May beauty favorites... I think?
Confession: I'm a serial review reader. I read so many reviews sometimes I forget what reviews I've even read-- which is counterproductive.... But anyways, as a lover of reviews, I always want to blog my own thoughts but put it off until I have an overwhelming amount of products and just decide to forget about it. With the turn of the month, I figured it was the perfect time to talk about the new skincare and haircare products I purchased in May. So I guess that makes this a May favorites/ unfavorites type post, my very first!
Just a preface, I would say I have combination skin with dry cheeks and an oily T-zone. I also try to stick to oil free products and avoid anything with mineral oil as it causes my skin to freak the f*ck out.
Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Tonic: After reading numerous articles about the laborious Korean skincare regimen as well as discovering Caroline Hiron's blog, I became intrigued by toners. I've used Neutrogena and Clinique toners in the past and have always thought of toners as astringents, products that help "tighten up" your pores. Ms. Hiron changed my perspective when she suggested that instead of viewing toners as the last step of cleansing, see it as the first step in moisturizing. A moisturizing toner is supposed to aid your skin in absorbing whatever serums/ moisturizer you apply afterwards.
I picked this toner up on a whim, as I had read so many reviews before heading to Bloomingdale's that I forgot which toners I were at the top of my list.
The bottom line is that this Bobbi Brown toner barely works. Maybe it's because my skin has been particularly dry these last few months, but I was not impressed with this product. At $30 a pop, I expected more in terms of moisturizing. I'm going to return this and try some more affordable options from Boscia, Clarins, Kiehl's (now on sale), and Origins.
Kate Somerville clarifying treatment toner: Even though I suffer hyper-pigmentation from acne scarring, I'm always a bit skeptical when it comes to lightening products. After reading Sabrina's review at the beauty look book, I figured I would give this a try (plus I was in my internet induced toner craze.)
It's not a product that you use and wake up the next morning to see drastic results. But after using it for almost 3 weeks I can say that it has helped in lightening my scars. The only downside is that it's slightly drying, so I'm sure to generously moisturize after using it.
Packaging wise it has a pump which is always a plus.
Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer spf 35: In today's day and age, I can't fathom not wearing sunscreen. The stats reported by the American Academy of Dermatology are shocking! For example, avoiding UV exposure could prevent more than 3 million cases of skin cancer each year. Even though the incidence rates are much lower for people of color, I'm still not chancing it. And besides for the whole not wanting to die of cancer thing, wearing spf can delay the visual affects of aging on your skin. Also, if you've got acne scaring like me, wearing a spf can protect scars from sun exposure which makes them even worse. Bottom line, wear spf!!
Now onto the actual product. I've been around the block over the last few months trying to find a new spf moisturizer, but I've ended up re-purchasing this one that I have been using since high school. I wouldn't say it's my perfect sunscreen, so let's get into the pros and cons.
Pros: It's cheap. When it comes to sunscreen, I prefer something from the drugstore because I like to generously slather it on my face (the recommended amount for your face is a nickel sized blob.) I also like that it's a moisturizer with sunscreen, as opposed to a plain, ol' sunscreen. That means that I don't have to worry about applying a moisturizer and a sunscreen in the morning, provided my skin isn't too dry. I also like the fact that it's packaged with a pump, makes for effective and sanitary usage.
Cons....ish: It's active ingredients are avobenzene, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzene which are all chemical sunscreens. The downside to this is that you need to apply it about 20 minutes before going out in the sun. The plus side to this it doesn't leave a heavy white cast on your face after application (there is some when initially applying, but it quickly fades away.) To learn more about the differences between physical and chemical sunscreens, click on over here. According to this table, all of them are FDA approved but in one study octocrylene was seen to increase skin's photosensitivity to the sun.... which is slightly concerning, but more research needs to be done.
Bobbi Brown hydrating face tonic, Kate Somerville clarifying treatment toner, Neutrogena oil free moisture with spf 35
Neutrogena T/ gel + Jason dandruff relief shampoo: Over the past year I've tried numerous organic, sulfate free, anti-dandruff shampoos that are supposed to work without stripping my hair of moisture. They haven't been particularly effective so I've come back to my high school favorite: Neutrogena T/gel. It smells terrible and makes my hair feel like straw, but it's very effective in getting rid of my dandruff.
I find the best way to keep the dandruff at bay is to alternate between shampoos with different active ingredients. Neutrogena's uses coal tar while the Jason shampoo uses sulfur and salicylic acid.
The Jason shampoo is everything I want my ideal anti dandruff shampoo to be. It is not too strongly scented, is much gentler on my hair, and is free of silicones and sulfates. In addition, it contains a nice mix of oils which are always welcome in haircare products for added moisture. Unfortunately, as a stand alone product, it doesn't control my dandruff all that well. But when used in rotation with T/gel, it works like a charm! I buy mine at either Sprouts or Whole Foods.
It's perfect for controlling my curls and minimizing frizz without weighing my hair down or making it crunchy. I apply it to the bottom half of my hair when it's halfway dry and distribute it with my fingers. If I happen to apply it to my hair when it's almost dry, I apply it in a sort of scrunching motion, if that makes sense?
I've gotten samples of this product from both Ulta and Sephora in the past, and their samples are very generous. Like, the sample packet would easily last me at least a month. So if you see it as a free sample option during checkout. I highly recommending picking it up!
I buy it at Target as it's a few bucks cheaper than purchasing it at Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom (unless you decide to go for the 15 oz bottle.)
John Masters organics deep scalp follicle treatment volumizer for thinning hair: At 21 going on 22, I can (fingers crossed) thankfully say that thinning hair is not an issue for me. Instead, I use this product to help with my dandruff issues.
The product is loaded with 17 different certified organic herbs and essential oils. I don't really know what that means but it sounds like it would be good for you, right? Amongst the product's various claims, it's supposed to improve the health of your scalp and balance sebum production.
Overall, after using this product I can thankfully say that my roots don't get oily as quickly. I also started using this at the same time as my new shampoo routine, and my whole dandruff situation has improved dramatically! In addition, I do think it adds a little volume to my roots so the top of my hair doesn't lie flat on my head.
Neutrogena T-gel therapeutic shampoo, Jason dandruff relief shampoo, John Masters organics deep scalp follicle treatment volumizer for thinning hair, Devacurl styling cream