Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s Nordstrom beauty sale time; they’re price matching a LOT of products and brands including Laura Mercier, SK-II, Urban Decay, Dior, Shiseido (unfortunately not the product I reviewed yesterday), Origins, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Beauty Blender, MAC, Philosophy, Smashbox … you get the drift. A brief highlight reel of the 42 sale pages (42!!!):
Anastasia Brow Wiz $17.85 (15% off)
Mac Face & Body $23.80 (15% off)
Mac Pro Long Wear Concealer $18.70 (15% off)
All of the large Urban Decay Naked palettes $45.90 (15% off)
Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer $13.60-33.15 (15% off)
I like Nordstrom because a. they offer free shipping and returns, at any price point (no minimum order). They ship quickly to not just the lower 48 but to Alaska, Hawaii and APO/FPO addresses. They are awesome about returns and customer service issues. And no, they definitely didn’t pay me to say that.
Also, beauty purchases right now from the Nordstrom beauty sale come with three free samples.
Well, no need to beat around the bush. I have a new love in my life. It’s new, but believe me, it’s serious. I am self conscious about my pores on my face; I don’t know if it’s the change to being an oily skinned person living in the sub-tropics, or just getting older (shudder), but I didn’t notice my pores before, unless they had morphed into blackheads. Now … now they’ve developed a life of their own. I did a brief review of the pore filling primers in my life on Instagram a while back, but on no-makeup days, I had concerns they were all going to just slide on down my face in hot weather without any other products on top to glue them down. All of those primers are silicone based, and have that dry silicone slip to them. Then, Sephora sent me a product suggestion (gee, thanks): Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother Serum. The product was supposed to blur and fill pores and texture using a micro powder (instead of silicone like the rest of my stash). Uhhhhh … where do I sign up?
There weren’t many reviews on the Sephora page, and there’s no Sephora within a thousand miles of me to try it … but happily, my local base exchange carries Shiseido (the export line I should say), so I schlepped down one day to see if they had this item to check out.
Hurrah! Shockingly they did (unfortunately there was no tester though). They also had the other two “blurring” primers I wanted to check out, the First Light Filter Face Primer and Backlight Filter Face Primer from Becca. Thankfully they had testers of those two products to compare.
The Backlight Filter Face Primer was seriously half perfume. I’m not kidding. I could still smell it, after washing my hands numerous times that day, into the evening on my hand. It was also very glittery. Hard pass.
The First Light Filter Face Primer is lilac colored and looked pretty on my hand, though it did seem to cast a bit of color onto my skin under the store’s fluorescent lighting (which isn’t particularly cute when you are almost morbidly fair to begin with). It thankfully was sans the godawful perfume of the first (seriously, why does nobody mention that?!) but it didn’t seem to do much.
Later, in the sun walking to my car, I was glad I had passed it over as well as, while smaller and less noticeable than the first Becca primer I tried (El Stinko), it still had micro glitter, which I personally don’t care for all over my face on a no-makeup day.
Aaaand I Bite the Bullet on the Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother
Despite lacking a Shiseido tester, I decided to buy it anyway. I haven’t met much from Shiseido that I didn’t like. Aaaaaaaand you see where I’m going. It’s amazing. It’s everything I was looking for. It blurs pores. It feels dry and undetectable on the face (not so with silicone based primers). It’s completely colorless and there is no glitter.
I tried the Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother Serum under makeup next. I put my Make Up Forever Water Blend over the top. I love this foundation, but I do jokingly refer to it as my “why bother” foundation as it’s very thin and has very light coverage. Over the top of the new primer though, it seemed to be able to get its bearings and grip a lot better than over skin or silicone primers, giving a bit more coverage than it normally does. A better together pairing for sure.
You are supposed to be able to layer this over makeup as well … that often doesn’t go well, but I have found it to be true for this product. Though to be honest, personally I prefer to just blot oil with blotting papers instead of adding more product.
Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother Serum: The Not-So-Great Bits
First, there are parabens in the formula, so beware. Also, if you are looking for vegan products only, squalane oil is included in the ingredient deck. Like I talked about when reviewing the Haba Squalane product, squalane can come from shark livers or from plant-based sources. I don’t know what the case is with this product, and couldn’t find anything online in reference.
Second, the price. This bottle is tiny at .67 oz/20 ml. That’s 2/3 the size of a regular foundation or primer bottle. The retail price is $23, which is pretty steep for such a tiny little thing. To be fair, the product is pretty thin and spreads easily, and covering my whole fat face takes a pretty small amount of product. But still … Shiseido, why did you make this so tiny?
