KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Review

Calendula & Aloe Mask is one of my favorite products from KIEHL’S SINCE 1851. It is my skin savor, especially on the days when it is irritated by different external factors, such as after being exposed to heat and humidity (inevitable results of spending time outdoors!) or after using clarifying or peel (acids) masks.

I’ve got this mask in a small size as a part of Kiehl’s Holiday Mini Mask Sampler Set, and would probably repurchase it in full size when it’s finished.

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Why it’s so good?

First of all, it is extremely lightweight. Secondly, it is a gel mask formulated with hand-picked calendula flower petals and aloe vera. Both of these ingredients are known for their soothing and calming properties, while aloe vera is especially good for hydrating irritated skin. The mask is suitable for all skin types. Since it’s a wash-off mask, you only need to keep it on your face for 5-10 minutes, however, you can keep it even longer – it’s is quite gentle for your skin and least likely to cause irritation. I have a sensitive skin and  I’ve never had any problems with this product.

I also like how it smells, especially the citrus notes seem very uplifting to me.

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Ingredients

The mask has a decently good-looking ingredient list, with lots of plant extracts and natural oils. However, we need to pay attention to the ingredients in bold.

Water, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Carbomer, Calendula Officinalis Flower, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Limon Peel Oil / Lemon Peel Oil, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Citral, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol.

The ingredients in bold score 3-4 (Moderate Hazard) in EWG Hazard Level, which is still not that bad, except for the Citral which is labelled as High Hazard (scored 7). This is the reason, it’s not totally a natural product, and therefore, doesn’t have the CLEAN Sephora seal.

Application

As I said in my previous post, the right application will either make you fall in love with a product or make you loathe it from the bottom of your heart. To get enough hydration from the Calendula & Aloe mask, use a generous amount per application, enough to see it on your face. As you see in the photos, it is quite transparent with some inclusions of tiny, almost invisible, calendula flower petals.

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Keep it for 5 minutes and rinse it off with warm water massaging in a circular motion and pat dry with a soft towel. Since it is so gentle, you can use it up to three times per week and it is said that you can get even better results with continuous use!

Because I have so many different products to try, I’m really bad in sticking to a particular product for a complete regime ( which is quite bad), but I use this mask whenever I feel I overdid my skin and need to calm it down and restore.

Bottom Line

Overall, it’s a nice soothing mask. To make the best of it, you’d need to use a generous amount every single time, so most-likely a full-size jar of 3.4 oz/ 100 ml won’t last you long. If you are seriously concerned about the ingredients, you may want to skip on this one.

In my experience, the mask is really good in calming down the skin and works perfectly as one of the steps in your skincare routine.

You can find it at Sephora and Nordstrom for $45 or you can get a small size product in the Mini Mask Sampler Set for $39.

What is your favorite soothing mask? Let me know in the comments down below!


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

4 Beauty Products I Hated First But Love Now

The relationship with some beauty products may not always be a love from the first sight. Sometimes, you really need to understand the formula and find the right way of using the product before you can make your judgmental decision.

I test a lot of products on myself, and honestly, “it’s not always rainbows and butterflies“. I usually get rid of the products I don’t like right away. However, after starting this blog, I’ve become more open-minded, especially after learning about the basket/pan projects and accepting its philosophy  – understanding the product and its formula as you use the product continuously till you hit the pan. Moreover, fair return policies in my favorite stores are very supportive in discovering the products more thoroughly. With this in mind, it makes more sense to try the “failed” products again, and to my surprise and excitement, some of them are really worth giving a second and even a third chance. Here are my four recent discoveries.

 

‘The Original’ MakeUp Eraser

I got a sample of the MakeUp Eraser in my first Allure beauty box, and as you might have understood already, I didn’t like it. I was surprised to find it was really soft, but I didn’t see myself replacing my two-step cleaning routine with a piece of wet towel. Moreover, I found it harder to clean eye-makeup and it me took longer to finish the cleansing. After trying the MakeUp Eraser for a couple of days, it went back to a plastic it came with and was left in my drawer for a while.

A week ago, I decided to give this product a second chance and to my excitement, it came in handy removing the residues of eye makeup without putting cleansers into my eyes.

The life-changing tip about this cloth is that you need to use a warm water and continuously make it wet since it dries much faster than you think. Moreover, you should start with the “short-haired” side as it is designed to remove waterproof makeup. Yes, both of the sides are different and should be used for different purposes!

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The MakeUp Eraser indeed cleanses your face without any product. It is super travel-friendly, easy to wash and will last you for up to 5 years.
I’m definitely not dumping all my cleansers, but I’m going to use it more frequently than I thought I would.

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The Original’ MakeUp Eraser, $20 (Buy Now)

By the way, you can get a sample of this one for free ( along with other 14 different samples) when you shop at Nordstrom! Check this link for more details.

Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara

I got this mascara the same week it was released and when I tried it for the first time, I remember texting my friend saying how terrible this mascara was. I had a sample size, so it kept sitting in my makeup bag for a while. A couple of months later, I decided to try the mascara one more time before I can toss it, and it felt and looked completely different.

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Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara, $12-$24 (Buy Now)

What has changed in my understanding, is that in the beginning the formula was too fresh and once it dried out a little in the tube it became as it was supposed to be. It really lengthens, curls your lashes and this curl stays for the whole day! I especially like how black this mascara is and now it’s one of my favorite products.

Kiehl’s Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment

I tried the avocado eye cream in a sample for the first time, and I didn’t like the thickness of the product. Moreover, with any eye cream, I expect the product to help me in getting rid of my dark circles. Unfortunately, this product is not designed to brighten up the under-eye area, and therefore, I didn’t consider it as a right product for me.

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Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, $29–$48 (Buy Now)

I was looking for an eye cream I can use under concealer and after seeing tons of positive reviews, I decided to give this product a second chance. And I’m so glad I did because it is much creamier and smoother than it was in that sample – it probably dried out there before I even had a chance to experience the real formula.

I’ve also posted about this product in a separate review. You may want to check it out here.

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

I got this mask in a set with other masks from Kiehl’s during the winter sales. The set of 5 different masks was a perfect deal to try different products for a decent price.

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Kiehl’s ‘Rare Earth’ Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, $33 (Buy Now)

I’ve heard different opinions about the pore cleansing mask from praises to allergy reactions and breakouts. When I tried this one for the first time, I didn’t notice any difference in my pores and I was a little disappointed. As well as the other products, it kept sitting in my drawer until I decided to give this mask a second try to be loved. After trying it for the second time, I’ve realized that it really worked and now I use it regularly. It indeed cleanses my pores within 10 minutes without causing irritation to my sensitive skin.

What I think I didn’t do right the first time is probably the timing. Because I wasn’t sure about the reaction it can cause, I probably kept it for less than 10 minutes.

