Merle Norman Brand Review and Spring Launches

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Look at the elegant, classic packaging!  This is the brand Merle Norman. It was created 85 years ago and is only available through independently owned and operated Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios in the United States and Canada.

I was recently sent a selection of the products for my honest review.

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I received the Skintelligent skincare system to test.  The line consists of a toner, cleanser and moisturizer.  The cleanser is exfoliating and it gives a rigorous scrub.  I don’t know if I would use this every day, because it is such a strong exfoliator. But, boy did it exfoliate and help reduce the size of my pores! I do like it and will use it a few times a week.  If you do like stronger exfoliation, this would be a great pick for you!

The toner, on the other hand, is very gentle.  It claims to protect against environmental stressors with probiotic technology. Extracts of Alpine Willowherb and Ginseng energize, hydrate and help tighten skin while reducing the appearance of pores. Together these ingredients leave skin refreshed and help absorption of serums and moisturizers. I do really like how this feels on, it doesn’t sting or irritate my sensitive skin and I will continue to use it everyday.

The moisturizer is nice as well.  This also protects against environmental stressors and contains  Elixir-IRTM and Resveratrol to help improve elasticity and texture.  I typically use a moisturizer with SPF in the day time, but I will use this at night more and see if I see any changes in my skin.

On to makeup!

IMG_0846IMG_0847 These are products from the spring 2018 collection.  There are other great products like a pink toned blush, an eye shadow quad and eye shadow sticks.

The Lasting Cheekcolor ($17 SRP) blush compact is gorgeous!  I love the holographic cover.  The shade above is Halo, a fresh peach shade.  It’s very pretty on.

Soft Touch Eye Pencil ($14 SRP) This pencil is very creamy and is easy to blend.  It comes in a new shade called Ocean Blue. It’s a pretty turquoise perfect for spring and summer.

Lip Pencil Plus ($14 SRP) This dual-function wood-clenched lip pencil is one versatile product, with 2/3 lip color and 1/3 lipliner. This is in a new shade Sweet Marmalade. This is one of my favorite makeup products from Merle Norman.  The lip liner is gorgeous and creamy, and stays put.  The lip color is creamier and blends nicely over the liner.  It also has shimmer so makes lips appear larger.  The line has a whole bunch of shades, so you can find a perfect one for you.  I love this color combo for spring and summer, but would love to try other shades!

Creamy Lipcolor ($15 SRP)  A supremely cushiony moisturizing formula which offers luxurious color in one creamy stroke! The newest shade is Gold Plated Bronze.

Lip Topper ($15 SRP)  This is another favorite from the collection.  A gloss which creates a shimmering, magical effect on lips. Available in shades Cosmic Rose & Sugar Crystals.

I also received a couple other favorites from the brand:

Fat Lash Mascara — Features a unique flat yet slightly curved brush designed to hug the curve of lashes, even those pesky fine lashes. Flake-, smudge- and transfer-proof formula separates while enveloping each lash to maximize its biggest potential.

I really like this.  It separates and defines lashes really nicely.  It also gives my short lashes volume and some length.  This is a great every day mascara!

Knockout Nudes palette — features ten sensational neutral shadows so you can explore looks from soft and romantic to sophisticated and dramatic. Includes ten shades. There’s a nude for every mood: Moonstone (matte), Rose Quartz (luminous), Gold Star (luminous), Smitten (matte), Caramel (matte), Bold as Brass (metallic), Beauty Mark (matte), Tiger Eye (metallic), Cosmic (luminous), Cafe Society (matte).

I don’t know if you can see from the photo, but I didn’t get the Beauty Mark shade (4th from the right). Instead it looks like a second Tiger Eye shade.  I think it’s just a mistake made when putting together the palette.  It’s still really pretty!  The shades are nice for everyday looks and blend really well.

Merle Norman Cosmetics can be found at a studio near you.  You can look on their website at http://www.merlenorman.com/find-a-studio.

