My Product Reviews – Where is the salt?


I looove product reviews! I pour over them on Sephora’s website, Nordstrom’s, Neiman’s Makeup Alley and more.  I love beauty blogs  and skin care junkies on Instagram.  These people are from  my tribe. Sometimes I will or will not purchase a product based on reviews.  Sometimes I purchase without regard for the reviews. I call that ‘purchasing at my own peril’.

Facts… I like facts. I like their style – they don’t care what you think – they just show up and you deal with it. I dig that. Price, texture, fragrance, packaging and ingredients are  facts and not debatable.

What is debatable is, can I  afford it? Reasonably price for me may seem exorbitant to others. Who is to say what is over priced for me or any one else?  For some,  a 600.00 bottle of serum is affordable, while for others it is half the rent. Who pays 12.00 for a glass of White Zin? That person trying to get home on a Thursday night after a week on the road and their flight gets delayed for 3 damned hours in Detroit. That’s who!!! Who am I to proclaim judgment? It all boils down to the value that glass of wine holds for you.  Double that price and bottoms up!

And texture – jelly, oily, bouncy…  What feels comforting to me might be stomach churning for others. Thick oil? Thin oil?

Elemis Cleansing Balm – Slimy or satisfying?

Packaging?  I  love a big  tub of gooey stuff. Others loathe an open jar and the thought of dipping fingers  just about sends them over the edge. Get those people some pumps ASAP!

Fragrance?  Oh boy! Some question fragrance in products while others say “Holy Hell! Could they not have masked that?” There was that ‘one oil’ that was supposed to smell like lemons…yah –  nope.  Some people loved it, some were not bothered by it, and others could not abide it.  I love citrusy skincare but during pregnancy oranges made me puke.  Really???

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle – love or loathe? 

Even those of us who share similar skin types have different issues to address. I have combination/oily skin but I have to deal with a dry environment, hormonal spots, and chin acne. Not all combination skin people share those issues. Hell, sometimes I must use gel based cleansers because I am producing so much oil the Saudi’s scale back production.  It’s all good right?    I am originally from the tropics and I can assure you the products I use in Colorado does not work in the tropics – not for one sticking, sweaty, humid, sun soaked minute – that is, if its not pouring down rain. Same me. Same skin. Different environment.

What about personal philosophy? Some of us prefer green products, some greenish, and some don’t care.  Does that preference make green products more effective or others less so? My philosophical outlook differs. That’s it – nothing more, nothing less. We can all have allergic reactions to natural or synthetic ingredients.  What about how companies source their products?  Are they women owned? Some of us care and some of us don’t.  We may have other causes that mean more to us. I say bloody fantastic!!  We can’t all care about pandas Debbie!  What about the freaking polar bears???

Green?  Greenish? Color blind?

My  product reviews are mostly opinions based product performance under my trial, on my skin, based on all my factors. Will your experience be the same?  Maybe so.  Maybe not. I am happy to share my opinions and experiences but keep a grain or ten of salt handy.  Who knows?  Today I may just be feeling blue or green.


Serums for Face and Eyes

A. Face Serums

  1. Kypris Clearing Serum
  2. Fresh Beauty Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum
  3. Kate Somerville Cyto Cell Oil Free Wrinkle Free Serum
  4. Clarins Mission Perfection Serum
  5. Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum
  6. Dr. Brandt Glow Overnight Resurfacing Serum
  7. Ren Radiance Perfection Serum
  8. Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment
  9. Grown Alchemist Brightening Serum
  10. Aesop Oil Free Facial Hydrating Serum
  11. Sunday Riley Good Genes
  12. Sunday Riley Luna Oil
  13. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
  14. Odacité Papaya & Geranium Serum
  15. Odacité Peach & Cypress Combination Serum
  16. Nude Skincare Progenius Omega Treatment Milk
  17. Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum
  18. Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Serum

B. Eye Treatments

  1. Dr. Brandt Time Arrest Eye Serum
  2. Sunday Riley Start Over Eye Treatment
  3. Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief Eye Serum
  4. La Roche Posay Redermic (R) Eye Treatment
  5. Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel Treatment

Moisturizers & Face Oils



A. Moisturizers

  1. Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Cream
  2. Kate Somerville Age Arrest Moisturizer
  3. Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation
  4. May Lindstrom Skin The Blue Cocoon
  5. Fresh Beauty Umbrian Oil Free Lotion
  6. Nude Skincare Purifying Balancing Moisturizer
  7. Antipodes Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream
  8. Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer
  9. Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer
  10. Mahalo Mahalo Balm

