I’m back at it again with the skincare, this time with a brand focused review. Andalou is a brand I have used for a few years now and I will continue to use their products because the ingredients are good, the cost is affordable, they’re cruelty free, and they are widely available online and at Ulta. You can also find their products at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, which is where I first encountered them.
A few months ago I got their brightening kit from Ulta to test out some more products. The kit costs $19.99, but it is often on sale for $15.99. A full skincare routine is included with a toner, day cream, night cream, cleanser, and a mask. I enjoyed all of the items and there are two I would consider repurchasing. Below I have listed all the products starting with my top favorites.
Luminous Night Cream: This product is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants to effectively defend against UV damage, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging. I found this to be very moisturizing but not at all thick or heavy. This felt like putting water on the face and deeply hydrated my skin. I always woke up the next morning with soft, smooth skin. This was definitely the most stand out product for me.
Illuminating Toner: This product has completely changed my feelings towards toner. I always just considered it a step to make sure I removed all my makeup, but I noticed a decrease in the size of my pores after using this for several weeks. I love this product and I would repurchase after I finish my current toners. I think it is excellent and really does help with hyperpigmentation and the look of pores.
Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask: This is a product I already owned the full size of. I enjoy this as a gentle exfoliating mask and I think anyone can use this because it isn’t very harsh. There is a tingle when using the product but it subsides quickly. I would repurchase this in the future if I felt I needed some more glycolic in my routine.
Creamy Cleanser: This cleanser has vitamin C, manuka honey, and lemon to sweep away dull skin. I found this to be a great second cleanse or morning cleanser. This was too gentle to remove makeup but its perfect for gently cleansing the skin in the morning. The texture is really creamy as the name implies.
Renewal Cream: This moisturizer was really nice and its only number 5 because the other products were so good. This was really light, but still moisturizing. It definitely made my skin soft and I enjoyed using it day or night.
Not all of these items can currently be purchased at Ulta. I would suggest checking out iherb or the Andalou Naturals website.
As a Florida resident, I feel sunscreen is a key component of my skincare regimen. I have made it a habit to wear sunscreen every single day I go out, whether I am wearing makeup or not. If I am doing some outdoor activity, like hiking or going to the springs, I will apply all over my body and reapply throughout the day. However, I spend most of my time indoors and am only exposed to the sun on my way between locations and buildings, so I only apply sunscreen to my face. In this post, I am going to go over some sunscreen basics and then discuss some of the sunscreens I have used in the past and the ones I am currently using.
Chemical vs Physical?
Chemical sunscreens use ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone to convert UV rays to heat. These sunscreens are usually easier to apply, but require more frequent reapplication as the protection gets used up faster compared to physical sunscreens. It can also increase discoloration on the skin because the surface of the skin will get heated by the chemical reaction.
Physical sunscreens use mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients sit on top of skin and deflect or scatter the UV rays. The sunscreen can easily be rubbed off during physical activity or sweating but offers immediate protection for the skin. This sunscreen option will leave a white cast on medium to deep skintones and must be reapplied generously and frequently if you are sweating or in the water. Despite this limitation, sensitive or acne prone skin types will encounter less issues with a physical sunscreens because of the ingredients.
Personally, I prefer physical sunscreens because the ingredients agree with my skin better. If you would like an in depth explanation of sunscreen and additional recommendations, I suggest watching Stephanie Nicole’s video. It is super informative and will answer every single one of your questions.
How often should you reapply and how much?
The sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of the sunscreen’s ability to protect from UVB and is dependent on your skin. For example, if it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer, about five hours. It can also be explained as SPF 15 filtering out 93 % of all incoming rays. Despite this, sunscreen should still be reapplied at least every two hours to ensure your skin is completely protected.
In the mornings, I apply a moisturizer, eye cream, and finish with sunscreen. I apply about a dime to a nickels size amount of sunscreen on my face. I like to use an SPF of 30 daily since I don’t plan to reapply after I put makeup on top. For my body on days I plan to be outside a lot, I like to use an SPF of 50.
