Sister Showdown: Mascara

March 10, 2009

Thanks for the scoop on your favorite mascara, LilSis! I love mascara, and don’t leave the house without it. No mascara means skimpy lashes that don’t show up, but the right mascara means long, thick lashes. It may be the most important part of my morning face, so I’m not willing to compromise on it.

A long time ago, I used Lancome Definicils regularly, but it’s just too darn expensive for me ($24), especially when it seems to dry up fairly quickly. I’ve also used lots of the drugstore brands, and didn’t like any of the Cover Girl, Maybelline, Max Factor or Almay mascaras. The cult favorite in the pink and green tube smears and flakes like crazy on me.  At some point, I heard that the same company owns both Lancome and Loreal, and that many of their products are very similar; they’re just marketed differently under different company names to target a different consumer at a different price point.

I have two favorite mascaras now, both Loreal, and I use both of them every day. This may sound like overkill but let me splain; I’m not a high-maintenance girl but this method has worked for me for many years now. First I use two thin coats of Loreal Voluminous in black or carbon black.  It gives thickness and volume (hence the name) to the lashes. Next, I add a light coat of Loreal Lash Out. Lash Out is a thinner formula that won’t give me the volume I want, but it lengthens (without fibers) and helps preserve the curl I’ve gotten from my Shu Eumura eyelash curler. Without the Lash Out, the Voluminous would let the curl straighten out during the day.  I like both of these mascaras with the straight brush rather than the curved brush.

Loreal Voluminous Mascara

Loreal Voluminous Mascara

I love both of these formulas. I have oily skin, and neither of these smears, smudges or flakes AT ALL. They make waterproof formulas of both of these, but I only use them if I’m going to be in the water since the regular formulas wear so well. They whisk away cleanly with my favorite makeup remover; Lancome BiFacil.  As I’ve said before, BiFacil is definitely a product worth the higher price point!

If I need to spend extra money for a quality product, I will, but there is no need with mascara, which is great since you replace it so frequently. The Loreal mascaras run around $6 to $8 depending on where you buy them, and there are frequently $1 or $2 coupons in the Sunday paper for them. Unless there’s a new miracle mascara to hit the shelves, I’m pretty happy with my Loreal mascara duo!

~BigSis

Sister Showdown: Mascara

March 9, 2009

Let’s talk about mascara, shall we? Aside from moisturizer, it’s probably the most important beauty product that I use.  Since I have blond eyelashes, I absolutely have to wear mascara.  I’m lucky enough to not have to curl my lashes, but without mascara, you can’t even tell that I have eyelashes.

I’ve definitely tried many different brands of mascara, from the cheapest to the priciest. I’ve never really found that the more expensive brands performed any better for me. I’ve been pretty happy with the Cover Girl LashExact for quite a while now. It doesn’t glob, it doesn’t smear, and it stays on all day without smudging. Recently, though, I’ve noticed that it dries up faster and doesn’t last very long at all. (And honestly, it’s starting to piss me off.)

Before I go back to my ole’ faithful Maybelline Great Lash, I’m wondering if anyone has any recommendations? Do you have a mascara that you absolutely love and couldn’t live without? If so, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

BigSis, show me your latest favorite mascara!

~LilSis

Sister Showdown: Exfoliating Products

November 15, 2008

Well, finally, a product that we both use! I also love the Origins Modern Friction! It is the only scrub that I have in my stockpile of skin care products.

Origins Modern Friction

Origins Modern Friction

I need to be more disciplined and use this at least once a week!  Yes, twice a week would be better, but once a week is better than not at all.  Back in the day when I was a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, (many moons ago), I was better about  using a mask weekly.  Next time I’m at an Origins counter, I think I’ll pick up the Clear Improvement.  I’ve never used it, but I’m sure my pores could use some unclogging!

I think this brings our week-long exchange of favorite skin care products to an end. We did mention earlier that we love to talk about eye creams and moisturizers, right?  Does anyone have a favorite skin care product that they would like to share with us?  Just leave us a comment!

We really would like to know if you enjoyed the week-long discussion on one topic.  We would love to hear from you!

(Just FYI, our blog isn’t one of those that makes you go through a long process just to leave a comment. I’ve had that happen to me when trying to comment on some blogs and it can be frustrating.)

~LilSis

Sister Showdown: Exfoliating Products

November 14, 2008

Ok, LilSis, let me wrap up my contribution to the Sister Showdown skin care extravaganza week!  I mentioned that keeping my skin clean clean clean is the key to my skin care regimen, so effective exfoliating products are super important.  Without a doubt, the queen of this category for me is Origins Modern Friction.

Origins Modern Friction

Origins Modern Friction

Oh my gravy, do I love this product!  Use this 2 or 3 times a week, and just see for yourself how smooth your skin feels.  The amazing thing is that it works so beautifully at removing what needs to be removed, but it’s incredibly gentle and doesn’t feel rough or scratchy in the least.  Origins calls it “Nature’s gentle dermabrasion” and that is no exaggeration, in my opinion.  It’s made with rice starch, lemon oil, and aloe, and it smells like peppermint and bergamot.  If you’re skeptical about my glowing praise, do yourself a favor and go into an Origins store and see if they’ll demo the product for you.  I betcha they will, and then you’ll be sold!  For $37 you get 4 ounces, and it actually lasts longer than you might think.

Let’s stay in Origins for my favorite mask Clear Improvement.

Origins Clear Improvement Mask

Origins Clear Improvement Mask

Ok, so it’s not a gorgeously photogenic product.  This isn’t a Barbie pink or mint green mask, nope, this is a serious mask that will launch a serious attack on the junk in your pores!  It’s a clay mask with active charcoal, and it sweeps out your pores like nobody’s business!  Apply this deep dark mask, let it dry, and remove it to reveal your glowing purified skin.  It’s $21 for a 3.4 ounce tube.

That’s it for me, LilSis!  Are there any scrubby little secrets in your skincare routine that you want to divulge?

~BigSis

Sister Showdown: Moisturizers

November 13, 2008

Thanks, BigSis! I wonder if I should ask my dermi about that Tazorac?  Do you have to stay completely out of  the sun if you are using that product?  If so, that would leave me out.  Remember when everyone went crazy over “The Stretch Mark Cream turned Anti-Wrinkle Phenomenon”,  StriVectin?  Of course, I had to try it.  I remember going to my dermatologist during that time and I got quite the lecture for using that product and exposing my face to the sun. I stopped using it immediately.

  • Right now, I’m using Origins Night-A-Mins before bedtime. We are having very dry weather here and my skin feels really dry. This is a pretty rich night time cream, but I love it.  It smells really nice, goes on really well and doesn’t make me break out. It’s $33.50 for the jar, but I’ve had mine so long that they’ve actually redesigned the jar since I bought it last.  I tried the Night-A-Mins eye cream, but it was way too thick and heavy for my eyes.  (We’ve had the discussion about the puffy eye syndrome.)
Origins Night-A-Mins

Origins Night-A-Mins

  • When my skin is feeling dry, like it is now, I use the Chanel Hydramax + Active Serum first thing in the morning.
Chanel Hydromax + Intense Serum

Chanel Hydromax + Active Serum

I really love this product! I first tried it after receiving a sample from the Chanel counter.  I was leaving on a trip soon and the saleswoman told me how much she liked to use it before a flight. It really does feel like it helps to keep your skin hydrated. I fell in love with it instantly! Last time I ran out, it took me several months to replace it and I really missed it! The bottle retails for $75.00 for one ounce. Again, it’s worth every penny to me.

Chanel Rectifiance Intense

Chanel Rectifiance Intense

This moisturizer also has a SPF of 15, whereas a lot of moisturizers don’t contain any sun protection. I usually buy it at Macy’s for $96.00 for 1.7 ounces. For some reason this particular product isn’t available on the Chanel website.  I found it on sale for $78.72 on scentmonkey.com.

  • This isn’t a moisturizer, but it’s the last step in my daily skin care regimen, so I thought I would end with this product. I’ve used Prescriptives Traceless for several years now and have never felt the need to even try anything new.
Prescriptives Traceless

Prescriptives Traceless

Prescriptives Traceless has a smooth, undetectable finish, yet covers just enough for me. I’ve never liked a heavy foundation. It also has a SPF of 8 for just a little added sun protection. This is so natural looking, most people don’t even realize that you have on a foundation. It retails for $32.50 for one ounce.

Whew! That sums up my daily moisturizing routine, with the exception of an occasional hydrating mask. BigSis, you want to share your favorite masks and/or scrubs?

~LilSis

Sister Showdown: Moisturizers

November 12, 2008

Hey, thanks for the great info on your eye creams, LilSis!  Too bad my skin is so different from yours because I’d ask you for good advice on my daytime moisturizer too! I just finished up a bottle of the serum recommended by my trusty dermatologist, and I’m not really feeling a repurchase of it coming on.  I liked it ok, but it seemed to make my skin a bit tacky and I’d be shiny about an hour after applying my makeup.  That effect was worsened when I applied the dab of sunscreen that I’m supposed to wear on top of the serum every day.  I really think it’s best for skin a little bit drier than mine.  And most skin is drier than mine!  But that’s ok, they say drier skin wrinkles easier, don’t they?  What I used is the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

I’ve heard there is a new breakthrough SkinCeuticals product out that is more suited to oilier skins, and I believe it’s the Phloretin CF ($150).

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF

The CE Ferulic was $135 (gulp) so I’m not keen on buying it again since I didn’t love it, but I need some serious evidence before I plunk down $150 on this new product.  The challenge is that almost every reasonably-priced moisturizer breaks me out, so that’s money down the drain.  It makes more sense to buy something that’s going to work instead of trying this and that random drugstore brand, and then having to try to return it, or adding it to your pile of deserted products in the bathroom cabinet.

Thankfully, my nighttime product is a no-brainer.  Every night after cleansing, I let my skin get completely dry, and then apply a pea-size blob of Tazorac.  It’s a prescription retinoid that was prescribed by my dermatologist.  My insurance won’t cover it (snarl snarl) and the tube is about $125.  Thankfully it lasts a LONG time, and it’s worth it!  It’s marketed as an acne product, but in reality it does more than that for me.  My experience is that it causes turnover of the skin cells, so my skin is much smoother than it used to be pre-Tazorac, and I think it also tightens and smooths wrinkles somewhat. That’s just my opinion though – consult your dermie!

That’s my moisturizer story, LilSis.  Now tell me; what works for you?  Inquiring minds want to know!

~BigSis

Sister Showdown: Eye Cream

November 11, 2008

Well, BigSis, I have to admit that I’m not completely satisfied with my eye regimen either.  I have some “tried and true” favorites, but lately it seems like I need a little more.  Maybe we’re just in denial that we aren’t in our 30s anymore!

Here’s the “scoop” on the products I’m using now:

Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Eye Serum

Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Eye Serum

It is lightweight and moisturizing at the same time. I can’t say that I wake up without any puffiness, but I think it would be worse if I weren’t using this product.  I haven’t found anything more moisturizing that isn’t too heavy. This .5 oz. bottle is $43.50, but it lasts for months.

First thing in the morning, I use one of two products depending on the amount of puffiness under my eyes.

  • BigSis turned me on to the Replenix Intensive Eye Lightening Serum and I use it most mornings right when I get up. I also order this through skincarerx for $54.95. You literally only use a dot under each eye. I’ve probably had my bottle for over six months now.

Replenix Intensive Eye Lightening Serum

  • If I’m more puffy than normal, I’ll use the Origins No Puffery Cooling Mask for Puffy Eyes that I keep in the refrigerator.  This feels so refreshing underneath tired eyes when it’s kept cold. I think it does the trick. This 1 oz. tube is only $21.00 and lasts for months.
Origins No Puffery

Origins No Puffery

I really like both of these products, but I don’t use either one of them underneath my concealer.  I leave these on for a few hours, then wipe off in the shower. (I’m up very early!)

  • Before my concealer, I dab on a little of this Chanel Rectifiance Intense Eye. I really love this product! It’s rich and creamy and my concealer goes on very smooth on top of it. I really think that is has helped prevent some deeper lines around the “crows feet” area of my eyes.
Chanel Rectifiance Intense Eye

Chanel Rectifiance Intense Eye

I realize that the Chanel Rectifiance Intense Eye is not the cheapest product available. This jar is $72.00 and it, again, lasts for months. For me, it is worth every penny.

Yes, I do use three different products on my eyes every day.  I admit that it might be a “teeny, tiny” obsessive but I consider it preventive medicine. It’s cheaper than a plastic surgeon!

