Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Current Acne Treatment Regimen

I was inspired by my recent honey post, and this post over at Temptalia.  I commented on what I've been doing to combat my acne, and I thought it would be fun to expound on what I've been doing lately and why.

I have instituted some criteria in choosing my products.  They must:
  • Contain natural and/or organic ingredients wherever possible.
  • NOT contain harmful chemicals.
  • Be cruelty-free.
My current process, from start to finish:
  1. At night, I take off my makeup with Yes to Cucumbers Cleansing Towelettes.  These contain only natural ingredients, are cool and refreshing on my sensitive skin, and remove all the junk from my face so the cleanser can get in and work its magic.  I get mine at Target or Walgreens.  They cost the same as the Neutrogena towelettes I used before, but the ingredients are so much better for my skin.
  2. I wash my face with my purple Clarisonic Mia, morning and night, with a gentle cleanser. I am still trying to find a cleanser that works for the long term, but the Clarisonic is a God-send.  I was using Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Scrub before the Clarisonic, and had good results with that so I started using the cream cleanser with the Clarisonic.  I want to purge chemicals and animal-tested products from my routine though, so I recently picked up some Pangea Organics Egyptian Calendula and Blood Orange facial cleanser, which I love so far and hope it works out, because my skin is so soft and smooth right now!  I just need to see how it works over the next few weeks.  It's a little pricey, but I'm willing to pay a little more for the right cleanser.
  3. Next, I spritz on a homemade toner of 2 parts witch hazel, 1 part Lush Tea Tree Water, and 1 part Boots Botanics Organic Rose Water. I chose these ingredients because they are known to be helpful for fighting acne; they have astringent and antimicrobial properties that make them effective against it. The rose water is also an effective anti-inflammation and balancing agent. What's even better is that they are all inexpensive, and variations can be found in your local drugstore. I spritz the toner on my face morning and night, letting it sink into my skin before moisturizing.
  4. Twice a week, after toning my skin, I apply a honey mask that I leave on for 20 minutes. I just open a jar of honey and spread it over my face. As I've explained, honey is antimicrobial and soothing on the skin, and the results have been wonderful!
  5. I have been moisturizing with MAC Studio Moisture Fix with SPF 15.  It's lightweight, hydrating, and gentle, plus it provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.  At night, I add a drop of Pangea Organics Himalayan Geranium and Pomegranate Balancing Oil.  I've only been using the balancing oil for about a week, but I am very please with the results.  I was afraid it would break me out (oil on acne-prone skin just doesn't sound right), but I tried it anyway because I read glowing reviews.  I am happy to report that it has done the opposite of break me out ... a lot of the large pores on my face are smaller, and I have fewer blackheads since I began using it.  The ingredients are astounding; I've never seen such a healthful, nourishing combination of essential oils and extracts.  I'd say the same for all their products.  I'm very pleased with what I've tried so far, and hope to try more in the future!
Note:  Around “that time” of the month, I usually feel a cyst forming on my chin. As soon as I feel it, I wash my face with Lush Fresh Farmacy, concentrating on the area of the cyst. I do that once a day for a few days.  After washing with Fresh Farmacy, I put Neosporin on the cyst. I do that in the morning and at night. Neosporin is actually the best acne spot treatment I have used (and I’ve tried a million of them). Since I started using the Fresh Farmacy/Neosporin combination, the cyst doesn’t fully form and goes away within a day or two.

So that's my current facial regimen.  It's kind of exhausting sometimes, but it's working!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Power of Honey

My skin is extremely temperamental.  It's sensitive, combination, and extremely acne-prone.  Where my skin is on the oily side, I have some large pores that have a tendency to clog.   When I break out, it's usually one extremely large, deep and painful cyst in the area of my chin.  Where my skin is on the dry side, I am prone to flaking, redness and itching (also due to my skin's sensitivity).

