Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Citron collection

For as much as I can be fickle with beauty products, I tend to buy things like soap, body wash and moisturizer in bulk at Costco. Which means I’ll be using Dove bars and Neutrogena body wash for the next four years or so. But in between pulling yet another monstrous container from the basement, sometimes I like to slip in something different (the last time it was Whish body wash).

This month, I’ve been using some products from Crabtree & Evelyn’s new Citron line. C&E is a name I know well, but I don’t think I had every used their stuff before. The line features “botanically based range features natural extracts of lemon, honey, and coriander, as well as nourishing orchard fruits, refining AHAs, purifying herbs, as well as skin conditioning shea butter and evening primrose oil.”

The first thing I check out when it comes to bath and skin products is the scent. As you probably guessed from the name, these products have a light, citrusy smell. Which is one of my favorite type of scents, so it definitely works for me. It’s a fairly strong fragrance, but not overpowering. And it’s not the kind of thing that will compete with your perfume after it soaks in.

I’ve been using the Skin Cleansing Bath & Shower Gel, and the Skin Quenching Body Lotion. I like both — the gel is nice and bubbly (would work well for a bubble bath, I imagine) and the lotion is moisturizing without being too heavy. The line also includes a body bar and body scrub.

{Disclosure: Sample products provided for editorial consideration}

Review: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask sat in my Sephora wish list for months, before I finally got it for Christmas. Back when I wrote my review of the Pur Minerals mud masque, I referenced a cheap drugstore mask that my sister and I used to use when we were younger. It was fun to peel off, but I think that was the only benefit. Well, the Boscia mask has the fun of peeling at the end, but actually does good things for your skin.

Here’s the official blurb: This jet-black, mineral-rich mask creates a unique peel-off effect that delivers powerful detoxifying, purifying, and brightening results. Made with a premier-quality clay, its deep-cleansing properties draw out dirt and oil. Other natural ingredients go to work exfoliating skin and refining pores. Powerful antioxidants shrink pores, firm skin, and reduce inflammation. Once dried, the mask strips away dead skin, impurities and excess oil to reveal immediate and visible results.

The mask gets applied in a thick, gooey layer and like all masks, needs to set for about 20 minutes. At that point, it should be dried up and ready to be peeled off. While my skin felt smooth, I didn’t feel as drastic a difference in my skin as with mud masks — but it also wasn’t as drying as those masks can be. I’d say it’s a good choice if you like peeling, have dry skin, or are intimidated by mud masks.

Warning: If you walk into your dimly lit bedroom with this mask on, you will scare the crap out of your husband.

Review: Borghese Bel Viso Facial Skincare Set

If I could get facials on a weekly basis, I would. But sadly that occurs more like twice a year. So when I got Borghese’s Bel Viso Facial Skincare Set in the mail, I had myself a little at-home spa day.

The set includes:

  • 2.5 oz Esfoliante Delicato
  • 1 fl oz Fluido Protettivo advanced spa lift for eyes
  • 4 fl oz Effetto Immediato spa soothing tonic
  • 2.5 oz Fango active mud for face and body
  • 1 fl oz CuraForte moisture intensifier
  • 1 fl oz Crema Straordinaria Da Giorno SPF25
  • 1-oz Dolce Notte re-energizing night creme

Along with the set, you get instructions for how to use the products and in what order. The only product I haven’t tried yet is the SPF cream, but everything else was great. I had actually been using the CuraForte for a while now, and it’s become a staple in my routine–I use it before I moisturize and it’s really helped my super dry winter skin. The Fango mud mask was in one of my holiday gift guides as well (and made it under the tree for one of my aunts).

Let’s be honest, nothing replaces going to a spa, but if you’re budget-constrained like me, this is a really nice option. And don’t forget, Mother’s Day will be here before you know it!

Disclosure: Sample products provided for editorial consideration.

His and hers review: Spongeables

Well, this is one of the more unusual items I’ve ever reviewed. And for the first time, I have a mini-review from Geoff as well! It’s a momentous day.

If you’ve never heard of them, Spongeables are these cool sponges (I know, tough one to figure out from the name) with soap infused into them. They kind of look like natural sea sponge, except they come in colors like pink and blue, which I’m fairly confident do not exist in nature. Anyway, the concept is pretty obvious — you get your sponge and your bath wash/soap all in one. To use it, you wet the sponge and squeeze it to soften it up, then use like you would a normal sponge or loofah. These come in all sorts of variations, ranging from one for cellulite (yes, seriously) to cute kid-versions to one for men.

