New Beauty Products to Check Out

It feels like this has been a really long week and I know, I am totally in need of a little retail therapy.  I totally shouldn’t because after moving and having to reorganize everything, I realize that I have way too many makeup, skin care, and hair care products hanging around waiting for me to try them out.  But I don’t think that will stop me.  Especially not when there are so many great new things to try!  So, if you’re planning on doing a bit of shopping this weekend, you might want to take a look at Sheerluxe’s take on the best of the recent beauty product releases.  They have a list of 28 different products across makeup, skin care, perfume, and tools.  There is certainly something for everyone and every budget on their list.

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush
Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

I can always find a few things on their monthly new beauty list that get me in the mood to go shopping.  This month, I’m really intrigued by the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush which you can get at FeelUnique for £79.00.  Here’s what they say about it:

Developed by dermatologists, the first sonic movement cleansing brush has two bristle types for targeting those hard-to-reach, contoured areas of the face where dirt hides. Gentle. yet oh-so effective.

Who doesn’t want their face to be clean and free of all the residues from sunscreen or pollutants?  To me this seems like a good alternative to the really expensive Clarisonic sonic cleansers.  The Clarisonic definitely gets great reviews but they are so pricey I just can’t convince myself that they are worth it.  But the much smaller price (like almost half the price)  for the Clinique brush, seems more tolerable to me.  I also like that the Clinique version comes with a USB charger to make it easy to charge when you’re traveling.  Of course, I’m still kind of wondering if these cleansing brushes are worth the money at all.  Can I just get essentially the same results using a washcloth with my cleanser?  I’m just not quite sure yet.

The other things that caught my eye in the Sheerluxe roundup this month, are also, nicely, the cheapest things on the list.  I definitely want a pair each of the Kiko Intensive Hand Gloves and Intensive Foot Socks, either for £4.90.  I have dry skin anyway, and all the moving stuff has left my hands looking pretty dismal.  I think these gloves and socks are just what I need to get my hands back to soft and lovely shape.  These are really like a spa treatment for your hands and feet because the gloves and socks are impregnated with creams that work to moisturize your hands and feet and leave them feeling soft and looking their best.  Unfortunately, they are single use items, kind of like a mask for your hands or feet, really.  This price is small enough that I’d be willing to give these a try.

Youthmud Mask....miracle in a jar?
Youthmud Mask….miracle in a jar?

If the list of new products isn’t enough to consider for the weekend, or maybe you’re just in need of a relaxing at home spa day, check out the Sheerluxe list of at home masks.  I’m a big fan of the GLAMGLOW Youth Mud mask and use it to give my skin a real boost for a special occasion or just anytime I need a bit of a pick me up for my skin.  It feels all tingly going on and leaves your skin looking fresher and smoother.  And it the effects on your skin really do last for a few days too.  I also find the DHC Alpha-Arbutin White Mask really effective at brightening the skin.  It’s made with alpha-arbutin, mulberry, serine and peony, as well as sodium hyaluronate to keep your face really nicely hydrated and to make the most of the alpha-arbutin.  I find the cloth masks the ultimate in a relaxation treat since they force you to lay still for 20 minutes or so, it makes it so much more pampering.

Now I’m torn between wanting to go shopping and sitting around relaxing with a mask on and deep moisturizing treatments on my hands and feet.  So many choices.  Or, maybe I’ll do both.


My Favourite Travel Sized Companions

We take a lot of weekend trips, so over the last few years I’ve tried to get a good selection of travel sized beauty products.  If we’re not going on a super long trip, I only carry hand luggage, which means I have to comply with airline regulations that I have all of my liquids in a clear quart sized bag and none of the items can be over 100ml.  This is pretty annoying and restrictive, but I’ve found some really great multi-purpose products that fit into the small size requirements perfectly.  Sometimes, I even have room left over in my quart sized bag.

