Product Review: Burt’s Bees Cleansing Cloths

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Yeah yeah, this one’s not strictly K-Beauty, but sometimes you need to get more face wash and your PinkSeoul box is on its way, so you don’t feel like paying $20 for cleanser that you might already be getting, so you go to the drug store. It happens.

I also needed something travel-friendly, since I’m taking a family vacation in a couple weeks, and I’ve used face cleansing wipes for as long as I’ve been adventuring around this world – they’re the most handy things ever. You can put them in your checked luggage in a zip-top bag with zero issues, they don’t count toward your liquid carry-on if you want them on the plane, and you can freshen up in the smallest or grossest bathrooms your travels may take you to – they work on most non-face body parts as well, just saying.

I hadn’t used any Burt’s Bees products in years and years, but I remember being a huge fan of them in college. There was this adorable hippie nature shop near the UNT campus, and it sold Amy’s frozen vegetarian meals and essential oils and Burt’s Bees products. The Burt’s Bees brand has since been picked up by one of the larger conglomerate companies that actually controls everything we buy, but from what I can tell their packaging, branding, and formulations haven’t really changed. I’ve seen that with craft beers as well; when Coors or Anheiser-Busch buys a local brewing company, they don’t change how their beer tastes, they just help distribute it more widely and take a cut of the (presumably much larger) profits. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up for you to decide, but there it is.

I got two different packages of the face wipes, since the drug store had a BOGO sale, but the one I’m using currently has white tea extract in it. For me, this is a perfect face cleanser for my morning routine. It freshens up my face just enough for me to get my toner, eye cream, and sunscreen on. Bonus: it’s quicker to use than cleanser and water! For someone who’s just perpetually late for work because why does it have to start so early, anything convenient is a winner for me.

When I used these face wipes at night, they didn’t really do as well for me – my face was a little greasy the following morning, making the morning use of the wipes less effective. So now I use my Mizon face cleanser at night, and the wipes in the morning. It’s making my regular cleanser last longer, and I still get the benefits of convenience and effectiveness from using the wipes in the morning. I’m guessing the reason these wipes weren’t doing the job for evening cleansing is because they weren’t dissolving my sunscreen well enough to take it off – sunscreen is oily, and it takes some work to remove it properly. Word to the wise: you can take shortcuts with your skincare in the mornings (as long as you’re applying sunscreen), but at night, you should go all-out on it. Sleep is when your skin repairs itself, so it’s worth investing an extra five minutes in doing your full routine properly.

I did not try these for makeup removal, but since they didn’t do so great removing just my sunscreen, I certainly wouldn’t recommend them as a solo act for taking your makeup off. One of the labels does claim that the wipes remove makeup, but I’d probably use them to loosen up my makeup, then follow up with oil- and water-based cleanser to really get it all gone. I find that wipes often work better for getting eyeliner or mascara off, because I have a little more control over the remover and I’m less likely to get oil in my eyes.

These wipes have a mild smell, definitely not perfumey, so it’s in keeping with what I remember of Burt’s Bees products. None of their products tend to be heavily-scented, and they’re generally really mild, so they’re great for sensitive skin. The packaging is good too; a lot of face wipes just have a sticker to keep them closed, and that sticker fails after about a week. The Burt’s Bees wipes have a little plastic lid that snaps closed, which keeps them from drying out. You can always stick them in a zip-top bag as well, to keep the moisture in longer. Or add a splash of water to one before you use it – you’ve got options, is what I’m saying.

All in all, I’ve used some other face wipes before, including some K-Beauty ones, and these are among my top picks for cleansing cloths. They’re great for general freshening up, for morning cleansing, and for travel. The packaging is solid, they don’t smell too strong, and they’re really affordable (I think I got both packages for $8, and that equals like two months’ worth of wipes if you use them once a day).

If you need an affordable-yet-effective cleansing wipe to add to your summer skin arsenal, Burt’s Bees cleansing wipes are a good option.

Product Review: Studio 35 Beauty Deep Cleansing Mask


This review is a little different from my usual ones, because this isn’t a K-Beauty find – I got this mask at a drug store in town. I was hanging with my bestie, and we wanted to get our spa on, so we picked up a bunch of masks on their BOGO sale.