So what did I think? It’s an interesting concept. I’ve been using one for about a week now, and it’s still lathering plenty (it’s supposed to last for 20 washes). The scent is fine, and I certainly feel like it’s getting the job done.

Now for the male perspective: Geoff has been using the men’s version for about a week as well. Let me preface this by saying that he uses whatever products I put in the shower for him, which are usually purchased in bulk at Costco, so he’s certainly not an expert. But I’m guessing your husbands/boyfriends aren’t either, so it’s perfect. Back to the point — I asked him last night what he thought of his Spongeable. He said the smell was good and it was soapy enough for him, but it’s a little abrasive. Which I have to agree with. When you’re used to a loofah, the sponge feels a little bit rough on your skin. However, I figure it’s probably doing some exfoliating, so I don’t consider that a negative.

So would I buy these in the future? I have a two part answer to this. I love buying new body washes and using them with my loofah, and I don’t see that changing. However, I would totally bring one of these on vacation with me. I don’t know about you, but I HATE having to use a washcloth to shower when I’m staying in a hotel. And bringing a loofah just isn’t a great alternative. It would be super easy to pop one of these in your bag and just toss it at the end of the trip.

What do you think — great idea, or a little too weird?

Review: Boscia moisturizer and face wash

Years ago, I won a sample pack of Boscia products, but at that time they weren’t easy to find, so I never used them again. But recently, they started showing up at my local Sephora, which prompted me to try them again.

First up is the Vital Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, which is my current daytime moisturizer of choice. Intended for normal to dry skin, it contains several key ingredients, including willowherb (an anti-irritant), wine yeast (to combat environmental damage) and jojoba leaf (an antioxidant).

The good stuff:

  • I love the consistency of this product — not too light, not too heavy.
  • It has a nice smell that doesn’t bother me at all (and I can be a bit sensitive to scents).
  • A little bit goes a long way. I use less than a dime-sized amount for my whole face.
  • With an SPF of 15, it’s sufficient for daily wear.

The not-so-good stuff:

  • My only real complaint is that the tube is TINY (1.4 oz) so I know I’ll have to replace it pretty quickly, even though I don’t need a large amount each time.
  • It’s not terribly expensive compared to other beauty brands, but the cost per ounce isn’t great.

Overall consensus: Two thumbs up. I plan to buy this again when it runs out.

The other Boscia product I’m using is the Purifying Cleansing Gel. It’s a soap-free makeup remover and cleanser that moisturizers, purifies and calms your skin. The clutch ingredient here is green tea, which combats free radical damage and keeps skin looking younger.

The good stuff:

  • First and foremost, my face feels really clean after using this. Sounds like a given, but it’s not. It lathers up nicely, which I love, but doesn’t dry out my face.
  • This is a great cleanser to use with a Clarisonic Face Brush.
  • Like the moisturizer, a little bit goes a long way.

The not-so-good stuff:

  • The scent is strong. I’ve gotten used to it, but it definitely won’t work for everyone.
  • Because it lathers, this probably isn’t the best option for anyone with super dry skin.

Overall consensus: I definitely like it. I tend to not spend as much on cleansers as I do on moisturizers, so I’ll have to think about it when I use this up. But I’d definitely recommend if you’re looking for something a step up from drugstore brands, but not too pricey.

Have you used any Boscia products? If so, what’s your review?

Melvita harnesses the power of plant oils {sponsored post}

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t necessarily seek out natural or organic beauty products, but when a company focuses on healthier ingredients, I consider it a big bonus. The latest company to cross my radar is Melvita, who specializes in organic skin care products. The company was created by a beekeeper, whose first products were based on ingredients from the hive, and later expanded into other natural ingredients.

One of the major components of the Melvita line is based on plant oils, including the recently popular argan oil, along with avocado oil, jojoba oil and a slew of others.

Other products of note include some adorable animal-shaped soaps (perfect for a kid’s bathroom) and shea butters in fabulous little tins.

I hate to rush through the seasons, but I have to say that there are some great stocking stuffer ideas here!

{This post was sponsored by Melvita}

Congratulations to the Perricone Cold Plasma winner!

Apparently people REALLY like Perricone MD, because this was my most popular giveaway yet. Many of you had great reasons why you wanted to try Cold Plasma, but unfortunately there can be only one winner.

And that winner is…Tina B! Tina said “I’m 45 and I have fine lines, wrinkles and my skin isn’t as taut as it used to be! I feel Cold Plasma would benefit me greatly!”