Have you tried Merle Norman?  What do you think?

 

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Treat Yourself With New Skincare This Spring!

It has been spring for a while, even though it’s still cold in many parts of the country!  I tend to wear less makeup in the spring and summer months, so I like my skin to look it’s best.

Here are the latest skincare (and a natural deodorant) that I have been loving).  They were sent to me for my honest review:

Image Skincare VITAL C hydrating facial cleanser
Image Skincare VITAL C Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Image Skincare VITAL C Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($29 USD) — This creamy cleanser emulsifies makeup and gently removes impurities while nourishing skin with essential antioxidants and vitamins. It infuses skin with high levels of antioxidant vitamin C to brighten as it cleanses. This really gets rid of all of my makeup, which I love.  Plus, it leaves my skin soft, not dry.

Purchase at imageskincare.com

Pixi Beauty Jasmine Oil Blend ($24 USD) — This exquisite oil blend is especially effective in helping skin recover from loss of moisture and dullness. It helps repair damage as well as calm and restore stressed and unbalanced skin. It smells just like fresh jasmine and is super hydrating.  I like to use this at night.  It’s also nice to add a drop or two in the bath!

Pixi Beauty T-Zone Peel Off Mask ($22 USD) — Detoxifying peel-off mask draws out impurities and lifts away oil to reveal immediate results. It contains a unique green super food blend that includes avocado, cucumber, aloe, green tea and bamboo extract to help firm & refine. It really takes all of the gunk out of my pores and makes them appear smaller.

Purchase at pixibeauty.com

LAVANILA Healthy Deodorant Elements Collection

Our armpits need care too!! Experience the brand NEW Lavanila Elements Collection, with three bold new scents: Vanilla + Air for Creativity, Vanilla + Water for Peace, and Vanilla + Earth for Balance. The Elements Collection uses specially curated blends of essential oils to awaken our connection to the Elements and the immense power within them.

I have the Vanilla + Water one.  It’s really fresh smelling and is great for days that I work from home or hang around the house.  If I’m going to work out, I need a stronger deodorant.  I love this for taking a break from my stronger deodorant.

Available at lavanila.com

What skincare are you loving?

Project Pan April-June 2018

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I’m doing another Project Pan!  It’s my second one ever and the second one this year.  I’m going to do quarterly Project Pans in 2018 and see how it goes.

My first one (you can read about here)

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I included makeup this time!  I don’t have any pressed powder products, and don’t know when I will.  I’m not close to pan on any pressed shadows, blushes, bronzers etc, because I have so many and like to use different products every day.

Starting with my much loved Maybelline Fit Me! loose powder.  I have recently purchased a new powder (and new foundation and concealers)  and want to start trying them, so I need to use this up.  I’ve been using it for months.  Same with the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Lines foundation and Bye Bye Under Eye concealer.  I received all of these in the fall and have been wearing them on and off.  It’s time to finish them.  They are all so nice and I have been loving them.

I was looking through my stash and saw that I hit a little pan on my ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Reversible.  I’m going to try to top off my eye looks with this and maybe even use it as a highlighter.

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I also have a body lotion and and hair glossing cream.  The Philosophy Snow Angel smells so good.  It’s a fresh floral scent and is actually really nice for spring.  I received it before Christmas and I haven’t used it up because it is thick and hard to squeeze out of the bottle.  I need to leave it on it’s side to be able to use it.

The Oscar Blandi Glossing Cream smells amazing! I use it on wet hair to make it manageable and on dry hair for shine. I’ve had it for a while. It’s close to being finished.

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The majority of the pan is skincare.  These are the first three products I need to use up.  The Ofra Peptide Cleanser is about half full, the H2O+ Waterbright moisturizer is about 3/4 full and I’m not sure about the Neocutis night cream.  I’ve had these since last summer/fall so it’s time to use them up!

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Here are the last three products!  The eye hope is about half full.  The Reclaim Botanical neck cream and the Perfectly Posh the ritual mask have both only been used a few times.  I need to start using neck cream every day again and I need to give the mask a good try!

