Archives for category: Balm

2014-01-03 10.17.07Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol

Product Description: “Lightweight cleansing balm quickly dissolves stubborn eye and face makeups, including those with sunscreen. Transforms from a solid balm to a silky, fluid oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Non-greasy. Non-drying. For all skin types.”

2014-01-03 10.17.45

My Experience: I freaking LOVE this stuff. It’s so clever and simple that I can’t help but gush. I know it’s been around for ages and I’m probably late to the party, but it’s a staple in my cleansing ritual so I think it deserves a post. I first heard about this on Caroline Hiron’s uber knowledgeable and endearingly honest blog, which is having a major influence on my skincare choices of late. I love the heft of the pot and the fact that it looks unique when it sits next to all my other bottle and tube cleansers. Plus you get a ton of product and the texture is waxy, so it doesn’t seem to attract fluff like pots of cream. I use the top side of my nail to scrape out a pea-sized amount. I dab equal amounts on my forehead, nose, chin and each cheek. If I’m wearing heavy eye makeup, I put an extra dab on both eye lids. Then I massage it in. Within seconds, it transforms into a rich and oily texture that slides across the skin like silk. And it doesn’t irritate my ultra sensitive eyes, which is a rarity for me. When it’s washed off, my skin feels soft and calm and squeaky clean: there is no greasy residue or trace of makeup left behind. It has no scent but I don’t even care. This stuff should be in everyone’s cupboard. It’s a hellishly good, simple and straight up cleanser that lasts forever and cuts through stubborn make up like a hot knife through butter. I used to loathe coming home after a long and late night out and having to scrub away at my grimey makeup when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. This product actually makes me feel better on those nights, because it’s so gentle and quick and effective. And because it just feels so luscious on my skin. Go get it. You won’t be sorry.

The Skinny: A beautifully simple cleanser I can always depend on and use with joy. It obliterates stubborn makeup, feels luxurious and leaves skin soft, calm and squeaky clean. This is a forever product in my cleanser wardrobe.

Cost: USA: $28.50 from Sephora

UK: £21 from Boots

Rating: HERO (goes above and beyond expectations)

It’s been a while, I know. I’m sorry. There are several reasons for this, the most relevant being my masters degree, which has been relentlessly kicking my ass. I come bearing a peace offering gift in the form of a new review =)

Behold, Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream!

2013-06-19 09.48.08

Ingredients: Glycerin, Water, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E), Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Camphor, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Hydrogenated Coco-glycerides, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, EDTA, Methylparaben, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Sodium Hyajuronate.

Product Description: “Concentrated glycerin moisturizer (enriched with Vitamins B2, C & E) helps hydrate, soothe and smooth rough, dry and extremely dry skin. Non-greasy formula absorbs instantly and stays locked in for hours. ‘A little dab goes a long way’.”

My Experience: I was terribly unhappy with the state of my skin over the winter. It was dry, more bumpy than usual and more sensitive than usual. There was flakiness across my forehead and around my nose that laughed in the face of exfoliators and creams. And my makeup looked cakey and dry. Yum. Anyway, I was desperately in need of a heavy duty moisturizer and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Also, it’s been my obsession for a few months now to find skincare products that aren’t expensive and contain several good key ingredients. This moisturizer ticks all those boxes. It’s a balm, not a cream, so it squeezes out thick like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. It’s yellow, which is odd for a moisturizer, but it doesn’t disturb me. I put a small blob of this on my forehead, cheeks and chin and spend a couple minutes massaging it in. It responds well to the heat of your hands and blends easily after a few seconds. And my skin sucks this up within minutes. It’s not heavy. It leaves my skin feeling soft and dewy without being sticky or greasy. Now, the smell. It’s not a great smell. I think Sam of the Pixiwoo sisters got it right on when she said it smells like Vicks. This is true, but it’s not a deal breaker. The smell dissipates quickly after you’ve rubbed it in and I like the results and the price well enough to put up with it. My skin is a lot happier now that I’ve been using this twice a day. It’s softer, smoother and I can feel the moisture in my skin hours after I’ve applied it. Plus it’s tamed my flakiest areas and now my makeup glides on. This stuff is no frills – it’s one of those basic multi-purpose gems that can be used for the whole family and on an array of dry areas including lips, hands, feet and cuticles. And a 33g tube has lasted me 2 months and going, which is more than I can say for some high-end 50g pots I’ve used in the past. I’m turning with the tide. Maybe basic really is better.