Congratulations, Tina! Make sure to respond to my email to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Giveway: Perricone Cold Plasma

Did you see my review a couple of weeks ago of Perricone Cold Plasma? In case you missed it, Cold Plasma is the latest rage from Perricone Cosmeceuticals, and promises to address the 10 most visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, discoloration, loss of firmness and redness.

Like many top beauty products, this one doesn’t come cheap. However, Perricone has offered one lucky Beautify My Life reader the chance to win a full sized Cold Plasma (a $150 value) so you can try it for yourself!

To enter:

  1. REQUIRED: Leave a comment telling me why you want/need to win this Cold Plasma. Don’t forget to leave your email address.
  2. Bonus entry: Become a follower of @beautifymylife on Twitter. Leave a separate comment with your Twitter name.
  3. Bonus entry: Tweet the following: Enter to win Perricone Cold Plasma from @beautifymylife: Then come back here and leave a separate comment with a link to your tweet.
  4. Bonus entry: Become a new follower of this blog via Google Friend Connect (see right sidebar). Leave a separate comment to let me know you followed.
  5. Bonus entry: “Like” Beautify My Life on Facebook. Leave a separate comment and let me know that you’re a fan.

Leave a separate comment for each entry!

Contest is limited to the United States and Canada. The giveaway will end at 5pm EST on Sunday, October 10th. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond, or I will choose another winner. Good luck!

For more on my giveaway policies, click here.

Review: Perricone Cold Plasma

If you’re 35 years old with slightly oily skin and problems with redness, there’s a moisturizer for you. If you’re 17 with dry, sensitive skin, there’s a moisturizer for you. If you’re 50 with aging skin and occasional breakouts, there’s a moisturizer for you. It seems these days like skincare companies have started focusing their efforts on very specific groups of people, or very specific issues.

Meanwhile, Perricone Cold Plasma bills itself as being “one solution for all ages, all skin types.” This relatively new product is the result of five years of research by a company already known for its top products. Cold Plasma promises to address the 10 most visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, discoloration, loss of firmness and redness.

I’ve been using Cold Plasma for a few weeks now, and it’s very different than other creams and moisturizers I’ve used. It’s much lighter than I would have expected (compared to heavy night creams) and love the consistency. It goes on really nicely and sinks in very fast. Oh, and it has a little spoon thing (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this) that you can use so you don’t have to dipĀ  your germy fingers into the pot. Anyway, Because I’m used to using a heavier moisturizer, particularly at night, I wasn’t sure if this would do the job on my dry skin. However, I’ve found that my skin feels great in the morning after using Cold Plasma.

And for daytime use, it’s perfect under makeup because there’s not a hint of greasiness, and again, it sinks in really well. As I’ve said before, as a 20 something, I don’t expect to see a huge turnaround in my skin from using any one product. But I can absolutely tell the difference in my skin condition when I’m using certain products. This one definitely gets a thumbs up.

{Product provided for editorial consideration}

Review: Tammy Fender Clarifying Dermagel

The longer I maintain this blog, the more amazed I become at the number of fashion and beauty brands out there that I was previously unaware of. The latest brand I’ve been introduced to is Tammy Fender. Tammy’s products are based on the principles of holistic medicine, so every ingredient is carefully considered, and natural. This is the kind of line I imagine hardcore yogis loving.

I was able to sample the Clarifying Dermagel from Tammy’s line, which promises that it “relieves redness and irritation, helps prevent scarring, accelerating the healing of acne and inhibiting the production of excess oils without drying the skin.”

I don’t have very acne-prone skin, but I definitely have redness issues, as I’ve mentioned (thanks, Mom). For some reason, I’ve been having some issues lately with irritations and minor breakouts. However, I didn’t read the Dermagel bottle very closely, so I didn’t even realize that it helps with acne and other irritations. Well, two days after I started using the gel, my face was significantly more clear. Then again this week, I hadn’t been using the gel and was having some skin issues. I added it back to my nightly routine, and my face is already looking better. It’s rare that I’ll see such marked results from a skincare product, but I definitely did with this one.

But there is a downside: the scent. The Dermagel has a VERY strong scent that is a bit off-putting. The best way I can describe it is herbal/aromatherapy. It’s not a bad smell, just a little overwhelming. The good news is, after 5-10 minutes when the gel soaks in, the smell becomes much less apparent. And it’s not just because your nose gets used to it, because I made my husband smell my skin (yes, I’m weird) to make sure it wasn’t bad.

So if you’re a person who’s very sensitive to smells, I’d probably skip this product. But if you think you can handle it, the Clarifying Dermagel is definitely worth it based on the results I saw.

If you’ve tried any other Tammy Fender products, let me know your thoughts in the comments!