The Secret Life of Bloggers: Decoding Blogger Lingo


Because I've been reading blogs and blogging myself for so long, I take some things about blogging for granted. While the behind the scenes aspects of blogging seem obvious to me, naturally they're not obvious to everyone!

Another issue is that there's really no standardized dictionary when it comes to blogging and influencer marketing. The same term can mean different things to different parties. Even as a seasoned blogger I oft get confused.

I split this post into 4 parts-- PR, Links, Discount Codes, and Paid Partnerships.

Cleanserpalooza 2018: Episode II


It's been a hot second since I've done a cleanserpalooza post so instead of reviewing 5 cleansers like last time, I'll be reviewing 7! On the plus side, because I gotta lot of things to talk about-- I did my best to keep my individual reviews more succinct.

SO before wasting any more time, let's begin!

P.s if you want to see what other cleansers I tried this year-- you can read my first cleanserpalooza post here!

P.p.s. I used pH strips to test these cleansers-- obviously, pH is going to be affected by the water you use. My tap water has a pH of 7, for reference's sake.

Too Cool for School Sitkoza Cleansing Gel (PR)

$20.00 for 5.07 oz via Bloomingdale's

Packaging: Plastic squeeze tube with a flip cap.
Texture: Kind of goopy? It doesn't foam up. Rinses away clean.
Scent: Smells clean like fresh laundry.
pH: 5.5- 6

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, caprylyl methicone, butylene glycol, cyclotetrasiloxane, alcohol, olive oil, PEG-7 esters, polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, hyaluronic acid, Dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, allantoin, beta glucan, Carbomer, Prunus serrulata flower extract, Acacia seal gum extract, Rosa damascena flower water, Opuntia ficus-indica extract, sorbitol, Ascophyllum nodosum extract, Asparagopsis armata extract, triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, triclosan, fragrance

I'm not sure if this cleanser has been discontinued, because it isn't on the TCFS site nor is it on Sephora. I hope it isn't because it was a surprise hit for me!

Because the product is marketed towards oil and combo skin types, I assumed it would be too drying for me. I assumed wrong! It's a lovely, gentle cleanser. The texture is sort of weird, it's a chunky gel. It spreads easily without running down my face, and it does not foam up. It easily rinses away clean without leaving anything behind. Afterward, my skin is clean, but not dry. This is a pretty middle of the road cleanser-- neither drying nor moisturizing.

My main reason for liking this cleanser is because of the non-foaming texture. It makes rinsing it off a very quick and easy task.

If you take a peek at the ingredients list, you may notice it's heavy on the silicones. That explains the texture. It contains a nice list of soothing ingredients too-- beta glucan, rose water, prickly pear extract to name a few. It also contains parabens and fragrance. I personally have no issues with either as long as they're at the end of the ingredients list (which they are) but that's up for you to decide! Lab muffin has a solid post on the topic of parabens if you're looking for a place to start.

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser (PR)

$34.00 for 5.0 fl oz (full-sized, mine is the mini) via Sephora, Drunk Elephant, & Cult Beauty; mini available for $20 alongside a mini of their Lala cream via Sephora

Packaging: Plastic squeeze tube. The mini has a twist open and close cap, the full-size has a flip open and close cap.
Texture: Clear, slightly runny gel. Foams up gently. Rinses away clean.
Scent: Generic cleanser smell.
pH: 6

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Coco-Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis Fruit Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride

When this cleanser first released, I was so tempted to purchase it ASAP. I'm glad I didn't because I find it to be simply okay. It comes out a bit runny. I can quickly lather it up in my hands without it running down my arms. The gentle foam doesn't strip my skin, and it rinses off without a film.

While it did nothing bad to my skin, I also didn't do anything extra. It didn't deep cleanse, it didn't moisturize, it didn't help with my acne, it didn't lather up generously, it didn't have a luxurious scent. It just... was. If it were less than $20 I would be happy with the results, but at $34 I want my cleanser to do something more.

It's a product I will use when I have it, but not something I will go out of my way to repurchase.

Ingredient wise, it's pretty simple. There's no essential oils or fragrance. No harsh surfactants. It does contain some skin soothing ingredients further down the list, but not enough for my skin to receive any moisturizing benefits.

Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser

$28.00 for 5 fl oz via Sephora, Beautylish, & Farmacy Beauty

Packaging: Clear plastic bottle with pump.
Texture: Slightly thick, runny gel. Easily foams up. Rinses away clean.
Scent: Somewhere between honey and propolis.
pH: 5.5- 6

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Decyl Glucoside, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Echinacea Purpurea Root Extract, Honey Extract, Propolis Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Curcumin, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Betalne, Sodium Pca, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Abies Sibirica Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Caramel, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Flower/Leaf Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Flavor (Aroma)*, Potassium Sorbate, Maltodextrin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Phytate, Propanediol, Linalool. *Natural Flavor.

I bought this as soon as it released last winter, and sadly didn't have the best luck with it. The weather was dry, my skin was dry, and after using this a few days in a row-- it became even drier. But come spring and summer, this was a solid cleanser! It no longer dried me out!

I like the texture of it-- it's just viscous enough. It lathers very easily and leaves my skin feeling clean. Like the Drunk Elephant, I also find this to be a middle of the road cleanser for me. It fulfills my basic expectations-- cleansing my face without leaving a film behind. It doesn't really offer anything *extra* to me. Although I will say I prefer the pump over the squeezey tube of the Drunk Elephant. It's easier to use with wet hands post oil cleansing.

It has a ton of yummy ingredients-- chamomile, propolis, royal jelly, honey! There's also only gentle surfactants (according to the cosDNA breakdown.) It does contain flavor, which I'm guessing is code word for fragrance, as well as caramel, which I'm guessing is a dye. Both are towards the end of the ingredients list in case you're sensitive.

Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser (PR)

125 mL for $68.00 via Sephora, SpaceNK, Nordstrom, the Detox Market, & Cult Beauty

Packaging: Heavy glass bottle with a pump.
Texture: Thin, runny, and liquidy. Foams up if you lather it enough. Rinses away clean with a cooling sensation.
Scent: Very herbal. Has a typical "green" smell.
pH: 5- 5.5

 Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Juice*, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Water, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Mel/Honey/Miel, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Aroma**, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Extract, L (+) Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Chlorella Pyrenoidosa, Juniperus Communis Fruit Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, p-Anisic Acid, Menthol, Menthyl Lactate, Sodium Phytate, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Caproyl/Lauroyl Lactylate, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, CI 77288, Alcohol, Limonene, Linalool.

I included this in my summer beauty favorites, which indicates my feels on this guy.

It's my perfect summer cleanser. It helped with excess oiliness and acne, BUT it doesn't strip my skin. It does have a cooling effect on my skin when rinsed off, but it's not tingly or irritating. When rinsed off, my skin is left feeling soft and smooth.

I also used it on my neck where I tend to have a build up of sweat and dead skin cells and sebum. In the summer I would notice that I would get brown rings on my white shirts, even when I wasn't wearing makeup! I started using this cleanser on my neck and the situation got soo much better. No more brown rings!

This isn't a cleanser I used every day, because it is more of a "deep cleaning" cleanser. And with too much use, it would dry my skin out. Instead, I would use it 4-5x times a week as a morning or nighttime cleanser.

Most of the time I don't care for any sort of "active" ingredients in my cleansers, because they're literally only going to be on my face for a minute. Their potential to impact my skin is minimal. But in the case of this cleanser, I do think the extracts, ferments, and astringent ingredients help in removing sebum + dirt as well as gently tackling acne. It is heavy on the EOs (labeled as "Aromas") so if you're sensitive to those it might be best to skip this cleanser.

Peet Rivko Gentle Cleanser (PR)

$30 for 100 mL via Peet Rivko, Madewell, & of a Kind

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin (Palm), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut), Lauryl Glucoside (Corn), Glyceryl Stearate Citrate (Palm), Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate (Corn), Coco-Glucoside (Coconut), Glyceryl Oleate (Coconut), Xanthan Gum (Sugar), Propanediol (Sugar), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Allantoin (Comfrey), Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Stearic Acid (Palm), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe Vera), Gluconolactone (Corn), Sodium Benzoate.

Packaging: Glass bottle with a pump.
Texture: Creamy like a lightweight lotion. Doesn't foam.
Scent: Generic, "unscented" smell.
pH: 4.5- 5

This cleanser is an all-around winner. Someone told me it's like Cerave... but more bougie. I would have to agree, except for the fact that Cerave dries me out and this doesn't.

