SKIN SAVIORS: HADA LABO.

hada_labo_reviewOh, Monday. If you’re a regular reader of blogazine Into the Gloss, chances are those little Monday morning posts, “Because it’s Monday and we don’t want to work yet” somehow perk up my morning, serving as the perfect reminder that somewhere out there is a kindred spirit that feels the same way I do at the beginning of the beginning of a very long week: lethargic, lazy, and stuck in a daydream about the oh-so-distant weekend. If you don’t read ITG, then you have no idea what I’m talking about and I’ve probably helped you doze off back to sleep. No matter, here’s a few products to help wake you up and banish those Monday morning blues. Hada Labo is a brand off the high street in Japan that’s available in Ulta, as well as certain drugstores Stateside, and let me tell you, you need to try this stuff. The products are affordable but effective, doing the hefty work of some of the most luxurious skincare products I’ve tried. In a word, the Replenishing Hydrator* is, well, fabulous. Is there any better way to describe a serum that feels like a cool splash of water to the face, sinks in quickly, and leaves skin supple, plumped, and without any dry patches to speak of? Maybe, but come on, it’s Monday, and I don’t want to work yet. So we’ll stick with just calling it fabulous. It’s so good that a bottle of this stuff apparently sells every two seconds in Japan. The Hydrating Facial Cleanser* is a great in-between for those who love the hyper-clean feeling of a foaming cleanser but don’t like the way skin feels afterwards- think dry, tight, and generally like it’s had the life sucked out of it. Hada Labo’s offering is described as a:

  • Rich creamy cleanser with foaming action, deeply cleanses to remove impurities, dirt and oil. Rinses clean.
  • Restores and preserves skin’s natural moisture while cleansing.

Check, and check. It’s the creamiest foaming cleanser I’ve found, and it truly does get rid of all that unwanted grime either from a day of walking around town or in the morning to remove residue from skincare products the night before, and yet skin somehow feels hydrated after washing it off. My only gripe? It does have that odd scent of fragrance-free products, but that’s something I can deal with as it’s completely safe for skin that’s prone to breakouts. Both products are hyaluronic-based, making them perfect for both dry skin and oily-combination that’s simply dehydrated. Overall? Yes, you need this in your life ASAP. Simples. 

(* denotes press sample)

IF YOU BUY ONE THING THIS MONTH…

DSC_0001…Let it be Mio’s Liquid Yoga*. If you read the online magazine Nouvelle Daily, then you’ve probably heard talk about this gorgeous soak bouncing around the blogosphere. I received a bottle to test out from Mio Skincare and needless to say, I was not disappointed. To compensate for my lack of exercise since I stopped dancing (as well as my habit of loading up on carbs), I’ve been biking on the daily to try and burn off some calories. Word to the wise: out of shape bodies aren’t too keen on sudden exercise. Had I realized this ahead of time I probably would have managed to avoid the end-of-the-week muscle aches, but then, I probably wouldn’t have been able to experience Liquid Yoga’s wonders to the fullest extent. You win some you lose some. By this point, you’re probably wondering about what exactly Liquid Yoga is. The brand says it’s formulated to: Relax and calm your busy mind; ease hard-working muscles and restore your body with our perfect milky-moisturising blend of essential oils, mineral salts and therapeutic herbs. In a nutshell, it’s a silky bath soak meant to ease muscle aches and help you unwind. So how well did it help out those biking aches and pains? I kid you not, they were gone after a single use. A warm soak with a dollop of this stuff is positively therapeutic; not only were my small aches gone but I the gorgeous sent did wonders to help me relax and sleep soundly. The best part? No lotion needed après soak, Liquid Yoga turns the water into the most gorgeous shade of mint that’s silky and moisturizing, so we get to skip the extra step after a dip in the tub. Even if you don’t exercise at all, I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good at-home spa day: it’s easy to use-just shake and pour as the tub fills, is delicately scented with essential oils like lavender and chamomile to help you relax and sleep easy, and is the perfect quick fix to unwind at the end of a hectic day/week. One quick warning from the brand before I sign off: Liquid Yoga may cause relaxation and happiness. What’s not to love? 

