I received this a few weeks ago. Managed to get some pictures, and got around to finally posting today! This Flare Beauty Box was $8 CA, not a bad price considering the contents! What’s inside!
First we have the Herbal Essences Wild Naturals, a large sample of both shampoo and conditioner. This didn’t wow me. There was nothing special about it performance or fragrance wise. Unless you are really into a very mild, light fruity figgy fragrance, skip this one.
Next up, an Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash and Cover Girl Full Lash Bloom mascara, full size. I know my body doesn’t react well to the Olay body wash after a few uses, however it is a very luxurious feeling formula and I like washing my hands with it which doesn’t seem to bother them.
The mascara I haven’t used yet. I already know from prior experiences that I don’t like the plastic bristles on the wand, which poke my eye when trying to apply the product. As the mascara itself came sealed with the wand outside, I am using the wand to comb thru the tips of lashes coated with a different mascara, which it works wonderfully for. When I finish my current tube of Maybelline Cat Eyes, I will wash off that brush and see if it fits in the Cover Girl tube and use that one instead, to give the product a fair shake at being useful for me (I love the Cat Eyes wand!)
Then we have a couple sample packs of Olay Fresh Effects Mattifier. These usually don’t work for me, and this one was not much different. it seemed to be doing a great job for the first part of the day, but by the end I was even oilier than if I hadn’t used anything at all. Being fair, my day is pretty long, and I need makeup to hold on tight for 12 hours minimum.
My favourite portion of the box was the free full size of a Vidal Sassoon hair colour ($16 value.) I was excited about this, however they didn’t really have a perfect colour match for what I was looking for. I may have ended up with something a shade too dark. If so I will use it to paint in some lowlights. I didn’t get a closeup of the coupon.
Last up, Cover Girl lipstick in Succulent Cherry. The swatches below show the product as fairly sheer (one swipe on top, a few swipes underneath) and leaning pink. On my skin it leans warm with orange undertones, as my skin just makes colours lean this way unless very cool toned. Great for anyone who loves a red lip. I wear a red lip sometimes, and the sheerness of this could make it more wearable than others I have. I’m just worried about it looking too orange on me, especially under fluorescent lights at work.
Ok so I’ve been digging around in the world of sunscreen education / communication again and I saw this still going around:
UVA is for Ageing
UVB is for Burning
As if ‘we’ are participating in some simple fairy tale………
Well we are not five years old people, we are mature adults and UVA is NOT for ageing and UVB is NOT for burning. The split between UVA and UVB is somewhat arbitrary in as much as the point in which one becomes another for SUNSCREENS sake is man-made.
What the skin sees is the sun in all its glory – a continuous stream of rays of varying wavelength, some short, some long and some in-between. We need to think of sunlight as a symphony and not just a breakdown of its notes – quality based not quantity based.
I’m a bit particular about facial masks. My oily skin doesn’t need a moisturizing mask, plus I don’t see the point of slapping it on only to rinse it off a few minutes later. Mud masks perplex me as well. Despite occasionally (and very temporarily) improving my skin texture, I don’t see how it is possible for them to “draw out impurities” (whatever those are. Is it a mud attracting dirt theory?) But peel off masks I really like. They take along with them a layer of dead skin, leaving you looking fresher with less annoying dry winter skin flakies!
Tiffany from ObsessedCanada offered to send me a selection of Montagne Jeunesse face masks, and I was excited to pick out some peel off masks. As I only have one face, I will be featuring them one at a time in separate reviews. Today’s review is for the Manuka Honey one!
This mask really smells like honey. A very floral honey (jasmine). It is intense, but lovely, as I really like honey! This scent does linger after the mask is removed as well. The texture and colour is also very honey like, thankfully without as much stickiness. It smooths on evenly without any trouble, and dries to a thin, solid, easy to peel off finish.
I really enjoyed the smooth feel of my skin after this mask, and would absolutely use it again! I got 2 uses out of the package ($1.99) just by keeping the remainder left inside the package, folded over then in a zip bag. If you are into peel off masks and honey, give this a try! Montagne Jeunesse products are cruelty free and made in the UK. This package contained 10mls of mask.
Thanks again to ObsessedCanada. Looking forward to trying the rest of the masks!
This month has flown by for me, despite being full of rain, more rain only heavier, below freezing temperatures and even some snow, which is thankfully rare in Vancouver. I don’t like being so busy that I can’t post, and it’s been far too long. Long enough to have lots of empties! Plus one item that is not used up but was so bad it needs to go!
Numbered clockwise starting on the left.
