Beauty

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo*

Beauty Review: Maple Holistics Silk18 Shampoo* | Writing Between Pauses

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a review of Maple Holistic’s Tea Tree Shampoo (one of my favorites). You can read that here.

As you all surely know by now, shampoo is one of my bugbears. I have a very sensitive, dry scalp; shampoos will work for a little while to relieve the dryness, then stop. I have reviewed so many shampoos and while they all worked for a while, eventually, my scalp went back to its usual: dry, flaky, itchy, sensitive.

When Maple Holistics reached out to me about reviewing their Silk18 Shampoo*, I was excited… but aware that like most shampoos, my dry scalp will probably acclimate to it. I’ve started to realize that I need to focus more on nourishing my scalp between washes, instead of expecting the shampoo to do all of the world.

My review of this was slightly complicated by the power outage at the end of February. I wasn’t able to shower for the first 4 days, by which time I was on day 7 with no washing. My scalp felt great and I realized I needed to start giving myself more time between washes. I used the Silk18 Shampoo for that first shower and oh my gosh… it felt amazing.

I really like Maple Holistics for a lot of reasons; the first one is that all of their products are cruelty free and ethically sourced. This helps me feel a lot better about the products I use, even if I can’t guarantee it for everything that works me & my hair! I also like that their products contain natural, soothing ingredients that are low on a toxicity scale, which helps keep our waterways clean.

Maple Holistics shampoo

The Silk18 Shampoo from Maple Holistics promises the following:

Achieve stronger, smoother, more luscious hair with silk18 shampoo. Infused with a rejuvenating blend of 18 silk amino acids which help fortify hair follicles and strengthen strands to protect hair from dryness, breakage, damage, split ends, and hair fall. The nourishing formula gently cleanses dandruff, excess sebum, and impurities to leave your hair and scalp feeling fresh but not stripped. Enriched with argan and jojoba oil to add supreme softness and a luminous shine. Our shampoo is sulfate and paraben-free making it great for all hair types, color treated hair, and sensitive skin.

All of those things are definitely true. I have slightly drier-than-average hair (although not bad compared to my scalp) that can get slightly frizzy and ugly after a few days (usually if I wear it in a bun too much). However, this shampoo definitely gave my hair most luster and shine than any other shampoo I’ve used recently, which is a definite plus. I used it in combination with my Formulate conditioner, which was really, really lovely.

Good shampoo for oily scalps

You might be wondering, what about your scalp? Well, it didn’t help my dry scalp as much as I would like—but it didn’t make it worse. When it comes to shampoo, that’s really all I can ask for! Some shampoos definitely make my scalp feel awful and this isn’t one of them.

So what’s my final verdict?

I love this shampoo for my hair. I like it for my scalp. I have found that using it in combination with my blend of half Head & Shoulders and half my Formulate shampoo on my scalp, then this on my ends… I get the absolute best wash I’ve gotten in a while. I’m currently working on washing my hair much, much less often to see if that will help my scalp health overtime. (I’m talking… like washing my hair every 10 days here, which seems like so long!) If you have drier hair, this is a great shampoo to try for a little extra moisture here at the tail end of a very, very cold winter season.

You can try the Maple Holistics Silk 18 Shampoo yourself by purchasing here.

Disclaimer: As always, as asterisk (*) in the title of this post denotes that I received this product in exchange for review. However, all opinions remain my own! Posts like this help me keep the lights on at Writing Between Pauses. To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Beauty Review: Alba Botanica Acne Patches

Beauty Review: Alba Botanica Acne Patches | Writing Between Pauses

Back when I was in middle school, Clearasil came out with these acne patches—little clear, round patches that you could put over zits and pimples with the intention to help them heal faster. They definitely worked, because I used them somewhat religiously for at least 2 years. But then they stopped making them, I stopped looking for them, and I never thought of it again.

However, in the past few years, tons of brands have come out with things that are very similar. And as it turns out, you have been able to buy essentially what Clearasil marketed for years in the pharmacy—it just wasn’t marketed to teenagers. Cool!

Sometimes, physically covering a pimple is the best way to keep yourself from picking on it—I know that’s true for me. I really wanted to try some of these “new” (to me) patches, but often found the cost prohibitive on the ones my friends said really worked. I asked tons of beauty groups and they all recommended K-beauty brands—which is fine and good, but so expensive to order sometimes.