Will you be picking up some Liquid Yoga?

TATCHA’S RITUAL DISCOVERY KIT.

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DSC_0047I mentioned a couple posts back about how the lovely folks at Tatcha were kind enough to send me some products to test out and review, and today we’ve got the second part of the products I tried. If you haven’t heard of Tatcha before, they’re a luxury Japanese skincare brand inspired by Geisha beauty rituals. Part two of the review? Tatcha’s Ritual Discovery Kit. The kit includes four of their most iconic products: the PURE One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil (25 mL), the SUPPLE Moisture-Rich Silk Cream (10 mL), the RADIANT Deep Brightening Serum (10 mL), and the POLISHED Rice Enzyme Powder (14 x 1g packets).

DSC_0037Here’s the description:

A two-week introduction to your essential four-step ritual. The Cleansing Oil removes makeup and melts away the day, while the Enzyme Powder exfoliates to reveal polished skin. The Brightening Serum evens complexion. Nourish skin with the anti-aging moisturizer tailored to your skin type.

DSC_0021First up and one of their most popular products is their cleansing oil offering. The brand describes it as: A beautiful blend of camellia and rice bran oils. Melts away even waterproof makeup leaving skin fresh and pure. I found this to be similar but slightly lighter in consistency than the Body Shop’s Chamomile Cleansing Oil, the latter being more heavy-duty makeup removing stuff in general. Tatcha’s version is a dream to use- lovely floral scent that’s not overpowering, silky texture, and melts makeup off at the end of the day. I will say that it’s not the most effective cleansing oil I’ve used in terms of removing waterproof mascara, but with an extra pump or two this gets the job done. I love the packaging on all the products, but I particularly love the inclusion of the travel-sized cleansing oil as it’s refillable and contains a pump, so once this runs out you could easily transfer some product into it for travel if you bought the full size or even save this one for weekends away when you need to pack light. Next up, the kit’s moisturizer is the definition of what the beauty community calls holy grail. There, I said it. I don’t throw the term around lightly here on succhisimples, but I have to say it. I. Love. This. Stuff. If nothing else, I would one hundred percent buy the kit myself just to have another adorable sample of this stuff. Tatcha calls it a Luxurious yet weightless feeling gel-cream of Liquid Silk, Squalane, Royal Jelly + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex. The HADASEI-3 Complex and Squalane added are some of the brand’s trademark ingredients meant to rehydrate the skin, though even without knowing much about the chemistry that makes up this little tub of wonder I can tell you right now you need to at least try this once in your skincare lifetime. The consistency is definitely a gel-cream as they describe, it lacks the oily/greasy feeling of a gel but hydrates deeply like a cream. The closest match I could find to this was Origins’ GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer (review here), which doesn’t hydrate as deeply but is quite similar in texture. While this is very pricey in the full size, if you’re looking for a good skincare investment I can think of no better find thus far than this. Their RADIANT brightening serum that claims to “hydrate while making the skin appear more luminous” wasn’t exactly the standout product of the bunch; while it was nice and again a joy to use, I didn’t find that it outperformed any of my other serums I’m currently using, but it does seem to bump up the glow factor even after you’ve applied moisturizer on top, making the skin look healthier and more dewy in finish. Overall, I’d say a good addition and something worth trying if you’re interested in the set, but not one to run out and purchase in the full size until you know whether or not your skin sees a noticeable difference. Lastly, their water-activated POLISHED Rice Enzyme Powder comes in the form of some pretty neat packaging. The set includes 14 packets of the product, intended to be used once a day for two weeks. It’s meant to “exfoliate without harsh abrasives for effortless baby-soft skin.” Ladies and gentlemen, it does just that. Once you rip open the packet, you pour the contents into wet hands and massage into a (very) wet face to create a soft lather. It doesn’t feel scrubby in the least, so I expect the exfoliating action is more chemical than physical with this one, but I definitely saw a difference after just a few days of use. I’d say keep added skincare regimens like double cleansing or cleansing with a clarisonic to the minimum when using this product, as I found that my skin became slightly more sensitive than normal after use of this plus a face mask and my clarisonic the next morning to the point where I’d feel a burning sensation on applying a product. Case in point, conventional wisdom applies here: don’t overdo your skincare. Subsequent trial again a week later was beyond successful: my skin literally felt like the backside of a four month old baby, I kid you not. To try their enzyme exfoliator is to be converted; harsh scrubs begone.