For a long time I tried product after product to balance my skin, and nothing would really address all my  issues.  The anti-acne products were too irritating and drying, the moisturizing products would break me out, the products for sensitive skin wouldn't fully cleanse.  A few years back I read an article somewhere about the benefits of honey as a skin treatment, which piqued my interest.  I love honey, and spread on pretty much everything.  I prefer it to butter (although mixed with butter, honey is utterly delicious!) on breakfast breads and pastries, and there really is nothing like a peanut butter and honey spread over a banana for a delicious snack.

So when I read that the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used it regularly to heal wounds and burns, and that they revered honey for its properties as a humectant, antimicrobial agent, and anti-inflammatory agent, I decided to give honey a try for myself.  For a little while now, I have been using honey as a facial mask, and I absolutely love it.  I spread it on my face and let it sit for 20 minutes before using warm water to remove it.  I do this about twice a week or so.  Water dissolves the honey pretty quickly, and the result is soft, supple, hydrated skin that feels wonderfully fresh.  Honey has helped balance my skin by moisturizing the dry spots and controlling oil in the oily spots.  I did not have any reactions to the honey mask, and have not broken out in quite some time.  It's a miracle!

I've also tried honey for a couple of other purposes, and I will be posting about those soon.   I am so happy to have discovered even more uses for my beloved honey!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I went away at the end of last week, somewhat abruptly.  We decided to spend a much-needed week at the beach!  I'm home now, and will resume regular posting in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review: Benefit Eye Bright

Things have been kind of hectic around the Addicted household of late, and I haven't been getting as much sleep as I should.  I have been looking into products that will help conceal the effects of said sleep deprivation, and my research led me to Benefit's Eye Bright pencil ($20 at Sephora).

At first I was a little wary of the color.  This pencil is a pale pink, not a true white like a lot of other eye brightening pencils.  I was afraid the pink would make my eyes look bloodshot and highlight the redness and circles around my eye area.  Not so!  I applied the pencil to my waterline and was very pleased.  The pale pink actually looks more natural and less jarring than a pure white pencil looks.

 You can see from the arm swatch (no flash) that the color is much more subtle than a white pencil, but it doesn't really look pink either.  The results are eyes that look awake and fresh, even though they may not necessarily feel either of those two things.

The texture of the pencil is creamy, so it's very easy to apply.  It doesn't drag like other eye liners; the color goes on nice and smooth.  After it's applied, the color does seem to fade over time, but I've been wearing it for about 4 hours now and my eyes still look bright ... the effect of the pencil is definitely still noticeable.

Overall I am very pleased with Benefit Eye Bright, and will likely repurchase when I the time comes.  You get a lot of product with each pencil, so I don't think I will run out but rather proper hygiene will require a replacement.

What do you think of Benefit Eye Bright?

Free Overnight Shipping from MAC Cosmetics!

 For today only (6/16/10) MAC is offering free overnight shipping on any purchase with the code STEAL.

Here are my favorite items from MAC's latest collection, To The Beach:

Thrills lipstick is a beautiful shade that I have not been able to find anywhere else.  Perfect for showing off a tan.
I have been using the Beach Bronze creme bronzer almost everyday.  The color is buildable and the formula blends more easily than any other creme product I've ever tried.
Pink Rebel is a great highlighting liquid for my fair skintone.  It gives just the right amount of sheen and does deposit much color.  Love it.
This highlighting powder is the most sought-after item in the To The Beach Collection.  I was able to snag one, and I might have another to give away soon ...

Happy shopping!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: Rouge Bunny Rouge - Part II

Part II of my Rouge Bunny Rouge review features Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick in Fluttering Sighs and Hues of Enchantment Colour Burst Lipstick in The Plot Thickens.

RBR's Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick has a light yet spicy scent and a smooth texture.  It glides on nicely and feels quite moisturizing on the lips.  It also has pleasantly surprising color payoff for a sheer lipstick ... Fluttering Sighs in particular is a lovely peachy pink hue shot through with gold shimmer that brightens my complexion nicely.  It's perfect for when you want a nude lip with a little something extra. 

