REVIEW: FIG + YARROW clay mask

Review: fig+yarrow clay mask rose review
(photo via Urban Outfitters, here)

As I’ve been revamping my skincare routine this season, face masks have been high up on my list of products to find a favourite for. I was first introduced to face masks with a paste-like viscosity in 2014 when my family bought a couple of cutely-packaged masks from The Face Shop (below).

The Face Shop clay mask

I loved these not only for the cute packaging, but because the masks left my face feeling smooth and silky after one use. The only downside was the fact that they did not meet TSA regulations, which led to them almost being confiscated once while they were tucked away in my toiletries bag on a carry-on for a flight. I try to keep face masks handy, especially when flying, because my skin gets extra dry – and sometimes irritated – after being cooped up on a plane for multiple hours.

Technically, I could’ve opted to buy a handful of individually wrapped face mask sheets (like these ones), but I wanted a “bulk solution” to keep the budget for traveling and everyday necessities realistic.

I stumbled across these Fig + Yarrow clay masks in powder form while searching for new masks to try on Amazon, and then ended up finding the same ones for $7 cheaper at Urban Outfitters (I’m a sucker for a good deal)! I bought the rose one because it’s made specifically for sensitive to normal skin types. Made of all natural ingredients, the powder can be combined with water, honey, yogurt, or aloe to create a mask consistency to your liking. I’ve only tried it with water so far and absolutely love being able to control the consistency of the paste, using a 2:1 powder to water mix. A little bit of power goes a long way!

fig+yarrow clay mask
Waiting for the clay mask to fully dry (20% there!)

In the last month, I’ve used this product 3 times. Here’s what I’ve concluded:

PROS
– Powder format is perfect for traveling, especially when going through TSA in your carry on
– A little goes a long way– I’ve barely made a dent in the amount of product after using this 3 times, so I’m guessing that this one jar will last me at least until the end of the year
– Skin feels very soft and silky after one use
– Has a nice, subtle, herbal fragrance once you apply water to create the mask
– Does not have an oily or sticky residue, like other masks I’ve previously tried

CONS
– Although easy to wash off, the clay will stain your face towel. I made the mistake of using a white face cloth, which is now streaky pink
– True to a powder nature, it is a bit messy to mix. For easy application purposes, I usually mix the mask in the palm of my hand, which means having to deal with a bit of spilled powder on the counter/sink

FINAL THOUGHTS
Would I recommend the Fig+Yarrow clay mask (rose)? Yes! Knowing that I have traditionally paid $4-$6 for individual sheet masks, there will be plenty of masks to be made with this $16 Fig+Yarrow jar. The level of exfoliating is perfect for my sensitive skin and my face feels soft and smooth after washing the mask off.

Hope you enjoyed the clay mask review!

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Winter skincare update

As someone with pretty sensitive skin, I’ve started to take notice of how the weather patterns have started to take a toll on my skincare routine (or sometimes lack thereof). It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to really care about what I put on my skin and wanted to find a new skincare routine filled with (closer to) all natural products, without also having a 30 step process.

Pharmaca natural beauty
I had passed by the Pharmaca store in Queen Anne (1900 Queen Anne N, Seattle) a handful of times in the past but never thought to stop in. Thanks to a lovely offer of a complimentary service to introduce the beauty bar and spa services offered in stores, I finally stopped in. They offer lash applications, full makeovers (with consultation), and facial waxing (eyebrows, lip, chin, forehead, etc).

Pharmaca beauty bar
I opted for an eyebrow wax with one of the senior theoreticians in the store, Tiffany. She was extremely friendly and walked me through all of the products that were being used in the service. Within less than 10 minutes, I had beautifully cleaned-up eyebrows and a really positive experience!

