my MUA reviews: moisturisers (2007-08)

(see also: 2009-10 and 2011)

Yogurt Mask  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 12/31/2008 8:19:00 PM

Marvellous stuff, on the lactose-tolerant, sensitive, fragile of skin. If you have issues with cow milk products, try goat or sheep milk yoghurt, or else goat/sheep milk powder mixed with water. Have tried them successfully; haven’t tried using soy- or oat-milk products, but I suspect they’d be worth a go. That briefest of caveats aside: this stuff is so mild the worst that would probably happen – if your skin is tougher and needs something more potent – is nothing at all.
Here are three mask recipes, all using plain natural yoghurt (i.e. no added sugar, flavours, bits of fruit, etc.):
(1) Emergency: simply apply yoghurt to skin. Straight out of fridge or at room temperature. Indeed, if in a state of desperation, straight out of the yoghurt container, and using the hands. Good for calming irritation and sensitivity. Burns, rashes, bites – I first used this on sunburn when a child, before the dawning of the great age of modern sunscreens that actually work. Apply a layer to affected skin, and leave it for as long as possible. Some will absorb – nice and moisturising – and the rest will dry, then can be washed off very easily, with plain water.
A thicker yoghurt works best for this, simply because the texture makes it easier to apply and helps it stay on: e.gg. full-fat, and Greek-style (or Turkish or variously Balkan) yoghurt.
(2) Basic face mask: mix 1 teaspoonful of yoghurt + 1 teaspoonful of honey. Applied in a thin layer to face, neck, and bosom. Can be left on for as little as 5 min in shower (while washing hair and rest of self), or up to 30 min (till really dry and crumbly). Then rinsed off. Skin is soft and soothed afterwards. Excellent if skin’s been misbehaving or upset. Being very mild, can be used daily if so desired. Takes seconds to prepare in kitchen beforehand: I recommend using a small container (ex. egg-cup) to transport the mask to the bathroom. Unless you’re a luxurious person with an in-bathroom fridge …
Works with any honey tried so far. Fine with a thinner yoghurt (and – see other reviews below – low-fat is recommended, for AHA reasons). The mask should be sufficiently non-liquid so as not to fall off the face: other than that practicality, texture is a matter of individual preference. I’ve had perfectly satisfactory results with many a yoghurt: though I do still prefer to use the same pot for eating and for skincare, being a lazy shopper (and a pedestrian, with at least a 30 min walk between shops/public transport and home).
OK, not technically a mask – more a speeded-up version of the in-shower mask – but a thin yoghurt or a drinking yoghurt (the plain drinking yoghurt you get in cartons in Europe) also makes a good simple cleansing milk. As does milk (the clue’s in the name). Use as any other creamy non-foaming cleanser: dampen skin (ideally, using a facecloth and tepid water), apply a little yoghurt or milk (1 or 2 teaspoonfuls: again, best via the intermediary of an unbreakable container), rub in, rinse off. Common practice for generations, but just adding this use here in case anyone’s not met the idea. No guarantees on heavy-duty make-up; it does remove lightweight sunscreen; above all, nice and refreshing in the morning.
(3) The complete face mask: add oatmeal. Best ground down a little, and soaked in warm water (as if making porridge), then mixed in. Quantities: for a good solid mask, a little more oatmeal than the total quantity of the other ingredients combined. This mask can be applied and left until it dries; it can also be used as a super-gentle scrub. As a mask, works well with cold teabags on closed eyes, as an eye-mask. Happy memories of many girls’ nights in, over many years. (Not keeping the same mask on for all these years, I hasten to add.) Infinite variations exist: e.g. the addition of mashed banana and/or avocado on drier skin. The world’s your oyster … Same proportions again: at least 50% oatmeal. Easiest to make in a larger batch, and thus either for a bunch of people or for a weekend of twice-daily self-pampering.
Cheap. Makes you gorgeous. Smells lovely. Fully edible. And performs miracles on messed-up skin – on this particular one anyway, that’s physically thin (gets scratched and bleeds with nearly all scrubs) and easily irritated (sometimes resulting in spots and rashes), slightly dry, occasional cystic pimpliciousness on chin (currently none, touch wood it’s under control).
Recommended as part of a general leisurely – maybe even slow-motion – hung-over pampering: groaning gently to oneself feels like the perfect accompaniment. Mind you, so is humming happily.

Honey  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 12/31/2008 4:08:00 PM

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Amazing stuff. Uses found thus far:
(1) Besides the obvious* – mix 50/50 with plain natural yoghurt for a face mask; can be left on for as little as 5 min in shower, or up to 30 min (till really dry and crusty). Then rinsed off. Skin is soft and soothed afterwards. Excellent if skin’s been misbehaving or upset. I use any honey for this. (See YOGURT MASK for further details.)
(2) Amazing on zits. I’m a sceptical sort of person, and not often amazed. I use New Zealand manuka honey for this, with UPF 10+ / MGO 100+. Available from health food stores, and some supermarkets. Another – cheaper – option is a blended NZ/Australian honey, which is part manuka (NZ), part tea-trea (AUS): if it’s in Irish supermarkets, it ought to be findable anywhere…
Dot on to clean dry skin, using a Q-tip / cotton-wool bud. Leave for as long as possible or practicable: even just 15 min or so in the morning (while doing make-up and breakfast, say) makes a difference. And then a second application, ideally left on overnight. If zits are in parts of face that’ll hit pillow and risk hitting hair, put a sticking-plaster on top.
Results: again, general soothing; massively reduced inflammation; the more minor individual zits diminished or nearly gone; the bigger ones closer to surface and (when left overnight, under a plaster) de-gunkified (gunk on plaster, mmmm yummy). Spots are dry (including nasty open red ones) without the surrounding skin being dried out.
(3) Mixing a spoonful into conditioner doesn’t do any harm either.
Like I said, amazing stuff. And even more expensive manuka honey is a lot cheaper than any spot treatment on the market. Sorry for not getting around to reviewing this until the end of the year – please count it as a happy New Year gift for 2009!
* The obvious: Eating it, cooking with it, in tea, on toast, etc. Makes you glow inside and out. I also keep two jars of New Zealand manuka honey. A high UPF one in the first-aid box for topical application for wounds and bites. A second, lower UPF one, for zits, and for coughs and colds and sore throats. Can be stirred into hot drinks and hot toddies, but also brilliant if a spoonful is held in mouth (sans spoon) for as long as possible, then swallowed very slowly to coat the throat on the way down. Thanks to Aine for that tip – helped heal sever tracheitis with 2 weeks’ voice loss! Subsequent bad throats have gone away within a couple of days.
BUT: bees are becoming rare, and precious. I’m currently only using honey for medicinal purposes, not for cosmetic ones; and replacing it with agave nectar and maple syrup for sweetening hot drinks and in cooking.

Trilogy – Rosehip Oil Eye Contour Cream  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 12/12/2008 3:44:00 PM

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Basic eye cream. If I say it’s no better than – and indeed as good as – many another eye cream, I mean that as a major compliment: (1) the standard’s high – even in cheaper and supermarket own-brands these days and (2) many “greener” eye creams look good on paper (drool-worthy ingredients) but actual application and performance are as dramatic a let-down.
Trilogy does the job: moisturising the eye area, sinking in neither too fast (if too light) nor too slowly (if too heavy, and leaving a greasy film), soothing puffiness and computer-eye, applied overnight leaving eyes rested and relaxed the next morning. In a 20 ml plastic tube with nozzle end: well packaged. A light gel/cream. Doesn’t smell of anything in particular, dotted on easily. Once on, it felt matte – not greasy. Didn’t accumulate in wrinkly bits or go crusty flaky. No irritation, millia, or other disasters. No migration into the eyes (or if there were any, no irritation, so didn’t notice).
It *does* need to be left to sink in, and therefore might be better at night; can’t be rushes in the morning, or it balls up and flakes under eye makeup. I can’t comment much on performance under eye makeup, other than being fine under base/concealer; mascara and tightliner acted impeccably (i.e. no different from with other good eye-creams, no smudging). All well and good.
It’s about the same texture as the Body Shop vitamin E eye cream (but more moisturising than it) or Avène Soothing Eye Cream (prefer). Or assorted supermarket or drugstore basic / sensitive eye creams: Tesco’s, Superdrug, Boots, for example. A little like Dr. Hauschka’s Daily Revitalizing (the one in the tube, not the Joke in the Jar).
But producing such an elegant and well-functioning formula by putting together this standard of nice plant-based ingredients – that’s another story. The main ingredients, just for salivation purposes: aloe vera gel; sweet almond, evening primrose, jojoba, rose hip, and avocado oils; cocoa and shea butter. (Full list at end of review.)
Given it’s been shipped half-way round the world and suffered customs duty and exchange rates, this is a surprisingly good deal: EUR 32.00 for 20 ml in Ireland; around $40-43. All the Trilogy products are beautifully packaged: brown glass bottles or PET, cream labels on matte plasticky paper (except the PET, obv), with printing in a deep brown and rosewood colour in a nicely rounded sans-serif font. Minimal, but not black-and-white.
A very laudable company in terms of good ethics and greenness: no animal involvement, organic, fair trade (with a co-operative in Lesotho, for the rose-hip oil that’s their key product and in many of their other things), products are shipped not flown, and, indeed, Trilogy’s fully carbon neutral.
It may be in danger of being Fashionable here in Europe as it’s not in many shops and as once supplies run out, there’s no more till the next boat. On the other hand, if you’re in New Zealand (Trilogy’s home turf) or Australia, this would be a very good idea: and a much better deal than parallel “green & chic” European brands, which are much more expensive with you, and for which you should feel no envy and lust – this is every bit as good!
CONS: There are, however, issues: hence reduction in rating (I had this as a 5 for some time). It works well for a while, then I found I had to apply a lot more to attain the same level of moisture. The tube turns out not to be such a good buy. I’ve actually had much better results with creams with the following ingredients near the top of the list, in terms of continuous and consistent moisturisation: dimethicone, mineral oil, paraffin wax, shea butter, jojoba, sunflower, safflower oils, and the heavier emollients (often plant-derived) like stearic acid and triglycerides. But this happens to be what works on me–very much YMMV…
There are other “less green” eye creams I’ve preferred, in terms of the right lightness/richness, nourishment, moisturisation balance–still, by companies that don’t test on animals, and use at least some plant ingredients: Avène Soothing Eye Cream, Clarins “Special” Eye Balm, Simple. On the “greener” front: Dr.Hauschka, Nuxe Contour des yeux prodigieux, Börlind LL Regeneration Eye Cream. The latter make the best light-but-moist eye cream I’ve tested so far – with results closest to the crème de la crème of the “less green” ones. If and when needing more moisture, I’m using Allergenics Cream (my multi-tasker genius) or, if very dry, a teeny dab of straight-up unrefined shea butter. Also worth a look: The Body Shop, Beauty Without Cruelty, Aubrey’s Organics, Kiss My Face, Zia, John Masters Organics, and Derma E.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe vera gel, Sweet almond oil, Glycerin, Evening primrose seed oil, Jojoba seed oil, Glycerol stearate se, Cetearyl alcohol, Stearic acid, Rosehip seed oil, Cocoa seed butter, Vitamin E, Shea fruit, Turmeric root oil, Avocado fruit oil, Grapefruit seed extract, Eyebright extract, Carrot root extract, Phenoxyenthanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citral, Limonene.