Some of my favourite travel companions
Some of my favourite travel companions

1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, 70ml – I’ve written about this before because it is my daily facial cleanser of choice.  It’s an ideal travel companion though because it does the work of two products but isn’t a space hog.  It removes makeup and leaves your skin looking and feeling super clean but since it doesn’t strip it of its natural oils your skin still feels soft and not at all tight.    I always use it to remove my makeup because it works so well on even really stubborn mascara.  Plus, the oil texture means that you don’t have to worry about scrubbing at the delicate skin around your eye area to get your eye makeup off.  You can only find this at the DHC website, but you can get it in two travel sizes now: 70ml for £11.00 or the really tiny 30ml version for £4.50.

2. La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light, 50ml – This is another great multi-purpose item.  Depending on how heavy you put this on it is equally good as a day or night cream.  It doesn’t have an SPF in it, but I’ve got another product for that, so it can be used to keep you skin hydrated and lovely all day and night.  It has a nice light texture that works well under foundation because it isn’t too heavy feeling, and really, the lack of SPF means that you won’t get any of that shine in your holiday snaps either.  At night I put this on a bit heavier and it works to keep my skin hydrated.  You can get La Roche-Posay products at a number of chemists, but I get mine from FeelUnique for £16.50.  They also have a formula that is thicker called Hydraphase Intense Rich for people with really dry skin, they sell a version of that with SPF too, both for £16.50 as well.

3. Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, 30ml – I am loving this foundation.  I haven’t had a chance to write my full review of this yet, but the condensed version is that I am a huge fan.  This gives your skin a beautiful smooth, matt finish with an incredibly light texture even with its SPF15.  It goes on as a liquid but dries to a powdery type finish, and that’s how it makes your skin look so great.  It is light enough that you can use it under your eye area too without it settling into all of the fine lines and looking like a hot mess.  This is great for travel because of the packaging, but also because you’ll look gorgeous on holiday.  The packaging is very slim, flat, and compact so it fits in your little bag of liquids really well.  This is the best liquid foundation packaging I think I’ve come across for traveling.  Also, you don’t need to use a lot of it so this little bottle has good longevity.   You can get this at Boots or Harrods for £33.00.

4. Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara, 6.5g –  I’ve used this mascara for years and love it.  It will always have a place in my mascara collection because of how you can use it to either get a very light coating or layer it up for a more dramatic look.  The small brush is the key I think because it is can easily coat all of your lashes, upper and lower, without clumping.  It’s nice for travel because of the slim packaging, which I’m sure they can achieve because of the small brush.  Also, I never have a problem with this flaking after a long day, which is great since I wear contact lenses.  Lately I’ve been getting my Définicils Mascara from FeelUnique for £22.50.  You can use this without an eyelash curler because it will actually give your lashes a bit of curl it seems, or you can pack the very compact Muji Portable Eyelash Curler (£3.95) which takes up way less space in your travel bag than your traditional eyelash curler.

5. Aveda brilliant Retexturing Gel, 25ml – Dave and I have both been using this for years in our travel kit.  It works really well to give your hair body and control without making it look dry or dull.  I like it because I can use it to bring out my curl or to keep my hair sleek and smooth when I blow it out straight.  This has all kinds of reasons for being in my travel bag really, not the least of which is that both Dave and I can use it and it works for curly or straight hair.  It’s quite good for hold too, so sometimes I don’t even need to bother with hairspray, which means I can save that much more room.  I’ve only had luck finding the travel sized version of the brilliant Gel from Aveda for £5.50.

6. L’Oreal Elnett Flexible Extra Hairspray, 75ml – Even though I just got through saying that I don’t always need hairspray with the Aveda gel, sometimes I do, it just depends on where we are traveling too.  I like the L’Oreal Elnett Flexible Extra because it keeps my hair soft to the touch, and to the eye, but still manages to have great holding powers.  I find this to be really useful when it is humid too because it doesn’t ever seem to get sticky like a lot of hairsprays.  I normally get mine when I order from my groceries from Ocado for £2.50 because it seems to be less expensive than other places I’ve found it. It is kind of expensive for this little can, but I haven’t found a good replacement that is less expensive for a travel size.

7. bareMinerals Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, 4g – Okay, this doesn’t need to go into your clear baggie of liquids, but is something you should always take when you’re traveling.  I’ve only been using this for about a month now, but I love it.  The powder sunscreen works so well to protect my skin, but doesn’t feel heavy or make my face feel greasy or sweaty.  I like that this does double duty as a way to protect my skin from the sun, but also as a light finishing powder to set my makeup.  The packaging is nice because it comes with its own retractable brush so you don’t have to worry about bringing one along with you but is still really compact.  This can easily tuck away in your carry on luggage or even your handbag.  I got mine from FeelUnique for  £21.95.