Alba Botanica is a drugstore brand—you can find it at Target—and they sell “Acnedote Pimple Patches”. I looked at them in Target, then backed off at the price. $10, for a set of 40 patches. That felt like quite a bit. (I just looked at the Target website and they are $6 on there—but recently Target has made clear that there are things that are more expensive in store than on their website. So make sure to scan everything with the Target app and get price matches done!) I decided to pass.

10 minutes later, I found the exact same thing in TJ Maxx. For $4. Score.

So, here’s the real question: are acne patches worth it? Do they still work as well as I remember them working in middle school?

The answer is, yes and no.

I had two larger pimples on my chin that I wanted gone, so I slapped a patch on them and left it on overnight. In the morning, both pimples had large whiteheads. I remember this happening when I was younger; if nothing else, the patch would make the pimple get a head so you could pop it. However, I’m at an age where i know that’s not a good thing to do. However, when I peeled off the patches, it peeled the thin skin off and popped them for me.

So I was left with two big scabs.

Yeah, not sure that’s an improvement.

Do Acne Patches Work?

The two scabs did heal pretty fast after that, as I babied them. I decided to try these patches with some smaller whiteheads that popped up around my temples (thanks to my glasses rubbing) and they were much better at getting rid of those overnight, without a damaging scab in its place.

Basically, I think there are two really good ways to use these patches:

  1. To stop yourself from worrying a large pimple (such as a cyst)

  2. To get rid of small comedones

However, my big warning is: these patches do help make zits more “poppable”, which is debatably a good thing. If you have a big cyst, sometimes you just want to be able to pop it so it will stop hurting. In that situation, these are miracle workers; they help drain the inflammation and create a head, so you can get rid of the cyst faster. For comedones, they really do get rid of them overnight.

Are these worth it? Yes. I’m going to keep testing them out throughout the next few months, and try to find other brands to test alongside, but I do like them—even though my first experience was a little negative. I think, as with any beauty product, you have to keep your expectations realistic, especially in terms of what it achievable and what isn’t.

I Tried Personalized Shampoo from Formulate & It Changed My Life*

I Tried Personalized Shampoo from Formulate & It Changed My Life | Writing Between Pauses

When I first received an email from Formulate several weeks ago, I was immediately excited. I had been looking into the myriad of personalized shampoos available—I knew that my scalp issues meant I needed something personalized, but I was put off initially by the cost of other brands I found, as well as their often wishy-washy stance about being cruelty-free.

But from the moment Caroline from Formulate emailed me, Formulate felt different. Firstly, they’re very upfront about their cruelty-free and vegan stance, as well as being paraben free, sulfate free, dye free, and preservative free. I was really excited to try Formulate and I especially couldn’t wait to start washing my hair with the shampoo they sent me.

The process of creating my shampoo (and conditioner, of course) was really easy. I actually filmed it on Instagram (you can watch it in the Formulate highlight!). I love a good quiz, so walking through picking what I wanted from shampoo, telling them about my hair and scalp, and more was not only fun, but helped me think about what I want from a shampoo.

I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I get so caught up in wanting my hair to look a certain way that I forget other things—like nourishing my scalp, preventing split ends, and preventing breakage. It was nice to be able to pick 5 things for my shampoo and conditioner to really target. The quiz and sign up process took me maybe 15-20 minutes.

The most interesting part of the quiz was when it asked for my zip code. This was so they could pinpoint where I live and adjust my formulation to the humidity, average temperature, and climate of where I live.

You know what else was nice? Being able to pick from a bunch of beautiful scents—as well as the strength of the scent. How a shampoo smells is really important to me, but I always find myself disappointed when I use a shampoo that smells great, but it doesn’t make my hair smell like that later.

I picked the Verdant scent for my shampoo from Formulate; Verdant is a combination of lilies, grass, and Eucalyptus. It’s flowery and herby at the same time. I also picked Strong scent—hoping that it would make my hair smell 24/7 like lilies. (Spoiler alert: it totally does!)

It took about two weeks for my shampoo and conditioner to arrive from Formulate. In the age of Amazon 2-day shipping, that feels like a long time. However, it gives the scientists at Formulate time to look over your quiz, analyze where you live, and make the best possible shampoo and conditioner for you.

