Beauty Review: Formula X Full Strength Nail Polish – Pink Prowess

I love nail polish and recently started trying to build up my nail polish collection in an effort to save money by doing my nails myself — when Sephora  had a sale on these, I had to try them out! Unfortunately, Sephora recently stopped selling these, but you can find great deals for them right now on Ebay.

I’m very neutral about this nail polish. While I think the color is fairly pretty, it’s sort of plain by itself. It’s incredibly creamy-looking and brushes on rather thickly — I only needed one coat for complete coverage! You definitely need a top coat for this one, first to add some shine, and second to protect it. I experimented with it and the nail polish started to crack and chip almost immediately after it dried. The color itself is kind of weird. Too pink for me to wear “just because,” but something that would definitely work with the right outfit/look.

Live shot of the nail polish at work (please excuse the very messy pinky)

In terms of the strengthening effect it’s supposed to have on your nails, I would say that it’s not a miracle worker by any means, but it certainly doesn’t weaken the nails like many nail polishes do. I think that’s sort of the trade-off between how creamy/chip-able it is.

Overall, I’d say this is fine. If you get it on sale, like I did, it’s a pretty good bargain. A slight step up from a drugstore brand. But, it’s nothing I would pay top-dollar for.

Beauty Review: Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

I have always wanted to love dry shampoo, but I have never found a brand that worked for me; a lot of the drugstore shampoos, like Garnier Fructis or Herbal Essences, just didn’t work for my fine hair. They left too much residue, or left my hair with that sort of lank, unwashed feel to it, even though it didn’t look oily. Or, it tried to hard to smell “fresh” and had an overwhelming perfume-type odor. I resigned myself to just suck it up and wash my hair every day, not wanting to deal with spending money for a product that didn’t work.

I caved last week when I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep and was too exhausted to do much else but get my lunch and coffee ready for the next morning and roll into bed. I couldn’t even bring myself to hop in the shower to wash my hair. Now that I’m earning a bit more money, I’m able to spend a little more on beauty products, so I searched for the best dry shampoos, especially for my fine hair and sensitive scalp. Yes, Klorane is expensive at $20 for a 3.2 oz bottle at Sephora, but I was going to try just one more time, and if the expensive one didn’t do it, I’d be done with dry shampoo forever.

Luckily, Klorane is so, so different from the dry shampoos have tried before.

Just a couple of sprays, and my hair looked like it had just been washed; the volumizer in the shampoo lifted it just enough to not have that lank look I hate so much, but it didn’t volumize it so much that it looked like I just flipped upside down and hairsprayed my hair. It was a little sticky, so it definitely felt like there was product in it, but again, not to the point where it bothered me. The smell is very subtle and pleasant, and it didn’t irritate my scalp at all, which was a plus. It worked so well, that my hair looked ready to go even the morning after I used it.

I’m so excited to have found a shampoo that works for me, and it’s going to save me a couple of hours every week of unnecessary showering, which is a great plus. So, even if dry shampoos haven’t worked for you in the past, maybe you should give this one a shot!

*As a note, if you color your hair, make sure to get dry shampoo that is made specifically for color treated hair — this is not one of those.*

Beauty Review: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Daily Peel

This daily peel is supposed to combat aging skin and wrinkles, and is also said to help with some acne. Basically, it uses 7 safe-to-use-at-home acids to exfoliate and smooth out your skin. It comes in pre-soaked pads, so you don’t need to measure anything, just pick up a pad, rub it on your face. Wait 2 minutes. Take a step 2 pad, rub that on your face. And voila! Beautiful skin.

This stuff did work for me and didn’t at all irritate my skin like I thought it was going to. As I always warn in skincare reviews, I have very sensitive skin. I thought this would cause a lot of redness, like my prescription acne creams used to, but it didn’t at all! It just gave me very smooth, healthy looking (and feeling) skin. I’ve only used it for a few days, so I can’t attest to its amazing anti-aging properties, but it has definitely given me smoother, softer skin. However, this is something that you’ll have to use regularly in order to enjoy the benefits. There are some products out there that say you can use them daily, but I feel like it’s unnecessary because the effects last long enough. This is not one of those. After a full day of living (working, being outside, doing chores, etc), you’ll need another treatment. I’ve heard some people say they use this as a boost to their regular routine and only use it 2-3 times a week. If you have a really good cleanser/toner system that you’re already using, I can see how only using it 2-3 times a week would work.

