The Body Shop Masks: Warming Mineral Mask & Blue Corn 3 in 1 Cleansing Scrub Mask

Face masks are an important part of my weekly routine, and I rotate various masks depending on what my skin needs. I started venturing into The Body Shop’s masks after reading reviews, and I’ve come to learn more about the brand’s support in cruelty-free products, community fair trade ingredients, and defending human and planet rights. So far, my two favorite masks are the Warming Mineral Mask and the Blue Corn 3 in 1 Cleansing Scrub Mask.

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Warming Mineral Mask
“This mask magically warms itself up as you smooth it on. With feel-good ginger, cinnamon oil, and kaolin clay to deep cleanse all skin types.”

This is a great pick-me-up mask that I like to apply after cleansing my skin and getting ready for a bath. It’s great because the texture of the mask is thick, so once you gloop it onto your face, it stays put. The heat that the mask generates feels nice and doesn’t cool off too quickly. It really does feel like it’s penetrating deep into my pores, and cleansing blackheads and whiteheads. While this mask doesn’t do much for active breakouts or irritated skin, it does a great job at maintaining your skin and keeping it clear and calm. It’s recommended that you apply a generous layer to clean, wet skin. You will immediately feel a warming sensation on your skin, so avoid the eye and lip areas. Leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing with warm water (mask will not dry). Use one to two times per week after cleansing

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Blue Corn 3 in 1 Cleansing Scrub Mask
“Cheat a little, care a lot. If you don’t have time to clean, scrub and moisturize, just layer on this absorb-exfoliate-condition treasure. For normal to oily skin.”

This mask is a 3-in-1 so it’s a great multi-functional product. More than anything, it’s a gentle yet effect exfoliator so it’s another option for skin maintenance. It’s quite gentle even though it looks abrasive and harsh in the tub. It’s recommended to cleanse skin and pat dry before applying a generous layer of the mask to the face. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water (mask will not dry). Use one to two times per week after cleansing. I like how while removing the mask you can use circular motions to exfoliate; then, when you rinse, you’re not left with feeling dry or too squeaky clean.

I like both these masks and they do very different things. I recommend them both and feel that the deals you can get during the holiday season online and in-stores is a great way to try out these products.

Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in 796 “Cuir Cannage”

Expensive eyeshadows sometimes tug at my heartstrings, and more often than not, I’ll cave. Normally, I’m content with brands like Laura Mercier, MAC, and Benefit; and, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve been tempted by any of Dior’s 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette. The palette in 796 “Cuir Cannage” has been my newest addition to my eyeshadow collection. More importantly, it’s quickly risen ranks and now is seriously a favorite of mine.

At $60.00 for the entire palette, I try to justify a purchase like this — technically, with five colors included of equal weight and size, it’s $12.00 per color. Considering the supreme quality of the shadows in color and texture, it’s a bargain and investment in the long run. What I really appreciate is that it seems that the Dior colors are designed to work together, so whether I decide to pile all 5 colors on or use 2-3, they work well together. The quality of the shadows are buttery smooth and apply nicely onto the eyes. It’s pigmented without being obnoxious and difficult to work with; they blend easily; and, can be worn with a light-hand or heavy-handed for a dramatic effect.

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As for longevity, it stays on my lids throughout the day without any issues. I’ve worn this palette alone and with the NARS Pro Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, and so far, both ways have yielded good results.

I recommend Dior products in general, but I really feel that the investment in Dior’s palettes is worth it. In particular, 796 “Cuir Cannage” is a good choice for me because of the earthy tones that can be burgundy and bronze, with shimmer and glimmer that isn’t too much. The middle shade is a great starter color and all-over color; and, is great for using as a “transition” shade between the bronze and the burgundy. The light shimmery washes of the light colors are perfect for inner corner highlighting, brow-bone highlighting, and even for the lower lashline for extra oomph.

Retails for $60.00 USD.

Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper & Hair Touch-Up

After a recent disappointment with the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara, I ventured back to high end brow products and decided to try the Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper. As a “cream-gel formula effortlessly defines and fills in brows,” this brow product is great at controlling and shaping brow hairs without making them look and feel crunchy. It appears that the brush has changed since its initial release, and the Nordstrom website states that the updated product now “features a new, shorter brush for more definition.”

I’ve featured other brow mascaras here, and also review my current brow product: the Benefit Gimme Brow. Recently, I also reviewed Tarte’s Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel as well. In the past, I wrote about NARS Brow Gel in “Kinshasa” if you’re interested.

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The Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper & Hair Touch-Up is just like any other eyebrow gel/eyebrow mascara out there; however, where it differs is the unique cream-gel texture. I chose the shade “Mahogany,” which is a warm gray-brown shade that tints my eyebrow hairs without drastically changing the tone or color. It also doesn’t feel crunchy on the little hair that I do have, even though it still provides a light hold. Additionally, the cream-gel texture of the product allows for flexibility and it doesn’t dry down too fast.

I think if you’ve enjoyed using Benefit’s Gimme Brow, you’ll like the Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper. The brush is much bigger obviously, but it somehow works because of the narrow tip and dense bristles. It really catches all the brow hairs without getting messy and getting product onto the skin. The shade “Mahogany” seems to be a bit darker than what I was initially expecting, but it seems to work when I use the product lightly and with a soft-hand.

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I used to think any old eyebrow mascara/gel would do, but really, I’ve found that color and tone differ depending on the brand. For me, as a fair-skinned Asian, I’ve discovered anything too gray or gray-black is way too harsh, and anything too brown comes off reddish so it’s so unnatural. The color for my brows is my favorite part of using the product, but I think I still really like Benefit’s Gimme Brow’s teeny tiny brush. I think for many brow products like this, it’s important that the design of the brush is small and efficient. As for the formula, it’s workable as long as it can be applied in an easy way.

Overall, I recommend the Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper; and, while I haven’t quite used it as a “hair touch-up” product, I like how it performs and how it looks. Of course, there are a variety of eyebrow mascaras/gels out there so this particular one isn’t a necessity. I prefer it over all the ones I’ve mentioned (except Benefit’s Gimme Brow).

Retails for $22.00 USD.

Make up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N51

Previously, I wrote about the Make up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N52, and shared that it was the most perfect nude-peachy-pink shade for me. After being so enthusiastic about that shade, I admit my curiosity for N51 came into play, so naturally, I had to pick this up at my next Sephora visit. So far, I’m pretty satisfied with the shade, and I would recommend it to those who are looking for a shade like this one.

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I’m very picky about coral or peachy-pink shades, and often, I find that I’m dissatisfied with a shade being too orange or too red. I also think that with my skintone, I have to find a good in-between shade of both peachy and pink because I want it to still be flattering. For me, N51 does that without looking like too much on my lips. Since my lips are naturally a reddish shade, anything too orange will come off red-orange rather than coral.

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I think in general I’m pretty happy with the lipstick range that Make Up For Ever has to provide. I also think that it’s worth looking into different shades. If you’re a Make Up For Ever fan and curious about the lipstick range, I’d recommend looking for a shade that you’re interested in. I think the HD foundation is a phenomenal product, and I’d also recommend the HD cream blushes as well. As for the lipsticks, some of the colors are good, but the others I can live without.

Made in France.
Retails for $20.00 USD.

REVIEW: Estée Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion

I’ve never really used any of Estée Lauder products, and to be quite honest, none of the skincare or makeup items has ever caught my attention. Recently, while trolling on various Korean beauty bloggers’ sites, I noticed the Estée Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion being a part of everyone’s skincare routine. Much like the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, the Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion is described to be “a small but mighty groundbreaking essence-in-lotion that activates and strengthens your skin’s foundation to reveal its youthful, angelic glow.”

