one of skin care trials and discoveries. Naturally, my favorites list is full of skin care items with a few makeup and bath & body items thrown in for good measure.

For moisturizers the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream (1.7 oz, $55) has been my go-to at night. It’s nourishing but not too heavy and it’s really been helping to replenish my dehydrated skin. In the mornings I’ve been reaching for the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (0.33 fl oz, $9.90 value). I love the sorbet texture and the light grape scent.

One thing I’ve been wanting to add to my skin care regimen for a really long time has been a hydrating but lightweight serum and my search has finally been successful. The Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum (1 fl oz, $49) really fits the bill beautifully. It’s been adding that little extra bit of nourishment that my skin has been graving during this frosty winter but because it isn’t heavy or greasy it works well under makeup which is why it’s become a staple in my morning routine.

During the last few months I’ve been using the Jergens Shea Butter Deep-Conditioning Moisturizer which has been great since the polar vortex has been dominating our weather. Now that spring is around the corner I decided that I would like something a bit lighter and fresher. Along came the  St. Ives Intensive Healing Body Lotion (21 fl oz, $5.49). It has an understated cranberry-grape scent and a very lightweight consistency. On top of that it’s rich in antioxidants, 100% natural, vegan, and doesn’t contain parabens or phtalates.

I’ve been meaning to incorporate a body scrub into my routine for a while and this Philosophy Pink Grapefruit one (part of the Jolly Jelly Candy Set, on sale for $28) has been great. It’s been making my skin baby smooth and smells amazing. Since it’s a salt scrub it rinses very easily, which is awesome, but it’s not rough on the skin at all.

Lastly, the one makeup item on my favorites list is the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (0.29 fl oz, $24). It’s been the one that I’ve been reaching for constantly this past month. I just simply love the way this mascara makes my lashes look. You can find my previous review of it here.

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My Current Morning Skin Care Routine

I’ve been talking about updating my skin care routine a lot lately, making wish list upon wish list, going a bit shopping crazy last month and finding new favorites. I’ve had some time to put my new routine to the test so I thought I would write a post to share it with you. Please keep in mind that I have used some of these products only for a few weeks so my opinion might change in the future but I think I’ve used them long enough to form a solid first opinion. First up is my morning skin care routine.

My Morning Skin Care Routine

That’s a lot of products…

I start off my morning with a good cleanse. I have a bunch of different cleansers on rotation at the moment so which one I use depends on how my skin feels that day. If I’m having a hard time getting out of bed and just feel tired and grouchy I love to use the Murad Essential-C Cleanser (6.75 fl oz, $36). It a refreshing gel cleanser that instantly makes me feel more awake. It does contain the foaming agent Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate but it’s less harsh and stripping than SLSs. On days where my skin feels a bit dry and irritated (which has been most days this winter) I will skip the Murad cleanser in favor of the REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk (5.1 fl oz, $28) to calm and moisturize my sensitive, dehydrated winter skin.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Cleansers

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk and Murad Essential-C Cleanser

Next up are toners. I start off with the REN Clarifying Toning Lotion (5.1 fl oz, $28) to exfoliate. It’s mild and doesn’t irritate my skin and has a really pleasant scent. I follow things up with a moisturizing toner. I like the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic (6.7 fl oz, $23.90) because it’s very refreshing. Some days I find it to be just a bit too much and prefer to use the Caudalie Moisturizing Toner (3.38 fl oz, $14) which is gentler on my sensitive winter skin.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Toners

REN Clarifying Toning Lotion, Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, and Caudalie Moisturizing Toner

After toners I apply my eye cream. Right now I’m using the H2O+ Aquafirm+ Eye Lift Concentrate (0.5 fl oz, $38). It’s similar to Origins GinZing in that it’s a lightweight cream with a slight shimmer to it that helps to reduce the look of dark circles. It’s pretty good but it’s not my holy grail.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Eye Cream and Serum

Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum

During the serum step I’ve absolutely been loving the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum (1 fl oz, $49). I got this serum as part of the Caudalie Vinosource Hydration Set ($48) which was limited edition during the holidays. My local Sephora had one last lonely box on their shelf when I went there last week. Since I’ve had the serum on my wish list anyway and the set was one dollar cheaper than the serum by itself, I obviously just had to pick it up. This serum is very lightweight which is really important to me for my morning routine. I hate it when I can feel a layer of skin care products on my face and have to apply makeup on top of that. This serum hits the mark on all accounts: lightweight, fast-absorbing, moisturizing, pleasant scent.