Final Thoughts on Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother Serum
If you can’t tell, Shiseido Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother Serum is a keeper. It’s in the top two of awesome new products I’ve tried in the last year, hands down. I love how my skin looks with it over my sunscreen and nothing else, and I love how it works as a primer under makeup. It is the best and sadly, for my wallet anyway, I will keep shelling out money for the teeny tiny bottles because it’s that good.
If you followed the link to the ingredients, the product has a smattering of good, botanical skincare ingredients (and squalane!). Which makes sense since it’s from their Ibuki skincare line, not their makeup line. How much? I don’t know. I wouldn’t skip any skincare steps before, but it’s nice to have a bit of extra goodness thrown in, right?
If you’re new to Asian skincare, the term lotion may be confusing as in the West, the term lotion has equated moisturizer for a long time. In Asian skincare, a lotion is a lightweight moisturizing layer, sandwiched between your toner/essence and serum/ampoule/oil/moisturizer. They come in various consistencies, from a very liquid, essence-like quality, to more viscous and can utilize any number of active ingredients to try and tackle, well, whatever it is you want your skincare doing for you.
Case in point: Hada Labo Gokujyun is a very popular (and in the West, a cult classic) lotion from the drugstore in Japan. It prominently features hyaluronic acid as its active ingredient of choice. Erborian Yuza Double Lotion is from Korea, and features the yuza fruit, which is a citrus fruit, from Jeju island. Both are called lotion, but vary in how they look and feel (and of course, what they claim to do).
Note: I have only used the Hada Labo lotion in the ‘premium‘ variety as, for an extra 100 yen or so (less than $1 USD) I could upgrade to five (5!) different types (molecular weights) of hyaluronic acid. How could I say no?
How each lotion looks/feels on the skin
The Hada Labo lotion is clear and has an interesting slip to it. I don’t notice any scent in mine (mine is from here in Japan, so I don’t know if that’s the same for exports). It takes about 3 drops, which come out of the bottle easily, and it absorbs quickly into my skin, and my skin doesn’t feel sticky afterwards. Like most Japanese products I’ve tried, it doesn’t leave an emollient or greasy feeling to my skin once it’s absorbed.
The Erborian Yuza lotion is a two-part lotion; it contains oil, and needs to be shaken before using it to emulsify everything. It has a light, citrusy scent that I personally enjoy, and which goes away pretty quickly. It is more watery feeling than the Hada Labo and is opaque and white. In fact, it comes out of the bottle quite fast, maybe because of the thinness of the formula, and is tricky to not go overboard with. Once on the skin, it absorbs quickly, and maybe because of the oil, leaves the skin with a slicker feeling than the Hada Labo lotion (it feels like you’ve applied a beauty oil, if that makes sense).
Ingredients and Claims
Here is a link to Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium lotion’s ingredient deck (in English). It uses glycerin and, like stated before, five different hyaluronic acid ingredients. Hyaluronic acid is used for moisturizing, but specifically it’s a humectant. That means it pulls water out of the air and delivers it, ever so gently, to your skin. If you live in a humid climate (like, you know, all of Asia), this is a really, really fantastic thing. If you live in Siberia and it’s winter, the amount of water in the air is pretty negligible, making it a rather useless product. Also, if you’re a paraben avoider, listed last in the Hada Labo ingredient deck is methylparaben.
Here is a link to Erborian Yuza Double Lotion’s ingredient deck. It uses oils to hydrate the skin and the yuza extract (plus a couple others) to brighten. No parabens, but fragrance is listed for avoiders of those.
My personal thoughts on the lotions
The Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium runs around $10 USD and is readily available in Japan (like, grocery store, drug store, pretty much everywhere with a roof and a cash register will carry it). It is lightweight and doesn’t make me feel greasy. I don’t personally get the “WOW” cult classic status of it, but I think it will be a very useful product in my skincare arsenal, especially when summer rolls around.
The Erborian Yuza Double Lotion costs $36 from Sephora. It’s definitely not as readily available here in Japan. I really love this product. It plumps my skin and makes it feel very moisturized, but also doesn’t make it greasy-feeling or looking. I enjoy the scent quite a bit. If I still lived in Alaska, this would be in heavy rotation year-round for me.
Final thoughts; I like both products, and they both moisturize, but in very different ways. And they are both called lotion. So let that be a lesson learned. In skincare, particularly in Asian skincare with the seventeen billion steps and products, don’t let the product’s label be your guide.
