Clarisonic Radiance Brush Head

Clarisonic Radiance Brush Head

Initially

Up until this past winter, I exclusively used the Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head. As I approached restocking time, the cost-effective four-packs of Sensitive brushes for $81 were sold out everywhere. I never had any intention of trying the other brush heads, but I’m not about to pay $27 each…when I can get 2 for $44 (or, even better, 4 for $81!). I time my purchases of supplies like this so that I can take advantage of a 15% VIB or 20% Platinum Perk discount because I hate paying full retail.

Before

For a while, my Clarisonic had been nearly-benched in favor of my FOREO Luna Mini. I had come to decide that the Clarisonic, paired with the Sensitive brush head, was too much for daily use for me. Instead, I was using the FOREO Luna Mini daily and the Clarisonic primarily for decollete use and occasional face use.

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TPDTY: On Sebaceous Filaments & Why You Don’t Need Pore Strips

This is a post from the Beauty Skeptic archives that has been given a facelift! Content is the same but may have been edited for clarity and flow, as well as some small content updates noted in line.

Pore StripOh look, a pore strip!

Yeah, you’re familiar with them, probably from Biore. Other brands make pore strip products, too, often more expensive for the same (lackluster) result.

But you don’t need them.

Yeah, there are DIY pore strip tutorials online with weird suggestions involving egg whites or Elmer’s Glue. And listen, I can appreciate getting a little mad scientist in my beauty/skincare as much as the next person…

But you don’t need to.

Wash your face, leave it sopping. Dry your hands, open the thing. Slap the pore strip on your nose and smooth it down. Wait until it feels ridiculous, then rip it off.

But you don’t need that.

Here’s the thing – what many of us bought those things or played mad scientist for was because we believed we had a ton of god-awful blackheads on and around our nose, right? Oh god, we have to fix it. We’d peel away the papier-mâché pore strip and marvel in disgust over what we just ripped out of our faces with this pore strip. Right? Don’t lie, if you’ve used this, you have. You’re elated for a day or two because your skin looks a little better…and then things return to normal – and you strip again.

A waste, indeed, of time and money for such fleeting results.

But here’s the thing – in so many cases (I wish I could quote you a percentage) those are not blackheads. They are sebaceous filaments – they occur naturally on everyone, ever, and are not blemishes…and they cannot be, “removed,” not even by a pore strip. Yes, they aren’t the cutest thing in the world, and yes, that is irritating. Proper skincare, however, can make them less obvious.

The Routine

Your skincare routine should consist of (at minimum), daily cleansing, exfoliating as often as your skin wants/needs it (some people like a daily gentle exfoliant, some of us like to break out the big guns 2-3 times per week), and moisturizing. You can get more detailed than this if you wish (I like to!) but it isn’t a dire necessity. (Bonus points if you use a face brush like an Olay Pro-X or Clarisonic!)

In terms of cleansers, I like something basic and simple. (2017) CeraVe Foaming (2014) Cetaphil Gentle is my favorite. As far as exfoliants go…in terms of what is best for your skin, a chemical exfoliant is technically best and I have (2017) this AHA gel from Alpha Skin (formerly Alpha Hydrox) (2014) this one from Alpha Hydrox .

That said, I also commit “skincare sins,” and indulge in physical ones (theoretically the gritty nature of these can cause tiny cuts in your skin. I haven’t had problems, personally, but I get it – especially with the St Ives, it can be a bit much if you overdo the pressure) such as this classic from St Ives and my long-time favorite from Burt’s Bees 2017 Update: The only physical exfoliation my face sees these days comes from my Clarisonic or Luna Mini.

Moisturizers are very personalized depending on your needs but I am currently happiest with (2017) Mountain Rose Herbs Argan Oil (2014) Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light. Those things help me keep my skin healthy and looking well-cared-for.

The Bottom Line

Stop wasting your money on pore strip products, your time on playing face-goop-alchemy, and just get back to basics. They’re fun, but they are a gimmick – and a costly one, at that. Chances are if you don’t have other acne issues, you don’t have a nose rife with blackheads…you, like most people, just have some sebaceous filaments which are normal and healthy. Not gross, just kind of odd looking when you actually notice them.

Costco Beauty Finds – May 2017

I’ve been a Costco member for a few years now and have shared some beauty finds in the past. Costco Beauty is a veritable treasure trove of desirable products at even-more-desirable prices. Arguably, if you have a makeup/skincare/haircare habit, the savings on some of these finds alone more than pays for the membership if you were planning to buy them anyway.