B. Face Oils

  1. Philosophy Back to Nurture Oil Gel
  2. Kate Somerville Dilo Oil
  3. Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil
  4. Ren Rose Moisture Defense Oil
  5. Nude Skincare Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil
  6. Herbivore Lapis Balancing Oil
  7. The Body Shop Vitamin E Oil in Serum
  8. Mahalo Beauty Elixir
  9. Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil
  10. Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
  11. Fresh Beauty Seaberry Face Oil
  12. Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex

C. Eye and Lip Moisture

  1. Kate Somerville Age Arrest Eye Cream
  2. Fresh Beauty Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
  3. Fresh Beauty Black Tea Age Delay Eye Concentrate
  4. Estée Lauder Advance Night Renewal Eye Cream
  5. Farmacy Lip Bloom
  6. Nuxe Reve De Miel
  7. Fresh Beauty Sugar Advance Lip Therapy
  8. Tata Harper Be Fierce Lip Treatment

Toners, Mists, Essences, Etc

Mask, Toners, Essences, Etc
  1. Origins Skincare Instant Brightening Pads
  2. Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads
  3. Tatcha Polished Deep Rice Enzyme Powder
  4. Cane and Austin 30% Miracle Pad+
  5. Aesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol
  6. Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner
  7. May Coop’s Raw Sauce
  8. L’Occitan Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Mist
  9. Grown Alchemist Hydra Mist
  10. Kate Somerville Clarifying Toner
  11. May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden
  12. Lush Eau Roma Water
  13. Grown Alchemist Rose, Gensing & Chamomile Balancing Toner
  14. Jurlique Rose Water Balancing Toner
  15. Caudalie Grape Water
  16. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence
  17. Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence
  18. Kate Somerville Replenishing Toner
  19. La Mer The Treatment Lotion
  20. Alpha H Liquid Gold
  21. Chantecaille Rose de Mai Rose Water
  22. Murray Essential C Toner
  23. Kate Somerville Nourishing Hydrating Toner
  24. Fresh Beauty Black Tea Age Delay Instant Infusion
  25. Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion
  26. Pixi Glow Tonic

The Masks and Scrubs

Face Masks & Scrubs


  1. May Lindstrom Skin The Problem Solver
  2. Nude Skincare Miracle Mask
  3. L’Occitane Aromachologie Rebalancing Face Mask
  4. Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial
  5. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque
  6. Estée Lauder Idealist Refinishing Treatment
  7. Erborian Perfecting Morning BB Mask
  8. Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask
  9. Caudalie Moisturizing Mask
  10. Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme
  11. Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask
  12. Arcane Wine Hydrating Mask
  13. Dermalogica MultiVitamin Power Recovery Mask
  14. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliation Treatment
  15. Arcona Tea Tree Mask
  16. Fresh Beauty Peony Brightening Night Treatment Mask
  17. Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
  18. Pixi Glow Mud Mask
  19. Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
  20. Fresh Beauty Rose Face Mask
  21. Nude Purify Deep Cleansing Mask
  22. Nude Advance Renewal Overnight Mask
  23. Fresh Beauty Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask
  24. Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulphur Mask
  25. Fresh Beauty Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask
  26. Oskia Renaissance Mask
  27. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
  28. Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant

Cleansing Balms, Cleansing Oils, & Cleansers

Cleansing Balms, Cleansing Oils & Regular Cleansers

A.  Cleansing Balms

  1. Sunday Riley Blue Moon
  2. Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
  3. Ren Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm
  4. Radial Glamtox Cleansing Balm

B.  Cleansing Oils

  1. Tata Harper Nourishing Cleansing Oil
  2. Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Clarifying Cleansing Oil
  3. Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil
  4. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Oil

C. Regular Cleansers

  1. Fresh Beauty Soy Face Cleanser
  2. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
  3. Clarins Cleansing Milk
  4. Perricone MD Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment
  5. Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser
  6. Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser
  7. Nude Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly
  8. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip
  9. Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser
  10. May Lindstrom Skin The Honey Mud
  11. Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser
  12. May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt
  13. Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
  14. Kate Somerville Milk Cleanser
  15. Ren Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser
  16. La Roche Posay Physiological Cleanser
  17. Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser
  18. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Daily Foaming Wash

AM Fall and Winter Routine – Over 40 Skincare

Fall and Winter in Colorado can be very dry.   Even combination skin like mine suffers from dehydration in this climate. Plus, the process of aging robs the skin of necessary moisture. So, while in the warmer months I may use skincare products with less oils, in the winter I tend to add oils to my routine.


