Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Boots Essentials Lip Salve in Strawberry

When I was in London a few days ago, I was all over Boots.  Literally.  My friends thought I was insane.  It's cool.  I stocked up on some awesome products and picked up this lip balm.

Say hello to the Boots Essentials Lip Salve in Strawberry, about 1 pound at boots.co.uk.  I think I have a serial lip balm-collecting problem.  I pick one up in literally every country in every drugstore. 

The deal with this lip balm is that it comes in a little strawberry-red tube with lipstick-esque packaging (the whole red part slides up and the lip balm twists up).  The balm itself is white, goes on clear with a pretty sheen, and has a lovely, firm but buttery consistency.  It doesn't have SPF, but it keeps my lips soft and moisturized for at least a few hours--I probably reapply 3 or 4 times a day, which is standard for me.

But the best part is the smell/taste.  It's just like strawberry candies!  Like Smarties!  It's DELICIOUS.  It smells delicious and tastes delicious and the smell lingers for a long time, which I love.  If you don't like your lip balms with strongish smells, then this isn't for you.  But it makes me very happy.

Awkward Chic Rating: B+.  It's a pretty standard lip balm, cute but not excellent packaging, no SPF but good moisturizing power, no tint but a yummy smell.  It's definitely worth picking up if you're near a Boots or a Target, and since it's so cheap you can get the Strawberry and the Original (with SPF!) and the Spearmint!

Images via boots.com.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Dermelect Resurface Stem Cell Reconstructing Serum

Let me clear one thing up before I start: I'm 20 years old.  Anti-aging ingredients and eliminating fine lines or age spots are definitely not my top skincare concerns.  Generally what I'm looking for with skincare is to even out my acne-prone skin and make my skin more radiant-looking and just brighter.

The folks at Dermelect sent me this Resurface Stem Cell Reconstructing Serum to try out.  Generally, I'm terrified to try out fancy skincare products because my skin is very acne-prone and sensitive, but I liked the packaging of this serum so much that I decided to try it out anyways.  Look at how pretty that packaging is!  It's about half an inch taller than my iPhone, for reference, and has a very cool, space-age feel to it, all shiny and silver with white font.  You push down a button on the top of the cylinder to release the product.  I really like the delivery system here; it's easy to control how much product you get, and it's much more hygienic than sticking your fingers in a jar.

Here's the PR copy:

A new generation of skin care is ushered in based on the science of Botanical Wound Healing (BWH). By harnessing the plant stem cells from natures mysterious wonder- the Alpine Rose- Dermelect has infused a pioneering, anti-aging innovation for the prevention of facial wrinkles and regeneration of healthy skin. Dermelect Resurface Stem Cell Reconstructing Serum is the first to feature a dual function stem cell technology designed to boost facial skin stem cell activity and help stimulate skin’s protein production. With the first application, the cycle has begun as the serum absorbs evenly and beautifully to protect precious skin stem cells by neutralizing the environmental free radicals and stressors that threaten it.  By preserving the stem cells, the potential to regenerate new, healthy skin cells will only yield youthful-acting, glowing, smoother skin.  Resurface skin-perfecting serum utilizes extracted stem cells of the Swiss Alpine Rose characterized by it’s resilient and resurgent ability to flourish in the most unfavorable conditions- high oxidative, UV stress and environmental aggressors. Also formulated with EcoSkin, a stimulator of skin’s natural defense mechanisms and Vitamin C antioxidant to complement the skins natural healing ability. 

The Alpine Rose: Defying the odds, the Swiss Alpine Rose is an anomaly that grows remarkably beautiful while being exposed to the most unfavorable of conditions: mile high altitude, extreme dryness, severe cold and an intense sun/UV index. Usually, roses are known to oxidize quickly once picked and exposed to the environment. The Alpine Rose has an amazing extended life span of up to 100 years. The key to its unlikely longevity lays chiefly in its unusually resilient stem cells.
Stem cells in plants function much as they do in people. Their job is to maintain and repair tissue.  Adult human skin stem cells have a limited life span as aging and environmental assaults decrease their number and their ability to regenerate tissue. Plant stem cell extracts have been proven to protect skin from UV oxidative stress and inhibit inflammation. It can also control metaloproteinase activation (skin discoloration), collagen loss and tissue damage while combating destructive free radicals that lead to photo-aging.