The Vinosource Hydration Set also contained a sample of the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (0.33 fl oz, $9.90 value) which is a lightweight moisturizer. The sorbet consistency is great and absorbs well. It’s not quite nourishing enough for me this winter but I like it a lot and I think it will be perfect for the summer. Speaking of moisturizers, which are the next step in my routine after the serum, I’ve mostly been using Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (1.7 oz, $37) which is a firm staple in my skin care routine. Its gel consistency makes it lightweight, fast-absorbing, non-greasy and just perfect under makeup. At the same time it’s pretty moisturizing although I wish it was a bit more nourishing for the winter months. I’m test-driving a couple of other moisturizers right now so I hope to report back on that front soon.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Moisturizers

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief and Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet

I finish off my morning skin care routine with sunscreen. Right now I use the Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25 (1.4 oz, $22). It has a good amount of SPF for the winter months and just a bit of a tint so that I could even get away with not wearing any foundation on a good skin day. Just add a bit of concealer to my blemishes and dark circles and I’m ready to go. It blends nicely and doesn’t leave any white cast like some other sunscreens.

My Morning Skin Care Routine - Makeup Setting Spray and Sunscreen

Caudalie Grape Water and Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25

Lastly, I wanted to give an honorable mention to the Caudalie Grape Water (2.5 fl oz, $6.72 value) which was the third product in the Vinosource Hydration Set. I’ve been using this as a makeup setting spray or whenever my skin feels a bit dry throughout the day. It’s like an instant wakeup call for your skin.

Although my routine isn’t quite perfect yet I’m pretty happy with it at the moment. The weather has been extremely cold in our part of the US but my skin has been doing pretty well. My new routine has been helping in keeping it well hydrated and nourished, looking more supple, less ashy, and all in all just healthy.

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Recent Repurchases #1

Empties post are probably one of my favorite type of posts. I love reading what others think about a product after using up the whole thing and whether they would consider repurchasing it. After sharing my empties with you recently (here and here) I thought I would start a new series to show you which products I actually ended up repurchasing. Some of these I got more recently while others I bought a few months back so they may have popped up in one of my hauls posts as well.

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Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – 1.7 oz, $37

I’ve mentioned this product multiple times on this blog before (e.g., in my 2013 Favorites and my November Favorites posts). It’s been my go-to moisturizer for years and I recently emptied another jar. It’s great at hydrating my skin but it’s light enough to absorb well and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.

I love it during the summer but it’s not quite moisturizing enough for the colder months, especially with the sub-zero temperatures we’re experiencing at the moment. Right now I just apply a ticker layer and a hydrating serum beforehand to make up for that. I’m thinking about adding some other moisturizers to my rotation thanks to some great recommendation from Caroline Hiron’s blog but I think that this one will always remain a staple in my routine.

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk – 5.1 fl oz, $28

I got a sample of this cleanser with one of my recent Sephora orders so I’m not sure if this can technically be counted as a repurchase. Either way, I loved it so much that it’s been on my skin care wish list and I purchased the full size recently. I use it in the mornings or for a second cleanse at night and it doesn’t leave my skin feel dry or stripped.

As a side note, this product has recently been reformulated, renamed, and repackaged and is now called Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. I got lucky to find this one in the old formula at my local Sephora before they pulled it from the shelves. I hope the new formula will be just as good but a quick look at the ingredient labels shows that they changed the first ingredient from chamomile flower extract to just plain water (the rest stayed fairly similar). I imagine that this would make the new formulation be less soothing to sensitive skin but I hope to be proven wrong.

Edit: It looks like the cleanser that I purchased already contains the updated formulation although the product link to the original REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk shows a different ingredients list. I should’ve compared the actual ingredients list of my product instead of relying on the one provided by the manufacturer. I apologize for the mistake.

Catwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo – 5.2 oz, $19.95

This is my favorite dry shampoo. I’m on my third bottle by now. I love that it doesn’t leave any kind of residue.  It’s a bit expensive but so far I haven’t found anything that works as well.

Living Proof Full Shampoo – 8 oz, $24

I first got a sample size of this shampoo as part of a trial kit. This is the only shampoo I’ve found that actually help in giving my thin hair some volume. It’s a bit stripping so I tend to not use it all the time. I bought this bottle back in October and at this rate it will last me for a really long time.

Pureology Hydrate Light Conditioner – 33.8 oz $60.98

This is by far my favorite conditioner. It does an awesome job at nourishing my hair and making it soft without weighing it down. It’s kinda expensive but so worth it. I’m still finishing up a large bottle but BeautyBrands had an awesome sale on all of their shampoo after Christmas (and this brand almost never goes on sale) so I just had to stock up. This large bottle will last me for a whole year because you need such a small amount so this initial investment is well worth it.

Living Proof – Full Thickening Cream – 1.8 oz, $15

This styling treatment works really well for me in thickening my thin hair, giving the lengths some body. It doesn’t give any volume to the roots but it’s not meant to. I use a separate root lifting product for that.

Living Proof – Prime Style Extender – 5 oz, $20

I really like this styling product for making my hair style last longer and keeping oily roots at bay. You can find my full review here.

What do you think of this new series? Would you like to see more of the products I repurchase?

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