These are my recent re-disroveries. For sure, it’s not always the case with the products that I didn’t like from the first application. There isn’t a guarantee that all of the so-called “failed” products will actually perform better with use. However, as long as there is no serious irritation from the product, I’m willing to give it another chance.

What is the one product that you’ve changed your negative opinion about after trying it for a while? Let me know in the comments down below!

P.S. You can support my blog by using the links in this post to purchase these products!


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

Caudalie Masks Review

There are at least 3 reasons to love Caudalie: they have products with natural ingredients, they smell incredible and they really work. Moreover, all Caudalie products are marked with Clean at Sephora seal, which means that these products are formulated without Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, Triclosan, Triclocarban and have less than one percent of synthetic fragrances.

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CAUDALIE MASK TRIO HOLIDAY SET

During the winter sales, I’ve purchased a trio mask set from Caudalie. The set features three most popular masks from the brand: Instant Detox Mask, Glycolic Mask and Hydrating Mask. The set was around $25 and the products in the set promised to cleanse, add radiance, nourish and soothe. And after trying them out, I’ve felt completely in love with this trio!

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Since they deliver different benefits to your skin, I’ll guide you through each of these masks separately.

Instant Detox Mask (Buy Now in full-size)

This is my favorite mask in the kit, and one of my all-time favorite products.

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First of all, it’s can boast of 99.3% natural formula. Secondly, it smells incredible, as an expensive Spa treatment – thanks to the combination of lavender, parsley & chamomile inside. As you can see in the following picture, it’s a pink clay-based mask and formulated together with coffee seed extracts cleans the pores from excessive oil and dirt, while the grape pomace detoxifies and drains. The essential oils of Lavender, Cypress, Sage, and Sandalwood nourish and provide anti-bacterial properties. The mask dries in 10 minutes turning lighter in color and firmer in feel. It is easy to wash it off, and after drying my face with a towel, I can see that my skin is refreshed – thanks to papaya enzymes that brighten and energize the skin.

Indeed, after only 10 minutes you are getting tightened pores and visibly even complexion. It can be used twice per week, applied in a thin layer for 5 to 10 minutes, and with continuous use, the effect of the mask is more noticeable. I’m running low on this mask and plan to repurchase it in full-size.

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 Ingredients:

Water, Bentonite, Glycerin*, Acacia Senegal Gum*, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Alcohol*, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Sodium Citrate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract*, Coffea Robusta Seed Extract*, Citric Acid*, Papain*, Cupressus Sempervirens Oil*, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil*, Commiphora Myrrha Oil*, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil*, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil*, Petroselinum Crispum (Parsley) Seed Oil*, Carbomer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Algin, Limonene, Linalool.

*Plant Origin.

Moisturizing Mask (Buy Now in full-size)

Another favorite product is this white moisturizing mask. I use it predominantly before I go to bed, especially on the nights when I’m too lazy to follow my zillion-steps skin care routine.

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This mask is not only ultra nourishing but also reduces redness and improves the skin barrier that protects from dehydration. The formula is infused with naturally hydrating ingredients such as Olive Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, as well as nourishing Grape Seed Oil and strengthening and soothing Vinolevure.

Even though it has a thick texture, it suits all skin types, even the sensitive skin, and you can apply a thick layer twice per week all over your face, neck and even eye contour area. Can be used as a sleeping mask, or you can remove the excess in 15 minutes massaging the skin, followed by favorite serum and moisturizer.

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Ingredients:

Water, Glycerin*, Isononyl Isononanoate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Sorbitan Stearate*, Peg-100 Stearate*, Glyceryl Stearate*, Ceteth-20*, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane*, Cetyl Alcohol*, Cetyl Palmitate*, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol*, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Sodium Dehydroacetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 60*, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopherol*, Carbomer, Sodium Phytate*, Sodium Hydroxide, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract*, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol.

*Plant origin.

Glycolic Peel Mask (Buy Now in full-size)

This is a very gentle glycolic acid peel mask.

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Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxyl acid (AHA) that chemically exfoliates the skin and reveals a softer radiant skin. Besides, the mask is infused with Viniferine®, a brightening ingredient which is 62 times more effective in brightening than Vitamin C. Similar to the Instant detox mask, it also contains papaya enzymes that help to achieve illuminated complexion. All together, these ingredients indeed bring an instant boost of radiance to your skin.

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Because of AHA, you need to be cautious when exposed to the sun, since acids make your skin more photo-sensitive. Just make sure you wear sunscreen if you use any product containing this active ingredient. If you are undergoing any laser treatment, make sure you stop using it at least 14 days before the treatment.

Similar to other masks in a kit, this mask can be used twice a week for 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll experience tingling after you apply it which is quite normal for all peel masks. After the timer goes off, just rinse it with water to reveal your glowing complexion.

Ingredients:

Water, Glycerin*, Isononyl Isononanoate, Sorbitan Stearate*, Glyceryl Stearate Se*, Glycolic Acid, Cetyl Palmitate*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Panthenol, Squalane*, Cetyl Alcohol*, Dimethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Bisabolol*, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60*, Sodium Pca*, Caprylyl Glycol, Arginine, Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract*, Tocopherol*, Carbomer, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Phytate*, Papain*, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Algin.

*Plant origin.

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My bare glowing skin after using these masks

You can mix and match these masks, or switch them daily to create a weekly regimen. On the photo, I used all three of them in three steps, starting with Instant Detox, followed my Glycolic Peel and finishing with the Moisturizing Mask.

Even though the set is no longer sold at Sephora, you still can find it at Amazon for $22.88 with prime delivery. Or you can purchase them separately at Sephora or Nordstrom in full-size which is 3 times more product than in the set.

Have you tried any of these masks? If yes, do you plan to repurchase them?Let me know in the comments down below!


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

 

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Sun Exposure & Sunscreens: What You Need To Know

I started using sunscreens around 2 years ago when I noticed small light moles appearing on my face. Since that time, I’m religiously using it daily whenever I go outside. I even started to use lip balms with SPF and I also have SPF in my primer and foundation.

During our recent trip to Miami, even though I was reapplying SPF 50+ all over my face and body while we’ve been at the beach, I still managed to get a tan. And this got me questioned what I really know about sunscreens.

I did quite a research (that reminds me of my Master’s assignments), as to understand how the sunscreen work I had to learn the nature of the solar exposure and what makes the sunscreens such a huge necessity today if it doesn’t really save you from exposure.

Moreover, if this is something we are using daily, is it even safe?

I’ll lead you through everything you need to know.

Sun Exposure

There is a message we keep receiving from authorities and doctors: there is no such thing as “healthy tan”.

American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) shared the result of the survey, where an overwhelming number of teens believe in the opposite.

And this opinion is still common today with a dramatically increased number of skin cancer nationwide and around the world. The nature of the “pandemic” among young can be explained by several factors. Some can blame the global warming and depletion of the ozone layer (that protects our planet from solar radiation) caused by human’s negligence towards the environment with excessive release of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.  World Health Organization, on the other hand, suggests that it’s the altered behavior towards the sunbathing habits that is actually at the root of the problem.

