Scrubbed Raw: An Adventure In Exfoliants

Scrubbed Raw: An Adventure In Exfoliants

My beautiful little coral cabbages! Welcome back!

So, over the past couple weeks, I’ve been doing an experiment for you. Skin care is one of my most fundamental joys in life, as you may have come to realize, and while I’m willing to spend absurd amounts of money on that one aspect of my ‘routine’, I realize that not everyone is able or even willing to. So I’m going to spend some time talking about products in various price ranges, starting with exfoliating scrubs! Now, keep in mind that there are many MANY exfoliating products out there on the market. Just because I chose these three doesn’t mean they’re the be-all-end-all. I chose them because they were all formulated to work well with my skin type, fit in the three price points I had in mind, and were all slightly different. If none of them sound appealing to you, please don’t take my word as law.

Also, for those of you concerned about environmental effects – most exfoliating scrubs are made with either shells or microbeads. How environmentally friendly these are depends on how they’re composed. But usually, they’re not super ‘green’. This is really too bad, but I’ll try to touch on how ‘green’ and natural each product is as I discuss it. If you want the same effect without those ingredients, I suggest you look at peels. They’re harsher products for your skin, but with proper use provide much of the same effect. Options! We have them, and it’s a beautiful thing!

Let’s get reviewing, shall we?

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So, I’ve decided to start with the most expensive of the bunch. This is, naturally, the Sisley Paris Botanical Gentle Buffing Face Cream. Coming in at a whopping $95 for a 1.8oz jar, this is what you buy for yourself when you want some serious pampering. I’ve used products from this brand before – most specifically, the black rose face mask – and been very impressed. Not thrilled with the prices, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet when it comes to making your skin happy. Especially when your skin is as snowflakey as mine can be!

This is… an interesting product. You apply it like you would a mask, let it dry, and then gently ‘roll’ it off your skin. Needless to say, it’s MESSY. They also tell you to only let it dry for a minute, but I found (through trial and error, because I want to be thorough for you!) that it’s more effective and easier to get off if you let it completely dry. Because it’s made with herbal extracts, it’s got an interesting but good smell, and it certainly feels nice on the skin. It’s not very attractive in the jar, and you have to stir it up a little bit every time as the water tends to settle at the top, but it feels nice and is relatively easy to get on your face.

Getting it off, however, can be a challenge. It’s just… messy. It gets all over the place, takes forever to come off, doesn’t all come off without the help of a muslin cloth, and is just generally a pain. What it does do, however, is make your skin feel really nice. I’ll give it that. You definitely get glow-y, and very very soft. So I’m going to tentatively recommend the product. For, you know, those Sunday evening pamper sessions where it’s okay if just your exfoliating step takes 45 minutes! It’s definitely an indulgent treat, but it’s not something I’m going to recommend if you’re looking for something that you can use a couple of times a week to really help keep your skin clear and fresh.

Next up, a product from one of my favorite skincare brands: Ole Henricksen! This is their Walnut Complexion Scrub and it is, as the name might suggest, mainly comprised of walnut shells. Well, walnut ‘powder’, which is basically just ground up walnut shells. It’s also got a whole bunch of other good-for-your-skin ingredients, including aloe vera, chamomile, and comfrey extract. Which is precisely why it’s my favorite of the bunch. Coming in at $24 for a 1.7oz tub, it’s certainly not cheap but it’s also not prohibitively expensive. The best part is that you only need to use a little bit to get the benefits. I find myself reaching for this more and more in the shower, after I’ve washed my face once, to really make sure my skin is clean.

Keep in mind that because it is an abrasive scrub, you should only use it 2-3 times a week. Those of you with sensitive skin should keep it to 1-2 times, and those who (like me!) suffer from combination/acne prone skin can get away with using it a bit more often than that. But walnut shells do carry the risk of causing micro-tears. So, be gentle with it when you use it, and don’t use it too often. I know I used to get super worried about micro-tears and the potential for infection, but I’ve found that as long as you’re not really grinding the stuff into your face, you’ll be fine. Be more gentle if you have large pores, but also don’t be afraid to use a stronger product like this.

Also, keep in mind that though the ingredients in this scrub *are* natural, it takes quite a while for them to decompose. So, if you’re trying to be super Eco-conscious in your skincare routine, this is your best bet of the bunch but it’s not perfect.

Last but not least, the bargain of the bunch! Coming in at roughly $5 for a large amount of product, St. Ives is probably a brand most of you are familiar with. I tried out their Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Scrub, which supposedly is brightening AND gentle! So gentle, in fact, that it’s nearly ineffective. It takes a LOT more of this stuff to reach anything near the same results as either the Sisley or the Ole Henricksen.

It’s got a nice fresh scent, and definitely removes dead skin cells, but just doesn’t give that oomph that I personally look for in an exfoliating product. I’ve used their other scrubs in the past though, and am generally comfortable recommending the line for those who are more price-conscious (while I used the CVS link to the product, you can pick these up nearly anywhere, though the price does fluctuate). This is a nice enough product, but I just can’t get excited about it. I would recommend it before the Sisley mostly due to the pricing difference, but it’s simply not terribly effective. Ah well, you can’t love them all can you? Even though I certainly try!

The Winner: Ole Henricksen!

Thanks for reading my lengthy thoughts on something as seemingly basic and silly as exfoliates, mes petites choux! I hope you liked it – do let me know if you want me to make this into something of a regular feature. I have a similar one planned for sheet masks, and boy has trying those out been an adventure. Let me know what you think! Ciao!

