Lotsa New Stuff & Mini Reviews: Sephora, Birchbox, Influenster, Ulta & Target

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I had recently gone on a bit of a shopping rampage in Target, Sephora, Birchbox, Ulta and then came my Influenster box in the mail. Here’s small mini-reviews on the products I’ve been testing out for a few weeks!

1. Benefit The Porefessional: Everyone knows this product and I am also loving it for filling in the pores on my cheeks. I tap it in before any foundation. I’ve tried applying it over foundation like the packaging says you can during those instances I forget to do it first but I don’t like the result as much or how my foundation seems to have moved. I’ll just try to remember to apply it first.

2. OCC Nail Polish in Vapid: I saw this color everywhere after IMATS this year and fell in love. The color is amazing and unique, the formula creamy and opaque. Love it!!!

3. Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde: I feel like everyone & their mother have been getting this new product. I love it because it’s waterproof and easy to apply for a more dramatic OR every day brow, provided you use a lighter touch. I will definitely be using this during vacation and pool days.

4. Boscia Oil-Free Nightly Hydration Moisturizer: I love that this is lightweight for the summer and it also has antibacterial properties, great for humid and hot temperatures as well as my congested, oily skin. I’m almost at a HG status with this little tube of wonder.

5. Caldrea Essentials Collection lotion in Apple Mint: I got this body lotion as a sample in my May Birchbox and fell in love. Serious love. The light lotion is perfect for summer and it leaves a unique smoothness to the skin that made me hunt it down. I found mine at Target which also carried wonderful scents like this Apple Mint, one that I never would have purchased otherwise. I love unique smelling things and this is perfect.

6. Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Fig: I got this on recommendation of Makeup By TiffanyD. Let me say that everything people say about Bite Beauty formulation…. is true. It’s smooth, pigmented, and doesn’t feel heavy on the lips. I love how moisturized my lips feel when I wear it and if not for the price, I’d already have more in my possession.

 

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Next up is the stuff Influenster graciously provided me with to try out (Again, no, I’m not paid to post this nor do they know I am posting this. I did explain the whole program in another post you can read here). I received my Surf’s Up VoxBox and as the name suggests, it includes lots of summer products which is great as I’m preparing to go away.

1. Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Aqua: I normally do not like this brand of polish as it’s chipped more than too easily in my experience but I’m always willing to give it another shot. Oh, and it’s like $2. I have heard the Sinful Shine version is actually really great and lasts better, but it’s hard to find near me. This duo-chromey blue color reminds me of a mermaid 🙂

2. First Aid Shot Therapy: This is marketed as a hangover cure in liquid form. It has a painkiller and replenishing vitamins and minerals your body is lacking the morning after. I’m honestly really skeptical this product will last very long on the market as it’s kind of strange. If your stomach is already upset, why would you want to drink a liquid pain reliever? However… as much as I don’t like feeling gross, this product will be rather interesting to test out regardless of how gimmicky it comes off.

3. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion: I already have and love this stuff. It’s aloe + lotion so it’s not going to leave you utterly sticky like pure aloe tends to (hate that feeling). It’s only miiiildy sticky and I can deal with that. I do love that I now have a travel size for my trip since I’m sure it will come in handy.

4. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sulfate Free Texturizing shampoo + conditioner: I actually never tried anything by this brand but I hear a lot about it. I’m going to try this out on my vacation since I’ll already be in the beach vibe and they’re the perfect size. If I like these, I may branch out in the line and try some more. If there’s anyone reading this who has a favorite product by them, please let me know!

 

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Finally, here’s some stuff I got at Target, Birchbox & Ulta. I wish I could move into Target’s dressing rooms. Anyway.

1. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: I somehow “lost” both my Beauty Blenders a while ago and can’t find it in me to spend another $20 on one when I’m sure I’ll find them. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on the dupe sponges which have all gotten terrible reviews… except this one. I tried it a few times and I do love the finish it gives. My makeup looked flawless and lasted forever each time I used it. While it may not be *as soft* as the BB, I’m ok with that. It’s $6 and honestly, you can’t beat that. (P.S. I linked the best BB deal I found and was considering buying… 2 for $23 on Amazon!)

2. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen: I got a sample of this product in my Birchbox but in the illuminating/regular variety. It was really nice but just didn’t seem to be a match made in heaven with the dewey finish plus my oily skin. In between my pale and tan self, I’ve been mixing this with the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream in Fair for a perfect match. It has light to medium coverage and I could certainly build it up in the areas I need.

3. Tangle Teezer brush: I heard so so so much about this goofy little brush for months. I have super long hair and have used a pick to comb it out for just about as long as I can remember. Let’s just say… I immediately felt like I should tell everyone I know about this thing. My first experience with it was taking my hair down from a knotty little bun it had been in all day and the Tangle Teezer breezed through the hair, making it super soft without as much as a tug. I was amazed. It’s a little more noticeably tugging on your hair when it’s wet, but still just as good. I am in love.

4. IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination in Fair: I heard Grav3yardGirl/Bunny talking about this product and since I already love so many of their items, I figured I needed to try this. It’s simply a pressed powder foundation with medium to full coverage.  It was a little cakey a few hours after the very first application using a powder brush. I don’t know if it is user error or the brush I used… or even using a primer would help, but I’m not giving up yet. I have an upcoming review of a bunch of IT Cosmetics products so while I’m not in love with this illuminating version right now, I do like it and have to continue to play with it. It may be excellent to use to set a light coverage foundation for an extra boost where you need it.

 

Phew. If you’re still reading this, I owe you a drink. Thank you 🙂

– SF

Note: Beauty Organizer Drawers in photographs purchased from HomeDecorators.com 

Trial & Review: NEW GlamGlow PowerMud Dualcleanse Treatment Mask

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If there’s a facial mask out there, you better believe I’m gonna be getting my hands on it. My problem (read: congested) skin requires me to try any and all masks on planet earth (or could just my OCD). SO my all-time & cult favorite mask company, GlamGlow, recently released another brand new all-star product called PowerMud Dualcleanse Treatment. It’s a special clay mask that turns into an oil cleanser when you wet it, A.K.A. GENIUS. I never tried oil cleansers but have been seriously investigating them for a few weeks now and then saw this mask and figured it would be a perfect introduction to the whole concept. And boy, was it.

I have oily, clogged pores without much dryness at all so I thought this would be the perfect middle ground between their Supermud (detoxifying) and Thirstymud (hydrating) masks. I have used it about 4 times so far and I absolutely love it. I spread a thin layer on my skin and let it try about 20 minutes even though the container recommends 5-10. The smell if it is just plain incredible which GlamGlow describes as pear, I believe. The mask is mostly smooth in consistency but has a very small amount of exfoliating bits.  I wouldn’t even consider them really doing much exfoliating on my skin but they do feel nice when you wet your skin and start massaging around the ‘oil’ before rinsing. I follow up with my usual evening moisturizer, Boscia’s Oil-Free Nightly Hydration.

The next morning, I noticed that it was quite hydrated. I never notice that in my skin because I’m always using more of a drying product (and yes, I do moisturize twice daily) but my face just felt a bit plumper. I think this is an excellent gentle-yet-detoxifying addition as my skin is slowly becoming a bit more combo (thank god). It’s honestly just perfect for combo skin but would recommend everyone giving it a try. Even if you have dry skin, the detoxifying clay is followed by the gentle oils which would provide the moisture those types of skin require. I even use it as a spot-treatment if I don’t feel like doing a full face. 😛

I will absoluttttely be using this weekly instead of my other GlamGlow masks because it’s the best of both worlds. I give it a huge thumbs up, even though it’s rather pricey – I got mine online at Sephora for $69 for the 1.7oz, which is the same size as my other GlamGlows. Please let me know if you give it a try and your experiences!