So, that’s not an exhaustive list of what’s in my travel bag, but these are the things that are always going to be in there.  If you are looking for some other travel sized suggestions, Vogue recently had a great article with 20 petite products that they think are tops for travel.

Bank Holiday Sales at Two of My Beauty Favourites

FeelUnique: Save 10% or 15%

Dior Vernis Cherie Bow Nail Glow from FeelUnique
Dior Vernis Cherie Bow Nail Glow from FeelUnique

I have written about FeelUnique quite a lot since I started this blog, because they are my goto beauty supermarket. I buy skin and hair care there quite a bit, and they are always the first place I turn when I’m looking for makeup too.  They have a ton of different brands, both expensive and not, and are always adding new ones too.  The one brand they don’t carry that I really like, is Chanel, but I’m hoping that changes in the near future.  Their prices are really good too, usually very comparable to Amazon.  They also let you choose a couple of samples during checkout now too; I think the number of samples you get depends on how much you order.  The really cool thing they do now though is their Try Me program.  When you buy any of the products in their Try Me collection, they send along a sample size of a product that you have purchased so that you can try it out first to see if you like it, and if you don’t you can return your unopened full sized product.  I order from them once or twice a month usually and love how they have free delivery (worldwide actually) and their packages always arrive really quickly.  I placed an order with them around 5 pm Friday evening, and miraculously they had it shipped out Friday night too.  That’s an impressive turnaround time.

So, this great website is having a sale for the Bank Holiday where you can save either 10% or 15% depending on your order size.  If your order totals less than £30.00, you can save 10% using the code UNDER30 at checkout.  If your order totals more than £30.00, you can save 15% using the code OVER30 at checkout.  This makes it the perfect time to try out some new products!  And if you’re going to place an order, be sure to check out their Special Offers page.

DHC: Free Delivery on Orders Over £30.00

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

I’ve been using DHC for years and years, so long that I don’t even remember how long it has been or how I even heard about them the first time.  I do know that it was the Deep Cleansing Oil that first got me hooked on DHC though.  It is a wonderful cleanser and certainly my favourite.  It leaves your skin perfectly clean, but still retaining all of the natural oils.  It can take off all of your makeup even stubborn mascara and eye liner.  It’s something I always have, I even have a small size that I use when I travel.  I love DHC so much that when we went to Japan last summer (where they are from), we took some extra time to do some DHC shopping and I brought back a lot of stuff (we actually ended up buying a new suitcase to fit my items in).  I love just about everything of theirs that I try.  In the last year, I’ve even started trying out more of their makeup because previously it was just their skin and hair care products that I used.  All of the makeup that I have tried is really nice too, and I’m planning on getting their mascara as well because it is in a lot of the Lisa Eldridge videos, so I figured I would give it a try.  Plus, if you order from them and really don’t like something or it is a problem for you, like it breaks you out or something, they have a 60 day guarantee.  I also like that they always let you pick four samples during checkout from their huge list of products, no matter how much your order total.

For today only, you can get free shipping on any order over £30.00.  If you’re going to order from them, I highly suggest the Deep Cleansing Oil. You should also make sure that you check out the sales and discontinued items because they often have really good deals in those areas.

DHC Alpha-Arbutin White Cream

I really like DHC skin care products, so they were my first stop to try to even my skin tone.  My skin is pretty fair and very prone to sunburns, so I do, unfortunately, have a few patches that have darkened and I’d love a way to lighten up those areas or get rid of them completely.  The DHC Alpha-Arbutin White Cream is supposed to be great for moisturizing while evening skin tone.  DHC say that the cream is good at lightening dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, from things like sun, which can make your skin look old prematurely.   Unfortunately, you can probably guess how well this worked out though since I purchased the new Lancome DreamTone earlier this week.