Trilogy – Rosehip Oil  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 12/3/2008 7:31:00 PM

UPDATE (2011-07): moved over to using NOW refined or Pai Organics refined; both are cheaper than the Trilogy, better on my skin, longer-life, and more stable. YMMV: there are now several different forms of RHO around, including many much cheaper cold-pressed unrefined organic ones just like the Trilogy but–in the case of Garden of Wisdom, Lotioncrafter, Mountain Rose Herbs–a fraction (between 1/7 and 1/8) of the price.
Brand-quibbling aside, RHO is f***ing and blinding amazing, great, wonderful stuff. Deployed after cleansing and sort-of toning (witch hazel). One or two drops only, dotted onto face then patted in very fast. This stuff can be tricky to use – it is so fine-grain and absorbs so fast, and yet one must beware of over-applying. I’m using this in the evening, instead of any night cream; and in the morning, as a serum applied to damp skin, before moisturiser and sunscreen.
Doesn’t smell of much. Some people think it smells of fish. I have been known to eat fish, and indeed to prepare them for cooking from their raw state. This does not smell of any fish with which I am familiar.
Enough of that. Even if this reeked of week-old carcass, I might well still use it. Results: skin is calm, smooth, in lovely condition, and basically “normal.” The tone and grain of it is even.
This is especially noticeable on the nose: pores (never big) are tiny, skin is smooth (neither slick nor with fine cracks), area around nostrils and wings of nose looks like the rest (no forthcoming spots, redness, irritation, flakes), and the area between sides of nose, start of cheek, and undereye area is – well, flat! I wear glasses, and that area often gets rubbed and/or bits of grubbiness settle, just under the bottom edge of lens.
Other contributing factors: using a better cleanser and moisturiser (well, “better” on my skin anyway), not moisturising at night (other than this), and not using any face make-up of the foundation, concealer, powder variety. All the drier and oilier bits are behaving themselves, spots (cystic acne) are departing, and general sleekness is evident. I must be careful and neither get too smug nor touch my spot-less complexion constantly. The latter might certainly lead to the return of zitarchy.
The one con is that this oil is fragile and goes off very fast. Buy little and often, rather than being tempted by larger quantities. Buy from stores with fast stock turn-around. Keep refrigerated. If it starts to smell off–rancid–stop using it and bin it. I’ve used this when it was off–just slightly off–and had serious irritation; including from brand-new bottles that had been sitting on a shop shelf for too long. Major waste of money: couldn’t be returned (countries outside the US have different rules). This is another reason I moved over to other brands that were more stable.
Costs EUR 21.00 for 20 ml, or EUR 42.00 for 45 ml. Nice glass dropper-bottle. There are many other rosehip oils out there – and the range will of course vary from country to country. This particular one is produced in New Zealand, and a very laudable company in terms of good ethics and greenness: no animal involvement, organic, fair trade (with a co-operative in Lesotho), products are shipped not flown, and, indeed, Trilogy’s fully carbon neutral. Even if you put these factors aside, this also happens to be one of the cheapest rosehip oils you can get here in Ireland.
UPDATE (2011-07): at the time I first wrote this review, Trilogy was one of the few RHOs readily available. There are now more, of the same sort and standard, but cheaper, from many companies (GoW etc.); and there are more stable ones around (ex. A’Kin and Pai, using CO2 extraction; NOW refined).
All the Trilogy products are beautifully packaged: brown glass bottles or PET, cream labels on matte plasticky paper (except the PET, obv), with printing in a deep brown and rosewood colour in a nicely rounded sans-serif font. Minimal, but not black-and-white.
INGREDIENTS: rosehip oil.

Dr. Hauschka – Moisturizing Day Cream  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 12/3/2008 10:24:00 AM
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If your skin is more or less normal and not overly sensitive, I’d recommend giving this a try. Decent basic moisturiser, not for drier skin. In milder weather, and normal skin conditions: moisturising enough on mid-30s sensitive skin (a little dry, some cystic acne on chin). Not sufficient for colder, drier weather. It is indeed, as others below have said, very like Clinique DDML in texture: a light, yellow fluid.
At a time of skin-panic, I tested this out, along with the Rose Day Cream Light, and using the Dr.H rhythmic method. I did this or a good month before reviewing; but that’s about the only bit of decent methodology I employed in this test (given skin in bad shape and being super-irritable, plus testing out more than one new thing at once).
The initial feel of the Moisturizing was not as smooth as that of the Rose Light; the Rose had that velvetiness and silkiness I’d usually associate with a cyclopentasiloxane-based moisturiser. It felt more pleasant, sunk into skin better, left skin more moist and supple; whereas the Moisturizing didn’t, indeed leaving skin quite dry. I also tried using a combination of the two creams, with an extra layer of the Rose Light on drier patches. Meh. My main symptoms before and during the Dr.H test-period were a dry flaky nose and dry, slightly scaly patches along the tops of my cheeks. These felt slightly better for a short time with the Rose Light, but were not alleviated in the longer term until I ditched the rhythm method and went back to old-fashioned basics, as it were: using plain oil (sunflower) and emollient cream (Allergenics) to moisturise.
Very easy to use: dot a very small amount around face and pat and smoothe around. No rubbing and tugging. Needs quite fast work, as it skinks in rapidly. I used it all over, oilier areas included.
Wouldn’t buy again, though I would test out the Rose Light again, when skin is in a stable condition, and I’d do it more methodologically properly this time. Especially only one new thing at a time.
I did find the Dr H. regime to some extent useful: the part of not using night-cream. I use a moderate version: having now figured out which bits of me get very dessicated when left to heir own devices, I only moisturise them, and only very lightly; other than that, after cleansing, I slap on some rosehip oil. I like to think this is a compromise on the non-moisturising business, as it isn’t a cream and feels like a light serum.*
Packaging: glass to help it keep, a pump dispenser, and slighty retro. But it is horrendous. I can’t live with it. For the sake of avoiding that repulsive gold top alone, I decanted the lot into a super-high-standard PET pump bottle of similar dimensions (thank you Muji, masters of the minimal, tasteful, and useful). And I know glass is all very good and virtous and so on, but it’s a seriously bad idea for an extremely short-sighted person blundering around the bathroom sans glasses first thing in the morning, before you bring the early-morning lack-of-coordination factors into play.
Worth either getting your hands on a sample or using the smaller size first to check this works with your particular skin. Available in 30 ml and 100 ml. The 100 ml. version works out the same price as the Clinique DDML here. USD 60.00 / EUR 38.00 or thereabouts. I’m using a lot less than I did with the DDML (about 4 or 5 years back), so Dr H is a better buy. It’s also the cheapest of all the Dr H moisturisers. And like them all very nice and ethical and green, no funny business with animals, etc.
INGREDIENTS: Water/Aqua, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Alcohol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’swort) Extract, Glycerin, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Lecithin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Limonene, Linalool, Farnesol, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Citronellol, Citral, Eugenol, Benzyl Salicylate, Algin, Xanthan Gum
*So I can persuade myself this isn’t cheating. Besides, Dr H are the ones who ought to making excuses for themselves here, re. their crazy-money (and a bit cult or b/s?) Rhythmic Night Conditioners. They all have some oils in them, and the sensitive one includes rosehip.

Weleda – Almond Facial Oil  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 11/3/2008 7:05:00 AM
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Excellent on mid-30s sensitive skin that’s physically thin, easily irritated (inc. burning in seconds), dry patches, tendencies towards cystic acne in chin to nose area.
This is part of Weleda’s Almond range for sensitive skin. No additional fragranced essential oils, and a very minimal ingredient list based on sweet almond and plum oils. The whole range smells more or less of almonds: slighty sweet, but think frangipani rather than marzipan. I’ve been using the Oil as an eye make-up remover and as an occasional pre-cleanser (I don’t usually wear any more than sunscreen and a bit of blush). I’ve also used the oil on any dry patches on my face (ex. after the walk home from work), and on hands. It’s excellent around cuticles, and cheaper and better than many cuticle-specific products out there, whose main active ingredient is almond oil. I’m sure there’d be many other uses for the Oil in colder and drier weather.
Thoroughly recommended. Not too expensive – in the region of EUR 8.00. Good little bottle, but the dropper isn’t so hot (1 lippie off on packaging quality) – I swapped over the dropper in my Weleda Rosemary Hair oil stuff, and that’s much improved all round (each bottle now has a dropper that’s more appropriate to the desired quantity for one dose).
INGREDIENTS: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond), Prunus Domestica (Plum), Prunus Spinosa (Blackthorn).

Dr. Hauschka – Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 11/3/2008 6:35:00 AM
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Best “green” eye cream I’ve used, and one of the few (green and not) I’ve liked, that moisturise, don’t irritate, don’t cause milia, and at least make me feel better (ask me about wrinkles in a few years, too soon to tell now, but I’m 35 and non-wrinkly, but then again not too fussed about the issue, more concerned with health and comfort). Excellent on mid-30s sensitive skin that’s physically thin and easily irritated. I’d made a bit of a skin-care regimen change and then waited at least a full monthly cycle before reviewing, to check things were actually working: and my skin is now happy.
The Daily Revitalizing is a light but concentrated fluid, rather than a cream. The formula includes, high on the ingredients list, avocado oil (but it’s unlike that nasty Kiehl’s stuff that caused huuuuge reaction), rose water, pineapple and mallow extracts, apricot and sea buckthorn oils, and all the oils that break out the rest of my face dramatically yet somehow miraculously work here around the eyes: jojoba, mango seed, macadamia nut, peanut, shea butter.
I use one dot for both eyelids (patting in from outer corners inwards) and a second dot underneath (same again): in total, less than the classic “grain of rice,” more like a grain of risotto rice or pearl barley. Patting in, no rubbing. There is a little fragrance, but it’s nice and very mild. More importantly, within seconds skin feels calm and smooth to the touch. Used in the evening, it leaves the eye area in fine condition the next morning. If there is any migration into the eyes overnight, I haven’t noticed it (and you wouldn’t believe the number of eye and face creams that have had to be given away over the years, due to The Migration Problem).
Thoroughly recommended. One lippie off overall for price (EUR 33 / 12.5 ml, less on the Continent), as it’s expensive for what it is, so not great value for money – other cheaper creams perform as well. Another lippie off on packaging for the aluminium tube: very eco-friendly, and good for preserving the essential oils and hygiene, but be careful rolling it down as it can break. If that happens, don’t throw it out: wrap top of tube in clingfilm/Saran wrap, then tape around (Sellotape/Scotch tape), and all will be well.
INGREDIENTS: Water/Aqua, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water (Rose Distillate), Glycerin, Alcohol, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Beeswax/Cera Alba, Althaea Officinalis (Marsh Mallow) Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil, Hectorite, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Lysolecithin (Hydrolyzed Lecithin), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Geraniol

Dr. Hauschka – Rose day cream light  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 11/3/2008 6:18:00 AM

Superb light but dense facial moisturiser. Soothing and smoothing. I testing out this and the Moisturizing Day Cream; the Rose Light is a keeper. Gentler.
The Rose Light is mainly rose and mallow extracts (lots of different roses in various forms), with sesame, sweet almond, apricot, avocado, and a little wheatgerm oils.
Rose day cream light is a lighter version of the old Rose cream, which is thicker and oilier. This newer version is more elegant: very little is needed, rub between finger-tips to warm it up, dot onto face, and pat in gently. All over.
Obviously it smells delightful. Skin feels lovely: calm, comfortable, sleek, and like fine velvet to the touch. Retains that feel, and moisture, all day and into the evening; when using this, while I cheated slightly on the Dr.Hauschka method, I didn’t reapply this cream at night (I just washed, patted on some witch-hazel hydrosol–not a million miles from the DrH equivalent–then a teeny bit of oil, rosehip.)
But, as ever, try before you buy.
What I can say is that using this cream didn’t make my skin any better than using other–often really basic–mild stuff that works as well on me and costs less (ex. plain oil and emollient cream for moisturiser, other “greener” moisturisers like Weleda Almond).
Now, I’m not knocking the whole Dr H. range (the eye creams, for instance, are a delight). I gave the no night-cream business a fair go, and it was useful and informative. It was useful to observe which bits of face are really dry and genuinely need moisture at night, and they don’t need much. But no moisture at night was too harsh on my skin. Needed an intermediate, tempered version (just rosehip seed oil); and I am sticking with that more moderate version. One has to be reasonable: when skin is cracking and coming off, why suffer and damage it further when instead you can stick it back down (and back together)? No system is going to “fix” the genetic fact of my skin structure (physically thin and fragile).
Recommended to try. Expensive (EUR 25.00 for 30 ml), but lasts a while as so little is needed, and if it works for you, better skin means spending zero on primer, foundation, powder, etc. Look out for the sample / travel sizes too, usually a few bucks but won’t break the bank if they don’t work out for you. The aluminium tube is very eco-friendly, and good for preserving the essential oils and hygiene, but be careful rolling it down as it can break. If that happens, don’t throw it out: wrap top of tube in clingfilm/Saran wrap, then tape around (Sellotape/Scotch tape), and all will be well.
INGREDIENTS: Water/Aqua, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Althaea Officinalis (Marsh Mallow) Root Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Water (Rose Distillate), Rosa Damascena (Rose) Extract, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bentonite, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Beeswax/Cera Flava, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Lysolecithin (Hydrolyzed Lecithin), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Extract, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, Citral, Farnesol, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Wax, Xanthan Gum

Clinique – All About Eyes  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 7/15/2008 9:22:00 AM
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I was inspired by babykitten9’s review to write about this joy!
AAE is one of my regular daytime eye creams – the other is Avene Soothing, with something more on top in winter or other windy, cold weather. A light cream-gel, feels really very pleasant, and silky without being oily or too slick. Moisturising enough most of the time, no irritation if it slips into eyes, and can be applied all around the eye including the eyelid. Smoothes things out around the eye, probably due to the preponderance of silicone fillers. Best of all it forms an excellent base for eye make-up – even plain “natural-look” concealer.
I would complain about the glass jar packaging, like many other have done, but AAE is very easily decanted into a plastic squeezy flip-top tube (I use a 30 g. Muji one).
Can’t really comment on any reduction in puffiness or under-eye circles – I use cold teabags for that first thing in the morning, have found them superior to anything else.
I used this for years in my 20s and early 30s, then moved away to experiment with heavier creams – which did nothing more than this, didn’t feel as nice, and some even did less (too rich, millia, irritation). Also realised that (a) my wrinkles are very slight, (b) actually, I quite like them, and (c) there are other more important things worth worrying about (like sunscreen and sunglasses). In the midst of my worrying-about-wrinkles phase I found myself looking at women laughing, and noticed how many were restraining themselves from laughing properly in an uninhibited fashion. I don’t want to be like that – I’d rather enjoy life fully. So there, mid-life-crisis at hitting my halfway point to the Three-Score Years and Ten. The finger to all that, and thumbs up to AAE.
Costs EUR 32.00 / GBP 20.00 / USD 27.00 ish for the 15 ml jar – have also bought a 30 ml jar in the US, alas it’s not available here in Europe. Lasts quite a long time, and doesn’t seem to go off…
INGREDIENTS: cyclopentasiloxane -water – isostearyl palmitate – polyethylene – butylene glycol – polysilicone-11 – ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer – mulberry root extract – caffeine – phytosphingosine – wheat bran extract – scutellaria baicalensis root extract – whey protein – olive fruit extract – green tea leaf extract – cholesterol – linoleic acid – tocopheryl acetate – magnesium ascorbyl phosphate – pyridoxine dipalmitate – sucrose – glycerin – dimethicone – glyceryl laurate – peg/ppg-18/18 dimethicone – quaternium-18 bentonite – petrolatum – cetyl peg/ppg-10/1 dimethicone – propylene carbonate – sodium chloride – disodium edta – sodium sulfite – sodium metabisulfite – iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, ci 77499).

