Friday, April 19, 2013

Carley's Clear And Smooth Skin Challenge!

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been entirely happy with my recent routine of cleansing with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and moisturizing with their Moisturizing Cream. It's a gentle routine that doesn't irritate, but it's just not enough for my acne-prone skin. And so, my search began once again.

A few years ago, I was looking into a brand that I came across on Ebay called "Carley's Clear & Smooth". The products had amazing testimonials, but I never got around to ordering. Just recently, I was browsing, a great website with all sorts of information for acne sufferers, and saw reviews of Carley's once again. I contacted the company and spoke with Steve, who is extremely knowledgeable about skin care. For as long as I've been researching skin care disorders and dealing with them myself, I consider myself a connoisseur of skin care, but it's people like Steve who put me in my place and remind me that there are always new things to learn. I told him about the skin conditions that I suffer from and he explained how most of the products available today are very acidic and damage the skin's natural protective flora. Instead of actually helping your skin, they make your skin more sensitive and susceptible to even more damage.There is all sorts of information on the website at Carley's Clear and Smooth and they also have a blog that has TONS of useful information, here: Carley's Blog.

Steve challenged me to use their products, and ONLY their products, for the next several weeks to get the full benefits of using the line. This would mean that I could use NOTHING from my current arsenal, no other moisturizers, no other cleanser, no other makeup, etc. Being the human guinea pig that I am, I gladly accepted the challenge. Here is what I received:

As you can see, I received an amazing assortment of products from the company! It was so much fun opening and looking through the box! Here is a list of what was included and the price of each:

  • Carley's Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment - 16oz for $22.99
  • Carley's Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Soothing Eczema Cream with Black Seed Oil - 4oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Tamanu Cream - 1oz for $21.99
  • Carley's Natural Soap -Single Bar for $8.00 or 4 for $22.99
  • Carley's Elder Flower Mask for Acne Prone Skin (sample) - 4oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Regeneration Anti-Aging Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin (sample) - 1oz for $21.99
  • Carley's Exotic Butter Night Time Moisturizer (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Kukui Nut Body Lotion (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Midnight Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's VANILLA moisturizer (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • CupuaƧu Face & Body Butter (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Clear and Smooth Kick Ass Industrial Strength for Teens (sample) - 16oz for $25.99
  • Carley's Tangerine Lip Balm - Set of 5 for $17.00
  • Carley's Mineral Foundation - 10 grams for $19.00
  • Carley's Mineral Bronzer (sample) - 10 grams for $19.00
  • Carley's Mineral Blush (sample) - 10 grams for $19.00
  • Carley's Mineral Finishing Powder (sample) - 10 grams for $19.00

For the past 7 days, I've been using the Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment, Natural Soap and the Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin, and occasionally, some of the other products as well. I ONLY use the makeup they sent and haven't touched anything else from my stash. This is only my initial review and I will be updating for the next several weeks. Steve informed me that it may take weeks to clear someone completely up, so I'm not going to expect a complete skin reversal this short time in. My main problems when I began were a persistent eczema rash on my forehead, light breakouts along my jaw and clogged pores around my nose. I also have mild rosacea, which causes my skin to flush and produce hive-like bumps.

 So, here's the process:

You can use the treatment day or night. I chose to use it at night. In the shower, I take a big dollop of the Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment and massage around on my face for around 30 seconds. It has a lot of scrubbing power and I don't think my skin could handle much more than that, although they say you can scrub with it for up to a full minute. 

Next, I lather up a white terry cloth wash cloth with the Natural Soap and thoroughly wash all parts of my face, making sure that I remove every last trace of the Treatment. This step is said to be very important and so I've been using a bright blue towel to dry my face and make sure that it doesn't bleach from any leftover product. 

After my shower, I coat my face with a dollop of the Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin and let it soak in completely.

In the morning, I wash gently with the Natural Soap again and apply the moisturizer. I let it soak in completely before applying makeup.

