Archive for the 'oily skin' Category

Sensai Cellular Performance Hydrachange Cream Review & Swatches

April 5, 2010
Thank you so much to all of you who’ve reached out to let me know that my daily posts have been missed – I love hearing from you amidst all the craziness of work, it really brightens my day.  So given all the stress I’ve been under (and the massive sleep-deprivation I’ve been experiencing) you’d think that my skin would be going haywire, but thanks to the soothing, hydrating gentleness that is Sensai’s new Hydrachange Cream, my skin hasn’t been betraying the chaos that happens to be my life.  Check out the full review after the jump!

The Science: Hydrachange Cream is an uber-gentle gel cream that imparts a refreshing moist sensation upon application.  Sensai’s unique Hyaluronic Acid Supporting Network evenly distributes Hydrachange Complex, (made up of a marine monosaccharide to improve firmness and smoothness, beta-carotene to promote hyaluronic acid synthesis and a hyaluronate to boost collagen) with water and emollient oils to clam the skin while sealing in moisture for constant hydration. 
The Good: My simultaneously super oily and super dry (and always super-irritated) skin loves loves LOVES Hydrachange Cream.  Over the nearly three months that I’ve been using this cream (never have I stuck with a single moisturizer this long) my pores have noticeably decreased in sizes, my skin is balanced and happy, and I’ve experienced nary a dry flake during the cold winter months.  This gel cream has a wonderfully light, almost watery texture that makes moisturizing such a pleasure in the morning (I hate struggling with a super thick cream) and is infused with the fresh, feminine, comforting fragrance of plum blossoms blended with notes of sandalwood, rose and jasmine (which are also supposed to boost hyaluronic acid synthesis in the dermis).  Have I also mentioned that I haven’t experienced a single major breakout since I started using this cream?  It’s heaven I tell you, pure heaven!
The Bad: I do have to say that there was one small hitch in the ABS/Hydrachange Cream love story – stickiness.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a sticky skincare product, and Hydrachange doesn’t dry to a completely matte finish, but rather remains slightly sticky to the touch throughout the day.  I do, however, think that this is why this particular product moisturizes so well and is so incredibly hydrating, so I really shouldn’t complain.  PLUS happily I’ve found that perfect skincare combination that makes for happy skin and a nice, smooth feel – I layer Hydrachange over my ever-trusty Estee Lauder Idealist (I’ve been using this stuff for years) and it settles into a nice and smooth, non-tacky finish that foundation just glides right over.
As promised, here are the ingredients!
The Verdict: While my wallet cringes (just a little) at the $160 for 1.4 oz. price, to be honest I’d pay pretty much any price for beautiful, happy skin, and so when sample jar (generously provided to me by the wonderful Sensai PR people) goes empty, I’ll be dragging myself over to the Kanebo counter at Bergdorf to restock. 
Availability:  Sensai’s Hydrachange Series is available at Bergdorf Goodman, and (online only).  Do check out the line, it’s one of my favorite brands ever!
This review contains a press sample sent to ABS by the brand’s PR representative for blog consideration. If you have any questions regarding the foregoing, please feel free to contact me at

DDF Glycolic 10% Toning Complex Review

July 17, 2009
I got in decently late last night and didn’t really have a chance to blog before now so today’s posts are going to be sporadically uploaded throughout the day. I’m usually pretty good about getting up between 5 and 6 AM to squeeze in some blogging time but lately I just haven’t had the energy.

Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula (DDF) Glycolic 10% Toning Complex ($35)
Formulated with glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid known to help increase surface cellular turnover. Promotes clarity and immediately revitalizes skinโ€™s appearance. Minimizes appearance of wrinkle lines. Refines skin texture. Visibly decreases look of pore size.

DDF’s Glycolic 10% Toning Complex is another one of those products that I’m torn on. On the one hand it really does deliver; use it regularly and you’ll notice clearer skin, improved cellular turnover and tightened pores. But it’s also pretty harsh, smells like a dead skunk and can be pretty irritating if your skin is very sensitive.