– SF

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OH HAY GIEZ

Brand OCD: Philosophy

Before I get started, here’s a little pic from our recent weekend trip 🙂

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Ever since high school, I’ve been on the endless hunt for the perfect skincare routine to make my easily annoyed skin happy. I recently decided to try more of the Philosophy brand because so many people give their stuff raving reviews.

I’ve used Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple face wash. While I think it’s a nice gentle facial cleanser, I don’t think it’s anything spectacular. It does get eye makeup off rather easily, but none of that really wows me when I still use a eye makeup remover prior to washing anyway. My sister does love it and I’m sure it’s perfect for more drier skin types than my oil spill of a face.

I recently tried their Hope in a Jar Night cream. I have seen tons of hype around the product for years and didn’t think it was suited for my oily skin. I then got tired of all my night skincare moisturizer and decided to see if this product is worth it. In short, it is! The cream is thick and super-hydrating. It doesn’t break me out or make me oilier though I do use this at night, of course. I do feel like my skin is smoother to the touch and will be buying a full-size in the very near future.

When trying a new face or skin product, I usually combine it with my current product and use the new one in a small area to “test” it out before going full-face. I would totally rather break out/get irritated in a small portion (jawline) rather than all over my face. Does anyone else do this?!

I also love their Miracle Worker Retanoid Eye Repair Cream. It’s silicon-y and moisturizing and seemed to help with fine lines around my eyes. I am currently using something else, but will probably eventually re-buy this eye cream.

I have gotten a sample of the Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Energizing Moisturizer w/ SPF 30 (not the oil-free version) but haven’t tried it yet. It says to have caffeine to help detoxify and decongest the skin which is perfect for me to try on our upcoming Bermuda trip. If anyone has used this stuff, please let me know your thoughts on it & what kind of skin type you have! 🙂

 

BONUS PICTURES! I have been painting my nails all sortsa colors lately. Check em out below 🙂

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Essie in Mint Candy Apple

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Sally Hansen Xtreme in Pacific Blue & Sally Hansen Nail Stickers in Check It Out for the accent nail

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Essie DJ Play That Song and Color Club Nail Art Pen in Black (From May Birchbox, a sweet little kit is here) & Butter London glitter in West End Wonderland

My OOTD

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Chambray Shirt: Express (last season)

Tank: Target “Long and Lean” Tanks [*BONUS! They’re on sale for $5.40 right now]

Jeans: Express Extreme Stretch Leggings (not available anymore! wah!)

Shoes: Toms in Camo

*Please ignore my lovely garbage can. I can’t take a picture without that damned thing sneaking in! I need a better full-length mirror 😛

I’m hesitant to say it but… my skin looks awesome!!!

I’m getting really great results from the skin care items I’ve been using for the past few months. I posted about the products I was trying a few weeks back and wanted to give a happy update. My skin is greatly improving every day and I can honestly say I think it’s due to these items. Together or separate, I’m not sure what the biggest helpful addition is/was, but I’m super excited about it. You can read the post where I detail the products I’m using here.

Oh and here’s me today without any makeup and only my Shiseido moisturizer… o_O

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Sure, I took that picture with my iPhone so it’s not the greatest of qualities but I just want to point out how much smoother and clearer my skin recently has become. Which I never thought I’d get to say until I was like, 70.

I’ve been battling these bumps on my face for about 2 years now along with the occasional regular breakout. I have had a remarkably lesser amount of that in the past 2 months. One or two very minor blemishes pop up but they quickly go away.

[For sanity’s sake, I’ve just linked all these products for those reading at the bottom of the post.]

Here’s some newer products I’ve added into the overall routine (and also pictured is an oldie but goodie as in HG status):

1. Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Toner: I use this after I get out of the shower/after washing my face completely with my Clarisonic and MB Glycolic cleanser, before I put on moisturizer. I feel that this toner balances my skin and gets rid of any surviving makeup (which is quite the feat there, Mr. Makeup). I also found out this comes in *huge* pre-moistened towelettes which is super convenient for those who travel a lot.