Cleansers from left to right: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, Nude Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly , Eve Lom Morning Cleanser, Tata Harper’s Nourishing Oil Cleanser, Purifying Cleanser, Regenerating Cleanser

I cleanse once in the morning. I use oil cleansers and gel cleansers – depending on the needs of my skin.  If my skin is dehydrated I use Tata Harper’s Nourishing Oil Cleanser or Tacha’s One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. Both are pure bliss for dry skin! For congested skin I use Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser (added perk? this one is exfoliating) or her Purifying Cleanser.

Tacha Camilla Cleanser
Tacha Pure One Step Camilla Cleansing Oil

For mornings when my skin is behaving I use Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser (this feels luxurious on skin), Nude Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly (again – just lush on skin) or Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.


Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask, Nude Skincare Miracle Mask, Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

I use a facial mask about three or four times per week and  mostly at night. There are a few I will use in the morning if time permits or, if the reflection in my mirror is really scary. Dermologica’s Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque for all around help (cue the scary reflection), Nude’s Purify Deep Cleansing Mask for decongested skin, and Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask for extra brightness.


Origins Modern Friction Instant Brightening Pads, Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads, Murad Essential C Toner, Pixi Glow Tonic
Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence, Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence, Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, May Coop Raw Sauce

I use the toning portion of my routine for two reasons – 1. to exfoliate (remove dead skin cells and help turn over new cells) and 2. to add moisture back into my skin from the exfoliation. Those exfoliating pads generally mean business! I use Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads if I have hormonal breakouts. Ugh, I loathe those things – just sitting there looking ugly! Origins Modern Friction Instant Brightening Pads provides some added brightness to dull skin. Pixi’s Glow Tonic – well, just bring on the glow!

After exfoliation I pat or spray on an essence or rosewater toner.  The essences usually adds brightness or provides some anti aging effects and the rose water is hydrating and smells fantastic.  I am currently enjoying Tata Harper’s Brightening Essence and her Hydrating Floral Essence, May Coop’s Raw Sauce (excellent under makeup), Jurlique’s Rosewater Balancing Mist, and Murad’s Essential-C Toner.

Serum or Treatment

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex, Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Serum (sample), Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum, Ren Radiance Perfection Serum

Serum or Treatment depends on  my skin’s needs. If my skin is dry I use a hydrating serum.  If behaving, I use something else that provides benefits for my aging skin.  A few of my favorites are Tata Harper’s Rejuvenating  Serum and Boosted Contouring Serum for brightness and anti aging, and her Replenishing Nutrient Complex for hydration.  Ren’s Radiance Perfection Serum provides hydration and brightness.

Face Oils

I don’t use a face oil every day in my AM routine.  If I will be applying makeup I bypass the oils. I use oils for treatment or hydration or, in my PM routine.   A few of my favorites for day time are Tata Harper’s Beautifying Face Oil and Replenishing Nutrient Complex, Nude’s Rescue Oil, and Fresh Beauty’s Seaberry Moisturizing Oil. For my skin type a little goes a long way!

Nude Skincare Rescue Oil, Fresh Seaberry Moisturising Face Oil, Tata Harper Beautifying Oil


Ole Henriksen Truth Creme, Tata Harper Reparaitive Moisturizer, Fresh Umbrian Clay Oil-Free Lotion

I rarely ever use a heavy moisturizer. I typically stick to gel or oil free moisturizers.  One of my all time favorite gel based moisturizer is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Gel Moisturizer.  I also enjoy Tata Harper’s Repairative Moisturizer, Fresh Beauty’s Oil Free Lotion, and Ole Henriksen’s Truth Creme – a little heavier but does some good work when called upon.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

A few weeks ago I posted my PM Fall & Winter routine.  Read that post here:

Cleansing Balms – My Thoughts and Ramblings

OK let me preface this by saying I am no Caroline Hirons.  My only stake in this game is my own skin – literally! I have combination/oily skin which has been getting drier as I age or maybe its because I live in Colorado. Or maybe both reasons??? See first sentence.

The cleansers of my yesteryears  (Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap is one that I used for years)  were too drying and provided no other benefits for my skin.  I now use Philosophy Purity Made Simple as a first cleanse. This removes even stubborn mascara and does not leave my skin feeling like an old shoe.

