Sunday, June 26, 2016

VALENTIA Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask | Review

As I mentioned in my previous post, skin care and hair care is fundamental – it is the actual foundation you need to work on before mastering the techniques of crème contouring or the newly coined term for an out of this world glow, strobing.  We all have different skin concerns – sensitive, dry, oily, acne-prone, dull, aging, etc.  Aging is inevitable, but we can definitely try to slow down the process and alleviate the harsh effects of environmental stressors on our skin. 

The word detox really appeals to me.  A skin detox or body detox sounds so ideal, like a fresh page in a brand new notebook or the smell of a newly purchased car or home.  I like my face to feel cleansed, brightened, and moisturized.  Whenever someone asks me about my complexion, whether it is oily or combination or sensitive?  I tell them that it is not oily, rather it is dewy and I like it that way.  I want my face to feel dewy, yet look smooth, clean, and bright.  I worry that as I get older, my pores might get bigger and create texture on my face.  For now I don’t have severely large pores, but I do have pores on my nose and surrounding area, along with white heads on my nose due to my combination skin and heavy use of sunscreen.

Today I would like to share with y’all my review of the VALENTIA Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask.  Before I go into my review, I would like to share the following information so y’all can familiarize yourself with this clay mask, its properties and benefits.  The VALENTIA Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask claims to draw out impurities, improve tone, reduce pore size, and firm and strengthen skin.  Additionally, the mask is alcohol free as well as paraben free.  And just wait till you see the list of key-ingredients!

Key ingredients in the VALENTIA Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask and their benefits as stated by the brand:

Kaolin Clay: Known for its detoxifying powers, clay minerals draw out impurities, improve skin tone, and lighten pores for smoother firmer skin. 

Plant Stem Cells: This French developed constituent naturally decreases the level of pro-aging toxins working to soothe the skin, reduce redness, and improve evenness.

Spirulina: A botanical stimulant full of vitamins and minerals that hydrates the skins surface and contributes to tissue regeneration of the skin. 

CoQ10: Responsible for cell production in the human body, CoQ10 lessens the appearance of wrinkles by reducing free radical damage and stimulating healthy collagen production.

Hibiscus & Cranberry Fibers: Both lend their anti-aging properties to firm and reinforce the skin, helping to reduce the creation of new wrinkles.

Astaxanthin: A powerful antioxidant that repairs collagen production, combats free radical damage, and restores skin to elastic, bright, and wrinkle free tones and textures. 

First thing you will most likely notice when you open your tub of the VALENTIA mask is its scent.  I would describe the scent as herbal and mildly medicinal, but not chemical-like or indicative of an overwhelming amount of artificial fragrance (the only fragrance mentioned in the ingredient’s list is cranberry fragrance).

Second, its texture is quite unique and different from any other clay mask that I have tried. It has a gelatinous and creamy hybrid consistency.  I would recommend stirring the pot with a brush before application and then applying the mask with a flat foundation brush.  The mask contains blue beads.  Although these blue beads are visible, you won’t feel them on your face as you apply or remove the mask.  This is good because some skin care experts assert that it is not good to use physical (non-chemical) abrasive, gritty, or granular agents (present in many facial scrubs) on the face because such abrasive exfoliation can lead to dry skin, broken capillaries, etc. In fact, the VALENTIA’s clay mask actually felt soothing and slightly cooling upon application – almost as if I had applied calamine cream on my face. 

Third, this mask dries down quickly, but not so fast that you don’t have time to apply it nicely.  Don’t worry! VALENTIA suggests leaving the mask on for 15-20 minutes or until mask dries and I would go with the latter part of this instruction.  On me this mask dried within 10 minutes.  As I noticed it crack a bit on my forehead, I knew that it was time to wash it off. 

Fourth, this is the first clay mask - of all the umpteen clay masks I have tried - to wash off my face effortlessly.  It came off so easily with a few splashes of lukewarm water.  I didn’t have to scrub or rub or use a towel to remove any residue. 

Lastly, now that y’all know my skin concerns, let me share my results… the major result I noticed after washing this mask off of my face was that my pores appeared somewhat blurred, meaning that it lived up to its claim of reducing pore size.  As I mentioned in my intro, I don’t have severely large pores, but I do have average pores (filled with sebum) on my nose!  Yuck! Who else dislikes magnification mirrors? Right! This mask definitely made my face feel cleansed. I was also pleased to learn that unlike many other detox clay masks, the VALENTIA detox clay mask did not make my skin feel dry or tight.  I didn’t feel the need to bathe my face in moisturizer as I have felt after using certain other scrubs and masks.  I believe this mask is gentle enough to be used once every week, of course with user discretion and only if it suits your skin type and skin care regiment.