The one con about this is that it’s definitely medicinal. Don’t think that just because it has a cute orange color theme that it’s going to smell citrusy and give you that feel-good feeling when you pamper yourself with products. It smells like medicine. But, it’s a great product and it WORKS. It costs about $84 at Sephora for 30 treatments; if you want a better deal, you can get 60 for $148, which slightly lowers the pre-treatment cost.

Beauty Review: Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser

I love cream cleansers, because my skin has a tendency to be flaky, and I feel like these do the job while also keeping my skin a bit more moisturized than a normal gel cleanser would. The Korres Greek Yoghurt is super foamy and a small amount goes a long way — I just used a pea-sized drop and it worked for covering my entire face. It felt very gentle and silky against my skin, and my skin felt a lot better than it usually does after a wash with the Neutrogena cream cleanser. I think this one leaves less residue or something, which makes sense, because it goes for $26 for 5 oz. Not a terrible price, but when you can something similar for $5, it’s something to think about.

It didn’t blow my socks off or anything, and it doesn’t seem to be ruining my skin or helping it either — it is saving on moisturizer, because I don’t feel the need to slather it on my face after using it, so there’s that. I have very sensitive skin, so if you’re looking for a decent cleanser, this one could be a good one to try and see if it works for you.

Beauty Review: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

This is a peel-off mask with activated charcoal that is supposed to make your skin look gorgeous, basically. It’s supposed to purify and minimize your pores, get rid of access oil, and gently exfoliate. How does it really work?

Actually, I was super impressed with this product. Getting it on was a challenge, because it’s INCREDIBLY sticky and trying to tame the baby wispy hairs around my face is impossible, so things got a little messy. It didn’t hurt too much as it dried, but I felt it noticeably tighten my skin. Even my husband commented on how great my skin looked afterwards, and without even telling him what I used and what it was supposed to do, said that my pores looked a lot smaller and less noticeable.

I’m not sure if this would be a regular purchase for me, however. At $34 for 2.8 oz, it’s on the fairly expensive side. It doesn’t help that it’s sticky and thick and you use pretty much half the bottle for one use, so while I think it works well, for those on a budget, there might be something similar that’s more reasonably priced. I’ll update with suggestions if I find anything.

A few tips if using this:

DO NOT under any circumstances use it if you have any scrapes or wounds on your face. This stuff is sticky and it peels off. You don’t want it peeling off a scab, causing a scar. It got a lot of my peach fuzz, so I can’t imagine would it would do to a healing scratch.

Also, it has a warning that says don’t get it near your eyes. Stay well away from your eyes with this! First, you don’t want it catching any stray eyebrow hairs. Also, the skin under your eyes is super sensitive and delicate and does NOT need a peel-off mask to help clarify it. Basically, just imagine large slices of cucumbers were around your eyes and go from there. Be very careful!

Beauty Review: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

I love trying new cleansers and skin care products, because I’m finally in a place where I can afford to occasionally spend just a bit more than my normal Neutrogena cleanser. The problem is that I don’t want to invest in anything that my skin is going to react to (as mentioned in previous beauty reviews, my skin is quite sensitive), so I’m working off product samples from regular make-up purchases at Sephora.

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is supposed to be a great makeup remover/cleanser that is good for all skin types and especially helps improve the dryness and firmness/elasticity of your skin. I used it after a date night out, which meant I had a fair amount of makeup on my face.

For the makeup remover side: it got most of the makeup. It did an amazing job getting rid of my face makeup (foundation, blush) and eyeshadow with no residue left behind (that I could see). It completely failed for the more heavy-duty makeup (waterproof gel eyeliner and waterproof mascara) that I generally have to use eye make-up remover or a makeup remover facial cloth.

But as a cleanser, it worked beautifully. My skin was slightly dried out from it, but not as much as a regular cream cleanser usually dries it out. Some moisturizer fixed it quickly. What I was most impressed with was how it really did seem to cleanse away everything. I didn’t feel or see any residue, and the next day, my skin looked gorgeous — smooth, soft and very healthy looking. Definitely not what I was expecting after wearing makeup and walking out in the frigid temperatures in the city the previous night. Though I didn’t like the Fresh Rose Face Mask, this soy face cleanser is a winner!

Beauty Review: Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask

I became a fan of Peter Thomas Roth products after using his face wash and using this gel mask. It’s another hydrating face mask that is super gentle and can be used daily (although I usually use it 2-3 times a week), much like the Fresh Rose Mask that I reviewed last week.

