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REVIEW: Arcona Toner Tea Bar

This cleanser, in the shape of a large soap bar, is my latest beauty product obsession.  I can’t get enough of it!  I look forward to washing my face each morning and night; I even try to figure out some excuse as to why I need to wash my face in the middle of the day.  It’s so much fun to use!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:

ARCONA Toner Tea Bar

Antioxidant facial cleanser heals and strengthens your skin as it tones and minimizes pores. Neutralize free radicals, calm and protect skin with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory green and black teas. Nourish, oxygenate and clarify your skin with antibacterial enzyme-rich manuka honey and vitamin E. Maintain your skin’s natural ph balance with soothing lecithin, yucca and aloe extracts.

Directions: Use daily: Apply to wet face with light, upward and outward circles. Rinse well.

Available in 4oz

I bought the Arcona Toner Tea Bar a couple of weeks ago because I was simply bored with my cleansing routine.  My skin just isn’t reacting the same way it used to while using my normal cleanser.  My skin usually adapts to a cleanser after 6 months of using it.  So, I wanted to try something new and organic if possible…hello Arcona Toner Tea Bar.

First off, it’s a bar of soap which a NEVER use. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to like it.  You have to wet your face (not the Toner Tea bar) and then apply the bar to your face in a circular motion for about one minute.

OK so this is new, there’s not a lot of water involved and I’m holding my cleanser in my hand just rubbing away.  It’s annoying at first to try and figure out the contours of your face and the best way to get around all the grooves to clean everything.  However, you get used to it very quickly, and by your third wash, you’re an expert with moving that bar effortlessly around your face.

After the minute was up I was surprised because there wasn’t much soapy residue on my face and I wasn’t quite sure enough ‘toner tea’ was released from the bar.  During the next phase of washing my concerns were quickly silenced because once you apply water to your face again the remaining soap comes to life in a fabulous foaming frenzy!  Your face lathers up with toner tea, and you can really feel the ingredients working as they deeply penetrate your pores and cleanse everything thoroughly!  Woohoo! Afterwards your face feels so incredibly squeaky clean, you can actually hear the ‘squeak’ noises of your fingers rubbing up against your cheeks.  The best part is that you’re clean but not dry in the least.  In fact, my face always feels silky smooth afterwards, and it does an excellent job at tightening pores! Also, you don’t even have to rinse the bar off, you just place it back in the convenient container with a built in ‘drip pad’, close the lid and your done!  It’s fabulous!!!

FINAL THOUGHT:  If you are bored with your current cleansing routine, and feel like shaking things up a bit – then I highly recommend giving Arcona’s cleansing bars a try.  I’m currently obsessed with mine, and I can’t imagine anyone else being disappointed.  The only thing I will warn people about is that this bar may feel too drying on already dry skin.  Even though it doesn’t dry my skin at all, I can imagine if someone who enjoys a more moisturized feeling from their cleanser, may not enjoy the uber-clean feeling the Toner Tea Bar provides.

Arcona Toner Tea Bar ($38) is available at Arcona, Nordstroms, NuboNau.com, Beauty.com, Dermstore.com

BEST PRODUCT: Sunday Riley – Good Genes Treatment

Best Product Choice for Overnight Anti-aging Treatment

 

Good Genes is an amazing treatment that has seriously made my skin look the BEST it’s ever looked. I have been using Good Genes for four months now and I am addicted to it.  It will remain in my secret beauty chest for as long as my skin needs it.

A little background info. on Good Genes, before I get further into my obsession…I mean review…

Product Description: Everyone wants the unmistakable look of having “good genes”. This amazing treatment is formulated with key ingredients which will plump fine lines, reveal brighter, newer skin, and improve circulation, offering a smooth, vibrant complexion. Long term use will restore damaged skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and acne scars, reduce the depth and number of lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, & increase epidermal firmness and thickness.