The box my shampoo arrived in was beautiful. The shampoo bottles themselves look really cute. There is something so shallow about aesthetic packaging, but I think we all prefer things that look good, right? They also came with two pumps to use, which is good, because I am not good at pouring shampoo! Another cool thing about the bottle design is that both shampoo and conditioner have Braille on the side. You so rarely see this in beauty products, so it is nice to see packaging being adjusted for those who require Braille in their daily lives.

From the first use, the thing I noticed the most was the smell! I’m so glad I went with Verdant; I absolutely love the smell of it. And the smell sticks around for a very long time. (I did, of course, pick Strong for a reason!)

The second thing I noticed was that this isn’t a shampoo that foams up. Like most sulfate free shampoos, it feels more like a thin conditioner. I’ll be sharing some tips next week about washing your hair with sulfate free shampoo, because, trust me, there is a small learning curve! If you’re used to standard shampoos, there is a period of time with sulfate free shampoos where your hair has to adjust to a new formula. I’ll talk about that in my blog post next week, so stay tuned!

(Don’t forget to sign up to win your own formulation! Click here to enter.)

Formulate shampoo review

The Benefits to My (Poor, Sensitive, Abused) Scalp

If you’ve read my blog for a long time, you know that I’ve really struggled with my scalp for the last year or so. It’s been a hell of a journey: I’ve tried just about every shampoo and conditioner under the sun. I spend more money on oils for my scalp than skincare. I’ve tried hyaluronic acid serums on my scalp (helped!), I’ve spent a small fortune on medicated shampoos, and my dermatologist is honestly really sick of looking at my scalp and saying, “I think it’s just dry.”

When I tell you that my shampoo from Formulate has fixed my scalp, it feels a little bit like an exaggeration, but it’s not. One of the big factors I selected for my shampoo was scalp health; I have a very sensitive, dry scalp that has gone through some trauma the last year and it needs healed. So Formulate chose vitamin E oil, along with other soothing ingredients, to help heal my scalp. And it did! From the very first wash, my scalp felt less tight and itchy. After about two weeks, my scalp wasn’t flaky anymore. I’ve had a few flairs, probably from dry weather and me deciding to use a hair mask that I knew would probably make my scalp itch, but nothing like the past. I can honestly say that that is life changing. Not having an itchy, flaky scalp all the time is a huge deal.

Aside from my beautiful scalp (prettiest scalp on the block, if you will!), I’ve also noticed a huge change in my hair texture. I’ve always had very silky, fine straight hair. It has a little bit of a wave to it in some spots; my hairdressers have always described this as “straight-relaxed” hair, meaning it basically conforms to the shape of my head. (A nice description, I think.)

Since I started using my shampoo from Formulate, I’ve noticed a major change in my hair texture. I’ve always had a lot of hair—like an absurd amount, despite how fine it is—but it was pretty lank and took a lot of effort for it to have volume. I’ve had a ton of volume since I started using Formulate and my hair feels a little more wavier—less pin straight and more relaxed, and it doesn’t conform to my head so much. (I know that’s a weird way to phrase that, but how else do I describe that!?) I can only speak for people who have straight hair, but this is a huge improvement for me.

Is Formulate Shampoo Good

Wash Less, With Better Hair

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to reduce the number of times I wash my hair per week. I know it’s drilled into us that maximum cleanliness means showering (and washing your hair) every single day. However, that can often cause, or make worse, scalp problems, as well as dry out our hair. (And it goes without saying: this all totally depends on your hair type!) I have managed to get down to 3 washes a week, but I’d like to reduce to about 2 washes a week because I find that’s when my scalp and hair feels best.

The great thing about Formulate is I feel like it helps me stretch the time between washes. My hair stays shiny and clean feeling for a lot longer, because I don’t have that residue build up caused by sulfates in shampoo. My hair is generally less oily, but still moisturized and pretty for several days in a row. No oily hair days!

As I mentioned, there are definitely some growing pains associated with going sulfate-free. I read a lot of articles as I started using Formulate and I will share more about this in a follow up blog post, but the number one thing I learned is that it will take several washes (about 3-4 weeks worth) for your hair to feel “normal” again. Using sulfate-free shampoo isn’t like using regular shampoo, but it does leave your hair just as clean (promise).

I can honestly say that the improvement to my scalp has made me want to never switch from Formulate! That alone is enough, but the scent, the way my hair looks and feels, the vegan and cruelty-free stance… it all makes me want to support a great company like Formulate.