I was also pleased with how long this lipstick lasted.  It's not a long-wear product, so I was happy that I got at least a couple of hours' worth of wear from it before I felt I needed to reapply.

I will definitely be repurchasing this one over and over again.  Traditionally, I am more of a gloss girl than a lipstick girl.  I love the color and texture of this lipstick though, and will likely try some other colors.

Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick in Fluttering Sighs (click to enlarge):

 RBR's Hues of Enchantment Colour Burst Lipstick has a creamier and more luxurious texture than the Succulence of Dew Lipstick.  The color is also more opaque.  I found the formula to be hydrating as well, although I did feel it was less hydrating than the Succulence of Dew Lipstick.  It did, however, last longer than the Succulence of Dew.  

The Plot Thickens is a gorgeous peachy nude shade with very subtle shimmer.  While it is brightening, it is not as brightening as Fluttering Sighs.  In my opinion, The Plot Thickens is a wonderful complement to a sexy, smokey eye.

Overall I like this lipstick a lot, but as I tend to wear my makeup more casual, I find myself reaching for Fluttering Sighs on a more daily basis.  The Plot Thickens is a fabulous lipstick that I use when I am going out or for special occasions.  It's a great base for many of my lipglosses, and I love it paired with a smokey eye.  I'll likely repurchase this lipstick when the time comes, though I think I will go through the sheer lipstick in Fluttering Sighs much faster.

Hues of Enchantment Colour Burst Lipstick in The Plot Thickens (click to enlarge):

Here are swatches, Fluttering Sighs on top and The Plot Thickens on bottom (click to enlarge):

The shades look similar, but Fluttering Sighs is brighter, more pink, and has more shimmer than The Plot Thickens.  The Plot Thickens is nude with just enough pink in it to keep you from looking washed out.  The shimmer on The Plot Thickens is also much more subtle ... Overall, I would say The Plot Thickens has more of an opaque satin finish, while Fluttering Sighs is shiny and sheer with an apparent golden shimmer.

I think which one of these formulas you will prefer depends on your day-to-day makeup tendencies.  As a lipgloss lady myself, I found that the sheer lipstick fit better with my normal routine and aesthetic than the colour burst lipstick.  If you normally tend toward true lipsticks, however, you will probably find the colour burst lipstick moisturizing and luxurious.   I love both formulas for different reasons, and they both fill a gap in my makeup collection.  The price makes these lipsticks a bit of an indulgence, but in my opinion they are worth it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Rouge Bunny Rouge haul - Part I

I have been dying to try Rouge Bunny Rouge (RBR) since I first read about it a while back at The Gloss Goss. RBR is a relatively new brand (it started up around 2005) from Russia, and within the last year it made its way over to the UK. RBR formulas contain a lot of natural extracts, and the products are designed to be treatment in addition to color. The brand story imagines that the collection emerged from an Enchanted Garden, weaving together "a Victorian fairytale and a whispering sense of danger." The packaging is gorgeous - dark, shiny black with white blooming flowers and fluttering butterflies - and the names are equally enticing.

RBR is a high end brand. Their products run anywhere from about 17GBP ($25)to 66GBP ($100), with many products coming in around 22GBP or so ($33). Frankly it's more than I usually prefer to spend on cosmetics, but the brand has gotten such rave reviews that I was still dying to give RBR a try.

Currently, the only place you can purchase RBR products (provided you are in the U.S. or Canada) is through a British website called Zuneta. With taxes, shipping, and the awful exchange rate, shipping the already-expensive RBR line to the U.S. has been cost-prohibitive.

Well, at the end of this past May, just in time for Memorial Day (a Bank Holiday in the UK), Zuneta announced that it would begin to offer free international shipping on orders of 100GBP (about $150) or more. They also offered a 20% off any purchase promotional code good for the Bank Holiday weekend. I had to bite.