One of the best parts of this service was being able to see shelves upon shelves of products that I didn’t recognize and asking questions about them while in the waxing chair. The wall directly to the right of this station was filled with natural oils, which have been gaining popularity with mainstream product lines, and I wanted to know more. I was running low on Clarins double serum and wanted to find a replacement. I’ve shied away from oils in the past because I assumed that adding more oil to skin that already produces a lot of unwanted shininess seemed counter-intuitive. Not knowing that serums contained oil (I feel dumb for this because, duh, made sense after looking more closely at the product’s consistency), Tiffany mentioned that applying oils actually helps your skin think that it already has enough oil production, which prevents excess oils from being created by the body. Intrigued by the science behind it all, I wanted to try for a completely natural, oil-only replacement.

Pharmaca Seattle Queen Anne store
Pharmaca natural eye makeup

I was recommended rosehip seed oil, as it’s a light introductory oil that would easily be swapped with my existing serum. It can be used twice a day, which integrates with my existing beauty routine (once in the morning, once at night) and wouldn’t require me to change my habits. I ended up purchasing this apricot and rosehip oil serum. I’ve been using it for a month now and haven’t notice my face being any more greasy than it used to be.

The bonus is that the oil is so lightweight that it doesn’t feel like I have a sheet of grease on my face as I walk out to work. I’ve also been trying to wear makeup less, giving my skin some time to breathe, only applying the oil to my face in the mornings after a quite face wash and nothing else on top of that. So far so good! No breakouts and my skin feels hydrated, which is all I could ask for for the winter.

I’m going to be trying a couple other oils in the upcoming weeks and will be reporting back. Excited to see how else I can update my skincare routine to better prep for the winter.

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Smile Brilliant update #1

At the beginning of the month, I received a complimentary kit from Smile Brilliant to try their teeth whitening system. If you’re curious to know how this at-home kit works, I outlines the process that I had to take to have my trays made in this first post. I’ve tried whitening my teeth in the past through a procedure at the dentist’s office which was almost 1:1 to the process that Smile Brilliant offers, but stopped after a couple of treatments because of the inconvenience of having to travel to the dentist between treatments.

Here’s where my teeth started before the treatments. You can see the calcium deposits (the white spots) really well on my front teeth, but there are a few pockets of these throughout all of my teeth. They’ve been there for as long as I can remember– one of the many “perks” of teeth being allergic to fluoride ;)

Smile Brilliant before

For this whitening update, I only did my top teeth. I had originally planned on doing the tops and bottoms separately due to known teeth sensitivity from my previous treatments at the dentist, but I was also forced to only do the top teeth because I didn’t receive the trays for my bottom teeth. I actually got 2 top trays (my own, and someone else’s top teeth?) and couldn’t make a new set of bottom trays in time for this post. Usually if this shipment error happens, a new tray can be created right away and be reshipped, but since my molds were sent to me along with the trays, I will be redoing the impressions for my bottom teeth.

smilebrilliant.com desensitizing gel

Even before whitening, I used the desensitizing gel and let it sit on my teeth for 15 minutes. The desensitizing gel is necessary and really helps to prime the teeth for the whitening gel. Each of the desensitizing gel and whitening syringes are good for about 5-6 uses. As you can see below, only a small amount is needed in the trays for each treatment:

smilebrilliant.com desensitizing gel

(more…)

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Journey through teeth whitening with Smile Brilliant

Today I’m sharing something a bit different than my usual outfit posts. I was contacted by the Smile Brilliant team last month about doing a review for the custom teeth whitening trays and got really excited to share the process with you. I am especially excited to share my experience here because I had actually gone through a similar procedure with having custom trays made for teeth whitening through my dentist almost 10 years ago – and had a bit of a soured experience from the process – and am excited to try this alternative at-home kit!

smilebrilliant.com teeth whitening custom trays kit

The first most important thing to know about teeth whitening is that the results will vary from person to person depending on the “base whiteness” that your personal teeth can achieve. The reason that I even considered whitening my teeth back in the day (and again now) is because I have calcium deposits from fluoride. Yes, the everyday exposure to fluoride in drinking water and toothpaste over the years have caused my teeth to turn white, but in splotches. My goal is to have my teeth be a single shade of white, instead of this two-tone weirdness that is currently going on.