Overall, I think the set is an excellent value for the money; while it is pricey, you get to test all the brand’s bestselling start-up products in one handy kit and I’m telling you-these are not ones to miss. Definitely worth the price tag.

Will you be picking up the new Ritual Discovery Kit from Tatcha?

ICONIC JURLIQUE.

DSC_0068Again with the rambling about facial mists today, but this time we’ve got a triple threat skincare study going on. *Enter, Jurlique*. The lovely people behind the Australian brand were kind enough to send me a few of their most beloved iconic products to test out, and after a month of testing I can say it’s love. First up and probably the brand’s most popular product, the Rosewater Balancing Mist*. Let’s get one thing out of the way: the scent. Holy mother of God. If you like the smell of roses even the slightest bit, you need this in your life. Picture this: it’s the end of the day, you’re exhausted and just finished your evening cleanse, and spritz this all over as a toner and the world just seems to relax a little bit (I think I may have actually heard angels let out a sigh when I tried this for the first time, but it could have been creaky floorboards-no way to be sure). I love that you can use it both as a toner or over makeup in the morning as it’s so refreshing. Don’t like the idea of spraying all over the face? Jurlique has you covered. Spritz into palms a few times and press into the skin and bam-instant hydration (and I do mean instant). Next up, the Skin Balancing Facial Oil* was just as lovely in the long run but at first not my personal cup of tea. While I think it may do wonders for more combination/oily skins for the evening as it’s so light, after a week of wearing every night as a treatment on my dry/dehydrated skin, it did this strange thing where I’d wake up in the morning (feeling like P. Diddy-thank you Essiebutton) and my skin would actually feel drier than before. After cleansing, I found that I had somehow developed dry patches after a week or so of using. It does well for a few nights a week as an overnight treatment, but I’d say just be careful not to apply this on a daily basis. Then again, I don’t know many people who’d advise you to use an oil every single night in the first place, so partly melt fault here. The verdict? Lovely a few times a week to replenish skin. I found it helped any under-the-skin-bumps come to a head as well and helped clear my skin, which is lovely especially if you’re particularly blemish-prone. Last, the Purely Age-Defying Eye Cream* was another definite love. Here’s the deal with me and anti-aging skincare: yes, I’m under 20 and probably have you use for it, but I read an interview once (I think it was an article on Charlotte Tilbury) that you’re supposed to start using an anti-aging eye cream at eleven. Crazy, I know, but I figure now’a as good a time as any to start, seeing as I didn’t know they made eye cream when I was eleven. While I can’t speak to its anti-wrinkle
properties, I love how light this is even though it’s rich enough to use for evening wear and still deeply hydrating. Overall, the favorites remain the Balancing Mist and Age-Defying Eye Cream, with the occasional seeing of balancing oil during the week.

Have you tried anything from Jurlique?

(*denotes press sample)

TATCHA LUMINOUS DEWY SKIN MIST.