My haul arrived yesterday, and I have to say that the products do in fact live up to the hype. I was able to swing a few items with this haul because of the code ... they ended up costing about $25 each, which I consider to be a good deal for what I received.

The products I chose are:
  • When Birds Are Singing Long Lasting Eye Shadows - Unforgettable Oriole, Bejewelled Skylark, and Delicate Hummingbird
  • Feline Gaze Eye Kohl in Delilah
  • Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick in Fluttering Sighs
  • Hues of Enchantment Colour Burst Lipstick in The Plot Thickens
First up, two of the When Birds Are Singing Long Lasting Eyeshadows (22GBP/$33):

Unforgettable Oriole (shimmering white gold):

Bejewelled Skylark (shimmering deep chocolate brown):

These eyeshadows are nothing short of amazing. I have never tried shadows that were so pigmented and blended so easily on my lids. They are an absolute dream to apply. The radiance and depth of these shadows just can't come through in pictures.

Unforgettable Oriole is a great basic shade. The color reminds me a bit of Stila's Kitten eyeshadow, but the texture completely blows away anything Stila offers. It's the perfect highlighting shade for brows, cheekbones, whatever you'd like. It's pure shimmer ... no chunks of glitter, just a pretty pearlescent sheen.

Bejewelled Skylark is perfect as a liner shadow or for a chocolatey, shimmerimg smokey eye. It's a deep chocolate-brown with reflections of copper. Also, no glitter here; all shimmer. The color is deliciously rich and multidimensional. It comes up a bit washed out with the flash on my camera; the color is a bit deeper In Real Life (tm).

Here is a swatch, with Unforgettable Oriole on top and Bejewelled Skylark on the bottom (one swipe of the brush):

RBR asserts that these shadows will last 8 hours when worn dry and 14 hours when worn wet. I have only worn them dry, and I do think they are very long lasting. It took me several minutes to remove these swatches; I had to wash my arm three times.

I love these shadows and I definitely will be purchasing more the next time Zuneta offers a promotion. In my opinion, they are worth every penny of the pricetag. I absolutely cannot wait for this brand to come to the U.S.! I hope they do it sooner rather than later; until then I will just have to wait for Zuneta codes.

About Zuneta ...

If you are considering Rouge Bunny Rouge, I highly recommend Zuneta. You can set up an account and provide your phenotype (hair color, eye color, skin tone, etc.), and they will make product recommendations for you depending on the information you supply. This is especially helpful with products you can't see and touch before buying (like RBR).

The service at Zuneta is also very good. They shipped my order very quickly, and a customer service rep sent me a personal email to let me know that one of my items was backordered. He told me that it would be shipped to me immediately when it came back into stock, and he told me when to expect the item to ship. I received a shipping confirmation exactly when he said I would receive it, and the item is now on its way to me. My first shipment arrived nicely packaged in a Zuneta gift box, and the items (and a hefty sample) were swathed in beautiful purple tissue paper. I am very pleased with the service I have received from Zuneta, and will definitely order from them again in the future.

What do you think of Rouge Bunny Rouge and/or Zuneta?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: J.Crew Haya stripe hoodie

I have been in a summery, beachy state of mind lately, and as soon as I saw the Haya striped hoodie ($65) on I knew I would be getting it.

The price is outrageous for a hoodie, but I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket. I found the hoodie at my local b&m and tried it on. I loved it!

The material is like a very soft and stretchy terry cloth. It's highly breathable and ever-so-comfortable. There are little pinky-peach darts at the pockets and the hood are attached, which add a pop of color and add some (otherwise lacking) femininity of the piece. The darts will also keep the seams from ripping/unraveling (ehem).

The fit is what I'd call a boyfriend fit. It's more form-fitting around the arms, and looser in the body. I took my regular size S in it, and it fits perfectly. There is quite a bit of stretch to the fabric, so if you want the hoodie to be snug try the next size down.