I will be doing the first update at the end of April.  Wish me luck!

Are you doing a Project Pan this year? How’s it going?

Say Yes To New Scrubs and Masks!

I’ve been blogging for a very long time — almost 10 years!  Yes to was one of the first brands I received for review, and I still love using them.  They were only Yes to Carrots at that time.  But boy, have they grown!

I have been sent some amazing masks and scrubs to test for my honest review.  I have to say, they have so many unique products out right now.  The packaging is really fun, too.  Here are the ones that stood out to me:

 

YES TO SUPERBLUEBERRIES RECHARGING GREEK YOGURT & PROBIOTICS 3-IN-1 MASK, SCRUB & CLEANSER
Yes To Superblueberries Recharging Greek Yogurt & Probiotics 3-IN-1 Mask, Scrub and Cleanser

Yes To Superblueberries Recharging Greek Yogurt & Probiotics 3-IN-1 Mask, Scrub and Cleanser ($15.99 MSRP) — This was one of my favorite masks or scrub of the bunch!  I really tried to read the descriptions and instructions, but didn’t succeed on all of these.  For this one I saw Greek yogurt as an ingredient and thought it was going to be a smooth, hydrating mask (yes I know that the name of it includes scrub)!

This is creamy, but it also has little scrubbers in it to gently exfoliate the skin.  I used the included spoon to apply and spread product all over my face and it was mess-free.  I left it on for about 15 minutes, rinsed it off and my skin was so smooth!

 

Yes to Cotton ANTI-POLLUTION OXYGENATED Facial Mask
Yes to Cotton Anti-Pollution Oxygenated Facial Mask

Yes to Cotton Anti-Pollution Oxygenated Facial Mask ($15 MSRP) — This is a great quick mask that is very easy to use! It is a lightweight mask that starts bubbling on contact. Once the bubbles pop in about 10 minutes, it’s time to rinse off.

This is perfect for my allergy-prone, ultra-sensitive skin.  It has cotton extract and oxygen and it leaves my skin very soft and ready for makeup, bedtime, anything!

 

YES TO CARROTS VITAMIN-ENRICHED KALE DIY POWDER-TO-CLAY MASK
Yes To Carrots Vitamin-Enriched Kale DIY Powder-to-Clay Mask

Yes To Carrots Vitamin-Enriched Kale DIY Powder-to-Clay Mask ($15.99 MSRP — This is a 100% Vegan skin treatment with Kale and carrots.

I’ve used it once, but was not paying attention to the instructions! I mixed all of the powder with water in the container, instead of just a bit in the lid as I should have!  So it can’t be used again.  That’s okay for me, because it really irritated my skin!  I left it on for 10 minutes until the clay was dry, but once I washed it off, my face was so red! I’m glad I did it at night.  It was better in the morning, but my pores were still enlarged.  I wouldn’t recommend this for those with sensitive skin, but to those with normal skin types, go for it.  My skin was soft afterwards.

YES TO GRAPEFRUIT VITAMIN C GLOW-BOOSTING SNAPMASK STICK
Yes To Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Snapmask Stick

Yes To Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Snapmask Stick ($15.99 MSRP) — This is another really quick and easy mask, it only takes 5 minutes!  I like to use this before I get in the bathtub.  It dries down on the face and is really easy to wash off.  Skin  is bright and smooth after use!

 

YES TO COCONUT ENERGIZING COFFEE 2-IN-1 SCRUB & CLEANSER STICK
Yes To Coconut Energizing Coffee 2-In-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick

Yes To Coconut Energizing Coffee 2-In-1 Scrub & Cleanser Stick ($9.99 MSRP) — This last one is not a mask, but a scrub I love using in the morning. It has coconut and coffee iand i fun and easy to use.

I apply this on damp skin, rub it in and rinse off.  It’s very hydrating, plus it exfoliates well, too! I really like this in the morning, ask it gets my skin ready for makeup!