This review is also a little different…because I didn’t like this product. I’ll get into that; let’s get started with the review.

The Deep Cleansing Mask is aimed at purifying your skin and helping draw impurities out of your pores. I really needed this the other day, because I’m doing this stupid super awesome and healthy fitness challenge this month, and my skin is Freaking. Out. All the sweating I’m doing is giving me horrible, red breakouts all over the place. They’re not cystic acne breakouts, they’re just really red and obvious and need to go away, like now.

The main ingredient in this mask is kaolin clay, which I’ve heard is the new hotness for purifying skin – I even saw a commercial for some clay-based shampoo for managing oily roots, and I’m kinda tempted to give it a try after my I Love Juicy runs out. So I was pumped to try this mask, and I was really hoping to see some results in the form of less acne on my poor, sweaty face.

This mask is bright, robin’s-egg blue when you squeeze it out of the packet. I applied it evenly all over my face, and it felt a lot like other clay masks I’ve worn before, in that I could feel it drying and kind of tightening my skin as it sat. It rinsed off really easily, which is a great quality in a face mask for me. I used a washrag with warm water on it to loosen it up, then I used my hands to rinse the rest off.

Now, I said I didn’t like it, and this isn’t because it didn’t work well or was difficult to use – it really did soothe my breakouts.

No, this stuff smells TERRIBLE.

Oh man, it smelled so bad. Like bathroom cleaner. It literally smelled like tub and tile cleaner. I’m pretty stalwart in the face of bad smells (thanks, former health care job!), so I powered through it for the fifteen minutes of recommended set time, but MAAAAANNNNN. It was a chore. My skin even smelled a little bit after I’d rinsed it off and finished my nighttime skin routine. After my morning routine, the smell was completely gone, so it won’t make you smell forever, but during the time it smells, you will definitely notice it.

Would I use this product again? Yanno…probably not. I know for a fact there are other masks out there that soothe my breakouts and don’t smell awful. It was effective, and it’s a cheap mask (especially if you’re getting that BOGO deal), but it was just not worth smelling all night.

Moral of the story: drug store skincare can absolutely be great! But sometimes you get a miss, and for me, this was a miss. It did help my skin, and it was affordable, but it just didn’t smell good. I may try some of their other masks later and see how they work/smell, for the sake of comparison. Never let it be said that skincare is not an adventure.

Product Review: Skinfood Royal Honey Emulsion


As you can see from the photo, this emulsion came to me in the form of a sample I got in my latest PinkSeoul box. I’ve changed my order from ‘pore care’ to ‘having fun with K-beauty products,’ because I’m awash with gorgeous pore care products and would like to change it up a little. Hopefully they’ll keep sending me great stuff to review for you guys!

This emulsion from Skinfood is excellent. I use it as a serum, and since there’s so little of it, I mainly put it on my chin and neck, with a little to spare for the rest of my T-zone. It doesn’t smell very strong at all, and it soaks in well, so no extra oil (always a bonus for me).

The first time I used the emulsion, I got a big surprise the next morning: the zits I’d gone to bed with had literally transformed overnight from ‘under the skin and inflamed’ to ‘open and healing!’ Wow! It’s like this serum hit fast-forward on my hormonal breakout. I kept using it with my regular skin routine, and it’s done a great job getting any new acne to open up and clear away. I think it’s the honey component that’s so great, as honey has been used for centuries to treat infections and soothe skin due to it having some antibacterial properties. There are even recipes out there for at-home face masks that include honey.

The package says to use the emulsion during the moisturizing step of your routine, which, by all means do that thing if it works better for you. I’m still using my May Coop Raw Moisturizer, though it’s almost time to switch to a lighter one for spring and summer. For me, the Royal Honey emulsion works great as a serum.

I’d probably buy this again, given the chance. I’m definitely happy with how it helped my acne, and with how it’s tightened up my face. If you’re looking to soothe and heal your skin from a nasty breakout, this is well worth looking into.

Product Review: Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash


Okay, so this one could alternatively be titled, ‘How the Fashion Bird Doesn’t Follow Instructions.’ But I got there eventually, and that’s what counts, right? Join me on this journey.