The Second Formulation

I loved my Formulate shampoo and conditioner from that first use (honestly, the scalp benefits alone! I know I keep mentioning it, but it really is so huge for me). However, there were a few things I wanted tweaked.

That’s what is so great about Formulate. They work with you really closely in the first few weeks to help ensure that the shampoo and conditioner you use is perfect for you. The more you pay for a shampoo, the better your results often are; as someone who loves saving money, I’ve realized over time that… you pay for what you get, especially if you have a sensitive scalp or difficult hair! Formulate really makes your money go far though.

My initial feedback for Formulate was that I felt like my conditioner weighed my hair down a little bit and left a residue, specifically on the back of my head, that was hard to rinse. I also felt like my shampoo was just a little too drying on my hair. I sent my feedback in and a few days later, a second set of shampoo and conditioner was on its way to me. And the changes were HUGE! No more residue from my conditioner and the shampoo left my hair feeling silky and hydrated again. I’m so happy with my results from Formulate. And I know that if i start noticing any other issues, I can send them a note and get my shampoo and conditioner tweaked to improve.

Personalized shampoo review

This all leads me to the most exciting part of this collaboration with Formulate: I have a giveaway going!

You can enter to win your own formulation by clicking the button below. You’ll be able to personalize your own shampoo and conditioner and get the hair you’ve always dreamed of!

Have you ever tried customized shampoo and conditioner? What did you think?

Disclaimer: As indicated by the asterisk (*) in the title of this post, this post is a collaboration between Formulate and myself. I received product free in exchange for an honest review and promotion on social media. However, all opinions remain my own! Posts like these help me keep the lights on here at Writing Between Pauses. To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Beauty Review: My December 2018 Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: My December 2018 Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

I’m so glad I stuck it out for Ipsy because in December, everyone got 6 items instead of 5. I’m always here for a little bonus! Funny enough, last December, I wrote something like “the December Ipsy should have an extra little gift!” Now, I’m not crediting myself with this 6-item Ipsy, but I do think it’s funny that they decided this year was the year to do it.

The last few months of Ipsy have been a little ho-hum for me. So I’m really excited that I’m finally excited about a bag again! This month’s bag was really, really good minus one item—and considering it is a 6 item bag, that’s pretty good.

As always, you can read my past Ipsy bag reviews here. And don’t forget, if you want to try Ipsy, you can sign up using my code here.

December 2018 Ipsy Bag Value

1. Ciate London Glitter Flip Lipstick in Infamous, $9.50

This is a half-size lipstick (a deluxe sample). It’s 1.5 ml, as opposed to the full size 3 ml. Therefore, i priced it as half the usual price. I’ve been receiving a lot of Ciate London stuff, which is fine because I love their packaging! And I love this lip; it’s a fairly standard berry-toned red lipstick, that when you rub your lips together goes glittery. It’s an interesting lipstick and the glitter isn’t chunky or anything (shout out to the glitter balms I wore in middle school that had literal craft glitter in them). It will be gorgeous for a holiday party!

2. F.A.R.A.H 35E Tapered Blending Brush, $10

You can really never go wrong with a brush! I feel like I’m always reaching for a new blending brush, so adding another one to my collection is absolutely no problem. This one is especially pretty. The standard 35E brush with a non-decorative handle is priced at $10, so I kept this one at that value. It is a lovely brush though—very soft—and I’ve had good luck with the F.A.R.A.H brushes I’ve received in the past.

3. Dr. Lipp Moisturizing Colour Tint in Sweet Potato, $8.80

When I first saw I was getting a tinted lip balm, I was a little annoyed. But I ate that annoyance because this balm is, well, bomb. It’s tinted using sweet potato dye, which means it’s all natural. I also found that the brand Dr. Lipp makes a lanolin nipple balm, so to the nursing or pregnant women out there—might be worth a gander! Their prices are really affordable (once I ran them through conversion from pounds to dollars). And this tint is lovely; my lips feel moisturized and the tint isn’t too much. Just a nice natural color.

Is Ipsy Worth It December 2018 Bag

4. Steve Laurant Loose Powder Pigment in Antique Olive, $18.00

I love Steve Laurant products—I’m on record saying the blush I have from them is my favorite blush of all time. It’s so gorgeous. I was excited to receive a loose powder pigment, which isn’t something I use a lot, but I was so disappointed when my bag arrived and I saw I got… antique olive. What a shade! It’s like a shimmery khaki green. I will probably never wear it, but at least the packaging is pretty.