Here are some neat things I came across recently. I haven’t purchased most of these items, but either want to at some point or think they’re probably interesting enough to some people to share.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Amope Pedi Perfect Wet & DryAmope Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry

The standard Amope Pedi Perfect is the recipient of several consumer awards as well as overwhelmingly positive reviews. Between 4.5 and 5 stars virtually everywhere, the Pedi Perfect typically retails for $30-36 for the device itself with only one head. Costco regularly carries the Wet & Dry variety, which is waterproof and therefore safe to use in the shower, for $40; the Wet & Dry variety typically goes for $50+ elsewhere. Costco’s package includes FIVE replacement rollers heads, which retail for $20 for a pack of two, plus a storage bag. Bonus: You DON’T have to be a member to order this from Costco.com, but there is a non-member surcharge of a couple dollars. This is the best value I’ve found via Costco Beauty to date.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumMurad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

This popular Murad serum goes for $65 at Sephora and Ulta in the same quantity. Even with a 20% off Platinum Perk or the November VIB sale, it drops to $52…so the $43 price tag Costco has it for is a steal. People have luck fading acne scars, sun spots, and age spots with this.

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Worth it? Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner

Cinema Secrets Brush CleanerCinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner, $24 for 8oz

This was a legacy post that I gave a facelift because I seriously cannot tell enough people about this product. If you’re an artist? Lifesaver. If you aren’t, it means you can avoid buying thirty seven thousand brushes, because you can use the same one over and over in a look.

I’d seen this brush cleaner in blog posts and on YouTube. I was curious but…really, how good can it be? It’s a brush cleaner. I had come close to buying it a few times for myself but always talked myself out of it. My current system is good; why invest in another product – especially with that price tag? Fortunately, a wise friend sent this wee little spray-bottle of it to me.

I tested it that night, but was not prepared to record or demonstrate my findings. Spoiler alert: I was blown away and wondered how the ever loving hell I haven’t had this product in my life before.

Let me just show you.

Before

Read moreWorth it? Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner

Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go

Deborah Lippmann The Stripper To Go Foil PacketDeborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go, $12

This is a legacy post that I’ve given a facelift because it’s a neat product. Opinions are the same, but is formatted and edited for easier reading and flow.

I received a single Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go sample foil in a cadre of samples . I tend to use pure acetone to remove my nail polish these days – the silly additives don’t actually seem to help, and they just weaken the product. When I wear regular polish, I tend to wear shimmery and glittery colors which pure acetone removes far more efficiently  less glitter and shimmer these days, but still. More often, though, I wear gel nail polish – a bottle of Cutex is not going to cut that.

Giving it a Go

I happened to be wearing a fun bright green on my toes that was ready to come off (China Glaze I’m With the Lifeguard, mentioned in my May Favorites, if you’re wondering). Out of acetone, but having just gone though my samples I reached for my sample Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go. I glanced at the packet and noticed it was supposed to smell like lavender, and that it was a, “finger mitt.” What? I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but the packaging said that one mitt will remove polish from all ten fingers.

Ripping the Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go package open, I was greeted with the smell of acetone and something trying to be lavender. There was a little fabric pouch that with one rounded, closed end and a squared, open end. A-ha, a mitt. You insert a finger or thumb into it like so.

Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go Finger Mitt

I found that Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go works better slipped over your thumb; you can, “scrub,” your nails more effectively.

Effectiveness

It worked OK for not being 100% pure acetone, and didn’t smell quite as harsh. I did have to work a little harder with it than I have become accustomed to; I’m not sure whether to attribute that to the formula or the mitt itself. The mitt was textured such that with the stronger product it would have made extremely quick work of the remnants of my pedicure.

Unfortunately, I could not remove all the polish from my toes before the product was spent. I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing; it advertises being able to take polish off ten fingers. Unless you have atypical digits, the combined surface area of your toenails is greater than the combined surface area of your fingernails.

I do not see this being effective for gel polish removal.

The Bottom Line

I thought it might be nice for travel purposes and found that it retails for $12 for six mitts. If it does remove all polish from all ten nails, that would put this product at $2 per removal. This is considerably more expensive than acetone and cotton balls. If you travel often and have to frequently redo your manicures, though, it might be a good (albeit costly) solution.

I do have a favorable opinion of this product compared to my initial perception of it as a gimmick. Unfortunately, though, my favorable opinion of the product does NOT outweigh its price. I still won’t be purchasing for myself unless I have extensive travel on the horizon.