Tag Archives: Skincare

Current Skincare Routine

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current skincare

Most of my current skincare

Today I’m going to talk about skincare! I really didn’t start taking care of my skin until my mid-twenties, but in the last few years I’ve developed a routine that works well for me.  Note that in this post I’m going to discuss cleansers, makeup removers, moisturizers, and treatments, but I’m leaving sunscreen, lip products, and body products for another day.

My skin tends to be normal to slightly dry in the summer and dry in the winter. I rarely break out – I tend to get just one cystic pimple every 1-2 months in the week prior to my period.  I’m also starting to see the signs of aging in my skin, mostly in the form of sunspots/ mild hyperpigmentation.

So, I need products that remove makeup/sunscreen completely without drying out my skin; hydrating moisturizers; the occasional spot treatment; and, optionally, products to keep my skin in good condition as I approach 30! Continue reading

Sample Packet Mini-Reviews

I seem to accumulate piles and piles of sample packets, which I often “save” rather than using. Why? I have no idea.  I might have saved them forever, but two lovely bloggers have inspired me to actually use & review them.  Joyce over at BronzerBunny has been writing some posts that are collections of short reviews of sample packets (find them here) and Liz over at Beauty Reductionista has just completed Sample Month – a whole month of reviews of samples! You can find all of her posts tagged “samples” here.

So – these will be quick reviews / first impressions, based on one use of each product. First, the makeup:

Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base: I rarely (never) use a shimmery product all over my face, but this is so subtle it’s actually wearable – very much radiant and dewy with no obvious shimmer. Lovely texture.  I’m still not sold on this type of product, but if you’re looking for an all-over-face luminizer, this one is fantastic.

Hourglass Fluid Makeup: Surprisingly, a good enough match to be wearable.  Medium plus coverage – did a good job covering up some redness on my chin.  Sunk in to my pores a little bit on my cheeks, but I should have used my Hourglass primer to see how they performed together (I applied on moisturized skin). Nice finish, felt light, lasted well. Worth checking out if you’re in the market for a foundation.

I tried out four cleansers:

Philosophy Purity Made Simple: I have been wanting to try this forever, I’ve heard so much (mostly good, some bad) about it.  I tried it on a day I was wearing moderately heavy eye makeup with non-waterproof mascara; I had to wash my face twice to get most of the eye makeup off, it still didn’t get it all off. It was slightly drying (even after one wash). Dislike, would not purchase.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil: I use Shu Uemura cleansing oil every day, but have never tried another oil.  The DHC is much, much thicker and oilier feeling, I did not like the texture. I had to wash my face after using the cleansing oil; I don’t need to do that with the Shu. Dislike, would not purchase.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser: I’ve tried out two separate packets of this over the past year, and both have smelled really off / sort of rotten to me.  I thought maybe the first packet had expired, but the second smelled the same; then I checked some online reviews, and people seem to either love or hate the smell. I am in the “hate” camp. I scrubbed my face after using this to get the smell off; I can’t even evaluate this as a cleanser because I just cannot stand the smell.

Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash: I was a little scared of this one – foaming usually means drying, and this claims to be an exfoliator, so I initially thought it might be really harsh. But, it was actually quite lovely. It barely foamed at all, it did have some kind of micro beads for exfoliation but they were very gentle, and it left my skin feeling clean, but not stripped or dry.  I also enjoyed the sweet scent.  I wasn’t wearing makeup when I tried it, and my guess is that it wouldn’t remove makeup well enough for me to use in the evening, and probably is actually too drying for me to use in the morning, but it is a nice cleanser for someone else to use!

And three miscellaneous samples:

Dermalogica C-12 Concentrate: This is supposed to improve skin discoloration and uneven skin tone.  Of course, I knew it wouldn’t have much of a result in one application – but I didn’t end up using it even once.  I applied it, and it feels like a super-silicone-y primer; not surprising since the first few ingredients (after water) are all silicones! I didn’t feel comfortable going to bed with a layer of silicone on my face, so I washed it off. I’m not sensitive to silicone as far as I know, but I don’t really like the feeling. So, this isn’t for me.

DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew: This is a lovely moisturizer – light, but very moisturizing. I usually layer multiple moisturizers, so I was skeptical that using just one “ultra-lite” moisturizer would be sufficient for my slightly dry skin, but this did a very good job moisturizing, while still feeling light. It sunk in quickly and completely.  I did end up adding another moisturizer after a hour or so, but this is obviously not targeted toward my skintype. This is a great moisturizer, and definitely worth checking out if you have normal to oily skin.

