Monday, November 17, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of (and Embrace) Using Mineral Oil for Skin Care

Hi all,

Sorry I couldn't make any review posts; I've been sick this weekend and haven't felt like taking pictures of myself in such a sad state. But today I'll be telling you about one of my favorite skin care ingredients that is unjustly surrounded in controversy...mineral oil!

Let me start off with a brief introduction to what mineral oil is. Mineral oil is simply oil produced from a mineral source. I'll let a research scientist in the field explain this better... "Mineral oil is a complex mixture of highly refined saturated branched-chain and napthenic hydrocarbons. Poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are known carcinogens are not present in mineral oil [1]." I'll be completely honest when I say that I have no idea what the first sentence means (I'm a biologist, not a biochemist!), but the meaning of the second sentence is very clear. Yet, if you take a look at the American Cancer Society's list of Known and Probable Carcinogens, you will find mineral oil on the list of Group 1 Carcinogens [2]. Scary, right?! Not really though, because there is an important distinction between the mineral oil found on this list and the one found in my beloved baby oil. The mineral oil suspected to be carcinogenic is untreated or mildly treated oil. Cosmetic grade mineral oil (the kind that is actually sold for use on your face/body), is highly refined mineral oil. Highly refined oils are Group 3 Carcinogens, meaning that they are unclassifiable in regards to their carcinogenicity. This essentially means that there is no evidence to confirm or deny that they are carcinogens, but that of course does not mean that you have any reason to assume that they are. If you still find this Group 3 classification disturbing, then you may also want to avoid caffeine (sorry coffee lovers) and dermatologist recommended benzoyl peroxide acne treatments, because they are also classified as Group 3 [3].

Now that you know that cosmetic grade mineral oil is not any more likely to give you cancer than your morning latte, we can discuss some of the benefits of using mineral oil.

1. Mineral oil is both and occlusive and an emollient [1]. Occlusive moisturizers coat the skin and prevent water loss. Emollients soften the skin. By moisturizing the skin and retaining water, mineral oil is effective in treating dry skin and improving skin softness [1]. Mineral oil DOES NOT dry out your skin. Anyone who tells you this is completely misinformed on the chemistry of mineral oil and moisturizers.

2. Mineral oil is noncomedogenic [4]. This means that it will not cause breakouts (or at least, it is extremely unlikely). Therefore, if you have had issues in the past with moisturizers that break you out, mineral oil may be the solution. 

3. Mineral oil can be used as a cheap and effective make-up remover and cleanser. No scientific source on this one, just an anecdote from yours truly. I slather this stuff on my face to remove my make-up. I'll massage it over my skin for about a minute, then wipe it off with a couple of cotton pads. I remove any excess oil with a cleansing anti-fungal soap. Then I work a little bit more oil into my skin before applying another moisturizer on top. If you have a make-up remover that you're happy with, then ignore my little story. 

Myths abound regarding the dangers of mineral oil. I would be more than happy to evaluate any skepticism anyone has, so please let me know if there are any remaining concerns. For those of you interested in trying out mineral oil, the easiest way to try this is to purchase some baby oil. Do not use baby oil on your face if you are sensitive to fragrance; there is fragrance free 100% mineral oil available online. In addition, DO NOT use mineral oil intended for use as a laxative on your face. These can sometimes contain ingredients that can lead to breakouts. On that same note, you may want to avoid baby oils with Vitamin E and Coconut Oil for the same comedogenic concern. 

1. Rawlings, A. V. and Lombard, K. J. (2012), A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 34: 511–518. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00752.x
2. American Cancer Society. Known and Probable Human Carcinogens. Last revised 11/11/2014.
3. IARC Monographs for Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks in Humans. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Last revised 10/23/2014.
4. J. C. DiNardo, “Is mineral oil comedogenic?” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 2–3, 2005.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Venique 'Tis the Season Holiday 2014 Swatches, Review, and Nail Art

Hi all!