 After 7 days, I can say that my forehead is almost completely clear. There are only a few remaining specks of the outbreak, which is great. My skin is still pretty sensitive and red, but I'm definitely breaking out less.The clogged pores around my nose are still pretty persistent, but I have faith that they'll soon be gone. My jawline stopped breaking out completely, which is great. I'm going to be trying out the Tamanu cream on the leftover marks that the blemishes left behind. I'm also loving the body moisturizers! They feel amazing and so nourishing. I haven't tried them all, so I have yet to report on my favorite. 

I think this is going to be all for now. Like I said, I'm going to be updating on my progress for the next few weeks and I hope you'll join me! 

Thanks for reading!! =)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CeraVe vs. Cetaphil

A few months ago, I had to visit my doctor for one of my many annual cases of eczema. My arms, legs, torso and face were so itchy, I just felt like clawing through my skin. Usually, she prescribes a round of steroids, I take them, the rash clears and then my face breaks out horribly for a week straight. The same thing happens every single time and I completely loathe the process. This time, however, was different. She recommended that I go out and purchase a tub of CeraVe moisturizing cream. I was intrigued because she's NEVER recommended a skin care product to me before. I was so itchy and desperate that I thought, "Hey, why not?". It honestly could not have gotten any worse. I forked over $15 for a large jar of the cream and followed her directions precisely. I washed, waited 20 minutes to avoid the risk of irritation and slathered the cream from head to toe. To my delight, I experienced immediate relief from the intense itch I'd been suffering from and my skin felt soothed and calm. I didn't even have to take the steroids this time, which was amazing! The CeraVe sorted everything out within 3 days! Fabulous!

After my rash completely cleared, I continued to use the CeraVe cream on my face. After I apply it, it makes my face turn a bit red for a few minutes, but then subsides. For a while, my skin was completely smooth and clear, but then my skin started protesting a bit with clogged pores. Not wanting to give up the product that saved my skin from the horrible eczema rash I had, I went out and purchased a cleanser form CeraVe called Foaming Facial Cleanser to accompany the moisturizer. The product has good reviews on several sites, but it just didn't work for me. It was drying and a bit irritating. Many of the CeraVe products contain an ingredient called Niacinamide, which is supposedly wonderful for improving the skin's natural skin barrier, but many people react negatively to it.  Unfortunately, I'm one of those people, so the moisturizing cream seems to be the only CeraVe product my skin can tolerate.

Then I started reading excellent reviews on Cetaphil cleansers and moisturizers and about how similar they were to CeraVe, so I decided to go out and buy the Gentle Skin Cleanser and Moisturizing Cream. I had used the Moisturizing Lotion from the line in the past and hated it, so I opted for the cream because I thought it would be similar in texture to the CeraVe cream. I started out by using the Gentle Skin Cleanser with my CeraVe cream. I didn't want to switch all of my products at the same time and risk my skin freaking out, so I started slowly. I loved the way the cleanser felt, milky, lotiony... It feels so good as a morning cleanser. Unfortunately, it doesn't remove makeup well at all, so I have to use something as a pre-cleanse at night, which I hate doing. The cleanser didn't seem to upset my skin at all, so I added in the Moisturizing cream. I found the cream very emollient and thick and I had to thin it out a bit with water before applying so it would spread more easily. My skin really seemed to appreciate the fact that I wasn't using any harsh products. It calmed down considerably and the tone evened out a lot. I still wasn't satisfied with the way my skin was, though. Even though all of these products are great and gentle, they still don't seem to lessen my mild adult acne. They don't claim to either, even though a lot of people state that these gentle products alone completely cleared their acne. My skin seems to need more. 

I've been using the Cetaphil duo for about 2 months now and I'm wanting to try something different. My skin doesn't feel that clean after I use the cleanser, especially now that the weather's getting warmer, and the cream feels a bit too heavy. Even though I appreciate the fact that all of these products are extremely gentle and I think they would be incredible for someone who ONLY has skin sensitivities, allergies or rosacea, they're not enough for someone like me who also has to deal with acne. 