2. L’Oreal Skin Perfecting Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Water Solution:  Ok. This stuff isn’t available in the US, so let me just say that straight away. I heard great things about Bioderma and that this L’Oreal one was a dupe so I bought it online on eBay. And wow… it’s quite amazing. It’s like a makeup remover and toner mixed into one. It feels like water, has no scent, and it is hypoallergenic, also a great plus for my breakout-prone skin. I tried it and immediately fell in love. It leaves no oily residue and removes everything with a cotton pad. I recently tweeted L’Oreal to bring this to the US since it’s so much cheaper ($6-8, US converted price for 200ml) than the Bioderma ($30ish for 250ml). Hopefully they hear my sobs all the way from my makeup chair.

3. Palmers Coco Butter Swivel Stick: I’ve used this stuff since middle school. People used to ask me if I was putting a glue stick on my lips. Boys thought I was weird. I just knew I had the softest lips in town. I think it’s needless to say I still use this every day and have multiples laying around the house. It’s soft, buttery, smells incredible, and covers your lips in 1 swipe. It also stays on your lips for a long period of of time and actually sinks into your lips, unlike an EOS ball lip balm. I’ll use this forever, I’m sure. Did I mention it’s under $3?

Oh, and did you notice the bottom of the one pictured, where my dog Stu decided to try it out as a bone? I never knew he was into soft lips.

4. Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer Enriched: Yes I’ve posted about this stuff before but here I go again!

I’ve been using this goo for about 4 months now, ran out, and have even repurchased it. I use it alone as my nighttime moisturizer. It’s thick, absorbs quickly, doesn’t make me oilier (thank god), has a nice scent (if you’re sensitive you may think it’s overpowering but I love it), doesn’t have any sulfate ingredients, and it doesn’t clog my pores — hallelujah! I have nothing bad to say about it except that it’s $45 for 1.7 oz… however one lasted me for over 3 months with using it every single night without fail.

5. Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment: I posted in my February Skincare Update about how I was using this new product here when I got this as a sample and gave it a try as I really love all other Boscia products I’ve bought — I try to go for more natural products, both in what I eat and what I put on my body, as much as possible (provided the body/makeup product works, haha).

I use this eye cream at night after I put on my face moisturizer. It has a slight silicony feel without being overly slippery (hate that). It sinks nicely into my eye area and seems to hydrate it well. I don’t have much dryness in my eye area though so I can’t comment on how well it would work for people with extremely dry skin. I think it seems to have lessened any fine lines a bit and I would definitely purchase it in the future. I have another eye cream to try out first but I – officially, certainly – like this one a lot. 🙂

SkincareMarch2014Update

I’ve put all these items in a collection on my Luvocracy site so that anyone can find/buy them straight away aka no googling: Current Skincare Products Luvocracy Collection

Stay tuned as I will be posting about a face ‘peel’ I just tried and am seemingly falling in love with. As in, take-the-peel-out-for-dinner-and-buy-it-pink-roses love. I won’t be buying it red roses quite yet; I don’t want to jump the gun, ya know?

Thanks for taking the time to read & to hang out with me.

– SFB

Bad Beauty Habits!

We all have them. Sometimes I don’t admit them to myself either. So let’s get real for a hot minute.

There are a bunch of beauty ‘habits’ we shouldn’t nevar evar do; here are my top 5.

1. Touching thy face.

This means putting your hand on your chin or cheek, picking and prodding at blemishes, etc. I am guilty, 100%. I can’t not touch my face. My hands gravitate there when I’m not even looking. Sometimes I think it’s a learned habit and sometimes I think it’s almost like a nervous tick. It’s so annoying to me too, since I know I shouldn’t do it since hands are the most bacteria-laden things on your entire body!! I have to remind myself daily (hourly?), NO TOUCHY. It’s like I’m scolding the child inside of me. It helps if my nails are painted since I don’t want to mess them up or if I had just put on hand lotion. Those are my little tricks that sometimes work. It’s the most hated thing about myself but hey, it’s a work in progress.