5. Tinct Nail Polish in Aarhus, $10.50

I can’t find this color on their website. As well, they seem to have completely different packaging. And the mL to oz measurements on the packaging I received from Ipsy do not 1) match the same size nail polishes on their website or 2) make sense. This nail polish is sketch. Also their website’s heading is “Mysite 1.” My SEO brain itches.

Either way, I don’t wear nail polish and I have NO idea why I received this. The color is pretty ugly too.

6. Kiss & Smink The Everything in Tulum, $20

This product is a great idea in thought, but in execution, it’s… questionable. It is a lovely product and I will use it, but the color I received is just a little too shimmery for me. This is an all-purpose stick: blush, eyeshadow, lips. It’s the color Tulum, which is a shimmery, light pink. It does look lovely as a blush, but it’s so shimmery. It looks almost like a highlight-blush combination on the skin, which is fine—except I stopped wearing highlighter, so…

What's In an Ipsy Bag?

Final Thoughts

The total value of this bag is $76.80. I’d say this is the best bag I’ve received int he last few months—I love just about everything in it minus the nail polish and the loose powder (which I don’t hate, I just don’t like the color at all). I feel like Ipsy is pulling out all the stops because they know I’m getting ready to cancel! That’s still my plan, but if this bag isn’t making me have my doubts… I do think it will be good to take a break though. This bag was definitely worth the $10 and I’m so excited to play with everything I got!

Beauty Review: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask

Beauty Review: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask | Writing Between Pauses

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I see something all over Instagram—you know, those viral products that every single Instagram baddie seems to be making videos about—I get intrigued. The part of me that works in marketing knows this is a marketing trick. The more we see something, the more we want to try it. Like those Coco & Eve hair masks. Or, in this case, the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay masks.

A bunch of beauty gurus I follow had videos about this mask. They’re all similar. I know you’ve seen them! The Pink Clay mask is particularly intriguing to me because clay masks are amazing for oily and acne prone skin—but they can also be super drying, so your skin requires a lot of babying afterwards. I wanted to try it, but the price tag (nearly $50 for a tub) held me back.

However, a few weeks ago, Ipsy was offering some deals on sample and full size products to add to your Ipsy bag. Well, color me foolish, I saw the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay available as a deluxe sample and thought, yes, I will pay $3 for that! It should be at least big enough to use 5 times.

Guys, I’m a fool. Truly, I don’t know how Ipsy keeps fooling me. You’d think at this point before I throw that sample into my cart and buy it, I’d look at the size information. To me, deluxe sample sizes should be fairly substantial. “Deluxe” implies you get at least a few uses, right? I’m not off base here. This is the hill I will die on. This sample is too small!! And for $3? I’m a fool, but you know what, this mask is pretty dang good. Sorry, spoiler alert.

I received this in my ipsy bag and immediately lost it because it is so small, it’s basically naked to the human eye. Just kidding. It’s not that small. But it’s pretty tiny and cute! I was so excited to try it, but I had just gotten back to Idaho—aka my skin was dry as a bone and absolutely wrecked. I decided to give myself a few days of moisturizing before I tried it and I’m glad I did. Without further ado, let’s jump into this review.

(If you want to read more about my adventures in teeny tiny Ipsy samples, click here.)

As a mask…

So, one of the ways to use this mask (yes, there are multiple ways, let me get to it!) is to use it, duh, as a mask. All over the face or in your problem areas (most likely your t-zone). After a few days of hardcore moisturizing (thanks Meriance!), I decided to go for it. I slathered this mask on, using almost half the tube for my apparently giant face, and waited.

And it dried down. Y’all, it dried down. My face was basically one, big tight bandage. Danny was laughing at me because I couldn’t really talk. It didn’t feel painful or bad, it just felt like I had gotten the most intense facelift in the world. It was funny, but also slightly horrifying. When I rinsed it off, my skin definitely felt super clean. Like, cleaner than it has been since I hit puberty and turned into an oil factory. I moisturized and put on some hyaluronic acid because… I was dry. I was clean, but my skin was parched. The next morning, my skin was glowy, but still very dry; I ended up putting on a few dabs of Dove’s DermaSeries moisturizing cream, which is technically for your feet. It helped though and truly, my skin looked amazing. It helped clear up some congestion I had from dry skin and environmental changes (that Idaho to Oregon drive, y’all) and definitely improved the texture of my skin.