It has a creamy consistency and doesn't foam up. It rinses off clean BUT it leaves my skin feeling hydrated and soft! After I over-exfoliated my skin at the start of the month, I consistently reached for this in the mornings and it never irritated my skin. Even over open breakouts and healing scars, it's gentle.

If you're looking for something similar but with a more affordable price tag, I recommend the Stratia velvet cleansing milk (will be reviewed in my next cleanserpalooza post.) But if you have the budget for the Peet Rivko, I recommend it! It's a more luxurious experience and overall more hydrating, and the price tag isn't bad when you compare it to other mid-tier brands. Plus, it's handmade in the US, and their ingredients are sustainably sourced. And it comes in a glass jar you can repurpose or recycle!

St. Ives Apricot & Manuka Honey Cleansing Stick

$7.33- $9.99 via Amazon, Target, & Walgreens

Packaging: Plastic tube with removable cap. Turn to twist the stick up.
Texture: Solid stick, but when applied to the skin it foams up very easily. Makes my face feel a tad slimy.
Scent: Sweet and fruity.
pH: 8.5

Ingredients: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Potassium Cocoate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Chloride, Myristic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Potassium Laurate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Glyceryl Oleate, Coco-Glucoside, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance (Parfum), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Honey Extract.

Even though I’m an avid drugstore makeup + haircare lover, I don’t get on with drugstore skincare. Or rather, I don’t get on with American drugstores skincare. Partly because I’m snobby, but mostly because I find many of the products to be uninspired and overpriced. For similar price points I could find more interesting ingredients and elegant formulas from Asian brands. But this year I’ve seen more innovation in drugstore skincare brands—essences, sunscreens, sheet masks, and stick cleansers!

St. Ives was one of the first American brands I noticed doing stick cleansers. There are 3 different varieties, but asides from the fragrance + "star" ingredients at the end, they have identical ingredients lists.

Sadly, I was not a fan of this. It didn’t rinse off clean which is one of my bare minimum requirements for cleansers. It left a film on my face, while also leaving my skin feeling stripped. I wasn't all that surprised when I found it had a pH of 8.5 (higher pH cleansers are often drying.)

It also doesn't preserve well. The stick is not very strudy, and it goes soft if you accidentally twist it too far up. It also takes a really long time to dry out. Because it gets sudsy, sometimes the foam dries out and you face ghosts of bubbles past the next time you use it. Overall, it's an unpleasant experience. The only redeeming factors for me are the price tag and yummy scent.

Mamonde Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleansing Oil (PR)

$21.00 for oz via Ulta & Soko Glam

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hexylene Glycol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sodium Chloride, Lauryl Methyl Gluceth-10 Hydroxypropyldimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Phosphate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dipotassium Phosphate, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Germ Extract, Tocopherol, 1,2-Hexanediol.

Packaging: Semi-opaque plastic bottle with a pump that can be locked.
Texture: Thick & runny.
Scent: Heavy, powdery sweet rose scent.
pH: 7.5- 8

I see the words "2-in-1" and I'm instantly on edge. The whole 2-in-1 sorta thing never seems to work out for me, and sadly that's the case for this cleanser. This is supposed to be an oil cleanser/ makeup remover and foaming cleanser in one. From my experience, it's simply a foaming cleanser. It doesn't have the consistency of an oil cleanser nor does it have the ability to break down makeup like an oil cleanser.

Then as a foaming cleanser, it's simply too drying for my skin. For the most part it rinses off clean. Sometimes it's difficult for me to tell if a cleanser is just drying out my skin or if its leaving a film, because the two often feel the same. So there's a possibility this cleanser leaves a film, but I can't confirm 100%. Either way, the pH is also too high for my tastes (I like one between 4.5-6 as our skin has a pH of 5.5.)

That's a wrap, folks!

Out of all the cleansers in this post, I would have to say the Peet Rivko was my favorite. And out of all the cleansers I've ever tried, Indie Lee's Rosehip Cleanser is my favorite! But alas, they have since reformulated it and I've heard mixed reviews on the new version. I have a mini in my stash somewhere so hopefully I'll be able to try it out in time for Cleanserpalooza episode III! What's your favorite face cleanser?

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