DSC_0074A short disclaimer here: I love me a good face mist. I’ve tried different species of dew-ifiers and matt-ifiers in my time, and rarely do I find a product that I’m one hundred percent sold on in this department. Not to worry, there’s a method to my madness: a mental checklist of all the required attributes to award the title of success. A) Performs desired result. Be it keeping things matte or making skin look fresh and plumped, it better do what it says on the tin. B) Cooling/refreshing feeling upon application. C) Sprays a fine mist evenly without leaving splotches of product droplets all over the place. D) Light, pleasant scent. Face mists are meant to make you feel refreshed, not make your face smell like a chemical factory. E) Does not make skin feel tight. Ladies and gents, please allow me to inform you that I’ve found a spray that ticks not one, not two, but all the boxes. Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist* might just be the best thing to happen to me since the Devil Wears Prada (and that’s saying something). I was recently lucky enough to test out this product to share with all of you and I must say, it’s love. Here’s the what the brand has to say about it:

“What it is: A silky liquid moisturizer spray of Squalane, Red Algae and our HADASEI-3 complex can be misted for a boost of soothing hydration, resulting in dewy, luminous skin anytime, anywhere.

Why it’s different: This milky emulsion contains moisturizers and humectants leaving skin rehydrated. Does not contain high levels of alcohol and fragrance found in conventional hydrating sprays, which can dry out the skin.

Who it’s for: Ideal for dry and combination skin.”

Now, I know nothing about what the benefits of ingredients like Squalane and HADASEI-3 complexes, but allow me to break it down for you; this stuff’s damn good. It’s incredibly light and doesn’t sit on the skin, sinking in in seconds. Application seems to able down to the spray nozzle, I think because the holes are so small it sprays the finest mist I’ve ever come across. Unlike a lot of sprays, this one does what it claims, lightly hydrating, leaving skin looking plumped and healthy with just the right amount of dew. Be warned; you may face the temptation to continue spritzing for at least half an hour because this stuff literally feels weightless and as though you haven’t applied anything. I love the scent as it’s very light and barely-there. Combination/oily skins have no fear: TATCHA understands the difference between looking dewy and looking greasy. In other words, fear not about this making your t-zone look shiny after application. For reference, I’ve got dry/combination skin with an occasionally oily t-zone, and a spritz of this was perfect to set my face without making things look too shiny. If you’re very oily, I’d say stick to using this midday to freshen things up rather than to set your makeup first thing in the morning. It has the strangest consistency compared to every face mist I’ve tried; rather than a glorified can of water, this stuff looks milky in the tube and is more like a skincare product than a setting spray, working to keep skin hydrated and looking healthy. My advice? Try your best to avoid going ham on the spritzing action, believe me it’s tempting to spray all day long and while it is pricey, it’s definitely worth more than it’s weight in gold. Maybe an all-day spritz would be worth breaking the bank after all…

(* denotes press sample)

OF SKIN BATTLES (& OTHER STORIES).

Beautiful-young-woman-with-face-maskMy skin is not happy. Quite the chatty post today, as I’ve been testing out quite the hefty roster of skincare products for the past week; serums, oils, cleansers-you name it, it was probably on my face in a hundred different forms at some point in the past seven days.On a good day, my skin is far from perfect-being frequently harassed by under-the-skin bumps and blemishes-but it is rather hardy. That is, I don’t usually get the feeling that someone’s burning my face from the inside after slapping on tons of product. In case you can’t tell, this has not been a good couple of days for mah face. Apparently there’s only so much it can take; yesterday’s plan of cleansing, then showering, then re-cleansing with a light scrub and then plopping a mask on top was halted short after the phase three (the re-cleanse). As soon as the mask I was applying touched my skin, the area just burned. Stubborn skincare fanatic that I am, I kept going, trying to smooth it out on both sides of my face in a maybe-it’s-supposed-to-burn-at-first fashion. Hint: it’s not. I’m sure you can guess what happens next, but my entire face went up in flames and it was all downhill from there. After some frantic splashing to try to rinse it off, an attempt with a muslin cloth, and various expletives yelled out in the heat of the moment, I was left with a red face that burned to the touch. My first thought-blame it on the mask-proved to be wrong, since absolutely everything I tried to put on to soothe my skin afterwards burned in exactly the same way. A few days later, I think it was probably just down to the fact that I had been constantly bombarding it with stripping scrubs and enzyme peels to the point where I had finally rubbed it raw, but thankfully I seem to be on the road to recovery these days after banishing all makeup from my face and taking a breather with the simplest moisturizer I could find. Not perfect, but better. I’m still dealing with quite a few rough, dry patches and my skin still isn’t completely healed, but I’m slowly nursing it back to health. I’ve started re-introducing some of the products I’d been using (one at a time), and so far they’ve all proved excellent, so I think it was just too much for my skin to handle all at once. Right now, it’s a slow uphill climb with regards to my face; I think the super deep cleansing wrath brought out by my little bout of burning skin is actually helping get rid of all my little pimples and spots: think, “It’ll get worse before it gets better”, but who knows. I have to say, it was the single most bizarre experience I’ve dealt with skincare-wise, so I thought today’s post would be the perfect chance to chat with all of you about skincare troubles, concerns, etc., and what products you use to save your skin when it’s going through a rough patch.