So as a mask, I give it a solid 5 stars. It’s great if you have oily skin, but you need to moisturize a lot after using it. Or else, you might really wreck your skin. It also smells really good; lightly sweet without being overpowering.

Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask Instagram

As a spot treatment…

And here’s the second way to use it. Instead of using it as an all over mask, you can use it to spot treat individual blemishes. If you’re prone to dry patches, like I am during the winter, avoiding it as an all over mask it probably a good idea since it is quite drying. However, I had a cyst pop up over the weekend; I dabbed a bit of it on, let it dry, then went to sleep. When I woke up, it was pretty much deflated. I rinsed and moisturized and felt amazing.

So, if you need a spot treatment, this is kind of perfect. And really, it’s the perfect size for spot treating. Genius.

Final Thoughts

Is this worth the $3 I paid for it? In this size, I want to say no because I am naturally frugal and I really sometimes believe $3 should last me a month. But honestly, it is worth the $3, even though the size was a shock when I first got it. A full size tub costs $49 and has a net weight of 60 g (or 2.1 oz). The sample size tube is 13g, or a little less than 25% of the full size tub. In that respect, this little sample was worth it. It’s hard for me to say whether I would pay $49 for a full size tub of it; I do really like it, but there are comparably good pink clay masks out there from other brands that are much more affordable. They do have a holiday kit on sale at the moment for $59 that includes the mask, a mitt for rinsing, and a storage pouch.

Have you tried this mask? What did you think?

Beauty Review: Mériance Anti-Aging Skin Care Kit*

Beauty Review: Mériance Anti-Aging Skin Care Kit | Writing Between Pauses

When I received an email a few weeks ago from Mériance asking if I would like to review their full anti-aging skin care kit, well, I couldn’t say no.

As you all probably know, I turned 30 in October. And while I’m not showing any signs of aging (at least in my skin), I’m a big believer in taking care of my skin to keep it looking good. For me, that has meant double cleansing, wearing my SPF every single day, and keeping moisturized. I tend to shy away from longer, more complicated routines. The Mériance Anti-Aging Kit seemed right up my alley!

I received my kit a few weeks ago. Here’s everything that’s in it:

  • Rejuvenating Serum

  • Native Collagen Serum

  • Anti-Aging Collagen Cream

  • Night Repair Cream

  • Eye Contour Cream

And here’s what the kit, and all the products, promises:

Meriance bio-active collagen derived from marine origin replenishes the skin with properties that enhance the supply of collagen fibers. Meriance collagen is not modified or synthesized! It regenerates the connective tissues that support the skin’s structure. This ingredient helps to deeply hydrate mature and dry skin in order to maintain healthy and resilient cells.

My favorite thing about this kit is that you get just about everything you need for a routine. So while the cost upfront might be a little shocking, these are full sizes, you don’t use that much every single day, and you get everything you need. The order to apply everything is really basic too. Here’s what I do:

  1. Double cleanse with jojoba oil, then the Body Shop’s Tea Tree facial cleanser.

  2. Apply the Rejuvenating Serum, which contains peptides. It helps to enhance the other products in the kit. It has hyaularonic acid, which helps plump skin.

  3. Apply the Native Collagen Serum. It has a high concentration of collagen.

  4. At this point, I use the Eye Contour Cream mixed with a tiny amount of my favorite vitamin C cream (right now, I’m using Revlon’s). I only use this around my eyes to help with my melasma and moisturize the skin underneath my eyes. I let that sink and dry for about 5 minutes.

  5. Apply the Anti-Aging Collagen Cream. This is a thick, lovely moisturizer that smells really good and feels even better! I’ve been struggling with dry patches since Thanksgiving and this really clears them up within a few days.

  6. Apply the Repair Night Cream. This is a double dose of moisture that I use after the Collagen Cream. It contains antioxidants that can help adjust repair your skin.

Meriance Anti-Aging

Results

How quickly did I start seeing results? As I said, I struggle with dry patches once late Fall and early Winter hits; usually my nose and cheeks are where I struggle the most, but this year, my under eyes have decided to join in on the dry skin party.