This Toning Complex is the product I turn to when my complexion is going bonkers and I just can’t seem to get it back under control. Used in conjunction with a good cotton pad, DDF’s toner really succeeds in removing every last bit of dirt and grime from your pores, leaving your face looking and feeling squeaky clean. This plus the fact that the toner sweeps away all the dead skin cells that like to take up residence on your face makes for the appearance of tightened pores and clean, refreshed skin.

But as I mentioned above, this product can be a little on the harsh side as the alcohol content is rather high. I definitely notice some stinging upon first application, and it really doesn’t help that this product smells almost exactly like a skunk’s spray coming out of the bottle. Thankfully the rather disgusting scent quickly dissipates as the product dries.

DDF’s Glycolic 10% Toning Complex is rather amazing for people with very oily skin who suffer from acne, clogged pores, an overabundance of blackheads, or any related skin woes, but I really wouldn’t recommend it if you have very sensitive, dry skin. I make sure my mother doesn’t get anywhere near this stuff as I know it would irritate her skin! I’ve stopped using this as an everyday toner and now use it more as an uber-cleanser every 2-3 days to make sure my pores stay squeaky clean.

Have you tried DDF’s Glycolic Toning Complex? What are your thoughts?

Tutorial for a Soothing DIY Greek Yogurt Mask: You’ll Love It!

March 11, 2009

A few months back I came home to the sight of my mother sitting at the kitchen table with a large tube of Fage Greek Yogurt sitting in front her–nothing new since we both happen to love the stuff (mixed with honey, turned into tzatziki–it’s delicious!), but what was different was that she was wearing it on her face! Turns out that greek yogurt is actually wonderful for your complexion, as I was reminded while reading the description for Korres’ Yogurt Cream.


Korres also makes a Yogurt Mask which is $27 for 1.35 ounces, but I prefer to make my own yogurt mask at home, since even the rather pricey Fage usually runs $5-7 for 500 grams which is the equivalent of approximately 17.64 ounces.

How do you use a yogurt mask? Well pretty much however you want. My mother, who suffers from dryness, loves to just slather on the full fat Fage, leave it on for 10-15 minutes and rinse off. Your skin will look and feel smoother, whiter, brighter, softer, and calmer. The yogurt (especially straight out of the fridge) also helps to soothe stressed or sunburned skin and is great for reducing redness.

Other Variations On the Yogurt Mask:

  • For oilier complexions, you can mix in some aspirin you’ve turned into a paste (see how HERE) and/or a drop or two of lemon juice for tightened pores and skin that glows.
  • For dryer complexions, mix in some soothing honey or just apply plain.
  • You can also add pure green tea powder for a ilttle something different, and also mix in some flour if you prefer a thicker mask, although greek yogurt is thick enough that you shouldn’t have runniness issues.

I think I’ll treat myself to a yogurt mask tonight if this hellish day that I’m having at work ever ends.

Naris Up Natural Eggshell Pack Review

March 2, 2009

I’m always looking for a way to keep my tragically large pores clear and blackhead free, and this Naris Up peel-off mask was the latest product added to my ever-expanding collection of skincare items amassed in furtherance of this endeavor. I picked this up from Mitsuwa (check out my spy cam shots HERE!) on sale for $4.99 which was a fabulous deal, since I’ve been reading about people paying anywhere form $10-15 for this online.

How To Use: This “pack” consists of two very small tubes of product: one contains a clear, liquidy pre-essence that you apply onto your nose and chin (or wherever else you may have blackheads), and the second tube contains a gooey, viscous black substance that you spread over the pre-essence before it’s had a chance to dry. Then you just sit around, wait for everything to dry and peel away.

I loved that this had English directions on the back, as I never would’ve known what to do with the pre-essence otherwise.