Sunscreens I have used up:
Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer (SPF 30) (cruelty free, avaiable at Ulta, $28)
This is a chemical sunscreen that I really enjoyed using. It was very easy to spread and provided some moisture to the skin. On days where my skin was feeling balanced, I would just use this as my moisturizer and sunscreen and my makeup went on top nicely. Despite the lovely product, the bottle is annoying and will get very dirty as the sticker with the product details moves and collects dirt and dust. The product is also pretty pricey when you break it down by ounce so I would not repurchase for that reason. However, it is a good product if you’re interested in a chemical sunscreen.
Andalou Naturals Beauty Balm (SPF 30) (cruelty free, available at Andalou.com, $19.95)
The product pictured below is actually different than the one I used but it seems that they reformulated it. I haven’t tried the new version yet but I would consider it. I really like Andalou and have used several products from their range. The beauty balm I used was marketed as an oil control sunscreen and I do agree that it mattified my skin. My biggest issue with this product was how difficult it was to spread on my skin, I would mix it with a moisturizer to help spread it. Since it is a physical sunscreen, it also left a white cast but I didn’t mind since I almost always wore makeup on top. The reformulated version seems to have more skincare ingredients, which may help with the spreadability.
Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer (Photo courtesy of Ulta)
Andalou Naturals Benefit Balm (Photo courtesy of Andalou Naturals)
Sunscreens I am currently using:
Zatik Argan & Yarrow Sunscreen Mineral Moisturizer (SPF 25) (cruelty free, available on amazon, $24).
It looks like this product has also been reformulated. This is my favorite sunscreen in this post because it is a physical sunscreen, doesn’t leave a white cast, and absorbs quickly. It is a really great formula with a lovely scent that isn’t offensive or smell strongly of sunscreen. The consistency is pretty thin making it easy to spread on the face. I would strongly consider purchasing this again in the reformulated version.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense (SPF 30, cruelty free, available at Sephora, $34).
This product is pretty hyped up but I don’t get it. I found it really hard to work with and it left an intense white cast, which isn’t surprising since it is a physical sunscreen. My biggest issue with this is that it pills on my skin. I have to apply very little and rub it in quickly to manage the pilling. I have also tried patting it in but find it takes too long and then I have bits of sunscreen just sitting on top of my skin. It just rubs right off my face and does not make a smooth canvas for makeup. This product does have a lot of moisturizing and nourishing ingredients so those with dry skin may enjoy this. I just always find it a chore to use this. I reserve it for mornings that I am going out to exercise so I don’t have to be annoyed when I wear makeup on top. I hear the tinted version is better but I would rather try other sunscreens before I try this line again.
Sunscreen Wish list:
These are the physical sunscreens I plan to purchase after I have used up the ones above. Since sunscreens have an expiration date, I make sure not to buy too many at once or the product will become ineffective before I can use it up.
Cotz Sensitive SPF 40 Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB (cruelty free, available at Ulta, $22.99)
Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Lotion (cruelty free, available at Ulta, $15.99)
Here we are in 2018 already. I am hoping like everyone else that this year surpasses the infamous 2017 in terms of happy memories and progress towards a better future. I want to make it a focus this year to buy less things. I know I get easily suckered into the hype of products and things because they promise a happier me, but I want to take this year to focus on clearing up what I have and only buying things I will genuinely love and enjoy. I plan to use up the products I already own and hopefully downsize my makeup collection also. I figured a project pan would be a great way to start off this year. There are six products in this run which I think is reasonable for a first timer. My goal is to finish or significantly use up these products by the end of February.