I haven’t used everything enough to speak to the anti-aging effects quite yet, but I have noticed that my skin has been much softer, much less textured, and much more “supple” feeling (for lack of a better word). My dry patches have been much less severe and as long as I’m good about applying both the Collagen Cream and the Night Repair Cream, they are much less noticeable, and even not there at all, throughout the day!

As someone who is acne prone, I’m always really worried about trying new products. However, acne-prone skin is dehydrated skin and these products have been helping so much! I’m getting less oily throughout the day now that my skin is being better moisturized every morning and night.

If you have dry skin or are beginning to worry about aging, this is definitely a kit you want to pick up! I have a special coupon code just for my readers for $100 off your first kit. Just click the image below, or click here, and use code MichelleLocke100 at check out!

Disclaimer: As always, an asterisk (*) in the title of this post indicates that I received this product in exchange for review. However, my views remain my own! Posts like these help me keep the lights on here at Writing Between Pauses. For more information about my disclosure policy, click here.

Beauty Review: Too Faced Dew You Full-Coverage Foundation

Beauty Review: Too Faced Dew You Full-Coverage Foundation | Writing Between Pauses

I write about foundation a lot. Like, more than I ever thought I would, really. Which makes sense, as foundation is the makeup I bought use the most and struggle the most with. The truth is there is never going to be a perfect foundation that suits every skin type and every need. When it comes to my reviews, I’m often speaking just of myself and making generalizations for people with skin types similar to my own.

When it comes to foundation, I’ve reviewed Sephora’s and Ulta’s quizzes (as well as 6 different foundations). I’ve reviewed the Wet’n’Wild Photo Focus foundation and the Makeup Revolution stick foundation. I’ve even developed a process that I use for making sure my foundation lasts longer than four hours.

In the process, I’ve tried a lot of good and bad foundations. In writing my blog post on the Sephora & Ulta foundation quizzes, I discovered that the Too Faced foundations were, surprisingly, some of the best I tried. I didn’t love the Born This Way foundation, because the colors closest to my skin tone were all a bit off and I found it broke down a little too quickly. The Peach Perfect foundation was one of my absolute favorites, but the strong peach scent was a bit of a turn off and I found it oxidized a lot.

As a birthday present to myself, I decided to try the Too Faced Dew You foundation. It’s a full-coverage, but “glowy” foundation that was part of the fruit-themed collection that came out at the beginning of Fall. (I won’t get started on my tangent about that collection; it was extremely cute, but was definitely a summer collection, so I don’t know why it came out in September! From a marketing perspective, I had a lot of questions.) My hopes weren’t exactly high, but I was excited to try this foundation; I hoped it would combine the things I loved about the Peach Perfect foundation in a slightly less oxidizing formula.

Too Faced Dew You Full Coverage Fresh Glow Foundation

This foundation is marketed as a “hydrating” foundation; it’s “dewy” as opposed to matte, but still full coverage. Here’s what it promises:

Hydrate and brighten your Tutti Frutti complexion with this dewy, gel-cream foundation infused with soothing watermelons and cucumbers.

And here are some more promises:

  • 20 hydrating, brightening shades

  • Formula leaves skin with a glowing satin finish

  • Infused with soothing watermelons & cucumbers

  • Helps even skin tone

  • Gel-cream formula leaves skin ultra-hydrated and brightened

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Longwearing

20 shades isn’t exactly very many. However, there do seem to be a fair number of medium shades; the parts that are missing out are the darker shades which is a systemic issue in the beauty industry. It doesn’t make me happy to see this foundation with so few shades for people who are darker skin toned, but I know they just recently expanded the Born This Way shades. Here is to hoping they expand all their shade ranges for all their foundations and concealers.

The idea of a hydrating formula that is also long-wearing was very exciting to me, shade issues aside. I am oily (very oily) often because my skin gets dehydrated; so I need a combination of both hydration and powder to keep my skin looking decent throughout the day.

So what did I think of this foundation?

Is the Too Faced Dew You Foundation Good for Oily Skin?

My first impression was, just like the Peach Perfect foundation, it has a very strong smell. It smells strongly of watermelon. It’s not bad, but again, it is sickly sweet. It’s not as bad as the fake peach scent, but if you’re sensitive to smells, it can be a huge issue. I found that the watermelon smell didn’t bother me nearly as much as the peach scent, so it works for me. But if that’s an issue for you, this foundation may not be the one.