Time for changes.

Cue the “Cleansing Balms”. I find that a cleansing balm keeps the moisture (or replenishes – not sure – see first sentence) in my skin. I wanted to try a few with ingredients that were nourishing for my aging skin. Here are my thoughts on the ones I’ve tried.

     Darphin Aromatic Purifying Cleansing Balm

Darphin Aromatic Purifying Balm – I purchased this from Amazon and this is a bit pricy.  The tiny 0.4 oz packages cost $66.76.  This can also be purchased from Darphin’s website.  The picture above is linked to Darphin’s website.


The Aromatic Purifying Balm has the most dense texture of all of them.  And it is truly aromatic. This has a “mediciny” fragrance. My husband says an ‘herbal, menthol kick”.
It has a consistency of vaseline but when you massage it into warm skin it turns into a velvety, buttery texture. Some people leave this on their face overnight.  I would not try this as I have oily skin. I remove with a warm wash cloth.


I do like this one.  This leaves my skin feeling soft and silky.  It does not cause any breakouts on my skin and most importantly leaves it feeling hydrated. I am not sure I will repurchase this just because of the price.

                           Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

Ellemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm – this one was also purchased from Amazon. I linked the above picture to TimeSpa also. This contains 0.7 oz. and cost $13.20. Amazon also has a 3.7 oz. package for $29.51.

This balm has a velvety texture like chocolate pudding. When massaged into the skin it feels pretty much like the Daprhin.


The Elemis cleansing balm has a slight lemon scent but there is also that slight medicine smell in the background. I do enjoy this one. It melts in much easier than the other two balms. I will use this one for travel since it is in a travel friendly size.

                      REN Rosa Centifoliia Cleansing Balm

REN Rosa Centifoliia Cleansing Balm – This was purchased from Sephora and comes in at a whopping 5.1 oz. This one is the most economical coming in at $48.00.  In my opinion it works just as well as the others.

This has a thick consistency. IMG_6737It almost looks like Vaseline in the tub but when massaged into the skin it turns into the same velvety, buttery consistency and melts right in.

The REN is the least aromatic of the three I’ve tried. It smells kind of like Vaseline to me. Nothing special.

This works great. It leaves my skin feeling soft and full of moisture. I use a warm wash cloth to remove since this is pretty greasy.


I will be repurchasing this one. REN does what I want it to do which is cleanse and hydrate and it does so at a great price point. What more can i ask? Make the bed? I would love to hear how others have used cleansing balms and what are the results.

Fall Haul – Bath and Body Works – Candles, Foaming Hand soap

My husband says we have a “candle problem” in our house.  Yes, when we are low on candles it is a problem.   I buy Yankee Candles from TJ Maxx all year round – they are much cheaper than going to the actual Yankee Candle store.  Whenever I visit TJ Maxx I set aside some time to smell the candles and usually end up bringing a few home with me. I don’t discriminate – if they smell good they get to come home with me.

Village Candle - Apples N Acorn

This one is from Village Candle via TJ Maxx. This one smells like fall.  It does not smell like apples and I am not even sure I know what acorns smell like but this smells like leaves.  And, according to my son, a little “cinnamony”.  The fragrance is lovely and its the homework candle.

Bath & Body Works Fall Candles
Bath & Body Works Fall Candles

Last week Bath & Body Works had their three wick candles on sale. They are usually $22.50 each.  They had them 2 for $24.00. I stocked on a all my Autumn favorites and a few just for fun. Don’t you just love the copper lids?

Leaves & Sweater Weather
Leaves & Sweater Weather

Leaves has been a favorite of mine ever since they released it.  You can get the one with the fall label or you can get the one pictured above with the more understated look. Bath & Body Works says this “smells like glittering golden nectar, red apple & spiced berries.”

Sweater Weather is also one of my favorites.  According to the Bath & Body works website you can “snuggle up with a cozy blend of aromatic eucalyptus, juniper berry & fresh sage”.  Now that I think about it … yes, thats what it smells like!

IMG_6440 (1)

I picked up the Mahogany and Teakwood for my son.  He loves this one for his bathroom. This one does smell a little warmer and has a more traditional masculine scent – mahogany, oak, and a soft lavender smell.

My niece quickly commanded the Apple Flower one for her room. She loves the mix of apple with a hint of citrus.


My husband and I commandeered this one for our bedroom. The Eucalyptus Spearmint aroma is really fresh and relaxing at the same time.

Three Wick Spooky Halloween Candle  The Spooky Vanilla smells like vanilla with a hint of something sweeter.  Our children will enjoy this packaging for Halloween.  The temperature was in the high 80″s in the greater Denver area today but my house smelled like fall!

This week I see they are having a sale on the medium candles – $7.00 each down from $12.50.  I see stocking stuffers!  They also have the mini ones on sale 3 for $12.00 down from $4.50 each.

Bath & Body Works Foaming Hand Soap
Bath & Body Works Foaming Hand Soap

These were my final purchases.  We can never have too Foaming Hand Soaps. What are your favorite fragrances from Bath & Body Works?

PM Fall & Winter Skincare – Over 40

I am just realizing that skincare for a 40 something year old needs to be completely different from yesteryears. This is a fight – knock down, drawn out, no holds barred affair to keep my skin looking healthy. I am pretty sure that there are no potions that will completely stave off the inevitable aging but can we at least slow it down?

I did quite of bit of research, and by that I mean I’ve watched tons of YouTube videos and read oodles of blogs, in an effort to see what other women are doing to keep their skin as young looking and as healthy as possible. Turns out there are as many routines and “I swear by’s” as there are women.

I have combination/oily skin and I have figured out a routine that works for me – well a few routines really. This post will focus on my PM routine. As it turns out I had one thing really wrong.  I thought because I had mostly oily skin I should avoid oils at all costs. Nope. Totally wrong.

First Cleanse

Purity Made Simple

I use a double cleanse routine I got from Caroline Hirons.  I start in the shower with Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple to wash off all my makeup and/or sunblock. This I consider my 1st cleanse. Some say the shower is too hot for the face but I don’t take hot showers and I find it works just fine for my first cleanse.

Second Cleanse

Next I use a cleansing balm. I have tried three of these and they all work well. There are a few differences in texture, fragrance, and price. Since I have oily skin a simple rinse will not do to remove the residue from the cleansing balms. I use a warm washcloth to remove. Darphin Aromatic Purifying BalmElemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing BalmREN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm are the ones I have used.  The REN retails for $48.00 and contains 5.1 oz. The Darphin was 67.99 on Amazon and the Elemis, also from Amazon, was $13.20 for 0.7 oz. I think I will stick with REN because its more economical and works beautifully.

REN, Darphin, Elemis
Cleansing Balms – Ren, Darphin, and Elemis


Next in my PM Routine is toner. I use the Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads. This comes in a 4.35 oz package and cost $75.00.  I would certainly not use this on sensitive skin. It does have a little sting but I figure that’s the good stuff working!

Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads
Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads

This is something that I recently added to my routine.  Caroline Hirons says an acid toner is a must for women over 40. Its pretty much at the top of her list. I love what she has to say about Anti-Aging. OK – one more from Mrs. Hirons. She shoots from the hip and is hilarious! The last tip in this blog post really put some things into perspective.


I apply a serum every night after toner.  Right now I am using REN Radiance Perfection Serum. This comes in a tiny bottle which holds 1.02 oz and cost $55.00. I only need a small amount of this to cover my entire face. I let the toner dry first and then apply to my face and neck.

REN Radiance Perfection Serum
REN Radiance Perfection Serum


I use  two moisturizers. I use the REN Rose O12 Moisture Defense Oil. This is my favorite part.  My cleansed skin gets to soak up this oil.  The smell of this one is a little bit unpleasant even though it says “rose” in the name. This is a very small bottle.  It has in only 1.02 oz and cost $80.00 but a little goes a long way and  – it – feels – fabulous!

REN Rose O12 Moisture Defence Oil
REN Rose O12 Moisture Defense Oil

After I am done massaging in the oil I use the REN V-Cense Revitalizing Night Cream. This comes in a pump bottle that holds 1.7 oz and cost $55.00. Again this can be construed as a bit pricy but I apply it over the oil and I only have to use a tiny bit.  This moisturizer also kills the smell of the oil.  According to some blogs I’ve read, nothing penetrates the skin after applying oil.  That makes sense to me but putting the moisturizer over the oil neutralizes the smell and it also makes your face less greasy. So… why not?

REN V-Cense Revitalizing Night Cream
REN V-Cense Revitalizing Night Cream

This is my PM routine and I love the way my skin is improving.  Hopefully in another few weeks I will have turned back the clock.  Is that asking too much?