Yet another Haul – Ulta and Nordstrom.. :-)

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I have yet another Haul for you guys.. 🙂 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you would know that I am a big fan of the Lorac Pro palette and used it on my wedding day.. So, when LORAC announced their Lorac Pro 2 palette, I had to get it! Also, I had run out of my Essie nail polish remover.. So, I repurchased it.. 

Recently I had lost my makeup pouch and amongst other important items, I also lost my Lancome lip liner in ‘Caramel’ and my lip brushes from Sigma and Real techniques.. So, I ended up replacing these from Ulta and Nordstrom.. I also purchased the Kiehl’s lip balm in the flavor ‘Mango’ for comparing it to the Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream..  

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Collective haul – Beautylish, Nordstrom, MAC and Sephora..

Hope you all are having a lovely week so far.. Sorry that I haven’t been posting recently.. Wait for exciting posts in the coming weeks.. I have a lot of plans for posts.. 🙂

Here are some of the products I have purchased recently and have been testing..

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Beautylish: After loving the 5-part favorites Shinto palette by RCMA, I wanted to add the RCMA VK palette # 10.. It contains shades 1-8 of the KO series, 1-2 of KT series and 1-8 of the MB series.. I have my eyes set on the VK # 11 palette next which will make my makeup kit complete that can cover varied skin tones..

Nordstrom: I purchased the Lancome Visionnaire LR2412 advanced skin corrector after reading rave reviews for evening out skin tone.. It has been doing well so far.. Will do a complete review in some weeks…

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MAC: I purchased the MAC extended play gigablack lash mascara and got a sample of the MAC Prep + Prime radiance base/primer to test..

Sephora: Despite having over 10 setting powders, I went ahead and bought the Laura Mercier loose setting powder.. I also received a sample of the NARS lip gloss in ‘Priscilla’ and I also used my points to get a sample of the Too faced ‘Better than sex’ mascara..

One of the best products for controlling oil production on face..

Hey there, today I am sharing my secret weapon at controlling oil production on my combination skin.. It is a great product and can be used before or after applying makeup.. I prefer using it after my entire makeup has been applied and set in place.. The product I am talking about is the MAC Prep + Prime skin refined zone..

MAC website says “A light, oil-free emulsion that helps cloak visible pores while controlling oil and shine. Applies “wet” for a gentle micro-exfoliation: dries instantly to create an invisible, long-lasting natural matte finish. Ideal for the T-zone.”

This product does exactly what it claims.. No more shiny T-zone or any other part of the face.. 🙂

 

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The product comes in an easy to use squeeze tube.. and it is of a great size for travel purposes.. The tip and the squeeze function lets you get only the amount you need at a time.. and keep in mind, you only need the tiniest drop to cover your nose/center of forehead/chin, etc.. It goes on wet but dries to a clear, matte finish.. It costs $21.00 for 15 ml / 0.5 US fl oz..

 

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Apply a tiny amount of the skin refined zone to the problem area (in this case, demonstrating on my hand)

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Product blended in… You can see the clear difference between the two halves of my hand.. The Left half that has the skin refined zone is absolutely Matte in finish and you don’t see any shine there… It usually stays that way for at least half or more of the day.. The right half of the hand is moisturized and normal.. 😉

You really have to try this product to believe it.. 🙂

Has any of you tried this product? What are your thoughts?

All about my skin care routine (combination-oily skin)…

Image from http://thestylerundown.com/10-steps-for-spring-ready-skin/

I’ve had my mind on this post for a while now and I finally get around to writing it! It’s a post about my skin type and how I combat the problems I come across.. But first some basics on skin! Don’t worry.. its not a long, boring lecture.. I want us to understand the basic principles of skin before we treat it…

Our skin is the largest organ in our body that protects us from external agents.. So, its of utmost importance that we take good care of it.. Of the many things on our skin, its the sebaceous glands that produce a substance called sebum, skin’s natural lubricant.. It acts as a film on our skin and is important in retaining moisture.. However, uncontrolled sebum production can lead to skin problems such as blackheads, clogged pores, pimples, visible pores and rough skin which are all commonly associated with combination – oily skin type..