Clinique – All About Eyes Rich  lippies2.gif gingerrama on 7/15/2008 8:58:00 AM
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Like many other people, I tried this in a sample and was initially intrigued by The Rich’s quantities of shea butter as potentially better on 30-something increasing dryness (and, I admit, vanity about possible wrinklies).
But over time and with experimentation, I found many other eye creams were just as moisturising (and I Learned to Stop Worrying about wrinkles and Love the Bomb that is uninhibited facial expressions).
Indeed, many straight-up face creams performed (gasp) better – when applied in the eye-cream manner, dotted and dabbed and patted in (ex. Paula’s Choice Hydrating Treatment Cream at night).
Add my name to the list of people who loathe the glass jar. Unlike the (much much nicer) AAE non-rich, this stuff is too thick to decant into my favourite Muji squeezy plastic flip-top tubes.
Other complaints: irritated eyes when migrated in with sweat during the day – unlike other eye creams I have been using (ex. Avene Soothing and AAE Poor). Worked OK to start with then became uncooperative with under-eye and eyelid concealer (unlike AAE Poor – which also makes skin nice and smooth, probably thanks to all the silicones). Didn’t sink in properly, even overnight – again, unlike some other creams, including richer face-creams (ex. Lavera, Allergenics) and lip-balms used as thick eye-balm.
All in all, there are many other things out there that are better. Plain shea butter for one!
Available in the US in a larger pot that works out cheaper (30 ml/1 oz for USD 46.00); otherwise about EUR 32.00/GBP 20.00/USD 27.50 for the 15 ml/0.5 oz jar.
INGREDIENTS: water – shea butter – cetearyl alcohol – hydrogenated polyisobutene – phenyl trimethicone – dipropylene glycol – polyglyceryl-3 beeswax- polybutene – sucrose- cetyl esters – polymethyl methacrylate – isostearyl neopentanoate – glycerin – glyceryl stearate – cetearyl glucoside – butylene glycol – tocopheryl acetate – euphrasia extract – wheat germ extract – barley extract – st. paul’s wort extract – peg-100 stearate – coleus barbatus extract – birch extract – polysilicone-11 – methyl glucose sesquistearate- green tea leaf extract -sage leaf – glyceryl polymethacrylate – yeast extract – gentian root extract – stearic acid – milk protein – lysine – acetyl glucosamine – palmitoyl oligopeptide – guanidine carbonate – squalane – glycosaminoglycans – magnesium ascorbyl phosphate – cholesterol – caffeine – peg-8 – phytosphingosine – arginine – acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer – aminomethyl propanol – glycine – dimethicone – ascorbic acid – isomerized linoleic acid – linoleic acid – sodium hyaluronate – 1,2 hexanediol – maltodextrin – decarboxy carnosine hcl – potassium sulfate – caprylyl glycol – disodium edta – sodium dehydroacetate – phenoxyethanol – yellow 5 (ci 19140) – iron oxides (ci 77491, 77492, 77499) – mica – titanium dioxide (ci 77891)

Elave – Body Oil  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 7/4/2008 11:06:00 AM

A simple mineral oil. Super-fine and lightweight – much lighter than the J&J and various other versions. No fragrance. It can be used in the bath, at the end of a shower (as an in-shower moisturiser), and after bathing/showering: I am currently using it in combination with the Elave Body Wash (which is also excellent). It’s also a first-rate eye makeup remover and pre-cleansing oil for sunscreen and facial makeup. The same stuff, at the same price, is also available in Elave’s baby range (just different label, says “caring baby oil” instead, with cute-but-not-nauseating picture).*
Decent plastic bottle with dropper top under the cap, practical for application without spilling it everywhere. Actually rather attractive packaging – of a minimal but modern sort – a rare thing in functional pharmaceutical skincare…
Elave is unperfumed and their products are not tested on animals – all their testing is done on consenting adult humans with eczema and other sorts of dermatitis. The Elave is more expensive than many other mineral oils, but lasts a long time, and is less expensive than the other ethically good alternatives (many of which have irritated my skin or been too heavy and broken me out).
This is a first-class alternative – indeed superior – to the classic J&J baby oil (cruelty issues + fragranced); or the Boots Expert sensitive one (unfragranced but of uncertain cruelty-free credentials + hard to find and in process of possibly being discontinued); or supermarket own-brand oils (fragranced + heavy).
Readily available in the UK and Ireland in pharmacies (ex. Boots and McCabes). Costs EUR 9.99 / GBP 6.99 for 250 ml; there’s also an online store for Europe (just Google “elave”).
INGREDIENTS: liquid paraffin – alkyl benzoate [emolient ester, provides “soft” feel and slip, non-comedogenic, non-irritating, etc., etc…]
*Elave is a range made by Ovelle, an Irish company who make basic pharmaceutical skincare products like emulsifying ointment, aqueous cream, and silcock’s base. Been around since the 1930s. This range contains minimal ingredients that have been well tested for safety on sensitive skin, and suitability for helping eczema and other dermatological conditions.

Allergenics – Lotion  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 6/19/2008 6:37:00 AM

A superb light-weight facial moisturizer. Unfragranced, cruelty-free, and sensitive-friendly (including being nice to more serious forms of dermatitis). Paraben-free, contains lots of aloe vera, with borage seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, liquorice root extract, and allantoin.
I’d been using Allergenics’ cream for a while, and deriving much happiness from it. That led me to try out the lotion. It’s as satisfying. Nice and fluid but highly moisturizing; in texture, not unlike E45, Eucerin, or Nivea lotions. Like them, depending on the condition and need of your skin, can be used on various body parts. Doesn’t irritate skin, but makes skin feel pleasant and papered. Even this quite delicate and fussy skin.
Some bottles simply call themselves “lotion,” others “skin… body lotion.” Do not be put off: it’s exactly the same stuff in different packaging (perhaps to put people off using this as an amazingly cheap face lotion?). The bottle is plain ugly – similar aesthetics to E45, Eucerin, Sebamed, and other such brands for serious functional products for serious dermatitis. Available in many pharmacies and health-food places in the UK and Ireland, and also online. Costs about EUR 8.00 – 12.00 for 200 ml.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Cera Alba (beeswax), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (from coconut oil), Glycerin (vegetable source), Lauryl Glucoside (coconut palm kernal), Cetearyl Alcohol (from palm & coconut oil), Polyglyceryl-2-Dipolyhydroxystearate (coconut & castor oil), Brassica Campestris Sterol (GMO Free Rapeseed source), Limnanthes Alba (meadowfoam seed oil), Capryloyl Glycine (from palm & sunflower seeds), Hydroxyethylcellulose (plant cellulose), Borago Officinalis (borage seed oil), Tocopheryl Acetate (from cereals), Xanthan Gum (natural), Allantoin (from sugar beet), Glycyrrhetinic Acid (from liquorice root), Sodium Hydroxide (natural), Citric Acid

Tea bags  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 5/21/2008 7:55:00 AM

A 100-lippie cheap trick that works! Excellent eye-treatment on even very sensitive skin.
All you need is cold water, and the same number of hands and tea bags as you have eyes (I use black, green, chamomile, or rose-hip tea – many others work too). Or borrow someone else’s hands. Or loose tea in reusable muslin bags. Re-using bags previously used to make tea, or using fresh ones.
However you’re setting things up – soak teabags in cold water, squeeze, and apply one to each (closed) eye. Press down gently. Keep them there for a good minute. For a more in-depth treatment, do this for about 5 minutes. Any shape of tea bag works well.
I use black tea bags first thing in the morning, just for a minute or so, standing in the kitchen while the first coffee or tea of the day is brewing. I’ve found this is the best treatment ever for puffy eyes, and soothing in allergy season. Then onto shower and rest of a.m. beauty routine (and, importantly, drinking that first coffee or tea).
You’ll notice that many, many, many eye creams contain caffeine, especially those targeting under-eye puffiness and dark shadows. And many have black, green, red, or white tea in the ingredients (a.k.a. camellia sinensis*).
Other tried and tested tricks are to use cold teaspoons, cold compresses, cucumber slices, or indeed ice cubes to reduce inflammation (including eye-area puffiness – ice-cubes more for first aid elsewhere). Some eye treatments try to replicate this, with cooling gels (like the Body Shop elderflower eye gel, St Ives’ cucumber and elastin eye/face gel, or Clinique’s moisture surge line).
Cold wet tea bags combine these two elements, and in a much cheaper and faster way of getting more caffeine into the area than any eye cream on the market.
I often repeat this later in the day if eyes are somewhat dry, itchy, and feel swollen. Usually from too much computer work. I can also strongly recommend green tea or some caffeine-free herbal brews for this, and general soothing: love chamomile or rose-hip tea. (I do this a bit more gently than in the morning, but no issues with make-up as using waterproof mascara. =D) Perfect multi-tasking: make a small pot of tea with two bags, remove them, soak in cold water, find comfy chair, and relax by drinking tea and treating your eyes at the same time. Bliss.
Very adaptable trick. Also suitable for use with organic etc. teas. Or soaking in cold milk of some sort – another good thing on human skin (but rinse eye area afterwards). Even cheaper if using loose tea, and more environmentally friendly: just put the tea into 2 small reusable muslin bags. These can be bought from health food and cookery stores – they’re often sold for making up your own bouquet garni – or you can make your own very easily, out of any retired and reused fine cotton garment. Obviously, empty out and clean after use, sterilise with boiling water, etc.
*In brief – different forms of the same beast, camellia sinensis – the difference being processing, degree of oxidation, and caffeine content.

Paula’s Choice – 2 % BHA Liquid  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 5/7/2008 7:28:00 AM
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HG. This is the best product I have found for this particular case of late-onset cystic acne, on skin that’s otherwise sensitive, irritable, physically thin, approximately normal and occasionally dry. I’ve had horrid reactions to everything except BHA / salicylic acid. I waited a reasonable time to review this, to check it’s working well. A big thank you to people on the Skincare Board for providing such superb information and guidance on the PC BHA products.
I’m now using it basically for maintenance, and just at night: skin is almost clear. For the record, the other products I’m using are very basic (see notepad), and I’ve been taking omega-3 and omega-6: a flaxseed oil capsule to provide 580 mg ALA + an evening primrose oil one supplying 100 mg GLA.
The nozzle-dropper thing isn’t perfect; but I drop out a teeny bit and dot it onto afflicted areas with (clean) finger-tip. Zero burning; no greasy film; slight shine goes down rapidly. Above all, it works admirably well.
Costs USD 17.95 or EUR 18.50 + shipping, for 4 oz / 118 ml. No animal testing.
As the PC BHA concoctions come in different varieties, it’s worth doing searches on the Boards as well as here in P’ville to see what looks likely to be better for your skin; I also bought sample-sizes of several, to check.
The gels are more sticky, and dried a bit oddly – might be fine at night. I found they made little difference to my skin. I found the liquid and lotions more effective.
The 2% lotion is more like a matte light facial lotion-moisturiser in texture, and has various emollient moisturising ingredients (inc. sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, squalene). The 1% lotion feels mid-way between the 2% liquid (this one here in the review) and 2% lotion. Either of these might be useful to use as a moisturiser on acne-prone areas – especially if you have one of the varieties of acne that’s on areas of skin that are otherwise on the dry side. I happen not to need that, as mine is very localised and non-dry; I moisturise all over in the evening, and everywhere except the spotty areas in the morning.
I went for the liquid in the end as it worked the best, using the least for application, and with fewest extra non-functional ingredients. It happens to fit my needs for something just dotted on chin and by nose – the testosterone “beard area,” as it were.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Methylpropanediol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Salicylic Acid(beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate-20 (water-binding agents), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Disodium EDTA (preservative).