When I was doing the original whitening through my dentist 10 years ago, it was a hassle to have to go in for an office visit every few weeks for every step of the process. I had to get impressions taken, then go back to pick up trays, and then again to pick up refills of the whitening gels. To have to commute at least an hour each way for these steps of the process got to be a bit too much for me, so I quickly stopped doing the treatments (the process of getting the gels was way too time consuming and not very convenient). I’m excited to try the Smile Brilliant kit because every step of the process can be done in the comforts of my home in my pajamas. What’s not to love about this?

The Smile Brilliant kit was really well packaged and labeled! There were super clear instructions explaining the purpose of each item in the kit, how to use them, and how to prep for the next step of the process. Making the putty for the impressions was super simple. By mixing together a base paste and a catalyst paste and filling up the trays, it literally only took two minutes to take the impression.

smilebrilliant.com teeth whitening custom trays kit
smilebrilliant.com teeth whitening custom trays kit
smilebrilliant.com teeth whitening custom trays kit
smilebrilliant.com teeth whitening custom trays kit

I repeated the same steps to make a second batch of putty for the bottom tray, and voila! The whole process of reading through the instructions, creating the putties, and making the impressions took about 10 minutes. I let the impressions dry overnight and then packaged them up in the prepaid bubble envelope provided by Smile Brilliant to have the trays made.

smilebrilliant.com teeth whitening custom trays kit

I am super excited to share with you what happens next! I received my custom made teeth trays about a week after shipping these impressions off! Crazy fast turnaround time, especially considering how long most dentist labs take to return molds today (pretty sure it doesn’t help having to wait for an opening in appointment scheduling for a dentists’ office, either).

I’ll be posting an update in the next week or so with my experience after the first round of whitening. I’m nervous but excited!!

Disclaimer: I received this kit courtesy of Smile Brilliant in exchange for an honest review of the results of the product. All photos and opinions are 100% my own.

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REVIEW: Patchology eye patches for winter skin woes

Now that Spring is officially here, I’m looking at my skin and trying to figure out how to prep it for the summer. It’s always interesting for me to look at my skin after the winter because I feel like the cold definitely dries it out (especially since I don’t change the products I use on my face from season to season) and it needs to be repaired. One thing I noticed more this year than in past years is how much the dark circles have grown under my eyes haha. I’m going to blame this on the insomnia. I also usually wake up with pretty puffy eyes, which sucks when trying to look like not a zombie.

patchology

Over the winter, I was offered a chance to test out the Patchology – Energizing eye patches. It’s a 3-step process where you can wear the patches for up to 12 hours straight (so ideally this would be done before bedtime, but sometimes when I’m home on weekends doing chores, I’ll rock ’em around the apartment), and each set of patches can be reused up to 4 times. I’m sharing with you today my third experience with the patches.

Here’s my makeup-less face before and after wearing the patches for 7 hours:

patchology_beforeandafter

The 3-step process is quite simple:
1. Wash/clean face
2. Apply activating gel directly to the energizing patches, and then apply the patches under your eyes. This part was awesome because it felt like a light, tingly sensation under the eyes to help wake the skin up a bit. Not exactly the best thing to do right before bed, in my opinion, but not bad to do about 30 minutes before starting the pre-sleep routine.
3. Remove the patches and wipe skin clean. The kit comes with moistened wipes, so this part was easy!

patchology_inprogress

As mentioned above, this post documents the third time I’ve used the kit. The eye patches do lose their “stickiness” with each use, but they are good for up to 4 treatments and I feel like my set will make it until number four. I definitely saw results after the first time using it. As someone who normally wakes up with really puffy eyes in the morning, these were perfect for days that I needed to look awake and refreshed. My skin is definitely less dry near the eye area than usual, which is awesome considering the harsh season changes.

Would I recommend the Patchology kit? Yes. It’s a bit pricier than most of the face care products I purchase ($75 for a kit of 12 treatments), but after seeing the results and breaking down the cost of each treatment (~$6 per treatment), I will definitely be adding this to my season-changing facial routine.

Disclaimer: I received a single set of the Patchology kit in exchange for a review on my blog. All opinions in this post are 100% my own.

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