Back when I was in middle school Shiseido made a product like this that was absolutely amazing, but sadly they discontinued that product (story of my life) and I haven’t been able to find anything comparable since then. So how did this stack up?

No this isn’t my nose! ๐Ÿ™‚

See all those nasty blackheads/whiteheads? Click to enlarge if you dare!

The Naris Up peel-off mask does a good job of clearing out the blackheads from your larger pores, but I wouldn’t say that it leaves your nose squeaky-clean and clog-free. I’d say it gets rid of 50-75% of my blackheads on any given occasion, which really isn’t bad at all.

One word of warning~don’t use this all over your face! Or at least avoid the areas that have peach fuzz on them, as this will latch onto those with a vice grip and it really won’t be pleasant when it comes time to peel this off. I’d recommend sticking to the chin/nose area, and expanding outwards with caution.

REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask Review

January 26, 2009
REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask ($55)

The Description: REN’s Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask is a gentle but potent peel mask formulated to dramatically remove dead cells, smooth lines, and to help prevent the appearance of spots and blackheads. The peel contains natural AHA from fruits, and does not irritate the skin like its synthetic counterparts. It’s paraben, sulfate, synthetic fragrance, synthetic dye, petro-chemical, and phthalate free.

As I mentioned in my previous review, REN’s Multi Mineral Detoxifying Facial Mask used in conjunction with REN’s Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask has really been a much needed harbinger of change for my skin! My skin had always been pretty decent up until the past year or two–relatively clear with the occasional monthly breakout, but nothing major. But for the past year or two my skin has been going haywire thanks to all the stress I’m under! My skin-frustrations were at their peak when I first read about these two products, and since I was pretty desperate I decided to give them a try.

I had a few monster pimples forming the two consecutive nights that I first tried REN’s Multi Mineral and Glycolactic, and the masks brought them to a head and dried them up within a matter of days. The Glycolactic Peel is fabulous for keeping those pores clear, eating away at your dead skin cells to promote a healthier complexion, and just making your face radiant.

I do notice that my face feels a tiny bit sticky after using this and so I tend to reserve it for night-time usage, but my skin is always glowing and healthy-looking the next morning, plus I’ve definitely noticed that my skintone is much improved and my pores are clearer since I’ve started using Glycolactic. During the ten minutes that I have this on my face I register some slight tingling sensations, but nothing that even comes close to the burning or irritation, making this suitable for all but the most sensitive of complexions.

This is definitely another one of those products that I never want to be without! I’d always been hesitant to try lines such as REN because I’d always equated “natural” with ineffectual or not-as-good, but I can’t believe how wrong I’ve been! REN is seriously one of the best skincare lines that I’ve tried thus far and I can’t wait to try more products from their range!


REN Multi Mineral Detoxifying Facial Mask Review

January 26, 2009
REN Multi Mineral Detoxifying Facial Mask ($34)

The Claim: REN’s Multi Mineral Detoxifying Facial Mask is a deep cleansing and purifying mask that draws out impurities and decongests the skin leaving it soft and smooth. Pore size is reduced and skin imperfections are less visible. It’s paraben, sulfate, synthetic fragrance, synthetic dye, petro-chemical, and phthalate free.

Does it deliver? Well here’s the lowdown–you’re essentially paying $34 for a glorified clay mask. Is it fabulous? Well I happen to think so. Are you going to die without it? Probably not.

REN’s Multi Mineral Mask contains French kaolin clay to draw out impurities, spirulina to stimulate cell renewal, and red tea which is an essential fatty acid. I love that it has a nice light consistency meaning it’s easy to spread unlike many other clay masks I’ve tried which have the consistency of hardened mud, and also that it doesn’t cause stinging/burning/irritation. I’ve tried the much raved about Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask, and while it’s absolutely amazing for zapping a zit, it also makes me feel like I’m receiving a third degree burn to my face, so it’s a no-go for me most days.