Where does the trend come from?

It is believed, it was Coco Chanel, who popularized the idea of tanning, linking the sun to a source of relaxation, pleasure and health.

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Photograph: Alex Stewart Sasha/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

Starting from late 60s sun-kissed skin has become a mark of privilege”. Since not everyone had enough money to actually travel to places where they could get a bronzed tan, outdoors activities have gained their popularity. About the same time, a first indoor UV tanning bed was introduced to the market, and a decade later, in the late 70s, it became trending in the US reaching its peak of popularity in 90s.  And now, most of those women who have been spending their youth in solariums contribute to the increased number of melanoma.

How do we tan?

Dermatologists see the tan as a sign of injury, as the ultraviolet rays penetrate into the skin and are absorbed by its layers. Once burnt, the skin responds to the damage by producing special chemicals that change the DNA of pigment cells. Depending on the type of the UV rays and the skin layer that it penetrates into, you either get a tan, sunburn or moles and freckles. In the worse case scenario, these genetic mutations can lead to skin cancer.

Besides the skin cancer, the sun exposure can also contribute to sun sensitivity, significant eye damage as well as considered as an immune system suppressant. It is also linked to premature skin ageing and wrinkles.

Should we abandon the sun exposure then? Not really.

Importance of the Sun Exposure

Even though we are so astonished by the stats published by National Cancer Institute, we cannot fully abandon the sun because it synthesizes vitamin D. Vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, is one of the vital elements that protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon. Moreover, some studies show that the sunlight also shields against depression, insomnia, and an overactive immune system – completely opposite from what U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us about the sun exposure. Moreover, Vitamin D is especially important for children.

Indeed, according to the recent statistics, 25% of Americans have a board line level of vitamin D, while 8% is at much greater risk.

Another study that links an increased rate of heart attack to the lack of Vitamin D, supporting the actual importance of sun exposure. In the conclusion, authors agree on the fact that “moderate sun exposure… should be sought rather than avoided“.

In some countries such as Australia for example, the responsible authorities are actually reconsidering their recommendations about the sun exposure, advising people to get vitamin D naturally if the radiation is lower than UV index 3. However, EPA is firm in their views encouraging Americans to get the supplements instead of staying in the sun.

In my childhood, we had a consideration of “good sun exposure” time from sunrise till 11 am and from 4 pm till sunset when we were allowed to play outdoors during the summertime feeling safe from sunburns and sunstrokes. Moreover, we were encouraged to stay outdoors to get the required amount of vitamin D without even thinking of the skin cancer. Today, new research shows the opposite, as noon time (from 11 am to 2 pm) is considered as the most effective time for getting the required amount of vitamin D with a lower chance of skin cancer.

This information might not seem relevant to the use of the sunscreen, however, if you are using sunscreens and avoiding direct sunlight, it is important to keep in mind that there is another side of the coin.

What else do you need to know about the sun exposure?

The way your skin reacts to the sun exposure depends on a number of external factors including season, time of the day, UV index, time of the year, latitude and etc. Besides, the skin pigment, skin care regiment (retinol, skin acids), medications (antibiotics), cosmetic procedures (hair laser removal) and even your diet can increase your sensitivity to the sun. No skin color is protected from the sun damage!

Let’s get in more details about the nature of the UV light.

Types of UV rays

There are three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. They are classified according to their wavelength. The longer the wavelength, the further it can penetrate through the ozone layer and reach human’s skin.

The most dangerous one is UVC with the shortest wavelength. The good news is that it is completely filtered by the atmosphere.

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Sachchidanand Swami, http://www.nonverbal-world.com

World Health Organization considers the medium-wavelength UVB as the significant promoter of the skin cancer development, while most of the rays are filtered by the atmosphere and it cannot penetrate in deeper skin layers. However, other research suggests that this type of rays is responsible for Vitamin D synthesis.

Finally, UVA, the long-wavelength rays account for 95% of UV radiation that reaches the Earth and can penetrate deeper in the skin layers. It is responsible for immediate tanning effect and recent studies highlight that the UVA rays that are predominantly occurring during the commonly known “good sun exposure” time and are therefore are directly linked to increased rates of skin cancer.

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fda.org

Another important thing to consider is UV index. UV Index shows the forecast of the risk of overexposure to the solar radiation. It was developed by National Weather Service along with EPA and is available to the public. The forecast is provided daily based on your zip code and you can check it here.

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Chart Source: EPA

Even though there is a controversial opinion about how the sun can really affect our health, it’s better safe than sorry. Regardless of the skin color or age, we need to seek protection from the sun overexposure. The most common ways of protection are seeking shade, wearing hats, sunglasses and clothing that covers your body and using sunscreen. Now we are back to the discussion about the sunscreens.

What do we know about sunscreens?

With thousands of different types, it becomes so hard to decide which is best for use. And, most of the cosmetic brands are actually adding sunscreen filters into their cosmetic formulas.

Sunscreen is an FDA-regulated product that is labelled in accordance with specific regulations. Today, on the labels you can find different numbers that show SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and letters that indicate the spectrum coverage – UVB or Broad Spectrum (UVB/UVA).

What do the labels actually say?

Sun Protection Factor indicates the level of sunscreen protection from UVB rays that are responsible for sunburns and development of skin cancer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show protection from UVA rays. However, today there are also sunscreens that provide a complete protection from both types of UV radiation.

The optimum ratio for protection from UVA is at least ⅓ of that from UVB. This ratio will provide the so-called “Broad Spectrum” protection and you are recommended to use sunscreen with this label only.

The number that follows after these three letters let you stay longer in a sun without burning compared to the time when the skin is bare under the sun. However, the math is a little tricky here.

You may find some sources claiming that for example, if a person normally gets sunburn within 10 minutes, SPF 30 provides protection for 300 minutes (10 times 30). This is only a rough estimate, as according to FDA,  SPF “is not directly related to time of solar exposure but to amount of solar exposure“. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the effect of sun exposure depends on many other factors.

FDA recommends using Broad Spectrum SPF 15 and higher to protect the skin. However, it is vital to mention, that the higher number of SPF doesn’t provide a significantly better protection.

If you look at the graph, you can see that the increase of protection with higher SPF number is not a linear function.

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created by the author based on data below

If you compare the numbers* in the table below, you can see that compared to SPF 30, SPF 50 provides a better protection only by 1%, while the difference between SPF 50 and SPF 70 is only 0.5%.