Today I have some swatches and a nail look from Venique's newest Holiday collection. I'll start with the nail art because I like the look of combining the polishes! All nails in this post were primed for painting with one coat of Venique Gel-Like Base Coat and the nail design has one coat Venique Gel-Like Top Coat on top.
This is two coats of Venique #Holidays with a design from PUEEN15 stamped on using Venique You Kiss 1 Mall Santa You've Kissed Them All.

Here are these two polishes on their own.
First we have my favorite of the collection, Venique #Holidays. Two coats. The formula on this one was amazing, espeically for a really dense glitter. I wish I could capture how much holo-glittery goodness is in this polish, but I haven't been home to see any sunlight in quite some time...thanks, grad school!
Venique You Kiss 1 Mall Santa You've Kissed Them All. One coat. This may just be the longest nail polish name I've ever seen. Regardless, this polish is a one-coat wonder, which is the kind of polish Venique is famous for. It's perfectly opaque in one seemless coat. Although it leans a big pink hear, it's actually slightly more purple than it appears above. On my ring finger is one coat of Venique Selfies with Santa over You Kiss 1 Mall Santa You've Kissed Them All. This is a mix of small silver, pink, and light blue glitter. Glitter polish isn't my favorite to apply, wear, or remove so I hope it's okay that I've allocated to the accent nail only. :)

These polishes are all great holiday colors, and they complement each other very well. If you're interested in picking up a few for yourself, you can find them here. If you'd like to know more about Venique, feel free to check out their website!

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out the two giveaways going on this week!

*The nail polish discussed in this post were sent for review. To see my disclosure policy, please click here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

October 2014 Glossybox Review and a Glossybox GIVEAWAY!

Hi everyone!

Today, I've got the October 2014 Glossybox to share with you! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Glossybox and/or other subscription box services, this is a service where five beauty products are curated and sent to you monthly. Generally, you don't have a choice of what you receive in these type of beauty boxes, and this is also the case with Glossybox. Here's what I received this month:
The entirety of the box
SESHA Skin Therapy: This mask is intended to whiten (reduce melanin production) and hydrate the face. Skin whitening can be useful for those who suffer from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (me!!!) following any type of acne lesion. In terms of active ingredients, this mask contains two whitening ingredients - Alpha-Arbutin and 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid (a type of vitamin C). It also contains a couple of  moisturizing ingredients: glycerin and panthenol. There is one concerning ingredient in this mask, and that is Chondrus Crispus, which is used as a thickening agent. According to CosDNA, this ingredient is a 5/5 on the comedogenic scale, meaning that it is in the highest category of potentially acne causing ingredients. This could be bad news for those of you who are acne prone (also me!). I lucked out and this did not cause any trouble for me, but it is definitely something to be aware of. Let this also be a warning to myself to not randomly slap things onto my face blissfully unaware of the consequences (a very bad habit of mine...). Now that we've got the ingredient list out of the way, let me show you the mask itself.
 Here is what it looks like out of the package. Pretty unexciting until...
I put it on my face! This thing is seriously scary looking. My boyfriend said I look like Jigsaw from the Saw movies. The mask is super easy to apply, since it has a lot of conveniently placed slits throughout to help bend the mask around the curves of your face. You're supposed to leave this mask on for 15-30 minutes, and I could only have this on my face for about 20 because it was so damn cold. Upon removal of the mask, my face felt extremely hydrated and soft. I wouldn't mind using another one of these masks, however...
Price: $9.00/1 piece (Full Size). WHAT.

