Friday, November 18, 2011

Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Immaculate Mist: A Review ~ By Arj

 I don't know what I was expecting from a toner-like product that retailed for almost $1/ml, but I was expecting it to be much more than just a toner. Immaculate Mist is marketed as a 'hydrating mist for problem skin,' and claims to provide 'true, intense hydration and protection by reducing redness and inflammation, while helping to heal blemished skin'.

Sircuit uses 'heavy water' in this mist, and 'heavy water' is supposedly 10% heavier than normal water and doesn't evaporate as quickly.  Many of the ingredients are USDA-certified organic, and that's always a good thing, I guess. However, there are much better products in the market you could buy for half the price.

I found Immaculate Mist to be just an average toner that doesn't really do much for the skin. It doesn't hydrate well enough to be used instead of a moisturizer, and its ingredients aren't potent enough to heal blemished skin. It feels like a slightly more moisturizing (and much more expensive) version of Tea Tree Water from Lush.

Immaculate Mist smells herbal, like tea tree oil and witch hazel. The spray provides a fine, even mist, and it could be used to settle makeup (but there are much cheaper options -- like Fix+ from M.A.C -- that do a much better job).

Immaculate Mist is by no means a bad toner, but it's not worth the splurge. In other words, it's no SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. I don't look at my skin the next morning and go 'wow.' If you don't mind spending a little extra on a regular toner with decent ingredients, Immaculate Mist could be an option for you. Even if that's the case, I would suggest testing Dr. Haushka Clarifying Toner, Lush Tea Tree Water or Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner first.

Immaculate Mist retails in Australia for $55 for a 60 ml bottle.

Ingredients: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat. (Ethanol), Glycerin, Deuterium Oxide (Heavy Water), Sodium Hyaluronate (L), Totarol™, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Limonene (L), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil*, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil*, Benzyl Alcohol. *USDA Certified Organic.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kevin Murphy Night.Rider Matte Texture Paste: A Review ~ By Arj

Night.Rider is a Matte texture paste from Kevin Murphy. Kevin Murphy is an Australian-born celebrity hairdresser, and all the products in his range claim to be sulphate and paraben free. I am allergic to sulphates, and that was how I started using products from the label. So far, all the products I have used from this label have been pretty good.

Night.Rider, however, is more than just 'pretty good;' it's outstanding. It ticks all the boxes: it gives me the matte finish I like without making my hair look or feel like straw; it leaves no residue and leaves hair natural and healthy-looking; and it has a firm hold that lasts all day.

For reference, I have short to medium guy hair. I have been trying to achieve a 50s-inspired hairstyle that is very short at the sides and loosely slicked back (with a matte finish) at the top, and I find this product perfect for this. I shampoo with Living Proof Frizz Shampoo and condition with Aurora Spa Rituals Conditioner and use this product straight after blow-drying. I had a messy haircut before this, and Night.Rider worked well for that, as well.

The formula of Night.Rider seems to be a lot more advanced than Tigi's Bed Head Manipulator, American Crew's Fiber or even Sebastian's Molding Mud. The texture of Night.Rider is not as sticky or gluey as Manipulator, and it's not dry and crumbly like Fiber. Sebastian's Molding Mud was an old favourite of mine, but I find Night.Rider to have much better holding power.

Like most Kevin Murphy's products, Night.Rider has a strong scent. It smells citrus-y to me, and while it doesn't really bother me, I don't really care for it. I love the packaging. It comes in a strong black plastic box that reminds me of a small lunch box. The clip prevents leakage, and that makes it great for traveling.

I picked up Night.Rider from my local salon here in Melbourne for $35.95.

Ingredients: Water, Lanoline Wax. Beeswax, Pvp, Lanolin alcohol, D-limonene, Propylene glycol, Behenyl Tridecyl Trimellitate, Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trideceth-10, Triethanolamine, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Yello 5, Caramel Color, Limonene.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: A Review ~ by Arj

Facial Treatment Essence is the signature product from the P&G-owned SK-II. The SK-II website describes it as thus:
This unique Pitera-rich product by SK-II moisturizes to improve texture and clarity for a more beautiful, glowing complexion. It also helps stimulate the natural renewal process of the skin's outer layer to rebalance and bring harmony to your skin. Women are so passionate about it that they describe it as their 'holy water.' It contains over 90% pure Pitera - the seemingly magical ingredient found in all SK-II products. Skin absorbs the benefits almost on contact. The result is supple, smooth, radiant skin.
 I am sceptical about the efficacy of products that are described using adjectives like 'holy' and 'magical,' so I was not sure what to expect when I started using it. Facial Treatment Essence (I will call it The Essence from now on) is a colourless liquid with a faint smell of sake (Pitera is extracted from sake, so I guess that explains it), and its texture lies somewhere in between a serum and a toner. It's watery, but it spreads easily on the skin and a little goes a long way. 

The label says you could either shake a few drops on to your palm and spread it on your face, or you could apply it using a cotton pad. I find the former method less wasteful and have been applying it that way. I shake about 6-7 drops on to my palm and use it after cleansing my face with Mario Badescu's Enzyme Cleansing Gel and Clarisonic Pro. 

One of the main reasons I bought the Essence was because I wanted a treatment to use after cleansing with my newly-purchased Clarisonic. My skin is extremely prone to acne, and this hasn't broken me out so far. In fact, my skin has been looking a lot better since I started using it. I don't know if it's the Clarisonic or the SK-II essence, but after following the Mario Badescu-Clarisonic-SK-II regimen, my skin is looking clear and healthy. I was using Dr. Dennis Gross's Alpha Beta Pads before this, the results I get from using the SK-II Essence are much better. 

My skin looks fresh, the hyperpigmentation and post-acne scars on the sides of my face are almost gone. The Essence seems to moisturise, clarify and hydrate my skin all at the same time. I have only been using this product for a week, and it is too early to talk about the lasting benefits of this product, but so far so good. 

For something that looks looks a toner, the Essence is very moisturing, and I generally use it only in the night, before going to bed. I find that it can be too much of a good thing for my oily skin during the day, and while it doesn't break me out, my skin looks shiny after a few hours. I have tried using it with the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, and the products work well together. At this stage, I'm not sure I absolutely need the Clear Lotion, but I highly recommend the Essence.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence retails here in Australia for $99 for 75ml. I got it in a special-edition Rochas-designed box (with a deluxe sample of the Facial Treatment Clear Lotion and one sample of the Facial Treatment Mask) for the same price. 

Ingredients: Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate*, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Aqua (Water/ Eau), Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben**, Sorbic Acid.