Yes / Almost / No / Not Anymore

I started my beauty story here back in 2015; below is a summary of my must-haves (I don’t have many; a product must provide great results to make this list), favorite repurchased beauty products that provide great results (yes), particularly bad products (no), those that are close to being favorites (almost) and ones I will no longer purchase (not anymore). For reference, I have oily/combination skin that is prone to congestion, breakouts and hyperpigmentation. My hair is dry, thin and frizzy.

No:

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. Drying. Not much improvement.

The Ordinary Suncare. Heavy and leaves a very noticeable white cast.

Drunk Elephant Slaai. Waxy and irritating. Used on my hands as an overnight treatment and my hands were so dry in the morning.

Abnomaly Petrowhat? Drying. No improvement.

Going blonde ruined my hair. Ended up having to cut about 8 or 9 inches of damage.

Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser. Does not cleanse or rinse well.

Must-Haves:

Follizin Hair Renew Leave-In Hair Masque. Improves frizz, silkiness, softness and moisture.

Your Best Face Skin Care Quench. Antioxidant lip treatment hydrates, protects and heals dry cracked lips after only a couple applications. Rose Otto seems the most moisturizing.

IPL/Photofacial. Improves sun damage, hyperpigmentation, scarring, blemishes, redness and aging skin.

Briogeo Blossom and Bloom volumizing spray. A lot of volume. Extends hairstyle and wash day.

Retin-A. Improves acne, scarring, texture and fine lines (review coming up).

Favorites:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade and brush No. 12. I still need practice, but with this, eyebrows look full and natural.

Mixed nylon/boar bristle brush. Distributes oils. Removes dust, debris and static.

Got these scissors from Amazon. Great for trimming my bangs while the salons are closed. I found a great tutorial on YouTube from A Model Recommends https://youtu.be/EArJrHbbFrA

Boar bristle dry brush for daily body exfoliation.

Keratin straightening treatment. No frizz. Silky, healthy hair (review coming soon).

First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser. Smooths skin and improves redness and bumps.

The Chemistry Brand Heel Chemistry. Hydrates and softens skin on the feet. I use in conjunction with KP Bump Eraser.

Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid. Took a while to see results, but improved blackheads and texture.

Klairs Toner Mate Cotton Pad. Particularly love the sponge cotton pads for applying products with a thin formula.

Amarte Daily ExfoliPowder. Gentle daily exfoliation as a second cleanse or morning cleanse on its own. Improves texture.

BioBliss Lash Serum. Thicker and longer lashes.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics. Layer with toner or water for hydration and plump skin.

NIOD Sanskrit Saponins. As a mask and cleanser, improves texture and oiliness. Skin feels smooth.

Kopari Coconut Deodorant. Fantastic odor protection. I wonder if I can layer with Drunk Elephant’s Sweet Pitti which is really good at absorbing sweat.

Drunk Elephant TLC Happi Scalp Scrub. Exfoliates the scalp. Hair feels lighter and has more volume. Makes a good exfoliant for the face as well.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. Removes makeup and sunscreen. No residue or irritation.

Almost:

Laneige Cream Skin. Moisturizes really well. Leaves a layer over the skin and I’m not sure that other products penetrate as well or as fast (review coming soon).

Etude House Sunprise UV Protection. Light weight. No white cast. Enhances dry patches and mixes with thin foundations.

Drunk Elelphant Sweet Pitti. Really good at absorbing sweat with applications throughout the day. Odor protection could be better during activity and when out in hot weather.

Not Anymore:

Your Best Face Skincare Balance. Was a must-have, however, with a reformulation, this no longer functions to absorb oil. The previous version stopped shininess and gave a matte finish to the skin. I no longer had to use blotting papers and this prevented foundation from moving around throughout the day.

Akita Hand Cream. This, too, was my must-have. After a recent purchase, something changed in the formula and it is no longer anywhere near as hydrating and leaves an almost dry feeling on the skin as it is rubbed in.

Thank you for visiting.

Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser Review

The Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser by Youth to the People is a daily “green juice” cleanser for the face with cold-pressed antioxidants from kale, spinach and green tea that claims to remove makeup and prevent buildup in pores without being drying. In addition, on the Sephora website, it claims to help with concerns of fine lines, oily skin, dullness and uneven texture.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Panthenol (Vitamin B5),Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Butylene Glycol, Brassica Oleracea(Kale) Leaf Extract, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea)Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract,Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Natural Fragrance, Lecithin, HydroxypropylMethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorophyll.

Kale is rich in phytonutrients and vitamins C, E, and K to strengthen and leave skin glowing. Spinach has cooling properties and conditioning essential fatty acids. Green Tea is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient that keeps skin clear.

Directions: Use in the morning and evening on wet skin. Pump onto wet hands, rub together into a light lather, and massage into face and neck for 30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly.