1) Yves Rocher Yellow Peach Shower Gel
This was a pretty standard liquid soap/shower gel with a peachy fragrance. The peach scent was fresh and not overly ripe, but a little powdery which bothered me enough to not want to repurchase. The bottle was a generous 400ml/13.4 oz.
2) Aussie You Can Shine Hairspray
This was decent enough hairspray, it did it’s job. Had a nice citrusy fruity smell. I didn’t notice any stickiness or crispness. I would repurchase this if I found it on sale, which is how I found this can!
3) Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti Frizz Serum
Although most silicone serums for frizzy hair are mostly the same, this is one of my favourites. It has a nice fruity scent standard for any Fructis product, and has a thinner, easier to spread consistency which helps when you have super long, super fine hair like mine. The pump is also a winner. This is my second or third bottle of this and I will continue to rebuy until I can’t find it anymore!
4) Avon Moisture Therapy Calming Relief Creamy Body Wash
Although I would also recommend this for a body wash, I use it on my face! It removes makeup really well, does not irritate, and doesn’t leave any residue. If you have really dry skin I wouldn’t recommend use on your face but it does a great job on my oily skin! Contains oatmeal to soothe dry, tight, itchy skin. Been through many tubes of this!
5) Smashbox Full Exposure Eyeshadow Sampler
Now this one isn’t so much empty as it is impossible to use. The little patches of eye shadow sample were so dry and stuck on that application was impossible. I made the mistake of trying to make this work on a work day and had to scrap it mid way through. I’m sure the actual product is easier to use than this sample, but this sample has made me never want to try the real thing it was so bad. Complete failure in execution. Below is a picture of the tiny amount I managed to scrape off the card.
6) Neutrogena Acne Stress Control – 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne Treatment
I wouldn’t really call this hydrating so much as it is smoothing, and I can’t even comment on the stress control claim! The silicone base makes your skin feel soft and smooth, while being at the right ph level for the salicylic acid to do it’s work. If I stop using this for a few days, I can feel and see the negative effect in my skin, getting flakier with more clogged pores. I will buy this as long as I can find it in Canada, as there is no other affordable, gentle, effective salicylic acid leave on treatment option that I am aware of in the country. Clean & Clear has a version of something similar which is only available in the US, and everything else I can find here has alcohol and other irritants in it.
7) NYC Color in a New York Minute – Grand Central Station
How often is it you finish a bottle of nail polish before it goes all weird on you? This isn’t my first finished bottle of the fast drying NYC clear coat, and certainly not my last. I will buy this as long as I can still find it in Canada. Currently I have to purchase it online to find it at all! Fantastic product. Did a full review here.
8) Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait
I usually reach for pinks and reds, but somehow this peachy lip butter with tiny golden flecks has managed to work itself in many daily looks! It complements both warm and cooler eye looks and doesn;t look garish under fluorescent lighting. It has well earned it’s place as a daily favourite. Will I buy again? Absolutely, just waiting for a sale! The are otherwise around $10 in Canada.
9) L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara – Black
It may have been in blackest black or carbon black, I don’t remember, but it was, and is, a great mascara! This is the closest in formulation and brush as my long discontinued in Canada old favourite Full n’ Soft Mascara. It doesn’t clump too much, it holds a curl better than some, doesn’t flake (until you get to the end of the lifespan of the tube) and is perfectly waterproof without being too much of a pain to wash off. I will continue buying this when found on sale as long as it’s being made!
Hope everyone had a good November and you’re staying warm! Or cool if you’re one of my Aussie readers!
Although not officially winter, it seems to be freezing and snowing all over, even here on the west coast where our winters are traditionally blankets of grey clouds and dreary rain! With wintery weather, comes along my dry, itchy, flaky, unhappy and generally disagreeable skin. I’ve tried just about everything, and I am reviewing some of the better performing drugstore options today! Reviewed from left to right as shown above.
Nivea Firming Body Milk Q10 Plus, 473ml (white, left most bottle)
This one comes in a slightly smaller bottle than Nivea’s other lotion offerings, but is a still generous size at 473ml. It contains Q10 (Ubiquinone) which is a potent antioxidant. There are studies proving it’s effectiveness when taken internally but I can’t seem to find much about it’s effects when used topically. I do know I like antioxidants in my skin care as I know they help reduce UV damage, so I suppose that’s enough for me to appreciate it.
