Purifying Black Mask Review

My candid thoughts on the Soo Ae Purifying Black Charcoal Mask.

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Last week, while going through some things I got at BeautyCon NYC, I decided to try out a face mask from Soo Ae. The particular one that I tried out was the Purifying Black Charcoal Mask. I was initially drawn to it because  it contains charcoal, which does wonders for purifying and removing toxins from your skin.

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Other than the fact that this mask made me look like an old-school burglar, I think it did everything that it said it would. It gave me a lot of hydration, but since I’m oily, it was a bit too glowy for me. It did draw out some of the impurities in my skin as well. I noticed some bumps on my cheeks the next morning, but I did expect that because of the charcoal.

If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn’t recommend this only due to the fact that I got a pretty intense tingling sensation while I put this on.. then again, I did leave it on for a bit longer than the recommended 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, I sprayed some of my Mario Badescu Facial Spray and my skin felt a bit better.

Overall, it’s not a bad mask, but personally, I don’t think I’m going to use this again, mainly due to the fact that it’s not intended for those with oily skin.  It’s definitely more geared towards those of you with dry skin concerns.

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Another mask that I can definitely recommend is the Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask. It’s soothing and doesn’t leave me too gloomy. So if you’re looking for something on the other spectrum of things, I’d highly recommend that.

Current Skincare Favorites


I remember the first time I got a breakout. It was as though the world had ended with that one white head that appeared on my forehead. 
I feared the mocks that I would surely get from others in school. Surely they’d call me pizza face or something a bit more creative. All-in-all, I knew I had to do something about it. This resulted in me popping the pimple, leaving angry red scratches all around it. 
I’m not going to say that I’ve learned not to pop my pimples ever again, but I definitely realize it’s not the end of the world when a friend pops up on my face. I also learned the importance of skincare.
Now, I’m going to be honest and say I still get acne, but it’s hereditary. Both of my parents have bestowed the wonderful gift of adult acne to me. Though I’m aware that I will probably always have acne, there are some products that I have noticed have done some great things for the overall appearance of my skin.


I spoke about the Origins Active Charcoal Mask in a previous post. I finds this really helps taking the gunk out of my pores and opens the up for other acne-fighting products. I do this about twice a week at night and find that my skin is extremely smooth afterwards. The charcoal helps clear toxins in your skin and is an ingredient that I suggest everyone incorporates into their skincare.


A standout product for me has been the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. Glycolic Acid is another ingredient that is great for your skin. If you have dark marks, this will assist in lightening them up and improving the overall texture of your skin. This has done an amazing job at lightening my dark marks. In the couple of months that I’ve used this product, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the overall appearance of my complexion.


Another Mario Badescu product is the Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea. Just as you would assume this does, this really soothes my skin after I do some intense skincare. I use this daily, just to give me an extra bout of hydration. I know this can be scary to my oily friends, but the combination of aloe, cucumber and green tea doesn’t affect your oil production. It’s just a refreshing spray in the morning and night.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the M-61 PowerSpot Pad for combination/blemish-prone skin. This little pad packs a powerful punch. With ingredients such as salicylic acid, tea tree and witch hazel, this works at really fighting your breakouts. I use this twice a week at night and my skin looks and feels great in the morning. My breakouts are visibly reduced and texture seems to have been smoothed out. I will say that this is an extremely strong product so if you have sensitive skin, you may want to steer clear of this. I do, sometimes get a stinging sensation, especially if I rub it over popped acne, so do be careful!
With these products, I can say that my skin has been the best that I’ve seen it in months. Also, though these may work for me, they may not work with yours, so just be mindful of what your skin concerns are and test out products before you buy to be sure they won’t irritate your skin. If these do work for you, I’m glad I could steer you in the right direction. 

Origins Influenster VoxBox

Thoughts on some Origins products.

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Although people tell me time and time again to take it easy with my skincare, I’m very open to testing out new products. (Don’t do this. You’re skin will hate you!) With that being said, I was very excited to learn that I had been entered to receive the newest Influenster Originis VoxBox.

