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)

THE MUST-TRY LIST: RADICAL SKINCARE.

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Radical skin care is a a brand I’ve been hearing about from UK bloggers for years now, but until recently I hadn’t head much buzz about the products Stateside. Which is ridiculous, because let me tell you, they’re life-changing. Yes, I really said that. “I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it.” Lets be honest for a second here. My skincare shelf/stash is constantly overflowing with products, so coming to the point where. I’m completely committed to not just one, but THREE different products from a single brand, so much so that I won’t travel without every single one, is something to write home about. I recently got the chance to test out their Hydrating Cleanser*, Instant Revitalizing Mask*, and new SPF, the Skin Perfecting Screen SPF 30*, and ladies and gentlemen, I’m hooked. I’ve been using the products steadily for a few months now to really get a feel for how they work into my routine, and at the moment, I can’t see myself ever being caught without all three in my stash. The Hydrating Cleanser* was my introduction to the brand; it was the first product I heard about from the range (thanks to Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup), and is probably my favorite of the bunch. Though meant as more of a post-cleanse after you’ve taken off the bulk of your makeup, I’ve been using this religiously as my morning cleanser and have found that it dipoles wonders , to really brighten and plump dull tired skin. A dollop of this massaged onto dry skin is the perfect morning facial that smells lovely and feels oh-so-wonderful. Additional note: I’m a sucker for peach, and the peach shade of this cleanser instantly gets rid if those Monday morning blues. Peach or non-peach-colored, this stuff is damn good. it’s on the pricier end of cleansers at $45 a pop, but I’ve been using my tube every morning, as well as some nights, for around three months now and I’m not even halfway done with the tube. 100% worth the price tag. The Instant Revitalizing Mask* does what it says on the tin: perks up dull skin and injects a good serving of hydration while leaving skin feeling clean afterwards. The brand describes it as: “the ideal coach for the skin: it delivers the nutrients necessary for hydration and regeneration while teaching it to breathe, stock up on energy, and optimize its oxygen resources in rarefied conditions. It leaves skin amazingly revitalized, healthy, and glowing.” I must say, this is without a doubt one of the most fun products you’ll ever put on your face. Leave on for 3-5 minutes and it fizzes, pops, and bursts as the mask does its work, giving a lovely tingling sensation that tickles rather than stings. It’s the perfect pick-me-up mask for days when you need a quick fix for sallow or tired looking skin that leaves it looking refreshed and awake, as well soothing any redness or irritation you might have going on. A foolproof fix I’ll never be caught without in my skincare trove. The final product is the brand’s newest product, the Skin Perfecting Screen SPF 30. We’ve all heard it before: SPF, SPF, SPF. Sun damage, they say, is the #1 source of wrinkles. But let’s be honest, no one wants to oil on yet another layer of product in the morning before we get to work on the tough job of putting on the daily face. Unless, that is, you’ve got an SPF in your arsenal that’s too light to detect on the skin, doesn’t leave a white cast, and pumps up the glow factor, making your skin look dewy and lot-from-within before you’ve applied a drop of makeup on top. Enter, Radical Skincare’s solution to the sunscreens of days past. It looks slightly pink when squeezed out of the tube, but even on my über yelllow-toned skin it blends in effortlessly and doesn’t leave an odd tint behind. It does contain a bit of shimmer to add some dew to the mix, but on the skin it’s undetectable disappearing to add a seamless glow to the face. I know, we’re getting a little glow-heavy here, but there really isn’t a better word to describe the effect this gives. It doesn’t add any oil to the skin or have a that odd silicone-y feel, but simply does what it claims to: blurs imperfections and enhances the look of skin before makeup, giving a dose of protection without feeling like an extra layer of product. Enough said.

Have you tried anything from Radical Skincare?

THE SAMPLE REVIEWS.

le cpIf you happened to read my October Birchbox Unboxing post, you might have noticed that I received an itty-bitty sized sample of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, which I was kinda sorta beyond excited about. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement. I was over the moon. If you’ve been around the beauty blogosphere for a while now, odds are that you’ve probably heard our über-chic British blogger friends talking on and on (and on) about this little tub of joy. Problem is (or was, until Birchbox swooped in to save us all), Liz Earle products don’t normally ship to the U.S. bummer. I’ll save you the details of the story, since I talked on about it in the post, but basically Birchbox saved my bank account by sending me this bad boy and making it available here in good old ‘merica.

