Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II and Biologique Recherce P50 Lotion Review

In the words of my favorite Jewish rapper, sometimes I just want to save that money. Maybe you do to. So here are yet another much beloved beauty staples that have completely flopped with me. First I’m talking about Estee Lauder Advanced Wallet Emptying Complex, err, I mean, Advance Night Repair. I held off on buying this one for a long time because it’s quite pricey, but it has a near cult status, so eventually I bit the bullet.


Money down the drain….

It comes in a rather nice dark plastic bottle with a dropper applicator. The key ingredient is a fermented yeast that’s supposed to work miracles and yield gorgeous smooth and brighter skin. This never happened to me. The product itself is nice to use, I can concede that much. It has a slightly slimy feel to it (not in a bad way) and it leaves skin feeling a bit sticky. You get the feeling that your skin is getting moisturized and showered in wonderful ingredients, but alas, the results were just not there to warrant my buying this a second time. I had no breakouts, thankfully. Maybe I have really resilient skin, or maybe I just need to lower my expectations. Who knows.

The second product that completely disappointed me was Biologique Recherche’s P50 Lotion. Now if you think the hype for Estee lauder’s ANR is crazy, let me tell you it’s that much more intense for this darling of the french beauty industry. I got the regular non phenol formula, because I had read that it was slightly better at exfoliating and smoothing skin. I’ve been using it for nearly 4 months and I can say it has done absolutely nothing. It does not hold a candle to my much beloved salicylic acid from Paula’s Choice. It smells of vinegar, and while that may sound horrible to most, I got used to it and actually looked forward to my face smelling like salad dressing every night. I didn’t really experience much irritation, but I’ve been using acids for quite a while.

So I suppose that while neither of this products did anything BAD to my skin, then didn’t do anything GOOD either, and at a cumulative monetary wallop of around $100 (for the smallest sizes of each) I just can’t recommend either of this products.

Best Drugstore Moisturizers 2014 Laneige Balancing Emulsion, Hada Labo Anti-Aging Hydrator, and Nivea Soft Cream Review

          I am very excited about doing my first Best of 2014 posts today. I’m going to start out with my three favorite moisturizers. Keep in mind when reading my reviews that I have combo skin and live in the Subtropics. That means that I usually have a very shiny tzone and I look for products that moisturize but don’t cause my face to turn into an oil slick.

First up is the first product I ever used from Laneige, a Korean skincare and makeup company. Korean skincare and beauty has been all the rage in the US the last few years, and when I heard that Laneige was coming to Target I was looking forward to trying it out. They have a good amount of products available for a new to the USA line. The Balancing Emulsion immediately caught my eye. Emulsions are a moisturizer’s little sister, if you will. Not as heavy, but for combo skin like mine, usually all you need, especially during the day.

This one claimed to balance my dry and oily areas. It’s a light milky gel liquid that feels wonderfully refreshing and absorbs quickly. It’s not fragrance free but I find the scent refreshing and not overpowering at all. It was really good at keeping my oily tzone in check while not parching the rest of my face. Because I use a lot of actives (retinols and AHA/BHA) that cause some dryness and flaking, I did sometimes have to use a heavier moisturizer at night. But if you are normal to combo and don’t use a lot of antiaging or exfoliating products, this lotion is really good, especially during the summer or if you live in a humid city like me.

From the Bottom: Laneige, Hada Labo, Nivea

Next one is Hada Labo’s Anti-Aging Hydrator. This is currently what I am using at night. It has Hyaluronic Acid, which is great at keeping your skin hydrated. It contains retinol, but it is in the the form of retinyl palmitate, and so low on the list of ingredients, that it is unlikely to have much of an effect at all. So I consider this just a regular moisturizer. I rely on my serums for my big guns when it comes to anti aging. It has a refreshing liquid gel like consistency that is quite pleasing to apply. I consider this a step up in terms of hydrating power from the Laneige. So if your skin is like mine and the dry areas are starting to need a bit more attention due to aging or actives, but you still don’t want a very heavy cream, this might  work very well for you.