Unique Properties: Great to use 5 days in a row as an intensive radiance treatment or anytime you want to impress. Can be applied daily for reviving skin which is damaged by excessive UV exposure, aging, acne scars, pollution, lifestyle.
Key Ingredients:

  • Unneutralized Lactic Acid (Line Plumping, Increased Epidermal Firmness and Thickness, Skin Renewal)
  • Licorice (Skin Brightening, Fights Hyperpigmentation, Anti-inflammatory)
  • Squalene (Helps Repair Skin Barrier)
  • Yeast Extract (Encourages Healthier Skin)
  • Lemongrass (Circulation, Antioxidant)
  • Arnica (Anti-Inflammatory, Soothing)

What Makes It Work: Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment secret is the NV-5. NV-5 is a complex combination of 5 Native American Botanicals: Blue Agave, Night Blooming Cactus, Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Pricky Pear, Biofermented Aloe plus Yeast extract. These natural ingredients aid in cell damage repair, prevents aging skin that is cause to inflammation and detoxifies the skin.

*Side Note* I absolutely love the fact that all of Sunday Riley’s packaging is so user friendly.  She makes it very easy for the customer to become fully informed with her products.  The directions are clear and easy to follow, and the full list of ingredients are always included on every box.  Take a look for yourself…

 

Good Genes Review Continued…
I have tried every over-the-counter acne clearing product under the sun. In the end, I had an over-processed and over-exfoliated face. It was dry, red, hyperpigmented and extremely tight from lack of moisture. Enter the gift from heaven – GOOD GENES. I first used Good Genes as directed (5 nights in a row) and immediately saw a remarkable difference in the quality of my skin. Over the next couple of months I figured out the best routine for using it with my skin, which is the following:

  • Apply 2-3 pumps every night after cleansing and using a toner.
  • Let it sit alone for a minute or two so that it can fully absorb.
  • Follow with night cream or moisturizer.
  • Take a break from using it for about one week, at least every three weeks to a month.

The Result – I have noticed a significant plumping of fine lines, a reduction in sun damage, an improvement in overall clarity, and an a definite increase in firmness. I’m in LOVE!  

I should note the reason I take a week or two ‘break’ from using Good Genes is because its’ considered an acid treatment, and using it TOO much can make your face a little raw.  Additionally, even though Sunday Riley says Good genes is “Lightly Hydrating,” I would still highly recommend always following this treatment with a moisturizer – since it literally peels away the dead skin cells, revealing a newer and fresher layer of skin.

FINAL THOUGHT: I would absolutely, without a doubt recommend this exquisite product, because it actually WORKS! My favorite thing about Good Genes is the fact that it makes all my other products work better – that’s because Good Genes creates a smoother, brighter and firmer canvas (my face). Although this product is expensive, it’s worth every penny!

Available at barneys.com or sundayriley.com

REVIEW: Sunday Riley’s Blushing 101

 

This is my favorite product in the entire Sunday Riley Makeup line – Blushing 101.

Blushing 101 is a pale, dusty-rose pink yet neutraly toned. The texture is very finely milled, and the finish is what makes this product so unbelievable. Shades of this type usually don’t appear smoothly on my skin and leave my skin blotchy, but Blushing 101 appears even-toned, smooth and absolutely beautiful on my skin. I have a warm skin tone, and this color blends effortlessly into my skin leaving a completely natural and flushed look.  In fact, the color pigments themselves are round making them extravagantly soft with a silky smooth finish. In person, I would describe the finish as a glowy sheen with the faintest hint of a dusty rose pink color – in other words it creates pure radiance!

Some swatches of Blushing 101…

light application
medium application

 

heavy application

Key Ingredients & how they are utilized in Blushing 101:

  • Kaolin – is a clay-like mineral with oil absorbing properties, and draws out impurities and toxins.  Riley says Kaolin in the blush is “a mineral that diffuses light, reduces the appearance of fine lines.”
  • Mica – Riley says is “a translucent, natural mineral that reflects light and creates the illusion of a smoother, softer and more radiant skin tone.”
  • Silica – In Blushing 101, Riley says “perfectly spherical silica particles are first coated evenly with pigments to create the silkiest application and feel.”
  • Nylon 12– An ingredient that prevents the blush from settling into fine lines.  Riley says of Nylon 12 “a hypo-allergenic ingredient that reduces shine and feels silky, creating a smooth appearance.”
*Blushing 101 is Oil-free
*All of Sunday Riley products are Paraben Free 