The first two Products are in the eye category. The revlon creme eyeshaows in precious metals ($7.99, not cruelty free) is an OG makeup product for me. I have had it since High School and it was with me when I was first delving into makeup. I am still very much into cream eyeshadow formulas but I have moved away from this formula. I find that it creases easily and isn’t completely opaque. As you can see I have panned one of the colors and I am to finish that color up and pan another two. These make good bases if you’re putting color on top of them and have a primer underneath. The second product is the rimmel scandaleyes in nude ($4.92, not cruelty free). I got this product to brighten up the eye by putting it in my waterline but I didn’t find that it lasted long so I never made it a habit to really use it. This is a product that has been forgotten in my collection and I would like to use it so we can part ways.
The next category is lips and I only have one product for this one. The Sonia Kashuk velvety matte lip crayon in pinky nude 09 ($7.99, cruelty free) has since been repackaged and I hope they changed the formula too. This product is drying and it looks very dry on the lips even if you have a lip balm underneath. It goes straight for the lip lines and stays there. I’m hoping I can finish this product if I can remember to reapply throughout the day.
The face category has two prodcuts because they both have some heavy dents in them and I buy way too many foundations and powders so this part of my collection definitely needs to be downsized. The makeup forever HD foundation ($43, not cruelty free) has been repackaged and reformulated so that gives you some idea as to how old this product is. I have about a quarter of it left so I have high hopes of finishing it off. I like the finish of this foundation because it is very soft and skinlike but it doesn’t have a lot of coverage or lasting power on me. I like this foundation best mixed with another foundation that has more lasting power. I wouldn’t repurchase a new bottle even if it was cruelty free. The elf perfect finish HD powder ($6, cruelty free) is a product I like more than I expected to. It is very white so I was a but alarmed when I first used it. I have medium skin so it made me look like a ghost when I first used it but it has really good oil control. I use this now to set my t zone and then I go over it with a powder that is my skin tone to mask the whiteness. It really helps the longevity of my makeup and I am seriously considering repurchasing once I have used this up.
Skincare is something that I am sometimes very invested in and other times I feel like my skin doesn’t notice it. I have a lot of partially used products that I use and then forget about when I buy something new and I would like to clear some of those out. This is a product that is more than halfway used up so I expect it would take me long to finish. The Olay fresh effects satin finish lotion (discontinued) is a very lightweight moisturizer that works nicely for those that don’t like creams on their face. I know those with oily skin that have an issue with anything on their face. I used this mostly in the summer when I like something more lightweight. The texture is between a lotion and a gel and it absorbs quickly into the skin.
As an oily girl, I rarely reach for highlighter since my skin likes to make its own. However, its impossible to not get sucked into the wild highlighter craze going on in the beauty community. I have picked out my favorite highlighters when I want to add a subtle glow that don’t make me want to blot everything away.
The first is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light ($46, Cruelty Free). This is technically not a highlighter but it does give a really nice glow and healthiness to the skin. I use the e.l.f. pointed powder brush to place this on the skin and the result very nice. I went back and forth on getting this product but I’m glad I have it in my collection. I wouldn’t say it is a must have product because the result is so subtle, but it does blur the pores and texture in my skin which is something I am always looking for. I can dust this all over my face or concentrate it on the high points of my cheeks for a touch of shine.
The second is the Laura Geller Baked Highlighter in French Vanilla ($43, Cruelty Free). I could only find the duo available online but I purchased it as a single for $16. This is the most pigmented highlighter mentioned here and has a very soft glisten. I have seen others put this under their eyes for some brightening and it looks beautiful. I use this on my cheeks for a soft glow and it makes a great powder for day appropriate nose highlighting. I use the e.l.f. blush brush to place this on the face.
The last is the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter in be my highlight ($4.49, Cruelty Free). There is only one shade of this currently available but I hope they release more. This is the most highlighty shade of the bunch. It has a lovely sheen to it but it is not glittery at all. It is a beautiful everyday highlighter that doesn’t emphasize texture, but still offers some glow. I also use the e.l.f. blush brush for this highlighter (can you tell I love e.l.f. brushes?).
Thanks for reading! I wonder if one day we will look back and wonder why we used so much highlighter.