I purchased mine after reading through blogs and reviews, and I’m happy to report that I’m pleasantly surprised by the performance of this product. Currently, due to weather changes and added stresses from work and school, I’ve needed to spend some additional time pampering my skin. This product came just in time to really help my skin recover.

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The Estée Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion is a “targeted treatment [that] penetrates deeply and rapidly within your skin’s surface to renew and rebalance while delivering a precise concentration of exclusive Micro-Nutrient Bio-Ferment to nourish and energize.” It promises to allow your skin to become “noticeably more hydrated, smoother and more supple” in as little as two weeks.” I use this product like a toner in two ways: (1) If using a cotton pad, I put a few drops of the product onto a pad and gently glide it over my face starting from the center. I start with my nose, then both cheeks, chin, and the my forehead. It is recommended that you do not apply pressure during application. (2) If using my hands, I’ll pour a few drops into my palms and rub together. Onto dry, cleansed skin, I gently press the lotion into the skin from the center out.

According to the product insert, the Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion repairs cell damage. As with SK-II products, this product contains a form of bio-ferment. The “concentrate of essential elements that mirrors nature’s secret to strength and survival,” this essence includes “exclusively formulated bio-ferment” to nourish, hydrate, and “activate” the skin to withstand signs of aging.

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So far, I’ve been using this for about a month straight — morning and night. Sometimes I use a cotton pad and sometimes I don’t; however, since this product has gained popularity in Korea, I’ve watched YouTube videos where using the hands is considered the most effective way. After this product, I apply serum and night cream (in the evenings) before heading to bed. In the mornings, after this product, I use a light gel cream and apply sunblock before applying my face makeup. I recommend this product because it’s done wonders in terms of helping my skin retain moisture and hydration. My skin feels so supple and soft, without looking like I’ve applied makeup. The inner glow allows my skin to look and feel healthy, so I’m very happy with how this product is helping my skin.

Made in USA.
Contains 5 oz.
Retails for $95.00 USD.

Dior Rouge Baume in 488 “Primerose”

The new Dior Rouge Baumes have been tugging at my heartstrings since its release. After doing some research online, I made my decision to take a look at 488 “Primerose” in person. I’ve got a weakness for Dior lip products to begin with, so it wasn’t a surprise that I fell in love with the Rouge Baumes. As with many lipsticky-balm products out there, these aren’t that different from Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshines and Yves Saint Laurent’s Volupte Sheer Candy – Glossy Balm Crystal Colors.

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The Dior Rouge Baumes are described to be a “nourishing lip balm with couture color that leaves lips with a healthy glow and shine.” It claims to “revive lips” because it is a “plumping lipstick…formulated with naturally-derived ingredients.” As “a lip balm and a lipstick in one,” the Rouge Baume “maintains lips texture and ensures that lips are smooth, plump, and that color stays put.”

Pretty much as described, this product is just that — a lipstick and lip balm that functions as one. You can either look at it as a fancy tinted lip balm or a fancy hydrating sheer lipstick. Either way, the product is genuinely lush and nice on the lips. It’s ultra hydrating, leaves a sheer pigment of color on the lips, and looks nice on the lips without looking like you’ve gone overboard. However, in general, it seems that all the tones in the range are on the sheer side.

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I chose the color 488, which is “Primerose.” It’s a rosey-pink color that’s a bit cool-toned. On the lips, I admit it doesn’t look like much. It looks pretty and light, but not anything different from what I normally would wear. Originally, I had my eye on 288 “Bleuette,” but it was so sheer it barely showed up on my hand. One shade up seemed to be 488 “Primerose,” which was brighter than I had expected, but looked like something on my lips. As stated, I feel that pretty much all of the colors are sheer. It’s not designed to be a pigmented lipstick, so I don’t want to count of points for that; and, this isn’t an item that you need to run out and buy. Nonetheless, my favorite thing about the product is how it glistens just right and looks so pretty. However, because the formula, color, and concept is not that unique, it’s a product that can be passed up unless you’re a fan of Dior.