Have you tried any of these cool new products?  What do you think:

 

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Project Pan January-March 2018 Final Results

IMG_0738Hi everyone! I finished my first Project Pan!  You can read about the start of it here and my update here. I started this in January to focus on using up some skincare I’ve had for a while.

I began with ten products, but used most of them up quickly. So I added a few more at the end of January. I didn’t do a check in at the end of February because I thought I was  almost done. But I had a Pur Cosmetics mask that took longer to use up than I thought it would.

I’m not going to list the products here, but you can go back to my original posts to see what was included.  I used up all of the products in the photo above and am pretty proud of myself!

The big thing I got out of doing this is that I made sure to use the products every day.  Before this,  I hadn’t been great about removing makeup and using my skincare at night.  I now take of my makeup and use my skincare almost every night and I think my skin looks better!  I also make sure to use skincare, including one with SPF in the morning, too.

I’m going to start another 3 month Project Pan this weekend.  This time, I’m going to include some other products as well as skincare.  Probably not any pressed powders yet, because I’m not even close to pan on any of my eye shadows, blushes, etc!  But this will help me use up some of my stash!

Have you done or are you doing a Project Pan.  How’s it going?

H2O+ Beauty’s New Rapids and Coconut Verbena Collections

H2O+ Beauty has some amazing new skincare and bath and body care just released this spring.  I love this brand because the products contain natural ingredients and innovative formulas.

One of the new collections I’m reviewing products from are the Rapids Collection that features champagne and yuzu extracts, a balancing and enhancing probiotic skin care collection that makes your skin look and feel immediately healthier:

H2O+ Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask
H2O+ Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask

H2O+ Rapids Soothing Probiotic Bubble Mask ($6 for one pouch, $25 for 5 pouches) – This bubble mask foams up before your eyes and helps calm and soothe skin, promoting a more even looking complexion. Perfect for combination skin.

What I think:  Once you massage this mask in, it bubbles up thickly.  At first it tickled my nose and I didn’t know if I could keep it one, but the bubbles pop and leave a film on the skin.  I rinsed it off after 10 minutes and my skin was smooth.  It wasn’t calm though at first, it was a bit red.  But it did calm down and I really liked how soft my skin was. One pouch contains about three uses.

H2O+ Rapids Gel to Powder Probiotic Mattifier
H2O+ Rapids Gel to Powder Probiotic Mattifier

H2O+ Rapids Gel to Powder Probiotic Mattifier ($22 USD) — This unique mattifier balances combination skin and blurs imperfections as the gel transforms to a light powdery texture before your eyes.  Featuring Probiotics and Champagne and Yuzu extracts, it absorbs excess oil and shine and leaves skin with a visibly flawless, even skin tone. Dermatologist tested. Non-acnegenic. Non-comedogenic. Clinically proven to not clog pores and to reduce the number of blackheads after 2 weeks.**when used as a regimen.

What I think:  This is really nice under makeup or on its own to keep oil at bay.  I usually only have oily skin in the summer, so for me it will be perfect when it gets hot.  I think this will be nice for those who have oily skin all year long.

H2O+ Rapids Probiotic Champagne Illuminator
H2O+ Rapids Probiotic Champagne Illuminator

H2O+ Rapids Probiotic Champagne Illuminator ($22 USD) — A pearlescent highlighter that enhances your best features while also helping skin better retain moisture.  Featuring Probiotics, and Champagne and Yuzu extracts, its water-based jelly texture gives you a subtle glow in all the right places. Dermatologist tested. Non-acnegenic. Non-comedogenic. Clinically proven to not clog pores and to reduce the number of blackheads after 2 weeks. **when used as a regimen.

What I think: This is such an interesting highlighter.  It’s a peachy-golden glow that applies like skincare.  It really feels nice on the skin.  It goes on a little wet but dries down. It’s a more natural glow, but looks amazing in the sunlight.  The only negative is there is very little product in the container.But a little does go a long way.