Left to Righter: Essence, Laura Geller, Hourglass
Pictured: Ambient lighting powder, Pure nude highlighter, and baked highlighter
I am very slow with using up mascaras. It is not an everyday product for me. Mostly because I hate taking it off and seeing an eyelash fall off. I already have very small, few eyelashes so losing any breaks my heart. The two stars of the show today are the Benefit They’re Real Mascara ($24, Not Cruelty Free) and the Covergirl LashBlast Mascara ($6.97, Not Cruelty Free). The Benefit mascara gives great results but it is a pain to take off. It is waterproof, if that’s what you’re into, so only oil will remove this one. I would take a grape seed facial oil and put a few drops on the lash line. Any oil will work and I find its easier than rubbing with a cleanser or cotton pad. Plus it moisturizes the eye area. The mascara does have a neat spiky ball at the end that is useful for the inner corner but it’s still not work it to me.
The Covergirl mascara had great volume to offer but lacked in the length department. I also found that the curl didn’t last as long as with the Benefit Mascara. I usually have two mascaras open: one to add volume and another to lengthen. These two paired nicely because the Benefit mascara does it all and the Covergirl added the extra push up, which is always appreciated. I wouldn’t recommend or repurchase either since they both test on animals. Unfortunately, I don’t have a cruelty free option to recommend at the moment. I have been eyeing the Essence Lash Princess and Julep Length Matters Mascara to try out.
I have three product regrets today. Two are cleansers and one is a foundation. In a cleanser I want something that removes my makeup easily without having to go in multiple times. I also don’t want it to leave a residue. The two cleansers I didn’t like are the Everyone Face Exfoliate ($8, Cruelty Free) and the Shiseido Pureness Deep Cleansing Foam ($22.50, Not Cruelty Free). The Everyone Face has little granules in it that do nothing except stick to your skin. This didn’t remove makeup efficiently at all. It left a residue on the skin that made it feel like it was still dirty. The granules were impossible to completely take off. I would go in with moisturizer and still feel some little particles on my face. I don’t think this is worth the trouble. The second product is from Shiseido. I don’t think I am a fan of any foam cleaners. This one made my skin feel dry and almost like there was a film on top. It took 2-3 tries to get all of my makeup off usually. I think there are better cleansers out there.
The last product is a foundation. It is the Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation ($6.59, Not Cruelty Free). I never liked this foundation. After years of trying to work with it, I have finally given up and thrown it away. I will admit that I had a color way too pink for me, but the finish was not desirable. It was really sticky no matter how much powder was on top. The coverage was light to medium. The oil control was not impressive to me, but not the worst. My biggest issue was the stickiness. I also have a suspicion that it broke me out but I have very acne prone skin so it doesn’t take much to see new bumps.
Products I prefer:
Avalon Vitamin C Cleanser ($9, Cruelty Free). I love this cleanser so much. It removed makeup beautifully and left my skin feeling really clean and refreshed. I have finished a bottle of this and I’m already missing it.
I use a ton of different foundations but my favorite right now is the Marc Jacobs Remarcable Foundation ($55, Cruelty Free). The coverage is incredible, oil control is good, and it smooths out the texture on my skin. It is great as long as you don’t use too much.
I’ve been on a roll with going through products and it continues to feel satisfying. I am going to be talking about three today: Loreal True Match (shade W4), Almay TLC (shade 260 sand), and Revlon Colorstay Whipped (shade 150 Buff). These were not my exact matches, especially the Revlon one because it is way lighter than my skin but I kept it around to mix in with other foundations. The Almay shade is also too light but it was the darkest in the range. The Loreal foundation matched me in the fall months. I used up the Loreal and Almay foundations and I’m actually decluttering the Revlon one which makes me feel like a quitter but it is really old (about 4 years). Before I get into sharing my thoughts, all three brands mentioned test on animals.