A lot of us folks with combination to oily skin often try to combat oil production or appearance of oil on our skin and hope that all other problems associated will disappear.. Majority of the people take the harsher way out – they literally strip the natural oils/sebum from the skin by using harsh products on their skin.. This in turn, leads to more oil production and flaky, dry skin patches.. which is not a pretty sight..

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Picture from http://www.lucilleroberts.com/blog/beauty/tips-for-younger-looking-skin

I have some solutions that have worked for me.. These may or may not work for you since each person’s skin reacts differently to various products.. My approach is simple… I prefer to treat my skin with mild, gentle products and provide moisture (even if doesn’t seem to make sense for oily skin)…

Step 1: Take off all your makeup! Even if it’s late at night and you are all tired… This step is very important and should not be skipped.. I love using Purity by philosophy or Shiseido balancing cleansing oil to take off all my makeup.. If you really are super exhausted, the least you could do is take a makeup removing wipe and get rid of as much makeup as possible..

Step 2: Use a toner appropriate for your skin type.. I vary my toner depending on the seasons.. In dry winters, I don’t use a toner or use a very mild one.. I really like refreshing, spray on toners… Some good ones are Murad Essential-C toner and Lush breath of fresh air skin toner.. In the warmer months, I switch to more minty, eucalyptus kinda clean scent toners.. One such toner I enjoy is the Murad clarifying toner.. But, I really keep a watch on my skin and use one vs the other…

Step 3: Add serum and moisturizer... I use serum for lightening my acne scars that are left behind from hormonal breakouts.. I love using Embryolisse Anti-Dark Spot Lightening serum or Origins Mega bright skin tone correcting serum.. I let that sink into my skin for a few minutes and then top it off with a moisturizer.. I love the Embryolisse line of moisturizers.. I use the Embryolisse lait creme concentre in colder months and switch to using the Embryolisse hydra mat during warmer months.. Some days, all I need is serum and I’m good to go to the next step!

Step 4: Add an eye cream… I switch them up but currently I am trying out the Origins plantscription anti-ageing eye treatment… One I loved in the past is Origins GinZing eye cream…

Step 5: Add a lip conditioner/balm.. I absolutely love and swear by Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream skin protectant! I couldn’t be without this product…

Step 6 (night time only): Add anti-blemish products on your troublesome areas.. I use the Origins out of trouble mask and Glamglow supermud clearing treatment as overnight spot treatment and these work decently..

Step 7 (mornings only): Apply sunscreen! I cannot emphasize the importance of using sunscreen enough.. Your skin will thank you when its older.. 🙂 Trust me on that.. I love using Shiseido Ultra skin protection lotion.. It does NOT make your skin oily unlike most sunscreens! Also, using a sunscreen will prevent uneven pigmentation and deep acne scarring..

Once a week, I try to indulge in some form of face mask treatment.. I try to be regular with this but kinda don’t find time every week for it.. I use any of the Origins or Glamglow masks or even drugstore masks with clay in it during warmer months.. In winter, I prefer using enzyme masks such as the one by Philosophy (one minute purifying enzyme peel)… An all-time favorite face mask is the Dr. Jart+ pore purifying mask! I highly recommend this one.. I use it for special occasions..

Also, 1-2 times a week, I use a face scrub or Clarisonic (with purity by philosophy) to take away the dead skin cells.. The scrub I am enjoying using is MAC volcanic ash exfoliater.. Origins modern friction is a milder scrub for individuals with sensitive skin..

Few product I love to use after my makeup for controlling oil production throughout the day are the Skindinavia no more shine makeup finish setting spray (http://beautylashes19.com/2013/10/16/favorite-makeup-setting-spray/) and MAC skin refined zone (Full review will follow later)..