For best makeup removal, massage one to two pumps into slightly damp face and neck. Add more water gradually as you massage for one minute. Rinse thoroughly.

This is a light green gel-like cleanser that has a sweet, green scent. On wet skin, this lathers into light bubbles. Above, after I rinsed the cleanser, my arm had a couple blotchy red itchy patches which is an odd reaction for me. This did not happen to my face.

I have oily skin now that the weather is warmer, prone to breakouts. I got the mini sizes of this cleanser and was able to use for a few weeks, morning and evening.

I do not find this to be a very effective cleanser. Wearing a medium to full coverage foundation and following the instructions for makeup removal, then patting the skin dry and using a toner, as in the photos above, there was a lot of foundation left on the skin after the first cleanse and still some slight color after the second (there are little fuzzies on the toner pad after patting the skin dry with a facecloth). The first cleanse did not form as many bubbles as the second. When wearing makeup and/or sunscreen I usually do two cleanses anyway or use an oil balm cleanser as a first step, however, that is a lot of makeup left on the skin for a first cleanse.

After using the Drunk Elephant Happi Scalp Scrub on my face, which left an oily layer behind, I used the Youth to the People cleanser and still felt the oily layer (albeit a bit less); the same can be said for sunscreen left behind.

I did not find the cleanser to be drying on the skin and did not get increased breakouts. I do not expect a cleanser to be effective for fine lines (which this was not), nor did it particularly help with small breakouts along the jawline. This cleanser took a lot of extra time and water to rinse off and I still felt residue from the Superfood cleanser on the skin after rinsing which made me want to use a different cleanser to wash off the residue.

The Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser is not very effective and does not rinse well. I would not repurchase.

Thank you for visiting.

Follizin Hair Renew Review

Follizin is a Singapore-based company, focusing on skin care for the scalp. Their products are free of sulphates, alcohol, parabens and silicones and their home-use products include shampoos, conditioners, scalp toner, a serum for thinning hair and a leave-in conditioner. I happened upon the Follizin website looking for an alcohol-free scalp toner, and purchased the leave-in hair masque and toner.

Hair Renew claims to be a reconstructing, hydrating treatment for dry, damaged and chemically-treated hair that leaves hair healthier and tangle-free.

Ingredients: purified water, cetyl alcohol, , hydrolyzed keratin, argania spinosa (argan) kernal oil, tamarindus indica (tamarind) extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, bambusa arundinacea (bamboo) extract, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, trideceth-5, glycerin, pentylene glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

Hair Renew uses TAB (tamarind extract, argan oil, barley protein) Reconstruct Technology that uses high amounts of these extracts to hydrate, reconstruct and protect the hair from free radicals. Tamarind extract is used as an alternative to hyaluronic acid and protects against moisture loss. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, maintains moisture and gives the hair shine without leaving an oily residue. Barley protein has a high level of proline, an amino acid, that provides thermal protection and increases hair strength.

Directions: The Hair Renew leave-in hair masque (conditioner) is the third step in the hair care routine, after shampooing and conditioning. Spray evenly on towel-dried hair, before blow drying.

Hair Renew is thick for a spray and, to me, has a hint of berry under a stronger scent that I cannot place. It is a light, clean, pleasant fragrance that does not linger on the hair. Because the conditioner is thicker, it does not really come out as a nice uniform mist, so I spray it on my palms and smooth onto damp hair, then comb through with a wide-tooth wooden comb to distribute.

I have thin hair. I wouldn’t say my hair feels very damaged, however, it is colored and the keratin straightening treatment I got about 6 months ago has started to fade and my hair is dry and frizzy. I wash my hair twice a week the with Briogeo Banana + Coconut Superfoods shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been using Drunk Elephant’s TLC Happi Scalp Scrub once a week.

Other leave-in conditioners I’ve used include those from Shea Moisture, Briogeo and Bumble and Bumble. From the first use of Hair Renew, I can tell the difference it makes on my hair – it is soft, silky, shiny, less frizzy and feels hydrated, whether air dried or blow dried. The masque is not heavy or sticky and leaves no residue on the hair. In between uses of Hair Renew I’ve used my other leave-in conditioners for comparison and the difference is pretty remarkable, especially in terms of softness and silkiness (and I don’t say that lightly). Other conditioners are too heavy, leave an oily residue and/or have no anti-frizz or hydration. Hair Renew is on my list as one of my must-haves (of which I do not have many). My daughter had also commented, “How is your hair so soft?” after braiding my hair.

I’ve used Hair Renew on my hands and it absorbs quickly, provides a smooth silky feeling on the skin and gives some hydration without being sticky. I like to use this under a more hydrating hand lotion.