So, who's the winner? I would honestly choose Cetaphil over the CeraVe for everyday, gentle care and reserve the CeraVe for emergencies such as my ordeal with the eczema rash. If you suffer from sensitive skin, I would definitely look into these. They're readily available at most retailers and you get a lot for your money.

Monday, March 25, 2013

TaUt by Leonard Engelman skin care review

I've been pretty happy with my very simple skin routine lately, but in the name of skin care science, I've been trying a line of skin care for the last couple of weeks called TaUT by Leonard Engelman. For those of you who don't know him, Leonard Engelman is a world famous makeup artist who has made-up some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Cher, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julian Moore and the list goes on and on...

From the website, this is how the line is described....
"Immediate is the word that best sets apart and describes the performance of these products. Some companies say “use our products for thirty days and see a difference.” In film, we can’t wait thirty days for a promise. We need immediate results. Why should you wait! Use TaUT products and immediately see and feel the difference.

Simple best describes the TaUT Skin Care regimen. Each product has been developed to accomplish a specific function, while working hand and hand with the other products.

Lifting and tighten the skin for a more youthful and healthier appearance is the desire of everyone. Today that can be accomplished through the TaUT Two Step System. A few minutes can remove years.

Sensitive and problem skin becomes smoother and healthier in appearance. Whether teenage or adult, see beautiful clear results. Experience for yourself why so many stars and celebrities use TaUT by Leonard Engelman."
My skin is definitely sensitive AND problematic, so that last paragraph especially caught my eye. I contacted Mr. Engelman and he agreed to send me some products to try and review. He sent a lovely assortment of products and I was so excited to open the box and reveal everything! Here's a shot of what was in the box:

Here's what was included:

  •  Liquid Facial Cleanser 8 oz. 
  • Organic Scrub 4.5 oz
  • Perfectly Taut Facial Masque - Premix
  • Perfectly Taut Facial Masque - Powder
  • Aloe Vera Gel Treatment 8 oz
  • Moisture Intense Therapy 2oz
  • Perfect Brow Control .5 oz
  • The Art of Makeup….Simply Beautiful (DVD) 
The one thing I was impressed about in the beginning was the very short ingredients list on all the products. This is always a good sign to me when assessing any new products.  I've looked up most of the ingredients on the Cosmetics Ingredients Database (Found Here) and although it contains some ingredients that are found on the irritant scale for some, they're very common ingredients like surfactants, emollients and preservatives that don't bother most people and are found in many skin care products. Getting to the products themselves, here's an overview of the products and my impression of each.

• Liquid Facial Cleanser  / $18.95 for 8oz
Website description: A gentle PH balanced formulation that will help your skin look and feel healthy.

 My thoughts: This is a liquid cleanser without "gelling" components. It feels curiously like a micellar-type cleanser, though it foams a little. A few drops is all you need to cleanse your entire face. It cleans extremely well and left my skin with NO irritation, dryness or redness whatsoever. There is a strong-ish floral fragrance that may bother some, but thankfully, it didn't upset my skin at all. I actually look forward to smelling it now! As little as you use, I can see this bottle lasting for a very long time, making the price point very attractive to me. Leonard informed me that, because of its mildness, many celebrities like to use this on their children as well as themselves.

• Organic Face & Body Scrub / $23.95 for 4.5oz
Website description: Beaded volcanic pumice, aloe vera, and vitamins A, D, and E, smoothes the skin to a polished look and feel. Exfoliates dead skin cells and assists in the renewal process revealing fresher young cells.

My thoughts: This does exfoliate well, but I find it a tad irritating for my face. I, however, have extremely sensitive skin that doesn't appreciate most scrubs. Those with normal skin will love this. It has no fragrance and is non-drying. I have found it to be an excellent body scrub, so I will definitely use it up!

• Aloe Vera Gel Treatment  / $13.95 for 8oz
Website description: Using a natural gel derived from the aloe vera plant, this formulation soothes the skin while continuing the tautness. As a thin application dries, you both see and feel that tautness. Excellent for relief from sunburn or irritation. Fragrance free.
My thoughts: Immediately relieves the skin of redness and feels amazing. I apply a very thin layer under moisturizer and it makes everything else just glide on. This is one of my favorite TaUt products! Very simple and effective ingredients! It's a real treat to use this.