Also, every time I am in India, I make sure I get as much facials as possible.. When I lived back in Mumbai, I would have the luxury of getting facials at home every month! It really helps flushing the skin of toxins and giving it a youthful glow.. I can’t wait for one of my favorite Youtubers Lisa Eldridge (http://www.lisaeldridge.com/) to make a video on her facial massage routine! I could then incorporate it into my skin care routine!

and finally, be hydrated! Drink atleast 2-3 litres of water.. It helps in cleansing your body and flushes out toxins.. A well hydrated skin has a natural glow to it..

I hope this article was helpful in some way! Cheers.. Have a great rest of the week…

P.S. Having oily skin has its benefits too.. You are more likely to have younger looking skin at a later age compared to your dry or normal skin pals.. 🙂 So, stop hating it and embrace what you have/are born with.. 🙂

Hush hush.. I am attending the Sephora VIB rouge special event this Sunday at my local Sephora! Excited…

All-time Favorite face moisturizer..

Just wanted to let you all know that I’ll be posting only about 2 articles per week since I am only a month away from submitting my dissertation for my PhD degree.. So, I am super busy with last minute experiments and trying to write and wrap things up.. So, please bear with me…

Let’s get on with today’s blog post on my favorite face moisturizer..

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It is with great love that I talk about my favorite moisturizer of all time… It’s the Embryolisse Lait-creme concentre! It is considered a nourishing moisturizer that suits all skin types.. It was first created in 1950 by a dermatologist in a hospital in Paris, France.. It was instantly taken up by the medical profession and today has millions of devotees..

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It is based on the philosphy of providing the skin with its essential requirements.. It is a great blend of natural ingredients (vitamins A,D,E,B, essential amino acids & fatty acids, shea butter, beeswax, aloe vera and soy proteins) and dermatologically active ingredients such as collagen and hyaluronic acid.. All these together act like a nourishing sap, saturating the skin with water and leaving it healthy, soft and toned.. It accelerates skin renewal and skin is visibly smoother and re-pulped.. It claims to make even the driest, most sensitive skin feel well and truly pampered.. !! It has been dermalogically tested to minimize the likelihood of allergy..

It truly sinks into the skin each time I use it.. I use only about a dime size for my entire face and neck.. I gently massage it in and wait 5-10mins for it to soak into my skin before I add sunscreen.. the texture is not thick.. It’s almost of a lotion consistency once it gets warmed up on your fingers.. It literally melts into your skin.. however, start with a small amount.. I see a lot of people use too much and complain that it gets greasy.. Trust me, if I can use it with my oily-combination skin, most people can! It’s just a matter of using a small amount at a time.. A tiny amount goes a long way… One tube lasted me for a little over a year (granted I don’t use it in the warmer months)!

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A tiny amount to my clean hands.. 

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Results in healthy, glowing skin… the product gets absorbed into the skin in a few mins.. 

I love it as a moisturizer for my normal-combination-oily skin! Yes, my skin changes quite a bit from spring to summer to Fall to winter.. In the Fall & winter, my skin is normal on my cheeks and dry around my mouth, tips of nose and sometimes, beginning of forehead.. I use this moisturizer every time my skin needed added moisture, which is every day in Fall and winter… As warmer weather approaches, I switch it for my Embryolisse Emulsion hydra-mat version which is more geared at controlling and absorbing excess oil..

It costs $16 for 1 oz of product and $28 for 2.6 oz of product.. I don’t detect any particular scent to it.. It can be used on all ages and all skin types, on women, children, babies and on men post shaving! It is also meant to be used as a cleanser, a primer, makeup remover, as a beauty mask (in a thick layer) or as an after-sun care product..

Overall, a fantastic product and a staple in my skincare routine.. The only con I can think of is the packaging.. I dislike the metal tin tube which is difficult to squeeze as the product runs out.. Other than that, none! 🙂

Have you tried this product? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you.. 🙂

Disclaimer: Part of this information is from the product brochure..

One step cleanser to remove makeup and clean your skin..

Hey Guys, Happy Friday! Today, I am sharing with you all my thoughts on the highly rated Shu Uemura high performance balancing cleansing oil advanced formula..