As an added note, I would like to mention that I tried the VALENTIA clay mask on my mom-in-law and she was impressed with her results as well.  My mom-in-law’s complexion is a contrast to mine. Her concerns are dry skin, uneven tone, and dullness.  She appreciated that the mask did not dehydrate her already dry face.  She felt that her face felt soft to the touch and brighter. 

As I wrap up my review, I would like to share my thoughts on some of the clay masks I have previously tried in comparison to the VALENTIA clay mask ($25 for 4 oz.).  The clay masks I have previously used are Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($26 for 3.4 oz.), Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack ($30 for 1.12 oz.), Sephora Collection Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying ($20 for 2.0 oz.), Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($69 for 1.2 oz.), Glam Glow Tinglexfoliate Treatment ($69 for 1.7 oz.), and Boots Botanics Clay Mask ($9-10 for 3.5 oz.). 

Origins (thumbs down) vs. VALENTIA (thumbs up)
I observed no pleasant results after using Origin’s charcoal mask.  It also made my face feel dry and uncomfortably tight.

Caolion (thumbs down) vs. VALENTIA (thumbs up)
I believe Caolion contained “kaolin clay” but my face did not feel cleansed or smooth or even mildly rejuvenated. 

Sephora Collection Mud Mask (thumbs up) vs. VALENTIA (thumbs up)
I like both! I don’t love the Sephora Collection Mud Mask, but it does make my face feel cleansed.  However, Sephora one does not have a noticeable pore minimizing effect as VALENTIA.  Also, it does not wash off as easily as VALENTIA and does make my face feel tight and in immediate need of a moisturizer. 

Boots Botanics Clay Mask (thumbs down) vs. VALENTIA (thumbs up)
I feel the same about Boots Clay Mask as I do about Origins Charcoal above. 

Glam Glow Tinglexfoliate Treatment (mixed feelings) vs. VALENTIA (thumbs up)
Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment (mixed feelings) vs. VALENTIA (thumbs up)
Glam Glow masks are very expensive!  The Tinglexfoliate mask has an amazing “brightening” effect.  Yes, its brightening effect is more noticeable than VALENTIA’s brightening effect, but this effect is also temporary.  VALENTIA’s brightening effect is more comparable to the Supermud Clearing mask’s brightening effect.  Not only are the Glam Glow masks expensive, they don’t have a good, not even reasonably good, shelf life.  Sadly, my Glam Glow masks, especially the Tinglexfoliate one dried out very before I had even got through half of the smallest size tub ($22 for 0.5 oz.). Ouch! Although the Supermud Clearing mask did not dry out, the product broke down and the oils separated out from the base (other ingredients).  The Tinglexfoliate mask is probably the better of the two Glam Glow masks in brightening and removing impurities, but it dries out so fast.  Both Glam Glow masks are a pain to wash off.  I have to use a towel at times to remove chucks of the mask stuck onto my face.  I also feel like the Glam Glow masks had no “wow” effect on my pores, so it seems as though my money was wasted. 

Overall, I am pleased with the VALENTIA Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask and will continue to use it.  If I have any updates down the road with continued use, I will add them to this review.  I am very selective of products I review and recommend.  I would not want to lose the trust of my readers or recommend a product to someone that I don’t feel confident about or love for my own use.  I don’t want y’all to waste your time or money! 

FTC Disclaimer: I would like to thank Valentia and Brandbacker for providing press sample for this post.
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 Yours Truly,
The Lipsticks-Ninja

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

HASK Bamboo Oil Collection: Shampoo, Conditioner, Styling Oil, and Deep-Conditioner | Review

I am always weary of experimenting with hair and skin care.   I cannot believe I am saying this because I am so attached to my lipstick and blush collection, but makeup - in my humble opinion - is not a necessity.  Makeup is an accessory or luxury, which enables us to accentuate our natural features for the better.  However, hair and skin care involves our health and reflects upon our personal hygiene.  Healthy hair and skin is the root or canvas.  For example, blush is not going to look appealing if one’s skin is dehydrated.  Hair and skin care products are a staple in our daily regiment, hence a necessity and long-term investment. 

