InstaNatural Argan Oil and Argan Oil Hair Mask

This is part 5 of a series on InstaNatural’s products.  InstaNatural is US company based in Florida with beauty and skincare products inspired by nature.  They pride themselves on using natural and organic ingredients from the around the globe.

You can read my earlier posts on other products in InstaNatural’s line here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

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ARGAN OIL

Key ingredients:

  • 100% Pure Certified Organic Virgin Argan Oil

This oil comes in a brown glass bottle with a nice pump.  Because it is pure argan oil, it has a strong aroma that is best described as nutty and fruity.  I have used argan oil in many different hair oils before, but never 100% argan, so the smell was unexpected and hit me right in the face.

The main advantage of pure argan oil as opposed to an oil blend is how multipurpose it can be.  The oil can be used as a leave in hair treatment on towel dried hair, which is my main use, and it can also be used on your face, cuticles, or anywhere that needs extra nourishment.  If you have dry skin, the best way to use argan oil in your skincare routine is to pat it on after your regular moisturizer to ‘seal in’ the hydration.  I have heard of some people using it as a cleanser in the Oil Cleansing Method (to learn more about OCM, check out /r/SkincareAddiction’s post), although I’m not sure about it’s comedogenic rating.  When it comes to OCM though, I would recommend an oil cleanser with an emulsifier, such as Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil, which can be rinsed off with water.

arganoilhairmaskARGAN OIL HAIR MASK

Key ingredients:

  • Argan Oil
  • Amino Acid Complex
  • Coconut Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin B5

This hair mask should be applied to towel dried hair and rinsed off after 5-15 minutes.  It can also be used in the shower, after shampoo, in lieu of conditioner.  The Argan Oil Hair Mask smells primarily like shea butter and argan oil, and has the look and consistency of conditioner.  I found this difficult to rinse off – more difficult than LUSH Fluff Eaze but easier than Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment Plus.  When it comes to hair treatments, the LUSH Fluff Eaze is still my HG (although it’s important to note that Fluff Eaze is meant to be applied to dry hair, followed by a shampoo).

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Performance Colors Lipsticks

Performance Colors is an indie makeup brand that many people love for their super saturated and nondrying lipsticks.  They also sell eye colors (pressed, cream, and pencil), pressed foundation, pressed blush, and cream concealer.  I decided to go with the tried-and-true and placed an all lipstick order.  Their lipsticks come in two types, restorative and matte, and there is a HUGE range of colors.  I had a hard time narrowing down to what I wanted!  Not every color on their Etsy store has a lip swatch though, which would have been helpful, as the colors in the tube look darker than they do when swatched.

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From left to right: RESTORATIVE (top row) Zombie Bride, Lovepoem, Orchid, South of France MATTE (bottom row) Pink Choco, Hibiscus, Neon Flamingo, Vertigo sample

My order came in two separate baggies, each with a label about the type of lipstick they are, with ingredient lists.  I received a sample of Vertigo, in a little clamshell.  I appreciate how nicely labeled everything is!

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Overall, these lipsticks are true lipsticks and not tinted lip balms.  They are super pigmented and both formulas have pretty good staying power, even through drinking and eating.  Lipsticks feel nice and smooth.  Every color I got stained the lips in a nice way that doesn’t settle into cracks.  They also do well with added lip balm underneath or on top of the color, if you have dry lips like me and would like a little extra moisture.

Ordered on December 21, 2014

Shipped on December 26, 2014

Received on December 29, 2014.

TAT was really great during the holiday season, and the price was right too!  Performance Colors offers a pack of three lipsticks for the price of two ($12),  and on top of that if you spend $20 they will throw in a free lipstick!  I also used a 10% Reddit discount, and in total I paid $21.60 plus shipping.  Tiffany was a great communicator too, and responded to my question about stacking the discounts within a day.

RESTORATIVE

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From top to bottom: Zombie Bride, Lovepoem, South of France, Orchid. Swatched by swiping out of the tube.

Feels like a balm, looks like lipstick

While these lipsticks do feel like a balm, I wouldn’t say that they are restorative in the way a balm is, especially in comparison to a tinted lip balm like the Ten Three Labs smudge sticks.  Each has a pearlescent sheen, and of the four colors I got, Zombie Bride and South of France are the shiniest.  I was a little iffy about Zombie Bride because it is such a dark color in the tube, but I picked it up because everyone who raves about Performance Colors seem to adore it.  They were right!  It’s a very unique vampy color and I was impressed by the full dark plum base with blue shimmer, plus, it leaves a beautiful stain.  My favourite restorative color of the bunch is Orchid, it goes on as a pinkish lavender that gives a ‘fresh’ look.

MATTE 

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From top to bottom: Vertigo, Hibiscus, Neon Flamingo, Pink Choco. Swatched by swiping out of the tube, except for the sample of Vertigo, which was swatched with a finger.

Extended wear formula feels great on – stays put won’t dry out your lips super saturated color

As you can see in the picture, the matte lipsticks are more opaque than the restorative formula.  Vertigo and Neon Flamingo took two swipes to reach opacity, and Hibiscus and Pink Choco only took one swipe.  I found Neon Flamingo to be difficult to apply properly, because one coat looks patchy and is not quite opaque, but two coats can look a little heavy.  I definitely had to blot it to make it look right.  Hibiscus and Pink Choco however, are amazing.  Easy to apply evenly, and Pink Choco is a fantastic MLBB color.

These matte lipsticks live up to their claim of not being drying, but because of that there is a slight sheen to these lipsticks due to moisture.  As they dry the sheen goes away and the lipstick becomes truly matte.  Although they are not drying, they are not as moist as the restorative formula.

InstaNatural Retinol Serum and Retinol Moisturizer

This is part 4 of my series on InstaNatural‘s skincare products.  Today I’ll be giving you guys a lot on two retinol formulas, a serum, and a moisturizer.  You can read my earlier posts on other products in InstaNatural’s line here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 5.

Retinol is a type of vitamin A which can help clear away hyperpigmentation from sun damage and acne scarring, as well as smooth out fine lines and improve skin texture in general.  In my opinion, retinol may not be for everyone as it is very potent, so YMMV.  The last time I used a retinol product (Philosophy Miracle Worker), I experienced great results in the beginning, but it soon became too much for my skin, and I gave it up after struggling with constant dullness and flaking skin.  So, when using a retinoid, please start slow and work your way up to ‘full dose’, and remember to constantly evaluate the health of your skin. Because my current skincare routine contains both a BHA and an AHA product, and I’m currently trying InstaNatural’s Vitamin C serum for an upcoming review, I decided not to use these two retinol products on my face at the moment.  I decided to still do a post to share my thoughts on the packaging, texture, and smell, and to talk about the formulas’ ingredients, so please keep in mind that I am not evaluating performance.

AGE-DEFYING RETINOL SERUM

4NqjsbOMRbaMFu20KYfQ_5a394f1ad6b414e749dbd9ceb2ed3d05b1a24497Key Ingredients:

  • 2.5% Retinol
  • 20% Vitamin C
  • 10% Hyaluronic Acid
  • Plant & Fruit Acids

After looking at the ingredients, I think InstaNatural’s marketing department needs to get a pep talk, because this isn’t only a retinol serum, but also has an high concentration of hyaluronic acid as well as vitamin C.  In fact, according to the ingredient list, this has more vitamin C (3rd on the list) than retinol (7th), though of course this is because a higher concentration of vitamin C is needed than retinol for it to be effective.  For comparison, a vitamin C serum I reviewed a few months ago also has 20%.  While it’s fine to use both retinol and vitamin C in  your routine, I worry that having these two ingredients together takes away the option of finding out how your skin reacts to each, and also it may make it too intense for people looking to start using either ingredient for the first time.

This serum comes in a brown dropper bottle, and the product is milky-clear and fairly watery, to the point where the dropper will drip on its own.  I find this kind of annoying because it will drip before I’m ready to spread it.  The product smells like citrus, and a little bit can spread over a large area.  I do find that it takes a bit of time to absorb.

ADVANCED ACTION RETINOL MOISTURIZER

HpiPAnTzRxSJ7MxfO5pc_f0412b4cc55e0ae1938b722627ecdc5667c7cf60Key Ingredients:

  • 2.5% Retinol
  • Vitamin C
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Green Tea

Again, this moisturizer also has retinol AND vitamin C.   While the bottle doesn’t disclose the percentage of vitamin C, it is 8th on the ingredient list, so I feel like it doesn’t give me the same concerns as I had with the serum.