The lotion has a very green floral scent which does fade in time. I like fragrance and it doesn’t bother my skin but it worth mentioning in the event it does irritate yours. This one seems to take a while longer to soak in, and leaves a soft feeling with a tiny bit of slippery residue which I think might be the macadamia nut oil. In the summer this sticky leftover feeling bothered me, now in the winter it’s more than welcome! It does help me feel moisturized for a longer period of time. Although Nivea rates this as somewhere midway between light and rich moisture, its a fairly rich moisturizer for me due to the macadamia nut oil.
Nivea claims this lotion will improve your skin’s elasticity. I cannot attest to this claim, and I don’t have such high standards for my lotions. I just don’t think it’s possible to greatly change the qualities of my skin with a non prescription body lotion. Of course I wouldn’t mind if it did however!
I would recommend this for someone who is interested in antioxidants in their skin care, likes oils and the feeling of light oil in their skin care, and likes fresh green floral scents.
Nivea Extra Nourishing Body Milk, Dry to Very Dry Skin 625ml (blue bottle in middle)
This bottle is huge! This one contains almond oil, consistently popular in hand and nail products. The formula is incredibly thick, heavy, and rich, which after careful testing and consideration I’ve determined to be due to a huge amount of the thickening agent isohexadecane in the formulation – it’s the third ingredient after water and mineral oil! Well, even if it’s just for marketing purposes, the result is a very luxurious experience when applying. It feels like a real treat for your skin going on.
The fragrance of this one needs to be mentioned. It’s not your typical light lotiony fragrance. This one is very decidedly perfumey. In fact, when it dries down, it reminds me a bit of J’adore! Clean, very fresh, somewhat sophisticated even, for a lotion.
The package doesn’t claim to do anything other than smooth and soften your dry skin, which it does, as would any decent lotion. The formula is an oilier one, which I do like. Despite being oilier, my skin seems to just drink it right up! I do notice, however, that my skin sometimes feels a bit drier a while after using it. I’m wondering if it’s an after effect of the huge amount of thickening agent, as I think I’m applying a lot of moisture when I really might not be. I’ve also just noticed that sea salt is in the ingredient list, and it might have something to do with that. This isn’t enough to stop me from liking it enough to at least finish the bottle.
I would recommend this for someone who likes a heavier oil in their body care products, seeks out very fragranced products, and has normal to dry skin. I don’t think this will be the right kind of moisture for very dry, or very sensitive skin.
Nivea Happy Time Shower Cream 500ml (white bottle on the right)
This formula contains the ever popular sweet almond oil and bamboo extract, which is intended to improve your skin’s collagen and elastin. As I don’t think a body wash can actually do that, and it doesn’t actually claim to, I will review it as just a body wash.
The fragrance is advertised to be an invigorating orange blossom scent. I personally find this to be more orange creamsicle rather than orange blossom. It’s definitely more food than floral. There is a light trail of flowers underneath the orange creamsicle. It’s nice, soft, fresh, in no way over powering and somewhat refreshing.
The formula itself is rich, smooth, creamy and lathers well, with lots of soft bubbles. It doesn’t seem to make my skin feel weird, red or itchy after a few uses like some body washes do (looking in your direction, Olay…) As a body wash, it does it’s job, and you get a generous amount for the price.
I would recommend this to someone who prefers a slightly more moisturizing body wash and likes the idea of eating orange creamsicles in a summer flower garden.
Bonus! Nivea Visage Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Eye Care 15ml (tiny little tube at the top!)
I am not of the school of thought that a separate eye cream is necessary, and that if you have a properly formulated wrinkle/skin care system for the rest of your face, you should be able to use it around the eye area as well. This was passed along to me by my mother, who didn’t like it as it stung the skin around her eyes – pretty much a mark of failure in a product intended to be formulated specifically for that area! Well, I tried it out, and wouldn’t you know it, it stung the skin under my eyes as well. Not even retinol products do that. I couldn’t use it long enough to form an educated opinion on it’s claim to reduce dark under eye circles, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be able to do that anyway. I might use this up as a cuticle cream. I will be sticking with my Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle Cream for now!
I would recommend this product for someone with very agreeable skin, impervious to any reactions or stinging from any product at all (which I usually am!) who is looking for light moisture and no miracles whatsoever.
Hope everyone is making it through their fall/winter so far! Stay warm!
How was everyone’s September? New schools? New jobs? September was a hugely busy month for me, full of workshops and interviews, and next month will be even busier as I am to be starting a new job with long hours. I think I will only be able to post on weekends, sadly. I did manage to get through some items this month however! I will go through them one by one as numbered in the photo below, left to right, and add in some mini reviews and applicable links to previous reviews and the like.