I would definitely repurchase Follizin Hair Renew leave-in hair masque. It is, unfortunately, expensive to get to Canada; it is shipped from the United States and while the price of the product is fine, after taking into account the currency exchange rate and expensive shipping, the cost adds up.

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Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream Review

Sweet Pitti is a cream deodorant from Drunk Elephant’s new body care line that is free of baking soda, aluminum, fragrance and essential oils. This claims to soothe the underarms and keep odor at bay.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Mandelic Acid, Maranta Arundinacea Root Powder, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Tapioca Starch, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil, Sclerotium Gum, Panthenol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Hydroxide

Mandelic acid is an AHA that kills odor-causing bacteria. Arrowroot powder absorbs wetness from sweat. Shea butter is an emollient that provides skin barrier protection.

Directions: Only needs to be applied once a day and “always” to clean dry skin. Can be applied with fingertips. I find the instruction “always” apply to clean and dry skin odd; what if I want to reapply after a workout or being in hot weather because of underarm odor or wetness or does it not work well unless it is applied to clean skin. Getting further instructions from Instagram comments, one application is a 1/4 turn of the dial, which dispenses 1.2 mL of product. Using it this way, there are 50 single underarm applications (or 25 uses applying to both underarms).

Other baking soda-free deodorants I’ve tried use magnesium for underarm bacteria odor rather than mandelic acid. This is a cream formula; like a thin face cream. There are no essential oils or added fragrance; the natural scent of this product is sweet almond, like the other body products from Drunk Elephant. It smells like the almond extract used in baking. The scent lasts only minutes. With no added fragrance, I can get a sense of how well this works without a fragrance to just mask the odor.

I like that this deodorant comes in a twist container rather than a jar; less messy that way. One application is a 1/4 turn of the dial. I feel like this is way too much. Using this amount takes a long time to rub in until the deodorant creates an invisible layer. I use a bit more than a pea size for each underarm; usually with cream deodorants, I’ll see instructions that say to use a pea size. I tried applying by rubbing the container under the arm; that does not work well. Rubbing in with the fingers works much better. This does create an invisible protective layer that is felt under the arm once it dries. It is not sticky. I like the cream formula rather than the paste-type deodorants I have used, but it does take longer to rub into an invisible layer than these formulas. It felt nice and a bit moisturizing under the arms.

Wearing the deodorant just around the house, it lasts all day (9 to 10 hours). Applying at night to help with wetness and odor while sleeping worked somewhat. The underarms were less smelly, but not completely free of odor. I applied 3 hours before a workout. After my workout, I had quite sweaty underarms and I am not sure Sweet Pitti absorbed much sweat while working out (it had, by that point, likely absorbed as much as it could). There was a slight odor, definitely much less than not having worn deodorant. I wanted to try this after already sweaty considering this should “always” be applied to clean dry skin. I applied after my workout and was surprised it absorbed quite a bit of the wetness, but there was still a slight odor. I applied one morning after waking up stinky and sweaty and some sweat was absorbed, but none of the odor. I applied before going for a walk in warm weather for about 30 minutes. There was no odor after getting home, but a few hours later my underarms were relatively stinky. I was thinking that maybe this deodorant does not work as well without applying the large amount as directed, so applied the deodorant as instructed, with the 1/4 turn, with the same scenarios above, and got the same results.

Overall, Drunk Elephant’s Sweet Pitti is not too bad; other deodorants I’ve used performed better when doing activities and when already stinky (I think a good deodorant should be able to diminish odor already there), though instructions do say to apply to clean skin. I might consider a repurchase just for using at home or at the office, but would probably use a different deodorant for working out or going out in hot weather.

Thank you for reading.

Drunk Elephant TLC Happi Scalp Scrub Review

This is a mini review/first impression of Drunk Elephant’s TLC Happi Scalp Scrub; I will update in 2 months (see update below). Happi Scalp Scrub is part of the new Drunk Elephant hair care line developed in collaboration with celebrity hair stylist, Chris McMillan. This product is an AHA/BHA blend that dissolves dead skin cells, oils and product buildup, while biodegradable exfoliating beads sweep them away. According to DE, the scrub should have about 36 uses. The hair line is color safe and is formulated for scalp health. Happi Scalp can also be used on the body and face. The hair and body lines seem more reasonably priced than DE skin care.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cellulose Acetate, Glycolic Acid, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Coconut Alkanes, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Lactic Acid, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sodium PCA, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, PCA, Alanine, Arginine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Valine, Citric Acid, Aspartic Acid, Sorbitan Isostearate, Propanediol, Zinc Oxide, Polysorbate 60, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopherol, Hexylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Happi Scalp uses a 10% TLC Framboos AHA blend (I assume this is similar to the face serum of the same name, which I have not tried). Cellulose acetate makes up the biodegradable spherical scrubbing beads that are very, very fine. This has a number of plant and seed oils and amino acids that nourish the scalp.