If you’ve followed the blog for a bit, you’ll know that my skin is oily, acne-prone, and in need of just all the exfoliation. So when I found out about enzyme powder and rice powder cleaners, I thought ‘Great! I can exfoliate SO MUCH now.’

I got the Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash in my previous PinkSeoul box, and I was super pumped. Not only is this some extra exfoliation, but it’s also a much-cheaper enzyme powder cleanser than the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder that I absolutely love, and absolutely can’t afford right now. Vickie, if you’re listening, you know I’d buy only your products on the regular if I could, but as it stands, I buy what I can and shill for you on all my social media accounts instead. You seem really nice on Snapchat, so I think you’re okay with this.

I do have to thank Vickie, though, for showing me how to properly use the Tosowoong powder, after weeks of getting it wrong. I’d been using it as a scrub, just putting the powder on my wet face and rubbing until it lathered up, and I was really only getting mediocre results that way (probably because I was scratching the crap out of my face twice a day). Then I watched Tatcha’s Snapchat story one day, where Vickie explained that no, Bird, enzyme powders are not supposed to be a scrub. You’re supposed to pour a little powder into your hands, put some water on the powder, then rub it between your hands to dissolve the powder into a foam. Only then do you put it on your face and start washing.

‘Well,’ I thought. ‘That explains the middling results of this scrub.’ I started using my cleanser like Vickie recommended for hers, and lo and behold! This stuff is amazing, when you use it properly. My skin feels so soft right now, and just smooth and luminous all around. My nose-blackheads are almost invisible, which is just huge for me, and some of the acne cysts I’ve been battling along my jawline are finally starting to clear up properly.

Weird how things work better when you use them as intended.

Now that I’ve used the Tosowoong powder properly for a bit, I can safely say that this is a great product, especially if you have oily, rough, or congested skin. The enzyme action helps clear away all those extra skin cells that keep hanging around, and the foaming action feels really pleasant. It rinses off very cleanly, so there’s no residue or anything left behind, even if you’re double-cleansing or washing off makeup. There’s also not a strong smell to it, so I’d definitely recommend this to any Fledglings who are sensitive to the more perfumey skin products. At $11 on Peach and Lily, I doubt you’ll find a better deal on a cleanser – I’ve been using mine for almost two months now and haven’t used it up.

Of course, as an avid traveler, one of my favorite parts about this powder is how well it travels. No melting, no leaking, no separating – it’s POWDER. I could put this in my checked bag on a plane flight and save some room in my carry-on, as long as I taped the flip-top lid closed or put it in a baggie.

I’m going to get some more product reviews to you in the coming weeks, so keep watching the blog, and feel free to send me suggestions for new products to review on Twitter!

Product Review: Lavanila Natural Deodorant

 


There are several reasons a person might want to switch to a natural deodorant – maybe their skin is sensitive to the big-box brands, or they want to try a smaller brand to support a different kind of company, or they don’t like smelling like Cucumber Moonbeam all day. Wearing the natural stuff does require a little more work than the big-box deodorant, but if you’re thinking about making the switch for whatever reason, I have some tips for you, as well as a handy product review. You can get good results with the more natural products, with a few adjustments to your routine.

I got a hot tip from a Buzzfeed article a couple months ago, so I decided to try a new kind of deodorant. I’ve mentioned before that I once made my own deodorant using essential oils, but the thing about the homemade stuff is that it doesn’t travel well. The recipe I used, while effective, is made with coconut oil, which is only solid at room temperature. Leave it in your car for too long, and it’ll turn to liquid and you’ll have to wait for it to solidify again before you can use it, or risk making a huge mess. Gods forbid the container you put it in doesn’t seal well.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use the terms ‘big-box deodorant’ and ‘natural deodorant.’ The first will describe your mainstream stick or gel antiperspirant/deodorant combos that we all see on the aisles at the pharmacy. The latter will describe a botanical-based deodorant that still goes under the arms to make the user smell better, but is an alternative brand that might be less widely-available than the Big Box kind and is formulated differently. Are we good? Okay.