Neutrogena – Body Oil – Fragrance Free  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 4/26/2008 4:19:00 PM
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Lovely, light, silken oil. Much preferable to the scented version. One of the first body oils I tried (apart from when very young, when I didn’t have much choice in the matter). Melts into skin.
Excellent for in- and after-shower moisturising, shaving, and make-up removal. I also happen to have used various other oils, and currently settled on a 50:50 sunflower:mineral mix, not least as it’s cheaper and can multi-task as a pre-cleanse facial oil. Also, buying cruelty-free stuff.
These factors haven’t affected the Neut’s score of a 4: that is based purely on performance. Costs about USD 10.00 for 8.5 oz or 27.00 for a 32 oz huge bottle. Also comes in a light version, that I haven’t tried.
INGREDIENTS: Isopropyl Myristate, Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum Indicum), PEG 40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Propylparaben, BHT

Boots – Expert Anti-Blemish Night Moisturiser  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 3/26/2008 7:43:00 AM

Light moisturiser suitable for skin, or those parts of skin, prone to some forms of pimplicity. Used here on chin, end of nose, and between the brows, on mid-30s skin afflicted with cystic acne, but skin that’s otherwise sensitive, delicate (physically thin, redhead, etc.), easily irritated, generally a fusspot.
Gel-form, in solid plastic tube with flip-cap, that stands up on its end. Simple formula (ingredients follow at end of review). Main active ingredient: salicylic acid. Unfragranced. Although intended for evening use, it can also be used during the day: the day moisturiser in the same series simply has sunscreen added. So one can use this night one with suncreen on top (purely personal choice here – I always use separate sunscreen anyway, as most moisturisers with SPF use sunscreens I happen to allergic to).
I used this on those parts of face prone to the old zits – the rest gets its usual unguent (Avene Skin Recovery cream + their Soothing Eye Cream).
The Expert is gentle, and I had no issues on irritation. But – I’m not sure it actually does anything to pimplicious zones (chin, mainly – hormonal cystic acne). Hence I prefer three products whose results have been more tangible: the Spot Remover (for zapping), Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid (for nightly treatment), and Avene Cleanance (the non-K one) on zitty zones during the day.
Also, unlike the mattifying Avene Cleanance, this leaves a slightly shiny finish. Would be solved with a light powdering of the nose etc.: I can recommend arrowroot or silk powder, as better (and cheaper) alternatives if avoiding irritation is paramount.
Like Chelleywhite, I’ve been very impressed with those items in the Boots Expert Anti-Blemish line I’ve tried. I also agree with her that their marketing is (for once – and in a positive way – and speaking as a confirmed sceptic) spot-on to target non-teenage sufferers from the zittoricious blight. Many treatments formulated for earlier-onset acne are too harsh and drying; those of us with later-onset (and differently hormonally triggered) cystic acne need something gentler. The products’ blurbs all starts out :
“Whatever your age, blemishes and blocked pores can be a problem. Take action with this…”
which is not only attractive to us oldies-but-softies, but more positive and proactive than many a message shot at Us by the misogynist machine that is the cosmetics industry, to keep women (and/via their new-found wealth, gained in turn from more open access to jobs) in a state of silliness and fear (paradoxically, through their new means to power). So thank you Boots, for bucking the system. Mind you, I’m in two minds whether it would be better still or an unutterable travesty to see the addition of great feminist icons on packaging – Joan of Arc with sword, Virginia Woolf plus pen, etc.
Anyway. Nice price too: EUR 7.50 / GBP 3.99 for 50 ml.
INGREDIENTS: aqua – alcohol denat. – glycerin – salix nigra extract (salicylic acid) – acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer – triethanolamine – phenoxyethanol – xanthan gum – propylene glycol – methylparaben – tetrasodium edta – ethylparaben – aloe barbadensis extract – zinc chloride – disodium edta – butylparaben – propylparaben – isobutylparaben.

Boots – Expert Anti-Blemish Gel  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 3/26/2008 7:16:00 AM

OK cheap simple on-the-spot treatment. This light salicylic acid-based fragrance-free clear gel comes in a small (15 ml) tube, an excellent format for dotting on individual zits. The tube is also capable of standing up on its non-application end. Concentrated and cheap (EUR 6.10 / GBP 3.99).
Not quite as potent as Origins’ Spot Remover, that I’m keeping for dramatic outbreaks; the Expert is much gentler. No issues on irritation. But – I’m not sure it actually does anything to pimplicious zones (chin, mainly – hormonal cystic acne). Hence I prefer three products whose results have been more tangible: the Spot Remover (for zapping), Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid (for nightly treatment), and Avene Cleanance (the non-K one) on zitty zones during the day.
Like Chelleywhite, I’ve been very impressed with those items in the Boots Expert Anti-Blemish line I’ve tried. I also agree with her that their marketing is (for once – and in a positive way – and speaking as a confirmed sceptic) spot-on to target non-teenage sufferers from the zittoricious blight. Many treatments formulated for earlier-onset acne are too harsh and drying; those of us with later-onset (and differently hormonally triggered) cystic acne need something gentler. The products’ blurbs all starts out :
“Whatever your age, blemishes and blocked pores can be a problem. Take action with this…”
which is not only attractive to us oldies-but-softies, but more positive and proactive than many a message shot at Us by the misogynist machine that is the cosmetics industry, to keep women (and/via their new-found wealth, gained in turn from more open access to jobs) in a state of silliness and fear (paradoxically, through their new means to power). So thank you Boots, for bucking the system. Mind you, I’m in two minds whether it would be better still or an unutterable travesty to see the addition of great feminist icons on packaging – Joan of Arc with sword, Virginia Woolf plus pen, etc.
INGREDIENTS: aqua – alcohol denat. – butylene glycol – sodium citrate – salicylic acid – hydroxyethylcellulose.

Avène – Ysthéal Anti-aging gel-cream  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 3/23/2008 10:48:00 AM
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Initially, this was a “no, and never again” for the Gingerrama. BUT – UPDATE – I have now read up on the retinaldehyde matter a bit; Tetrakis, Beethovengirl – thank you! Tetrakis’ notepad (http://makeupalley.com/user/notepad/tetrakis) is outstanding, I would recommend it as a place to start on the research front. Her tips on usage are absolutely invaluable. A 3 from me, unfortunately, as this works no better than my regular eye-cream.
Gel-cream for the eye area with lovely texture and no added perfume, 0.015% retinaldehyde. Cruelty-free, well tested, and using that rarest of things, ingredients backed up by actual research. A nice change. I tried this out as it had been so well received here on MUA and on the Boards.
But… I didn’t do the rest of my research on the Boards first. I applied Ystheal in the evening as I do my usual eye cream: immediately after cleansing and moisturising, on damp skin.
This was a bit of a mistake. Results: initial irritation (outer corner of eye socket, where my skin is very very thin), inflamation, and the eye itself would barely open in the morning as some of the cream had crept in. There was more redness and swelling; nothing requiring medical attention, and all went back to normal later in the morning after much rinsing and the application of teabags soaked in cool water. Some flaking around the eye area for about a week after; resolved by sticking the flakes down, and sticking the skin together, with the trusty Avene Soothing Eye Cream mixed with a little emollient cream. I lived to tell the tale, and am not scarred for life.
I then blamed Ystheal for the consequences, rather than the combination of delicate skin and my own faulty application method.
So: double stupidity. Ladies and gentlemen of MUA – learn from my example. Go ye to the Boards and the Pads.
Tetrakis’ tips worked well: I went for waiting (30 mins. or so) till skin had dried, then applying the Ystheal. A tiny amount – some say a grain of rice, I’d say a sesame seed. Any excess will just sit on top and eventually flake off. I’m doing this every 3rd day, building up (over the course of weeks) to every other day, etc., piano piano. And using sunscreen during the day, as per usual (given pale skin/red hair + functioning brain and self-preservation instincts).
No reactions, and skin is no worse than it was under very simple eye-cream. No better either.
I should add that the packaging for Ystheal eye is outstanding: pump, fully sealed, nitrogen packed. And pretty too. I’d used a sample; a full 15 ml is in the region of EUR 20.00-25.00 (and more outside Europe).
INGREDIENTS: Water, mineral oil, Avène thermal spring water, butylene glycol, polysorbate 40, squalane, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbitan palmitate, BHT, butylparaben, carbomer, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, red 33 (CI 17200), retinal (Retinaldehyde C.T. 0.015%), sodium hydroxide, tocopheryl glucoside, xanthan gum.

Allergenics – (Body) Lotion  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 3/21/2008 8:24:00 PM
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I admit – I am a lotion w***e. Fickle, but with standards for comparison. And this one is, IME, superb. As a bonus, it’s also an excellent facial moisturiser.
It’s unfragranced, cruelty-free, and sensitive-friendly (including being nice to more serious forms of dermatitis). Paraben-free, contains lots of aloe vera, with borage seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, liquorice root extract, and allantoin.
I’ve now been using Allergenics’ cream for a while, and deriving much happiness from it. That led me to try out the lotion. It’s as satisfying. Nice and fluid but highly moisturizing; in texture, not unlike E45, Eucerin, or Nivea lotions. Doesn’t irritate skin, but makes skin feel pleasant and papered. Even this quite delicate and fussy skin.
Available in many pharmacies and health-food places in the UK and Ireland, and also online. Costs about EUR 8.00 for 200 ml.
INGREDIENTS: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Cera Alba (beeswax), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (from coconut oil), Glycerin (vegetable source), Lauryl Glucoside (coconut palm kernal), Cetearyl Alcohol (from palm & coconut oil), Polyglyceryl-2-Dipolyhydroxystearate (coconut & castor oil), Brassica Campestris Sterol (GMO Free Rapeseed source), Limnanthes Alba (meadowfoam seed oil), Capryloyl Glycine (from palm & sunflower seeds), Hydroxyethylcellulose (plant cellulose), Borago Officinalis (borage seed oil), Tocopheryl Acetate (from cereals), Xanthan Gum (natural), Allantoin (from sugar beet), Glycyrrhetinic Acid (from liquorice root), Sodium Hydroxide (natural), Citric Acid.

Avène – Cleanance Antishine Regulating Lotion  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 3/21/2008 7:29:00 PM
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Light facial moisturizer, intended for oily, blemish-prone sensitive skin, with subtly mattifying and smoothing effect. Also a decent mattifier on top of sunscreen, can be reapplied during the day.
I use it occasionally, on patches of the dreaded 30-something hormonal cystic acne – chin, sometimes jawline and around nose – affectionately known as “my lady-ghost-beard zone.” This skin is otherwise normal to slightly dry, and sensitive, sensitive, sensitive: physically thin/delicate and easily irritated.*
I’d tried out heavier treatments for the old a***. Many were unsuitable as intended for the teenage version. Most were too strong; Cleanance K, for instance, was way too potent – a warning to other sensitives out there with similar skin condition: beware AHAs!
But Cleanance plain and simple was just right. There were a couple of ups and downs; this stuff works better if applied at least 15 mins. after washing and moisturizing (so once skin has settled down), and in a very light coat, patted on or pressed in gently rather than smoothed on.
My other current spot-control tactics: frequent yoghurt mini-mask (5 min) in the morning – general soothing – and honey dabbed on individual spots, left on for as long as possible. Sunscreen; no face makeup; a little arrowroot powder on chin and nose area.
Cleanance consists of a straightforward base, with lots of Avene water plus glycerin and silicones to moisten, zinc gluconate and low-dose salicylic acid (BHA) to deal with pimpliciousness, acrylate microcapsule business, and the enigmatic pumpkin seed oil that the Avene people claim to be “for long-lasting regulation of sebum secretion […] tightens the pores and purifies the epidermis.”
A little goes a long way, and goes on smoothly. Yes, there is a little scent, and yes, it might irritate some people. It’s not the worst scent in the world, and it leaves fast. You can even lick your upper lip and tip of nose 5 minutes later and not taste it. This would not be possible with Cleanance K and others.
On other aspects – I found it works well. It does what it says: moisturizes and mattifies. Zits go down, and general zitty texture is evening out. I’m using this occasionally (TOTM), very lightly, on pimplier zones only. I found it irritating if I used more than a tiny quantity: rapid skin redness and inflammation, reduced just as rapidly by washing affected area with cool water and applying cool watr compress.
Incidental use: as a mattifier on top of sunscreen – this is the only way I can use it during the day, effectively buffered.
Cost EUR 12.00 for 40 ml tube. Apparently lots more in the US. Lasts a long time: I can see this tube lasting a good 6 months. Well-packaged, neat white tube with pretty pink decoration.
Two gripes (hence a 4). I might have preferred a flip-cap over the screw-cap, but that’s a rather minor gripe. I do also wonder why Avene couldn’t make this unfragranced, or use a masking fragrance that would leave this completely odourless – after all, some of their products manage to be unperfumed (amongst others the skin recovery cream, soothing eye cream, TriXera, Tolerance).
INGREDIENTS: Avène thermal spring water (69%) • Cyclomethicone • Propylene Glycol • Glycerin • Polyacrylamide • Polymethyl Methacrylate • Water • C13-14 Isoparaffin • Zinc Gluconate (1.0%) • Butylparaben • Cetrimonium • Bromide • Dimethiconol • Disodium EDTA • Fragrance • Laureth-7 • Cucurbita Pepo (pumpkin seed) oil (0.3%) • Salicylic Acid • Triethanolamine
*Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream and Soothing Eye Cream are working well elsewhere. I’m loathe to be a fan of one brand, but I’m close to that unfortunate condition with Avene. Have loved most of their products thus far, of those appropriate to my skin type.