2. Flossing.

I hate to floss. It’s annoyingly tedious and I feel like it rarely does anything that I can “see.” That’s usually the problem with me; if I don’t visually see a difference, I don’t think it’s doing anything regardless of knowing better and years of dental hygiene being drilled into my skull. It’s one of those things I’m working on as well which is also going hand-in-hand with finishing my dental routine with mouthwash. This blog post is already sounding like I am a scuzzy scuzzball. I promise I’m super clean and healthy 😛

3. Peeling Off Nail Polish.

I paint my nails all the time and I love it. I have more nail polish than I can count and am always adding to the collection. My fallback is nervously or absent mindedly peeling off my nail polish. My policy is, once I start don’t stop until it’s all off (although this is not a good policy, haha). This is mostly due to my absolute hatred of massively chipped nails. I can stand a few chips as that’s normal wear, but having half your nail polish missing reminds me of those gross people who smell of old cigarette smoke and daddy issues. However, peeling the polish off really ruins the top layer of your nails and could possibly damage your nail bed! If you do this too, have you ever noticed how dry your nails sometimes look after you peeled off the color? I’m trying to not be as lazy and just grab my nail polish remover but everyone knows how much more fun it is and easier it is to peel it off, especially for glitter nail polish! I have yet to try those “Peel Off” base coats as I hear they don’t make your polish last as long but may give it a shot soon if I hear of a good brand to try.

4. Daily Hair Washing.

I have an oily scalp, oily face, oily everything. How could I possibly go a day without washing my hair? It’s long, fine, and oily. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Well… I recently did it. About 3 months ago, I started washing my hair every other day and I’m still alive and sane. I know, I know – I can barely believe it myself. I do color my hair and that does take some of the natural oils out and my hair tends to be less oily after I’ve just had it done, so I have that working in my favor. However, I began washing my hair twice in the shower and then conditioning (or deep conditioning). I rarely dry my hair or for more than 3 minutes if I absolutely have to. On second day hair, I use the HG-status Batiste dry shampoo which is my sole savior during those off days. I remember watching Casey Holmes’ video (video here) on how she ‘weaned’ her hair off everyday washing (she has similar skin to myself) and it’s working for her that she’s at the point of washing every 3 days or more, I believe, which is amazing as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point, but she motivated me to try it and I think my hair is similarly adapting. It’s a rough process but so much better for your hair to wash as least as possible so it’s certainly my bad habit to try and break.

5. Body Moisturizing.

I used to be so good at this, I swear. For years. Now, all of a sudden I never fully moisturize my body after a shower anymore during the cold winter months. I simply can’t bare to be cold for a second longer than necessary and I put as much clothes on as possible as soon as possible, leaving no time to moisturize my skin. Do I even have to say that it’s the worst time to “forget” to moisturize? Winter dries out your skin worse than ever and I literally have the deserts of Nevada spread across my body. I have a space heater in my room now so it’s helping me stay warm enough to slap some body butter on, for now. Spring is not too far away so at least I have warmer weather to help me break this habit!

– SF

Seven Deadly Sins Tag

Thanks Obama! It’s Presidents Day!

I found the SEVEN DEADLY SINS tag on LauraBorealis’ blog and thought I’d do it too.

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Greed: What’s your most expensive beauty item?
Clarisonic Mia 2! I love this thing and it literally lives up to the hype. It changed the texture of my skin and my boyfriend even uses it.

Wrath: What item do you have a strong love/hate relationship with?
Anything Rose scented. For example, the Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Sleeping Facial. It does wonders to my skin’s brightness but I have a hard time getting over the scent. I also want to like it because my middle name is Rose! Dumb, I know. To top it all off, I think it breaks me out a bit. After all that, I keep trying to use it because I love it so much. Boo hoo 😦

Gluttony: What brand takes up most of your collection?
MAC or L’oreal. I tend to die over all L’Oreal products and have tons of MAC shadows.

Sloth: What product do you ignore the most due to laziness?
Definitely lipstick. Day to day, re-applying lipstick is a lot more work so I tend to go for balms and lipgloss (like laauraborealis!) even though I often wish during the day I brought my lipstick! Hindsight is 20/20?