That’s my daily routine for tired, puffy eyes! BigSis, should we continue this skin care conversation and talk about moisturizers?

If anyone has a fantastic product recommendation for puffy eyes, we would LOVE for you to comment on this post or send us an email!

~LilSis

Sister Showdown: Eye Cream

November 10, 2008

I never start the day or end the day without using an eye cream or serum, but I am actually not completely satisfied with my eye product situation right now, so I’m on the prowl for something new since the Chanel eye cream I used to use was discontinued.

  • My morning eye treatment was recommended to me by the esthetician at my dermatologist’s office, and I’ve been pretty happy with it.  It’s Replenix Intensive Eye Lightening Serum.  I don’t have much problem with dark circles, which this says it will address, but it’s also supposed to tighten and firm the under-eye area, and I think it does a good job of that.  In BigSis’ Perfect Eye Cream World, it would just be a little bit more moisturizing.  At skincarerx, I pay $54.95 for it.
  • I like for my nighttime eye cream to very hydrating, but not make my eyes puffy, which most eye creams will do to me.  Currently, I’m using Loreal Skin Genesis Multi-Layer Cell Strengthening Daily Treatment Eye Serum.  Is that a big name for an eye cream, or what?  The price tag is pleasingly small though, at less than $20 at discount stores. I read about it on makeupalley, and it got great reviews.  It’s performed well, but I think I need a little bit more oomph from my nighttime eye cream.

    Loreal Skin Genesis Eye Serum

    Loreal Skin Genesis Eye Serum

  • According to the Best of Beauty feature in the October issue of Allure magazine, the best anti-wrinkle eye cream is Relastin Eye Silk ($69) so that one may be worth a try.  There are 15 reviews for it on drugstore.com, and the only 2 negative ones were about packaging and that the product didn’t last 60 days.
  • I do have to give a big thumbs-up to my all time favorite eye makeup remover, Lancome BiFacil.  I’ve tried the highly-recommended drugstore brands to save some money, because the BiFacil is a pricey little product in my opinion ($26), but the less expensive products seem to dry out the skin around my eyes, and that’s not good!  So I always go back to BiFacil.  NOTHING clears eye makeup away like it does, even waterproof mascara, and it never causes clogged pores or eye irritation.  It’s one of BigSis’ Hall of Fame Beauty Products!

So, LilSis, give me the lowdown on your current eye cream favorites.  I could use some guidance!

~BigSis

Sister Showdown: Facial Cleansers

November 9, 2008

Great product recommendations, BigSis!  I’ve never tried any of those, but I just might have to give the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser a try. I have drier skin and I always need to make sure that it is hydrated or I look really “tired”.

I also never go to bed without cleansing my face, but I guess you could say that I have lower maintenance skin. It’s not out of laziness that I don’t take more time to cleanse my face, it’s more a matter of convenience. I never have liked using washcloths to remove eye makeup because I hate that the mascara stains the cloths. A few years ago, I got tired of buying the cotton rounds and separate eye makeup remover.

Olay Micro-Exfoliating Wet Cleansing Cloths

Olay Micro-Exfoliating Wet Cleansing Cloths

If you purchase them at Target or Wally Mart, they are around $7.99.  I just found this deal at drugstore.com. They are $8.79 at drugstore.com, but if you buy one Olay Regenerist item, you get the second item for 50% off.  I’m not recommending that this product is for everyone because obviously it is not a deep cleansing product. It’s quick and easy and gets the job done when I’m in a hurry.

  • When I do actually take a little more time to cleanse, I really love Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash. This cleanser does a great job on combination skin.  My skin feels nice and clean after using this product but never feels dry and tight. At $18.50 a tube, it is still a good value.
Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash

Origins Checks and Balances

  • I also love Origins Never a Dull Moment. Origins calls this product a skin-brightening face cleanser.  It contains extract of crushed papaya and not only smells amazing, but really does the job of sloughing off dead skin. It almost feels like a scrub, but isn’t drying. It also costs $18.50 a tube.
Origins Never a Dull Moment

Origins Never a Dull Moment

Of course, with both these Origins products, I have to remove my eye makeup separately, so I don’t end up using them as often as I should.  If I get my makeup off, moisturizer and eye cream on every night, then I’m pretty happy.

