Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Amari Vitamin C serum

I've been incorporating Vitamin C serums into my daily skin care routine for almost a year now, and have tried multiple different brands across a large spectrum. In my experience, most of them have almost the exact same ingredients lists and product descriptions, just different labels/companies selling them. Generally, these serums have been safe for my sensitive skin but there have been a few select ones that have irritated my skin too much.

Fortunately, Amari's serum is a pretty standard serum that does not break me out and is great at evening skin tone and reducing dark spots. You can feel your skin soaking in the nutrients whenever you pat this stuff onto your clean face. Like any skin care product, you won't see instantaneous results, but you will definitely seem improvement if you use it consistently and take care of your skin (adequate cleansing, moisturizing, drinking plenty of water, etc.) in the long term. Remember, this serum itself is NOT a moisturizer, so you should always follow with one (a lotion, emulsion, oil, or anything like that) to lock all the healing properties in.

Btipsy Lemon Squeezer REVIEW

This is the first lemon squeezer I've ever tried (I used to have one of those manual twisty juicers, and it was a pain in the neck to use!) and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it works and how fuss-free it is. The metal is sturdier than it looks, so you can squeeze your citrus pretty hard and get maximum juicing benefits without popping a vein.

I'm glad it's made out of stainless steel so you don't have to worry about scratching it or rust.

The design is a little clunky which makes it difficult to store, but at least it's simple, so it's easy to clean.

Overall, I'd recommend it as a basic squeezer. I'm not sure how many uses I'd get out of this since I don't cook with lemon often, but it's still nice to have in the kitchen drawer.

Btipsy Cocktail Muddler

All cocktail aficionados have muddled citrus or berries for their drinks sometime in their life. I always used the back of a spoon, since the only time I'd actually seen a muddler was in bars or lounges, but it's nice to own one for a change! It makes me feel very professional ;)

It's a standard, no-nonsense tool. Not dramatically life-altering, but very easy to use (all you really have to do is pound any food item by grabbing the handle..... caveman style) and even easier to clean. I was surprised by the quality based on the price. This would be a very affordable, very appropriate gift for any of your cocktail-loving friends... or alcoholics. Just kidding (sort of).

Azure Naturals Retinol Serum

This review took me a little longer to write than my normal beauty reviews because when I first tried it out, I absolutely hated it. I applied it only at night because retinol/retinoid products are known for drying out the skin and even causing redness in sensitive people like me. It made my skin smooth at first, but after a few days of usage, I would break out terribly in small, white pimples across my forehead and cheeks! My acne is typically in control; I get the occasional hormonal breakouts, but it's usually not a main skin concern for me. Once I stopped using the serum, the acne disappeared almost immediately, so I knew this was a product-related issue. I tried again a few weeks later and got the exact same results, which was frustrating. I was almost about to toss this serum once and for all, when, one day, I discovered the most amazing thing:

I realized I had been using the serum wrong.

For people with sensitive or acne-prone skin, retinol may be a little harsh for daily use, even if under heavy moisturizers and only in the evening. What I changed in my skincare routine gave me great results with no irritation!

The secret: I only apply this serum 1-2 times a week. I'm almost 100% sure the offending ingredient is pentylene glycol, since that is a common solvent in beauty products that irritates or causes breakouts. It's not a major problem for me because I do use another essence that contains propylene glycol (a similar ingredient); while I try to avoid it when I can, it is generally known to be safe, so I use it if I must. Only applying the serum a couple times a week discourages buildup of any comedogenic materials on the surface of the skin = no breakouts! Genius!

I am a huuuuge fan of Azure Naturals's other products (Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid, Argan oil... they are my holy grails!) so it's no wonder I'm in love with this stuff too. I love what it does to make my skin smooth and wrinkle-free, and am comforted in knowing it is a great preventative anti-aging treatment since I don't quite fit into the "mature skin" category yet ;) This is the best stuff you can get for this quality and price, so I highly recommend. Just don't use it every day if you have sensitive skin like me!