Avène – Cleanance K  lippies2.gif gingerrama on 3/21/2008 7:53:00 PM
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Well now. While I’ve given this a 2, that’s a compromise rating to include hypothetical OK performance (3) and a 1 for performance on this specific skin, that happens to be irritated by AHAs. I can see that this might be an excellent solution for some forms of acne, including what I have, localised late-onset hormonal cystic acne. But try before you buy, and maybe avoid if your skin Has Issues with AHAs: the K contains glycolic and lactic acids.
The K is supposed to moisturize (Avene thermal spring water, glycerin, silicones), mattify and regulate sebum production (zinc gluconate in acrylate microcapsules, pumpkin seed oil extract), and do the usual HA business of surface peeling and pore deep-cleansing.
Unfortunately, my skin reacted to the K. On a first attempt, it stung badly, went red, etc. and had to be washed fast. On a second attempt (next day), a very thin layer was initially OK, then started to react (and I accidentally licked my top lip and got the K on it, and that was very gross indeed). Off it came. Now, I’m fine with Avene’s Cleanance (without the “keratoreducing” K), whose formula is very like this one, minus the AHAs and with a bit more BHA (salicylic acid). When I first put the K on, it felt quite like the non-K. I’m guessing that the K would have similar or better effects, if your skin can tolerate the AHA. Hypothesizing aside, I can certainly recommend the non-K for more sensitive skin.
This costs in the region of EUR 12.00-15.00 for a 40 ml tube (more in the US etc.).
INGREDIENTS: Avène thermal spa water • Cyclomethicone • Water • Glycolic Acid • Propylene Glycol • Glycerin • Polyacrylamide • Lactic Acid • Polymethyl Methacrylate • Sodium Hydroxide • C13-14 Isoparaffin • Disodium Phosphate • Bisabolol • Citric Acid • Cucurbita Pepo (pumpkin seed oil) • Dimethiconol • Disodium EDTA • Fragrance • Laureth-7 • Polysorbate 20 • Salicylic Acid • Zinc Gluconate

Paula’s Choice – Hydrating Treatment Cream  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 3/21/2008 1:08:00 PM
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Excellent face cream, of variable sorts of application, depending on your skin’s needs and, probably, your location. It’s rich but smooth, easily applied, sinks in fast, leaves skin silken and velvety. Dense; so long-lasting.
This is also a first-rate eye-cream – similar formula to other creams targeted at the eyes, for a fraction of the price. Hence removing old review and putting up this new one.
Unscented, not tested on animals, good ingredients (see list at end of review). Comes in a nice tube with small opening, so hygienic and will keep well. Labeling design/aesthetics that are sadly far from chic.
This is one of the few creams* that contents the fussy Gingerrama skin: dryish, thin/delicate, prone to getting up set and then going dry and flaky and/or breakouts. At the slightest whim. I’d used this off and on for a couple of years, and in different ways depending on weather and skin needs. Used all over face in northern US colder winters. Off it for a while, as it’s too rich for my current mild, damp climate, a bad idea on cystic-acne prone parts of face, and very expensive as a face-cream (see later in post re. PC’s shocking costs in Europe). I’ve now figured out that this skin is happy when you apply different things to those bits of it with different requirements – not rocket-science, given this is true of some creams working better than others on fine skin around eyes…
Recently returned to the Hydrating but solely as an eye cream – hence new review. As an eye-cream, it works as well as can be expected, on 30-something skin that’s starting to wrinkle. Mainly dryness wrinkles that mostly go away when moisturized, and worsen with cold, dryness, and wind. The Hydrating moisturizes without causing milia, doesn’t run into the eyes or cause any other irritation, and has a soothing effect. Skin seems quite smooth, and wrinkles are no worse. Alas, my skin reacts to retin-things and AHA, so I’m stuck with using a good moisturizer and sunscreen for prevention.
Applying this at night, I used the traditional eye-cream application technique of dotting it on around the eye-socket area and on the eyelid, using my weakest finger (4th), and patting it in gently, working from the inner corner of the eye outwards, and not rubbing it in (or rubbing). In the mornings, I’ve been using my old faithful Avene’s Soothing Eye Cream all around the eye area, then the Hydrating in the wrinklier outer corners only. This is simply because I prefer the Avene’s more gel-like texture on the under-eye and eyelid during the day, sunscreen and eyelid-base sit better.
So the Hydrating comes highly recommended for the sensitive soul looking for something gentle but well-formulated, sophisticated, quality, and above all – as there’s no reason being tender-hearted should be incompatible with pragmatism – a lovely cream that works.
Cost: 60 ml /2 fl. oz for USD 16.95 + shipping from 5.50 / EUR 17.50 + shipping from 6.50 (in NL – here in IRL, from 16.50!!!). Also available through the PC sites for Australia, Canada, Korea, Mexico, and Singapore – see PC main site for links. PC also sells samples, handy for trying before buying.
I am seriously unhappy that PC is so dramatically expensive in Europe: three times the US price. But I still buy it, and here’s why:
(1) The shipping is less of an issue if you buy up a year’s supply of PC staples in one go. In the US, you get free shipping for over USD 75.00 total with occasional specials, too – like over USD 40.00 – and similar seasonal specials occasionally in Europe.
(2) The shipping cost would be worth it for one single tube of this product alone (i.e. EUR 34.00), if you’re using it as an eye-cream: a bargain compared to the many products out there that are not as good (though more stylishly packaged). Most eye creams are in 15 ml tubes, this is 60 ml, you do the maths…
INGREDIENTS: Aqua, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil), Butylene Glycol, Octyl Stearate (Ethylhexyl Stearate), Glycerin, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dipentaerythrityl Hexacaprylate / Hexacaprate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Tridecyl Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, Cholesterol, Tocopherol, Squalane, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, Polysorbate 60, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Protein, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycoproteins (Whey Protein), Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/ Dicaprate, Myristyl Myristate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Decarboxy Carnosine HCl, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.
* Other happy Gingerrama skin creams: Lavera Neutral Facial Fluid, or the Cream version in very cold weather. Avene Skin Recovery Cream. Still in mourning for PC’s lovely Emollient Cream, and echo MUAers not recommending the Skin Recovery cream (smells funky + texture and results not as nice as the Hydrating)


Allergenics – Emollient Cream  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 3/3/2008 9:21:00 AM
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[CROSS-POSTED UNDER FACIAL MOISTURIZER + BODY LOTION/CREAM.]
This is a basic emollient cream – akin to E45 and the various pharmacy kinds – but free of petroleum and paraffin wax, being based instead on plant sources. Targeted at drier, sensitive skins, and at dermatitis proper. Functional… but with a couple of interesting ingredients. Unfragranced, preservative-free (but does have vit. E and citric acid, which will preserve a bit, and it comes well-packaged, in a solid tube). Cruelty-free, and apparently quite well people-tested.
Main moistening ingredients (full list at end of review): aloe vera, cetearyl alcohol, glycerin, sweet almond oil, and shea butter. Zinc oxide (always useful for soothing). Also – interestingly and more high-tech and fashionable than E45: plant sterols, rosa moschata oil, glycyrrhetinic acid, and hyaluronic acid.
I tried this out at my sister’s place. Sneakily. She has more sensitive skin than me, but is less particular/fussy about beauty products and routines. So I was pleasantly surprised to be one-upped by her.
Like other emollient creams, this can be used on whatever of your corporeal parts need more moistening. I use it as I would the E45 cream, and the texture and feel is quite similar: pale (as not coloured), fairly dense, creamy. Sinks in nicely, only need a little massaging in.
My skin is in sufficiently good nick right now (touch wood) not to need a cream this rich on the face on a regular basis, but – as it has not produced any zits, cystic acne, mila, or other reactions – I’ve used it as a face cream when necessary, ex. in colder and drier weather. I’ve also used it at least a couple of times a week on neck/throat/bosom area, and about once a week as a night cream.
It’s now one of my regulars for drier patches – hands, feet, and elbows. Also works well as a cleanser (all over inc. face), an eye-cream, and a leave-in hair conditioner/protector (used when swimming). A tube sits by the kitchen sink, and smaller ones reside in my bag and gym-bag.
Verdict: brilliant, useful multi-tasker.
This comes in 50 and 100 ml tubes; I paid about EUR 7.00 for the former and 11.00 for the latter, and it seems to be around GBP 5.00 / 8.00. Non-EU availability unknown. The tube is solid and durable, but aesthetics leave a lot to be desired.
Allergenics also make a more “intensive” ointment, a lotion, and some washing products including shampoo; the home company, Optima Health and Nutrition, also make the Aloe Dent and Manuka Gold ranges and assorted juices and other “naturally healthy” concoctions. I must admit a degree of amused scepticism about some of them and their claims; had I not actually tried this cream out for myself before I had a look into the home company, I might have been dissuaded. There you go – even would-be rationalists like me, with pretensions to scientific methodology, can fall into prejudice.
INGREDIENTS: aloe barbadensis – cetearyl alcohol (from palm & coconut oil) – borage oil – beeswax – glycerin (vegetable source) – sweet almond oil – shea butter – cetearyl glocoside (from glucose) – rapeseed sterols – zinc oxide (mineral source) – capryloyl glycine (from palm & sunflower seed) – rosa moschata oil – tocoperyl acetate (from cereals) – glycyrrhetinic acid (from liquorice root) – hyaluronic acid (natural mucopolysaccaride) – xanthan gum – citric acid.

E45 – Cream  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 2/19/2008 9:58:00 AM
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Fantastic basic no-frills cream, minimal ingredients, unperfumed, suitable for various dry and sensitive skin conditions.
I’ve used it for decades, and must apologise to it for reviewing loads of other things here on MUA – many of which are neither as good nor as useful – before coming back to the good old E45.
One of the reviews further down provides the full ingredient list; which hasn’t changed in decades. This is an emollient cream sort of product, a white cream, that can be used anywhere where skin is dry. Great on hands, feet, and elbows (and saves you money on separate creams). Works well on face and neck when flying – apply a thin layer, and skin will stay like skin in spite of airport aircon and long-haul crappy cabin air. Good when skin is upset and needs soothing. Have used it on eczema. Produces no reactions in my experience, and in that of family members with similar and more sensitive skins.
It comes in a variety of containers and sizes: from a small tube that’s handy for one’s bag, to a huge tub appropriate for family bathrooms, next to the kitchen sink, etc. (500 ml, with pump-lid). As it’s dense, it’s slow to get used up so lasts for ages. Also, it seems not to go off for years. It starts to separate and smell funny when it needs to be bidden a fond farewell (on a tub, I’d comfortably count 3 to 4 years before that happens).
E45 also make a range of sensitive-skin friendly products, some of which I’ve tried, some newer ones I haven’t:
Tried, tested, loved: lotion (lighter than the cream) – lipbalm (good, basic) – wash (pump bottle) – shower (like the wash, but hanging container) – bath oil – sunscreen (mineral-only, SPF 25 + 50; + SPF 25 stick) – itch-relief (urea, etc.) and hydrocortisone creams.
Not tried: hand cream, foot & heel cream (err, why??? when the cream’s ace???) – hand wash (ditto, re. wash) – hair stuff – sun lotion (SPF 15 + 30 – not tried as not completely mineral) – new face range.

Avène – skin recovery cream (US name: cream for intolerant skin)  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 2/11/2008 7:34:00 AM
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Great cream on slightly dry, delicate (= physically thin), sensitive skin. Also listed here on MUA as “cream for intolerant skin” – same stuff (FR Crème pour peaux intolérantes, and been called that for donkeys’ years, simply a case of alternative translations and versions; the version sold in Europe from at least 2006 is called “Skin Recovery Cream” in the English on the label. So if you see the other, and it’s cheaper, and not expired, get it!)
The Recovery is a slightly gel-like cream, texture I think caused by its high Avene spring water content (67%).* It melts into skin nicely, keeps skin fairly moist, and gives it a lovely fine supple feel. About as anti-allergic and pro-sensitive as you can get (except, say Avene Toleriane and the like), with a minimalist ingredient list. Uncomplicated. Simple, even. No fragrance or parabens, not tested on animals, but well tested on sensitive humans.
I’d used it years before when skin was very upset. More recently, I returned to it for cystic acne on chin, followed by witch-hazel aqueous solution. I’d previously been careful with skincare products, due to reactive skin. The Gingerrama skin gets dry but also gets annoyed when overloaded with too much complication, I’ve worked out. I’m now on a “back to basics” regime, and skin looks better than it did with more sophisticated products. I’m now using it as my regular face moisturizer, with a top-up of the Fluid where needed; usually as a night-cream or if going out hiking/walking in colder wind. Preceded by cleansing with emollient ointment – like cold cream but minus the scent – and followed by sunscreen. Plus the anti-zit stuff, and an eye cream. No face makeup, only on eyes. Skin looks, I have to admit, fabulous.
Costs EUR 13.00-16.50; GBP 10.50; USD 23.00. For 40 ml/1.35 fl. oz.
UPDATE 1: having used this off and on for some time now: my favourite facial moisturiser ever. Deserves a 6. Utterly reliable. Unexciting, but when one has sensitive skin, “exciting” means interesting and dramatic reactions. Give me unexciting any day.
UPDATE 2: price went up (sigh), went back to DDML. Still using the Skin Recovery around TOTM, and on top of the DDML on drier patches (in colder, drier, windier weather).
UPDATE 3: Though I’ve used others since, and am now on the Hydrance Optimale Light, I will always keep at least two tubes of Skin Recovery around. My only peeve with the Skin Recovery is the use of mineral oil (for environmental not functional reasons): Avène are using a lot of safflower oil in their other products, and indeed the Hydrance Optimale light versions have no mineral oil (plus, they’re teeny bit more sophisticated – while still basically just trying to keep the skin-as-moisture-barrier in good working order).
So it’s still on 6 lippies …
INGREDIENTS: Avene thermal spring water – mineral oil – cyclomethicone – butylene glycol – glycerin – glyceryl stearate – squalane – benzoic acid – carbomer – chlorphenesin – phenoxyethanol – tetrasodium edta – triethanolamine.
* I know, it sounds weird that water, that most basic of things, could make a difference. Avene’s site (if link not working, click on “continue”) provides further info on the water itself, and there does seem to have been some research done on it. Also joyous tales from happy ex-eczematics etc

La Roche-Posay – Hydraphase Eyes  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 2/4/2008 4:26:00 PM

I agree with other reviewers here – not sufficiently moisturizing to use as a regular eye cream; see other reviews for a good one on that front.
But this is an excellent gel-cream to use when, say, at the computer for many hours a day; it might also be useful for driving too? It’s good at bringing down puffiness and soothing under-eyes and eyelids: the caffeine in it would be helping there. Very refreshing, unperfumed, and absolutely no irritation.
It is a very basic product, and there are others out there that do much the same thing and with quite similar ingredients, and do so whilst also being cruelty-free. The Body Shop eye gel/creams, for instance – and another big thank you for their Elderflower Eye Gel, a classic. But this stuff does come in a good hygienic tube, with small nozzle applicator. And the tube seems to be lasting well.
Price: 15 ml for about EUR 15.00-18.00 (depending where bought).
INGREDIENTS: water – glycerin – soybean protein – polyacrylamide – c13-14 isoparaffin – carbomer – caffeine – sodium hyaluronate – retinyl palmitate – sodium hydroxide – disodium edta – laureth-7 – tocopherol – methylparaben – chlorphenesin – sodium dehydroacetate.

Lavera – Neutral Face Cream  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 1/9/2008 9:53:00 AM

This is a dense cream, suitable for use pretty much anywhere on dry, sensitive skin. The texture is sufficiently fluid to allow dotting/patting around the eyes; but use lightly (so avoid bumps/milia).It’s fragrance-free, not tested on animals, and (if this is a concern) many of the ingredients are organic. A water in oil emulsion, its main ingredients are glycerin, shea butter, and olive, evening primrose, and jojoba oils. One of Lavera’s classic products, an oldie but a goodie.
I’ve used it off and on for years; I used to use it as a face cream in very cold winter weather (Germany, the Alps, north-eastern U.S.). I’m currently using it as a night eye-cream – hence cross-posting of this review. It leaves the eye area moist, smooth, calm. Plumps out that part of wrinkliness that’s due to dryness, and doesn’t exacerbate existing wrinkles (hang it, nothing to be done there short of surgery). No irritation to report. I rarely have bags or dark circles, so can’t comment on them, except to say that the Face hasn’t caused them to appear. Which isn’t always the case with a shea butter-rich eye cream (yes, sample of L’Occitane, I mean you). Nor of some other luscious, richer eye creams – ex. Kiehl’s Avocado and, more recently, Clinique’s All About Eyes Rich and the reason for my experimentation with other eye creams… On all the things that AAER did well, Lavera does them all too, in my experience. Happy eyes.
A good buy: as it’s so dense, it lasts for a very long time. Price (approx) – 50 ml.: EUR 14.50 / GBP 11.00 / USD 27.50.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Olea Europaea (Olive Oil)*, Tricaprylin, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Glycerin, Glycerly Oleate, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose Oil)*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cera Alba (Cera Flava/Beeswax*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Oil)*, Stearyl Beeswax, Behenyl Beeswax, Magnesium Sulfate, Tocopherol, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Alcohol.
*ingredients form certified organic agriculture.

Weleda – Wildrose Intensive Eyecream  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 1/6/2008 8:59:00 AM
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I used this well over a year ago (12/2007, reviewed 01/2008), and it was a disaster. Tried it again, and I’ve changed my mind hence updated review.
Nice gel/cream, quite intensive, you only need a dot. I think that’s where I went wrong before, applying too much in a thicker layer (never sank in, was greasy, flaked off, nasty in eyes, too rich and heavy). Minimum of ingredients, including peach, sweet almond, jojoba, rosehip, and avocado oils (full list at end of review).
It does need a light hand – just dotted on, then patted in, and very little of it. And it doesn’t sink right in. Eye creams containing mineral oil seem to be the best for that; shea butter ones if your skin can take them (can be too rich and lead to milia, but all depends on the quantity of shea butter – ex. Simple Kind to Eyes is fine on me).
The Weleda joins the ever-increasing ranks of eye creams containing rose hip/seed oil: Aubrey Organics, Dr. Hauschka, Trilogy, and the more expensive Darphin. And there is always the option of mixing in some straight-up rose hip oil with your regular eye cream, or applying it beforehand as a serum.
No miracle results to report, and I found – like with the Trilogy – initial results were good but it needed reapplication during the day. While the texture is lightweight, it’s too rich to use in a thicker layer (will just sit there, then dry, then flake off). On the other hand, no irritation, so no disaster either. There are other “less green” eye creams I’ve preferred (still, by companies that don’t test in animals, and use at least some plant ingredients). On the “green” front: Beauty Without Cruelty, Aubrey’s Organics, Kiss My Face, Zia, and AnneMarie Borlind make the best light-but-moist eye creams I’ve tested so far – with results closest to the “less green” ones.
Cheap in Europe (GBP 9.00 / EUR 14.00), probably more in USD. Definitely the cheapest rosehip oil eye cream on the market here, though.
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), peach (Prunus persica) oil, sweet almond (Prunus amygdalus dulcis) oil, alcohol, jojoba (Buxus chinensis) seed oil, hydrolyzed beeswax, Rosa moschata seed oil, avocado (Persea gratissima) fruit oil unsaponifiables, glyceryl stearate SE, orpine (Sedum purpureum) extract, Euphrasia officinalis extract, xanthan gum, sodium beeswax, olive (Olea europaea) fruit oil unsaponifiables.

Avène – Soothing Eye Contour Cream  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 12/16/2007 12:00:00 PM
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UPDATE (06/2010): still my favourite eye cream; tried others in between, with greater or lesser success, but this is still the best on me. I may try and use other eye creams along the way, but there is always a tube of this living in the bathroom. Tip: if you’re looking for a “greener” petrochemical-less equivalent, try Derma E Pycnogenol and Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream (tube; NB, not the Pycnowotsit & Gren Tea eye gel).
Used some years ago, now back to this after adventures with pricier and fancier things. I’ve had it with fancy eye-creams. Though I do admit that the skin around my eyes is sufficiently structurally different from elsewhere on face to merit different and extra treatment: visibly finer skin, sits closer to the bone, clearly nearly no fat under it, and negligible self-moisturization by oil production. So I’ve been experimenting with eye-creams (see notebook), and rediscovered this beauty.
Avene’s Soothing is simple, and it works. I use moisturiser first, all over face, including around eyes – any good moisturiser should be able to do this and NOT hurt/irritate/break you out… Then the Avene, dotted on around the eye socket then patted in, including under the eye and on the eyelid. Night – depending on how skin’s feeling, either this or heavier cream (Paula’s Choice Hydrating Treatment Cream) dotted on and left to absorb.
Nice texture – cream/gel. Sinks in well. Skin immediately feels soothed, soft, and smooth. Some comparisons: resembles Boots Fragrance Free Eye Cream and Boots Expert Sensitive Eye Cream; but the Avene is creamier, denser, longer-moisturising, and longer-lasting. A little like Clinique Moisture Surge Extra Refreshing Eye Gel in texture, but, again, more moisturing and skin stays moist for longer (the Surge, and indeed the functionally-indistinguishable face-version, work best as a thin mask). I found it as moisturising as AAE, and its equal as a base for eye make-up.
There is some superficial smoothing of faint lines, but only – as with any eye cream that’s doing its job – in that they’re “filled in” with it and the skin slightly “plumped” with water (I guess if skin cells are moister, they’re closer together, less gap between them?).* At least this cream doesn’t claim to do anything it doesn’t:
“calms skin irritation, tightness, and redness […] decongesting hypersensitive eyelids […] moisturizing […] this soothing care promotes hydration and protection of the eye contour area and eyelids.” (from back of box)
No A.M. undereye puffiness. I don’t usually have bags or dark circles and upper-eye sag hasn’t set in yet, so can’t comment on them. I find bags & circles go with teabags and sleep. So far. Touch wood.
I’d used the Avene range previously, when skin was really reactive. Lovely stuff all round. Also a nice spa to visit, if you’re ever in the area…
Costs EUR 11.00 / GBP 8.00 / USD 18.50 at drugstore.com. No animal testing, targeted at sensitive skin, fragrance-free. Tested on people – and rigorously; for more info, check out Avene’s website and those of the parent company, Pierre Fabre. They’re also responsible for Elancyl, Galenic, and Klorane.
INGREDIENTS: Avene thermal spring water – mineral oil – caprylic/capric triglyceride – cyclomethicone – glycerin – sucrose stearate – peg-12 – sucrose distearate – triethanolamine – batyl alcohol – bisabolol – caprylic/capric glycerides – carbomer – dextran sulfate – disodium edta – sodium hyaluronate – tocopheryl glucoside.
* On the old wrinkles – based on The Science, I’m rather skeptical about what creams can actually do, bar chemical and physical intervention (starting with retinal as the next step, I guess). Right now, I’m sticking with cosmetic and preventative actions. Cosmetic: spackling to fill in lines (aka concealer and/or thin layer of silicone-based primer on top). Preventative: as the route with more concrete research behind it: limit sun exposure, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses; good diet and lots of water; topical antioxidants as there’s some results there, though the jury’s still out. I’m not at all convinced by miracle products with a minuscule %age of something exotic, exclusive, and expensive. Nor seduced by the old “natural +/- organic = good” act, or the “scientific = bad” one, politically dangerous when backed up by the simplistic compounded fallacies “natural + non-/anti-scientific = anti-phallogocentric and pro-feminist.” And very wary of good clever writing (if you’re lucky!) and pretty presentation. Meanwhile, I’m delighted that all my lines are “happy” ones, “bien dans sa peau,” that only look the better when engaging in happiness. Must beware the excessive laughter resulting in redness, breathlessness, and falling down. All about measure and balance. Literally, sometimes.

Burt’s Bees – Baby Bees Buttermilk Lotion  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 12/14/2007 6:31:00 PM
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One of two favourite body lotions; a delight on sensitive skin. Smells fantastic: like ice-cream and caramel, and somehow reminiscent of good things in childhood. Quite a light lotion, and absorbs fast. The Buttermilk bath (powder) is also very nice as a special treat on dry flaky skin.
INGREDIENTS: water, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, glycerin, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, stearic acid, beeswax, fragrance, glucose, tocopherol, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel wax, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, buttermilk powder, xanthan gum, sucrose stearate, sodium borate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase

St. Ives – Cucumber & Elastin Eye & Face Stress Gel [DISCONTINUED]  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 12/13/2007 12:41:00 PM

Along with the Body Shop Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel, the Gingerrama favourite refreshing eye product. While there are many such cooling eye gel concoctions on the market, these two are, in my view, the best (and cheapest).
This is packaged in a green plastic squeezy bottle. Smells slightly cool and green. Contains a lot, lasts for an outrageously long time. Best kept in the refrigerator, for maximum colling effect. Another tip – precede this with cold teabags. Take two teabags: of the round variety and containing normal caffeinated black tea; either old pre-used ones or fresh. Run them under the cold tap, so they are cold and wet. Place on closed eyes, and keep them there for about 5 minutes. Remove, and pat the Gel around eyes.
This can also be dabbed on zits when they are excruciatingly painful – you know, the hard lumpy ones, volcanoes growing under the skin, that almost growl menacingly. Seems to cool them a bit. Mind you, ice-cubes do much the same, and probably by much the same mechanism (effect of cold on skin + blood vessels).
Costs around USD 3.00 for a huge (4 oz/113 g) tube. I haven’t found it recently in the UK or Ireland, but did see it a while back in the UK in Superdrug.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Cucumber Extract, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Primrose Extract, Sunflower Extract, Sambucus Nigra Extract, Matricaria Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Allantoin, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, PVM/MA Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Glycereth – 26, Sodium PCA, PPG-5 Ceteth-20, Carbomer, Benzophenone-4, Aminomethyl Propanol, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 5.