SPF %
2 50
4 75
10 90
15 93
30 97
50 98
70 98.5
100 99
data source

While FDA suggests using sunscreen with a higher SPF (up to SPF 50), most dermatologists agree that you don’t really need protection higher than SPF 30. Moreover, there is also an opinion suggesting that SPF 50 +  provides better protection from UVB rays rather than from UVA which actually creates an imbalance in protection ratio, that we’ve covered earlier. Therefore,  sunscreens with the factor higher than 50 give a false sense of protection and FDA considers them as “inherently misleading”. However, specific regulations on this matter are not yet enforced and therefore, products with SPF 50+ are not prohibited for sale on the US market.

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http://www.badgerbalm.com. The difference between SPF levels from the perspective of photons entering the skin

Finally, according to Consumer Report, a third of the tested sunscreens provide less protection that shown on the label, especially those with SPF number over 50 which also supports inefficiency of products with higher SPF.

Type of Sunscreens Filters

Mainly, there are two commonly-used types of sunscreen filters: chemical and mineral. These two types differ not only in the active ingredients but also in the way they protect the skin from solar radiation.

Chemical filters protect your skin by absorbing the UV rays, while mineral ones are reflecting them. Let’s take a deeper dive into ingredient’s interaction with our health.

Ingredients

This is probably the most important topic when we talk about the sunscreens.

Back in 1978, FDA presented a list of acceptable active ingredients for sunscreens. And it hasn’t been modified or changed afterwards.

  • Aminobenzoic acid
  • Avobenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • 
Octocrylene
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate
  • Octyl salicylate
  • Oxybenzone 

  • Padimate O
  • Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Titanium dioxide
  • 
Trolamine salicylate
  • 
Zinc oxide

There has been a huge dispute around several ingredients on this list because of their toxicity. Even though they still fall under category Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), FDA has now added below comment under the list:

Although the protective action of sunscreen products takes place on the surface of the skin, there is evidence that at least some sunscreen active ingredients may be absorbed through the skin and enter the body. This makes it important to perform studies to determine whether, and to what extent, use of sunscreen products as directed may result in unintended, chronic, systemic exposure to sunscreen active ingredients. – FDA

Nevertheless, FDA still considers that sunscreens are safe. But the same department labelled  BPA as GRAS as well until the later research has proved the opposite. Therefore, even though it’s the governing body, we cannot fully rely on this information.

Fortunately, there is a number of individual researchers as well as independent Environmental Working Group (EWG) that evaluates the sunscreens on the safety and effectiveness.

Every year, EWG publishes a report where the updated data on this matter is presented to the public. They also share a table that compiles all the research that has been done until present day on each of active ingredient, their level of toxicity and impact on our health.

Top Toxic Ingredients

According to EWG, the most troublesome ingredient is Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) – a widespread chemical found in 65% of all sunscreens. There was evidence when it not only penetrates into human’s body but also can disrupt hormones and cause allergies. It is also found in mother’s milk and some research link it to altered birth weight in human studies. Moreover, there is another research showing the deadly impact of oxybenzone on coral reefs and altered reproductive organs in sea life. Hawaii is even passing a bill to ban the sale and use of sunscreens with this chemical to save the reefs.

EWG_Sunscreen_12thAnnual-Infographic-9_C03
EWG Sunscreen 12th Annual Infographic. ewg.org

Interestingly, but there is also a separate study that critically reviewed the literature available by 2011 that outweighs the benefits of oxybenzone as a stable and strong sunscreen protecting from skin cancer. Meanwhile, in another study, there is no obvious hormone disruption found in people. However, we need to consider bias in the mentioned research as it followed only young men and postmenopausal women, while the studies on animals that confirmed the hazardous level of toxicity are particularly focused on female reproductive organs and their sensitivity to oxybenzone.

While there is not any complete and comprehensive research on the real effect of oxybenzone, it is still recommended to avoid the use of this chemical, especially for young children. Even FDA recommends avoiding the use of sunscreen on infants.

Another chemical that comes next in the EWG’s table is Octinoxate (also known as Octylmethoxycinnamate)Even though it has a lower index (moderate hazard), it is also linked to hormone disruption and there is an evidence of penetration into body and mother’s milk. Similar to the oxybenzone, there is not enough information for FDA to ban the sale of cosmetics with this chemical.

Less Toxic Ingredients

Besides these widespread chemicals, there are several ingredients that are mostly found in “natural” and “organic” labelled products. These are two minerals ( zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) as well as Avobenzone (less toxic but less stable chemical) and Mexoryl SX (commonly used in EU, currently pending FDA approval). According to EWG, these ingredients have no evidence of hormonal disruption and have a very small percentage of skin penetration.

Mineral sunscreens provide excellent protection from UVA rays. Most of them are usually presented in a form of nanoparticles. The smaller the particle the better the SPF protection. Moreover, Nano-size particles leave less white residues when you apply the sunscreen to your skin.

EWG_Sunscreen_12thAnnual-Infographic-3_C01
EWG Sunscreen 12th Annual Infographic. ewg.org

However, there is a “problem” with mineral filters that we need to mention here. According to EWG, mineral sunscreens are providing a significantly better protection with fewer health concerns and don’t break in the sun. Nevertheless, smaller particles (nano-sized) are not that effective when it comes to UVA protection. Besides, there is a controversy about if nano-particles of zinc oxide into the bloodstream, however other studies conducted by FDA and EU confirmed there is no penetration of nanoparticles into the body.

Apart from this, nanoparticles (especially titanium dioxide) tend to be more sun-sensitive (photocatalysts) and can possibly form free radicals that can damage the cells. Some studies suggest that it can be prevented if the minerals have a special coating, while another research concluded that these free radicals are neutralized naturally by skin’s antioxidant protection. Nevertheless, European Union has special regulation in terms of the types of minerals and their coating used in cosmetic industry. Unfortunately, there is no similar enforcement in the US.

What is more important to mention, nano-particles (particle size less than 100nm) of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are dangerous for inhalation and can cause lung damage. EWG encourage to avoid using of any mineral sunscreen in a form or powder or spray regardless of the particle size.

While this information might seem sufficient not to consider sunscreens with nanoparticles, it would be really hard to get “real” sunscreens with bigger particle size as there are no special regulations from FDA on this matter. Therefore, not everything that is marketed as “non-nano” indeed corresponds to reality.

Finally, the latest test conducted by Consumer Report suggests mineral filters to be less effective compared to such active chemical ingredients as Avobenzone, However, the latest EWG report still considers zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the least hazardous ingredients for sunscreen protection.

Another ingredient to be aware of

Vitamin A – (also knows as retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol) is an antioxidant used in anti-ageing skin care products. According to EWG, some studies report that under solar radiation this vitamin in skin care products may cause skin tumor and lesions. Interestingly, even though the usage of this additive decreased for the past 8 years, today at least 15% of skin moisturizers with SPF contain this ingredient. Some governments even recommend against the use of vitamin A in general.

EWG_Sunscreen_12thAnnual-Infographic-4_C01
EWG Sunscreen 12th Annual Infographic. ewg.org

From research to action

Taking into consideration everything we know right now about the sun exposure and sunscreens, one thing remains unclear: is it even safe to live?