Not that anyone should need any extra reasons to wear sunscreen at all times, but I am allergic to the sun. A few minutes of unprotected sun exposure and I’m stuck with an itchy hives reaction that can last for weeks (this is known as Polymorphic Light Eruption). So I keep my face, hands, and any other exposed skin covered at all times. I grabbed this one as not only was it on sale, but I liked the idea of a waterproof formula to make sure it sticks on during a potentially sweaty summer day when I am unable to reapply. The product was an easy to use spray on. It did leave a sticky feeling however, presumably from whatever ingredient in it makes it waterproof. I didn’t mind this until I noticed every speck of dirt and dust I walked past stuck to my skin and was hard to wash off! The scent was also somewhat strong to me, something typically beachy with a splash of light floral and a side of chemicals. If you’ve smelled Jennifer Aniston’s first fragrance, which supposedly was also intended to be beachy, it smells like that. Due to the stickyness and scent, I would not rebuy. I did like the spray on aspect, but I think I will stick to cream formulas thought winter. Will not rebuy.
2) Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Waterproof Mascara in Very Black
This, for reasons that entirely escape me, has been discontinued in Canada. I believe it is still available in the US. This has been my HG mascara for for twelve or thirteen years maybe. It builds well to great volume and length, doesn’t flake (until the tube gets a bit old and dried up), leaves my lashes soft and pliable with no spiky, spidery lash attributes, and is in fact waterproof. Not too hard to wash off. I am down to one last stashed away tube, after that there’s no more here to be found in Canada. I will miss it! If there are any US readers who would like to enable my Full ‘n Soft addiction I would be more than receptive to the idea! I would rebuy but it doesn’t exist here.
3) Bath & Body Works White Citrus Shower Gel
A zesty, sparkling citrus scent with notes of ginger and water lily. A slight musky base. I liked this enough to use as a shower gel and diluted in my foamy hand soap dispensers as detailed in this post. It was nice and refreshing. I don’t think I liked it enough to rebuy. I think this would make a great scent for a laundry detergent or a room spray or candle.
4) Pantene Sheer Volume Weightless Shampoo Sample
This shampoo has an interesting texture in that it is more of a thick, gel like formula and not at all liquid. It didn’t pour out. I used this by squeezing out little jelly blobs. I liked this far more than I usually like Pantene products, probably because the formula was so, so different. I did a good job, and my hair didn’t feel limp afterwards when dry. Even the scent is better than usual Pantene offerings, reminds me more of something Fructis might make. Worth noting is that sodium laurel sulfate is it’s primary surfactant, which some people can have sensitivities to. I’m usually ok with it if I don’t use it too many days in a row, otherwise my scalp gets itchy. I would consider buying this if I found it at a great price and needed shampoo at the time.
Like it’s shampoo counterpart, this formula was completely different than Pantene’s other conditioner offerings. In fact, the formula reminded me a lot of Tres Emme’s, which is my go to every day conditioner and has been for years. This did the job well and smelled pretty good. I would consider buying if it were at a great price and I needed conditioner at the time, but I can’t see it ever being any better or cheaper than my $4 a liter Tres Emme. But good job an this new shampoo/conditioner, Pantene.
6) John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo Sample
I didn’t notice any lightening. The formula didn’t lather well, and had a strange chemical undertone to the scent. Would not buy. Seemed almost indistinguishable, aside from the colour from it’s purple tone correcting counterpart I reviewed in my last empties post. Says it’s ammonia and peroxide free. How is this intended to lighten?
7) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream
Also known as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream Night depending on where you buy it from. This is a retinol treatment I have used for a year now and do not intend on stopping, unless I upgrade to a higher dose of retinol. There is still a couple of uses left in this tube, but I felt it would be an important addition to my empties post to demonstrate how long this little 40ml tube lasts. My last empty tube made an appearance in my debut empties post back in May, so I get at least four months worth of use out of one tube. I buy this when it’s on sale for about $16-17 Canadian, so I get my retinol treatments and results for less then $5 a month. Amazing. I’ve done a very in depth full review as well if you’d like to check it out. I will rebuy this until they stop making it, which I hope is never.
I don’t have the little Sephora bag that had the label on it, but I believe this was in shade #010. I went into Sephora asking for samples of foundation of longer wearing, SPF bearing formulas, and this was the winner. It is basically perfect. Coverage was impeccable, it lasted all day in humid weather, no smudging, smearing, or transferring. I found I only needed extra concealer on my dark under eye circles when I used this. The finish is skin like, and just matte enough. I would buy this, but at the atrocious price of $49 Canadian that won’t be happening. I won’t feel too bad about asking for more samples however, after what Sephora put me though, and use it on occasions I need my skin to look nicer.