The Skinny: A great multi-purpose moisturizer that’s safe for the whole family to use and treats dry skin all over the body. It sinks in fast, quenches thirsty skin and contains some great ingredients. The smell could be off-putting for some, but it’s such a good product I’m happy to put up with it.

Cost:

USA: $16 for 1.25 oz, $25 for 2.5 oz from Sephora

UK: £12.50 for 33g, £19.50 for 70g from Cult Beauty

Rating: 5/5

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Ingredients: ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, vegetable oil, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, beeswax, ozokerite, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), hydrogenated vegetable oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, hydrogenated olive oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, [+/- titanium dioxide (ci 77891), mica,  yellow 5 lake (ci 19140), iron oxides (ci 77491, ci 77492, ci 77499), red 7 lake (ci 15850), red 22 lake (ci 45380), red 30 lake (ci 73360), carmine (ci 75470), red 6 (ci 15850), bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163), red 33 lake (ci 17200), red 28 lake (ci 45410), blue 1 lake (ci 42090), yellow 6 lake (ci 15985)]

Product Description: “Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm is a lip treatment with sheer colour that relieves dry, cracked lips and provides immediate moisturisation. The unique pencil-style applicator provides easy to apply sheer soft lip colour and rolls up for ease of use.”

Shades (from left to right): Chunky Cherry, Mega Melon, Woppin’ Watermelon, Super Strawberry, Whole Lotta Honey, Graped-up, Fuller Fig, Richer Raisin

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My Experience:
I got all these shades for Christmas from my lovely husband – doesn’t he know me well? I’d been dying to try these and I was giddy when I tore away the wrapping paper and all these luscious shades tumbled out of the box. So, do they live up to the hype? Yes. Clinique’s product description is right on. They’re balmy enough to moisturize parched lips, easy to apply because of the thick pencil-style packaging and a little twist extracts more product when you need it. Have I ever mentioned how much I love makeup that twists out? I hate sharpening pencils because it’s a mess and I always feel like I’m wasting product by obsessing over the sharpness of the point. Anyway, I digress. I also love the colors. They are sheer and will give you a subtle sheen if you prefer, but you can also build them into glossy pops of color. This is a very versatile product. Clinique has been very clever with selecting shades that will suit most skin types. And you can layer these over lipstick for balmy shine, or you can use the two most neutral shades (Woppin’ Watermelon and Whole Lotta Honey) over dabs of your favorite bright lipstick to make your very own, custom-made shade that’s über flattering and butter soft. Now, I had the luxury of trying out all eight of these shades. They look very similar side by side, and I do have my favorites. Chunky Cherry and Super Strawberry are my top picks of the pinks, one being more candy red and the other being a fresh bolt of pink. Of the browns, my favorite hands down is Fuller Fig. It’s also the shade I’ve received the most compliments on. It’s not as dark as it looks from the tube and there’s just something about it that’s very unusual but also incredibly flattering for my skin tone. I’m NC20, by the way. Woppin’ Watermelon looks bright but on my pigmented lips is non-existent. Whole Lotta Honey is a nice, neutral shade. I love how these feel – light as air and silky smooth. You have to apply them more frequently than lipstick but they feel so good on the lips I don’t even care. Dare I say I prefer these to Revlon Lip Butters? These are not quite as thick, and the range of shades is much more appealing to me. My birthday is coming up – I think I might ask for some of the spring shades as well!

The Skinny: These sticks are just what they’re supposed to be, moisturizing and sheer, but the shades can be built up into bright pops of color. They feel light and silky on the lips, the packaging is great and the shades are very flattering and versatile. Go get one!

Cost:

USA: $16 from Sephora

UK: £16 from Clinique

Rating: 5/5

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Propylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Bisabolol, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum/Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Coumarin, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Eugenol, Limonene, Isoeugenol, Ci 15985/Yellow 6E.

Winner of multiple skin care and beauty awards

Product Description: “The ultimate pick-me-up for tired, stressed skin—Clarins best-selling radiance booster helps eliminate signs of fatigue in a flash! Instantly moisturises, brightens and tightens facial contours so skin looks rested and relaxed”.

