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?

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks

I don’t have Nordstrom plastic like what seems to be at least 2/3 of other bloggers out there, so I had to wait until today to hit the sale.

Here are my Nordstrom Anniversary Picks:

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks - Foreo Luna Mini
The FOREO Luna Mini, which I wrote a little about here. You can get it on sale for $74. Skip the Luna Play and get this (the Luna Play has a limited lifespan, is not rechargeable, and is disposable).

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks - Purity Duo

This Purity duo, forty ounces of product, for $53. That’s $1.30 per ounce – and anyone who has ever used purity knows that an ounce alone can go a LONG way. Seriously, if you want this stuff, check out Nordstrom’s sales.

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks - Foreo Issa Mini

More FOREO I’ve written about – the Issa Mini, for $89 – and the full-sized Issa, for $149.

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks - Silk'n

The Silk’n Flash & Go Freedom is on sale for $147.99. When you consider the cost of cartridges (plus your time), even just a reduction in shaving frequency is worth it. I’m still assessing it, but you can read when I first got it here and my most-recent update here.

Nordstrom Anniversary Picks - Zella Live In Leggings

And for a non-skincare item, these Zella Live-In Leggings are incredible. Thick, sturdy, opaque, not-showy or inappropriate. There’s a bit of a cult formed around these, now. If you’re in between sizes, size up, even if the True Fit Size says size down) – I made the mistake of sizing down last time. (The sized-down ones aren’t uncomfortable once they’re on, but it takes some doing to get them on.)

Worth it? Foreo Issa Mini

issamini_pkgForeo Issa Mini

Last year after this post, I purchased a Foreo Issa Mini. I did not purchase the curious toothbrush for myself, but for my husband who happens to have unreasonably sensitive gums. Although his dentist tells him his gums are healthy, they bleed every time he brushes (even using the softest-bristled toothbrush).

Can you imagine? That’s REALLY unpleasant!

The Purchase

After I read that some people with sensitive mouths were having good luck with the Issa, I decided to go for it when Sephora had their Spring BI sale. This purchase is what made me VIB, so at the time I only managed to snag 10% off plus whatever eBates was offering at the time.

I ordered the Issa Mini ($119) because functionally, there’s no difference between it and the full-size. The main differences are length of the handle and size of the silicone ‘brush’ head…we checked them out together and decided the Mini would be fine. If anything, a slightly smaller brush head is easier to use; it offers greater maneuverability around your teeth, particularly in the back of your mouth. (If you’ve ever used an Oral-B or Sonicare electric with the petite heads, you know this!)

I interviewed my husband who has used it for coming up on a year to capture his opinions on the device and whether he thinks the Foreo Issa Mini was worth it.

His Thoughts

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Getting a new Skincare Gadget

Remarkably, I’ve spent less of my recent personal time on a computer than the past year. My day job has been more demanding recently, so I’ve had less personal time and I’ve actually wanted to give myself a break from the screens. I’m reading paper books more. I’m taking more walks.

At the end of the day, though, I still like buttons and internet in a lot of things – including my skincare.

I’ve been a Clarisonic Mia2 loyal for approaching three years, now – which is crazy, because it seems like just yesterday (really 5 years ago) I just learned about that particular skincare gadget and was incredulous at the cost.

For the last few months, my skin has been having a hissy fit. I’ve used a fresh brush head since, and I clean it regularly. Although I don’t think it is the Clarisonic’s fault, I decided for science and curiosity to try the Foreo Luna Mini. So I took advantage of one of the sought-after 20% off Ulta Platinum Perks and ordered one last week. It’s due to arrive in a day or two.

Foreo Luna Mini Skincare Gadget

Going in, I don’t have any preconceived notions or expectations for the device. I am a bit excited about the the hygienic aspect and the fact that you don’t need to replace expensive brush heads every 3-4 months.

If you don’t already, would you consider using a skincare gadget or tool?