I usually layer a form of lip balm on lips before I apply lip color anyways, so this concept isn’t all that unique to me. As for the hype, I think the product is hyped up because it’s Dior — but many brands and ranges have released a product like this, so there are other alternatives as well. Benefit’s Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm and the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments are suggestions too.

Retails for $35.00 USD.
Made in France.

Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in “Toast”

My newest Bobbi Brown eyeshadow is in the shade “Toast,” and it’s such a unique shade for being a nuetral-brown color. If you’re like me and a fan of all things neutral, often, you need a really good reason to buy another brown-ish shadow, lol. I find that I’m more likely to purchase another neutral tone if I find it “unique” in some way, and I feel that way about the color “Toast.” In-person, I was afraid that the color would seem too peach or even orange; however, upon swatching the color, I found that the warm peachy undertones balance out the brown, which makes it a great all-over color and/or a transition color for when you’re doing a smokey eye.

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I wouldn’t say that the shade “Toast” is a must-have, but if you’re like me and you like single colors to wear without any fuss, this would be a good color to try. I recommend that you use a fluffy blending brush — like the MAC 217 or something like it — to apply the color. That way, too much of it won’t be concentrated and it would apply more sheerer.

Another great way to wear this color is as a transition shade. Often, I find that when wearing a smokey eye, you can avoid looking like a panda or like you have a black-eye if you use a warm transition shade like “Toast” to blend between your skin and your smokey eye.

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I recommend the shade “Toast” if you’re looking for a neutral color that isn’t really all that brown or earth-toned. It’s unique, but isn’t a shade that you must have in your makeup arsenal; you can definitely substitute this tone for something else that is another neutral color. However, I’m a fan of Bobbi Brown makeup in general; and, I find that her eyeshadows are of great quality. The matte, semi-matte, and shimmery shades are long-lasting, pigmented, and apply evenly on the skin because they’re buttery smooth.

Retails for $22.00 USD.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in “Flush” & “Fearless”

Ok, I’m super late on the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush wagon, but I’m onboard and thinking, “What took me so long to get obsessed with these blushes?” With the holiday season approaching, there’s 20% off coupons at Ulta and Sephora so I snagged the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in “Flush” and “Fearless” before it was too late! There’s a ton of colors and tones available, so I’m sure you’ll find one that’s suitable for you and your skintone. For me, however, I stuck with my pink and peachy-pink faves.

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These blushes are “long-wearing, solar-baked…that lasts up to 12 hours.” I love how the packaging correlates with the colors inside; and, it’s compact with a sturdy mirror inside so that’s a bonus too. Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blushes are “infused with natural clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River.” As products that contain clay that is “naturally baked by the sun, this nutrient-rich blush benefits all skin types for a fade-free flawless finish that lasts an amazing 12 hours.” The available “colors range from soft to vivid to suit a wide variety of skintones. For oily skin types, Amazonian clay minimizes oil in and around pores to balance skin and keep product in place. Those with dry skin will benefit from the clay’s nourishing and hydrating properties, which naturally restore skin’s moisture. Combination skin types can rely on its ability to zero in on skin concerns and deliver benefits to restore complexion harmony.”

I know, it’s a lot of fancy claims. And, while I can’t say for sure if the clay within these blushes are “from the banks of the Amazon River” and contain clay that is “naturally baked by the sun,” they do have long-lasting power on the skin. They’re pigmented and can be built if you’re going for a stronger look. They don’t apply streaky or dry on the skin, so it looks natural and the blush is really easy to apply. Lasting power is superb; pretty all-day with no touch ups, fading, or getting blotchy like some power blushes.

