Sunday Skin Favourites: Wallet Friendly Masks!

As you know, in my last post, I raved about GlamGlow’s Thirstymud Mask. I’m still obsessed, even though the mothball scent is starting to occur. Surely that means it’s starting to turn. Right? Whatever the case, I think it is pretty awesome, despite the smell change. When I wrote the post about Thirstymud, I was so tired that I couldn’t focus on writing much more. I did want to talk about all of my favorite masks and promised myself that I would write a post about them.

First, I should clarify what kind of skin I have: dry, sun damaged, mildly sensitive, with blackhead issues on my nose. Also, I do get the very occasional hormonal breakout (so annoying as my skin is dry). In an effort to take care of my skin, the products I like to use are generally in the hydrating, calming, soothing, brightening, and occasional exfoliation realm. Therefore, the products I use frequently and love are not suitable for everyone.

The masks I have been obsessed with lately are:

  1. Lush Cosmetics Oatifix ($6.95)
  2. Lush Cosmetics Catastrophe Cosmetics ($6.95)
  3. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (ranges from $3.99-$5.99)

For those of you who don’t know, Lush Cosmetics makes masks completely preservative free, called Fresh Face Masks. Every week, each store is shipped small batches of these masks and they are kept in a small refrigerator. Those of us who are obsessed with these masks know the day of shipment, so that’s when you’ll find us at or local Lush. I generally shop at the two South Bay locations: Valley Fair & Oakridge malls. Their delivery day is Thursday. For a long time, I really wanted to try them, but I always seemed to go to Lush on a Wednesday. Of course, no fresh face masks left! Finally, I went in one Thursday & decided to purchase a mask. The first one I purchased was Catastrophe Cosmetic, then a week later, I bought Oatifix. Ever since, I’ve been totally in love. Another fun fact about Lush is their recycling program. Pretty much all of their packaging is recyclable. So, if you bring in 5 clean, empty pots (make sure it has a recycle marker on it), you can get a Fresh Face Mask for free! I was able to get a new pot of Oatifix on Thursday, which allowed me to splurge on a Catastrophe Cosmetic & some leave in hair treatment.

Oatifix is a blend of oatmeal, bananas, kaolin, ground almonds, illipe butter, and some essential oils & other ingredients. I have a feeling I can make a duplicate of this at home & get pretty much the same results. At $6.95, I don’t mind buying a tub of it every few weeks. The main purpose of this mask is to hydrate & calm the skin, so it is ideal for normal to dry skin, especially anyone with a sunburn! Two consecutive Sundays, I managed to burn my face. Oooops! This helped, at least, soothe the skin and add a bit of hydration to the raw skin I had left of my face.

Catastrophe Cosmetic is another great mask for soothing irritated, angry skin. Its main ingredients are calamine powder, irish moss, and blueberries. We know how wonderful calamine is for bug bites, poison oak & ivy, and other topical rashes. Irish moss is a great hydrating and calming agent. Blueberries are little antioxidant powerhouses. Another great ingredient is Blue Chamomile, which is commonly used topically for irritated, sensitive skin. Between this & Oatifix, my skin has been able to heal itself, even just superficially. (I am well aware of the deep damage the sunburn has done to my skin & there is not a lot of repair that can be done.) This mask is great for all skin types, from super dry to insanely oily. It does have some kaolin in there, which helps draw out impurities without stripping the skin.

All Lush Fresh Face Masks are left on the skin approximately 5-10 minutes. You can leave them on longer, but I find that 10 minutes does the job. Enough time to make a cup of tea and get my bed ready for cozy time.

Finally, let’s talk about Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. If you live anywhere in the US, you must have seen this at some point in your life. Most of us have been in a CVS, Longs, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway, etc. We’ve grabbed toothpaste, sunscreen, body lotion, soap, shower gel, or any other hygiene necessities at some point in our lives. Therefore, by default, we have seen the ultimate drugstore staple: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. And, quite a few of us have used it in the past, currently use it, and/or call it a staple. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me break it down. It is a simple clay mask that is targeted for clarifying the skin, whether it be acne, blackheads, or plain old oily skin. It has the added benefit of being minty fresh. As I mentioned before, I have dry skin. So, why would someone like me use a mask like this? Because, people with dry skin get breakouts and blackheads too! Also, clay isn’t bad for dry skin. It can be very healing on any skin. I use this frequently on my nose and leave it on overnight. Once a week I’ll use it all over & simply rinse it off once it is dry. This also serves as a great pimple fighter when I get hormonal breakouts.