The moisturizer comes in a pump bottle, and the product is creamy but light.  It is fragrance free and does not have any ‘chemical’ smells.  Again InstaNatural opted to use aloe instead of water for the first ingredient, and I enjoy the cooling sensation when you first apply this product.  I tried this moisturizer on my neck and decolletage, and it absorbs well without a film, leaving behind noticeably softer feeling skin.  Between the retinol serum and the retinol moistuzer, I much prefer the moisturizer, and I think it would be a good choice for people not wanting to introduce an extra serum step into their routine.

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Having fun for /r/RandomActsofMakeup

Last week I entered a contest hosted by /u/GandalfDaWhite1 on /r/RandomActsofMakeup.  The contest asked for a look based on what we thought makeup of the future would be like.  I had a lot of fun doing a quick and quirky look for this contest!

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My idea is that in the future, people will be less concerned with sticking to a certain range of colors, unlike today where most only use warm colors on the lip, and match hair/brow/lash color, etc. I also think people will pay more attention to contouring and building the lip color, much like we use multiple colors of eyeshadow to create a look.

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PRODUCT LIST

Face

Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion in N02

Clinique Blush in Precious Posy

Eyes

Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner in Deep Black

One Direction Electroglam Mascara in Does He Know (pink)

One Direction Electroglam Mascara in Story of My Life (yellow)

One Direction Chubby Pencil in Stand Up (navy)

Dior Couture Colours Eyeshadow in Carre Bleu palette (icy blue and teal)

Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eye Liner in Rue Boneparte (nude)

Lip

Guerlain Kiss Kiss Liplift

MAC Cremesheen in Sunny Seoul

Too Face Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Fuschia

Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick No. 17

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Grafitti (green)

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Bonus picture with glasses!

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum

This is part 3 of a series on InstaNatural’s products.  InstaNatural is US company based in Florida with beauty and cosmetics products inspired by nature.  They pride themselves on using natural and organic ingredients from the around the globe.   In part 1 I covered the Youth Express Eye Gel, and today I will be reviewing its counterpart, the Youth Express Eye Serum.

If you want to read my reviews on more of InstaNatural’s products, follow the links: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5.

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The Youth Express Eye Serum claims to

deliver exceptional results to the under eye area, resulting in a decreased appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.

It’s main ingredients are vitamin C, plant stem cells, astaxanthinn, kojic acid, passionflower, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and matrixyl 3000.  Most of these ingredients are high up on the list, with vitamin C coming in third (after water and aloe), hyaluronic acid forth, matrixyl 3000 fifth, and plant cells sixth.  Wow.  I’m really blown away by this ingredient list, because it’s such a concentration of potent ingredients.  I’m not a chemist so I can’t say whether or not all these ingredients are in an environment to best perform, but, what I do know is that the type of vitamin C that they use, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, is more stable than L-ascorbic acid, and can perform at a higher pH.

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The Youth Express Eye Serum comes in a dropper bottle.  The formula has a citrus aroma and is alarmingly orange.  I suspect that the orange is for a immediate cosmetic purpose – to help even out dark undereye circles.

Because I have eczema, I didn’t use this serum on my eyelids, only my undereyes and temples.  I read that sodium ascorbyl phosphate has been shown to reduce sebum, which is great news for me as I tend to get some breakouts on my temples.  It goes on watery and imparts a prolonged cooling sensation which feels similar to Origin’s GinZing Eye Cream (although GinZing stings my eyes, whereas this serum doesn’t).  I don’t know what the cause of the cool feeling is, but I don’t really like it as I have very sensitive skin around my eyes and I am wary of eye products that gives any perceptible feeling.  However, if you suffer from puffy eyes, you might find this a nice relief.

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My first e.l.f. Haul!

I only learned about e.l.f. a couple years ago, when I moved to New York.  In Canada, it’s not popular at all, because (as far as I know) e.l.f. isn’t sold there.  In case you don’t know, e.l.f. – as in, eyes, lips, face – is a cosmetics line that strives to sell professional grade products at a great value.  Great value is kind of an understatement, in my opinion, because e.l.f. is so budget friendly that I had a hard time taking it seriously.  When a blush and bronzer duo is only $3.00 (compare to NARS blush/bronzer duo at $42.00), you expect it to suck, right?