Tarte Power Pigment in Flush. This is a really pigmented lipstick. At least I think this could be called a lipstick. I'm not really sure what to call this, but Power Pigment sounds silly to me. I was not a huge fan of the color, but I'm sure someone with different tastes/skin tone would love this. It was also surprisingly moisturizing, given its opacity.
Lips with no product
Lips with Tarte Power Pigment in Flush
Price: $24.00 / 0.04 oz (Full Size)
Nails inc. Westminster Bridge matte top coat. This is a mattifying top coat. I have approximately 5 of these so my interest in trying or owning this was pretty minimal.
Price: $12.00 / 0.33 oz (Full Size) 

Progranix Repair Reparative Oil + Anti-Breakage. I was excited to try this product because it had the phrases "reparative oil" and "anti-breakage" in it. I have hair that's prone to breakage and oil makes my hair happy! Sadly, this product contains a non-water soluble silicone (phenyl trimethicone),which I am wary to use because I use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Despite this, I used the product for a little over a week anyway and I'm not sure it did much of anything. It smelled really nice when I applied it to my wet hair (as directed), but I couldn't feel or see any difference.
Price: $11.99 / 3.3oz (Full Size) 

Amore Vince Camuto. This was the highlight of the box for me. This perfume smells amazing. My boyfriend and I both enjoyed the scent of it, which is really rare for us. It's also packaged in a really nice looking bottle, so that's a plus. I am very bad explaining scents, so I'm going to quote Vince Camuto on this one: "Floriental Fruity, a radiant lush floral with sparkling fruits and sensual, lasting back notes." Whatever that means. It smells floral but also like fruit (I tried)!
Price $5.74 / 0.25 oz (Sample Size) 

And here's the last item that came with the box. It's a $40 dollar "gift certificate" to Hello Fresh. My Google search tells me that Hello Fresh is a subscription food service that delivers three meals worth of food and recipes for them each week. Each recipe is advertised as taking 30 minutes or less. However, a week's subscription to this service cost $70, so this covers a bit more than half of that. I won't be trying it, but I did gift this to my parents who are going to give it a go. I can report back if anyone is interested.
Price: $40 (Full size?)

Total worth of box including "gift card": $102.74
Total worth of beauty products in box: $62.73

Glossybox costs $21/month, so $100 and $63 are both substantially more than that. Although Glossybox costs twice as much as more well-known beauty boxes (e.g. Ipsy, Birchbox), they tend to come with a lot more full size products. For example, this month's box came with four full size products. If anyone is interested in subscribing (you can cancel anytime!), you can use my referral link to sign up. 

Now for the giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image courtesy of Glossybox
This box includes AYRES Patagonia Body Butter, Platinumé Gold Imperial Repair Hand Therapy Cream, STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Library of Color Colorbloc Nail polish, Sumita Beauty Champagne Eye Shadow Pencil, and Rusk Texture Dry Finishing Spray. This also includes a bonus mystery amount gift card to C Wonder.
  • This giveaway runs from November 9, 2014 to November 23, 2014, 12:00 a.m. EST.
  • If you are under 18, make sure you have parental consent. I will need your address to ship the prize.
  • The winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
  • Winner(s) will be selected randomly using Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.  
  •  Note: This giveaway is for blog subscribers ONLY. Any e-mail only entries will be disregarded. 
Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Umberto Dry Shampoo Review

Hi all,

During my year long hiatus, I've decided to start taking better care of my hair. Having utterly refused to cut my hair for approximately six years, I finally managed to get a's a big deal for me! Part of my attempts to curtail my hair damaging ways involved quitting every day washing. I used to shampoo and condition daily. I was always jealous of those people who get away with days without washing their hair. Unfortunately, my thin hair is a sad, oily mess by the end of a school day. This led me to believe that I had to wash my hair every morning. No more of that nonsense, thanks to the wonderful product that is dry shampoo.

After trying a few different brands of dry shampoos, I can split my dry shampoo needs into a few key categories, in order of their importance to me:

1. Oil absorption: This is what a dry shampoo ought to do!
2. Hair residue: Some dry shampoos can leave a flaky an dandruff like residue. Or, they can leave your hair looking gray.
3. Smell: How will my hair smell follow application?
4. Mess: Some aerosol dry shampoos leave no residues in the bathroom, whereas others create a dusty film.