Moreover, it is also expensive to experiment with hair and skin care products. For example, a high-end brand’s 8 to 12 OZ. bottle of shampoo can cost anywhere from $15-30 and if you don’t up liking the shampoo, then you end up with a glorified $15-30 ‘soap-for-random-household-cleaning’ at the best and have to go through the tedious process of finding another “good” shampoo, purchasing and re-risking the $15-30 until you’ve found the perfect match for your hair and skin type.  For this reason, I am really excited to share my review of the new Bamboo Oil collection by HASK. 

HASK is available at many retailers, such as ULTA Beauty, Target, and Harmon’s (Bed, Bath & Beyond).  First off, let me tell you the prices and knock your socks off!  HASK Bamboo Oil shampoo and conditioner costs $5.99 each for 12 OZ (Yes, I did say 12 OZ.). This collection includes Bamboo Styling Oil, which comes in a travel-friendly vial size, with 0.62 OZ. for $2.99 as well as a Deep Conditioner, which comes in a packet, with 1.75 OZ. for $2.99.  I do wish the Bamboo Oil deep conditioner came in a tube form like the other HASK deep conditioners. I have noticed that HASK is on sale occasionally (buy one, get one 50% off or buy two, get one free) at ULTA and Harmon’s.  Additionally, the “drugstore / non-prestige” ULTA coupon ($3.50 off of $15) is applicable on HASK products at ULTA.  So pro point number one is that HASK will not be a hard hit on your wallet and it is easily accessible (at least for US residents). 

HASK’s Bamboo Oil collection is part of its Exotic Oil Hair Collection, which is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, drying alcohol, and artificial colors.  Whether you need strengthening (Bamboo Oil), color protection (Kalahari), clarifying (Charcoal), nourishing (Monoi Coconut Oil), smoothing (Keratin Protein), or repairing (Argan Oil), HASK has an option for you.  Wow, right? I’ll take one of each, please and thank you!  In fact, HASK’s very reasonable drugstore price point, while maintaining quality and ingredients akin to high-end brands, makes it possible for someone who wants to buy three different shampoos or conditioners for three different hair care concerns and desires variety and rotation of products. 

I am not the only one who fell in love with HASK’s Bamboo Oil shampoo and conditioner, but also my mom, hubby, mom-in-law, and a friend.  My HASK shampoo and conditioner moved from one bathroom to the other, family members waiting their turn to shower (even though we have more than one bathroom) because everyone desired to pamper-wash their hair with the Bamboo Oil shampoo. “Hey! I’m going for a shower now. Meesha where’s that shampoo… the HASK one!”  My mom loved the shampoo because she said it made her hair look very shiny and smooth, but not greasy or weighed down.  My hubby enjoyed using the HASK shampoo because he experienced less hair fall (he uses gel or pomade occasionally which makes his hair dry/brittle and more vulnerable to breakage) and he found it very effective in removing dandruff (he has a minimal amount, nothing intense); he said his hair felt clean even if he washed it every other day.  My friend, who has thick, curly/wavy, and naturally frizzy hair, like mine, found it made her hair “very soft” and she added that it smells great.

A brand that can maintain excellent quality and effectiveness, while offering a practical price range is remarkable in my perspective as a consumer.  When I first used the shampoo, I felt like I was washing my hair with a luxury, salon brand shampoo.  When I Goggle searched the shampoo’s price, I was expecting it to cost anywhere between $15-30. I was shocked by the actual, rather affordable price. I noted that I did not have to use much in amount, as in not more than one palm-full (palm of your hand) of the shampoo and conditioner.  Mind you, my hair is thick, voluminous, wavy, and long - touching my hips.  For me using three palm-full of shampoo to get a nice lather or cover my hair in conditioner is not surprising. 

Affordability aside, one of the main features I look for in a shampoo and conditioner is that they must be sulfate-free and alcohol-free. I get my hair keratin-treated once or twice in a calendar year.  Instead of spending money on heat tools or endless number hair styling products such as mousse, gel, hairspray, crème, serums, etc., I invest in keratin conditioning treatments (not one that straightens or relaxes, but conditions and improves health of hair).  In order for me to maintain the effect of the keratin treatment in my hair, I have to use an excellent shampoo and conditioner that not only maintains the presence of this treatment, but also adds to it. 

Even though the keratin conditioning treatment is the fundamental reason for the smooth and frizz-free healthy texture of my hair, I still experience minimal frizz and my hair just doesn’t feel or style that well unless I am using a good-quality shampoo and condition, which would help maintain that treatment in my hair.   