Hope everyone had a wonderful and productive September! I’m looking forward to October and all the spooky stuff (and candy) it brings with it!
Summer has blown by far too quickly for my liking! Monday is September, and although I like the Fall, I’m still a bit sad to see the pretty summer colours and clothing go. At least I got through a lot of products this summer! This post is huge! Looks like most will be hair care products which I suppose isn’t surprising, I do have a lot of hair. There is also a lot of bath & shower gel type things. I have a lot of these, as I love having so many different scents to choose from. I wasn’t satisfied with only being able to use one per shower, so I decided to come up with a way I could enjoy all these luxurious, yummy smells more often. Whenever one of my Bath & Body Works foamy soap dispensers is empty, after a good rinse I fill the bottom with an inch or so of a selected shower gel. I add a bit of warm water to dilute, stir, then top up, and stir again with the pump. The trick here is to make sure it is *stirred* and not shaken. James Bond would be disappointed. Every time I have shaken this kind of mixture it somehow screws up the pump foaming mechanism. On to my empties! Numbered and described below, left to right.
1) Tres Emme Tres Two Extra Hold Hairspray
It did the job at a good price. I liked it. The only thing I didn’t like was the fragrance. I would buy it again (I actually didn’t buy this one, it was a gift with purchase) but in unscented, should it be available like that.
This was ok. Not much different than any other silicone serum, perhaps a bit thicker. I use a silicone serum daily or my hair become a completely unmanageable frizz fest, and I have found that they are pretty well all the same at any price point. I only bought this one as it was what was on sale at the time. I usually buy the Fructis version as I can generally find it on sale for about $2.50, it has a pump, and it smells great while doing the job. Would not buy again unless I had no other more cost effective options.
3) Yves Rocher Organic Vanilla Shower Gel
Pretty decent vanilla scent. On the sweeter side. Didn’t make my skin itchy or dry. I can’t see myself buying again, I think this was a gift with purchase as well. If you really like sweet vanilla and are placing an Yves Rocher order, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.
4) Bath & Body Works Country Chic Shower Gel
A sweet, citrusy summery floral with a caramel base. Kind of unique. More complex than other BBW fragrances. I like it but not more than my other BBW scents I have reviewed recently, Sunset by the Pool and Peach & Honey Almond (plus there’s more to come!) I still have some of this left in a body spray so can’t see myself needing to rebuy.
5) Bath & Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze Shower Gel
Also known as Coconut Lime Verbena, I think, before the repackaging. This is a super summery, potently tropical lime coconut scent. Very rich for what the notes are. It smelled familiar to me, and I eventually discovered it has 6 notes in common with my old beloved and long discontinued Ralph Lauren Hot, so I used this as a base before wearing the Hot. I don’t see myself repurchasing any time soon as I still have some of this in the spray.
6) The Body Shop Moroccan Rose Shower Gel
A slightly spicy, tiny bit citrusy rose scent. I use this before any rose based scent I’m planning on wearing. It’s a nice, soft, soothing smell. I also have gone through most of the full size bottle of this as well. Might or might not replace, not at that point yet. The lotion of this is also lovely.
7) Yves Rocher Jardins de Monde Laotion Lotus Flower Shower Gel
A fresh, slightly green watery floral. Quite refreshing. I used this before using any watery or water lotus scents. Good formula. This was a gift with purchase, can’t see myself rebuying but was nice while it lasted.
8) Tres Emme 24 Hour Body Silk Protein Conditioner
I have a giant, larger than this bottle even, bottle of Tres Emme conditioner with a pump that I continually refill with more Tres Emme conditioner. I’ve been doing this for probably about 7 years now, at least. It performs well for my extra long, super fine, prone to frizz hair type, and I buy it for something like $4 a litre! This version and the “Climate Control” version are my favourites and I alternate between them. The scent is a fresh-fruity type which doesn’t compete with any other fragrance I might have on. I will continue buying this/these until they stop making them. Love it!
9) Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Color Infinity Shampoo & Conditioner
This was a sample mailed to me. Enormously disappointing. The formula reminds me of Pantene’s, which I also find to be disappointing every single time. Both are Proctor & Gamble. It just doesn’t work with my hair type, might be great for someone else. A quick glance over the ingredient list shows it is very basic, and there is nothing special in here to help keep your hair colour. Basically any well formulated hair care product wouldn’t strip your colour these days. Even the fragrance is remarkably boring. Would never buy this. Vidal Sassoon had an incarnation in the mid 90’s with a formula and fragrance I really liked. Perhaps that was before it’s P&G days. Sad that version wasn’t relaunched.