PopSugar Must Have – February 2015

PopSugar Must Have – February 2015

Hello again my darling little cabbages! How are you doing?

I’m going only moderately stir crazy with all this terrible weather we’ve been having, but I’m finally getting around to posting some of February’s box reviews. I even have some non-box posts going up sometime soon, and isn’t THAT exciting. PS do you like the mood lighting I’ve got going on with this photo? I was feeling in the Valentines mood, so I thought I’d play around a little!

Without further ado, let’s talk about PopSugar Must Have some more!

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Birchbox – February 2015 “It’s All In The Details”

Birchbox – February 2015 “It’s All In The Details”

Hiya guys!

Coralistas? Cabbages? I really can’t decide what I want to call all you lovely people consistently. The Coral Cabbages? Loves of My Life? Could go so many ways.

But ANYWAY, this month I opted to receive the pre-set ‘curated’ Birchbox, a collaboration between Rent The Runway and our favorite inexpensive subscription service! Honestly, I chose it mostly because of the box. It was just so pretty, I couldn’t say no! Fortunately, I am also thrilled with most of the products included, even though I typically prefer to be surprised!

Note: this box also came with a coupon for RTR, with a value of $30 off $75. I may or may not use it, I’ve given up ‘frivolous’ spending for Lent so I will likely be unable to justify renting a dress, even if it’s discounted. I have used the service before, and I LOVE it. SO I recommend checking it out!

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Glossybox – February 2015

Glossybox – February 2015

‘Allo there mes petites choux! How are you? Splendid, I hope! I’m buried under all the snow, much like most of the Northeast of this fine country of ours, dreaming fondly of spring. Someday! It will come again someday!

But for now, let’s look at the goodies I got in February’s Glossybox, shall we? I’d say this was a rather good one, and put together quite excellently. I’m a fan of color matching, and BOY did they manage that! Isn’t that box awesome? I love it.

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PopSugar Must Have – January 2015

PopSugar Must Have – January 2015

Hello my darling little cabbages!

Let’s do something a little different, eh? I reviewed a PopSugar Must Have box back in the day, and I still get it and still (mostly) love it, so I’m going to start adding it to my repertoire of “things I like to talk about”! Doesn’t that sound like fun? I know, I know, it’s not specifically a ‘makeup’ subscription box. But you know what, why don’t we start talking about anything and everything on this here blog? Makeup might be my One True Love (sorry boyfriend!), but I actually subscribe to a few other boxes, and am super into fashion and lifestyle/DIY stuff. I mean for heaven’s sake, I made a nearly ten dish Thanksgiving feast for just the two of us!

Anyway, I’m rambling. Go over here if you want to read more about some of the changes I have in mind for this wonderful corner of the internet in 2015!

Onwards and upwards, mes petites!

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Birchbox December 2014 – Decked Out

Birchbox December 2014 – Decked Out

Well hello there! How are all of you, my lovies? I’ve had a hell of time these past few months – I’ll put up an update post soon just so you guys know what’s been going on and what’s in store for the future!

But until then, let’s talk about Birchbox some more. Because who doesn’t want to talk about Birchbox always, right? Seriously, this is consistently my favorite subscription box (well, okay, GlossyBox is actually my favorite, but they just don’t have the rewards system Birchbox does, and they ARE pricey. So, I had to reluctantly remove a point and put Birchbox in the lead!). Partly because it’s inexpensive, and partly because I’ve discovered some of my favorite new products through the company. The most common complaint I hear about BB is that they tend to send out ‘foil packet’ samples. That’s entirely true – they do. But for $10 a month? I honestly don’t expect the world. I’d rather try a small sample of something I might actually use, than get an assortment of full or deluxe sized items that I will never use because the quality just isn’t there. I’m pretty particular about what I put on my face – I’ll try just about anything once, and I certainly believe that some of the best products out there are drugstore products, but I am unabashedly a fan of a lot of luxury items. My skin is, as I’ve mentioned many times, a particularly Special effing Snowflake, and doesn’t always like what I try to do to it. I’ve got a couple plans in the works, so keep your eyes peeled for “Jess Takes On Her Skin In 2015″ posts – we shall see who wins, eh?!

Birchbox has lately taken to doing curated boxes with different people/companies/groups/what have you, which is a pretty darn cool concept. I don’t, however, like the lack of a surprise factor. I DO like being able to choose one sample, and have the rest be a surprise. It’s the best of all worlds – I know I’ll like at least one thing, which makes the value awesome, and then I get to be surprised for the rest.

Needless to say, I will be continuing this subscription well into the new year! If you have been thinking about signing up and just haven’t had the chance yet, please consider doing so through my link, found HERE. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, all that link does is give me bonus points, which I then use to buy more cool things to share with all of you! Because why not let someone else smear weird shit all over their face, eh? It’s fun!

On to the December box!

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Birchbox November 2014 – Buzzfeed Holiday Hacks!

Birchbox November 2014 – Buzzfeed Holiday Hacks!

Hello, my beautiful little cabbages! Have you missed me?! I’ve missed you. Let’s see if I can get back on this regular blogging train, eh?

Why not start off with a review of this month’s Birchbox! They’ve really stepped up their game lately, and while I never thought I’d go for any of their curated and therefore non-surprise boxes, I did! Fortunately, I’ve not been disappointed. But I think next month (unless there is something awesome I HAVE to have) I’ll go back to maybe picking out one thing but being surprised by the rest. This month they teamed up with Buzzfeed to create the Holiday Hacks box, filled with goodies to help get you through the holiday season unscathed. Here we go!Birchbox Nov 2014 Read more