Obviously, the study about the effect of the sun exposure on human’s body and health as well as the safety of the sunscreens that everyone tells us to use remain under-researched. Nevertheless, taking into consideration that 50% of skin cancer can be prevented by just wearing sunscreen indeed makes us think again about the protection from the sun.

I’ve never been as cautious of the ingredients in my cream as I am now after this research. I’d even say it impressed me to the extent that half of my vanity goes straight to trash. But I’m not even sure, if this action will even protect me from other chemicals that I use in other skin care products, makeup or whether I’m even safe by drinking the water or breathing in the air. We can’t live in isolation from everything. Moreover, some of the man-made chemicals saved millions of lives by producing medicine that we still use today.

sunkissedblush-sunscreen1
Evaluating my vanity and keeping only Kiehl’s and DiorSkin Nude BB cream.

Maybe our bodies are stronger than we think in breaking down the chemicals and they are not stored forever in our organs. And maybe were are just becoming paranoid by various scientific papers published every year? No one knows for sure. The science is yet lacking a full picture on how our body functions in reaction with the chemicals.

The Safest and The Most Effective Sunscreens of 2018

Like it or not, all the ingredients listed in any sunscreen product are still chemicals. But to get the required protection, we can at least choose something that seems less toxic. Moreover, since there isn’t much difference in protection percentage between SPF 30 and SPF 50, it is better to stick to the lower number with less concentration of the minerals. Besides, FDA doesn’t “authorized the marketing of nonprescription sunscreen products in the form of wipes, towelettes, powders, body washes, or shampoos” and even so-called sunscreen pills. To keep it simple, I suggest narrowing our search for ideal sunscreen to creams, lotions and sticks.

Thanks to EWG and Consumer Report, who analyze sunscreens available on the market each year and coming up with shortlist of safest sunscreens.

HazardScoreKey
legend_low EWG Hazard Grading, ewg.org

Since I barely can recommend anything from my vanity, I’d share some of the creams that I’m willing to try instead:

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense, SPF 30 ($36, Buy Now)

drunk-elephant
sephora.com

Score: 1

UVA Protection: EXCELLENT

Balance of UVA to the SPF: GOOD

Health Concern: MODERATE

Active Ingredients: 20% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense, SPF 30 a regular sunscreen without a tint has also scored 1 in EWG rating.

These two products are also marked with “Clean at Sephora” sticker.

Biossance Squalane + Mineral, SPF 45 ($39, Buy Now)

biossance
sephora.com

Score: 2

UVA Protection: MODERATE

Balance of UVA to the SPF: MODERATE

Health Concern: LOW

Active Ingredients:

4.1% TITANIUM DIOXIDE (sunscreen grade)

7% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

Juice Beauty Mineral Moisturizer, Sheer, SPF 30 ($29, Buy Now)

Juice_Beauty
amazon.com

Score: 1

UVA Protection: EXCELLENT

Balance of UVA to the SPF: GOOD

health concern: LOW

Active Ingredient: 20% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 30 ($5.99, Buy Now)

 

Neutrogena
amazon.com

Score: 1

UVA Protection: MODERATE

Balance of UVA to the SPF: GOOD

Health Concern: LOW

Active Ingredient: 8% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

COOLA Suncare Sport Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50 ($26, Buy Now)

Coola
Nordstrom.com

 

Score: 1

UVA Protection: EXCELLENT

Balance of UVA to the SPF: GOOD

Health Concern: MODERATE

Active Ingredient: 20% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

Supergoop! Play 100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 45 ($24, Buy Now)

Supergoop!
saksfifthavenue.com

Score: 1

UVA Protection: GOOD

Balance of UVA to the SPF: GOOD

Health Concern: LOW

Active Ingredient: 17% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

Burt’s Bees All Weather Moisturizing Lip Balm, SPF 15 ($6.64, 2 pc, Buy Now)

 

Burt's Bees
amazon.com

Score: 1

UVA Protection: MODERATE

Balance of UVA to the SPF: EXCELLENT

Health Concern: LOW

Active Ingredient: 11% ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm)

My choice of products is based on EWG’s recently published report (May 2018).

How-to Sunscreen

Applying

FDA recommends applying the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before the exposure. Since the authority also considers the chemical filters, with minerals filters you need far less time.

It is important to highlight the correct amount of sunscreen used per application, as in general people are underusing the sunscreen which decreases the factor of protection: using half of the dosage will provide the square root of the SPF. In other words, if you under-apply SPF 30, you are actually getting the same protection as in SPF 5.5 (BadgerBalm, 2018).

Following the recommendation from the governing authorities, use at least 1 oz (a shot glass) per application to fully cover your body and reapply at least every 2 hours or more frequently after swimming or sweating. Shake well before use.

If you apply to face alone, the appropriate amount is a nickel-sized dollop.

When it comes to children and infants protection, FDA considers keeping the infants out of the sun entirely as the best protection and avoiding the use of sunscreen since baby’s skin is more prone to sunscreen’s side effects.

Storing

Store your sunscreen in cold dry place away from direct sun exposure. According to FDA, sunscreens have a shelf life of three years unless the manufacturer shows a different expiration date on the package. If it smells bad or you notice a change in color and consistency, discard immediately.

Bottom line

After going through all these papers and articles, it is still unclear to me whether the sun is still that bad for us or there is even more jeopardy from the use of sunscreens.

I live in sunny Houston, so while now I’m more cautious about the ingredients in my cream, I’ll keep using sunscreens on the days, when it’s impossible to avoid the strong sun exposure. But in a nice weather, I’ll let myself enjoy the sunlight to get a bit of sunshine vitamin. Finally, I’m definitely investing more money in my wardrobe to get more hats and long-sleeved shirts to protect myself from head to toes during the sunny hot days. And whenever I’m in Europe, I’m more likely to shop there for sunscreens.

What is your attitude to sunscreens?

 

References:

American Academy of Dermatology (2012).  Sunscreen remains a safe, effective form of sun protection

American Skin Association (2012). Sun Safety

Badgerbalm.com. (2018). What Is SPF Sunscreen? – Sun Protection Factor explained by Badger

Baggerly, C., Cuomo, R., French, C., Garland, C., Gorham, E., Grant, W., Heaney, R., Holick, M., Hollis, B., McDonnell, S., Pittaway, M., Seaton, P., Wagner, C. and Wunsch, A. (2015). Sunlight and Vitamin D: Necessary for Public Health. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, [online] 34(4), pp.359-365

Burnett, M. and Wang, S. (2011). Current sunscreen controversies: a critical review. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, [online] 27(2), pp.58-67

Chodosh, S. (2018). You have questions about sunscreen. We have answers. [online] Popular Science

Consumer Reports. (2018). Sunscreen Buying Guide.