Let’s chat! What are your most bizarre skincare stories? Drop me a comment below:)

 

ALMOST GONE.

DSC_0048I’ll admit it: I am something of a skincare floozy. My love for any particular product tends to be more fickle than not, so very rarely do I reach the very bottom of the tin on anything in my skincare stash. Call them what you will (the best name would probably just be empties, but we’re trying to get some imagination going), but these two products have kept my skin happy hippy long enough for me to stick around and have definitely stood the test of time.

ORIGINS GINZING ENERGY BOOSTING MOISTURIZER//$26.50

I bought this around the time it launched last summer, and I must say it’s been love ever since. It’s very lightweight with a very gel-like consistency (hint, it is a gel) that sinks into skin fast. I don’t love using it as a night cream, so I wouldn’t say this is the way to go if you’re looking for a moisturizer that does double duty day-night, but it might work layered with a serum underneath. The price tag doesn’t hurt either; compared with most high-end moisturizers this one doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t hurt nearly as much when you go to check out and pay the bill. Because it’s so light, it doesn’t leave skin feeling tacky and helps avoid an oily t-zone during the day, but it also hydrates pretty effectively and leaves skin feeling plumped and awake, not to mention the blast of citrus scent that might help curb that coffee habit by waking you up in the morning. Love.

 ORIGINS MAKE A DIFFERENCE + REJUVENATING MOISTURIZER//$39.50

Not to be confused with the MAD+ Rejuvenating Treatment, this richer version is much more of a cream than its gel counterpart. While it is rich enough to use as a day-night moisturizer, this never leaves the skin feeling oily throughout the day but definitely helps ease it if you’re experiencing a drought on your face. Lightweight and mega-hydrating? Count me in. Don’t even get me started on the way this thing smells… I’ll save you the trouble: it smells like there’s a party on your face. I can’t describe it, but pretty please, if you get the chance go and have a whiff; you won’t regret it. Definitely one to be repurchased as soon as I run out.

Have you finished any skincare products lately?

 

SKIN SAVIORS: THE BODY SHOP.

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I recently had my first run-in with The Body Shop’s skincare line; I know, I know, I’m late to the party on this one, but better late than never. First up: the Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil. I’ve been meaning to get my hands on Nude’s Perfect Cleansing Oil for absolutely ages, so when I heard Amelia Liana from Liana Beauty going on about how good this was and how it was comparable to-if not better than-the Nude option, of course I was hooked. This stuff is fantastic: lightweight, “silky” (as the name suggests), and takes off every scrap of mascara on the ‘ol face. My only gripe? It took time for me to come around and fully commit because of the amount of product needed to cleanse. Yes, it does take off even the most waterproof mascaras, but I find that I need to use at least two pumps, if not three, every night. Then again, having snagged it for just $11 online, I shan’t complain. Next up, the Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream is quite the fail-safe product when skin needs some added TLC. It’s quite cushion-y, if you can call it that; while it is thick, it’s a dream to apply and is just so smooth. Another situation in which I’d happily buy a tub just to play with it it’s so soft. This one has been helping my skin out of a rough patch lately, it’s excellent as an intense moisturizer-mask hybrid as an overnight treatment. Speaking of overnight treatments, the Vitamin E Overnight Serum is a new offering from the brand, and it definitely a good ‘un. Because it’s both a serum and an oil together, it’s very lightweight and acts almost as a dry oil, sinking in quickly enough that there’s no need to worry about any rubbing off on your pillow when you go to bed. The results are almost immediate-you wake up with the most supple looking skin that gives the impression you’ve slept through the past few days. Definitely a guardian angel for late nights when you need to wake up looking refreshed without much sleep included.