Now, when it comes to hydrating products and eye creams, I’m a a lot more rigid and use a combination of those products every morning and every night!  I’ve got drier skin than BigSis, so I might be a little more obsessive about these products. I would talk about those now, but they deserve an entire post of their own. BigSis, you want to share some of your favorite eye creams?

~LilSis

Sister Showdown: Facial Cleansers

November 8, 2008

I’ve had high-maintenance skin for my entire life; in fact I don’t think I’ve gone to bed without washing my face since I was 12 years old.  So it isn’t surprising that I can’t get by with just one trusty facial cleanser.  I actually have a team of 5 cleansers that I rotate as needed, depending on what my skin is demanding that day.

  • My favorite cleanser right now is Serious Skin Care’s C-Clean. My biggest skin care concern is keeping my skin clean all the way to the bone in order to avoid breakouts, and C-Clean does that but not in a harsh way.  It’s made for over-40 skin, and leaves my skin feeling really clean but not ravaged.  It has Vitamin C as the name would indicate, but also includes aloe vera, comfrey, chamomile and calendula.

    Serious Skin Care C Clean

    Serious Skin Care C Clean

  • Serious Skin Care also makes a Glycolic Cleanser that used to be my #1 “go-to” cleanser, but it can be a touch too strong on some days for me now since I use a retinol product every night.  I still use it, but only when my skin feels tough enough to take the super-duper cleansing that it offers.  Let me give you one great tip about Serious Skin Care.  They are awesome about putting together try-me kits of their products, and this is the best (most affordable) way to get started with their line.  You can order their products directly from seriouskincare.com, but in my experience the best sampler kits are found through HSN.

    Serious Skin Care Glycolic Cleanser

    Serious Skin Care Glycolic Cleanser

  • I also love the Warming Deep Pore Cleanser that Biore used to make. You know Biore; they’re the folks who make the Deep Cleansing Pore Strips that clear all the clogs out of your pores.  Well, you may not know that they also make cleansers.  They’ve revamped the cleanser that I’m using, and it’s now called Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser.  It’s not a very pretty name, if you ask me, but I’ll definitely give it a try once my bottle of the previous formula is gone.  The warmth of the cleanser seems to help the product more effectively sweep away makeup and everything else that clings onto your skin during the day. This product is inexpensive, and widely available at drugstores and discount stores.

    Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser

    Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser

  • DHC is a skin care company that is based in Japan, and they have some great products and a very devoted following.  My favorite of their cleansers is the Deep Cleansing Oil which is their #1 selling product worldwide.  The main ingredient is olive oil, with Vitamin E and rosemary oil too.  Since I have oily sensitive skin, I NEVER would have considered using an oil cleanser on it, but that just shows how our closed minds can keep us from experiencing things that are good!  Like the Glycolic Cleanser, I can’t use this every day because of my retinol product usage, but when I need a good deep cleansing and my skin isn’t already irritated for some reason, this is an excellent product.

    I love the application process.  You take a pump of the oil into your palm, and then massage the oil into your dry skin with your fingers.  They say it can be used to remove eye-makeup, but I haven’t tried that.  Once the oil is thoroughly massaged in, only then do you add water and rinse it off.  To make sure all traces of the oil are removed, I then use DHC Pure Soap and rinse thoroughly again.  I can honestly say this tag-team duo makes my skin feel cleaner deep down than anything else I’ve ever used.

    DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

    DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

  • Last of all, with all this deep cleansing, there are days when my skin needs a more delicate touch, and on those days I use CeraVe.  My dermatologist recommended it to me last year when I had some laser treatments done (I need to post on THAT experience!).  It’s a hydrating gentle cleanser, but it’s also non-comedogenic so it doesn’t cause any breakout issues.  It’s too mild to be my daily cleanser, but on some days it’s the perfect choice. It’s a bonus that I can buy it just down the street at CVS.

    CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

    CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

That’s my facial cleanser team, and I haven’t even gotten to scrubs and masks yet!  I love that they are all affordable, and all very effective at what they do.  Hey LilSis, you got lower-maintenance skin than I did, and I’m betting your cleansing routine is not as high-maintenance as mine.  Is that an accurate assumption?  Hmmm?

~BigSis