Note: The following may be affiliate links, which don’t cost you anything but can send money my way.
e.l.f. Cosmetics are kind of hit and miss for me … I LOVE their brushes, and other things I have bought from the cosmetics line have been either great, meh, or in rare occasions the worst. Luckily, the prices pretty much negate being sad on the occasional dud I’ve ordered. And they have free shipping (usually with minimum order).
Please note this post contains affiliate links.
The downside to e.l.f. when you’re ordering is, well, their low, low prices. I can’t believe I’m even writing that, but stay with me. At least if you’re cheap like me and don’t like to pay shipping, it takes a shit ton of e.l.f. Cosmetics to reach the typical $50 minimum for free shipping. *The other downside, if you’re shipping to an APO/FPO address, is e.l.f. Cosmetics ships via slow boat. So you’ll see your order in about two months, give or take.*
If you’re willing to wait though, right now e.l.f. is offering free shipping on ANY order. Just need one brush? Still ships free!
This is a pretty rad deal if you had something in mind (but not $50 of something in mind).
What do you think about e.l.f. Cosmetics? Anything amazing that I should add to my cart?
Last night I risked having to public today with a complexion akin Marge Simpson using a DIY turmeric mask I read about on Instagram. Sounds smart, right?
Before you label me a vain fool (not that I claim otherwise), the recipe for the mask came from an Instagrammer I follow who has impeccable taste and beautiful skin (and happens to create some of the most beautiful flat lays in all of Instagramdom). She had glowing reviews (literally, her skin was glowing), as did her sister whom she got the recipe from.
So now that’s squared away, you may be wondering what the recipe is. You can check her IG for the OG recipe, but here’s what I did. I did essentially the same recipe, except I reduced the quantity in case, well, I stained everything yellow and didn’t want a lot of evidence left over.
DIY Turmeric Mask
3 teaspoons milk (I used whole)
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon (ish) turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon (ish) raw honey
Whisk together, and apply in a thin layer using a brush (remember that turmeric stains like a bitch! Wear dark clothing, and be careful not to slop it around). If you apply too thick a layer, it could potentially stain your face (!!).
Here’s my little bowl o’ mask. Now came the time to apply. I applied a thin layer, per the instructions. It smells like, wait for it, turmeric. Which triggers some bittersweet memories for me, but I digress.
The original recipe says to let the mask sit for 20 minutes. Which was my full intent. Until I rinsed my little glam glow mask brush out and saw this:
My brush was stained Simpsons yellow! My brain wheels started turning and I started to sweat a bit, regretting my DIY decision almost immediately. “I regret everything!”
I decided to stop short of the twenty minute mark, instead washing off the mask once it had dried completely. Thanks I’m guessing to the flour, it dried very hard and required a washcloth to remove (built-in exfoliation, so much value!).
When I got it washed off, I inspected my skin. I had some rogue evil cystic acne spots that had sprouted right in the middle of my cheek on one side, and they were quite red (likely from the washcloth). The rest of my skin did seem very bright and, thankfully, NOT yellow.
I did my first toner swipe with a cotton, like always after a wash off mask (usually I use just my fingers to pat them in but after a wash off mask I like to make sure all of the bits are indeed washed away).
I was a little alarmed … my face was not yellow BUT …
It took four rounds with different toners and cotton before I was satisfied I was not going to morph into an Oompa Loompa overnight because of residual turmeric on my face. In hindsight, I think I should have either swiped with micellar water or a done a real cleanse afterwards to make sure I had gotten everything cleaned up.
I did the rest of my skincare routine after the mask. My face looked a bit glowier perhaps, and my active acne spots were, as previously mentioned, quite angry looking.
Today, my skin looked, apart from the acne spots … dare I say, good. It really was brighter. And the acne spots had calmed their asses down and were easily coverable by concealer (not the case the morning prior, when they were in full-on rage mode). AND most important: I was NOT yellow!
Will I do it again? Yes. Probably tonight. Even cutting the original recipe down I still have a good bit left in the bowl (which I covered and refrigerated because milk). I’m excited to see if my skin condition improves more with another treatment.
So … what’s the point of this DIY turmeric mask? Well, to briefly cover each of the ingredients:
Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial properties, and an anti-oxidant. AKA excellent for acne prone people like me.
Honey: OMG what can’t honey do? Anti-bacterial, moisturizing, anti-oxidant, soothing and clarifying.
Milk: exfoliating (hello, lactic acid), soothing, and moisturizing.
So, what do you think? Would you try a DIY turmeric mask? If you’ve tried this or another DIY mask, let me know in the comments!