 • Moisture Intense Therapy / $21.95 for 2oz
Website description: Moisture Intense Therapy brings immediate moisture and hydration to the skin. Skin becomes softer to touch and soon lines and wrinkles become diminished. Hyaluronic Acid retains 500 times its weight in water. Sea Kelp Extract creates almost immediate hydration and skin protection. Glycerin and NaPCA retard water loss. For all skin types. Excellent for dry skin. Apply in the morning. Excellent in the evening for additional moisture protection while you sleep. Fragrance free.

My thoughts: I really don't like the smell of this moisturizer. It has no masking fragrance, which I usually really appreciate in a product, but this smell is just so overwhelming and raw to me. Thankfully, the smell does dissipate with time. It feels light, yet is extremely moisturizing and feels great on the skin, though I suspect it's a bit too much for my combo/oily skin. I've been wearing it at night, but feel that it's too heavy for daytime use.  As with all TaUt products, you use VERY little, so this will last a long time.

• Perfectly Taut Facial Masque 
There are two versions of this. One is a jar of powder that contains approximately 24 uses and costs  $44.95. The other is a pre-mix that contains approximately 8 applications and is $29.95.
Website description: The secret to the look of healthy, beautiful skin is the tone and tautness of youth. TaUT Perfectly Taut Facial Masque helps give the skin the appearance of restored elasticity while softening and refining lines and wrinkles. Reduce puffiness and lines while adding a healthy tone to the skin.

My thoughts: The day I received this, I used the powder version. It's a lot of fun to make and use and the feeling of the mask is so odd! It gets VERY tight and certainly does make your pores appear smaller and your skin look much tighter and smoother. The effect lasts quite a while as well. I can see myself using this at least once a week as a personal "spa" treatment. As for which formulation you choose to get, I think it's mostly a choice of personal preference. Both are very effective, but if you're not the type who likes "do-it-yourself" beauty masks, I would definitely recommend getting the pre-mix.

• Perfect Brow Control / $10.95 for .5 fl oz
Website description: Separate, control and groom brows to stay all day.

 My thoughts: This stuff is heavy duty! Once you brush it through your brows, they do NOT budge the entire day! They also give the brows a bit of a nice, healthy-looking shine. I can see this one bottle lasting YEARS. That's the thing I'm most impressed about with TaUt products. You use such a small amount of everything!

• The Art of Makeup…Simply Beautiful (DVD)
/ $29.95
Website description: Leonard Engelman has made-up some of the most beautiful women in the entertainment industry including Cher, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Debra Winger, Juliann Moore and many more. Now let him show you “simply” how to apply makeup to visually shape and sculpt the face, cheeks, eyes, and mouth. See why so many professional makeup artists already have this in their library. See why Engelman says “Makeup should be simply beautiful”. (DVD instructional time, 56 minutes)

My thoughts: I ended up taking 4 PAGES of notes when I watched this. It's so full of useful information. Even though the clothing and decor are a bit dated, the amount of Mr. Engelman's knowledge of the art of makeup is so vast that it will still be relevant a hundred years from now! There are so many "A-ha!" moments in this video that you won't believe you didn't know some of this stuff before. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the world of makeup, so I was surprised that I learned so much! Here is an overview of what is covered in the video:

  • Leonard Engelman's experience as a Makeup Artist
  • Explanation of all the TaUt skin care products and what they do as well as a simple explanation of how the skin works and why it reacts the way it does
  • Foundation Application
  • Cream Blush Application
  • Concealer Application
  • Setting with powder
  • Techniques for deep-set eyes
  • Contouring.Shading with Powder
  • Shaping the eyebrows
  • Eyeshadow application
  • Eyeliner tips and tricks
  • Using an eyelash curler
  • Mascara application
  • Using lip pencil and correcting uneven lips
  • Lipstick application
  • Powder blush application
  • Blending techniques
  • Tips to match your face and neck
All in all, the TaUt by Leonard Engelman skin care line is definitely worth looking into, especially if you want products that offer immediate results! To learn more about Leonard Engelman or purchase his products, simply visit TaUt Skin Care.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Neutrogena BzzCampaign Review