Let’s begin with the Loreal True Match. Many people love and adore this one and the range is really special because of all the available shades. The coverage was a light to medium depending on how you applied it and your skin situation. It was very buildable which I enjoyed because I wouldn’t need a separate concealer and could just build up where I wanted. The lasting power was not impressive. That was my biggest issue with it. It didn’t last and did not control my oily skin. However, it did apply nicely and looked natural. I would recommend this to normal to dry skin. Those with oily skin might enjoy it for short makeup days. One last note: the pump in the picture is from an old covergirl foundation.
The Almay TLC foundation is something I went back and forth on. Some days I liked it and some I didn’t. I do think it had good longevity. I would often mix it with a different foundation to boost the long wear. Something I didn’t like was the way it would separate in the bottle. There would be a layer of oil on top of the pigment if it sat for a few days. I would need to mix it before use. Another issue was the pump. It clogged up and stopped working when I was about halfway through the bottle. I would have to take the pump off, mix it it, and use the straw of the pump to put some foundation on the back of my hand, then twist the pump back on. One day I actually forgot to twist the pump back on and a bunch of foundation spilled out. I was quite irritated. In terms of coverage, I found it to be light to maybe medium for some. I mostly used this my mixing into other foundations with more coverage. The shade range is not great. The shade sand was too light for my NC35 skin and the color was neutral. I think all skin types would enjoy this if they weren’t looking for too much coverage.
Lastly is the whipped Revlon foundation. This foundation is thick. Its also messy because its a tub and the cap ends up collecting foundation on the rim. The cap on mine also broke after a while. The coverage was medium to full. This was a foundation that looked heavy upon first application but got better throughout the day. The oil control wasn’t very good and because its very whipped it emphasized some of the texture on my skin. I do think it had good lasting power thought. You also get 0.2 ounces less than the normal foundation which is disappointing because its high in price for a drugstore foundation. I think this was best suited for those with normal skin because it could emphasize dry patches and didn’t have good oil control.
Well, that’s all for this round. The foundations I’m using right now are the Kat Von D lock it and the Maybelline Matte and Poreless.
Even though I live in Florida, it still gets cold (for us) and the wind can make it pretty chilly. In the last couple of years my oily skin have become prone to dehydration in the winter. It always throws me off because dryness is not something I focus on with my skincare. This year I found some good products to keep away those stubborn dry patches.
The first one is YU BE Moisturizing skin cream. This product is from japan and it is so moisturizing. It can be too rich for me sometimes but when my skin is dehydrated it is perfect for balancing it out and restoring some of that moisture. I got this from my mom and she swears by it. She has extremely dry skin and this has helped her so much. The fuul size retails for $25.
The next product is the 2B Makeup Base. This product is so nice for when you want a little extra boost of moisture before your makeup or even if you’re not wearing makeup. It is really light and absorbs quickly but feels like a drink of water on your face. Its the same concepts as the Marc Jacobs coconut primer or the Too Faced hangoverx. It retails for $8.99 but is currently on sale for $7.19 on the Ulta Website.
The next product I got in a Vegan Cuts Box and its the Wonder Seed Facial cream. I have been using this since I got it and its been really nice. I use it every morning with my sunscreen and it products the perfect amount of hydration for the day. It does smell earthy so if you’re sensitive to smells you might not enjoy it. It took me awhile to get used to it. Great day time moisturizer. I even used it sometimes at night and I enjoyed but I prefer something more hydrating at night.
The last product is not technically a skincare item but this was definitely my MVP of the winter. Its the equate cortisone cream. I had some really really stubborn dry patches right above the left corner of my mouth and on my left cheek. I’m talking really stubborn. No amount of oil, creams, or exfoliating could get rid of them. The second it dropped below 60 degrees they popped up. Well one day I put some cortisone on it and I noticed so much improvement in just one night. It truly blew me away. After weeks of dealing with these gross dry and peeling patches after just a week they were completely gone using cortisone. Highly recommend to anyone struggling with stubborn dry patches. This is now a winter time staple in my skincare routine. I used the 1% Hydro cortisone anti itch cream I found in my apartment.