10) John Frieda Color Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo
I don’t really have a huge problem with brassiness as I prefer my blonde to be on the warmer side, and not too light. I do use these types of purple shampoos from time to time. This one has the same issue I find with all of them – they don’t lather well. Now I know that a big sudsy lather doesn’t necessarily mean it is cleaning your hair better, but I like it. I like to think the bubbles are lifting the dirt and oils up and away to be rinsed off. Maybe I’m imagining it. Otherwise, this shampoo was ok. My hair looked decent after use. Scent was a tiny bit chemically. I think I’d have to use it a lot longer to see any significant tone change, however. As I already have a bottle of straight up purple shampoo for blondes, I wouldn’t purchase. If I didn’t have that, I might.
11) Vichy Normaderm Anti-Age Resurfacing Care
Also claims to be anti-imperfection, and anti-wrinkle. I didn’t buy this, this is one of many products my mom hands over to me when she decides it might not be right for her. I have noticed a trend in these – they often contain alcohol. This product does as well. Mom, read the ingredients, and don’t buy skin care full of alcohol, your skin hates it! Basically, this product is a salicylic acid treatment trying to be fancy. It smells lovely, but facial skin care does not require fragrance. I used this on my less sensitive chest area instead of my face, as alcohol tends to make it oilier, and I liked it for that, but I would never buy this due to the alcohol content. How a product containing skin aggravating alcohol can claim to be anti aging is beyond me.
12) Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne Sample
I am surprised how much I liked this. The sample the very nice girl gave me (she was new, and had not yet succumbed to the ways of Sephora) was very small as there wasn’t any left in the bottle, but I did like the small amount I tried. I went back a month later hoping to find someone to pull another one for me, but the same empty bottle was sitting there, and no one was around to assist me anyway. What a surprise. Anyway, this smells like a classy, rose based scent. I’d like to say more but I’m afraid I would need another sample!
Last and certainly least. So glad to finally see the back of this one. I hated it for my face, as you can read in my full review here. Another facial care product loaded with alcohol. As it still performed well as a sunblock, I used it on less sensitive areas to finish using it up (like feet.) They would need to reformulate this with the skin aggravating ingredients removed for me to ever consider purchasing it again!
So much stuff! Has anyone else tried any of these products? What did you think? Thanks for reading, enjoy the last of your summer!
I’ve been using this product for 6-7 months now, and about to start my third tube, so I feel by now clearly know and like this product well enough for a thorough review! I’m surprised I haven’t yet actually. A note first about the name, as in some areas or depending on what stock your store has, it has changed. In the US (and some retailers in Canada, but not all), this product’s name is now Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night – with the same exact formula as the original. Neutrogena made up a new “original” formula with (insufficient) SPF15 for day. This new other product is in no way the same as the actual original which I am reviewing here. In some places in Canada it is still available as it is labelled in my pictures and write up as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream (no “Night” label, no “SPF15” label). I double checked ingredients carefully to make sure this is the same, as I can see how it would cause a lot of unnecessary confusion.
About the package:
This cream comes in a pretty standard box packaging, with labels stating it contains retinol, multi vitamins and is intended to treat fine lines, winkles and age spots. The side panel suggests you use a cleanser from their line (which I haven’t tried but hear isn’t bad), their SPF 15 during the day (sorry, that formula doesn’t provide adequate sun protection, so nope), and their eye cream but I am of the school of thought that if your regular skin moisturizer/cream/wrinkle treatment is properly formulated there is no need to spend far more for far less product just to put around my eyes. A well formulated cream shouldn’t bother your eyes or skin regardless, just be careful not to put anything too close to your eye as it will migrate over night and possibly get in there, causing irritation. The back of the box has a write up about the product claims. Click for larger pictures.
About the tube itself:
The tube is metal of some sort, which is nice as it blocks out light keeping your retinol safe and effective. I also like this as it flattens itself out as you use it, keeping air out, which also keeps your active ingredients safe. The tube comes completely sealed, which you pierce open with the outer side of the cap that has a built in point especially for this purpose. The tube holds 40mls, which applied in a thin layer seems to last me for a couple of months. The instructions on the back say to apply a small amount to clean skin, but doesn’t say when or how often. I apply this once (sometimes twice if I’m up late and rewash my face) and only at night, as retinols can make your skin very sensitive to sun damage. It also does warn you that you may experience mild tingling or redness. I would normally say that is just your skin being irritated and to not use the product, but due to the nature of how retinol works, this side effect is common and temporary.