The second collection I have been testing is the Coconut Verbena Bath and Body Collection:

 

 

Coconut Verbena Body Wash
H2O+ Coconut Verbena Body Wash

Coconut Verbena Body Wash ($18 USD 12.2 Fl oz) — These Coconut Water enriched suds feature Coconut Water, Vitamin E and Verbena extract, cleansing and refreshing skin. So lather up those bubbles and breathe in the crisp, citrusy verbena scent. Cleanses and refreshes with coconut and verbena.

What I think:  This is a really refreshing, light scented body wash.  It also bubbles up nicely in the bath (I love baths)!  It also hydrates the skin and leaves it soft after use.  So lovely for warmer weather!

COCONUT VERBENA
H2O+ Coconut Verbena Body Butter

H2O+ Coconut Verbena Body Butter ($22 USD 8 Fl oz) This deeply hydrating body butter features Coconut Milk and Verbena extract, nourishing and softening skin while treating your senses to the crisp and citrusy scent of verbena. Deeply hydrates and softens with coconut and verbena.

What I think: This smells just as pretty as the body wash.  It hydrates the skin and leaves it so soft!
Have you tried H2O+ Beauty products?  Are you going to pick up any of these new releases?

 

Favorite New Skincare From N07 and Philosophy!

I have been testing new skincare, which I have been enjoying.  I have been using up some skincare from a project pan I have been doing, (I will be posting results soon), so I was ready for some new products!

The two products I have been loving are from N07 and Philosophy.  I have received them for my honest review. I have been using them for over a week.  Here is what I think:

No7 Early Defence GLOW ACTIVATING Serum
No7 Early Defence GLOW ACTIVATING Serum

No7 Early Defence GLOW ACTIVATING Serum ($24.99 1 oz) — This product claims to give glowy skin after 7 days of use. In one week, 87% of women saw a more radiant complexion. This clinically proven serum delivers:

  • Visibly brighter skin
  • Reduced appearance of pores
  • Smoother texture and improved clarity

No7 Early Defense GLOW ACTIVATING Serum, with Ginseng and Vitamin C boosts skin’s natural renewal process to clear and refine pores for a glowing complexion. This powerful formula also supports your skin’s natural defenses, calming skin¿s reactivity to stress and protecting by neutralizing damaging free radicals caused by the sun & pollution.

What I think: I have been using this twice a day for over seven days.  It is a white gel/cream and is unscented. It has almost a primer-like feel on the skin — it glides on and smooths out my skin tone.  I have noticed that my skin has been looking really nice every morning.  My skin tone is even and my pores look a little less noticeable.  And I do have a glow! I will continue to use this and see if my skin continues to improve.  I do recommend it if your skin needs a bit of a glow.
Available at Ulta stores
Philosophy purity made simple ultra-light moisturizer
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Ultra-Light Moisturizer

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Ultra-Light Moisturizer ($25 4.7 fl. oz.) — I was excited when I saw this new moisturizer, because I love Purity Made Simple cleanser. It is an   ultra-lightweight formula that claims to leave skin looking dewy and smooth with less-visible pores—pure and restored to its ideal state. learn more! More claims are:

Clinically proven to keep skin hydrated for 24 hours                                                    Immediately feels like a reset for your skin                                                                                  In just 3 days, see makeup-optional skin                                                                                       In 7 days, skin looks young and healthy like the skin you were born with!

What I think: This has the soft lavender scent of the cleanser, which I love! It is very light and absorbs into the skin very quickly.  I have been using it over my N07 serum at night (I use an SPF day cream).  I don’t like to use heavy night creams at the moment, as I am hot all the time (my own personal summer).  This is perfect as it does hydrate without weighing down my skin. I think this will be amazing in the summer when I need moisture without using any heavy creams.

Available at http://www.philosophy.com

Have you tried either of these products?  Let me know what you think!