The last last product is an alternative to the YUBE cream. I started using this just one month ago and its less rich and more emollient version of the YUBE. Its also not as moisturizing but it’ll be easy for those not used to rich creams to use. Its the Derma e Super repair cream. I found this product at TJ maxx for $8. I recommend checking out your local TJ maxx or Ross to find cheap and different cruelty free products.
Thanks for Reading!
Left to Right: YUBE Moisturizing cream, 2B Primer, the Wonder Seed Facial Cream, Equate Cortisone cream
Since I’ve done so well with using up products, I thought it would be alright if I added some new goodies to my collection. I have been eyeing the RCMA no color powder for a long time because it got quite a bit of hype a few months ago. I have been using it the past week and its good but it doesn’t blow me away.
I have a lot of natural creases under my eyes and it is not the best for preventing creasing there.
The packaging is very messy. I plan to transfer the powder to my ELF HD powder container once I finish that.
It’s a good powder just not my favorite. I would recommend the It Cosmetics bye bye pores powder or the ELF HD powder over this one.
The second product I treated myself to is a lovely lipstick by Ilia. The line is natural, nontoxic, cruelty free, and vegan. I have had my eye on these lipsticks for a long time and I’m so glad I tried them out. I got the shade Madam Mina from beautylish for $26. It is limited edition unfortunately. The shade is a very pretty neutral mauve. Close to my natural lip color but a bit deeper and more neutral. The shade needs to be built up on the lips but it layers super nicely and looks natural. It goes on smooth and lasts a surprisingly long time. The formula gets a bit drying on the lips throughout the day but if you’re used to matte liquid lipsticks it won’t bother you. I would definitely consider getting another shade.
As an oily girl, powder is a very good friend of mine. It is the fastest thing I go through because I used it every day sometimes twice a day to blot and increase the wear of my foundation. I also have a bronzer that went bad but I used it quite a bit.
First is the Physicians Formula Healthy wear SPF 50 Powder foundation in translucent medium.I really enjoyed this and it was super light weight on the skin. It never looked cakey even if I went heavy handed. The oil control was surprisingly good. It wasn’t super matte but gave me a solid 5 hours before the oil became intense. It has the slightest of slight pink tints to it. I would definitely purchase another physicians formula powder but they tend to run really light so picking a shade can bit tricky. think this has been discontinued but you can still purchase it on amazon. Physicians formula is cruelty free.
Next is a powder foundation from Maybelline. I won’t say much because it is discontinued and maybeline tests on animals. The oil control wasn’t good but the coverage was nice.
The rimmel stay matte powder gets a ton of love on the internet, especially from those with oily skin. I, however, was not a fan. I found that the finish was way too matte and made my face look really flat and I didn’t like the look. I want to be matte but I still want my skin to look like skin. I worked with it by applying it with a big fluffy brush so the application wasn’t so heavy. I got the shade 004 sandstorm. It doesn’t really have a lot of coverage so I wouldn’t worry about finding the perfect match. Rimmel is not cruelty free.
I just finished the Prime and Fine powder from Catrice. The shade is translucent so medium-deep skin beware because it does have a white cast if you are heavy handed. I really liked the powder despite that. I found the oil control to be really good and the finish was light. Out of all the powders mentioned above this one is my favorite (it had better longevity than the physicians formula powder). It is not confirmed that Catrice is Cruelty free.
Lastly, is the NYC sunny bronzer. This is definitely a youtube made me buy it product. I really liked it at first because it was nice and blendable but I liked it less as I experimented with other bronzers. It isn’t very pigmented,which can be good for beginners, but I felt like I had to build it a lot on my medium skin. It also went bad on me as you might be able to see from the picture. NYC is not cruelty free.
Products I am currently using: NYX #no filter finishing powder (medium olive) and Too face Cocoa powder (light medium).