About my results:
As this was the first retinol product I had ever used, along with first moisturizer I planned on using somewhere other than around the eye area, I was a bit apprehensive due to my oily, prone to breakout skin. I decided to first try it out on some test areas to see how it would perform. For the first week or so, I placed it only on my under eye area (not too close to eye, maybe a cm down from lower lid). I did feel some mild tingling, and it was welcome as it let me know there was enough retinol in the product to have an effect. This went away quickly, and from the info I can find, your skin acclimates to retinol treatment in this way very quickly. I did not experience any dryness. After being sure that my skin wasn’t going to completely freak out, I decided to try it on a sample area on my forehead. I figured if it broke me out terribly I could try out some bangs for a while. Luckily, no breakouts! What I did experience however, was a case of the retinol uglies. I had read about them before, and then forgot. Then one day I woke up with the lines under my eyes (which normally don’t bother me) looking deeper and much older, I suddenly remembered the retinol ugies are a veryrealthing!
Apparently I got off easy without any dryness and irritation and the trade off was the common experience of having your lines and wrinkles looks worse first. Thankfully I knew this effect is TEMPORARY! I suffered through about a month or more of worse looking wrinkles and dull looking crappy skin (ugh, I went to interviews like this), crossing my fingers that the information I found about this was correct. Apparently this is the stage most people give up. I did not. And I’m sure glad I didn’t.
One morning I woke up – and there it was – results! My skin was softer, plumper, smoother, of more even tone, and those lines under my eyes suddenly looked more like they did about 5 or more years ago, possibly better! As an added effect, the tiny bump type of acne that I’d previously had on occasion along my cheeks especially was greatly reduced. I have also noticed a drastic reduction in cystic type acne as well, I can only think of two, maybe three of those since I’ve begun using this. I do still break out, but they are most certainly fewer. Also noteworthy, blackheads that were impossible for me to remove for years in certain areas had started to just disappear. I find this cream also helps bring other types of blackheads and clogged pores to the surface faster as well, and once removed/healed, the skin is much smoother.
About the product/application itself:
The cream feels very lightweight. It spreads out to a thin layer smoothly. It is a pale yellow colour, which I’ve learned is the actual retinol itself, which shows as a pale yellow. I use about a pea sized dab for my whole face. There is no scent and no greasy residue. It is oil free and alcohol free. I apply this only at night as retinol causes sun sensitivity during the day and can make your wrinkles worse and skin drier. Even the back of the tube clearly recommends an SPF for daytime. A thin layer is best, as more is not necessarily better for retinols. The picture below shows about the amount I use for my whole face, and the pale yellow shade.
About the ingredients:
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Original contains green tea, vitamin e and retinol as the ingredients intended to help your skin. Thankfully it contains no fragrance. Research has shown that the polyphenols in green tea have anti-aging benefits, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properies. Vitamin e is a well proven antioxidant and skin protecting agent. Retinol (a name for the vitamin a molecule) is a skin cell communicating ingredient and an antioxidant. Retinol actually changes how your skin cells grow by creating better, healthier cells. If you are curious about more thorough information on any of these ingredients I’d recommend you check out their respective wikipedia pages, or the ingredient dictionary on Paula’s Choice.
Would I recommend this? Absolutely, but with a few caveats. You must be willing to apply a thin layer every day, only at night, and refrain from complete judgement about this product for 3 months. You might get the uglies. They pass. You also must be willing to endure these uglies, which may include dryness, redness, and for me an overall look of deeper wrinkles and not so great skin tone. For some people this is only a couple of weeks, for me it was over a month. If you’re having some kind of awful allergic reaction then yes of course stop. I’d recommend you look up the ingredients if you think there is something you might react to.
I buy this at my local London Drugs (a pharmacy) on sale for about $16.49, which for this type of product is on the low end of the cost scale. Neutrogena has other retinol offerings but from my own research none have as much retinol or work as effectively as the Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream or Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Night. I sincerely hope they don’t stop making this.
