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.
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!
Since they deliver different benefits to your skin, I’ll guide you through each of these masks separately.
This is my favorite mask in the kit, and one of my all-time favorite products.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This season we are seeing sharp contoured full-coverage matte lipsticks being slowly replaced by lip balms and sheer lipsticks. Moreover, lip glosses are having a huge comeback, as we find new products from different brands on the market.
The glow all-over-the-place is finally touching our lips too. With the overwhelmed number of new products, we decided to review and compare two recently launched and trending lip balms – Tom Ford Lumière Lip and Orgasm Afterglow Lip Balm to see which one is really worth the hype.
Tom Ford Lumière Lip
Tom Ford Lumière Lip is a new lip balm from their recent Soleil 2018 collection. The lip balm is only available in one shade: Lumière 01. Even though it looks orangish (or how it is described – a shade of papaya) in a bullet, it is almost translucent with a satin finish. What makes this lip balm exceptional, it reacts to your pH, creating a customized “naturally-enhanced” lip color. The lip balm is infused with hyaluronic acid for the voluminous look, different antioxidants and natural plant extracts to condition and soften your lips. The lip balm comes in full-size, in classic Tom Ford white and gold packaging. The retail price is $54 (Buy Now).
NARS’s Orgasm Afterglow Lip Balm was also recently launched within NARS’s Orgasm Collection. Similar to the one from Tom Ford, it is available only in one color, that NARS calls Orgasm – peachy pink shade with golden shimmer. The balm also has a nice satin finish. Because of its translucency, it gives a pretty sheer wash of color to your lips, adding a natural flushed touch to them. However, when compared to Tom Ford’s latest lip balm, Afterglow has definitely more pigment and tiny sparkles. It is also formulated with antioxidants for lip protection and features NARS’s Monoï Hydrating Complex for smooth and supple comfort. The lip balm comes in a beautiful mirrored rose gold packaging and is also a full-size product. The retail price is $28 (Buy Now).
When compared to each other on my lips, I can say that both of the balms feel the same on my lips. Tom Ford has a strong vanilla fragrance, while NARS’s lip balm has a less noticeable coconut flavor.
Lumière Lip added more peachy undertones to my lips, while NARS kept them more pinkish and slightly more radiant. Nevertheless, the difference is almost unnoticeable on the lips and it will differ from one complexion to another. As you can see on the pictures below, both of the balms add just a wash of color to bare lips, so don’t expect tons of pigment from either of the lip balms.
Tom Ford Lumiere Lip
NARS Orgasm Afterglow
From Left to Right: TF Lumière Lip, my bare lips and NARS Afterglow Orgasm
If you take a look at the swatches below, you can see how they compare to each other as well as to other similar sheer lipsticks that I have in my collection.
NARS Orgasm Afterglow Lip Balm in Orgasm ($28, Buy Now)
Tom Ford Lumière Lip in Lumière Lip 01 ($54, Buy Now)
Tom Ford Sheer Lip Color in 15 Nina ($36, Buy Now)
I’m pretty sure that both of the lip balms will work with all complexions: Lumière Lip will pop natural undertones creating a custom lip color, while Afterglow Orgasm shade was created with an idea to be worn by everyone.
Both of the lip balms are instantly hydrating and add an amazing natural glow to my lips. Because of the dramatic difference in the price point, you may say that NARS is a better choice since you get pretty much the same result for a far better value. However, since Tom Ford creates a custom lip color, for me, this whole idea adds exceptional value to luxurious Lumière Lip. Moreover, Lumière Lip has a less-comedogenic ingredient – jojoba oil, compared to Afterglow’s coconut oil. At the same time, I can’t say that Afterglow is worse since it definitely adds more radiance and I really love this refreshing peachy pink shade. By the way, the difference in shade is more noticeable in real life though, and this is another reason why it is so hard to pick one.
Tom Ford Lumiere Lip
NARS Orgasm Afterglow
As you already understood, I couldn’t pick just one lip balm so there is no better or worse product in this post. Moreover, they both are really worth the hype in each and every aspects and will perfectly complement your healthy glowing skin.
What is your favorite lip balm? 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.
In one of my previous posts, I’ve shared a new exciting collaboration between MAC Cosmetics and Puma in celebration of Puma Suede shoes turning 50!
The recently launched collection features three Puma classic suedes in the iconic shades of MAC Cosmetics lipsticks. Moreover, now it’s finally the time when you can match your lipstick to your shoes!
