Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Peach & Lily Good Skin Day and Reset Button Sheet Masks

As important as it is to see what beneficial ingredients your skincare products contain, it's just as pertinent to be aware of what doesn't make it into the formula. A host of ingredients can wreck havoc on your skin so it's great when companies explicitly leave out these common irritants. Case in point: the new-ish Peach & Lily sheet masks.

With three variations that address specific skin needs (hydration, soothing and plumping), these masks were specifically concocted to be gentle yet effective. Boasting what Peach & Lily calls "superskin ingredients", you won't find synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, alcohol, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or formaldehyde in these masks.

I purchased the Good Skin Day mask and the Reset Button mask online from Macy's where you can get free shipping on all beauty products. These retail for $6 a piece ($15 if you buy a set of all three versions) which I think is quite reasonable for the U.S. market. I've seen sheet masks go into the $25 range which is a little crazy considering these are single-use products.

Peach & Lily not only did a great job selecting ingredients for these sheet masks but also sourced some really awesome mask material. The "cellulose sheet material" feels like a soft cotton and is very comfortable. It fits the contours of my face very well though your results may vary depending on your face structure.

I used these masks on consecutive back-to-back nights, starting with the Reset Button mask. I had some inflamed acne spots and healing scars at the time and the Reset Button mask did not irritate my skin at all. The mask had a very light scent which reminded me of tea tree and herbs and it wasn't overwhelming at all (big plus in my book). My skin felt really nice after using this sheet mask, though I wished it could have been a little more moisturizing for that glow factor it promised.

My skin the next day was a tad flaky due to the weather so I popped on the Good Skin Day mask to see how it would fare. This mask had a slightly different scent which I can't put my finger on exactly but I enjoyed it more than The Reset Button. This mask definitely gave my skin the drink of hydration it needed. My skin the next day was noticeably more moisturized and the flakes were gone. No pilling makeup, hurray!

I'm really pleased with these sheet masks and think Peach & Lily did an excellent job. I'm also a fan of the packaging of the masks. My only regret was not scooping up more of these during Peach & Lily's Black Friday sale this past week before they sold out. Here's to hoping these come back in stock soon but in the mean time, you can get them from Macy's like I did!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Value Breakdown: Sephora Favorites Customizable Skin Care Set

Sephora does some really great value kits throughout the year but the customizable Sephora Favorites sets take the cake for me. I love that you can pick and choose according to your personal needs and it's usually a great way to try out pricey products in small sizes before committing to the full size.

Today I wanted to break down the value of the Sephora Favorites Customizable Skin Care and Hair Gift Set, which is still available on the site. For $25, you get to choose five from 13 skin care and hair care options plus a rose gold travel pouch. None of the hair care products jumped out at me so I went with five skin care items.

The products are deluxe sample sizes so you can use most of them more than once, besides the sheet mask options. I wish Sephora would note how big each of the samples are since it is hard to tell from the tiny stock photos - that's why I thought I'd share the breakdown of the samples I chose.

COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 Matte Tint - 25ml - $18
Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream - 15ml - $22
Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask - 15ml - $16.50
Belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist - 30ml - $4.80
Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask Soothing - 1 piece - $8

Total Value: $69.30

The combined value of the products, based on their retail prices and how much is in each sample, is really great. I didn't include the value of the travel bag but it's well-made and Sephora-branded so you could probably price it between $5-$10. I was especially impressed by the size of the Coola sample since I've seen smaller Coola samples before. I hope these products will be great for my skin as we head into the drier, cooler months - and if not, I only spent $25 to try them out. Did you pick up any of the recent Sephora Favorites kits? Let me know if you've tried any of these skincare products before!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Milani Cult Classics and My Thoughts on the Bella Eyeshadows

Over the years, the drugstore portion of my makeup collection has dwindled but I still have a soft spot in my heart (and vanity) for affordable beauty products. But I'm much more selective about the products I grab at the drugstore than I was when I started buying cosmetics. Milani is a brand that has been hyped up a lot by the blogging community but I haven't tried any of their most popular products.

That all changed when CVS had 40% off all Milani cosmetics last week and I couldn't help but pick up a few things that I've had my eye on for a long time. As you can see, I bought two of their beautiful Rose Powder Blushes as well as the cult-favorite Baked Blush in Luminoso. I haven't worn the blushes yet so that will be a review for another time - today it's all about the Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadows.

These single shadows contain .05 ounces (1.4 grams) each and retail for roughly $5 depending on where you purchase. The shadows are made in the U.S.A and many of the shades are vegan (Milani indicates on their website which shades are vegan).

I've heard positive things about the Bella eyeshadows so I went ahead and bought four to try. While there are 31 shades in the full range on Milani's website, my local CVS only carries about a dozen of the most neutral colors. As someone who wears beige and brown eyeshadows most of the time, I didn't mind the limited color selection.

I opted for (starting from top left, clockwise) Bella Sand (shimmering beige), Bella Champagne (shimmering champagne pink), Bella Caffe (ash-brown satin matte) and Bella Bronze (bronze metallic sheen). I like that the shadows have different finishes and I think the four colors I chose would make a nice everyday quad.

Milani calls these shadows "gel powder" eyeshadows and claims the formula starts off as a gel and transforms into a powder. I don't know why their marketing team came up with this gimmick because that's simply not the case. This is a powder eyeshadow from start to finish. The concave domed shape makes these look like a squishy product but the powders are firm in the pan.

Marketing gimmicks aside, these are actually quite nice eyeshadows from the drugstore. The pigmentation is not out of this world but the colors show up nicely on the skin. You can also use these shadows wet to amplify the color. But, realistically, who has time for that? Bella Caffe, which is the satin matte shadow, was the weakest in pigment but I think it makes a lovely blending out color for the crease. The shadows blend nicely and last all day over top of an eyeshadow primer.

I give these one thumb up - they didn't blow me away but they're good for the price. I can easily pop a few of these into a travel bag without having to worry about losing or breaking my more pricey shadows. I think makeup beginners will really like these because they're easy to blend. What are your favorite Milani products? Did I miss one of your must-have products from the brand?