I was excited to receive this because Origins has products that are not tested on animals, and use natural ingredients that are supposed to do wonders for your skin. Inside, I found five sample skincare products. These included two moisturizers, (day and night) a face wash, mask, as well as an eye cream. The one thing I was disappointed about was the fast that we didn’t get an exfoliant.
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I’ll begin by saying that the stand out product was without a doubt the Origins Purifying Charcoal Mask. I’ve heard some people rave about this and I was excited to try it out, especially being that it’s a charcoal-based mask. It’s a typical mask that you let sit for 15 minutes then rinse off. (Sorry peel lovers!) I use this once a week, at night and find that my skin is much softer the next morning. If you have congested pores, I would look into this because charcoal works well to detoxify your pores and clear out the bacteria. I would definitely purchase a full size of this.
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The Checks and Balances Frothy face wash was pretty interesting. It has a bit of a minty, refreshing scent, but the thing that I really like about this is the fact that it does give me a nice lather. This may be a mental thing, but when soaps and face washes foam up, I feel as though I’m getting a deeper cleanse. I found that I have do go in twice to wash off my makeup, but I don’t have a problem with this, due to the fact that this wasn’t advertised as a makeup remover.
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The GinZing Energy boosting moisturizer is something that I’m not too sure how I feel about. Does it keep me moisturized throughout the day? Yes. Is it energy boosting? The smell definitely wakes me me. This has a very poignant citrus scent, which isn’t something I would recommend for those of you with sensitive skin. When looking through some reviews, I saw that people have explained that this caused them to break out. Fortunately, it did not happen to me, but I just wanted to make sure you all are aware of that. I did like the consistency of this, but I think I will probably back to my Belif Aqua Bomb.
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Sticking to moisturizers, let’s discuss the High-Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral enriched renewal cream. Much like the GinZing energy boosting moisturizer, this has a citrus scent, which concerns me for those that have sensitive skin. This is a thicker cream that contains Vitamin C and E, which is great for brightening your skin. Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of this. Though this is oil-free, I found that my skin did produce a lot of oils throughout the night with this. I generally produce more oils while I sleep, so I’m going to continue to monitor this and just ensure that I’m not just being extremely picky when it comes to this.
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The last thing is the GinZing Refreshing eye cream. Like the moisturizers, this also has citrus scent, so those of you with sensitive skin: proceed with caution. I’ve used this every night for the past two weeks and I haven’t noticed any drastic changes. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t have really bad dark circles, but they are there and I haven’t noticed a lightening effect on it. As for depuffing, I’m probably not the best to discuss this. I have hereditary bags under my eyes, so it’s hard for me to really differentiate puffiness and bags. Overall, I’m going to continue to use this because it does have some good ingredients that I would like to keep in my skincare regimen. Also those of you with deeper skin tones, this is not a clear cream. It does give me a bit of a white cast, looking a bit ashy, so if you do purchase this, I would suggest you keep this in your nightly routine.
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Overall, I’m very grateful for everything I received in the box. I even was invited to an in-store event! Thank you so much Influenster and Origins for sending me this box. I’m definitely going to look into buying full sizes of the charcoal mask and the frothy face wash.
Please let me know your thoughts on Origins and these products. I’d love to get your thoughts on it! Also let me know if you’d want me to dedicate a blog post exclusively to Influenster on what it is and how to use it. I’d love to help you guys score free makeup.

 

Spring Scents

Some new scents for spring.

In the spring, I cast aside warm, musky scents for fresh, floral fragrances. It reminds me that it’s my favorite time of year again. Nature is coming back to life and we can see flowers beginning to bloom. 

This year, I was sent, what I believe will be my new spring scent by Y Communications and Consulting. They gave me the opportunity to try out the Zoella Beauty Creamy Madly Dreamy Body Lotion.I’ve been a huge Zoella fan for quite sometime now so when I was asked to test out her products, I jumped at the chance.

The Creamy Madly Dreamy Body Lotion is just lovely and even grandma-approved. I let her try it out before I did and she was very pleased with the scent. In all over body lotions, I look for something that’s pleasantly fragranced, but not so much that it’s overbearing. The lotion is exactly that. It has a sweet, floral scent that makes me read for a walk through a field of flowers. Though it smells good, it’s not overly poignant, which means it’s perfect to pair other scents over top of it. (I suggest a splash it the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Perfume!) 

If you’re into soft and subtle scents, this may be right up your alley.

The mixture of ingredients makes the lotion creamy and moisturizing. It’s enriched with Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Vitamin E. (All of which, your skin will love.)

The Zoella Collection just launched in January and can be found exclusively at Target, so I don’t know about you l, but I’m definitely going to stop by and pick up some others from the collection. The collection also includes hand cream, perfume, bath products and more. 


