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)

AN ODE TO NARS SHEER GLOW.

DSC_0326Can we skip the part about how late I am to the party on this one? I know, I know, everyone and their mother is in love with this stuff and you know what? I am too.  Rewind a couple of weeks and you’ll see me at my local Nars counter (finally) getting color matched and picking up a sample. Rarely do I encounter love at first sight with beauty products but ladies and gents, I think I’ve found the one. The shade Cadiz was perfection, coverage was on point… Not to toot my own horn, but it was one of those ‘my skin has never looked so good’ moments that never, ever happens to me. After strolling through a few more counters at Saks I went to get color matched for YSL’s Touche Eclat just to see how the two compared and I had to stop the woman from applying the product on my face before wiping off Sheer Glow from underneath because she didn’t realize I was wearing any foundation the product blends so well. Fast forward slightly and I’m still in love with the stuff even a week after, and so the trouble begins. I’ll spare you my desperate journey for Sheer Glow, but I basically bought Sheer Matte instead on accident and then ended up buying (and loving) both. Review to come on the latter, but I digress. I. Love. This. Stuff. With just a single pump it’s incredibly smoothing and perfecting on the skin, making pores disappear without having to layer on product. If you’re in need of extra blemish cover it can be layered easily with absolutely zero cake factor added. Lasting power is also ridiculously good on this one; foundation especially seems to disappear on my skin like nobody’s business but somehow this withstands even the über humid Florida heat waves, so massive props to Nars for engineering that kind of wizardry. I know I keep harping on about the shades, but as someone with very in-between-undertones and darker skin I find it insanely hard to find a base that’s the perfect match. Nars have got it going on with their massive range of shades from almost paper white to deep tawny, so if you have trouble like me finding the perfect match this may just be the answer to your prayers. I know it’s called Sheer Glow, but it’s not the dewiest of foundations on the market, something I find to be right up my street. It’s more of a satin-y finish that let’s your natural sheen-iness peek through: basically, it looks like skin, no matter how much you layer on. (I told you it’s magic.) I find that on my dry-combination skin and an oily t-zone I don’t need to powder this one down, though adding a touch to set everything does help prolong staying power throughout the day. Let’s just say this: I’ve found the Holy Grail.

Have you ever tried Nars Sheer Glow Foundation?

 

THE HAUL: JANUARY 2014 EDITION.

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DSC_0289I call this the “January Edition” not because I’m planning on doing a haul every single month (my bank account isn’t nearly large enough to afford twelve of these posts a year), but because I know that coming up in March for my birthday there will be quite a large haul, followed (hopefully) by a Paris haul in the summer. This month, I took the plunge and made an impulse Sephora purchase and picked up a few things I’ve been putting off buying for ages. The first, Origins’ Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Moisturizer, I’ve gotten samples of not one, not two, but four times at my local counter. I even made a friend accompany me last time to get an extra sample and pass it off as hers. I kid you not. Needless to say, the woman who works there despises my presence every time I approach, so I placed the order online. Ha. It’s the most gorgeous, lightweight moisturizer to use as a night cream, and the smell. Oh. There are no words. Basically it smells like there’s a party happening. On your face. While you sleep. Not to mention you wake up with the softest, most supple skin imaginable. Love. Next up, I’ve been meaning to try Tarte’s Smooth Operator Micronized Setting Powder for ages, and I saw on Sephora.com that the limited-edition version released last year with the Aqualilies collection was on sale. Same powder, but prettier packaging, ten dollars off? Please and thank you. Into the cart it went, so there will be a full review up sometime next week. Stay tuned, kids. The rest of the Sephora items were actually samples; the site was running a promotion that gave you the option to pick 2 luxury-sized samples (hint: use code VICESWAP to shop the deal) so I picked the Tarte Maracuja oil and Becca’s bronzing skin perfector. First off, I’ve never actually tried a proper skincare oil before, and the results were fantastic; brighter, softer, and hydrated skin all came to light in the morning. I’m currently deciding between the full size of this or the Pai Rosehip Oil, but I digress. The Becca sample is actually aimed to give you that tan glow to your skin. Now, I’m basically brown all year round, so no word here on whether or not that helps in the fake tan department. Personally, I lvoe Becca products, especially their Skin Perfector Line, so I think this will make a great cheekbone highlighter-type shade for the summer to help on top of a bit of bronzer. I also got the birthday kit from Benefit they give if you’re a Beauty Insider, since I accidentally put my birthday in as a January birthday when I signed up. #Sorrynotsorry. The kit includes a sample of their Watt’s Up! highlighter, a lovely champagne-golden shade, and the They’re Real! mascara, so lot’s of exciting stuff here, judging from all those exclamation points Benefit brands their products with. Honestly though, the Watt’s Up! gives a great, long-lasting sheen to the cheeks, and the mascara is perfect for separating lashes. If your lashes don’t typically hold a curl, I’d recommend a layer of waterproof mascara first before a layer of this, but it really is fantastic. Lastly, I finally got myself the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm, which is lovely at night as a sort of lip mask, since it’s quite thick. So there you have it! All my recent purchases from the month, simples.

What have you picked up recently? Let me know in the comments below!

JANUARY BIRCHBOX UNBOXING.

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january birchbox unboxing 3The first Birchbox of the New Year has just arrived, and I have to say, I’m a little less than excited about the products. I’ve been holding out hope for some higher-end bits since I first got my subscription almost a year ago after hearing Ingrid from Missglamorazzi raving about her subscription in her unboxing videos. Somehow, she always seemed to get great samples; I was waiting for some Laura Mercier, maybe a little Nars lovin’ to come to my mailbox when I finally realized it wasn’t happening. This was three days ago. I love shopping on the Birchbox shop; they have an excellent point system and some really great products stocked that are hard to get anywhere else, but it’s just not worth getting your hopes up for every month. So, I’ve made the decision that my March box marking an entire year of subscriptions shall be my last. I said it. I’m cashing in my points and looking for the Vegas of beauty subscription boxes. Problem in point? I can’t find Vegas. If any of you have suggestions for beauty boxes that run more on the high-end scale of things, please please please let me know below. Onto the products, this month I received deluxe samples of Fekkai’s Glossing Range Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve used these before, and while they are nice, I think they’re overpriced for what they do. I much prefer the results of the L’Oréal EverCrème Range to the slightly flat finish these left on my hair, and it doesn’t hurt that you can get both the shampoo and conditioner for under $10. I also got a sample of the Coastal Scents Revealed Palette, which was probably my favorite sample for the month. The shadows are buttery smooth and uber-pigmented, not to mention long-lasting. Burt’s Bees also made an appearance with their Day Lotion. This has a lovely cucumber scent that reminds me of summer, but feels heavy and sits on the skin rather than sinking in for a good half hour. I tried it in place of a night cream a few times, thinking it would be nice and light, and woke up with an oil-slick nose. Not exactly sexy. I can understand a bit of oiliness in the morning, both because of residue from whatever night cream I’ve used and due to my slightly combination skin, but we’re not talking a little bit of morning dew here, people. NEWS ALERT: Happening now, the BB (See what I did there? Burt’s Bees…) Oil spill. On my face. Foundations everywhere currently in mourning due to sudden breakouts.

january birchbox unboxing swatchesBirchbox seems to be smitten with Harvey Prince fragrances, and for good reason; they smell absolutely fantastic. Included in January’s box was the Journey perfume, which is sweet with a kick of blackcurrant to keep things a little spicy. So there you have it. Sadly, it’s the beginning of the end for my Birchbox subscriptions. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below with your recommendation for high-end beauty boxes!