My Experience: This product has been on my radar for a long time. And I’ll admit, albeit sheepishly, that I bought two Clarins products just to get their promotional gift pack, which included a travel size of this balm. Anyway, this is a little tube of wonder and shall remain a permanent fixture in my life. It’s loaded with soothing and nourishing ingredients. My skin drinks it up and within minutes I can see and feel the difference. My pores look smaller, my skin tighter, and the glow is akin to a wilting flower surging to life after a much-needed infusion of water. Skin texture also improves. It’s plumper, more even and makeup glides on butter smooth. As others have said, this isn’t something you use everyday, lest your skin get used to it and fail to noticeably perk up. I’ve been using it once a week, on a day when I want to look particularly fresh and beaming. This isn’t a cheap product, but everyone would benefit from a little slice of radiance to brighten their skin on a lacklustre day. I know I do.

The Skinny: A wondrous balm that tightens and improves the look of your skin while imparting a radiant glow. Pricey but worth it.

Cost:

UK: £25.20 from feelunique.com

USA: $45 from Sephora

Rating: HERO (goes above and beyond expectations)

Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Squalane, Bis-Behenyl/Isostearyl/Phytosteryl Dimer Dilinoleyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Polyethylene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triisostearin, Diisostearyl Malate, Cera Microcrystallina ((Microcrystalline Wax) Cire Microcristalline), Trimethylolpropane Triethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polyamide-3, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Mentha Piperita ((Peppermint) Oil (Mentha Piperita Oil), Limonene, Sorbic Acid. May Contain: [Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 27 (CI 45410), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 6 (CI 15850), Orange 5 (CI 45370), Red 21 (CI 45380), Red 33 (CI 17200), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Manganese Violet (CI 77742)].

Color: Honey

Product Description: “It’s a pampering balm fused with a lightweight lipstain in an adorable chubby crayon”.

My Experience: To give this product a fair go, I bought both a neutral and bright shade a few weeks ago. Honey is the neutral shade. It’s a soft pink with a touch of brown. It swatches darker on my hand than it looks on my lips, but my lips are quite pigmented so it would pack more of a punch on someone with paler lips. It glides on easily. I have to really pile this on to get the color payoff I want, but the texture is silky smooth and it feels comfortably light on my lips. It smells of mint, which I’m not fond of, but it’s relatively subtle so that’s a minor quibble. It lasts a few hours untouched, but after a meal it’s patchy and needs reapplied. Romantic held up much better after eating. I love the chubby, sleek design, as well as the ease of twisting more product out. I want to love this color, but I just don’t. It’s just too similar to my own lip coloring and a bit flat. There’s nothing special about it. I think the balm stains are a great concept, but the formulas and colors aren’t stellar enough for me to repurchase any more. The Lip Butters don’t have the same staying power, but I adore them infinitely more for their creamy, dreamy textures and superior range of shades. I bet everyone could find at least one Lip Butter they love. I wouldn’t say that about the Just Bitten Balm Stains. If you’re dying to try these, go for Romantic. It has better lasting power, and the red is fresh and flattering: it’s the best of the bunch.

The Skinny: A fair balm and stain combo, but the shade is rather dull and the lasting power isn’t as good as some of the other shades in the collection, such as Romantic.

Cost:

UK: £7.99 from Boots

USA: $8.99 from Ulta

Rating: 2/5

Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bis Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 2, Squalane, Bis Behenyl/Isostearyl/Phytosteryl Dimer Dilinoleyl Dilinoleate, Polyethylene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triisostearin, Diisostearyl Malate, Cera Microcrystallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Trimethylolpropane Triethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polyalmide 3, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerylthrityl Tetra Di Butyl Hydroxyhdrocinnamate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil (Mentha Peperita Oil), Limonene, Sorbic Acid, May Contain (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 27 Lake (CI 45410), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 6 (CI 15850), Orange 5 (CI 45370), Red 21 (CI 45380), Red 33 (CI 17200), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Manganese Violet (CI 77742)

Color: Romantic

Product Description: “a pampering balm fused with a lightweight lipstain in an adorable chubby crayon”.