I don’t want y’all to think that I like the HASK Bamboo Oil line only because my hair is in a healthier condition due to the keratin treatment.  My mom, hubby, and friend love the HASK Bamboo Oil shampoo and conditioner as much as I do and they have never had a keratin or conditioning treatment done.  In fact, my mom has straight, somewhat oily, and thick, yet weighed down hair, while my hubby has normal straight hair, and my friend’s hair is more like mine (without the keratin treatment).  So five people here, with different hair-types and concerns, all enjoyed using HASK and would repurchase it.  My two favorites from the Bamboo Oil collection are definitely the shampoo and deep-conditioner.  I find my results comparable (dare I say the same if not better) to my experience with popular, high-end, pro-salon brands such as Pureology, Sexy Hair, Alterna, and Living Proof and even a drugstore favorite, such as OGX.  

The Bamboo Shine Oil in the vial is nice to take on-the-go in case your hair is feeling dry or frizzy because of the weather or environmental stressors and needs a little touch-up.  I mainly use hair-oils to style and add shine. This is not a heavy or greasy oil (unless you use half the vial of course) so I believe it is better suited for styling your hair rather than as a hair conditioning treatment or over-night hair mask.  For example, I use the oil once after towel-drying and to prepare it for air-dry.  It helps my hair waves stay in place as my hair takes hours to dry naturally and adds a healthy, non-oily shine.  The conditioner is ideal for someone who needs good conditioning, but too much conditioner makes their hair "limp".  Alternatively, try the deep-conditioner if you have a lot of thick, coarse, dry, and quite frizzy, usually wavy and curly hair.  

I hope y'all found this review helpful and that perhaps HASK Bamboo Oil collection items are hair-care miracle you have been looking for. 

FTC Disclaimer: I would like to thank HASK and Brandbacker for providing press sample for this post.
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 Yours Truly,
The Lipsticks-Ninja

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

When Revitalizing Face Sheet Masks: Glamour Base, 10 PM, and The Last Choice | Review

Sheet masks are the new “hot” skincare product.  I have noticed that many people, once-upon-a-time including myself, are unfamiliar with the functionality of a sheet mask.  Before I finally tried a sheet-mask, I was under the false impression that a sheet-mask and peel-off mask are the same – a product giving you utmost pleasure as you peel it off your face and see all the grime and dirt transfer onto the sheet/peeled mask.  What is it this sheet mask supposed to do for my skin? Is it worth the investment? A one-time use product for $7 – is it worth it?

I have tested out quite a few brands and versions of sheets masks (Tony Moly (ranging from $1, $3.75, $8, to $10), Sephora Brand ($6), etc.) over the last few months.  Of all the ones I have tried thus far, I have to say that the When sheet masks are my favorite.  So why do I recommend sheet-masks, especially When’s sheet masks?

I had the exciting opportunity to try out three types of sheet masks from When: 10 PM, Glamour Base, and The Last Choice.  The When sheet masks focus on treating fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and uneven skin-tone.  The key ingredients in all three types of these masks are coconut and hyaluronic acid amongst other skin-nourishing ingredients. 

The first feature I noticed about the When masks was its weight, thick gel like texture, and adhering power.  As I adjusted the mask on my face, it clung onto my face very nicely.  It did not feel slimy or tacky yet it adhered onto my face effortlessly.  In fact I did not have to lie down.  I was sitting up watching YouTube and the masks stayed on so nicely.  Second feature I loved about these masks was that they felt so cooling and fresh, as if my face was on vacation.  Imagine being on the beach on a warm day with a cool breeze sipping an icy beverage.  That is exactly how my face was feeling while I was testing out these sheet masks.  Lastly, I the serum from the sheet-masks absorbed into my skin so nicely, making it feel awakened, relaxed, fresh, firm, hydrated, plumped, soft and supple.  Basically, my face felt as smooth and gel-like as the bio-cellulose sheet itself!  Now imagine putting makeup on such a smooth canvas or going to sleep like a baby after your face feels this soothed. 

In a nutshell, sheet masks are vacation, a pampering treat for you face/skin. Our skin needs a break or a treat too after spending long hours protecting us from environmental stressors such as UV rays, pollution, irritants, allergens, etc.  It needs a thirst quenching drink of good old Vitamin C just as we would crave lemonade or orange juice after a workout or hectic day. 

The When sheet masks are ideal for tired and environmentally stressed facial skin.   I will definitely be re-purchasing them. 

FTC Disclaimer: I would like to thank When and Brandbacker for providing press sample for this post.
Please like, comment, share, follow, and subscribe! 

 Yours Truly,
The Lipsticks-Ninja

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