Basically you spread a decent layer of the REN mask onto your face, let it dry for ten minutes or so, then rinse. You’re left with smooth, non-irritated skin that’s soft as a baby’s bottom–plus when you wake up the next morning you’ll notice your skin has a nice glow to it!

As for the pore-tightening effect, I’ve found that when used in conjunction with the Glycolactic Skin Renewl Peel my pores are clear (a miracle in and of itself) and nearly blackhead free and therefore my pores are a little tighter, although nothing drastic.

One final thing–I LOVE the packaging! The little plastic cap that goes over the nozzle ensures that you don’t get that little hardened blob of product at the opening, and everything stays fresh and happy until the next time you reach for this.

The Verdict: While I do happen to think it’s rather pricey at $34, I happen to love this and have reserved a permanent place for it in my skincare drawer! It keeps my skin clear (I’ve virtually stopped breaking out since I started using this and the Glycolactic plus a DDF toner), smooth, soft, and radiant–well worth my $34!

RATING: 4.5/5

Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder Review

May 26, 2008

Remember when I mentioned wanting to try this supposedly miraculous oil-absorbing powder here? Well I’ve been using it for the past few days now, both alone and on top of foundation, and I’m here to say that it definitely lives up to all the hype!


Like many others I was initially suckered in by the pretty pretty packaging. I’m not so much into skulls, but purple is one of my favorite colors and the packaging reminded me or a yummy grape candy-I do love my sweets!


After tearing into the little box I noticed that my compact was slightly ajar. Suspicious little person that I am I thought that someone had opened my powder, but everything looked pristine and new so I snapped it shut and popped it back in the box. I went to test it out a few hours later and I noticed that once again the compact had popped open on its own. I think the applicator puff was a little too puffy for the compact and was causing it to open on its own, but my first use fixed that little problem!


As you can see, the powder is a pale pale pale lavender shade-not nearly as lavender as I thought it would be, which probably works out well for those of you with tanner complexions! I had worried that the lavender-tint meant it would only work for the paler ladies, but I have to agree with Urban Decay on this one-this definitely seems to be suitable for most skin tones as it really is almost invisible on! I was attempting to swatch this on my hand at Sephora, but nothing! Hence no swatches for you ladies-you can’t swatch what you can’t see ๐Ÿ™‚

But the lack of a truly lavender tint means it really doesn’t do anything in the way of covering any flaws, which is fine since that isn’t what the powder purports to do in the first place. BUT it truly is amazing for controlling any excess oils your skin may produce during the day, especially in the warmer summer weather. My skin gets super super oily in the summer (I’m usually oily within an hour or two or three of having showered/applied makeup), but if I apply this powder either on its own or on top of my foundation, I have no need to blot for the next 5 hours or so. After the first 4-5 hours I have a tiny tiny bit of a shine appearing, but still no real need to blot for the rest of the day unless I really want to! It makes my life so much easier, as it’s really a pain in the butt to have to blot literally every hour or so :\

The product goes on smooth as silk and really is weightless. When I applied it on bare skin I had the hardest time telling if I was actually wearing any powder-it’s that silky smooth!

I only have two little quibbles with the product. First is the filmsy (and strangely crinkly) flocked applicator they include with the compact, but it’s not really an issue for me as I just use a fluffy powder brush with it at home and don’t really need to use it again throughout the day. Plus it’s not that the applicator doesn’t work well, it’s just that I don’t like the way it feels. And second is the strange smell of the powder. I can’t quite put my finger on what it smells like, but suffice it to say that it’s not pleasant! I suspect it may be one of the oil-absorbing ingredients, as I once had a similar powder that smelled just like this, but I definitely wouldn’t mind a more pleasant-smelling powder.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think this is a little overpriced at $28, but to me it’s definitely worth it!! Check it out for yourself on!

If you’ve tried this product or have been curious about it I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Have any other favorite oil-absorbing products? Please tell me about them!