I've been a member of this website called for several months now. You basically take surveys about yourself, your lifestyle, interests, etc, and they match you up with campaigns. You receive stuff in the mail and then you have these tasks to do like writing reviews, blogging, uploading pictures and other things. It's always different, so it never gets boring! Anyway, this week, we're doing a Neutrogena campaign. In the mail yesterday, I received a fun little kit with two Neutrogena Crease Proof Eye Shadows in the shades "Lasting Taupe" and "Constant Copper", the MoistureSmooth Color Stick in "Sweet Watermelon" and  Healthy Lengths Mascara in "Black". Here's a shot of the products before I greedily tore them open!

I tried the Crease Proof Eye Shadows first. I'm always afraid cream shadow sticks are going to crease on me, despite the name, but I'm happy to report that these lasted almost an entire day without me having to re-blend. I tried "Constant Copper" first and was a little bit disappointed at first when I realized that the shade is actually not copper at all, but a very pale shimmery champagne color that is barely visible on my eyelids. This is a great base color for those with fair skin and I think it would be very striking on those with darker skin tones. I REALLY like the "Lasting Taupe" shade. It is true to its name and is a beautiful and easy to wear taupe shade. It's not the most exciting color ever, but it's an easy everyday staple almost anyone could wear. All in all, they're fun, easy-to-apply shadows that last!

The Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara is supposed to condition and strengthen your lashes over time, so I can't really judge it to its full potential yet. As of right now, it is a very basic mascara, in my opinion. There's really nothing special about the overall look after it's applied. The "black" shade is not actually very black at all. It's more a dark charcoal color. It doesn't seem to have any volumizing properties, although it doesn't claim to either. It definitely lengthens your lashes as most mascaras do and I'm happy to say that it doesn't irritate my very sensitive eyes AT ALL. That is the biggest plus with this one. I will continue to use it and report back any changes in the actual condition of my lashes.

The Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick is my very favorite thing in this kit. It applies smoothly and is very moisturizing and comfortable on my lips. I'm a lipblam JUNKIE and I found myself applying it less often when I wore this! That's fabulous! It also tastes SO good, kind of like tropical fruit candy. The packaging is also wonderful. It's like a big, chunky pencil that you don't have to sharpen. I definitely love this and will be buying more shades!

Here's a pic of me after I've been playing with my new products!

I hope you've enjoyed this post! Thank you for visiting! =)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kmart Haul! 2/25/13

I really wanted to kick my blog off with a skin care post, but I just had to share a makeup haul that I purchased today! If you're near a Kmart, they're having this fantastic makeup sale. There are bins and bins of deeply discounted cosmetics! I had to restrain myself from going crazy and I'm very happy with my small, but fun, haul! Swatches at the bottom!

  • NYC liquid concealer in 787 "Medium"
  • Rimmel Clean Finish foundation in "True Ivory"
  • NYC "Queens Boulevard" eyeshadow palette
  • elf Eyeliner & Shadow stick in "Moss"
  • Milani Crystal Gloss in "Pretty Plush"
  • Milani Crystal Gloss in "Fruit Punch"
  • Milani Crystal Gloss in"Pucker Up"

Can you see the prices on some of these things??? Those Milani Crystal glosses were only 41 cents each! The elf eyeliner was 29 cents, the NYC concealer and eyeshadow palette were $1.00 and the most expensive purchase was the Rimmel foundation at $1.50. Not a bad score, if I do say so myself!

I remember loving that Rimmel foundation years ago, getting bored with it and giving it to my sister. LOL I'm glad to have another one. I'm a little bummed that I bought the concealer in "Medium", as I thought I'd picked up the light shade, but I can still find some use for it. Check out these swatches of the rest!