Pride: Which product gives you the most confidence?
Concealer. I tend to get breakouts and have dark spots that make me feel like a spotted leopard at times. I feel most confident with an even skin tone.

Lust: What item is at the top of your list?
Hourglass Immaculate Foundation but I’m so in love with my IT Cosmetics BB cream right now I’m trying to wait it out a bit!

Envy: Which makeup product/look looks great on others but not on you?
White liner on my waterline. I think it makes me look sick rather than awake. I try to use a nude shade instead but I’m still trying to work out whether it looks good or like I’m on my deathbed.

 

Enjoy your day off everyone! If you’re working, well that’s more money in the bank to spend on yourself, gurrrrrrrrl.

– SF

Feburary Snowstorm Skincare Update

Looks like we’ve got ourselves a bit of a storm up here in the Northeast called Niko. It’s kind of odd that they name storms like this… I don’t remember that as a kid. Hurricane’s were the only ones that got names!

I wanted to share a little update today on my new skin care products and how they’re working out with my crazy weird skin.

Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer – I seriously love this stuff. I had the best skin month and a half in god knows how long, probably due to this moisturizer. Aaaaaand then I ran out. My inner product-junkie kept whispering in my ear to try something new so I put off buying until I figured out what I wanted to try next.

Here’s what Sephora has to say about it:

What it is:
A moisturizer to help skin retain its plump state, free of blemishes, visible pores, and roughness. 

What it is formulated to do:
This multiaction formula intensively corrects the appearance of unevenness such as visible pores, breakouts/blemish marks, and skin roughness. It renews the skin’s surface, revealing an incredibly smooth, uniform texture, while keeping skin hydrated all day long. 

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Sulfates 
– Phthalates 

Research results:
After 4 weeks: 
– 96% of users felt their skin was in its best condition ever with improvements in visible pores, the appearance of breakouts/ blemish marks, and skin roughness”

 

I concur, Sephora. I concur.

 

I had a deluxe sample of Korres Wild Rose Night Facial Cream and I think it made my skin break out a bit. I’m sad because I really wanted to like this stuff and could even get past the rose scent (yes, I am likely the only woman on earth who doesn’t care for rose-scented anything, ever). I guess I could give it another shot since I only have the sample size, but for now it is a no-go until my skin is back on track.

It’s back to Shiseido I go. I ordered another Ibuki moisturizer (I’m way too lazy/cold to go bricks & mortar style) so in the meantime, I am trying Bosica’s Oil-Free Nightly Hydration moisturizer. I originally wanted to wait to try this until the hotter months since it’s oil-free and bit light for winter until my current predicament. The past two nights I’ve used it, my skin felt smooth and almost as if there is silicone in the product. I have no complaints yet but I’ll likely stick with Sheseido and keep this Boscia back on reserve for spring.

Clarisonic Acne-Prone Face Brush – I like it. I don’t love it, but I like it. The thing is, it’s so rough even for me. I’m pretty tough when it comes to facial care and this thing just needed too much ‘breaking in’ for my taste. I’m not sure it’s doing anything better than the Deep Pore brush either, so I’ll stick to that one in the future.

Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment – I really like this eye gel. It’s smooth and silicone-y, which I like. It doesn’t burn my eyes or cause any irritation and seems to lighten the darkness under my eyes. I have a large sample size so I’ve been using it for the past 2 weeks or more, so I will officially make a decision once I’ve used up the container. Note: I only use this at night so I have yet to see what it does underneath makeup and if it performs well.

Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk – I bought this on a recommendation from a good friend and fellow product/beauty junkie. She never steers me wrong. I have tried this a few times and really like it. It smells like oranges and although it doesn’t foam up all that much like my Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, I really like that it has enzymes in it which unclog your pores. I can’t say if it really does all that yet but I sometimes use it as a 5-minute mask in the shower which is super convenient.

If anyone has any suggestions for things to try/review, let me know in the comments. I’m up for new products always! I hope to film a new YouTube video soon. Thanks for hanging out with me again 🙂

Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk