It’s been a long time since I’ve finished a product that wasn’t a hair product, toothpaste, or laundry detergent. Recently, though, I’ve been finishing products left and right, so I decided to round them all up and tell you what I think! I wasn’t a huge fan of all of them and some of them are kind of categorically mis-matched, but all of my reviews are my honest opinions (as always).
Cinema Secrets Professional Grade Makeup Brush Cleaner | $24.67, amazon.com
My feelings about this brush cleaner are torn. On one hand, the market of daily brush cleaners is a small one – Cinema Secrets, Sephora, e.l.f., Ulta and MAC are the only ones who have any real offering. So the fact that this one gets the job done and doesn’t leave any weird residue is more than I can probably ask for.
On the other side, though, the packaging leaves much to be desired. You can either buy this big bottle (or one that’s even bigger) and a small tin to swirl your brush around in or buy a small, travel-sized spray bottle to spray on your brush before wiping the solution off on a paper towel. I haven’t tried the tin method because of how wasteful/messy it sounds, but I’ve found that the spray bottle method wastes a lot of product anyway. Especially if I used a brush for some really pigmented powder like bronzer or a dark eye shadow, it can take up to six or seven cycles of spraying and blending on a paper towel to get the brush completely clean because of how quickly the solution dries out.
Obviously, beggars can’t be choosers and it’s hard to complain when there aren’t any better alternatives that make brushes easy to use for different purposes between monthly deep cleanings, but I can’t say I’m completely satisfied. The 8 oz. bottle comes with a pretty staggering price tag, too, so I hope Cinema Secrets can come up with a more budget-friendly option. I give it a 3 out of 5.
First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser | $20, amazon.com
As I’m sure you’ve read here before, I am very picky about my skincare products. I don’t like things that are too greasy or too scened or too irritating. I found First Aid Beauty when I was looking for a serum to help relieve the redness from my rosacea and I kept trying more and more products of theirs that never let me down. When I was at the conference I mentioned in my last article, I discovered that this cleanser was on its last leg and I started panicking that I was going to run out before I could order more. Thankfully, though, all crises were averted and I was able to replace my empty bottle in time.
I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about this face cleanser. I don’t really use it to take off my makeup (I use Garnier’s Micellar Water with a cotton round for that) but it definitely gets everything I might have missed and gunk that gets really worked down into my pores. It doesn’t irritate my skin, nor does it leave me feeling oily in my T-zone. In the words of Hannah Montana, you really do get the best of both worlds. I give it a 5 out of 5.
However, I don’t recommend mistaking it for your toothpaste. The results will not be pleasant. Trust me.
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Drink of H2O Hydrating Boost Moisturizer | $39, sephora.com
I redeemed a bunch of my Beauty Insider points on some new skin care samples the last time I was in Sephora and this bad boy was one of the things I scooped up. As I mentioned above, I absolutely love the First Aid Beauty cleansers, serums, and moisturizers, so I know I’ll always have that to fall back on, but what’s the harm in trying new things?
Surprisingly, I really like this moisturizer for daytime. It has a really refreshing scent that’s not super overwhelming, which is a nice change from some of the more chemical-smelling skin care products I’ve tried in the past. It gives my skin enough moisture without making my face feel like a grease ball, too, which is a huge plus. However, less is definitely more with this one because it won’t all absorb into your skin if you try to put too much on (something that’s really easy to do when you have to scoop it out of the jar with your finger). I give it a 4 out of 5.
Venice Beach Candle Co. Just Peachy Soy Candle | $18, shopvbcc.com
Can I just talk for a minute about how much I love artisan products? Farmers markets or Louisville’s monthly Flea Off Market make me like a kid in a candy store. There’s just something so pure and humbling about people with a passion for making something they love, which is why I will always make it a point to celebrate the awesome things I find from small businesses. Plus, I’m a self-declared candle connoisseur, so this candle and I were a match made in heaven.
I found this candle in the gift bag I received at Create & Cultivate and I loved having it lit every time I did my makeup until it ran out of its 1.5 oz goodness. This Georgia peach and white wine scent, appropriately named “Just Peachy,” was specially curated for conference guests, but all of their scents look absolutely to die for. “Fresh Mint”? “London Fog”? “Leather & Lace”? “Rosewater Lemonade”? Um… Excuse me while I wipe the drool from the side of my face. I give it a 5 out of 5.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer | $24, amazon.com
I mentioned this moisturizer in my Top 5 I’m-Running-Late Products article, where I talked about how I like to use this moisturizer after using a wipe to cleanse my face when I’m pressed for time. This moisturizer is seriously so great. Unlike the Drink of H2O moisturizer I mentioned above, the packaging of this product makes it easy to manage how much you’re using on your face so you never feel like you need to completely restart the face-washing process. It’s small enough to throw in my purse if I’m headed out the door and it’s also specially formulated for sensitive skin, which is perfect for the rosacea I’ve been struggling with for a while. I give it a 5 out of 5.
Nutrex Hawaii BioAstin Hawaiian Astazanthin Dietary Supplements | $20.99, amazon.com
I also found these supplements in my Create & Cultivate gift bag, which was interesting to say the very least. Among the different cosmetic, beauty, skincare, and lifestyle products, this bottle of Hawaiian Astaxanthin (if you can even pronounce that) was in the mix. Of all the things they could have included from sponsors, why this? I’ve always been kind of skeptical about dietary supplements – some of them seem pretty gimmicky to me. Plus, why would I want to take even more pills that are probably interfering with by body’s natural chemical balance?
This particular brand says that they support joint and tendon health, skin health during sun and UV exposure, eye health, anti-aging through cellular health, healthy immune function, cardiovascular health, and the body in recovery from exercise. The keyword here is “says”. Of course these supplements have no backing by the FDA, which explains why there were no noticeable changes after I finished all 25 gel caps in the bottle. I give these supplements a 1 out of 5.
Dove Original Clean Dry Spray Antiperspirant | $5.47, amazon.com
Interesting that most of my empty products came from my Create and Cultivate gift bag… I honestly didn’t even realize it until now. This antiperspirant spray from Dove is one I’m sure a lot of people have tried or at least considered trying, so when I saw it in my bag I was excited to take it for a test drive.
At first, I was pretty satisfied. It did leave my underarms feeling dry and soft and not slimy or cake-y like most deodorants do. The scent was refreshing and I thought the spray was kind of fun. As time wore on, though, and a few weeks had passed, I found myself needing to refresh in the middle of the day – something definitely contrary to its 48-hour protection promise and a big red flag for something I’m considering for repurchase.
Maybe it’s just me; I mean it’s certainly no question that I’m a sweaty person considering the fact that I get hot in 40-degree weather. But does that mean an antiperspirant shouldn’t meet all needs of perspirant prevention? Perhaps I’ll give this Dry Spray a second chance in the future, but for now I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5.