Radha Beauty Skin Clearing Serum

Here’s a product that was a surprise hit for me – the Skin Clearing Serum from Radha Beauty.

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Radha Beauty is a natural skincare line started by Singaporean-Indian Rebekah Letch in 2014.  In their own words, they are:

high performance with natural and healthy ingredients and partner with earth-loving, women-empowering organizations, use Eco-friendly packaging, and we never stop striving to improve our products and our impact on the world. Our products are Cruelty Free and Not Tested on Animals.

They are one of those companies that talk about how chemicals are “toxic”, which is a turn off for me.  But, since they are transparent about their ingredients and place an importance on actives, I thought I would give them a try.

Ingredients:  

Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), MSM, Vegan Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Retinol, Olive Oil Squalene, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Carbomer, (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Essential Oil), Lavender Essential Oil, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin.

In terms of actives, this serum has 2% Vitamin C, 2.5% Retinol, and 2% Salicylic Acid (BHA).  Please note that I tested this serum to be at a pH of 6-7, which is not the range where BHA is effective.

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It also has one of my favourite ingredients, niacindamide.   I have combination skin with hormonal breakouts, and these are the ingredients I usually turn to to lighten my PIH anyway.   However, this cocktail might be a con for some in that there are multiple actives in one product.  It’s not great if you’re looking for a vitamin C product but not retinol, or vice versa.

Texture

This serum is milky white and slightly runny, and spreads easily on the skin.  I especially like it layered with my bottle of Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion.  It is not moisturizing enough on its own, nor is it intended to be used as a standalone in your routine.

Packaging

Love the pump dispenser.   It’s convenient, it’s hygenic, and I always get the right amount. This is probably the biggest plus of this product versus the other vitamin C serums I have used before (I have reviewed Instanatural’s and Valentia’s in the past, which both come in droppers).

Verdict

I didn’t think very much about this product, but I ended up liking it so much that it has made it’s way into my regular routine.  By no means is this a miracle product, and while it works very well to lighten my PIH, this was something that I expected with a well-formulated product with these ingredients.  The main reason I like this serum is because of convenience – its blend of actives were ones that I was already using, albeit in separate products, and I’m a huge sucker for pump dispensers.

FOTD featuring Performance Colors Pink Choco

Ok, I’ll be honest – this FOTD isn’t from today, but from a few days ago!  I had totally forgotten to post it to the blog.

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Product list:

Face: Holika Holika CC Cream, Bourjois Java Rice Powder

Eyes: Shiro No Men Like Me, Life’s Entropy Brow Theory in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Ink Liner

Lip: Performance Colors Pink Choco

The thing about this lipstick that I absolutely adore (and puts it above my other MLBBs) is the beautiful mauvy pink stain it leaves! So so so sad that Performance Colors is closed now.

Adovia Dead Sea Salt Scrub

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Adovia’s Dead Sea Salt Scrub is a product designed to exfoliate and moisturize your body at once.

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As you can see, there is a layer of liquid on top of the salt – this liquid includes sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and aloe vera.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full ingredients list for you guys.  For a company that admonishes “toxic and dangerous chemicals”, it is disappointing that they don’t have ingredient transparency themselves.

Scooping from the bottom of the jar, I think the salt and oils come out in a good proportion.

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Personally, I’m not a fan of scrubs or any bath product that leaves a residue on your skin, moisturizing or not.  I prefer to do my moisturizing after washing (yay body butters!) and would have enjoyed an emulsifying scrub more.

This product was provided to me by Brandbacker in exchange for my honest review.

Scaredy Cat Cosmetics Samples with Swatches

I purchased some beautiful loose eye shadows from Scaredy Cat Cosmetics and I couldn’t wait to swatch them!  Their initial allure for me was their unique packaging — samples come in little trial vials with a stopper, which are packed. At 1/4 teaspoon per sample (versus the standard 1/8 tsp of most indies) and at 5 for $5 or 10 for $10, Scaredy Cat offers some of the best value for sample sizes from indie companies.  A full size eyeshadow has 3.5 g for $5 and sports really gorgeous label art.