Off of Shu Uemura’s website – “Evolved from the original shu uemura cleansing oil, “Classic” is reformulated with an advanced High Performance Cleansing Oil system for significantly improved removability of waterproof make-up.”

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I had purchased this cleanser a while back when I ordered the Shu Uemura eye lash curler and had kept it aside.. I just couldn’t get myself to try oil cleanser on my already oily-combination skin.. It did not make any sense to me, then.. 😉

However, I was in India for my wedding and thereafter for about 6 weeks and I came back to the US to witness the worst winter I’ve been through.. My regular skincare could only keep up so much.. I noticed dry patches on my skin and had the dry, dehydrated, stretchy feeling.. Concealer and powder would stick to these patches and look sooo uneven.. I absolutely hated it..

On accident, while I was cleaning up, my eyes laid upon the oil cleanser I had kept aside.. So, I tried it and fell in love with it! I replaced my favorite cleanser (Purity by Philosophy) and makeup remover (Bioderma) for this miracle oil.. Firstly, it eliminated one extra step – one step of oil cleansing not only takes off my makeup but also cleanses my skin! I absolutely love that.. Secondly, for some odd reason I don’t like putting water on my face on some (read most) evenings/nights… 😉 So, often I would just clean my face with the Bioderma makeup remover.. and go directly to moisturizer & serum and go to bed.. However, using this oil somehow makes me WANT to wash my face every single night in over 2.5 months (except 1 day when I was extremely tired).. and that’s a sure record.. It works probably because the first step is dry – in the sense that it doesn’t need water.. All you do is massage a small amount of the cleansing oil into your skin and see the makeup melt away.. The second step is to add water and remove all that makeup off your face – the oil now turns milky and comes off leaving behind clean skin..

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This is how liquid-ey the product is..

I love how my skin looks and feels.. Even in this harsh weather, it keeps my skin healthy and moisturized.. no more dry patches, especially in combination with the rest of my skin care! And surprisingly, the product is not at all greasy or sticky.. The feel is almost, dare I say, water-like.. very thin and light.. Another great feature of this product is that I do not need to use a toner after using this cleansing oil.. I, of course had to try it once and ended up with a clean cotton pad at the end… It doesn’t have any particular scent (at least not something I can detect).. This may be useful for individuals with sensitive skin..

The product costs $31 for 1 bottle of 150ml.. but I use such a small amount at a time that one bottle will last me for over 6 months.. You can see how little I have used up in the past 10 weeks – hence I feel the price is justified considering that it saves time and replaces two-three other expensive products.. In addition, the bottle comes with a pump! YAY..

I plan to continue using this cleansing oil into summer.. I will try and see if it makes my skin prone to producing more or less oil in summer.. Overall, this product is gonna be a stable in my skincare especially during the winter months.. I love it and give it a 5/5 rating.. 🙂

Here’s the product in action:

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Eyeliner scribbled on hand as a test model.. 🙂

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Rub some cleaning oil and massage into skin.. See how the black eyeliner is no longer visible.. It just looks like a grey-black lotion on hand.. This is true for any makeup in contact with the cleansing oil.. 🙂

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Add water to the hand.. the oil turns into a milky lotion..

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Wash off and pat dry.. Voila.. beautiful, clean skin.. 🙂

Embryolisse Anti-Dark Spot Lightening serum..

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Embryolisse Anti-Dark Spot Lightening serum is an intensive dual action concentrate with anti dark spot actives that exfoliate and lighten the skin, prevent and fade existing accumulations… Fluid, non-greasy texture penetrates quickly and wafts a delicate floral aroma… It is recommended to use morning and evening under face cream all over face, neckline and hands.. especially on pigmented areas… I would typically only apply it to the troublesome areas on my face – this also prolongs the use of the product..