Directions: Before showering, on dry hair, apply directly to the scalp. Massage and let sit for 10 or more minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. Happi Scalp can be used 1 to 2 times a week. There was a clip on Drunk Elephant’s IGTV with Chris McMillan applying the product. He sectioned the hair into one inch sections, applying the product down the part of the scalp, then massaged each section. I think, if done this way, the product would not last very long. It looks like he applied a lot of product. I parted my hair into four sections, applying a thin layer and felt this was enough product.

The scrub has a fine tip nozzle that makes for easy application onto the scalp. This has no added fragrance and smells like sweet almond (quite like almond extract found in the grocery store and used for baking).

I have fine hair. My scalp and hair get oily quite quickly, my scalp can get a bit itchy and I have a few dandruff-like or product buildup flakes. After a hair wash, by the end of the second day/beginning of the third day, it is already pretty oily and in need of a shampoo. I wash my hair once to twice a week, use dry shampoo once a week and a clarifying shampoo once every 3 to 4 weeks. I’ll usually need to shampoo two times each wash to get rid of the oils and buildup.

I’ve used the same products in my hair and have used the same styling process for a few months now – shampoo and condition with Briogeo Banana and Coconut Superfood shampoo and conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner and Olaplex No. 7. I then spray Briogeo Blossom and Bloom volumizing spray on the roots and blow dry the hair, applying a few more drops of Olaplex No. 7 to smooth any fly-aways.

I used on fourth-day hair. The scrubby beads are very fine and I can’t really feel them while massaging on the scalp. Above, the scalp got a bit reddened due to a combination of the chemical and physical exfoliants and the massaging. Many of the beads seemed to sit on the hair and dropped down onto my shirt and bathroom counter. My scalp got mildly warm for the first couple minutes while the scrub sat on my scalp. The product feels oily on the fingers and the hair. After leaving on the hair for 10 minutes, I rinsed well before shampooing. Despite my hair itself being oily and the plant oils from the scrub added on the hair, as I was rinsing, the hair got much less oily, so this product does dissolve and rinse away some oil buildup even before shampooing.

Usually when I wash my hair, I need two shampoos as the first does not really lather up because of buildup. While shampooing after Happi Scalp, the first application gets quite sudsy and I can use less shampoo. The scrubby beads rinsed well and I didn’t notice any left on the hair after getting out of the shower.

After doing my normal styling routine, the hair looked and felt lighter and seemed to have more volume than usual; same with my next-day hair (usually my next-day hair will be slightly oily and a bit limp). My scalp still had some itchiness, so I guess, depending on the cause, Happi Scalp doesn’t really help with that (at least in my case).

I used Happi Scalp as a body scrub while in the shower. I want to use this mainly for the hair, so just used on knees, arms, elbows, heels and underarms. The scrubbing beads do not dissolve in water and are very fine, so not irritating to skin but also not very effective to smooth the body. On rinsing, the skin does not feel much smoother, but had a bit more moisture due to the plant oils. A sugar scrub works better than this and the pumice scrub from First Aid Beauty works even better. Happi Scalp is not very effective as a body scrub.

The scrub can be used on the face, keeping in mind other acids and retinols used in the skin care routine, and using the scrub on alternating days. I applied to clean, dry skin; this was too harsh even massaging very lightly, so I added some water, rubbed gently onto the skin and let sit for about 5 to 7 minutes. My face did not sting or get warm, but my cheeks got a bit red. The beads rinsed well, but I was left with an oily layer on the skin, so cleansed the skin again before applying a hydrating toner. My skin was very smooth and had a bit of a glow. I think I will likely use this on the face again once a week, but would use on my skin in the morning (since the skin is cleaner than in the evening) before cleansing and continuing with the rest of my routine.

I’ve only used Happi Scalp once (I will be using once a week) and will post an update here in 2 months. Thus far I really like this product and it might become a favorite. Happi Scalp Scrub is not a shampoo and does not have surfactants like that of a clarifying shampoo, but I can probably do less clarifying shampoos since the scrub does a good job of removing oil and product buildup on the scalp and roots. I likely will not need as much shampoo when I use this product.

Update (June 9, 2020):

I have been using Happi Scalp for 2 months now twice a week. When zooming in on the photos, in the before picture, I have a few flakes and what looks like oil sort of attached to the hair follicle, both of which have improved over the 2 months. The hair has continued to have more volume and feels lighter on the scalp. I am not sure how necessary the exfoliating beads are to this product and I wish it was a little thinner or at least more easily spread. I did end up sectioning the hair into 1-inch sections and applying a thin layer, as the product does not really go a long way. My scalp still gets mildly itchy a few hours after washing.

I am still happy with the scalp scrub and my scalp health has improved. I would purchase again, but feel the formula could be improved a bit.

Thank you for reading.