Another scent that you can also pick up at Target is the Soap and Glory The Righteous Body Lotion. My grandmother, mother, sisters and a handful for beauty bloggers can back me up when I say this smells so incredibly good.

This has been a blogger/vlogger favorite for quite a while and it’s just recently released in Target stores. It’s enriched with Shea and Cocoa Seed Butters, as well as Sweet Almond Oil and Aloe Vera. 

If you have dry skin, test this out. Your skin will thank you. Trust me.


Lastly, stepping away from Target, let’s talk about Lush’s Handy Gurugu Hand Lotion. If you’re into fresher scents rather than floral, this should be on your radar. I picked this up during my birthday shopping trip and I can say honestly that this makes my hands feel so soft.

It contains Shea, Almond and Cashew Butter and Rose Water. All of which, my hands absolutely love! And I think yours will too. 

I will warn you that this one is a little thicker than the other two so if you’re not a fan of thick creams, I would say to opt for one of the other two. 

Regardless, all of these are wonderful and perfect scents for the spring time. Have you tried my Of these, or should I try something else? I’d love to know what you’re using. 

Happy springtime and happy moisturizing! 

Product Empties

I was going through my makeup stash and found that I had finished a fair share of products. I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts on these products and hopefully get your thoughts on these items.

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First, lest talk about the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser. This is actually the second bottle that I’ve purchased, so that should tell you a lot about my thoughts on this. I talked about this in my Best of 2016 post, so I won’t go too in-depth. However, I will say that this is one of my favorite cleansers that I have ever tried.  And trust me when I say that I’ve used my fair share.  I really enjoy the warming sensation that you get when you work this into your skin. That along with the active charcoal ingredients make my really feel like that I’m getting rid of all the toxins in my skin. If you’re on the hunt for a detoxifying cleanser, I would highly recommend you to get a sample of this from Sephora.

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Next, we have the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Cleanser Gel. Much like the Boscia cleanser, this contains active charcoal which is great for getting impurities out of your skin. The only thing different is it does not have the warming effect as the Boscia cleanser, but it still foams up into a nice lather, making me feel like I’m getting a nice cleanse going. I’m a big fan of incorporating charcoal into my skin routine because I really feel that it helps to get all the toxins out, as I explained previously.

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Another empty product is the Smashbox Brow Tech Matte Pencil in “Dark Brown.” I prefer brow pencils that twist up like this, rather than crayons because I feel like I waste less product, being that I don’t have to continuously sharpen it. I enjoyed this pencil, but I have to admit that it’s not my favorite. If you need something to compare it to, it’s similar to the Anastasia Brow Wiz, but this is much more stiff. I found this helpful when trying to get those really precise, hair-like strokes. At the beginning, I really enjoyed this and would have probably said that this was my favorite brow pencil on the market, but towards the end it crumbled up on me as I went to fill in my brows. I may give this another try, but as of right now, I’m not going to repurchase it.

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The next product is the cult favorite, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Caramel.” This has been raved about on nearly every blogger’s page so I’m going to keep this short. This is a great, buildable medium-to-full coverage concealer. You definitely need to set this, or you’re going to crease up. It sits nicely on the skin and I love it so much that I have already repurchased a backup.

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This product is technically not empty, but I thought I should include it because I have such a small amount left. This is the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in “Warm Almond.” I also touched on this in my Best of 2016 post. I bought this back in September and I completely fell in love. It’s such a beautiful foundation. It gives off a nice, natural finish and it is a medium-to-full coverage. The finish leads me to believe that it would be great for both dry and oily skin. It’s perfect for both everyday and glam makeup. I strongly suggest that you go out and purchase this foundation because it has honestly changed my life.

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I know a couple of people that don’t really like this, but I’m a big fan of the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in “Deep Brown.” I found that this keeps my brow hairs in place for the whole day and I don’t have to worry about them going AWOL. Albeit, the brush can be a bit difficult to work with, but once you get the hang of it, you love it! I use it both alone to amp up my brows on my “no makeup” days or over a brow pencil on days I opt for heavier makeup.