I’d done a round or two with some other store-bought natural deodorant brands before, but I didn’t like them for one reason or another. The main reason was that I smelled nasty when I used them, which kinda defeats the purpose of buying deodorant in the first place. They were also weirdly sticky when I applied them, which was off-putting. So when the article suggested Lavanila natural deodorant and insisted that it works well AND smells good, I was willing to give it a try.

Generally, I steer clear of any kind of scent that makes me smell like dessert, cuz ew. So I wasn’t completely on board with the vanilla scents in this line, but I thought I’d roll the dice on the Fresh Vanilla Lemon scent and see what happened. Citrus is usually a winner for me, so I was hoping the citrus would come through stronger than the vanilla.

Lavanila is some good stuff. It doesn’t have an overpowering smell like so many big-box deodorants do, which is a big plus for me. I don’t like having a ton of competing smells on me all day. It mostly smells like baby powder, but the smell is so subtle you have to work to find it once it’s on. It also stays solid, and goes on with a kind of powdery finish, so it’s convenient to keep and to wear. Overall, it’s a good one, and I’d recommend it.

Come back in two weeks if you’re wondering what it’s like to switch from big-box deodorant to the natural stuff! I’ve got some tips to make it easier and more effective.

 

Shangpree Crystal BB Cream

Those of you who have followed the blog for a bit know that I don’t wear much makeup. When I got this BB cream as a PinkSeoul box sample, I thought, ‘Perfect! I didn’t spend extra money on it, and it won’t expire at the bottom of my makeup box.’ I do have some tinted moisturizer that I use when I need to, but I purposely got a travel size of it since I so rarely wear it.

Anyway, Shangpree Crystal BB cream. It came in a tiny packet with a pretty red label, and when I squeezed it out, the product was fairly thick, but not as oily as I suspected. My PinkSeoul box is always the one for oily skin, but I still have misgivings about any foundation and its ability to sit on my face without causing a terrible breakout.

I put on sunscreen at the end of my morning face routine, as I didn’t see anything about the BB cream itself having SPF. I tapped the BB cream onto my face with (clean!) fingers, then just kind of tapped it around until it was all blended properly. For someone who can never seem to match foundation to her skin tone (thanks, Native ancestors), this one soaked right in and didn’t leave any kind of a line around the edges of my face.

Morning photo with excellent lighting.

 

The real test of any kind of face-goo for me is how it stands up to my oily, oily face throughout the day. You know how your oil cleanser dissolves your makeup? My face does that for me! Ha ha, I’m so special. I packed some shimmer powder and blotting papers with me, in case I got what I call ‘the frosted sheet cake effect’ as the day wore on. I did blot at lunchtime, but I didn’t need the powder! Wow! I added a coat of mascara and my favorite lipstick to finish off the look, because for some reason evening out my skin tone like that kinda made my eyes and lips disappear.

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End of day photo with less-great lighting. A little shiny, but not nearly as bad as I feared!

Aside from the staying power, I really liked how well this product evened out the redness in my skin. It’s thicker than tinted moisturizer, which I hear is a quality of most BB creams, so I was able to build it up enough to get the effect I was going for, something tinted moisturizer can’t really do for me. That might be my fault. Not even denying that.

Would I wear this again? Sure! I’m still not interested in getting up every danged morning early enough to do my skincare routine AND this, but if I came across some on sale after my tinted moisturizer runs out or expires, I’d give it a run for the occasions I felt like wearing it.

The thing about makeup for me is that it’s like an art project for my face. There’s something cool about that. It’s also a moment of self-pampering that feels pretty empowering, because I like to walk out of the house feeling like I look particularly good sometimes. We should all allow ourselves to feel that way, however we go about it.

I Used Lush Toothie Tabs for a Month

I have recently decided to go sulfate-free with my hair care, in an attempt to get my greasy roots to behave. Naturally, this necessitated a trip to Lush. If you’re not familiar with the magic that is Lush Cosmetics, let me blow your mind for a minute here.

Lush is a UK company that is leading the beauty industry in phasing out animal testing for skin and hair products. Instead of testing their products on animals, they operate salons in the UK and US where willing human participants can go in for a free spa treatment, in exchange for candid feedback about their products. Eighty percent of their products are vegan, their packaging is made from recycled material, and here’s the kicker: all of their stuff makes you look gorgeous.