I have a pasty white arm, so the swatches I do will usually be pretty vivid and color-true! I'm a bit disappointed in the color of that elf duo. I was hoping for more of a true green, but it's more of a grayish khaki green. I'll still use it. =) The Milani glosses are awesome and so intense! I can definitely see myself reaching for that Pretty Plush shade often! I don't want to scare anyone, but they were actually really hard wipe off too. LOL My arm is actually still stained a bit from the two brighter shades. The NYC palette is also okay. Not much color payoff, but I didn't expect much either. It's just a fun little compact to play around with.

I'll post a FOTD soon when I've tried everything! I'm off to play! =)

Introduction. Who am I?

So, who am I and why should you pay any attention to anything I have to say? =)

Well, first let me introduce myself. My name is Missy and I'm a makeup addict, animal-lover, doll-collector, wife and the mother of two awesome kids. My blog will mostly be about my makeup and skincare adventures with a bit of random fun stuff thrown in there now and again.

Who should read my blog?

Those with acne-prone, rosacea-prone, allergy-prone, eczema-prone or basically anyone with very sensitive skin that can't handle much will definitely want to check in from time to time. Or maybe you just want to see some swatches or we have the same skin tone. I'll try to have a wide variety of topics, brands and discussions!

A little bit about me:

I started developing skin sensitivities at the ripe old age of 11. It started out innocently enough, random pimples, a little bit of redness. My mom had never experienced acne as a teen, so neither of us had absolutely any idea of what to do. We tried random products from the drugstore like Oxy, Neutrogena, Clearasil, some mid-end brands like Clinique and, of course, infomercial products like ProActiv Solution, Murad and a few others that I can't even remember. After nothing helped, we finally went to a dermatologist to embark on a whole new wave of medicines, Retin-A, Benzamycin, Atralin, etc. My face became worse and worse. It was red, swollen and painful on most days. My mild acne slowly progressed to moderate acne and finally, severe cystic acne. After yet another trip to the dermatologist, we finally ended up at the last resort, Accutane.

My experience with Accutane was bittersweet, at best. Did it clear up my acne? Yes. Was it worth it? Nope, not even close. First, it dried up my skin so much that I remember waking up in the middle of the night and slathering vaseline on my face. I had to keep it beside my bed because my skin felt like it was going to crack open. I was seriously afraid that it would! Aside from drying out my skin, it also dried out my nails and hair. My hair felt like straw. There was nothing I could do about it. My nails were cracked all the way down to the skin. It hurt and there was no way to fix it. Aside from the constant dryness, there was the pain. OH, the pain! Headaches, toothaches, jaw pains, stomach aches. My entire body felt sick all the time. I could barely eat or drink anything because I always felt so sick. My vision got worse and worse. I was constantly at the doctor due to side effects. I actually remember standing in a store once after I'd finished my round of the drug, overhearing two girls discussing whether or not they should try it. I actually approached them, sobbing, telling them all the reasons not to. They probably thought I was some nut, but it had a huge impact on me.

Anyway, Accutane didn't help for long. After a few years, my acne came back with a vengeance. At 28, I was also diagnosed with Stage 2 Rosacea. My skin was awful. There are times I wouldn't even leave my house because I was so embarrassed of how I looked. My face was constantly red. I had HUGE cysts on my cheeks, jawline and neck. Makeup looked absolutely horrible on top, so I just didn't wear any. Around the same time, I also started having horrible allergic reactions to random things like lipsticks. That's when I decided to have allergy testing done and found out the I have a TON of allergies.

These days, I try to stick to a very simple and basic routine. I look up all ingredients to check for allergens or potential skin-cloggers and I closely monitor how my skin reacts to new products. My skin is still a huge struggle, every single day. Weather affects it a lot also, as does stress. This blog will be an attempt to keep track of my  "adventures". I'm also a member of Makeupally where I've written hundreds of reviews. If you want to look me up and read some reviews, my username is "Missy". They say you can always identify the oldest members by how short their usernames are. I've been a member there since 1999. LOL

Anyway, if you're still reading this, thank you for sticking around and I hope you'll enjoy visiting my little corner of the cyber-world! =)