DHC Alpha-Arbutin White Cream
DHC Alpha-Arbutin White Cream

This cream is made with vitamin E to moisturize your skin and leaves your skin feeling lovely and soft.  The addition of mulberry is what is supposed to brighten and even out your skin tone.  I’ve read on several beauty sites that mulberry is the thing to use for getting rid of dark patches, so I was hoping to find out that it really was true and not just a myth.  But sadly for me, it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on my dark patches.  However, as a moisturizer it was great and did make my skin soft and great looking.  I used it at night because it is quite thick and would be dreadful under makeup I think because it is not only heavy but so moisturzing.  I see much mascara and eyeliner smearing if you tried to use this under your makeup.

This cream should be good for everyone’s skin, no matter your dryness or oiliness.  DHC has an entire range of Alpha-Arbutin White products, such as a toner, mask, and a lightweight moisturizer.  Naturally, they suggest that you use the whole line, but I just used the moisturizer  and masks to see how they would work for me.  I figured that if it was going to work, it would do it and I wouldn’t need to layer it up with the whole line.  There’s a single review of it on the DHC UK website, and that person indicates that it has worked for them, she uses it with the DHC Alpha-Arbutin White mask too.  So, I was really hopeful that it would work for me too.

I used the whole pot of this and kept hoping that it would start working but even after six months, my dark spots remained just as dark as when I started using it.  So, while I wouldn’t recommend it for dark spot treatment or evening out skin tone, as I mentioned above, I would suggest it highly for a really good nighttime cream that won’t break the bank.  Since it is so creamy and thick you don’t need that much of it to moisturize your skin and leave it feeling beautiful.  If you are in the market for a nice moisturizer, I would suggest you try it, but just discount the skin tone brightening properties.  I had purchased the Alpha-Arbutin White Masks as well, but while the masks are a lovely little relaxing me-time treat, they didn’t do anything spectacular for my skin.  I also did not notice the cream and mask combo making a bit of difference.

As with all DHC products, you must go to the DHC website to purchase them.  At the DHC UK website, you can get a 35 gram/1.2 oz pot of the Alpha-Arbutin White Cream for £39.00.   Several months ago when I bought mine, I was able to buy it in a set with the Alpha-Arbutin White Mask for £39.00 (the cream was £4.00 cheaper then too).  When I bought the set they had a box of 5 masks that were regularly £8.50, but now they seem to just sell a single mask for £3.75.  It’s a shame they no longer offer the set because it offered a 10% discount over buying the two items separately.  It’s also a shame that they don’t sell more masks in a pack.  I think that £3.75 is far too much for a single mask, especially for something that requires continued or long term use to work.  At the DHC US website, you can get a 35 gram/1.2 oz pot of the Alpha-Arbutin White Cream for $49.00.  Also in the US, you can still get the box of five Alpha-Arbutin White Masks for $12.00, but sadly they don’t seem to offer the set either.

DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil

The Deep Cleansing Oil is the product that first brought me to DHC.  I’ve been using it for so long I can’t even remember how I happened upon it the first time, but am so glad that it I managed to find it.  Since I’ve used this, I have become a big fan of DHC and now use several of their skin care products, a couple of their hair products, and I’ve recently started trying their makeup line too.  DHC hails from Japan and has been creating wonderful skin care products for more than 30 years.  Their skincare products are free from parabens, unnecessary fragrances, and colourings.  They use olive oil in a number of their products, as well as other natural ingredients, mixed with a fair dose of technology and innovation to create exceptional products.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

I am positive that it seems very strange to anyone that hasn’t tried this, to actually clean your face with oil, but I promise you it works beautifully.  First of all, to put your mind at ease, this is a totally water soluble oil.  This means that it goes on and feels just like you are slathering cooking oil on your face, but when you add water it washes off easily taking all of the dirt, debris, and makeup with it.  It will leave your skin beautifully soft and clean without stripping it of the necessary oil that you need to protect your skin from dryness and aging.  Here’s what they say about it on the DHC website:

Water-soluble Deep Cleansing Oil contains a rich blend of skin-loving vitamin E and hydrating olive oil. It helps unclog pores by clearing impurities and make-up, leaving your face a grime-free zone. Rinses away to help leave skin fresh and clean. Olive oil and vitamin E fight free radicals.