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From left to right: Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths, Eyebrow Kit in Medium, High Definition Powder, Makeup Mist & Set, Mineral Infused Face Primer, Blush Palette in Light, Studio Kabuki Face Brush, Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder, Lip Exfoliator, Studio Moisturizing Lipstick in Ravishing Rose, Mineral Lipstick in Nicely Nude.

I haven’t had the chance to test drive these products around town, but my first impression is positive.  I admit that I’m pretty impressed by most of these products, given the low low low price (Next thing you know/Shawty got low low low low, low low low low/I ain’t never seen nuthin’ that’ll make me go/This crazy all night spendin my dough).  My favourites so far:

  • Studio Kabuki Face Brush ($6) – soft and full.  It’s a little smaller than some Kabukis, but that’s actually a plus for me because I like smaller tools than most.  It arrived with some stray hairs, which I snipped off.
  • Mineral Face Primer ($6) – Thank you e.l.f for using a pump! Standard clear silicone formula, feels like the original Smashbox Photo Finish on first application.  Not better than Benefit Porefessional or Laura Mercier’s Primer, but oh so good for the price.  Plus, the bottle is reusable (yes I already took it apart to investigate), which is a HUGE plus for me, as I like to depot non-pump products into pump bottles.
  • Studio Moisturizing Lipstick in Ravishing Rose ($3) – I like the color indicator on the bottom, and the formula is so smooth and actually well pigmented (which is my fear when it comes to lipsticks advertised as moisturizing – sometimes the color payoff is not so good).  The twisting mechanism of the packaging is really tight though, kind of annoying, but the lipstick itself is awesome enough that it doesn’t matter much.  Totally MLBB lippy.
  • High Definition Powder ($6) – translucent powder with a puff.  I like the packaging (I’m looking at you, Cover FX setting powder that arrived with a broken lid) and I’m hoping it’ll turn out to be a dupe for Make Up Forever’s HD Microfinish Powder.

Overall I’m really happy with the performance of these e.l.f. products, especially considering my entire haul together was around the cost of a single Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer.

InstaNatural Celluite Cream and Stretch Mark & Scar Cream

This is part 2 of a series on InstaNatural’s products!  InstaNatural is US company based in Florida with more than a dozen nature inspired beauty and cosmetics products.  They pride themselves on using natural and organic ingredients from the around the globe. Today will be about skincare products for the body.

If you want to read my reviews on more of InstaNatural’s products, follow the links: part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5.

71atX_WtyRL._SL1500CELLUITE CREAM WITH CAFFIENE AND RETINOL

Key ingredients:

  • caffeine
  • retinol
  • cocoa butter
  • shea butter
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin B5

InstaNatural’s Cellulite Cream is a powerful solution that tightens and tones the skin so you can achieve a smooth, supple appearance.  They claim that its blend of ingredients:

deeply nourishes the skin to decrease the appearance of cellulite and dimples. Caffeine tones and tightens, while Retinol repairs and restores, so you can obtain long-lasting results for a firm and supple appearance.

This cream is in a pump bottle, my product dispensing method of choice (you get a mess free, measured quantity every time!).  The cream is thick and amazingly smells like fresh coffee beans.  Though it smells like coffee, the aroma doesn’t linger after you apply the product.  It is creamy on application and not tacky or greasy, and absorbs fairly quickly.  I like this cream a lot more than some expensive counterparts, such as Clarins or Biotherm.

71usv95_OxL._SL1500STRETCH MARK AND SCAR CREAM

Key ingredients:

  • vitamin C
  • cocoa butter
  • rosehip oil
  • mango butter
  • grapeseed oil
  • evening primrose oil

This cream boosts an incredible 15% of vitamin C. InstaNatural says that this cream is

designed to increase elasticity of the skin and diminish the appearance of these marks to restore a youthful look.

I love love love the feel of this cream.  I can’t comment on the long term efficacy, since I have only been using it for a few days, but the texture is so nice that I would prefer it even if it was just a regular cream, without the stretch/scar mark healing properties.  The cream’s thickness is between a butter and a lotion, and absorbs into the skin very quickly.  Although it’s disputable whether any topical creams can help with stretch marks, I feel like with such a high concentration of vitamin C, it is more capable of living up to its claim than the other stretch mark cream I’m currently using, Cerave Intensive Stretch Mark Cream.

Because I have not used these products for more than a week, please take my review with a grain of salt as it is just my first impressions, and I don’t know if these products will live up to their claims (to get rids of stretch marks, etc.) beyond being moisturizing.

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