Fancl Lotion: This is a lotion in the Japanese sense – that is, a moisturizing liquid you apply after cleansing and before moisturizing, not a creamy lotion.  I really liked this, it was moisturizing and very light feeling. I’m not actually in the market for this type of lotion at the moment since I’m using this Hada Labo lotion, which I would definitely recommend, but I do like the Fancl.


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

Beauty Blogger VoxBox by Influenster – Reviews & First Impressions

Beauty Blogger VoxBox contents

A while back, I signed up for Influenster, a program that describes itself as “a free-to-join community of invited trendsetters who live to give opinions of products and experiences. Influenster creates links between brands and members to reward participation and influence future products.”  Every once in a while, Influenster will send a VoxBox of products to selected members – it’s basically a way for brands to get the word out about their products.

Last week, I received the Beauty Blogger VoxBox, and today I have first impressions / reviews of each product for you.  I may do more in-depth reviews of some of the products.

Beauty Blogger VoxBox – just opened

List of contents

When I opened the box, the first thing I noticed was the NYC eyeshadow compact was slightly broken – one of the shadows had partially broken, and there was a fine layer of grey dust both on all the eyeshadows in the palette, and all the products in the box. It’s surprising to me that they didn’t package the eyeshadow better – it was just in the box, loose.

NYC Dark Shadows LE Eyeshadow 

I’ve swatched all the eyeshadows, and I have to say I’m not impressed – the pigmentation of three of them was very poor (even over primer), and the darker grey shade’s pigmentation was just okay.  I’m planning to do a separate review of this product with swatches.

The next thing I did after opening the box was smell the candle, which is from Slatkin & Co. and scented “Pumpkin Cupcake.”  It smells spicy & sweet – I don’t smell any pumpkin or cupcakes, but I do smell the spices associated with pumpkin. I really like the scent, and I will use it.

Next, I tried the EBoost orange – flavored drink.  I liked the effervescence of it, but the flavor was very artificial – I didn’t even finish it, and definitely would not buy or recommend it.

I was excited to try out the Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves Curl Defining Hair Cream – I have curly hair, and I’m always on the lookout for new products.  It performed quite well, giving me defined curls without weighing them down.  Unfortunately, I dislike the artificial grape scent.  I will probably continue to use this, but I definitely will not repurchase.

I’ve also tried out the Boots No. 7 Beautiful Skin duo. I have normal to dry skin, and this is marketed for dry / very dry skin, so I wasn’t sure how it would work for me.  The Cleansing Balm is quite nice – it leaves my skin soft and doesn’t dry it out at all.  It doesn’t seem to remove makeup very well, so I’ll use it in the morning.  I expect that I’ll use up the whole sample, and I’ll decide about repurchasing later.

The Night Cream is fine – it is a fairly standard cream.  It is very moisturizing and comfortable – not sticky, tacky, or greasy.  There’s nothing really special about it, but it definitely does its job!

Spin Pins were the one included product that were not new to me – and I absolutely recommend them. They work all on hair types, and just 1-2 spin pins will hold your hair up all day.  I think they are an essential for anyone with thick hair – especially thick, fine, slippery hair – as they work much better than bobby pins to hold up hair.  My hair is fairly fine and stays up well with bobby pins, but I still love and use spin pins. They are a fantastic invention.

The final product in my box was a Kiss false lashes starter kit.   I wear false lashes sometimes, so I’ll certainly use this.  The lashes are a bit thicker and less natural looking than I prefer – but I’m quite interested in trying out the lash applicator! If I find the lash applicator helpful, I will definitely do a post on it.

Overall, this was a fun box to receive, and had some hits (the spin pins and Boots cleanser especially), and some misses (the drink mix and NYC eyeshadow palette).

All products in this post were sent for consideration by Influenster.  For more information, please see my disclosure policy.


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

Skincare Mini-Reviews

 Simple Eye Makeup Remover, Bioderma Sensibio,  Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil, Lush Angels on Bare Skin

Makeup Removers & Cleansers:
Simple Eye Makeup Remover, Bioderma Sensibio,
Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil, Lush Angels on Bare Skin

Today, I thought I would post mini reviews of my favorite and most-used skincare products. I have a ton of products to mention, so each individual review will be super short. If you have questions, please ask!

Makeup Removers and Cleansers

Simple Eye Makeup Remover and Bioderma Sensibio: I use both of these primarily to remove leftover eye makeup under my eyes after cleansing; just a little on a q-tip does the trick! I’ve heard that the Simple one stings some peoples eyes, but never had that problem myself; I find it very gentle. Both are water based, so perfect for fixing mistakes as well.  I’ve also used them to remove lip swatches.  Since the price is actually not that different between the two, I will probably repurchase the Bioderma.

Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil: Fantastic stuff – it removes almost all of my makeup, including waterproof mascara (just leaving a little darkness under the eyes). It cleanses thoroughly and gently, and leaves my skin soft, not dry or tight. It’s my one-step nighttime cleanser – I use this almost every night. I will definitely repurchase.

Lush Angels on Bare Skin: A very gentle manuel exfoliator.  I occasionally use this in the morning, it feels really nice on my skin.  However, since I’ve started using a retinol (which chemically exfoliates), I use the Lush less frequently. I might repurchase.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser [not pictured]: I forgot to take a picture of this one since I keep it in the shower.  It’s a really nice gentle, hydrating cleanser that doesn’t strip my skin.  I use it when I’m not wearing makeup but I need to wash my face – for example, after exercise, or in the morning if my face needs washing (most days I just splash with water in the morning). I have, and will continue to, repurchase.

 CeraVe PM, Mandom Barrier Repair, Philosophy Hope Oil-Free SPF, Armani Regenessece High Life SPF, Avene Eluage, Neutrogena Healthy Skin

Moisturizers, Sunscreens, and Retinoids:
CeraVe PM, Mandom Barrier Repair, Philosophy Hope Oil-Free SPF,
Armani Regenessece High Life SPF, Avene Eluage, Neutrogena Healthy Skin


CeraVe PM: This is a long-time staple of mine. It’s a light, but very hydrating, moisturizer.  I hear it  has good skincare ingredients (ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid), though I’m not sure what does what.  I sometimes use it at night, and it’s all my go-to moisturizer to mix with foundation if I want to sheer out the coverage. I have, and will continue to, repurchase.

Mandom Barrier Repair: I read online that this Japanese serum was great for dry or dehydrated skin, so when I saw it in-store (in LA’s Little Tokyo), I bought it.  It has a light gel-like consistency, and feels wonderful when applied – hydrating, and not sticky or tacky. I love it so far, and I think it will become a staple this winter. I will probably repurchase.

Moisturizers With SPF

Philosophy Hope Oil Free SPF 30: This is my daily sunscreen. It works well under makeup, and isn’t too greasy. It doesn’t smell too much like sunscreen. It’s photostable. I don’t love it, but my goal for sunscreen is to find something that I can tolerate, and this works for me. I will probably repurchase, unless I find a similarly priced sunscreen I prefer.

Armani Regenessence [3.r] High Lift SPF 15 Cream:  I got a sample of this with my recent Armani purchases, and it is AMAZING.  It feels like a wonderful moisturizer, has no sunscreen smell at all, and I love it.  It is photostable.  However, the SPF is too low, and the price too high for it to be my daily sunscreen. So, for now, I am really enjoying wearing it on days that I won’t be outside much, and when it’s gone I will be sad. I would love to purchase, but can’t afford to.


I started using retinoids about seven months ago, to improve my skin texture.  I started off with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night – it’s has fairly weak retinoid (a retinol, specifically), which is great to start with – I had no irritation at all.  Once I had almost finished the tube, I moved on to Avene Eluage, a stronger retinoid (a retinaldehyde) – I believe it is one of the strongest over the counter retinoids available.  Since my skin was already used to the Neutrogena, I had no irritation when I switched. I’ve been intending to use up the rest of the Neutrogena on my neck/chest area, but I usually don’t bother. I will repurchase the Avene.

If you are unfamiliar with retinoids, Skinacea is a fantastic website for information.

Body Shop Mango Body Butter, Trader Joe's Jojoba Oil, Rapidlash, Lansinoh (in jar)

Misc Skincare:
Body Shop Mango Body Butter, Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil, Rapidlash, Lansinoh (in jar)

Other Skincare and Related Items

Body Shop Mango Body Butter: The only lotion / body butter I will use on my legs.  Feels fantastic, smells great, and doesn’t irritate my legs post-shave.  I love this; I’ve used up a mini and made a significant dent in the full size. I have, and will continue to, repurchase.

Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil: Pure oil is, in my experience, the best makeup remover for super-stubborn makeup.  I used to use this on my eyes, and still occasionally will, but my favorite use for this is removing extremely stubborn swatches on my arm. I haven’t met anything this cannot remove yet – though Prestige Total Intensity pencils and Rouge d’Armani 400 required two applications – massage oil in, wash off, dry, then repeat. I will repurchase.

Rapidlash: I started using Rapidlash about nine weeks ago.  After about four weeks, I noticed that my lashes were longer.  I can absolutely see the difference – especially with mascara on.  I can’t tell if they are thicker, but I’ve heard that eyelashes continue to thicken for several months after starting Rapidlash. I’ll keep you updated! I will repurchase.

Lansinoh (lanolin): I use this every night on my cuticles. It’s a fantastic moisturizer, but very thick and sticky – thus, night is the best time for it.  Lansinoh is actually meant for breastfeeding mothers, but I promise it works really well on cuticles too! I will repurchase.