FINAL THOUGHT: This blush is the absolute perfect shade for me, and I have been searching for a blush this color for a long time, so I was completely ecstatic that I finally found it with blushing 101.  I’ve also seen this blush on different skin tones, and it’s gorgeous as well.  The light diffusers in the blush creates a luxurious glow, and the finely milled technology provides for the smoothest coverage possible on any ones skin tone. A ‘must have’ blush for sure!!! A+++

Sunday Riley’s Blush “Blushing 101” is available at barneys.com ($30.00)

REVIEW: VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Cream

 

The RE-EVERYTHING CREAM: ANTI-AGE PRIMARY TREATMENT is a clinically-proven cellular renewal + regeneration, microdermabrasion, antioxidant + intensive moisturizing, anti-aging therapy.

What it is: A stimulating treatment cream with powerful anti-aging benefits.

What it’s used for: VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Anti-Age Primary Treatment Cream effectively combats and reverses the effects of aging. 5% glycolic acid provides microdermabrasion, encouraging younger cells to surface as kinetin growth factor promotes collagen and elastin production. Antioxidants green tea and rice phytic acid fight free radicals, protecting your skin while USDA-certified organic virgin coconut oil deeply moisturizes your skin. As a result wrinkles are smoothed and skin is brighter and more even with a youthful tone.

What else you need to know: Helps rejuvenate, retexturize + refirm skin, making it notably tauter, softer and smoother, and more youthful in appearance + behavior.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-25, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Glyceryl Laurate, Butylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Caprate, Sodium Phytate, Kinetin.

All VMV Hypoallergenic products are VALIDATED HYPOALLERGENIC: VH -76/76. 100% All-Types-Of-Fragrance-Free. 100% Dye-Phthalate-Paraben + Preservative-Free. Non-Comedogenic. All Skin Types. Skin. Usage, Patch + Clinically-Tested. For Men + Women 18+.

REVIEW:  Last year,  I started to experience a dreaded and annoying skin condition of hormonal acne.  I was getting these huge boils around my chin and red spots scattered on my forehead and sides of my nose.  Basically the areas on my face that produced the most oil became irritated and inflamed every 3-4 weeks.  It was awful because I never had to deal with acne before, not even as a teenager, and now in my 30’s I looked like a dermatologists worst nightmare!  Over the course of 9 months I basically ruined my skin, by trying to clear this hormonal acne with harsh over-the-counter drying products I ended up over-exfoliating and irritating it even more.  Then all of a sudden, I noticed I didn’t have any acne breakouts, or even a single zit, for a couple weeks, which seemed like an eternity at the time.  Then week after week there was nothing, no acne what so ever and my skin was looking great. I swear to you my skin looks the best it’s ever looked in my life!

I know that I owe this clear & radiant skin I’m enjoying right now to several skincare products that I’ve been using.  I won’t name them all right now because I will be reviewing everything separately, but I will say that the products I’m using show that I’ve completely changed my outlook on skincare – and it worked!  For instance, I’m using cleansing balms, like Eve Lom’s and cleansers with essential oils like Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip – instead of harsh exfoliating cleansers targeting oily/acne prone skin.  I’m using face oils like Rodin Olio Lusso, Sunday Riley Juno and my new favorite Sponge Ladi Avocanto Oil.  I’m also trying to use more moisturizers that are calming and healing for sensitive skin like Rodial’s Dragon Blood and Sponge Rose & Sage Cream.

The point of this long story is that, although I owe thanks for my new skin to all the products (and more) listed above, It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t review the cream that kick-started this path to clear skin.  When I first noticed my skin looking better and calmer, I had just thrown out my empty bottle of VMV Hypoallergenic RE-Everything Cream: Primary Treatment after using every last drop over a 8-week period.  Looking back now, I honestly believe that this cream got my skin back on track.  It balanced my oil production while calming irritation and correcting any previous damage, allowing all my other products to work better.   A complete skin rejuvination!  It took me 8 weeks to get through the bottle because the instructions tell you to follow an 8 week plan that gradually builds your allowed usage up to 2 times per day.  I followed the instructions exactly and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Included with the Re-Everything Cream is a pamphlet with detailed instructions for a suggested 8-week application guide (see pictures above), as well as tons of information about the product itself and its’ ingredients.  Inside the numerous pamphlet pages, VMV makes many claims, based off clinical tests.  I’ve decided to pull two key words from the pages, that I believe accurately describe what Re-Everything Cream did for my skin.  Those words are: RENEW + REBUILD