Finally, we have Nivea’s Soft Creme in the white tub. This cream sells for dirt cheap at the drugstore, and I would have never thought to use it on my face, until I did. It has a thicker consistency but blends in really well. What I really like about this creme is that it works wonder for me when my foundation is applying horrible due to dryness. When this happens i will take my makeup off, wash my face with a gentle cleanser, and massage some Nivea Soft all over my face, focusing on the dry patches. After reapplying my foundation it is like my skin has done a 360. Interestingly enough, it dries down pretty matte and does not leave me greasy. This is a must if you use retinols and suffer from dry patches that cling to foundation.

What are your favorite moisturizers, drugstore or otherwise?

Simple Micellar Water Review

Micellar water has been enjoying quite a year on beauty forums and blogs, with it’s popularity in the US going up and up. I myself had never tried them, mostly because they were all french brands that I had to order online and I just couldn’t be bothered. But you know something has really made it to the American beauty scene when our own companies start making their versions. And so it has happened with micellar water. About two weeks ago I was at Target and saw that they had Simple’s take on Micellar Water. Now, before we get into the review, let’s briefly go over what micellar water is. The has a great article, but basically it’s a non oily makeup remover that does not need to be rinsed off. People left and right on the blogosphere have been raving about it.

Simple’s micellar water feels like water, with none of the slick or oily feel of makeup removers. I love to use it in the morning when I don’t anything to harsh on my skin. But the selling point of micellar waters is that it removes makeup, and in that respect, it completely misses the mark. It barely works on eye makeup, so there goes the idea that this could be a one stop product. And if I want it to really get rid of foundation I have to give myself a pretty good rubbing, which totally negates the gentleness of the product.

So if you want to try Simple Micellar water to remove makeup I say keep your money. You’ll get a much better job using a double cleanse of oil followed by a foaming cleanser. Currently I use mineral oil followed by Reve De Miel. That being said, I am really liking this product for morning use, especially since I am trying to be more gentle with my skincare. I have combo skin that gets a bit dry and flaky around my nose and on my cheeks, so I try to avoid foaming cleansers in the morning unless I wake up an oily mess. On most days now I apply some Simple Micellar Water to a cotton round and wipe it all over my face. It gets rid of the greasies but it doesn’t dry out my skin.


Makeup Removal……..NOOOOOOO!

Morning Cleansing………YEEEEESSSSSSSS!

Clarins Everlasting Foundation Review

I’ve been trying a ton of different foundations every since jumping on the makeup train a year or so ago. My go to was Clarins Skin Illusion Foundation, which I reviewed here, but I needed something that would withstand my oily t-zone and Miami’s subtropical weather. None of the foundations I tried wowed me, until I went back to the Clarins counter and asked for a long lasting foundation. They gave me a sample of their Everlasting Foundation and it was love at first sight. I had become so used to sheer foundation formulas that I forgot how pretty your skin can look when you are using the right fuller coverage formula, and this was it. It gives my skin a beautiful finish without looking like I have a mask on. I can tell I have foundation, because my skin looks awesome, and others definitely take notice and mention that my skin looks good, but you can’t really tell that I’m wearing anything.

          In terms of keeping my oily tzone from shining bright like Rhianna’s diamond, this is the best that I have come across. The finish does get a bit “glowy” after a few hours, but it’s a nice glow, one that you would attribute to beautiful skin. And even though I am oily, I do have my fair share of flaky skin on my cheeks and around the mouth, and this barely shows up. Seriously, this stuff is just freaking awesome.

Here are a few pictures if you don’t believe me:

                                                                    Freshly applied
                                                                        4 hours later

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation Review

I am a bit upset with myself right now. I’ve been looking for a full coverage foundation and had tried the Everlasting from Clarins and loved it. It gave me that airbrushed look but it wasn’t obvious. It wore well throughout the day. Even my mom

commented on how nice my skin looked when I was wearing it. But I wanted to try a few other choices before buying a new foundation. I tried MUFE HD Foundation and liked it well enough, but it was definitely not full coverage. The same with Lancome’s Teint Idole. On a trip to Sephora I decided to try Tarte’s 12 hour foundation and liked that it was a perfect match for my skin tone. I brought a sample home and tried it a few times and was pretty happy with it. It wasn’t as nice as the Clarins one, but since I had a $15 coupon from Sephora, Tarte it was. I did my face with it today and lo and behold not even two hours after applying it I noticed that it was caking and showing up in my fine lines and other skin “grooves”. It was also accentuating any dry spots. Bummer. And foolishly enough I had opened the full size even though I still had plenty of the sample. I hate to return open makeup items (never done it before) but this is going to have to be my first time.