The oils in the cleanser are incredible for removing makeup, even the most stubborn waterproof things like liner and mascara.  This actually works better than any other makeup remover I have ever tried, and I have tried quite a few in my search to find the right one.  I always come back to the Deep Cleansing Oil though.  I must admit, I also like the efficiency of cleaning my face and removing my makeup all in one quick step.  Plus, with this I don’t need to worry about having cotton rounds or anything else, just my hands and some water.  As a result, I always bring this with me when we travel.  You can use it without much hassle on a train or plane, have a clean face in no time, and all you need is this little tiny travel sized bottle, so it doesn’t take up precious space in your travel kit.

I don’t like to do a lot of fussing around with a complicated cleaning ritual in the evening, I just want to get my face clean and my moisturizer on so that I can go to bed. The Deep Cleansing Oil allows me that speed but I know that my face is super clean and ready for some restorative sleep time.  I use just one pump of the 200ml bottle per wash, though if I’ve had on a huge amount of waterproof mascara I might have to use just a smidge more in that area to fully clean away the mascara.  Since the oil takes all of the friction out of moving your fingers over your skin, I take this chance to give myself a little facial massage as well.  I work the oil in all around my face and neck in small circles, this helps to really clean my skin but also to promote circulation which everyone indicates is really important and keeps your facial skin looking better.  If you’re going to do this around your eye area, you should lightly circle the bony area from the inner edge of your eyebrow out toward your cheek and then in toward the corner of your eye and back up to the inner edge of your brow and repeat a few times to reduce puffiness (that’s a tip I picked up from some skin person years ago and I think it really does help).  I do the same little massage routine in the morning when I use this cleanser right before I jump in the shower.  Just make sure that your face is dry and so are your hands.  This cleanser is water soluble, so if you have water on your hands when you apply it, it starts to breakdown immediately and you lose out on the benefits.

I have pretty normal skin, though sometimes it gets a little oily (like PMS time) but when I consistently use the Deep Cleansing Oil, I can keep my skin free of blemishes and I think it normalizes my skin quite well.  When I have tried other cleansers,  no matter how good the brand, I am usually left with a bit of a tight unpleasant feeling, or it makes my skin too dry and flaky, or it goes the other way and leaves me feeling greasy.  However, when I use the cleaner from DHC my skin seems to maintain a good balance that leaves it feeling smooth and moist, and clear of any blemishes.  When I first started using this cleanser, I was amazed at how well it worked on makeup removal, and then after using it for a couple of weeks, I was amazed at how great my skin looked on a deeper level.

Honestly, I can’t say enough great things about this cleanser.  It it my favourite because it works so well and makes my skin look great.  The other good thing is that because it doesn’t take a ton of it to do the job, the 200ml bottle will last you quite some time, so the price is very good and lower than cleansers from brands like Lancome, Shu Umera, or Clarins.  And if you think I’m the only one raving about this cleanser, you should check out the reviews on the DHC website, everyone loves it:  4.8 stars out of 5 with more than 240 reviews on the UK website and 4.9 stars out of 5 with almost 3,500 reviews on the US website.  I love this and all of the DHC stuff so much that I took time to hunt them down on our summer holiday to Tokyo and ended up buying a ton of stuff, but I did save about £100.00 by buying it all in Japan, so that was incredible.  I kind of wish I would have bought more stuff actually.  I did end up buying two bottles of the Deep Cleansing Oil because it is such a staple in my fight for perfect skin.

If you are sold on this cleanser and want to try it for yourself, you can get it directly from the DHC website.  There are country specific websites for the US, Canada, UK, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and of course Japan, since that is where they are from.  Through the UK website, the Deep Cleansing Oil is £21.50 for a 200 ml bottle; it’s $28.00 on the DHC US website for a 6.7 ounce bottle.  While you are ordering you might as well get the little 30 ml/ 1 oz travel size too; it is £4.50 in the UK, and $5.50 in the US though you can get it for $4.40 through the end of October.  The good thing about DHC is that you get 4 samples, of your choosing, with each order.  Plus, when you get the catalog in the mail they also enclose a couple of samples, so you’re always getting new products to try.  Or, you can save the little sample sizes for travel, like I do.