The Body Shop – Fragrance-Free Elderflower Eye Gel  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 12/13/2007 12:33:00 PM
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One of the Body Shop classics. A great thing to keep in the refrigerator at all times, just in case. It’s a light gel, to pat around the eyes, and is super refreshing. Great after a day at a computer. The small tub lasts for a very long time. Many other companies make similar refreshing gels, but IM humble O this is the best. And one of the cheapest. The other best and cheapest is St Ives Cucumber & Elastin gel.
Best kept chilled; another tip – precede this with cold teabags. Take two teabags: of the round variety and containing normal caffeinated black tea; either old pre-used ones or fresh. Run them under the cold tap, so they are cold and wet. Place on closed eyes, and keep them there for about 5 minutes. Remove, and pat the elderflower gel around eyes. Even more refreshment.
Note: this is an eye gel, for soothing and tightening; it’s not a moisturising cream. At all.
Costs around EUR 7.50 / GBP 5.00 / USD 8.50.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel Distillate) (Astringent), Sambucus nigra (Elderflower water) (Natural Additive), Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Glycerin (Humectant), Triethanolamine (pH Adjuster), Carbomer (Viscosity Modifier), Imidazolidinyl Urea (Preservative), Methylparaben (Preservative), Denatonium Benzoate (Denaturant)

The Body Shop – Cooling leg gel  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 12/13/2007 12:22:00 PM

Another of the excellent peppermint foot/leg range. I don’t particularly rate the foot lotion proper – while it was one of the first, many other people do similar ones with similar effects – but I rate the cooling leg gel very highly indeed. It can be used on feet too; I’d actually rather use this and an ordinary rich moisturiser (depending on your feet’s needs at that time).
The main use is of course on legs: when tired, swelling, and aching. Whether tired from standing around, or heat, or damp, or plain old overused muscles. Just squeeze out a dollop and smooth over skin; leave for a few minutes before rubbing in, massaging around joints and muscles. I used this and the pumice scrub religiously when waitressing, and later when hiking and doing lots of general walking on vacation, and in any other more everyday activities involving much being-on-the-feet. Those all-day multi-day conferences. These two minty treats (plus coffee and chocolate) are the only way I’ve survived 40-odd talks in a row.
One word of caution: this may cause reactions on recently-shaved legs!
Costs around EUR 7.50 / GBP 5.00 / USD 12.00.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Poysorbate 20, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Cetrimonium Bromide, Disodium EDTA, Denatonium Benzoate.

The Body Shop – Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 12/13/2007 12:11:00 PM

Another of the excellent peppermint range (other favourites being the leg gel and pumice foot scrub). If you’re in a hurry, great to take shoes off, spritz this through socks (we’re talking winter or hiking), and result – rapid revival. I’ve used this at work (keep a bottle in office, for use in between bouts of teaching and associated on-feet activities) and while hiking (keep in backpack, gives your feet an extra hour or so when aching).
Costs around EUR 7.50/ GBP 5.00 / USD 8.00.
INGREDIENTS: Alcohol Denat. (Solvent/Diluent), Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Glycerin (Humectant), Mentha arvensis (Peppermint Oil) (Fragrance/Essential Oil), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (Emulsifier), Panthenol (Skin/Hair Conditioning Agent), Menthol (Fragrance/Cooling Agent), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Parfum (Fragrance), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Denatonium Benzoate (Denaturant), CI 42090 (Colour). 

Origins – Spot Remover  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 11/24/2007 1:18:00 PM
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The Bomb when it comes to the highest escalation of hostilities in the Just War against evil pimples. Clear gel containing 1% salicylic acid (aka BHA), plus witch hazel (’nuff said) and clove bud oil (an antiseptic – used in some mouthwash, and the buds themselves can be chewed to relieve some mouth and throat complaints).
Be warned: the Remover is intense. It works – in my experience – very well, but must be used carefully. Brilliant so long as you stop it from removing the rest of your skin at the same time. Further warnings further on in review.
Use directly on the zit, and nowhere else, using a cotton-wool bud/Q-tip, and at most morning and evening. At the time of application, the Remover-ed skin will sting and feel a bit numb. Soon after, the zit shrivels, dries up, and vanishes.
The Ginerrama skin is sensitive (ex. reacts to AHA); but it *CAN* cope with gentle use of the Remover. I use Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid dotted on my zit-producing zones in the evening, and the Remover on zits proper, when they rear their ugly heads. I’ve not had any of the deeply unpleasant subcutaneous volcanoes, and found zits are few and go very fast (1-2 days). The other factors:
(1) I have been scrupulous about only using a very light and simple moisturiser, and not on my zittier areas, except a tiny amount on my chin in the evening – only if chin is dry and tight to the touch.
(2) Using a more moisturizing cleanser has also helped here (emulsifying ointment – basically like unfragranced cold cream – or else washing with emollient cream).
(3) I do not use any makeup on any zits that come up (I used to use concealer and/or powder).
(4) Omega-3 and -6 capsules (see further on notepad).
WARNING: The Remover should be treated with respect. It works on me (and I have quite sensitive skin), but treated with great care and caution, and applied delicately. If the Remover is applied in a thicker layer, or rubbed in, or if any is allowed to stray around your target of intent, then dire things occur. Irritation. Dryness. Flakes and scabs. This happened to me, when I was clumsy in my early use of the Remover. Skin did heal (in a day or so), and didn’t scar, but necessitated extra moisturizing and a dab of zinc oxide cream, and definitely hurt. So do beware – precise topical application only, and just delicate dabbing.
If your skin is very super duper sensitive, it might be worth avoiding this stuff completely. Maybe try the gentler form of salicylic acid of an aspirin mask: again, applied only to affected areas. (I used to use this when I had more breakouts, as a teenager.) I would also recommend a basic disinfectant like benz. peroxide + then zinc oxide / baby nappy(diaper) rash cream on top. These alternatives are all cheap and easy to find.
The Remover comes in a tiny plastic container, with a small hole opening and screw-top. USD/GBP 10.00 – 12.00, alas EUR 16.00 but worth every penny as it works, and used sparingly and seldom. Like other Origins products, not tested on animals.
INGREDIENTS: alcohol denat. – witch hazel – acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer – salicylic acid – essential oils: oregano, eugenol, limonene, and clove buds.

Aveda – Hand Relief  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 11/23/2007 11:44:00 AM
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This is quite a good hand-cream, but there are many better ones out there that cost less. The review is based on a 0.5 fl oz/15 ml sample. Its name does add a lippie to the rating.
Quite a light consistency, sinks in fast, but needs to be reapplied soon. Lovely scent – very lemongrass, with a very slight sugariness – more like raw sugar than caramel, not too sweet. Refreshing.
INGREDIENTS: aqueous extracts: echinacea purpurea (coneflower) extract, aloe barabadensis leaf juice, cetaryl alcohol, glycerin, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, polyglyceryl-6 dioleate, coco-caprylate/caprate, lactic acid, peg-100 stearate, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, retinyl palmitate, tocopheryl acetate, methyl glucose dioleate, methyl glucose sesquistearate, carapa guaianensis (andiroba) seed oil, glycine soja (soybean) oil, fragrance, limonene, linalool, citral, xanthan gum, maltodextrin, sodium lactate, magnesium sulfate, potassium sorbate, clorphenesin

The Body Shop – Olive Body Butter  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 11/22/2007 6:20:00 AM
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The Body Shop Body Butters are lovely thick creams for drier skin, luscious texture, and a very good deal compared to market peers. I’ve used the Body Butters in Brazil Nut, Cocoa, Coconut, Olive, and Shea. All are excellent; they are slightly scented, but not enough to produce allergic reactions. Other versions are available, but are more heavily scented or include some ingredients my skin isn’t overly happy with, so I’ve not used them. The Butters also work well as winter hand- and foot-creams. How to choose amongst them?
The Olive version is intended for normal to dry skin. I found it as moisturizing as the Brazil Nut and Shea versions (though the latter is meant for very dry skin), and reckon that this is the Butter that’s lightest, slips onto skin the easiest and absorbs the fastest. So more use through the year, and good to keep to hand for slapping on first thing in the morning. Obviously, there’s a lot of natural variation in which ingredients any particular skin responds to best. The Olive and Shea are also the two butters that are the lightest scented, to my nose. Good stuff.
Now, there are many olive-oil based body creams out there, and many are excellent; this comes in at the cheaper end of the spectrum. Not as cheap as basic olive oil – see the many ecstatic reviews elsewhere on MUA – and no replacement for the basic oil, in terms of versatility of use (alone, combined with various bases, range of formulae you can make at home, consequent applications, etc., etc.)
Contains mainly olive oil, shea and cocoa butters, and cyclomethicone (the “less heavy” silicone).
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Olea europaea (Olive Oil) (Emollient), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Hexyl Cinnamal (Fragrance Ingredient), Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde (Fragrance Ingredient), Geraniol (Fragrance Ingredient), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Eugenol (Fragrance Ingredient), Caramel (Colour), CI 77288 (Colour).

The Body Shop – Coconut Body Butter  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 11/22/2007 6:11:00 AM
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The Body Shop Body Butters are lovely thick creams for drier skin, luscious texture, and a very good deal compared to market peers. I’ve used the Body Butters in Brazil Nut, Cocoa, Coconut, Olive, and Shea. All are excellent; they are slightly scented, but not enough to produce allergic reactions. Other versions are available, but are more heavily scented or include some ingredients my skin isn’t overly happy with, so I’ve not used them. The Butters also work well as winter hand- and foot-creams. How to choose amongst them?
The Coconut version is intended for normal to dry skin. It’s not bad, but not as good either as others in the range (my favourites, Shea and Brazil Nut), nor as other coconut products out there. It can be used for the other coconut oil product use, i.e. on curlier hair (according to family and friends with strongly curly and/or African-American hair). But not as good as straight-up coconut oil, such as the Palmer’s and JASON solid versions.
Contains mainly coconut-derived caprylic/capric triglyceride, cyclomethicone (the “less heavy” silicone), and shea and cocoa butters.
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Benzyl Benzoate (Solvent), Coumarin (Fragrance Ingredient), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Ingredient), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Caramel (Colour).

The Body Shop – Body Butter – Brazil Nut  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 11/22/2007 6:04:00 AM
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The Body Shop Body Butters are lovely thick creams for drier skin, luscious texture, and a very good deal compared to market peers. I’ve used the Body Butters in Brazil Nut, Cocoa, Coconut, Olive, and Shea. All are excellent; they are slightly scented, but not enough to produce allergic reactions. Other versions are available, but are more heavily scented or include some ingredients my skin isn’t overly happy with, so I’ve not used them. The Butters also work well as winter hand- and foot-creams. How to choose amongst them?
The Brazil Nut version is intended for dry skin; I found it nearly as moisturizing as the Shea, that’s meant for very dry skin. The Brazil has a lovely nutty scent; whereas the Shea and Olive are the least fragrant of this range. I’ve taken a lippie off (giving the other two 5), as the smell doesn’t always “work.” Contains mainly brazil nut oil, shea and cocoa butters, and cyclomethicone (the “less heavy” silicone).
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Bertholletia excelsa (Brazil Nut Oil) (Emollient), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Caramel (Colour).

The Body Shop – Body Butter – Cocoa Butter  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 11/22/2007 6:00:00 AM
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The Body Shop Body Butters are lovely thick creams for drier skin, luscious texture, and a very good deal compared to market peers. I’ve used the Body Butters in Brazil Nut, Cocoa, Coconut, Olive, and Shea. All are excellent; they are slightly scented, but not enough to produce allergic reactions. Other versions are available, but are more heavily scented or include some ingredients my skin isn’t overly happy with, so I’ve not used them. The Butters also work well as winter hand- and foot-creams. How to choose amongst them?
The Cocoa Butter version is intended for very dry skin; it fulfills this purpose, but I didn’t find it as moisturizing as the other Butter intended for very dry skin, the Shea. Also, the Cocoa doesn’t smell as cocoa-ish as many other cocoa butter creams on the market. Slightly too sweet – more like the caramel scent of milk chocolate, than the dark, slightly bitter-coffee scent of dark chocolate and actual cocoa butter. There are better cocoa butters out there: Palmer’s and JASON 100%, for instance.
Contains mainly soybean oil, cocoa and shea butters, and cyclomethicone (the “less heavy” silicone).
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Glycine soja (Soybean Oil) (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Cinnamyl Alcohol (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Caramel (Colour), CI 19140 (Colour).