Here’s a pic of me before and after the Tarte foundation. As you can see it gives nice coverage, but I wouldn’t say it was full.

Left: Bare face Right: Tarte 12 hour Foundation

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Foundation

Oil Control: C.

Color: B. Light Sand was a good match but the thick formula made it hard to blend completely.

Finish: F. Accentuated lines and caked after just a few hours.

Morning Skincare Routine French and Korean

Clockwise from left: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid, Laneige Balancing Emulsion for Combo Skin, Coola SPF 30 BB Matte Tint, Alaffia Everyday Coconut Toner, Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Serum, and Burt’s Bees Royal Jelly Eye Balm

In the US, people tend to focus on makeup to bring out their inner beauty. We Americans like to play with our makeup, and are not afraid of heavier looks. Not so in countries like France and Korea, where a more understated makeup look is preferred. When you are relying less on makeup, your skin has to be in tip top shape, and so it’s no surprise that women in France and Korea are known for their skincare regimes. Of the two, French skincare seems to be the more straightforward, as the French carry their “Keep It Simple” approach to skincare as well. They will do the basic 3 step routine at night of washing, toning, and moisturizing, but they tend to be much more gentle with the skin then Americans. Americans love to exfoliate, but the French prefer to use masks.

Korean skincare, on the other hand, is anything but simple. Most Korean women would laugh at the idea of a 3 step routine. That is not to say that the French or Korean approach to skincare is any better then the American one. But sometimes is helps to look at things from a different perspective. I like to adapt the best ideas from each culture to my own unique beauty perspective. From the French I have learned that gentleness is key. I went overboard with retinols and chemical exfoliation and my skin suffered from it. So now instead of exfoliating and using retinols twice a day I use one and alternate between the two. This has helped to keep those pesky flakes at bay. From the Koreans I have learned a deeper appreciation of layering products, and I do incorporate the use of a serum and sleep masks. So without much further ado, here is my morning routine.

1. Wash face with a gentle cleanser. Unless you have oily or acne prone skin, I recommend that you go with a creamy cleanser, especially if you are using actives like retinoids or aha/bha.

2. Apply toner/or BHA. I alternate otherwise the BHA is too drying.

3. Apply serum.

4. Apply moisturizer.

5. Apply SPF.

6. Apply lipbalm with SPF.

So I would say I definitely have a cosmopolitan approach to skincare. What about you???

Sunday Riley Good Genes Review or Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Up until now, the majority of my reviews have been positive. That’s not necessarily because I’m a gullible twit who thinks everything she slathers on her face is the bee’s knees. It’s just not very exciting to write a post about something that doesn’t inspire you. Especially if I didn’t spend, er, I mean, waste that much money on it. But when you part with a good deal of money and a product falls completely flat, I do feel compelled to share that with the world. I think this will be an ongoing segment that I will call Coulda Woulda Shoulda.

Today’s beauty flop award goes to Sunday Riley Good Genes, which retails for a whopping $105 for a mere 1 oz. Alrighty then. Keep in mind, I wasn’t dumb enough to actually buy this product. Which is not to say that I’m not dumb enough to spend too much on other beauty failures (Biologique Recherche P50 and Estee Lauder ANR I’m looking at you). I just happened to get a good sized sample in one of my beauty boxes. I think it was Sephora, but who knows. Apparently, I get way too many because I can’t keep track of who’s sending what anymore.

The perpetrator.

I used this for about two weeks, which is how long the deluxe sample lasted me, and I can honestly say it did jack shit. Sorry for the flowery language, but when a product says it will:






Well, when it says it’s gonna do all that and ends up doing nada, you feel like talking like a sailor all of a sudden. The product itself is a medium weight lotion, not to heavy, not too light. It feels slightly oily and smells like cinnamon, and may sting if you have any broken skin from picking at your face or if you have overall sensitive skin. I admit that trying to decide if a beauty product worked is not an exact science. Oftentimes I’ll use something and think it did not work and then when I stop using it I realize just how well it was working. That was not the case here. It just flat out did nothing for me. I can’t say that I’m mad at Sunday Riley, because I suppose it’s a good thing when a $100 product is bad enough that you decide not to ever buy it. So, in that vein, thank you Sunday Riley, for saving me some moolah.

What beauty product has been your biggest disappointment? Please share in the comments!