Purchased and Press Sample (Affiliate Links)
It has been such a long, long time since I have done an Empties post, and therefore I decided to take a close look what I finished up in the month of July.
NuReveal Bright Star Scrub Resurfacing Face & Lip Scrub ($34.00 for 4 oz. from NuReveal Organics and from their Official Amazon Store): This is a delectable exfoliant that forms a light lather that is punctuated by lots of tiny walnut shell powder exfoliating particles in conjunction with Alpha Hydroxy Acids to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. It has an uplifting light peppermint aroma that is neither overpowering, nor cloying– instead it is invigorating and thoroughly uplifting. It leaves skin soft, smooth and supple, and it isn't stripping, drying or irritating even for sensitive skin– like mine can be at times. Repurchase? Definitely!
Verso Super Facial Serum ($130.00 for 1.01 oz. from Barneys New York, Net-A-Porter and Cult Beauty): This retinol serum is lightweight, fast absorbing and gentle enough that I didn't experience any redness, peeling, drying or irritation with my sometimes finicky skin. I cannot speak to Verso's claims that it is "eight times more effective than the standard retinol in the same dosage," but I can say that it effectively speeds up skin cell turnover, softens the appearance of fine lines, evens skin tone, and fades hyperpigmentation. My skin is left very soft, smooth and radiant. I should note that I have tried a wide variety of retinols– including those that require a prescription– and this was among the most gentle on my skin. I tend to use this serum at night rather than day and/or night because while one sleeps skin renewal is the most pronounced, and I tend to prefer to use products that accelerate skin cell turnover during this time of the day. Repurchase? Not at the moment because I am swimming in retinol-based products, but I will repurchase it at some point.
Verso Super Eye Serum ($80.00 for 1.01 oz. from Net-A-Porter and Cult Beauty): There are not very many retinol-based eye creams or serums on the market, and this is definitely an effective one. I have sensitive eyes, and am therefore very careful to avoid getting it in my eyes because I have found that it stings if I do. That said, this has only happened a couple of times when I was careless. When I initially began using this serum, I noted that it tingled the skin under my eyes, but once my skin acclimated to it, that subsided. It effectively increases skin cell turnover without peeling or irritating the skin, but the big surprise was the fact that it diminished the appearance of my dark circles, and it reduced the appearance of puffiness on the days that I don't get enough sleep. Furthermore, it leaves skin soft, smooth, supple and firm. I only tend to use it at night, and I have used it alone, and under an eye cream when added moisture is needed. Repurchase? Absolutely, this stuff is amazing and I don't have anything else like it.
African Botanics Marula Intense Skin Repair Balm: This wonderful Skin Repair Balm has long ago been discontinued and replaced by an even better balm, but I loved using every last bit!
Colbert MD Soothe Night ($175.00 for 1.02 oz. from Amazon (from Colbert MD), Space NK, Net-A-Porter, Bloomingdale's, Barneys New York and Dermstore): If you are seeking an ultra soothing and comforting face cream that is capable of working wonders on very irritated skin, then this is definitely worthy of your consideration. It addresses a variety of concerns ranging from dry and irritated skin to particularly inflamed and reactive skin (post peel or post microdermabrasion), to Rosacea flareups.
When I want extra moisture, and a potent anti-aging night cream that works wonders on inflamed and irritated skin, Colbert MD Soothe Night Cream is one of my favorite moisturizers of choice. It is ultra-soothing, luxuriously rich in moisture, and exceedingly lightweight. It sinks into skin quickly and leaves skin luminous and deeply moisturized. Furthermore, fine lines are plumped and skin is left soft, smooth and supple.
Each time that I have a peel or microdermabrasion, my finicky skin can become reactive and red, and Soothe Night Cream eradicates the irritation and redness almost immediately. Additionally, it leaves skin feeling soothed and comforted. While the results are nearly immediate, one really sees a noticeable difference the following morning. Repurchase? I already opened a fresh jar! I absolutely LOVE this night cream!
Biodara Creme de Clay Purifying Mask (This was in my Boxwalla August 2016 Beauty Box): This is a deep pore cleansing clay mask that contains, "therapeutic bentonite clay and roasted bamboo salts that extract impurities and detoxify the skin while organic sea kelp and ionic trace minerals help soothe and moisturize your face." The organic bioactive oils, coupled with highly effective plant extracts, were chose for their ability to exfoliate dead skin cells, clean out clogged pores, and revitalizing the skin. I immediately noted that my skin was left refreshed, luminous and clean without being stripped. Repurchase? I have a few clay masks to use up first, but I will definitely purchase a full-size jar of this once I do.