Muted Clay shade matches the sheer lipstick in Creme D’Nude, Fiery Red represents iconic matte Lady Danger and the Port Royal is the burgundy shade that serves as a pairing for the matte lipstick in Sin.
For me, it was so hard to decide on the color for shoes because all of these three shades are so beautiful and trending! Since I can’t have all three ( which I would probably end up doing if I had more cash and a bigger closet), I picked the pair in Muted Clay.
Unfortunately, the matching lipstick (Creme D’ Nude), is not my shade – personally, I don’t like pale lipsticks, so I’m skipping on the matching pictures here. However, the color of these shoes is so flattering, that this is exactly what has been missing from my wardrobe.
First of all, I need to mention that the sneakers are comfortable and true to size! I’m wearing exactly my 7.5.
The upper part of the shoes is leather (suede) with textile lining and rubber sole. You can find Puma and MAC Cosmetics logos on the shoe tong and all over the insole.
The sneakers also feature Puma’s trademark – lateral formstrip and laces in the same perfectly matching shade. The last makes the shoes look pretty solid so that you’re not restricted in adding other colors to your look.
My favorite element in these shoes is the tonal glossy makeup smear marking on the heel – it adds a very stylish touch to them.
This beautiful peachy beige shade will go perfectly together with white, cream, light blue, rose gold, sand and many more! It’s the lightest and most muted shade in the collection and is perfect for summer. I like this shade for its versatility that you get for matching with other colors and textures.
Since it’s already a hurricane season, I’d need to add protection to my suedes so that no rain can cause problems whenever I decide to wear them.
These shoes are already sold out at puma.com, but you still can find them at Nordstrom. The retail price is $85.
Puma x MAC ONE Suede Classic Sneaker, $84.95 (Buy Now)
By the way, at Puma’s official website you can also find other collaborations related to Puma Suede 50th Anniversary.
How do you like this shoes? What shade do you like the most? 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.
Allure Beauty Box is a monthly subscription from Allure Magazine. It contains deluxe and full-size beauty products from both high-end and drugstore brands.
The best part about these subscription boxes is that they are curated by the leading Beauty Magazine and you are actually getting products that have been already tested by the staff and approved by them. This means, you are more likely to love 90% of the content and you won’t get disappointed.
You don’t need to be subscribed to the magazine, to get a subscription for the boxes. Signing up is easy, plus right now you can get your first box with a $5 discount! You’ll get your box the same month you have subscribed. If you start on May 31st, you’ll get first your May box, followed by June box back to back.
The price for subscription is $15 per box + tax, however, you can also save with yearly subscription, which is $150 +tax. Shipping is free.
The content of each box usually has a value way higher than $15. Let see what’s inside the May 2018 Box.
According to deputy beauty director Elizabeth Siegel, this box is filled with “instant-gratification products” that yield the result instantly and really make the difference when you need to get it very fast.
The box contains 4 deluxe products and 1 full-size product + 1 Beauty Bonus – 6 products in total!
You also get a booklet with the description on each of the products and promo codes.
These eye patches are just gorgeous from the outside and within. Each of the patches has 3 layers including the top gold foil layer that actually has the benefits of retaining hydration and preventing it from evaporation. The main active ingredients are hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf extract and lavender oil. Together, they bring hydration, soothe and calm the skin, while brighten and reduce the appearance of dark circles. I’m very surprised with the ingredient list since it’s free of harsh chemicals and the patches really work! The essence is fast absorbing and doesn’t feel sticky.
I’m not a fan of hair sprays because they tend to dry out the hair. Thankfully, there are now nourishing sprays like the one from Kenra that can also manage frizzy hair. Moreover, it is infused with natural oils and you are getting your hair in place without making them look dull.
Unfortunately, I can’t try this right now since I’m having a laser treatment this week, but it is a product I’ve never heard about. This is a transparent self-tan mousse that gives an instant glow to your skin with one application and without the need of rinsing it off. You won’t get a dark tan though and you need to apply it evenly since it’s clear, but it won’t stain and works instantaneously.
My first impression is its amazing natural coastal smell – just like I’m drinking fresh coconut water by the ocean. It makes the skin indeed smooth and creates the base for the makeup. It won’t make you feel greasy or oily, so I think it is best for people with oily to normal skin. And it adds such a nice natural glow to your skin!
Since First Aid Beauty is famous for its good ingredient list, the product is allergy-tested and is safe for sensitive skin.