Are you skeptical? Because I was at first. How can washing your hair with plants and stuff make it soft and non-greasy? I was always told it was the industrial chemicals in shampoo that made it work. I’d been convinced my whole life that industrial chemistry was what made our hair manageable and ‘properly’ clean. Well, Fledglings, Lush proved me wrong.

When I was in Hawaii, the salt water, trade winds, and humidity had done a real number on my poor hair – it was tangled and dry, and I couldn’t get a comb through it, no matter how thoroughly I washed it. When we went shopping in Lahaina, I popped into a Lush I came across on Front Street, to see if they had any advice. Sure, it was organic stuff, but surely these guys could make a suggestion that would be better than the hotel conditioner. Sure enough, their Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar, combined with R&B leave-in hair moisturizer, finally got them beach waves back under control. I was a fan from that day forward.

So these Toothie Tabs. I picked them up on a whim when I went to replace my shampoo bar that had melted (dammit Texas), thinking to myself, ‘Eh, why not – they smell nice and look like they’d travel better than toothpaste.’ Since I gear a lot of my toiletries toward travel, I was intrigued by the fact that I wouldn’t have to put these guys in my quart-sized bag, and that they came in a (recycled/recyclable) plastic bottle that wouldn’t get crushed if I put it in my checked luggage. The ones that I got smell strongly of spearmint, so hey, that’s the flavor of most big-brand toothpaste, which made it an easy transition. I sniffed some others that smelled citrusy or herbaceous, and while I’m sure those have appeal to a lot of customers, I’m one of those people who thinks ‘mint’ when she thinks ‘toothpaste.’ So the minty ones were what I got.

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Bonus points for ironic product name.

After a month of use, I can safely say that these things are awesome. I brush my teeth once a day, at night, so the bottle I bought is still going strong – it’s not going to last a million years like an economy-sized tube of toothpaste would, but it’s also not leaving nasty dried goop all over the tube, and I’m not wasting product by not being able to squeeze it out of said tube. Since my husband uses a prescription toothpaste, the Toothie Tabs are all mine, so I get to use whatever I like. One of the best things about these is that any flecks of…stuff…that gets on your sink or mirror after you rinse and spit, doesn’t leave a white residue all over the bathroom like toothpaste does. You can wipe it off without having to bust out the Windex. I used to have to wash my toothbrush cover regularly, because somehow, even though I rinsed my toothbrush head, this white film from the toothpaste would cake the inside of the cover and look nasty, so I’d have to get in there and scrub it all off.. The Tabs, being mostly cream of tartar and essential oils, dissolve completely in water for easy cleanup.

How are my teeth doing? Fantastic, thank you for asking. They feel clean, they look shiny – I’m very happy with the results. They freshen my breath nicely, and when I wake up in the morning my mouth still feels clean. I’ve got several months until my next dental cleaning, but I intend to keep using the tabs and brushing/flossing regularly, so I’ll let you know what the dentist says next time I go in.

One of the ways these tabs differ from toothpaste is that they foam up a LOT more than paste. Don’t walk away from the sink while you’re brushing, or you’ll end up with foam running down your chin and onto your shirt. Ask me how I know that.

Safety Note: As with all dental care things, talk to your dentist if you’re in any way unsure about your health in the Mouth Department, and go in for regular cleanings. If your dentist has prescribed a certain care routine, don’t go against their advice and change it up. They have degrees in ‘keeping your teeth from falling out,’ so they’re the experts, not me. As always, this is one birdie’s experience, and your mileage may vary. I don’t have any major issues with cavities or gum disease or excessive tartar, so my dentist has basically said, ‘Just keep brushing and flossing!’ But if you’re in a different situation, get a professional take on it before changing up how you care for your chompers.

All in all, I’m really happy with these Toothie Tabs, and I fully intend to buy more when I run out. If you’re looking to go more natural with your health-and-beauty game, if you want to support a great company with amazing ethics, or if you just think these are quirky and you fancy trying something new, I can highly recommend them. I was not disappointed.