Hot Tools Digital Iron with Titanium Plates

Hot Tools Digital Flat Iron with Titanium Plates

Hot Tools Digital Iron with Titanium Plates

In winter 2015/2016, I bought a new flat iron – a Hot Tools Digital Iron with Titanium plates (they have a few other digital models, so the distinction is important). I don’t heat style my hair all the time because:

  1. I am lazy and
  2. It’s just better for your hair not to.

The idea of taking 20+ minutes to fully dry my hair and then style it with an iron is pretty far from my idea of a good time. That means I need an iron that can kick ass and take names on blow-dried and air-dried hair alike.

Heat Up

Powering on isn’t casually tapping the power button. This iron is looking for a long press to confirm that you indeed intend to power it on. The Hot Tools Digital Iron is speedy, going from off to 400 degrees in under one minute. Its temperature range is up to 450, but I do not need that. I probably don’t need 400, but…did I mention that I am lazy?

In reality, the adjustable thermostat is a huge plus. A super-popular brand that makes irons with all sorts of whimsical and fun designs doesn’t offer adjustable heat – which is crazy to me, for how much they cost!

Ergonomics & Design

There isn’t much to talk about on this front – it’s a fairly standard flat iron. Reasonably comfortable to hold and use. The exterior has a soft-touch, velvety plastic coating that feels nice in the hands and enables a better grip.

Swivel cords are commonly considered a ‘luxury’ featured in styling tools, but in my view they’re a no-brainer. The cord moves with you so you don’t have to extricate your arm when you switch sides.

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Foolproof Beauty Gifting (Last Minute!)

I’m moving Wednesday’s post to Tuesday due to its urgent nature. Did you wait until zero hour to accomplish your holiday shopping? Or did you maybe think you were done only to realize, “Damn! I forgot someone,” where that someone happens to be a beauty enthusiast? You’re down to the wire.

Buying foundation or concealer for your recipient is generally a bad idea unless you know their EXACT shade or unless you leverage an e-Gift feature like Urban Decay’s that let’s the recipient pick their shade. Lipstick can be equally challenging because subtle nuances can take a product from wearable to NOPE pretty easily (but this 4pc Clinique Honey, Honey set [$25] is a safe bet!).

I got you. In addition to the guide I did a couple weeks ago, I’ve put together a foolproof beauty gifting guide. Most of these products can be purchased from retails offering shipping in time for Christmas to save your ass, and the ones that aren’t are available at retailers. Buy online and pickup in store where possible to save your sanity, and to also reap the benefits of eBates.

Mascara

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FOREO LUNA Mini

This spring, I purchased a FOREO LUNA Mini in an attempt to troubleshoot my misbehaving skin. Worried I was overdoing it with my Clarisonic Mia 2, I wondered if a movement-free, bristle-free option might treat me better.

Size

FOREO LUNA Mini in my palm. My ringfinger there is a size 5 for reference.

The FOREO LUNA Mini is about the size of the palm of my hand. On the front of the device, low in the horizontal center, is a power button. This single button controls on/off, as well as switching between cleansing modes, of which there are two.

The splotchy shine on the surface of my Luna in the picture there is due to my hard water. I can clean it and make it pristine, but it really doesn’t make a difference – and this is the Real World, not Magical Blogger World where everything is picture-perfect 100% of the time.

Ergonomics

This is one area the device falls flat for me. The round, disc-like device is awkward to hold; it doesn’t feel natural in my hand, and I’m always worried I’m going to drop it. Furthermore, it’s shape is awkward to navigate around the contours of the face. The FOREO LUNA Mini 2 is going to have the same issue, unfortunately. I assume the full-sized LUNA (including the LUNA 2) devices perform a bit better in this area because instead of being a little disc, they’re somewhat oblong.

Cleansing Surfaces

Foreo Luna Mini Skincare Gadget

There are three different types of silicone cleansing nubs split between two locations. On the front, the majority of the surface is made up of thinner, fine nubs. These are the gentlest of the three, and are suitable for your entire face. At the top, the nubs are a bit larger and firmer. They are better suited for more-focused exfoliation without being over-the-top or uncomfortable.

On the rear, also at the top, is the Deep Cleansing surface which features the largest and firmest bristles. Frankly, I don’t use this surface often because it can be a bit much – but when I do use it, I’m using them to work out stubborn sebaceous filaments around my nose.

Cleansing Modes

The FOREO LUNA Mini features two cleansing speeds. When you turn it on, it’s at full tilt; press the power button again to get it to calm down.

LUNA Mini is outfitted with quadpacer functionality that those of you who use electric toothbrushes will be familiar with. It fusses at you to move to a different area of the face every fifteen seconds. It automatically shuts off after 3 minutes so those of us who are absentmindedly overzealous don’t rip our faces up.

Battery & Charging

FOREO LUNA Mini Waterproof (!) Charging Port

On the back, there is a waterproof charging port. This is an interesting choice in this wonderful world of induction charging that we live in but it works just fine. So yes, that’s right – this can live in the shower or at your sink and water getting in the port doesn’t really matter. Give it sometime to dry before charging, though, just to be safe.

The LUNA Mini is fully charged within just an hour. So far, I’ve had no issues with the battery, and have only charged it twice – the initial charge when I unboxed it in April, and in November. The claim of 300 uses (or about 5 months) per charge doesn’t seem inflated or unreasonable based on its performance so far or the performance of the ISSA Mini. I was able to go longer per charge since I switch between this and my Clarisonic.

I have yet to notice degradation in performance that is commonly linked to battery discharge in such devices. A big win here, and that makes it awesome for travel, especially for a week or more – you can do so without bringing your charger.