“Bien Fait” is french for “well done”. Did Lancome aptly name this facial sunscreen offering? Well, almost. Perhaps they could have more accurately named this sub brand “Presque”. I’ve been using this product for quite some time now (over a year), and now that it’s almost gone I feel I’ve accumulated enough experience and information for a thorough, fair review. This was a rare treat for me, as I almost never go higher end for cosmetic products. My local pharmacy was offering a gift with $35 Lancome purchase, and I happened to be there specifically in the market for a facial sunscreen. Lancome’s Beinfait UV SPF 50 was exactly $35 at the time, and the free gift was pretty good! Inside a pretty (and by now well used) purple make up bag was a moisturizer, mascara, bronzer, eyeshadow, lipstick, make up remover, and I think a serum of some sort which is by now long gone. It was a ton of stuff! The eyeshadow itself was the clincher, I loved the shades. It was an afterthought to gather up the GWP for a photo, but after realizing I had most of it left in various states of use I figured I should!
Included in the gift makeup bag (that I remember):
-Star Bronzer Natural Glow in 01 Lumiere (not bad, a bit sparkly for day)
-Definicils Precious Cells Mascara in Black (beat up from living in my purse makeup bag, smells like roses, it’s gloppy but ok)
-Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover (also smells like roses, don’t find it any more effective than any other dual layer remover)
-Renergie Lift Volumetry Volumetric Lifting and Reshaping Cream, because apparently creams can do that (nope). I don’t use this on my face as I don’t like jar packaging as I find it unsanitary to continually dip your fingers in and put it on your face. I put this away in a bed side drawer and sometimes use as hand cream when I remember.
-Color Design Cream Lipstick in Natural Beauty (perhaps someone else’s natural beauty, as this is too warm/brown for me on it’s own, nice texture and pigment though – reminds me of the 90’s)
-Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow quad with Pink Pearls (matte), Lavender Girl (shimmer), Clock Strikes 12 (matte) and Sultry Mauve (Matte). I quite like these and often wear it to interviews.
Below are swatches in varying lights, from top to bottom Star Bronzer Lumiere, Pink Pearls, Lavender Girl, Sultry Mauve, Clock Strikes 12, then the Natural Beauty Lipstick.
Back to the actual product I intended to review! Lancome Bienfait UV SPF 50 Ultra Fluid Texture Facial Sunscreen claims to be a quick absorbing. oil free, non comedogenic water resistant broad spectrum UVA/UVB protective sunscreen. Oil free, I guess so. Quick absorbing? Eh, not really. I found I was left with a thin layer of sheen, and I used oil absorbing sheets to pull that off my face before make up application so I wouldn’t be a greasy mess. I’m unable to quantify if it is water resistant as I don’t generally go splashing about after I apply my make up for the day. Non comedogenic? Perhaps for some, but I feel this irritated my skin somewhat, causing a few smaller cysctic acne type breakouts that I have’t gotten since I stopped using this sunscreen, so there goes that claim. As far as effective UVA/UVB coverage goes, well the ingredient list shows the right amount of the right chemicals to make that claim true, so at least there’s that. There is a piece of plastic in the bottle that rattles when you shake it, these are in most of this type of sunscreen bottles I’ve found. The bottle top includes a nice little nozzle/pour spout thing, presumably to keep it from getting everywhere, because…
…application itself was a bit slippery due to the very liquid nature of the product. It was downright runny. Although this does in fact aid in spreading it around your face, it doesn’t help you from keeping it out of areas you do not wish it, such as your eyes! The smell is very strong, and typical of sunscreen scent. Once on, it does burn my skin on a more sensitive day, and the fumes bother my eyes. I will attribute this to the deal breaker ingredient: ALCOHOL. Why, Lancome? I could have put up with the runny texture, and I don’t mind blotting before make up application, but alcohol, in this high of a concentration (I can smell it!) in a leave on product? No no no! I could also blame the skin irritation and strong smell on the alcohol as well. The alcohol content in leave on products causes dryness, free radical damage and irritation. I would think such a well known long standing cosmetics company would know as much. Presumably it was added for the thin, fast drying feel.
I told myself I’d use this til it ran out and never repurchase. The alcohol alone is a deal breaker, especially in a product that doesn’t contain any antioxidants or skin communicating ingredients to mitigate the free radical damage it causes on it’s own. I can’t see why someone would want to pay more for a high end product that will do more harm than good to their skin. I only paid $35 for this (and it’s free gifts), and from what I can see they have raised the cost on this to something around $10 more for this same sub par formulation. To me this is unfathomable. Now that I’ve reached the tail end of this product I will be glad to see the back of it. It would not be worth the repurchase even at the lower cost and free gift I got it at! You can do better Lancome! Will be leaving my sunscreen product needs in the hands of Olay and Neutrogena from now on!