It performs its dual function by –

  1. Exfoliating action: Cell renewal is stimulated by AHA, glycolic acid that comes from sugar cane, and lactic acid from milk and red berries. AHA molecules seep in between dead skin cells of the corneous layer to peel them away and favor their elimination. They stimulate the production of young, hydrated skin cells. Melanin is more evenly distributed and pigment imperfections are diminished for a more evened out complexion.
  2. Lightening action: Exfoliation prepares the skin for absorbing the lightening actives which thus penetrate more thoroughly for optimal effectiveness. The complex has azelaic acid and glycine paired with a white mulberry extract that inhibits tyrosinase, responsible for melanin production. It lightens and illuminates the skin…

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The packaging is very simple and straight forward… The serum comes in a white opaque plastic container with a airless pump.. This prevents the serum from going bad.. The serum is a clear gel with no particular smell and is paraben-free…  It is absorbed easily onto the skin and I don’t feel the need for another moisturizer in the warmer months.. However, as the temps have dropped, I have noticed that I do need my Embryolisse moisturizer to take care of the drier areas of my face.. 

The serum acts preventative against dark spots and for existing dark spots… It leaves the skin completely moisturized, infinitely soft and smooth, texture is even and tightened, and dark spots are visibly diminished: they fade and decrease in size.. I surely saw a decrease in the pigmentation in my acne scars / spots over a couple of months and found that my skin had a youthful glow to it.. Overall, it is a good product that stands up to its claims..

Loreal Youth Code texture perfector serum..

In my hope to get my skin as perfect as possible for my wedding, I have been trying quite a bit of skin care products.. One of them is the Loreal Paris Youth Code texture perfector serum.. It is a serum concentrate that claims to perfect skin quality by refining uneven texture, pores and lines.. The product is quite expensive considering its a drugstore product – costs almost $25 at local drugstores for a 30ml bottle.. Yeah, its not a lot of product either..

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Instructions on the packet is to use it before using your moisturizer and applying both in the morning and at night on your face and neck.. Follow by massaging till the product is completely absorbed.. This product is recommended for all skin types.. The packaging is quite good with a pump on the top.. It gives good control over the amount of product that comes out..

The serum is quite lightweight and the best part is that it is not sticky! Most serums I have used before almost feel tacky to touch while application and usually leave behind a shine.. This youth code serum leaves behind an almost semi-matte finish.. no oiliness or stickiness as seen in the images below.. This makes it ideal to use under makeup and for oily or combination skin gals..

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Images in indoor lighting: L-Unblended; R-Blended

 

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Images in daylight: L-Unblended; R-Blended

It contains two key ingredients – Perline-P and LR2412.. It’s the Perline-P that improves the quality of skin – pores, lines and uneven texture.. LR2412 is supposed to visibly correct the skin (not sure what this does)!

Now for the results: I could see a noticeable difference within a couple of days (using it twice a day-morning & night).. And now a few weeks of using it, I do notice that my skin has become more even.. The blemish scars especially seem to have become less deep on the skin.. Some smaller scars have almost disappeared.. So, I am clearly going to continue using this product at least till I finish this bottle.. It did stand up to its claim.. I will repurchase it if I feel that my skin needs some more evening out.. For now I use this once a day now (mornings) and use the Embryolisse spot lightening serum at night..
Overall, a great drugstore serum that works!

Best cotton pads ever!

YES! I have a favorite even in cotton pads! It’s the Shiseido facial cotton pads.. It may seem silly and unimportant but its something I use every single day! You may think whats so special about a cotton pad? They must all feel the same, right? WRONG! This is the softest cotton pad I have ever used… And you have to try it to believe me..

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It’s made of 100% cotton and is lint free! So, no more minute lints stuck onto your face after your cleansing routine.. Another great feature of this product is that it does not soak up your cleanser/toner.. so, in the long run you end up saving on those products as well..

A pack of 165 pads costs $9.5 USD but they are soo worth it.. One pack lasts for months as a time.. I typically need just one cotton pad to cleanse my whole face and to remove my eye makeup.. They are extremely soft on the skin around the eyes as well.. These are square in shape unlike most makeup remover pads which are round.. This lets you get into all the nooks and crannies of your face (around the nose, inside corner of eye, etc)..

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I have been using these for over a year now and will continue to repurchase this for as long as they manufacture it!!