I said in my review last week that the Fresh Rose Mask just wasn’t for me, especially considering the cost ($62 for 100 ml), but this mask is more my style. It feels super hydrating going on and I love how healthy and rejuvenated my skin looks and feels after using it. This is my go-to post-plane mask. I fly a fair amount and hate how it damages my skin, but this perks it right back up. The best part? $52 for 150 ml. Cheaper and I feel like it works so much better! Love it!

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Beauty Review: Fresh Rose Face Mask

$62 at Sephora

I received the Fresh Rose Face Mask from Sephora as a birthday present and was super excited to see how this would help my skin. Chicago gets super cold and dry during the winter, and I fly a lot, so my skin goes through a lot of trauma and is frequently dry. The sample was large enough to try for quite a while, so I was able to see how it affects my skin long-term.

My skin is prone to redness, dryness, and a little bit of acne if it gets too irritated. I have combination skin, so I have to fight the constant battle between my face being too oily and too dry. As a result, I look for skin products that are super hydrating while still being light and not creating too much shine. This face mask seemed to be perfect for those requirements (it’s gentle enough for every day use!) and was especially great for getting rid of my redness.

This mask smells amazing and is super gentle on the skin. When I put it on, I could feel it cooling and soothing, so it’s great for getting rid of redness and inflammation. However, it doesn’t do very much to hydrate my skin. Aside from getting rid of redness, I saw no noticeable difference in how hydrated my skin looked or felt, even after using it for 10 days. With the price, I’m not sure it’s really worth the money just to get rid of redness (other toners do that just fine). I wanted to love it, because it was a nice part of my day to have my skin smell like roses (my husband loved it!), but it simply didn’t work for me.

However, there are others who RAVE about it on Sephora, so it might be that it’s just not good for my skin type.

Beauty Review: Clinique Pop Lacquer Lip Colour and Primer – Sweetie Pop

I got this as a free sample from Sephora, and at first I was intimated by how bright this color looks, but I still won’t say no to free lip lacquer! The Clinique Pop Lacquer Lip Colour and Primer is described as a high-shine lip color that provides a full coverage with one application. “Sweetie Pop” is listed as a bright pink color (and it certainly is!).

Here are the comparisons:

Basic makeup – foundation, mascara & blush
Basic makeup + Clinique Pop Lacquer Lip Colour and Primer – Sweetie Pop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for the closeups:

Make-up free lips
Clinique Pop Lacquer Lip Colour and Primer – Sweetie Pop

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER THREE HOURS:

Three hours after drinking & eating

 

VERDICT

This is a bright color that definitely has high shine. There’s a decent amount of transfer at first, but it’s sticky enough that it mostly stays put for awhile. As you can see by the above pictures, there’s still a decent amount of pigment even after 3 hours of drinking and eating. The pigment itself stays on evenly and doesn’t just stay on the edges, which is a downfall of many other lip colors. I tend to like lip lacquers more than glosses or lipsticks, and this holds true for this Clinique brand as well.

The color itself is very pretty. I’d be interested in trying other colors. It’s only $18.50 at Sephora, which is cheaper than my favorite Smashbox brand, but it’s also a lot tackier than Smashbox is, so there is a tradeoff. Not quite ready to put it on my “loves” list just yet, but it is a contender.

Beauty Review: Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss – Sweet Pink

Sephora was doing some sort of promotion, and I was able to get a free deluxe sample for the Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss in Color 202 – Sweet Pink. It is a sheer lip gloss that provides high shine. The Plexi-Gloss in general is advertised as having high-shine with buildable color and lasts for 5 hours. First, the pictures.

 

Full face side-by-sides:

Basic makeup – foundation, blush & mascara
Basic makeup + Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss – Sweet Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close-ups:

Make-up Free Lips
Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss Sweet Pink on lips

 

 

 

 

 

 

VERDICT

This gloss does provide a high shine and I admit is incredibly pretty. This shade in particular is very sheer and while the gloss claims “buildable color,” it doesn’t really work for this shade at least, because of its sheerness. It’s nice to add a little bit of glam and a lot of shine.

The one thing I cannot stand about this gloss, however, is how sticky it is. It feels like glue going on and staying on, so yes, it does last a long time, but that’s only because of how tacky it is. I don’t feel comfortable drinking or eating with this on (let alone sharing even a quick kiss with my husband), because I feel like I have glue on my lips when I’m wearing it.

Overall, I’m happy I didn’t pay for this. It looks great, so if you need something to just look great in a picture, I’d recommend it for that, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyday wear if you’re expecting to eat a meal or have a night out with your special someone.