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I have another skincare item. This is the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. I snagged a sample of this product from another blogger and I instantly fell in love with it, which breaks my heart, considering the full-sized version is $92. After I use this, I find that my skin looks brighter, smoother and all-around healthier. I used this at night and in the morning, I saw that my breakouts have visibly reduced in size. It has a tingling sensation, so I wouldn’t recommend this for  those of you that have sensitive skin, being that it may irritate your skin, but if your skin isn’t really sensitive, you will love this.

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The last thing I found was the LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser. Let me tell you that this completely revived my winter skin. I had an issue a couple months back where my skin reacted poorly with another product that I was testing. My skin was completely dried out and flaky and being that I typically have oily/combination skin, I had no idea what to do. I walked into my local LUSH and they referred me to this. Within a week, my skin was restored. It’s perfect for using as a daily cleanser, removing makeup and moisturizing your skin. I highly recommend this.

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For the most part, I’ve really been enjoying the products that I’ve ran out of and I’m going to be repurchasing most of them. The only product that I’m kind of iffy about is the Smashbox eyebrow pencil.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these products or learn about some of the products you’ve been trying out. Let me know what products I should try out because I’d love to test out new items!

Quick Restock

What I got when I restocked my skincare items.

I recently made a stop to my local CVS Pharmacy and Ulta and stock up on a couple of products. I’m stingy when it comes to finishing up products, but it came to a point where I caught myself adding water to my bottles of face wash to salvage whatever product I had left. It was then that I realized that I needed to restock and explore some new options.


First thing I grabbed was a recommendation from my sister. It’s the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. My sister suffers from a lot of the same skin issues as myself: dark marks, texture and dullness. Since she began using it, I’ve noticed a visible difference in the appearance of her skin. The overall appearance looks much smoother. When noticing such a change in her skin, I knew I had to purchase it. (More like I was pestered by her each day until I went into Ulta to grab a bottle.) 

Ingredients:

The Toner contains glycolic acid, which helps to improve the appearance of dark marks and aids in evening out out your skin complexion. The toner also contains aloe vera, which not only helps to soothe the skin, but it’s a natural disinfectant. Being a natural disinfectant, it will help to kill acne-causing bacteria, which can spur up new breakouts. Another ingredient is grapefruit extract, that should soften the skin.


Expectations:

I have some high expectations for this product since being introduced to it by my sister. I hope that it will be able to lighten my dark marks as well as smooth out the texture of my skin. I will keep you updated.


The next thing I picked up was the Simple Skincare Foaming Cleanser. I touched on this product in my Simple Skincare Favorites post, back in August. I decided that it would be best if I looked into a more gentle facial cleanser while trying out the glycolic acid toner. This was the the first product that came to mind because of the fact that it’s gentle enough to not irritate my skin, while being effective enough to be able to remove all of my makeup.


It comes out in a thick lather, which stays ask you work it into your skin. If you have sensitive skin, I would highly recommend Simple Skincare. The entire line is catered towards people with sensitive skin.

If you’ve tried either of these, if love to hear your thoughts on them, especially the Glycolic Acid Toner. Also, if you have any products you’d like to recommend, please let me know in the comments section below. 

Best of 2016

As the year wraps up, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of some of my favorite products throughout the year. These products include stuff that I have been reaching for throughout the year.

Face Products

 

Complexion Favorites 2016

 


I have been on the lookout for a new contour powder. I found that the one that I had was too warm for me in the winter months. When I went into Sephora, I explained to one of the representatives my issue, she referred me to the Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit. This is the perfect contour kit for someone with deeper skin complexions. It includes three colors, a contour shade, bronze shade, and highlight shade. I bought the “medium/deep” shade. When I am wanting a warmer contour, I mix the bronze with the contour shades to preventing it from being too cool and muddy.

I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I couldn’t help it. This powder is phenomenal. Under the eyes, it helps to lock in your concealer and prevent it from creasing. One thing I have noticed is the fact that it clung to my dry spots this winter. That’s to be expected, being that it includes talc. I would suggest people with dry skin to dust this powder on, rather than bake with it to prevent it from clinging to your dry patches.

I actually received this as a Christmas gift from my lovely sister, Linda. (You can get to know her through her YouTube channel here.) There are a variety of shades that makes this a very versatile palette for any highlighter junkie. As you would expect, the highlighters are creamy and easy to work with. If you’re willing to splurge, it’s definitely a palette that you should look into.