Just like the Peach Perfect foundation, I love how it looks on my skin as I’m applying it and immediately after. Most Too Faced foundations are very, very yellow to me; I feel like they struggle with pink or neutral undertones. However, I’ve found that Swan is a close enough match that I can tone down the yellow with concealer afterwards. The finish is absolutely amazing, though, and looked great after applying.

I’ve worn this multiple times for 12+ hours. I find that with my standard method of applying (The Body Shop mattifying spray and powder underneath my foundation, then powder on top as well), it lasts about 6-7 hours looking really good and without touch ups. After 6 hours or so, I start to notice it getting quite patchy; by 8-10 hours of wear, I usually have patches where it has rubbed off or simply disappeared completely. This isn’t out-of-the-ordinary for foundations and my skin; 6 hours is actually longer than I’ve ever gotten most foundations to last! I’m impressed for that reason; very rarely do I even wear foundation for 8+ hours. However, if you’re very oily, struggle to make foundation last, and work long days, again, this might be a more difficult foundation.

My favorite thing about this foundation is that it manages to be both dewy and matte on my skin. It doesn’t look matte-matte; you know that look of a very dry foundation. It almost makes me look old. This foundation doesn’t do that, but it does dry down—and that can make it oxidize a tiny bit. However, it’s not nearly as bad as Peach Perfect, so I’ll take it. I feel like it’s a very natural finish on the skin; not too matte, not too dewy.

How long does the Too Faced Dew You foundation last?

Is this the perfect foundation for oily skin? Well, I think it depends on what you’re looking for. For me personal, I place how it looks over any super long-wearing abilities. I tend to wash my foundation off the moment I leave work and I don’t wear foundation on the weekends, unless I’m going to an event. If you need long-wearing, I don’t think this is the best foundation out there for that. If you do want something that looks incredibly natural, this is a great option—and despite being “dewy,” it does work very well for my oily skin.

Have you tried the Dew You foundation? What did you think?

Beauty Review: AHA! Peel so Good Skin Renewal Gel

Beauty Review: AHA! Peel So Good Skin Renewal Gel | Writing Between Pauses

Back in August, I posted my review of the Holika Holika Pig-Nose gel, which basically acts as an exfoliating gel. My review was positively glowing: I use the Holika Holika gel at least every 7-10 to help with my textured skin and it has made a huge difference in the past few months. For a $2.99 tube I bought on impulse at TJ Maxx… it’s really, really good.

But the more I use it, the more I get nervous. I haven’t found it in TJ Maxx or Marshall’s since I bought it, which means I need something that works just as well for when this tube is over. (Note: when I originally wrote this post a few days ago, I hadn’t found another tube of it anywhere. However, just this past weekend, I found it at TJ Maxx! So keep your eyes peeled.)

I purchased the AHA! Peel So Good Skin Renewal Gel (from the Korean brand, Faith in Face) about three months ago with the intention of comparing it to the Holika Holika. Even though it is also a Korean brand, I decided to test it first because: I see a tube of it nearly every time I visit Marshall’s or TJ Maxx; it comes in a much larger amount than the Holika Holika tube; and at $4.99, it’s still an absolute bargain.

Here’s what the AHA! Peel So Good gel promises:

A soft cellulose scrub containing AHA complex. Feel good by renewing your skin into clear and radiant skin.

The gel is almost the exact same texture and appearance as the Holika Holika gel and it has the same, somewhat strong smell. (It is somewhat chemical-y, as I noted in my previous review, but it doesn’t bother me that much!)

The good news is that this exfoliating gel works almost exactly the same as Holika Holika: after 5 minutes of a thin layer on my face, I scrub off all the dead skin and residue from the previous week. My skin is so soft afterwards and my texture definitely looks better.

Even better news? This gel has made huge headway on my acne scars, especially on my chin. My scarring from cystic acne is one of my biggest insecurities and I hadn’t noticed a huge improvement with using Holika Holika. But once I started testing this product out every other week, I noticed a huge improvement. So you’re struggling with scarring on your face or new, I cannot recommend this product enough.

In the showdown between AHA! Peel So Good and Holika Holika, who wins? I think it depends on what you’re looking for! Holika Holika is a size of tube that suggests it is just for your nose (even though I use it all over my face), so if you struggle with clogged pores on your nose, that would definitely be a winner. But if you’re like me and struggle with textured skin and scarring, I highly recommend the Peel So Good gel! I like both pretty equally, but I know which one will last longer and that’s a better deal to me!