What skincare products have you been loving lately?

THE CAPSULE BAG, #7.

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CAPSULE #7-2

CAPSULE #7-3The week has seen the disappearance of foundation from the makeup menu (per chef’s orders to simplify, simplify, simplify.); my skin has been the site of an overload of Pompeii-like eruptions all of a sudden. Which reminds me. Anyone else beyond excited to see John Snow in Pompeii? That beautiful, beautiful man… But I digress. Case in point being, I’ve been far too lazy to faff around with layer after layer of foundation and concealer afterwards, even though my skin would probably look a lot better than it has this week if I did. In light of that, I’ve been trying to focus on giving it some extra TLC at night with my Tarte Maracuja Oil instead of my usual night cream. This one’s just a sample size from Sephora (hint: use code MARACUJA at checkout on the Sephora website for this sample); I’m debating between this and the Pai Rosehip Oil when I commit to a full size, but this has really helped heal those pesky blemishes. I’ve been relying heavily on my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette (review here) to inject in some much-needed glow. This one was limited edition, but you can get the individual shades except “Incandescent Light” here.  I’ve especially been loving Radiant Light on the cheekbones with Nars Laguna Bronzer to welcome Sister Spring and sunshine. I’ve had the Sigma E30 Pencil Eye Brush forever now, but I’ve only just gotten into using it on the daily with my battered-up version of the Stila Kitten Eyeshadow. As you can probably tell, this thing has been through hell and back; I have dropped it (possibly more than twice, but I refuse to confess to anything), broken it, and put it back together more than I care to mention, but it’s still a gorgeous highlight shade and works well in the inner corners using the brush. There you have it! The week, in review.

What have you been loving lately?

FUZZ OFF.

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nair 3Welcome to succhisimples., where we chat about how to get rid of your mustache. Is there any better way to put it? Let’s take a second to explore the beauty world’s elephant in the room. Wouldn’t you know it, people have hair. Oh yes. It’s true. I said it. I am a hairy person. Some people are blessed with not having to deal with this subject area, but, such is life. And like many hairy people, I’ve been battling my own Joaquin Phoenix-esque mustache for what seems like forever. I was always a wax advocate; it really does provide the longest-lasting results, but it can be painful and leave redness in its wake. Enter, Nair Brazilian Clay Face Trio. For those of you who prefer a quick way to get rid of any upper lip madness, look no further. The set comes with a balm to be applied with the applicator before the cream to help hydrate, the cream itself, and a moisturizer to keep everything in check post-op. I like the idea of the before-treatment, but I’m not sure it really makes a difference when the cream actually starts to work, so I think you’d be fine to just by the cream alone for around five dollars. The moisturizer is actually a great addition, since it contains ingredients to calm the skin after the treatment that aren’t in normal day/night creams you might use. The cream does a great job of getting rid of all the hair in just five minutes. The timing really is crucial; I left it on around eight minutes the first time and ended up with angry red bumps that turned into breakouts, so I’d say six/seven minutes at the most, depending on the length of the hair you’re trying to remove, but I’d recommend removing with a damp washcloth in five minutes. No redness with fast results. If you’re looking for a new product to deal with any unwanted hair, I’d definitely give this a try. For the price, what used to be a process of heating wax or prepping strips is complex made easy. Simples.

Will you be giving this a try?