One of the active ingredients, responsible for skin RENEWAL in the cream is unbuffered (undiluted) glycolic acid.  I really enjoy products with glycolic acid in it because they effectively breaks down my dead skin, resulting in smoother and youthful skin and without drying it out.  Glycolic acid provides micro-dermabrasion, forcing new, younger cells to the surface, and it also enables the skin to absorb moisture better.

What I enjoy most about this cream is how lightweight it is, and specifically how smooth and easy it is to apply.  Although it’s lightweight and the texture is more like a liquid then a heavy cream, it’s still not runny or greasy.

The smell is very faint and non-descript, but once you massage it onto your face the sweet scents of virgin coconut oil start to come out, and it’s quite yummy! Speaking of coconut oil… the USDA-certified organic virgin coconut oil used in this cream contributes to the REBUILDING of the skin, due to its unrivalled moisturization at the cell membrane level.  Cream is fully blended-in below:

There’s not much more I can say in this review, because hopefully my long story about dealing with adult acne for the first time and finally getting my skin back on track and balanced, emphasized the fact that this cream can be highly effective if used correctly.  It can even change the overall quality of your skin.  I would recommend VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Cream: Anti-aging  Primary Treatment to people with sensitive skin, who sometimes deal with acne breakouts and who are ready & willing to make a serious change in their skin care routine.  If you have the patience to see through all 8 weeks of ‘building up tolerance’, then this cream may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.  It will rejuvenate, renew & rebuild your skin!  It helped me restore & balance my sensitive skin and I’d have no reservations about using it again and again and again…

The Re-Everything Cream: Anti-aging  Primary Treatment is available at:

VMV Hypoallergenics – $85.00

Dermstore – $85.00

Beautysage – $85.00

You can also visit vmvhypoallergenics.com and shop their website by concern as well as read tons of informative articles all about taking care of your skin at their “Skintelligencenter”.

*PRODUCT SAMPLE*

REVIEW: Eve Lom Kiss Mix

 
I turn to this lip balm when I need an ‘extra deep’ moisturizing treatment during the winter months, however I also love using Kiss Mix in the spring to repair any damage caused by the cold winter weather. There’s menthol in it, which gives a bit of a tingle, but I like that feeling when my lips are on the verge of becoming ‘chapped.’ It immediately sooths the sensitive skin of my lips, while it feels wonderful and looks fabulous at the same time! Although in the bottle it looks almost white, on the lips it appears more translucent – closest to a milky sheen color.
 
Product Details: Lips should always look luscious and kissable, but they can easily become dry, even chapped.  With its moisturising and healing ingredients, Kiss Mix is an absolute must for everybody.  It is a year-round product as it keeps lips moisturised and protected from UV rays in summer and biting winds in winter.  Lips love Kiss Mix.
What is Does:  A rich, glossy treatment that helps to moisturise and protect tender lips. First aid for sore, chapped lips, or as a regular hydration fix, Kiss Mix contains Zinc oxide which comforts dry lips and acts as a natural sunscreen, while menthol cools and freshens.  Kiss Mix is great to use with lipstick to add shine to your lips or on its own as a moisturising base.
Ingredients: bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil), cera microcristallina (microcrystalline wax), menthol, zinc oxide, cera alba (beeswax), dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben.
 
Final Thought: While it’s rich and hydrating, it doesn’t have a thick texture, so it’s great to use underneath or on top of lipstick as well – it adds such a lovely and natural sheen. Great product to have in your arsenal of lip treatments, I typically buy one pot of Eve Lom’s “Kiss Mix” every winter, and it lasts me well beyond the coldest months and into the spring.
 
Available At:
evelom.com  £14.00 (UK)
barneys.com $20.00 (US)
beauty.com $20.00 (US) – Free 2-day shipping!
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