Churro
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Churro was an instant favorite of mine. Though I didn’t mention it in my “Highlighter Favorites” post earlier this year, I completely fell in love with this. Much like other ColourPop products, Churro has a silky texture. It’s not too golden and not too peachy, making it perfect for a variety of skin tones. And the best part? It’s only $8!
Foundations
Foundation Favorites 2016

 


Again, I’m jumping on the bandwagon with the L’Oreal Pro-Matte foundation. There are countless reviews on this, so I won’t go too in-depth with this. It’s perfect for my oily skin makeup fanatics.

If you haven’t heard about this foundation, I am skeptical. This is geared towards those of you that are on the dryer side. As stated in the name, it gives off a luminous finish. If you’re more on the oily side, you may not like this. I love the fact that it comes with a dropper, which makes it easy to dispense the perfect amount. All-in-all, if you haven’t tried this, you should definitely go to your local Sephora and ask for a sample.

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics long wearing foundation
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Foundation sticks were all the rage in 2016. Wanting to try one, I opted for the Bobbi Brown stick and it completely changed the game. It gives a buildable medium to full coverage without looking cake-y. Because I’m lazy and refuse to use more than one brush for my complexion, I use a BeautyBlender sponge to blend it out because I find it the best to blend out my concealer. But, with this particular product, I would suggest that you use a brush, as it can be difficult to blend out with a sponge.

Cover Fx Custom Cover Drops N90
$49 – farfetch.com
Skincare
Skincare Favorites

 


Masks have really helped improve my complexion this year. This Black Tea face mask is really interesting. It gives off a cooling sensation when you rinse it off. This is perfect for hydrating your skin, without leaving you greasy. It also helps with problematic acne-prone skin. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that’s struggling with these skin issues.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength
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Every time I use this product, it completely blows my mind. I use it at night, before bed and when I wake up in the morning, I find that my skin is drastically improved. With this peel, I generally leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off. This is perfect for acne-prone skin or if you struggle with dark marks. If you do purchase this, make sure you use it only once or twice a week. Anything more and you can run the risk of burning your skin. You don’t want to do that.

Simple Skincare Smoothing Facial Scrub
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This was a surprising drugstore find. I love that it has exfoliants that give you a deep clean and removes your peaky dead skin. I love it so much that I even mentioned it in a previous post I dedicated completely to Simple Skincare.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Therapy
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I usually have oily skin, but the dry winter weather has really dried me out. This face cream has really assisted with restoring my skin. I generally pat it in over the dry patches on my forehead and temples at night. If you have dry skin, this may be your best friend.

The Detoxifying Black Cleanser was a spur of the moment purchase. I was really interested in adding charcoal to my skin care routine and a representative at Sephora pointed me to this. It’s a black gel that warms on the skins. At first, it was extremely weird, but when you work it into a lather and rinse it off, it leaves your skin feeling soft and toxin-free.
Clothes
Anyone that knows me is very aware of my obsession with outerwear. I feel that the perfect sweater or trench just really makes the your whole outfit. It helps to tie in everything together, while keeping you warm.
Outerwear Favorites
Outerwear Favorites by Me featuring coats

Cardigan
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For the past couple of months, no one has been able to get me out of this particular cardigan. It’s the perfect cardigan to keep you warm. I’m a big fan of longline coats and sweaters because it really elongates your frame, making you look taller. It’s also versatile enough to be able to pair with not only jeans and a shirt, but a short dress.

Coat
forever21.com
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I’ve gotten many questions about where I’ve gotten my go-to jacket. I feel bad explaining that I got it two years ago at Charlotte Russe, but I recently stumbled upon a similar jacket on Forever 21. I wear  this with just about every outfit. That’s what I love about trench coats. They help to dress up a laid-back outfit and also is the perfect statement piece for a midi dress or skirt. I love to pair this with high-waisted jeans and booties.

Coat
shoptailor.com
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This coat has been the best purchase I’ve made in Richmond. I fell in love with the dusty pink color. I find that depending on what you pair it with, it the color can come across either stone or a very light pink. Much like the previous trench, I love to pair this with high-waisted jeans and booties. I also like to pair it with a black dress. I also have to mention the owner of Shop Tailor, Taylor Alexis. She is the sweetest person and was so helpful when I was looking for the right trench. If you’re looking to purchase quality items from an awesome and down-to-earth person, you should definitely log onto ShopTailor.com.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I hope your New Year is even better. Let me know what some  of your favorites of 2016 have been. I’d love to see what you love and what I should be picking up in 2017.