What I especially love about the subscription boxes, is that sometimes you get products in formulas you’d never think of. Have you ever tried a lip powder? Well, this is the first time for me. While you need to be careful with its loose content ( and its ability to stain!) the powder instantly turns into smooth creamy lipstick when in contact with your skin. It is absolutely lightweight, extremely pigmented and somehow doesn’t get into lip lines. By the way, Cle Cosmetics, the K-beauty brand, was the first one to introduce lip powders to the world.
I especially like the shade that I’ve received – Desert Rose – I think it is that type of shade that works with any complexion and hair color. This K-beauty lip powder came in a full size and can be used for cheeks as well! Make sure you just don’t inhale it.
In this box, you’ll either get a deluxe size of L’oreal Elnette Satin Hairspray, or L’oreal Ever Pure Intense Repair Hair Sheet Mask.
I received a full-size sheet of the hair mask. This is a truly instantly working sheet mask for hair! It smells really good and you are getting silky and shiny hair in only 5 minutes! It takes a little more time to wash it off, but it is definitely worth it. By the way, it is sulphates-, parabens- and colorants- free! It comes as a foil cap and the mask itself is activated by the shower steam. I definitely need a lifetime supply of this sheet mask.
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.
There is a message we keep receiving from authorities and doctors: there is no such thing as “healthy tan”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since I barely can recommend anything from my vanity, I’d share some of the creams that I’m willing to try instead:
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 least1 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Today’s post is about comparing two lip sets: one from Pat McGrath Labs called LiquiLUST 007 in Divine Nude/Bronze and the other one is from Huda Beauty called Contour & Strobe Lip Set in Muse/Angelic.
Why did I decide to do this?
Both of these brands are relatively new and both are very responsive to beauty trends. The two products that I’ve picked for comparison today have a lot in common, starting from the point that both of these sets have gained a lot of popularity among bloggers and beauty experts. Meanwhile, being so similar, there is definitely something distinctive about them, and there should be a reason why someone would prefer one set over another.
I picked mauve shade in both of the sets on purpose to see how they will be different while being of the same shade.
The first thing that you will notice is a difference in packaging. Huda Beauty Contour & Strobe Lip Set comes in a lip-shaped tin with 3 products in a set. This tin can be easily reused for storing small objects or makeup.
On the contrary, Pat McGrath’s LiquiLUST 007 comes in a sealed plastic bag filled with iridescent purple sequins and 2 products in a pack. I had so much excitement when I was doing my “unboxing video“. However, the package goes straight to trash, unless you want to fill a jar with these sequins to decorate your room.
Both of these sets are limited edition and both are available at Sephora. While Contour & Strobe Lip Set is available in 5 different shades, LiquiLUST 007 Divine Nude version is presented exclusively at Sephora in one shade. There are also two more variation with the same number of products, however it is presented exclusively on the official website and currently is sold out.
Pricing/Value for Money
The lipstick and lip strobe from Huda Beauty Contour & Strobe Lip Set come in mini size, while you get a full-size lip pencil. The price for the set is $25, while if you buy full-size products individually you will pay $57 in total. On the contrary, Pat McGrath Labs LuquiLUST 007 contains 2 full-size products. The price for the set is $38, while it’s value is $47. Interestingly, but you cannot really buy each of these items separately. Meanwhile, if we add lip pencil from the same brand ($25), the total for the “full set” from Pat McGrath Labs will cost $63 which is a little more than same “full set” from Huda Beauty.
Even though both of these sets contain mauve shade products, they differ in undertones. There might be a minimal difference when you apply the products on your lips, but as you see on the swatches on the back of my arm, Muse from Contour & Strobe Lip liquid lipstick has cooler, more purplish undertone compared to Divine Nude liquid lipstick from LuquiLUST 007 with more of a rose undertone. Interestingly, but the lip pencil shade from Huda Beauty almost matches the liquid lipstick from Pat McGrath Labs!
As for the lip strobes and lip glosses, Angelic Lip strobe from Huda Beauty is more pigmented and has a warmer light peach rose undertones with gold reflections compared to more transparent Astral Vinyl Gloss from Pat with beautiful fine golden sparkles.
Muse lipstick is a liquid matte creamy lipstick which is very pigmented and has a thick formula. Similarly, Divine Nude is also a liquid matte creamy lipstick, but has a rather thinner formula and feels lightweight on the lips. They both provide nice full coverage. I prefer the wand from Pat McGrath more, as it distributes the product more evenly and there is no need to use any additional brush to apply the lipstick to the lips. For Huda Beauty, I had to use a lip brush and wait extra time for it to dry because of the thickness.
Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick in Muse
Pat McGrath Liquid Lipstick in Divine Nude
Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick in Muse Pat McGrath Liquid Lipstick in Divine Nude
As I mentioned before, Angelic lip strobe has more pigment and is much thicker, while Astral Vinyl Gloss in Bronze is more transparent. The first one makes your lip pop even more as it reflects the light better, while the last one has more of a natural finish and those fine sparkles only compliment the matte liquid lipstick. Angelic lip strobe comes in a package identical to Muse liquid lipstick, while Astral Vinyl Gloss in Bronze comes in a tube. I apply the last one with my fingers as seen in commercials.
wearing LiquiLUST 007 in Divine Nude
Huda Beauty Lip Strobe in Angelic Pat McGrath Astal Vinyl Gloss in Bronze
When using all three products from the Contour & Strobe Lip Set, I felt that I have too much of products on my lips. It may be perfect for pictures as the light hits your lips making it look plumper, but in real life, it looked a little too much for me. Moreover, the shade is darker and it’s purple undertone, in my opinion, does not really go well with my complexion.
Divine Nude, on the other hand, is more lightweight and it is much easier to apply because of the smoother formula and wand. Interestingly, Bronze gloss only enhances the look and makes lips even softer. I even had a feeling that these two product are made to be used together.
Personally, If I had to pick a winner from these two, I would say that I’ve liked Pat McGrath lip set more as I found those shades and formula work better for me even though it cost $38 and you get only two products. You can definitely tell how natural it looks on my lips.
If you prefer more of a stand-out look, plumper lips, definitely go for Huda Beauty. By the way, there are new sets of Huda Beauty liquid lipsticks which you don’t want to miss!
Have you tried either of these two lip sets? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments down below!
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This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer policy is here.
If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.
Today I’m sharing with you my review about a product that I have received complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster!
I was very excited to get the VoxBox from Influenster as this is my first time when I’m being sent a product in exchange for my opinion. And it counts!
Once again, this blog post is not sponsored and everything you read here is based on my honest opinion. Let’s get started!
This is the New BarePro 16-hour Full Coverage Concealer from bareMinerals. It comes in a variety of shades, 15 in total, ranging from fair to deep. I have received 01 Fair-Cool shade and have already been testing it on my skin for a while.
The concealer comes as a cream stick. The formula is creamy, yet it is very lightweight and has a matte finish. The Bamboo Stem Extract indeed smoothes the lines and pores, but the coverage is rather medium-to-full than full. Besides, there are also extracts of Raspberry Seed Oil, Blackcurrant Seed Oil and Sea Lavender which are considered as powerful antioxidants that nourish, hydrate and protect the skin against environmental stressors.
Even though it’s a cream stick concealer and has such a nice list of ingredients, it dries very fast, so it blends best the moment you apply it to your skin. I use my ring finger to blend the product as I feel that the heat from the fingers makes it more flexible to blend and I can achieve a more natural look. I don’t use a lot of a product at once, I rather build up the coverage steadily until the desired coverage is achieved.
I have to admit that unfortunately, I received a wrong shade which is at least 1-2 tones lighter than my skin is (my complexion is light-to-medium almost in all foundations and concealers). However, in small amounts the shade that I received still worked to lighten up and cover my under eye area. It has a little bit of crease after several hours, but not as much as other concealers like Shape Tape Concealer from Tarte. The last one works perfect only on pictures but it is very thick, heavy, creases in fine lines and emphasize pores.
Summing up the above, here are the key things to consider:
creamy lightweight formula
smoothes the appearance of pores and small fine lines
non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic
15 shades from fair to deep
dries fast, less time to work with
not a full coverage formula
creases a little after several hours
doesn’t last for the whole day
Overall, it’s a good concealer to try as it feels weightless and minimizes pores and small lines. Because of the wrong color, it is a little tricky to fully evaluate the product, so I’m thinking of getting my shade at Sephora ( I believe it is Light/Medium-Neutral 05) to see how that will work as well. However, there is definitely room for improvement of the formula to make it truly long-wear so that it really can become a five-star product. Right now, I have to rate this product with 3.5 stars even though I like bareMinerals a lot.
Acknowledgement: I’d like to thank bareMinerals and Influenster for this amazing opportunity to be a part of the program.
This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer policy is here.
If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.