Today's review regards my favorite dry shampoo, Umberto Dry Shampoo. Although I can safely say it is my favorite dry shampoo, it is not without its faults. Let's review it in terms of the list above.

1. Oil absorption: This is by far the best oil absorbing hair product I have ever tried. No other dry shampoo has even come close to being able to absorb as much oil as Umberto. Although the bottles are fairly small, they can last awhile due to the small amount of sprays needed to achieve grease-free hair.
2. Hair residue: Although Umberto initially leaves hair looking slightly grey, that quickly fades once it is combed through the hair. No signs of flakes here! However, this can leave hair looking a little dull, so it may be worthwhile to add a shine spray or serum to your routine on dry shampoo days.
3. Smell: Umberto smells okay. It's certainly not the best smell in the world, but it leaves very little odor in the hair. If you were to use hair spray or a serum following application of Umberto, you certainly would not be able to smell it.
4. Mess: This is where Umberto really falls short for me. It leaves a dusty film EVERYWHERE. It's really gross. On the bright side, it makes me clean my bathroom more often to get rid of it! I guess that's a good thing...? >_>

Ingredients: Isobutane, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, SD Alcohol 40-B, Propane, Butane, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Silica, Cetrimonium Chloride.

All in all, Umberto Dry Shampoo is a favorite for me! I highly recommend it for those with hair that hasn't responded well to other dry shampoos. If anyone can find a dry shampoo this oil absorbing that doesn't leave white dust everywhere, please let me know! But until then, I'm sticking to this product. You can find Umberto Dry Shampoo at Target for $9.99 per 4 oz bottle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Foray Back Into Nail Art

Hi all!

Admittedly, it's been a while since I did some nail art. Within the last year, I've probably done about three manicures that involved any kind of art. Sad, I know...Here's my attempt to return to the realm of nail art. It's a lot more difficult than I remember it being; I'm out of practice. And my short stubby nails.. :'(
And here's everything you'll need to recreate this look. I started off with one coat of Venique Gel-Like Base Coat. This was followed by two coats of Cirque Chrysopoeia. I used Chrysopoeia and Cirque Mink along with a make up sponge cut in half to create a gradient. Once that gradient had dried, I added pressed flowers to the accent nail using a few drops of Venique Gel-Like Top Coat and a pair of tweezers. Working with pressed flowers is pretty hard, they kept breaking every time I moved them. You have to have a pretty light hand to work with these! To finish it off, I went over the entire manicure with another coat of Gel-Like Top Coat.

This is totally off-topic, but has anyone else seen this amazing jewelery on Etsy? Lusting so much right now...

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to enter the Legend of Zelda Fleece Hat Giveaway ending November 16th!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Twinny Shoppe Legend of Zelda Link Hat GIVEAWAY!

Hi all!

Today I've got a giveaway courtesy of the lovely ladies at Twinny Shoppe! Tiff and Jess specialize in creating nerdy and video game related custom hats, decals and glassware. I've ordered both a hat and glassware from them and can confirm that the quality of the items and service are both amazing. Be sure to check out their shop, and enter the giveaway below! This giveaway is for one Fleece Zelda Link Hat of a color of your choice. If you win, be sure to specify which color (red, burgundy, blue, or green) you want! Also be sure to give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Fleece Zelda Link HatFleece Zelda Link Hat
Fleece Zelda Link Hat

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  • This giveaway runs from November 1, 2014 to November 16, 2014, 12:00 a.m. EST.
  • If you are under 18, make sure you have parental consent. Twinny Shoppe will need your address to ship the prize.
  • The winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
  • Winner(s) will be selected randomly using Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  
  •  Note: This giveaway is for blog subscribers ONLY. Any e-mail only entries will be disregarded. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Disclosure:  This giveaway is sponsored. If you have any additional questions - feel free to contact me at Photos courtesy of Twinny Shoppe.