Cynthia Bailey, M. (2018). How High of an SPF Does Your Sunscreen Need To Have?. [online] Dr. Bailey’s Skin Health & Wellness Blog.

Dellorto, D. (2012). Avoid sunscreens with potentially harmful ingredients, group warns – CNN.

Downs, C., Kramarsky-Winter, E., Segal, R., Fauth, J., Knutson, S., Bronstein, O., Ciner, F., Jeger, R., Lichtenfeld, Y., Woodley, C., Pennington, P., Cadenas, K., Kushmaro, A. and Loya, Y. (2015). Toxicopathological Effects of the Sunscreen UV Filter, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), on Coral Planulae and Cultured Primary Cells and Its Environmental Contamination in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, [online] 70(2), pp.265-288

Environmental Protection Agency (2004). A guide to the UV index

Environmental Protection Agency  (2018). Sun Safety | US EPA

Environmental Protection Agency  (2018). What is the UV Index

Environmental Working Group (2018). EWG’s 2018 Guide to Safer Sunscreens

Environmental Working Group (2018). Nanoparticles in Sunscreens

Environmental Working Group. (2018). 8 Little-Known Facts About Sunscreens

Environmental Working Group (2018). The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens

Environmental Working Group (2018). What’s Wrong With High SPF?

Food and Drug Administration (2018). Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually.

Food and Drug Administration (2018). Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin from the Sun.

Food and Drug Administration (2018). Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation.

Green, A., Williams, G., Logan, V. and Strutton, G. (2011). Reduced Melanoma After Regular Sunscreen Use: Randomized Trial Follow-Up. Journal of Clinical Oncology, [online] 29(3), pp.257-263.

Hale, E. (2010). ASK THE EXPERT: How much sunscreen should I be using on my face and body? – SkinCancer.org

Janjua, N., Mogensen, B., Andersson, A., Petersen, J., Henriksen, M., Skakkebæk, N. and Wulf, H. (2004). Systemic Absorption of the Sunscreens Benzophenone-3, Octyl-Methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-Methyl-Benzylidene) Camphor After Whole-Body Topical Application and Reproductive Hormone Levels in Humans. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, [online] 123(1), pp.57-61

Kotz, D. (2008). Time in the Sun: How Much Is Needed for Vitamin D?. [online] health.usnews.com

Looker, A., Johnson,C., Lacher, D., Pfeiffer, C., Schleicher, R, and Sempos, C. (2011). Vitamin D Status: United States, 2001–2006.

Moan J., Dahlback A., Porojnicu A.C. (2008) At What Time Should One Go Out in the Sun?. In: Reichrath J. (eds) Sunlight, Vitamin D and Skin Cancer. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 624. Springer, New York, NY

Pierre-Louis, K. (2017). Why some people worry that sunscreen might be bad for you. [online] Popular Science.

Sarnoff, D. (2010). The Tale of Tanning. [online] Skincancer.org

Seer.cancer.gov. (2018). Melanoma of the Skin – Cancer Stat Facts.

Siegel, E. (2018). Why It’s So Shocking That Skin Cancer Is on the Rise

Swami, S. (2010). When is the best time to get vitamin D from the Sun. [online] http://www.nonverbal-world.com

World Health Organization. (2018). Sun protection.

World Health Organization. (2018). UV radiation.


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

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Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

I’m very picky when it comes to eye creams. My main concern with this part of my face is the dark circles, and since I started my blog, my second concern has become hydration. Hydration is very important for such a delicate area. The makeup that you use can easily irritate and dehydrate the skin under your eyes, contributing to even darker circles and deeper fine lines.

I tried The Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado from Kiehl’s for the first time as a part of my Samples Challenge on Instagram. And to my surprise, I liked it!

Ingredients

This eye cream is packed with vitamins and ingredients that are so good for your skin. Starting with the main ingredient, Avocado Oil that is the source of amino acid proteins, Vitamins A, D, E and Potassium. Besides, it also contains beta-Carotene – a naturally-derived antioxidant that is used in Vitamin A production and Shea butter, known for its skin beneficial properties such as maintaining hydration and improving skin appearance.

Formula

Because of the avocado oil extract, this cream is very rich and moisturizing. The best part of it – it absorbs very fast and it is ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested. And it is very lightweight.

sunkissedblush_avocado_kielhs (4 of 4)

As the cream absorbs pretty fast, it doesn’t migrate to your eyes and creates a perfectly smooth base for the eye makeup. The cream is now a part of my morning routine and I always apply it before concealers.

sunkissedblush_avocado_kielhs (2 of 2)
This cream is now a part of my morning routine

Application Tips

The texture of the cream is very thick, but it melts when you start to dab the product under your eye. For an even smoother application, it is recommended to warm up the product between your fingers before applying it to your face. It even changes the color from green to translucent when being warmed up by your skin and simply sinks under your skin.

sunkissedblush_avocado_kielhs (1 of 2)
Warming up the product between your fingers will make the cream absorb faster

Final Words

Hydration smoothes the fine lines and for a second I had a feeling that it also works with my dark circles. The result may be not that prominent as after eye creams from La Mer or Onsen, however, it supports that fact that hydration is the key to keeping your skin youthful and beautiful.

What is your favorite eye cream? Let me know in the comments down below!

sunkissedblush_avocado_kielhs (2 of 4)

References:

Kiehl’s – How-to Use Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado – YouTube

Creamy Under Eye Treatment With Avocado Oil – Kiehl’s


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s have some chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

Best 20 Products to Get at Sephora Spring Bonus Event

Hello, my dears!

Let’s be honest: good makeup and skin care are usually pricey and from my personal experience, this statement work in 98% of the time.

And I’m very excited to know and share with you that Sephora Spring Bonus Event is starting right now, which means it’s discount time!

While there is a lot you can consider buying during this event, I’d try to narrow down the list of things I’m getting for myself OR have already tried and they are indeed worth any penny.

For me, it’s a perfect time to stock up, before the next bonus event (read real discounts) is expected in late November.

What should you know about this event

The event starts on April 20th through April 23rd. You can visit a store or shop online at sephora.com – as long as you are a Sephora Beauty Insider member you qualify for discounts! If you are not a member it is easy and free to sign up by visiting sephora.com.

How much off can you get during the event?

10% off for Sephora Beauty Insiders members. Use code YAYINSIDER at the checkout.

15% off for Sephora VIB members. Use code YAYVIB at the checkout

15% off for Sephora Rouge members.Use code YAYROUGE at the checkout

Can I get everything on discount?