Poshe AHA Cuticle Cream [not pictured]: I forgot to include this in the picture, but I LOVE this.  It helps keep my cuticles moisturized and under control.  I use it a couple times a day. I have, and will continue to, repurchase.

Kate Somerville EradiKate [not pictured]: When I feel a cystic pimple forming under my skin (usually if not always hormonal), I use Eradikate at night to treat it.  It often prevents anything from every surfacing / forming, which is great – that means it doesn’t leave a slow-to-fade mark.  I will probably repurchase.

It isn’t obvious where to find all of these, so here’s a list of where to buy some of them – the links go directly to the relevant page.

  • I bought my Bioderma at a store in Little Tokyo, but the best prices are probably on Amazon.
  • In the US, Shu Uemera Cleansing Oil is only available online.
  • I bought my Mandom Barrier Repair at a store in Little Tokyo, but it’s also available on ebay, and Adambeauty (it’s on Amazon too, but overpriced).
  • I bought Avene Eluage from Dermstore because there was a sale; it’s also on Amazon.
  • Rapidlash is available at many websites. I did some research on the best prices, and decided on Amazon.  Hautelook sometimes has it available, so I’ll check out the price the next time it’s there.
The Armani moisturizer was given to me as a sample for personal consideration.  The Amazon and Hautelook links are affiliate links; the rest of the links in this post are not.  

This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

Travel Brushes & Skincare

Travel skincare, makeup remover

Since my travel makeup post was getting a bit long, here is the skincare, makeup remover, and the makeup brushes I’ve brought with me!

In the morning, I usually just splash my face with water.  I have my daily sunscreen with me – Philosophy oil-free hope in jar, SPF 30.  I’ll use that when I’m going to be mostly indoors with bits of being outdoors; I have several higher-SPF sunscreens for my face & body (not pictured) for the pool.

In the evening, I have Shu Uemura cleansing oil to remove my makeup and sunscreen, and Simple eye makeup remover to both remove bits of makeup from under my eyes, or remove mistakes while I’m doing my makeup.  I also have two mini-packs of makeup remover tissues, both to take with me in my bag while I’m out, and in case I have a lazy night and don’t want to do full makeup removal before bed. My nightime moisturizer is the retinoid cream Avene Eluage.  And, I have two tubes of Jack Black lip balm, which I like despite the recent controversy over the ingredients.


The reason some of my brushes look odd in this photo is that they are damp.  From left to right, I have:

– retractable lipbrush & brush for smudging out eyeliner, tucked in together
– very small laydown brush (an art brush)
– MAC 239 (for laydown)
– Sephora eyebrow brush
– MUFE brush, for contouring, highlighting, and blush
– Real techniques buffer brush, for powder
– Sonia Kashuk angled brush, for blush and contour
– ELF powder brush
– MAC 219 pencil brush
– Hakuhodo brush (not sure of number), for detail work
– Smashbox brush, for highlighting browbone
– Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, for blending

Once again – no intent to pack light!

This is a scheduled post as I’m currently in Las Vegas! I am reasonably sure that I’ll have internet to moderate and respond to comments, though I may be slower than usual.


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

The Skincare Project: Beginnings

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about it much, but I’m really not a skincare person. As a teenager, I washed my face more regularly (due to some acne, though it was never bad), but for the past few years, my “skincare routine” has consisted of going to sleep with my makeup on, then removing it in the morning in order to apply new makeup! Lately, I’ve been a little bit better about removing makeup at night and using moisturizer when my skin feels dry, but I haven’t been consistent at all.

I’m lucky that I have been able to get away with this; I have normal to dry skin, so I don’t usually get oily, but I’m not so dry that I have to moisturize. I do breakout a little around my period, but I haven’t done much about that – just waited for it to pass and covered it up with foundation or concealer.  Still, especially I get older, it makes sense to me to start taking better care of my skin.  I’ve read a lot of reviews, taken some “before” shots of my face, and decided on a new, very simple, routine.

Wash with Lush Angels on Bare Skin
Indoor days: moisturize with CeraVe PM
Outdoor days: moisturize with Olay Complete, SPF 15

Remove makeup with Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil
Wash with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Moisturize with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream

Backup plan for lazy evenings:

MAC makeup wipes

On the occasional blemish:
Kate Somerville EradiKate

the before picture

The Neutrogena cream is a retinol cream. I’ve never used one before, but it’s supposed to be a good one that’s particularly easy to tolerate.  I’m hoping that it will keep my skin looking younger and reduce the sun damage that I already have. 

What’s your daily skincare routine? Please link me to a post if you’ve written it up!

 This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.