Here is a pic in less than optimum lighting (click to enlarge):

The Haya hoodie was going fast at my store, otherwise I would have waited on it. I was a bit surprised at first, but not after I tried it. J.Crew makes the best loungewear, in my opinion; it's always so soft and comfortable. Thumbs up on this one!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: J.Crew Croquet-stripe Caprese tunic

I ordered the Croquet-stripe Caprese tunic ($38) in the dusty shale colorway. I had heard that it ran large, so I ordered both my normal size S and an XS just in case. Indeed, to say this top runs large is a gross understatement. It is easily a full size too big, if not more.
I am 5'5" and a 36B, normally a size 4 or size S in J.Crew tops. 98% of the time this is the case. This tunic clearly falls into the other 2%, because not only did I take an XS in it, but the XS was actually a little roomy. Smaller/petite ladies will definitely be sized out of this one, unfortunately. It's a shame, because it's a lovely tunic.
The fabric is a soft, lightweight cotton, but it is not sheer. It feels almost like a chambray. As the description on J.Crew's website states, the stripes are woven into the fabric as opposed to being printed on, which results in a nice texture in both the tactile and visual senses.
Here is a swatch of the fabric (click on it to see it larger):

The color in the swatch is a little washed out from the flash, but it shows the texture nicely. You can see that there are thin ivory cables at at the edges of the shale and ivory stripes, and that the main blue part of the tunic has ivory interwoven into it. It's really very lovely, and I recommend it if you are thinking about it.
Also, just be aware that the front buttons are placed pretty low on the placket, though I did not have problems with the neckline gaping open; the coverage was fine for me. The only issue I had was wearing a cross-body bag ... I felt like the strap on the bag pulled open the "v" in the front a little bit, but my husband assured me that nothing was visible when that happened. In the future though, I might wear a cami underneath when I am wearing a cross-body.
EDIT: This top just arrived arrived at my local b&m, and the price is $49.50, which is $11.50 higher than the price online. Really, J.Crew?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review: LORAC aquaPRIME

I wanted to give a shout out to LORAC's aquaPRIME. It's a water-based makeup primer that I decided to try on my last visit to Sephora, because it's been so hot and humid here my makeup has been sliding off my face almost immediately. I was attracted to this primer because it's water-based and doesn't have any harsh or harmful ingredients that would irritate and/or clog up my sensitive, acne prone skin (LORAC is great for that). I got a sample that I have been using it for over a week now, and I have to say that I love it. My makeup has been going on so much better and lasting so much longer. I still get a little bit of shine after several hours (and I always will, just cause that's my skin), but it's not even in the same ballpark as it used to be. It's so little shine that I don't really feel the need to blot.

Just by way of background, I have combination skin that tends toward oily in the summer. It's also very sensitive and acne-prone, as I mentioned. Historically, I have had trouble finding a good balance for it. I have tried other primers like those from Smashbox and Tarte, and I have also tried the anti-shine primer from Sephora. They all made my face more oily. If you have similar skin issues to mine, I think you will like aquaPRIME. If your skin is dry, you might find that it's not moisturizing enough, and if your skin is oily, you might find it isn't mattifying enough. This primer has really helped me though. I apply a thin layer of it after moisturizing and before foundation and it has really worked beautifully for me. I just purchased the full-size bottle. It's not pricey as far as primers go; it's about $30 for a decent-sized bottle. A little goes a long way ... like I said, a small sample lasted me for over a week.
The packaging is alright; I found it a little difficult to get the product out, having to pump a few times to get the desired amount. I like that it's not messy though, and because it's so conservative it keeps you from using too much. I'd rather have it that way than have primer flying all over the place. The consistency is thin and feels like a very watery gel. It's cool and quite refreshing on the skin.
Overall I think this is a great product and I will definitely re-purchase for use during the summer months ... I will also try using it in the winter months too, although I don't have as much issues with shine at that time of year.