The product itself feels quite luxurious; it’s a cream in texture and massages into the skin like a dream. You’re meant to buff it onto dry skin to cleanse, followed by a quick towel-off with a muslin cloth. I found it a bit tough at first to work it in properly, since you have to use a considerable amount to effectively cleanse. In short, this is not one of those “a-little-goes-a-long-way” kind of products. It doesn’t bother me, per say, but it is something to think about if you don’t like the idea of repurchasing every so often. While it doesn’t have a particularly heavy scent, I find that it does have kind of a funny mint-ish smell to it. Personally, I don’t really enjoy the smell, but I’ve gotten used to it. For me, it’s just not a cleanser I massage in forever purely because of the joy of the scent, but I’m sure some people will love it. It’s not unpleasant, to me it just seems… weird. It definitely took some getting used to. In terms of its effectiveness? This thing cleanses off makeup with ease, although I find that prior removal of eye makeup if you wear waterproof mascara (like me) is necessary; it’s not the toughest stuff in the world. Do I love it? To be honest, not as much as I thought I would. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect cleanser, and this just doesn’t seem to fit the bill. It’s okay, but for me it just isn’t the oneRight about now, I’m pretty darn glad Birchbox saved me from buying the full size for a third more than it costs (including shipping), only to find out I’m not in love with the product. Still want to give it a go? Have a look here.

Second on the docket today is a sample of the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer that came with my Ambient Lighting Palette, which I did a post on here. I’ll admit, this is the first foundation primer I’ve tried, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only one I’ll ever try. It smooths out the skin like nothing else, leaving an even canvas to apply the rest of your makeup, whilst keeping oils at bay. Yes, it is expensive, but I’m definitely planning on purchasing when this product runs out.

Do you have any samples you’ve been trialling recently? Let me know below:)

OCTOBER BIRCHBOX UNBOXING

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DSC_0188The second Friday of every month is probably my favorite day of the month, purely because checking my mailbox reveals a little pink box of beauty for me to squeal about. Oh yes, I love me some Birchbox. I know that a lot of people prefer Glossybox to Birchbox, but I can’t compare the two, as I’ve only ever tried the latter, but this month’s box is definitely something to phone home about. So what’s inside? Have a look.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

While the name’s a bit of a mouthful, I’ve been trying this stuff for about a week now and it’s seriously good. I’d actually been trying to get my hands on a bottle, but it was nearly impossible to get it anywhere in the U.S. I was ready to order off the Liz Earle website and pay an extra third of the price for shipping when I heard Birchbox was launching it in the States. Hallelujah. Gorgeous scent and amazing product that leaves skin clean without feeling stripped. Love.

Liz Earle Muslin Cloth

Included in the little Tiffany-blue Liz Earle box was one of the brand’s muslin cloths, which actually counted as a separate product for this month’s box. While it is cute, the flannel is just okay. To be honest, I much prefer my own set of cloths from Wal-Mart that cost me $4 purely because I feel like they exfoliate much better than these, being a bit more scrubby, yet still thin. I’d say don’t break the bank and buy these at $6 for 2 cloths when you can go out and get a set of 18 better flannels for $4, but no qualms here about it being included in this month’s box.

Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Mineral Finishing Powder

I received the shade “Amber”, the darker of the two. Personally, the color is a bit dark for me, but then again the only other shade suits light skin tones, so I’m not sure that would be any better. This will probably suit me better in the summer when I have more of a tan, but for now, it works fine as a bronzer. This sample is actually a full size product, retailing for $25. The product alone is worth $15 more than the price of the box, so I was happy to see this month’s box having a great value.

theBalm “Stainiac” Cheek and Lip Stain

The shade Birchbox sent me was “Beauty Queen”, a gorgeous berry. I freaking love gel cheek/lip tints. Easy to apply, this gives just enough time for blending out on the skin before setting and staying put for hours. It’s also lightweight on the lips and seriously does not budge.

Birchbox Find: ChapStick Hydration Lock

I heard from the BB sneak peak video that this one is supposedly a great lip primer before using any sort of lipstick or gloss, and I actually really like this product. I’m a bit of a balm snob, if that’s a thing, and I typically stick to the same products, so I haven’t used ChapStick since  was seven. I liked how this wasn’t included in the 4-5 samples we received, and it’s versatile and really quite useful.

Overall, this has to have been my favorite Birchbox so far. I’ve actually just hit 400 Birchbox points to spend in the online shop, so check back soon to see what I’ve picked up! What subscription beauty boxes do you love?

Want to order a box? Here’s the link to the subscription: Birchbox Subscription