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I got the shades “Flush” and “Fearless” and they’re absolutely divine. “Flush” is a “pinkish berry” shade, while “Fearless” is the most perfect “coral pink” — according to Sephora’s website. Again, the color pay-off is outstanding, and they translate fantastically on the skin. Both “Flush” and “Fearless” are a semi-matte/matte finish without looking cakey or dry. They still impart a subtle glow without glitters and shimmers, which I prefer most days. If you haven’t started collecting the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes, I suggest you start! With the holiday season just around the corner, they’re perfect for giving and receiving; and, with holiday sets available, you can get a great deal on multiple shades.

Made in USA.
Retails for $26.00 USD each.

NARS Eyeshadow Duo in “Tokyo”

I’ve written about NARS eyeshadows in the past — my favorites being the NARS Duo Eyeshadow in “Cordura” and the NARS Single Eye Shadow in “Blondie.” Recently, however, I’ve been really into the NARS Eyeshadow Duo in “Tokyo.” Best of all, I love how the duos come with a sturdy mirror and modern, complementary shades.

The duos consist of a “long-wearing, crease-resistant formula [that] is uniquely paired in dazzling and creative color combinations, expertly coordinated by François Nars. Worn together or alone, these shades are richly pigmented and can be applied sheer or built up for a more dramatic effect. Used wet, these shadows also double as eyeliners.” I’ve been gravitating toward the “Tokyo” duo because it’s been great on a every day basis with its “silver shimmer/ lavender shimmer” shades.

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The best excuse for this duo is that it’s unique. While I own mainly neutral tones and eyeshadows that are “every day” and “wearable,” I found that the “Tokyo” duo is a great way to integrate something different with my usual every day looks. In the pan, I feel like it looks quite drab; but, on the skin, it’s reflective in a nice way without looking like it’s too much. Another great thing about these two shades is that it adds a little something extra to dark, smokey eyes, so in a very true sense, it’s quite multi-tasking.

Made in Canada.
Retails for $35.00 USD.

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

It seems that 1-minute is all we have for a decent mask! Much like the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask reviewed here in this post, the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial is another similar (but more expensive) product. This is described to be a “transforming treatment that instantly revitalizes and visibly rejuvenates the skin” in 1 minute.

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The description of this product suggests that the “potent water-activated vitamin C [allows] this one-minute facial [to] give immediate spa facial results, leaving skin firm, toned, and smoothed.” It claims to reduce signs of fatigue, photo-aging, and skin imperfections.” Skin is promised to “instantly glow with renewed health and radiance.” REN’s “breakthrough technology locks 10 percent vitamin C in a silica/glyceride matrix to maximize effectiveness. Stabilized vitamin C supports natural collagen synthesis, improves skin elasticity, and evens out skintone while boswellic acid relaxes muscles and fights facial fatigue, diminishing appearance of lines and wrinkles. Lastly, magnesium energizes the complexion and boosts radiance for a glowing complexion.”

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In order to use this product properly, apply generously to face and neck after you’ve cleansed your skin and dried it. Add a small amount of warm water with your fingertips and massage to “activate.” It’s a lot like exfoliating, so massage and leave the product on your skin for one minute. Then, rinse.

The only problem is that you need to squeeze out a whole lot of product to get results. The product doesn’t spread easily because it leaves some areas of your skin uncovered, so you have to apply a lot of product. It seems that you’ll go through the tube pretty fast, so for the price, it’s very expensive since a little bit of product doesn’t go a long ways. :( Another issue is that it’s a very concentrated product, and the product description mentions this by suggesting to use it every 3 days. Also, I’ve noticed when I leave the mask on for longer (like, 5-10 minutes) there’s a tingling sensation that can feel a little like burning. I think as long as you use it like it’s suggested, it should be okay.

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I think the product works really well, and it really does brighten and tighten the skin since it’s an intense exfoliator. I like leaving the product on and then rinsing as the description states, but it seems like I’m going to go through product in a month! I really like the product, but there are other exfoliators out there that do the same thing. Basically, this is just a stronger exfoliator. The Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask is basically the same product for half the price; and, the concept is pretty much the same.

Made in the UK.
Retails for $48.00 USD.