My Experience: I was drifting around the makeup aisles in Boots and stumbled upon the Revlon Just Bitten line. There’s been much love for Clinique’s Chubby Sticks, which I’ve not used, so I was quite intrigued by Revlon’s version. Also, I like the name. I’m such a sucker for good marketing. There were seven shades to choose from, but I was underwhelmed by the selection. Darling, Cherish and Lovesick were either too cool or purple-ish, Rendezvous was a bit too orange and Crush a bit too brown. I chose Romantic, the only red on offer, and Honey, which I will review in another post. To be honest, I think the star of the collection is Romantic, which is probably why it was the only one that was sold out (I managed to get it from another shop). And it’s a nice product. It goes on smoothly, evenly and it’s easy to use. I had to apply several layers to get the pigmentation you see in the above picture, but I liked the effect. It’s a very fresh, cheek-pinched flush of red. It reminds me of brisk winter mornings. It has a small amount of shine and you can blot it down for a more subtle, rosy red. It feels good on the lips, light and comfortable. I wore this whilst eating lunch. Although the shine and brightness disappeared, a rosy stain remained. My lips felt slightly dry after a while, though, so I would be tempted to pop a balm over this after  a couple of hours, or at least reapply. I think this is a pretty good product. It’s a practical and versatile combination of balm and stain. I also like that more product twists up out of the stick, so you don’t have to worry about sharpening it or wasting any. But I’m not in love. It just doesn’t have the hydration, lasting power or richness of color that some more expensive stains have, or that the Revlon Lip Butters have. And I wish there were more shades to choose from (there are currently twice as many shades available in the USA). But that’s quibbling, it’s a pretty good product for the price.

The Skinny: A decent, reasonably priced stain and balm combo.

Cost:

UK:

£5.99 from Boots

USA:

$8.99 from Ulta

Rating: 3/5

Ingredients: Mango, shea and coconut butter

Product Description: Provides baby soft, healthy glowing lips and beautiful shiny color

My Experience: This is a stellar product from Revlon. These lip butters come in an array of colors from neutrals to brights and the consistency is wonderfully creamy. Application is butter smooth; lips feel soft and hydrated and stay that way. In fact, my lips stay hydrated even after I remove the lip butter. This particular shade is perfect for summer. It’s a soft pink flecked with gold and while it’s subtle, when the light catches the gold it’s really rather beautiful. And the more you layer this, the better it looks. It goes well with bronzed skin or smokey eyes, and it’s also great when paired with just a slick of mascara for a simple, fresh look. Also, if you apply this and then blot with tissue, the color is removed but all the gold flecks remain on your lips like fairy dusting. Apply a clear gloss over top and you’ve got a shimmery golden lip that’s magical against bronzed skin. I like the packaging of this product too – sleek, bright and slightly translucent. Be careful carrying this around in the sun, though. The formula is so soft it may get a bit messy in the heat.

The Skinny: A versatile lip product that combines the texture of a balm with the pigment of lipstick. Great colors, great formula, great price.

Cost:

UK: £7.99 from Boots

USA: I think this color is called Pink Parfait in the USA. $7.49 from Ulta

Rating: 5/5

Ingredients: Shea butter, avocado oil, PARSOL (provides protection from long-wavelength UVA rays), octinoxate (absorbs UVB rays), vitamin E, green tea and balm mint

Formulated without: Sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan

Product Description: Field tested in extreme conditions, this hydrating balm contains antioxidants and superior moisturizers to provide lasting treatment benefits. It provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

My Experience: I love this lip balm. I use it every single day and I’m currently on my fifth tube. I’ve used a lot of lip balms over the years from Rosebud Salve to Carmex to Creme de la Mer and this beats them all. The texture is thick so a little goes a long way, and it lasts for hours (and all night if I wear it as I sleep). It has a bit of shine but not too much, and it’s great on its own or worn under lipstick. My lips suck up the moisture after only a few minutes and are left feeling soft and nourished. I love the packaging. It’s a brilliant deep blue and if you hold it up to the light, you can see how much product is left. There are several scrumptious scents to choose from such as lemon and chamomile (my personal favorite because it smells like a sugary lemon doughnut) and grapefruit and ginger. The first one I ever used was the mint version, which leaves a cool sensation on the lips. If you live in the UK and want a non-mint version you’ll have to scour Ebay or Amazon, otherwise use the link below. The price of this balm is very reasonable too. And it’s SPF 25. ‘Nuff said.

The Skinny: It smells great, nourishes and protects the lips, lasts for hours AND is reasonably priced. Wonderful lip balm.

Cost:

UK: £7.25 from lookfantastic

USA: $7.50 from Sephora

Rating: 5/5