REN Rose 012 Moisture Defence Oil ($80.00 for 1.02 oz. from REN, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Space NK, Sephora and John Lewis £42.00): This is such a glorious, rich beauty oil that this is actually the second bottle that I have purchased. It is a very luxurious and deeply moisturizing beauty oil that is comprised of 12 oils that were carefully selected to protect, hydrate and condition dry and dehydrated skin. It leaves skin utterly soft, silky smooth, luminous and it softens the appearance of fine lines. Furthermore, it calms and soothes irritated and inflamed skin, and therefore is a good oil choice after peels and exfoliation.
While I have decidedly normal to combination skin, I find that this beauty oil is perfect for my face during the colder months of the year, and it is perfect for my neck and décolleté all year long. It has an irresistibly beautiful rose aroma that is both elegant and intoxicatingly addictive and calming, but its fragrant bouquet fades soon after it sinks in. While it is a rich oil, it absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn't leave behind a greasy residue– unless, of course, you use too much. It is quite concentrated, and therefore a little goes quite a long way. If you apply it to warm, slightly damp freshly washed skin, then a few drops is all that you need for your face, neck and décolleté. Repurchase? I would repurchase it, but not until I finish up a few of my other face oils.
African Botanics Fluers d'Afrique Intense Recovery Oil ($250.00 for 1 oz. from African Botanics, Cult Beauty, Credo Beauty, Violet Grey and Net-A-Porter): is a highly concentrated luxury oil that is lightweight in texture and fast absorbing. The texture, is itself, ultra-silky and it leaves skin feeling like the softest cashmere conceived. It has an utterly intoxicating aroma that is a delectable fusion of the Jasmine Grandiflorum, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Kalahari Melon Seed Oil and Marula Seed Oil. It is a warm and earthy floral that delights the senses, calms the mind and nourishes the skin. This is an oil to be savored, and the tactile and sensory experience is so exquisite that one immediately slows down to really relish the experiential component of this highly effective ultra-luxe beauty oil.
From its very inception, African Botanics Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Oil was envisioned and conceived as a new type of antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory anti-aging oil– the likes of which did not yet exist. Unlike many luxury oils that add water to break down water-soluble actives, African Botanics opted not to dilute the oils, but instead utilized highly potent oil soluble actives. Furthermore, they source rare ingredients of the highest quality from remote locations, and the end result is a staggeringly unique beauty oil that easily rivals the most potent and effective anti-aging serums in the marketplace today.
African Botanics Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Oil utilizes a visionary delivery system that allows the ingredients to penetrate the skin deeply in order to effectively nourish the skin, to stimulate skin cell renewal, to restore and regenerate skin and to protect and heal. Furthermore, this unique formula softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while fading hyperpigmentation, and it reduces inflammation and redness.
My skin is notably different in that the overall texture is more even in tone and the small areas of light hyperpigmentation have noticeably faded. My fine lines are softened and my skin appears more taut and lifted. Furthermore, it effectively encourages skin cell-turnover to eliminate dull and dry dead skin cells in order to reveal luminous fresh skin. Repurchase? I already opened another bottle!
själ Saphir Concentrate Anti-Aging Face Oil ($175.00 for 1 oz. Available from Space NK & Bloomingdale's): This utterly lavish jewel soaked beauty elixir has a feather-light consistency that soaks into the skin quickly, and it immediately imparts a luscious and luminous glow. The scent itself defies easy categorization, though one does detect the delightful citrus notes. I would say that the evocative scent is simultaneously calming and intoxicating, and once I begin using it with regularity the scent began to beckon me. I realize that this sounds a bit crazy, but once this luxury oil gets under your skin it quickly becomes a highly craved part of one's beauty routine. There is something irresistible about the sensory experience that is only matched by the astounding results of this anti-aging masterpiece.
Skin is immediately brightened and luminous with a pronounced clarity. My skin routinely feels energized upon application, and there is an unmistakable flushing of the skin as this magical oil seems to stimulate increased circulation. My skin is immediately calmed, and my skin-tone immediately appears more even and healthy. Repeated use results in a diminution of fine lines as skin is plumped and elasticity is improved. Skin is left deeply nourished, hydrated and balanced while the aromatherapeutic effects soothe the spirit and quiet the mind. Skin is revitalized while this potent anti-aging luxury oil performs miracles on the skin. Repurchase? Unquestionably!
Aftelier Perfumes Organic Jasmine Face Elixir ($70.00 for 20ml from Aftelier Perfumes): This ultra-luxe face oil features jasmine sambac, a very high quality essence, that Mandy sources directly from a grower in India whose small batches are only available for sale once a year.