Cost per Use

Obviously depends heavily on how much you pay for it. When I purchased mine, the regular retail was $99. I got with a Platinum Perk coupon and only paid $79. At its regular retail, assuming once daily use for a year = roughly $0.27 per use. This doesn’t include the cost of the power to charge it because a) it’s negligible and b) electricity rates vary a lot.

These devices will last longer than a year, though. Add in the consideration that there are no brush heads to replace and the fact that you essentially only need to charge it twice per year, and the value skyrockets from there.

Two Years – $0.14

Three Years – $0.09

Five Years – $0.05

My Skin after 8 Months

I didn’t exclusively use the FOREO Luna Mini. My desire to be flexible and pursue what appeared to be working overpowered my desire to approach things scientifically, unfortunately. But I can give you anecdotal evidence.

  • The LUNA Mini is not an exfoliation beast. It DOES exfoliate a bit, but you are not going to get Clarisonic-like results from it. It does clean thoroughly, though, and the silicone bristles feel gentler on the skin. Their construction also feels more like a facial massage than a Clarisonic brush head does.
  • The LUNA Mini can stand up to annoying, stubborn sebaceous filaments. Hallelujah! That’s really my only persistent skin annoyance; and it isn’t really a problem – in fact, they’re present in totally normal, healthy skin…they’re just unsightly to some of us.
  • You do have to apply some pressure with the LUNA Mini to reap the benefits that those odd-looking silicone cleansing nubs can give you. If you’re coming from just washing with your hands, a soft cloth, or a powered brush like a Clarisonic, this will take adjusting-to.
  • I was able to comfortably switch between the LUNA Mini and my Clarisonic Mia 2 without my skin having a conniption.
  • My skin isn’t ‘more radiant’ with it than it was with what I was doing before, but it is cleaner and clearer than when I have a weird day where I just wash my face with hands or a cloth.

The Bottom Line

I’m fairly satisfied with the FOREO Luna Mini. It is significantly more challenging for me to overdo exfoliation with this device because, well, that isn’t what it is intended for – so my goal was ultimately achieved. That said, don’t know that I would repurchase this model or its successor, the LUNA Mini 2. Why?

The ergonomics of it are annoying to me. Furthermore, although it is better suited to travel than my other device, they now have a smaller LUNA better suited to this. (I am referring to the LUNA Go not the LUNA Play. The Go is not disposable! More on that in another post). I would, however, buy a LUNA Go to replace my LUNA Mini. Same functionality, smaller package.

Given my stance on repurchasing, this is one rare instance where my recommendation(s) aren’t entirely aligned. I would recommend the LUNA Mini to the following:

  • Young people who are into skincare and want a device. A fourteen year old doesn’t necessarily need to go Clarisonic-hard on her skin!
  • Mature individuals with delicate skin. A powered-brush might be too hard on this skin-type. and exfoliation at this point is (usually) best addressed with a chemical regimen established with a dermatologist.
  • If you travel, it’s viable…but again, I’d recommend the LUNA Go over the Mini for those with travel needs.

Have you tried a LUNA device or are you considering purchasing one?

PSA: 20% off FOREO Sale

20% off FOREO Sale

Today through Wednesday, FOREO is offering 20% off ALL devices with code FOREO1216.

Almost two years ago, I considered and ultimately purchased this unconventional toothbrush for my husband who has very sensitive gums. Eventually, eight months ago, I shared his review. His favorable opinion remains the same, and it was awesome to hear that his hygienist and dentist approved of the FOREO Issa mini’s performance, too. We can’t recommend it enough for those of you for whom routine brushing is really uncomfortable for, and who don’t relish the expense that conventional powered toothbrushes bring (cost breakdown on a full-sized ISSA at retail price is in this post).

I decided to buy a FOREO Luna mini for myself around the time we were writing up his review of the Issa Mini. Unlike my other skincare gadget, I’m not intentionally waiting forever to share my thoughts, I’ve honestly just been lazy. My goal is to publish that before the year’s end, but here’s my quick-take on the Luna Mini (not the Luna Mini 2, which I have not tried):

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Sonia Kashuk No 4 Synthetic Flat Top Buffer

Sonia Kashuk No 4Sonia Kashuk No 4

Over the last two years years I’ve given my F80 quite the workout. It’s on its last legs, and could use replacing. I planned to. Then, Target offered 25% off all beauty products; I struck out and bought the Sonia Kashuk No 4 Synthetic Flat Top Brush (reg $16), which is widely suggested to be a dupe for the F80. I had my eye on it for a while, but with no reason to buy, I refrained.

Ergonomics

The No 4 features the same weird, ergonomic handle that many of the, “nicer,” SK brushes do. For some, that’s great – but unfortunately, this brush was awkward for my to hold and felt very unnatural. My hands are somewhat small, so your mileage may vary with the handle. I’m sure some people would find it comfortable to hold.

Bristles

This is the crucial part. So as you can see below, the bristles are different lengths (pardon the smudged eyeliner on my index finger)…

 

Sonia Kashuk No 4 Synthetic Flat Top vs Sigma F80

This isn’t a bad thing per se. Depending on the type of bristles and the rigidity with which they were bound, the length could be irrelevant. Here, however, it is not. Because more of the length is exposed, the bristles flex more during application. This impacts buffing and can, at worst, lead to streaks; at best, your application could take longer as you work to even out the product.

Like the Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk No 4’s bristles are all synthetic (read: cruelty free). That said, there is a marked difference in texture. Compared to the F80’s Sigmax bristles, the Sonia Kashuk No 4 feels rough. It is not rough and does not irritate my skin; its bristles just seem so when compared with something softer.

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