Environmental stress and aging compromise and infiltrate the skins barrier function resulting in a drier skin and accelerated aging. Because our skin stem cells control the formation, maintenance, renewal and repair of the entire skin, the initial strategy to implement is to enhance the skin barrier by:
  • preserving the function of epidermal stem cells
  • protecting them from environmental stress
Dermelect Stem Cell treatments help maintain the rose stem cells characteristics to help protect the skin from UV stress, prevent the formation of wrinkles while reducing the look of fine lines and creases.

17 Day Study:
  • wrinkles were 45% less visible
  • complexion was 54% more radiant

I can't pretend to know anything about fancy skincare ingredients or stem cells, but what intrigued me about the serum's claims were that it would decrease the effect of free radicals and UV rays, decrease hyperpigmentation, and help keep my skin moisturized.  I know free radicals contribute to my acne, I want to get rid of my acne scars, and I have extremely dry skin, so this sounded like a match made in heaven.

My impressions:

The serum itself is clear, with a watery but not too runny consistency.  I use one pump for each half of my face and rub it in with circular movements right after I wash and dry my face in the morning and night.  It absorbs quickly and leaves no residue, and it has the most AMAZING rose scent.  It smells just like a rose garden!  It's not an intrusive scent and it fades very quickly, but it does make applying this serum more fun.

Now, what it did for my skin: I put it on only half of my face so that I could really compare it to my normal skincare routine and see the difference.  I've noticed that, over the last week that I've tried this product, the side of my face that had this serum on top of everything else I use feels more hydrated--but it doesn't look greasy.  That side of my face has also broken out less, and my acne flareups seem to be healing faster and with less scarring.  I was terrified that this would clog my pores, since it does have some silicone in it (which usually turns my face into a volcano), but it seems to be having the opposite effect!

Awkward Chic rating: A-.  It's $75 for 1 oz at dermelect.com, so it's not cheap.  I also feel like some of it's age-fighting properties are probably lost on me, but I love what it's done for my skin--keeping it hydrated, clear, and radiant.  This would be a great last minute Christmas present for an older female relative that deserves some pampering (my mom has already been eying it).

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review, but all opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Updates and Nails Inc. Magnetic Polish

Sooooo I've been a blogging failure.  I admit it.  I'm the worst.  In my defense, though, I was traveling for most of December without reliable internet, and then I had finals, and then I traveled again, and then I came home!  To a 'very aggressive case of viral pinkeye in my cornea' (to quote my obnoxiously hot eye doctor) which basically means I look like a monster and my vision is crazy blurred--apologies in advance for all the inevitable typos in this post.

But on the plus side, I have a TON of products to review and clothes to share!  First up is the Nails Inc. Magnetic Polish in Houses of Parliament, which I got during the Sephora Friends & Family sale.  It's $16 at sephora.com, and comes in chrome, teal, and purple (which I got).
So how this polish works is that there's a magnetic rectangle on the outer lid.  When the polish is wet, you hold the magnet over your nail (putting the little ridge on your cuticle to keep the magnet away from the nail) for about 15 seconds and the magnet effect shows up!  It's really cool.  I noticed that the longer you hold the magnet over the nail, the thinner/more graduated the design becomes.  I only needed one thickish coat of the polish for opacity, so you do get bang for your buck here.  The polish is a little on the thick side, which works in its favor here, but it does take a little skill to apply (hence the awful manicure, since I'm blind as a bat today, which you can probably tell from the polish smeared all over the magnet).

The purple itself is a medium, grey-ish purple with a metallic finish.  Look how awesome the magnetic effect is!  I'm sure you could get all fancy and hold the magnet in different directions for different effects, but I'm vision-challenged today and I didn't want to push it.  I just think this looks really cool.  It feels like Minx, but for way less effect and cost.  I can't comment on the wear time yet, since I just did this today, but since I did one thick coat of polish it probably won't be stellar--but with the cool swirly effect, I'm not bothered.

Awkward Chic rating: A+.  It's not cheap, but I think the end effect is so great-looking and easy to achieve that it balances out.

Merry Christmas all!


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