Mandy describes this intoxicating permutation of jasmine sambac as one that is "naturally fresh and spicy," and stated that its aroma is "uplifting and relaxing." This is an understatement of the highest order. There is no luxury face oil that feels or smells anything like this anywhere. The raw resources that she painstakingly selected for this luxury face oil represent the best ingredients available. However, it is undoubtedly Mandy's visionary juxtapositions, of the select ingredients, that account for its exceptional quality, otherworldly aroma, and its unparalleled sensory experience.
Each of the ingredients yield to Mandy's vision and artistry, and allow her to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. In the same way that Renaissance artists perfected nature by creating idealized portraits, so too, does Mandy take her creations to a level unseen in nature. The spicy jasmine sambac is, indeed, an intoxicating jewel, and it naturally invites repeated deep inhalation, but it is what Mandy creates with it that is so astoundingly brilliant. When combined with the other ingredients, Mandy is able to coax the greatest realized potential from each of them, and this symphony of raw materials, at her hands, play a supportive role that facilitates the prima ballerina, that is this sensual jasmine sambac, to shine with extraordinary grandeur.
The scent alone is both mood elevating and relaxing, and it soothes the spirit and quiets the mind unlike anything else that I have experienced before. When applied at night, Aftelier Perfumes Organic Jasmine Face Elixir simultaneously envelops, captivates, delights and relaxes the senses– paving the way for the most relaxing slumber and the sweetest dreams. This alone would be enough to fall madly in love with this intoxicating elixir, but what it does for the skin is equally astounding. Repurchase? This is one of the most glorious products ever to have graced my skin, and I can't live without it! Is that enough of a yes?!
Body & Hair:
Pure Vanilla. which is described as a blend of pure Madagascar Vanilla, sheer Freesia and creamy Tonka Bean, is a warm and sheer floral and vanilla fusion that sits close to the skin without being in the least bit overpowering. It is neither too sweet, nor is it too floral, but instead it has all of the richness of vanilla without smelling like dessert. Repurchase? Definitely! This is not my first bottle and it certainly isn't the last.
Ouidad Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment ($38.00 for 1.7 oz. from Ouidad); If you have wavy, curly or kinky hair, or any variation in-between, then you have probably sought refuge in a high quality hair oil to tame and nourish those unruly tresses. Thankfully, Ouidad has devoted itself to caring for curly hair, and this is a tremendously effective multipurpose treatment oil that can be used as a rinse out conditioner or as a leave-in.
Given that I have long, naturally curly hair, I know a thing about trying to tame frizz, moisturize my hair and scalp, and trying to find products that make my hair soft and manageable. This may seem like an easy task, but curly hair tends to be dry and more tricky to care for.
My preferred method of use is to use this as a leave-in on damp or dry hair. I simply warm a couple of drop between my palms and work it through my hair. It leaves my hair soft, manageable, separates and defines my curls into pretty ringlets, it fights frizz and leaves my hair with a lovely shine. It has a creamy, warm slightly sweet aroma that is very pleasant, but it does fade away soon upon application, and therefore will not interfere with any fragrances that you may wear. Repurchase? Definitely!
LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant in Fragrance-Free and in Pure Vanilla ($14.00 for the 2 oz. full size and $8.00 for the 0.9 oz. travel size from Ulta): I am a longstanding proponent of healthier deodorants, and have been using them since I was a teenager. Though I have occasionally used mainstream deodorants, I do prefer to avoid the chemicals. LAVANILA makes wonderful healthy deodorants that are effective and smell wonderful. Repurchase? Yes, again and again and again!
Farmhouse Fresh Citrus Cilantro Body Oil ($23.00 for 4 oz. from Farmhouse Fresh and Fresh Fragrances): The refreshing aroma, which is aptly described as a "light cut-grass scent," is an absolute treat to the senses. The antioxidant-rich oil is lightweight, fast absorbing and deeply moisturizing. Skin is left utterly soft, supple, silky smooth hydrated and unmistakably luminous. I love to apply it to my skin immediately following a shower when my skin is still warm and slightly damp– which not only makes it sink into the skin more efficiently, but it also allows you to use less oil. Repurchase? I will definitely consider it once I use up a few of my current body oils (of which there are a few other fragrances from Farmhouse Fresh).
Overall Assessment: There isn't a single thing here that I wouldn't use again. While I may wait a while to repurchase– so that I can use up a few products– I definitely think that all of these products are really fantastic.
Purchased and Press Sample. All views expressed are categorically my own (Affiliate Links).
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