There are other amazing masks that are cost effective. But, these three are my favorites & the ones I use most regularly. Freeman, as many people know, make some great inexpensive masks. Anyone born in the 70s & 80s are surely Freeman savvy. Also, I do use some expensive ones as well, but not as frequently, and have mentioned the two I love before: GlamGlow Thirstymud & Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. I hope this can inspire some of you to try Lush & their Fresh Face Masks. They have quite a few options for many different concerns. They also have vegan options!! Both masks I mentioned are vegan, which is a huge bonus for me. And, Lush is very much anti-animal cruelty, so you are supporting a positive, supportive, worldly company by purchasing from them.

Hope everyone is having a great summer so far! Stay hydrated & protected! And, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope you are enjoying your winter!

August Faves!

With summer officially at an end and an autumnal breeze rustling outside my window, it’s time to share my favorites of August. I’m excited to share what I’ve been loving!

[Disclaimer: An asterisk (*) denotes something that was given to me as gratis to try. Everything else was paid for with my own hard earned money. As I’ve mentioned before, I will not review something given to me as gratis if I wasn’t satisfied with the product. I will, however, give any free product an honest & glowing review if I do love it, as I will repurchase the item.]

My absolute number one favorite of August has been the local library. I’ve always been a fan of any library, and have found our local library to been pretty awesome. The past few months, I’ve been making more of an effort to read for pleasure, but don’t want to shell out $15 each time I need a new book to read. I find that checking out a book from the library not only saves money, but gives me a deadline to finish a book. I’ve had to renew some books a couple times when I get a bit caught up with other things, but I’ve managed to get through a few books the last couple months. I highly suggest you get a library card & read!

If I haven’t mentioned, I am a skincare junkie. I love good, effective skincare that is gentle on the skin and full of skin & environment loving ingredients. I will use some “clinical” skincare if the ingredients list isn’t too scary or overwhelming, but I generally keep my skincare to the more natural side. [And, yes, there are many natural skincare lines with great clinical research supporting their products.]

I have such a hard time finding a shampoo that takes care of my scalp as well as keeping my aging Irish curls healthy. It’s been a long battle this past decade trying to find the right one. My scalp is extremely delicate and most shampoos I have tried create small sores in random spots on my scalp. Aveda’s Be Curly usually is fine, however my scalp sometimes will react to it. But, I think I may have found a winner. Aveda’s Rosemary Mint shampoo is currently working wonders for my scalp. I think this is primarily because it doesn’t have any sodium laurel/laureth sulfate or ammonium laurel/laureth sulfate in it (which wreak havoc on my scalp). It does, however, have vinegar in it. Just a few weeks ago, I had to make a baking soda paste mask & raw apple cider vinegar rinse for a horrific reaction I had on my scalp. The only thing that soothed & corrected the reaction was the baking soda & vinegar. So, I think that the small list of ingredients that includes rosemary, peppermint, and vinegar has helped keep my scalp at bay. Any remnants of the past reaction are almost gone & I have had no flare up since using this shampoo. YAY! So, I went out and bought a litre of it. Yes, an entire litre. I know that I’ll use all of it, even if it’ll take me six months. [You may notice that I like Aveda’s Rosemary Mint. The hand & body wash made an appearence in my Summer Empties post.]

This past month, I’ve used up almost of my first bottle of Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner. Back in June sometime, I bought two bottles of this toner at GNC as they were having a gold card sale on it. It’s alcohol free and has a good amount of aloe vera & rose in it, which I need for my dry skin. This toner is great after I’ve taken off my makeup. After using my makeup remover (I rotate between two: Ren Cleansing Balm or a double wash with the Sephora Foaming Cleanser) & drying my face, I’ll swipe a good dose of this all over, then let it dry.