Well, it is almost everything, there are some restrictions though. *copy-pasted*

*Offer valid for Beauty Insider members on merchandise purchases made on 4/20/18
through 11:59 PM PT on 4/23/18 in Sephora U.S. stores, Sephora Canada stores, Sephora inside JCPenney stores, and online. Offer not valid on jcp.com.
Not valid on purchases of customizable sets online or through Sephora’s Customer Service. Not valid The Ordinary, on previous purchases, purchases of gift cards or eGift cards, FLASH, PLAY! by Sephora, gift wrap, taxes, or shipping & handling charges. Clients are limited to the purchase of one Dyson-branded item and three Drunk Elephant-branded items per SKU per transaction. Return of discounted merchandise will be for the price actually paid. Sephora is not responsible for damaged, lost, or stolen promotion cards. Promotion card has no cash value and may not be altered, sold, or transferred.

Relevant Beauty Insider status must be attained prior to redemption. No minimum purchase required. Due to heavy demand, Sephora FLASH delivery times cannot be guaranteed for this promotion.Not valid on orders shipping outside the U.S. or Canada. Cannot be used in conjunction with other promotion codes. Sephora and JCPenney employees are not eligible for this offer. Offer is subject to change, alteration, or termination by Sephora at its sole discretion at any time. If you recently qualified for a new tier, please check your email for an updated offer.

For more details check Terms and Conditions.

What should you buy during this event?

If you think strategically, as I do, think of products of high/daily usage or those that have short shelf life. I’ll feature the products that I’ve tried and loved! – one item per a type of product. I shared my thoughts on this products in my stories on Instagram – now in my Highlights! Feel free to check it out for more details!

Under this category, I would mention several products:

  1. Sheet Masks
  2. Beautyblenders
  3. Brushes for Clarisonic
  4. Blotting Papers
  5. Exfoliating Pads
  6. Tools Cleaners

Featured Products:

ESTEE LAUDER

Advance Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, pack of 4, $80 (Buy Now)

ESTEE_LAUDER_Advance_Night_Repair_Concentrated_Recovery_PowerFoil_Mask

This foil mask is a 10-minute step in getting instantly glowing and youthful skin that lasts for several days! *tested on myself* Buying a pack of 4 is the best investment advice I would give to you since it’s $25 per a separate mask! Plus, discounts are just in time!

BEAUTYBLENDER

Two.BB.Clean, $45  (Buy Now)

BEAUTYBLENDER_Two.BB.Clean

With the total value of $58, this is another value set I would recommend for you. Taking into consideration that you need to change your beauty blender every 3 to 6 months, this kit will last you for a year! PLUS it comes with cleansing solutions that will put another “tick” on our list.

CLARISONIC

The Essentials Set, $79 (Buy Now)

CLARISONIC_The_Essentials_Set

If you use Clarisonic for cleansing, this is another amazing value kit with the total value of $108 will last you at least for a year! You can mix and match different heads for different need. I got a similar one during winter event, and still enjoy them!

TATCHA

Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers, $12 (Buy Now)

TATCHA _Aburatorigami_Japanese_Blotting_Papers

The top-rated blotting papers made of 100 percent natural abaca leaf and gold flakes absorb excess oil without disturbing makeup for petal fresh skin anytime, anywhere. *puts into the cart*

NEOGEN DERMOTOLOGY

Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling – Lemon, $27 (Buy Now)
NEOGEN_DERMOTOLOGY_ Bio-Peel_Gauze_Peeling_Lemon

K-beauty Innovative way to exfoliate your skin both manually and chemically with these 30 gauze pads that gently remove dead skin.  The formula includes AHA chemical exfoliant that deeply penetrates to dissolve dirt and oil in the skin and the vitamin C (lemon extract) for skin brightening benefits.

SEPHORA COLLECTION

The Cleanse: Daily Brush Cleaner, $15 (Buy Now)

SEPHORA_COLLECTION _The_Cleanse_Daily_Brush_Cleaner

To maintain the life of your tools (brushes and sponges) and prevent bacteria from spreading you need to clean your brushes after each use. While it sounds troublesome to wash them after each time( and which is not good for the brushes as well) I recommend using sprays. At Sephora, you can find several types of sprays. I especially like the quick-dry formula of this alcohol-free cleaner as it reduces the downtime and I can use my brushes in a matter of minutes! Plus, the formula is very mild and natural and suitable for sensitive skin.

 SKIN CARE

In this section, I’d like to share some products that yield WOW results – tested on myself. Again, speaking of strategical shopping, you would definitely need new skin care products until the next big event and discounts are the real pay off for that. Plus, we all deserve it some at-home spa time.

SK-II

Pitera Welcome Kit, $110 (Buy Now)

SKII _Pitera_Welcome_Kit

Do not get scared of this price tag! I tried face cream and the essence and it literally transformed my skin! You get instant glow, hydration, softness and overall my skin looked so refreshed I even had a youthful blush like I spent a good amount of time outdoors. I believe that the toner will only enhance the effect of these two products. By the way, when you layer them, they absorb so fast that it can easily be used under makeup! And, did I mentioned that the total value is $156?

SUNDAY RILEY

Power Couple Duo: Total Transformation Kit, $85 (Buy Now)

SUNDAY_RILEY_Power_Couple_Duo_Total_Transformation_KitAnother value set (total value $105) that you want to have! I got this set last week during the Rouge Early Access and this is another power couple that works wonders overnight! The Good Genes contain lactic acid and the Luna Sleeping Oil has retinol inside. Together, they contribute to even, glowing, hydrated and smooth complexion. While you can feel changes overnight, give these two guys another 3-4 weeks – rumors say the effect builds up! I have special feelings for Sunday Riley, I tried 5 of their products and they are all amazing!

Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser, $45 (Buy Now)

sunday-riley-ceramic-slip-clay-cleanser

Speaking of Sunday Riley, I also need to mention this cleanser. I can’t remember any other product that would make me feel this clean and soft at the same time. Plus, my pores are instantly visibly smaller.

LA MER

The Eye Concentrate, $205 (Buy Now)

LA_MER _The_Eye_Concentrate

Another skin care product that worth every penny – the eye concentrate from La Mer. Again, I bought it during winter sales and still have some in the jar! Little goes a long way while it is indeed one of those eye creams that erase dark circles like you had a good sleep yesterday and a day before, and every single day. It works even better when used with the small roller that comes in a pack.

LANEIGE

Lip Sleeping Mask, $20 (Buy Now)

laneige_lip_sleeping_maskThis soft and nourishing lip mask just melts on my lips! I just got it and I love it a lot. I wake up with lips prepped for the lipstick, how about that, ladies?

KIEHL’S SINCE 1851

Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask, $45 (Buy Now)

KIEHL'S_SINCE_1851 _Calendula_Aloe_Soothing_Hydration_Mask

Whenever something goes south, this is the mask that restores my skin. It soothes and provides hydration. Also, I love how it smells, it is so relaxing!

MAKEUP

And for sure, there will be luxury makeup products that you would want to treat yourself with.

I stumbled on selecting the one and only eye shadow pallet so that I’m going to share two here.

ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS

Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette, $42 (Buy Now)

ANASTASIA_BEVERLY_HILLS _Soft_Glam_Eyeshadow_Palette

The recent and already very popular and highly rated eyeshadow pallet from ABH. It is perfect for day and night, it has matte and shimmer eye shadows and the color selection is just fantastic for the spring season. The pallet comes with a two-end brush and a mirror.

PAT MCGRATH LABS 

MTHRSHP Sublime Bronze Ambition Eyeshadow Palette, $55 (Buy Now)pat_mcgrath_labs_MTHRSHP_Sublime_Bronze_Ambition_Eyeshadow_Palette

I have to admit, I had a crush on Mothership Eyeshadow Pallets when they just got released, but it was a way too expensive for me – $125 per pallet. Hopefully,  smaller versions of those pallets have been released for a more of “affordable” pricing – $55 per pallet. If you have ever swatched those pigmented eyeshadows at Sephora, you will never be able to skip on them.

MatteTrance™ Lipstick, $38 (Buy Now)

pat_mcgrath_labs_mattetrance_elson

This is the most moisturizing matte lipstick I’ve ever tried in my life. I have also been talking about this lipstick in my Youtube video – the pigment and the formula are just fantastic. These lipsticks flew so fast it was hard to get the shades that I wanted, hopefully, all shades are available for sale right now, but I think, not for so long.

TOM FORD 

Boys & Girls Lip Color, $36 (Buy Now)

tom_ford_girls_nina

If you prefer sheerer lipstick, think of Tom Ford Boys&Girls Collection. While it gets so complicated to chose only 1 shade out of 100 ( because you want all of it) you can narrow your search with “Girls” only – the white body lipsticks are definitely sheerer compared to “Boys”. The best part about this line is the price: $36 for a smaller TF lipstick versus $54 for the regular collection.

DIOR

Capture Totale Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $82 (Buy Now)

Dior_Dream_Skin.png

This product is on my wishlist ( read “cart” now) for several reasons:

  1. Dior has amazing skin care products. I tried one serum on my hand at the store, and I swear, later that day I noticed that the patch of skin looked so much better that the same spot on my other hand.
  2. It has SPF 50 in it. As the warmer season is approaching, sunscreen is very important to consider in your daily routine
  3. and finally, it comes with one refill, and you can always get another one later for half price.

Hair Care

Supersonic Mother’s Day Gift Red Edition, $399 (Buy Now)

If you ever dreamed to get this amazing hair dryer from Dyson (still in my wishlist) it is time to get it with the discount provided! Plus, now it comes with beautiful in red with matching case!

dyson_hair_dryer

Fragrances

I can’t decide between these two, so that I highlight two fragrances in this post.

VIKTOR & ROLF

Flowerbomb, 1 oz, $85, (Buy Now)

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The Flowerbomb from V&R is perfect for spring. It’s hard for me to describe the scent, but it feels like it’s no longer winter, but still, summer is yet to come.

TOM FORD 

Soleil Blanc, 1 oz, $145 (Buy Now)

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This fragrance is “forever summer” for me. It just makes my day brighter whenever I use it and reminds of my sunny vacation days by the sea. The best part of it is that now it comes in a smaller size and therefore is for a more “affordable” price. Plus, don’t forget about discounts!

 

This is quite an extensive list! I know that most of the products are from the “luxury line”, but let’s all agree that we are worth it. PLUS, each of these products qualifies for discounts, so if you ever doubted about expensive miracle products, now is the perfect timing!

Once again, I put all my thoughts and knowledge in this post. Everything here comes from my honest opinion and personal experience. I hope you will find this blog post helpful.

I would remind you to use the codes at the checkouts as they are not added automatically.

If you are ready to purchase something from the list, please use the Buy Now link – this is the way you can thank me without paying any extra!

Sephora.com, Inc.

AND finally, sign up for Ebates to save some more cash! It’s a user-friendly and free cash back system. You’ll get 10$ upon signing up using  this green button below.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Happy shopping, my friends!


This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

5 Beauty Products from Amazon That Will Transform Your Beauty Routine & Save You Some Cash

Hey guys!

Today, I’d like to share with you some of the Cult-Favorite products that you can get at Amazon and probably won’t find in stores, at least not for the same price.

Amazon indeed can beat some of the stores in variety of products and the prices for these products. Even though I prefer shopping at specific physical stores, sometimes I can find a better deal at Amazon and this post is all about these finds!

Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

amazon.com

K-beauty bloggers swear by this product. These exfoliating pads provide both physical and chemical peeling to help your achieve smoother and softer skin with glowing complexion. The wine extract also helps to tighter your skin.

Needless to say, that it’s almost $6 less than it’s retail price! ($21.54, Buy Now)

Tony Moly Sheet Masks Pack of 11

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You can’t have too many sheet masks! Taking into considerations that they really work (tested on myself with a special hydration level device!) and they are for one-time use only ( with retail price of #3.00 each), getting such a good bundle is a very nice deal! ($24.00, Buy Now)

Soy Nail Polish Remover Lemongrass 4 fl. oz.

amazon.com

If you are looking for a nice nail polish remover without acetone and other toxic ingredients – try the one from Priti NYC. It is my personal favorite nail polish remover. It requires a little more time ( I’d say a moment more) to crack the top coat and get to the nail polish but once you see it work, it dissolves the color and keeps your nails conditioned and hydrated. ($20.00, Buy Now)

[The Face Shop] Essential Damage Care Dual Deep Treatment

Another product I can swear by! I’ve already posted about this particular product last year, but I’m going to comment about this one one more time. Because I can talk about this amazing product forever!

This restorative treatment is packed with all the good ingredients and it really works leaving my hair so silky and smooth. I use it instead of conditioner/ or after conditioner, leaving it for 3-5 minutes and then washing it off. By the way, Amazon is the only place I could find it when I moved to the States. And compared to any other “working” products that I used so far, they are never this affordable. And little goes a long way! ($12.47, Buy Now)

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, For All Skin Types, 13.5 fl. oz.

amazon.com

Micellar water is a one step universal cleanser that removes dirt, makeup and oil from your face, eyes and lips.  One of my favorite micellar cleansing water can also be found at Amazon for a discounted price. Even Walmart can’t beat this price. ($6.74, Buy Now)

Finding a good product for a lower price is always a good thing. And sharing goodness is even better! By the way, you can save even more through Ebates cash back system. It’s very easy to sign up and install the pop up window to your browser to get the cash-back alerts from the online stores that you  visit. The cash that you get back is returned to your PayPal account which is indeed easy and convenient to use.

To start using Ebates just click on this green button below.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

And finally, I’d like to add that by using the Buy Now links in this post you can easily support my blog! I promise, you won’t pay any extra if you decide to purchase any of the items. And as always, this post is not sponsored as well. I’m doing my best to do my own research and share my own experience with you.

Have you ever tried any of these products before? Let me know in the comments down below!


You can find my disclaimer policy here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s have a talk! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

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