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Left to right: Foo Foo, Hera, Don’t Be Koi, Nilfheim, Fomhar, Hedgerow, Phoenix Tears, Ring-a-Ling, Y So Sirius, Metamorphosis

USPS gave me a lot of trouble for this delivery: for some reason they claimed to be unable to deliver my package to my address, and returned it to the sender.  I wrote to the owner, Kelly, and she was prompt to contact USPS to figure out what was going on.  In the end, she sent me a replacement.

Ordered: March 18, 2015

Shipped: March 23, 2015 (undelivered); March 27, 2015

Received: March 30, 2015

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Top to bottom: Y So Sirius, Phoenix Tears, Fomhar, Don’t Be Koi, Foo Foo, Metamorphosis, Ring-a-Ling, Hedgerow, Nilfheim, Hera

Since this is the first time I’ve purchased from Scaredy Cat, I just went with my gut and picked based on swatch colors and shadow names (I’ll admit it — Don’t Be Koi was a huge hit with me because I love puns).   I was pleased to find that the loose eyeshadow formula is smooth and vibrant, and every color applied beautifully.  When buying samples, I’m usually ready for a couple of disappointments, whether it is in application or color, but I have to say I’m happy with everything I got today.

I’ve read that some people find the trial vial hard to use because they are so very tiny.  I have a few small brushes, the small smudge brush and the small precision brush, both from e.l.f., that reach into the bottles just fine.  The most annoying thing is probably finding a hygienic way to put the stopper down while you are using the vial (I do some fancy fingerwork and turn it upside down so that the part that goes inside the bottle doesn’t touch the counter).  While I always depot my sample baggies into 3 g jars, I won’t be doing that this time because the vials are so unique.

EDIT: WordPress tells me that this is my 50th post — WOOHOO!!

InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer and Vitamin C Serum

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.  Today is the 6th and final installment of my reviews on InstaNatural’s products.  I saved the best for last, because these two vitamin C products are my favourite from InstaNatural’s line!

You can read my earlier posts on other products in InstaNatural’s line here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

76L0OV3hRiOMjvyhrHqK_FrontVITAMIN C MOISTURIZER

Key Ingredients:

  • 20% Vitamin C
  • 5% Niacinamide
  • 5% Hyaluronic Acid
  • Plant Stem Cells
  • Peptide Complex

This moisturizer has an attractive ingredients list.  In addition to the vitamin C, it has two of my favourite ingredients – niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.  When it comes to moisturizer, texture is very important to me.  This moisturizer comes in a pump, and is a light lotion-cream with no discernible fragrance.  It applies smooth on the face and does take a little time to absorb, but is not unpleasant or tacky.  I used this as the last or second to last step (if I apply sunscreen) in my routine in the AM, and although I love the ingredients, I’m a little skeptical on how well the vitamin C can work because generally products with active ingredients should be used as one of your first steps after washing, not the last.  Regardless, this is a nice feeling moisturizer that does keep my face hydrated through the day.

71yEY9k9lAL._SL1500VITAMIN C SERUM

Key Ingredients:

  • 20% Vitamin C
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Ferulic Acid
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Plant Stem Cells
  • Pomegranate

This serum comes in an opaque dropper bottle, and it is milky yellow with a pleasant citrusy scent.  The consistency of the serum is not too watery, and in my opinion it is the perfect thickness for a serum.  The type of vitamin C used here is sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which is more stable than L-ascorbic acid, and can perform at a higher pH.  That’s nice because I don’t have to worry about keeping the serum out of light/in the fridge or trying to use it up quickly.  I have been using this serum every other day for 2 weeks in the AM.  In my routine, I use it immediately after washing and wait for it to dry before applying toner, moisturizer and sunscreen.

Because I used both vitamin C products in conjunction, I can’t say which one worked the magic, but magic happened!  I noticed a significant improvement in fading hyperpigmentation, especially for newer acne scars.  Although some stubborn discoloration remains, the time it took for my new acne marks to go away was cut short by a few days, which makes a huge difference for me.  Going forward I plan to just use one product or the other, to avoid stressing my face.

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Kiss Me Organics Matcha and DIY Matcha Mask

I love all things matcha, as this powdered tea is yummy and not to mention healthy, whether you eat it or use it in skincare.  Because it contains the entire tea leaf, matcha is said to have more nutrients and benefits than brewed green tea.  Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Organic Matcha is made from tea leaves harvested on a certified organic farm located in Shizuoka, Japan.

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Matcha is a potent ingredient, and this 4 oz (113 g) bag is huge considering how little you’ll need to use most of the time.  It is in a resealable airtight and waterproof bag, which is fine for keeping the powder safe, but I would prefer a jar for convenience.

Green tea is an anti-oxidant and helps with inflammation.  It has also been shown to decrease sebum production and thus help prevent acne.  This simple mask is my go-to when I’m suffering from breakouts and really needing to detox.  Plus, it smells AMAZING!   Like a mud mask, rinse off when it dries and hardens.

DIY MATCHA MASK

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon matcha powder

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Mix and apply.  That it’s!  Culinary grade (as opposed to the more expensive ceremonial grade) matcha will be fine for this mask.  Yogurt taken straight out of the fridge makes this mask oh-so-cooling.  If you don’t have yogurt on hand,  you can also substitute in 1 teaspoon water, although I prefer the consistency of the yogurt.  If you have dry skin, you can add honey.

My first Ten Three Labs order! Swatches of Hunger Games shadows, holiday salve and smudge sticks

Happy New Year!! My first post in 2015 is on some products that I’m really happy about.

OH MY GOD I was excited for this order, but Ten Three Labs has exceeded my expectations! I ordered the Rocky Blogger Sample Show, which includes 1 salve stick and 4 smudge sticks.  I asked Cara, the owner of Ten Three Labs, for any Hunger Games samples if she’s got some left over.  She sent me THREE FULL SIZE shadows instead!  Incredible.  I don’t think I’ll ever leave indie makeup now.

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From left to right: SHADOWS Not Real, Ash On Leather, Real SALVE/SMUDGE STICKS Gingerbread Haus, Princess, Nice List, La Maison Derriere, Naughty List

The order also came with some candy and a snap bracelet.  Remember those?  Helloooo my 90s childhood!  Everything is shrink wrapped, which I appreciate (PRO TIP: don’t be a dummy like me and rip off the shrink wrap on the salve/smudge sticks all the way.  Its perforated at the top so you can just take off the cap part and keep the rest protected).

Cara of Ten Three Labs is really amazing with customer service.  I emailed her with a concern about the salve stick, and she responded within the hour!  I’m also impressed with Ten Three Labs’ TAT, especially during the holiday season.

Ordered: December 18, 2014

Shipped: December 23, 2014

Received: December 26, 2014

The Rocky Blogger Sampler Show (smudge sticks edition) cost $18 plus shipping.

SHADOWS

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From top to bottom: Ash On Leather, Real, Not Real

I’m so psyched that these shadows were thrown in as freebies; I still can’t believe it since they’re all full sized.  The names of these shadows hit me right in the feels, especially Real and Not Real (OH MY GOD PEETA BABY!).  I think Ash On Leather comes from this quote, from Mockingjay:

“I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.”

All shadows are swatched with Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer on the right and bare on the left.  In my opinion, the pigmentation is pretty good even without the primer (especially Ash On Leather), although the staying power is much better with.

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From top to bottom: Ash On Leather, Real, Not Real

NOT REAL

“I need tissue. I can’t deal.”

Ethereal white with multicolored shifts. Lip safe, contains glitter!

The glitter in this is very subtle, and the color as a whole definitely feels ethereal, like fairy dust.

REAL

“Right in the feels, man.”

Dark brown base with a green shift. Lip safe!

On me, the ‘green shift’ is really noticeable, lending a camo green feeling.

ASH ON LEATHER

“No spoilers here since this is from the very first page. Wait. Maybe spoilers if you haven’t read Mockingjay yet. Okay, I will avoid spoilers somehow. But Katniss walking around spoilers and looking around at spoilers, the ash on leather remark stuck with me.”

Blackened gray.

Whoops.  I guess I spoiled it already 😛 BUT it’s the first sentence from the first page so… please forgive me.  Ash On Leather is even more beautiful in person, because the camera fails to capture the full spectrum of shimmer.  To me, the shimmer is primarily green-blue-purple.

SALVE STICK

Salve sticks are lip balms, and they are made with avocado oil and mango seed butter. I have very dry lips and most lip balms don’t cut it for me (yes, I have tried them all).  So far, the salve stick is smooth without being oily and tacky.  I find the texture of the salve stick unlike any other lip balm, and I really love it. There is a little tingling from the mint on application, which goes away quickly.  There is a slight graininess (which I think is from the way different oils cool; e.g. Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy and Julep Luxe Lip is like this too), but this goes away immediately after being warmed up on the lips.  I emailed Cara about this, and she said that it’s due to the temperature fluctuations during shipping, and is not harmful.

If my lips are already peeling, then the salve stick doesn’t really help (unlike the Clarins HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm, which makes lip peelies go away), but it doesn’t exacerbate it either (damn you Burt’s Bees!).  Out of everything I received, salve sticks are what I want to get more of immediately, to make sure I always have one handy!

Gingerbread Haus has a light sweet Gingerbread scent with a touch of peppermint.  This scent was part of the 2014 Holiday Limited Editions.

SMUDGE STICKS

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From top to bottom: Naughty List, La Maison Derriere, Nice List, Princess

Smudge sticks have the same base formula as salve sticks, but are tinted.  With the ones I got, especially Nice List and La Maison Derriere, they were so pigmented that I think they are more like lipsticks.  Because the smudge sticks are in a moisturizing base, they feel great on the lips, but their wear time is short, and with some formulas, may get patchy over time (for me, Naughty List did this).

Nice List and Naughty List are part of the holiday collection, and La Maison Derriere is a Simpsons reference.  Cara says that the main collection of smudge sticks, including Princess, will be phased out on January 15 so that they can focus on the limited edition collections, so I’m glad I grabbed it now.

I like the oval shaped tube because it keeps it from tumbling around my desk, but I had a hard time applying these properly because of the oval shape. I’m getting better with practice. I actually don’t recommend using a lip brush with these.  The formula has a lot of slip for moisture, and when I tried using a brush the colors were just pushed around but not spread evenly. With the non-sparkly colors, I found that they actually make a nice matte lip after blotting.

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From top to bottom: Naughty List, La Maison Derriere, Nice List, Princess

All the smudge sticks are swatched straight out of the tube, with two coats.

PRINCESS

Peach with gold flecks, peach flavored

Because this one is not opaque, there is a noticeable difference between top and bottom lip.  I wish the base color was stronger so that it would look less like a gloss and more like a lipstick.

NICE LIST

Coral red

This is a great everyday color for me, mellow but cheery. It actually has pretty good coverage, even with just one coat.

LA MAISON DERRIERE

Put the spring back in Springfield while wearing this dark vampy color!

The Simpsons episode that it references is hilarious, and wearing this color definitely makes me feel a little burlesque-risque. This is my favourite color of all the smudge sticks!  It takes two coats to get even and opaque.  This tube was actually overfilled (more product, whoop).  In the swatch picture, it looks patchy because the tube was overfilled so not flat on the top like the others.  I promise that with two coats it looks perfect on the lips.

NAUGHTY LIST

Deep violet with a red sheen

I found that on me, Naughty List actually shows up closer to black. This one is really hard to get an even color on, even after applying a few coats with a brush.  Because of it’s moisturizing formula, it seems to slip a lot, and it’s very noticeable because of the color.  It also makes any cracks and chapping more noticeable.  I think it looks better after blotting, but then it looks a little grey and loses its sheen.  I’m a little disappointed in this one, but I think I have finicky lips, so YMMV.

This was my first ever purchase from Ten Three Labs, but it won’t be my last!