I’ve also been loving with my Josie Maran Rosey Mist which I apply after my Thayer’s toner. Just a few spritzes seems to lock in a light veil of hydration because of the rose oil. This is superb for drier skins, although I am sure it will work really well for normal/combination skin types. I really wish I had bought two in one go, because I have to schlep all the way up to San Francisco to repurchase (I’m not a big online shopper when it comes to anything that’s not electronics). I know, #FirstWorldProblems. Next time I do go to San Francisco, I’ll hit up Sephora and buy at least two bottles.

This month, I have been obsessed with layering two Korres products in the evening. After cleansing, toning, spritzing, and slapping on one of the many serums I have (all geared for hyperpigmentation & aging), I start with the Wild Rose+Vitamin C Sleeping Facial. Oh my gosh, I know, I use a lot of stuff with rose in it. What can I say, I’m an Isles girl. So, I’ll massage that into my skin, including my neck. This “sleeping facial” can work as a night cream for normal to combination skin. For drier skin, another moisturizer can be applied. As my skin is on the drier side, I layer the Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial* on top. Man alive! This gets my skin feeling smooth, soft, and hydrated. The skin on my neck gets really rough if it isn’t hydrated properly, but this keeps my neck in check. This combination is working wonders for my skin. The Wild Rose will (hopefully) help with my discoloration and sun damage and the Greek Yoghurt is already working wonders for my dryness. I’ve noticed that if I don’t use the Greek Yoghurt cream one night, the next day my skin is visibly drier.

Like I said, I’m a skincare junkie, so there isn’t much makeup I’ve been fawning over this month. There is one thing that’s caught my eye, pun definitely intended. I’m always in the market for a new mascara, as Sephora stopped selling my one true mascara love (Fresh Supernova). Out of all of the mascaras that I have either bought or have been given to me to try, it took a long time for me to be blown away. So, when I came across a heavy tube of mascara in my cosmetics goody bag, I was hesitant to try it. The name is a bit off putting, even for a super liberal, outspoken gal like me. But, I’ve learned to ignore names of cosmetics if they get the job done. Okay, enough rambling. This mascara I’ve fallen in love with is Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara*. The name really isn’t an issue until someone asks what mascara I have on. My cheeks flush bright red and I find myself quietly saying the name. What I love about this mascara is that the brush is almost identical to the brush of Fresh Supernova. It is full, soft, and hourglass shape. And, the actual formula of the mascara is very smooth and also soft. When I put it on, almost immediately my lashes appear to look false. I get incredible volume, definition, and length. I will toot my own horn here for a moment and admit I’ve been blessed with long lashes that have a natural curl that holds. I’ve never bought an eyelash curler and I’ve never had to use an eyelash growth serum. I just got awesome eyelash genes. Thanks parental biochemistry!! But for people who don’t have uber-long lashes, you will still get great results. I’ve watched people with completely different lashes use this mascara. Just a quick pump of an eyelash curler and a couple coats of this mascara, and voila, you’ve got va-va-voom lashes! I am so glad I’ve found a replacement mascara that I can buy within a five mile radius of my house (instead of ordering it online & waiting & hoping it’s not dry, like would with a new tube of Supernova).

Lastly, laughter is always a good thing to have in one’s life. To ensure I have had a lot of that this past month, I downloaded a lot of comedy podcasts. Three that I’ve found really amusing are:
Ten Minute Podcast with Will Sasso, Chris D’elia, and Bryan Callen. There is absolutely nothing serious about this podcast. Every “episode” is, you guessed it, ten minutes long. And, every single time I am brought to audible amusement. I listen to a few driving to and from work or school and have found myself laughing really loudly with the windows down, startling people.
Go Bayside! with April Richardson. I just started listening to this podcast this week. The whole premise of this podcast is April Richardson and a friend discussing and analyzing an episode of Saved By The Bell that they’ve just watched. Like me, April loved SBTB when she was a kid, and now understands the complete wackiness of it. The conversation that happens in this podcast is amusing and entertaining and something I totally get.
I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman. Again, I only just started listening to this podcast within the last couple weeks. But, again, I’m completely amused. This is just Jen in bed talking into a microphone. And, I find that I share a lot of sentiments, outlooks, and general feelings about life with Jen Kirkman, so I find myself giggling along with her.

Wow, this went on longer than I thought. Many apologies! I do hope you check some of these places, products, podcasts out! Please do & report back! And, if you have already tried them, please let me know how you feel about them!