The Body Shop – Body Butter Shea  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 11/22/2007 5:53:00 AM
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Lovely thick cream for drier skin, luscious texture, and a very good deal compared to market peers. I’ve used the Body Butters in Brazil Nut, Cocoa, Coconut, Olive, and Shea. All are excellent; they are slightly scented, but not enough to produce allergic reactions. Other versions are available, but are more heavily scented or include some ingredients my skin isn’t overly happy with, so I’ve not used them. The Butters also work well as winter hand- and foot-creams. How to choose amongst them?
The Shea version is intended for very dry skin; it fulfills this purpose admirably. I have relatives with much drier skin than me who use it too, indeed more frequently. It is one of the two least scented creams, to my nose; Olive is the other, but not as richly moisturizing. The Cocoa claims to be as suited for very dry skin, but I didn’t find it as moisturizing, and it smells much stronger. Contains mainly shea and cocoa butters, plus cyclomethicone (the “less heavy” silicone).
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Cera Alba (Beeswax) (Emulsifier/Emollient), Orbignya oleifera (Babassu Oil) (Emollient), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Coumarin (Fragrance Ingredient), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Ingredient), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Geraniol (Fragrance Ingredient), Eugenol (Fragrance Ingredient), Caramel (Colour), CI 19140 (Colour)

Clinique – Deep Comfort Body Butter   gingerrama on 11/22/2007 5:37:00 AM
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Lovely buttery body cream; but really too expensive for what it is. I’ve never actually bought this, but been through several GWP tubes, and cheekily asked SA for samples whenever I’ve run out.
In a state of nature, this comes in a tub. The samples are generously-sized and come in a much more practical tube. I’ve used it on legs after shaving – a good test of how well a moisturizer performs, re. anti-dryness and pro-soothing. Also on hair, to tame really wavy bits flicking out at the ends in damp weather.
It does have a very slight scent, a little like that of many shea butter-based creams.
I’m sticking to my assorted other body lotions and creams, though, that are cheaper and work at least as well.

L’Occitane – 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 11/21/2007 1:46:00 PM
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I *might* buy this again. Good basic hand-cream – very rich and thick, but spreads easily. Hands are lovely and soft. Works well on feet, overnight and under socks. Contains much shea butter (that would be the 20%, then).
Packaged in a metallic silvery tube. Expensive, but lasts for a very very long time indeed. L’Occitane also sell a “magic key” you can use to turn it up, when running out. Once you’ve seen one, you can very easily make your own, and thus use up those precious remnants at the bottom.
My one beef – and it’s purely subjective, so hasn’t brought the rating down too much – is the smell. I just don’t like it. L’Occitane make their hand cream in various other scents: Lavender, Rose, Honey & Lemon – the Gingerrama nose likes. Cherry Blossom, and the Olive Tomato one – less so.
INGREDIENTS: WATER, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), GLYCERIN, DIMETHICONE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, PEG-100 STEARATE, GLYCERYL STEARATE, POLYACRYLAMIDE, LINUM USITATISSIMUM (LINSEED) SEED EXTRACT, HONEY EXTRACT, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, PHENOXYETHANOL, COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL, BRASSICA CAMPESTRIS (RAPESEED) STEROLS, C13-14 ISOPARAFFIN, CETEARETH-33, ALCOHOL DENAT, CHLORPHENESIN, METHYLPARABEN, FRAGRANCE, ALTHEA OFFICINALIS ROOT EXTRACT, PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) FRUIT EXTRACT, LAURETH-7, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, BENZYL ALCOHOL, XANTHAN GUM, BENZYL BENZOATE, CITRONELLOL, HYDROXYISOHEXYL 3-CYCLOHEXENE CARBOXALDEHYDE, COUMARIN, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL, LINALOOL, HEXYL CINNAMAL, ALPHA-METHYL IONONE, LIMONENE

Clarins – Beauty Flash Balm  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 11/5/2007 8:19:00 AM
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I nearly forgot how fabulous this stuff is – got another free sample recently, which reminded me; it’s been living in my bag, in one incarnation or another, for years. I’d nearly been guilty of taking it for granted.
Pale pinkish fluid-cream, comes in a tube. The larger sample is worth going down on your knees for, as it’s nearly 1/3 the size of a full tube. It has a slightly odd smell straight out the tube – like some scented baby powders and creams – but that does fade. The formula does indeed contain fragrance. Silicone-free. Contains olive, rice bran, witch-hazel, and algae extracts, plus bisabolol (chamomile-extract anti-irritant).
There are three methods of application:
(1) a very fine coat, applied but not rubbed in (tricky – and there’s the rub), on top of moisturiser and under whatever you’re putting on top;
(2) the same, on top of whatever your face is wearing, as a pick-me-up later in the day;
(3) in a thicker layer, as a mask. Like many others, I’d used it this way for long-distance travel. It does stop you drying out – compared to just moisturiser – but is not as good as a layer of Clinique Moisture Surge or, indeed, of a really heavy moisturiser (Eucerin, E45, Nivea, vaseline-based things like 8 Hour Cream).
The results – varying of course from skin to skin: skin feels smoother and tighter, but in a calm and soothed way – no irritation and drying out. Skin may look brighter / at least less haggard. I found the difference most remarkable when the Flash was applied at the end of the day, when I had about 10 mins. to get ready for some after-work event. From grey to lively. I haven’t bought this in years, but usually keep a free sample tube in my bag’s “just in case” titivation section. (Hardly a section – the Flash, a lipstick, two or three q-tips, and a mini travel perfume-spray filled with whatever my current tipple happens to be.)
Prices (50 ml): EUR 30.00 (approx) / GBP24.00 / USD42.00
INGREDIENTS: water – propylene glycol – octyldodecanol – oryza sativa – polysorbate 60 – sorbitan stearate – olea europaea – triethanolamin – carbomer – bisabolol – phenoxyethanol – parfum – hamamelis virginiana – algae – sodium citrate – methylparaben – isobutylparaben – propylparaben – potassium sorbate – hexyl cinnamal – linalool – coumarin – benzyl salicylate – hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde – butylphenyl methylpropional – hydroxycitronellal – citronellol – geraniol – alpha-isomethyl ionone – eugenol – limonene – isoeugenol – ci 15985.

Lavera – Lavera Basis Hand Cream  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 10/22/2007 2:53:00 PM

Excellent basic hand-cream, containing scrumptious things, and smelling exquisite: of rose, chamomile, and sage.
Moisturizes a treat too.
I go through hand-cream (on hands and feet) very fast. I have many favourites – Lavera Neutral (more expensive than this one, but doubles up as a winter heavyweight moisturizer), Nivea, L’Occitane, Burt’s Bees, Weleda. Nuxe also does a beauty – more of a balm than a cream, and called something like “baume pour les familles.” The Basis gets 5 lippes as it works, smells lovely, and isn’t going to bankrupt me.
And as for the ingredients – wow. If you like companies like Fresh and Kiehl’s, or other concocters of high-class natural stuff – this has more of the good stuff, and the “fillers” are things like shea butter… Herewith the ingredients, without further ado:
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceine Soja (Soyabean OIl)*, Alcohol, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Lanolin, Stearic Acid, Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Cellulose,Prunus Dulcis (Almond Oil)*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Lysolecithin, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula Extract)*, Chamomilla Recutits (Chamomile Extract)*, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Parfum (Essential Oils)

Origins – Ginger Body Gloss  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 10/18/2007 9:21:00 AM
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Sprayable jojoba-based oil with lovely ginger scent, with a slight citrus undertone. Also some more spiciness – cardamom, coriander – which you don’t really get in the perfume proper. The matching products in this set are very pleasant, if you like the scent, and layering works particularly well with the Essence + the Gloss, making the scent last longer. It will need refreshing at the end of the day, though. The bathing products are fantastic for an indulgent treat (i.e. float + souffle). An interesting effect can also be obtained by using the Gloss and a rose-based scent at the same time.
Probably not very sophisticated, but I’m not very sophisticated on smells, and tend towards things that smell of foods I like. And other easily distinguishable natural things (flowers, grass after it’s been cut, rain on leaves). The Essence is sharp but mellow, not at all sweet. Causes very few allergic reactions in people (inc. wearer), and is utterly unlike those cloying clouds that assault one in elevators and induce nausea and the wrong sort of dizziness. Can, therefore, be worn safely in public, that is, it is safe for the public around you… And many men seem to like it, finding it at the very least nice and comforting, at the most sniffing you frequently and borrowing it. Indeed, this works well as a man-scent too.
I’ve found the oil to be best applied after the shower, on damp skin, immediately after moisturizing (be that lotion and/or oil, depending on dryiness of skin on the day). This will not substitute as a body moisturizer, unless your skin is not too dry. Sinks in well. Two neat tricks:
(1) use on armpits before using deodorant (an unscented one here);
(2) spray a little on fingertips, rub together, and apply to back of neck and into ends of hair.

Paula’s Choice – Super Antioxidant Concentrate  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 10/15/2007 8:03:00 AM

PC’s Super Antioxidant Concentrate is a very fine high-grade silicone-based antioxidant serum. Considering its formula and contents, it’s one of the bargains of the century (see further, and in greater detail, in others’ many excellent reviews below).
NB This review is for the old formula – still sold in Europe. The US version has been reformulated and looks different. See end of review.
PC makes three versions of the concentrate, the others being a mattifying one for oilier skins and an oilier one for drier skins (it has lots of evening primrose and olive oils and suchlike). I’ve used both the one for drier skins (“skin recovery”) and this one, the middle-of-the-road one for “all skin types.” This one may contain the greatest concentration of antioxidants of the three versions. It’s good on drier skins (friends with drier skin agree), and may not be suitable for the less dry or for those with a sensitivity to silicone. You’ll see from the reviews for all three versions that people often find that the best version for their skin may go against its perceived type, so I would strongly suggest buying the sample sizes of all three and trying them out, say for a week each. This will at least be long enough to see if your skin is unhappy with one or other of the formula(e), and will not have broken the bank.
I used the Middle-of-the-Road first (way back, long ago…) then the dry-skin one, then switched back to this. No problems with either, and that’s on slightly dry and quite sensitive skin. I had moved to over to the drier one due to changing contraceptive pill, and my skin becoming drier. I moved back to this, lighter one, as off the pill (wahey) and using jojoba oil instead of moisturizer at night (hence also less need for extra oil).
I use this at night, all over my face, after cleansing and massaging in the fabulous jojoba oil and applying some eye cream. Only a small amount is needed – I’d agree with other reviewers on a pea-sized quantity – and if you use too much, just rub it into the backs of your hands. Skin is delightful the next day. To be fair, this also has a lot to do with the jojoba oil. Between this night-time routine and using sunscreen during the day, skin is happy and looks good. A tube lasts a long time.
Price: $/EUR18 (sample size: $/EUR 1.10). Good deals on postage in the US, including regular free postage, so consolidate your orders. In Europe, much pricier postage, but as it’s by weight you can benefit to some extent from ordering several months’ supplies in one go.
INGREDIENTS:
(1) Europe – old formula
Polydimethylsiloxane (silicone slip agent), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Superoxide Dismutase, Tocotrienol (stabilized, vitamin-based antioxidants), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Curcuma Longa, Lycopene, Lutein (antioxidants), Oat Beta Glucan (anti-irritant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient), Glycerin (NMF), Lupinus Albus (antioxidant), Retinyl Palmitate (stabilized, vitamin-based antioxidant), Arctostaphylos UVA Ursi (Bearberry) Extract (antioxidant), Glycyrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract (anti-irritant), Propylparaben (preservative)
(2) US – new formula
Cyclopentasiloxane, Polydimethylsiloxane (silicone slip agents), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil (non-volatile plant oil), Camellia Olefiera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi (Bearberry) Extract, Lupinus Albus (Lupine) Seed Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Extract (antioxidants), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (anti-irritant), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocotrienols (stabilized, vitamin-based antioxidants), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Lavera – Lavera Neutral Face Fluid  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 9/26/2007 6:38:00 AM

This is one of the best moisturizers I have yet used.
This particular skin is basically normal, but if not leading a balanced life will produce dry flaky bits and zitty inflamed bits if it is unhappy. All depending on the usual suspects – time of the month, food, drink, stress, lack of sleep, and many things in topically-applied products. Classic redhead thin skin that’s delicate and easily enough irritated to count as sensitive.
The Fluid contains none of the habitual irritants. Like other Lavera products, it is not tested on animals, is cruelty-free and vegan and has been tested on human subjects suffering from useful skin conditions; sensible as the Neutral line is targeted at allergic, sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema.
The Fluid is an unperfumed water in oil emulsion. Principal useful ingredients: olive, sweet almond, jojoba, and evening primrose oils, glycerin, squalane, sodium hyaluronate, lecithin, and shorea and shea butters. In texture and colour, it is very like the Clinique Dramatically Indifferent lotion. Results are, however, rather better. The Fluid is fairly concentrated, so no need to use much. It sinks in nicely – a little light massage a la Eve Lom is beneficial. No greasiness, and skin feels moist, smooth, and content. It stays this way for the day. There is also a Face Cream in the same range, suitable for very dry skin and serious eczema (I’ve only used it many years ago during the winter in Germany). It is substantially heavier, needs to be warmed up and really rubbed in, and generally also needs to have liquid added to give it a bit of slip. The cream’s main ingredients are similar to the Fluid’s.
My one caveat is that this can be a little too rich for parts of the T-zone. I get cystic acne on chin/up to mouth if I use this, and indeed any moisturizer except Avene Skin Recovery Cream. So I’m now using the Fluid as a top-up on drier parts, as and when needed, or as a night-cream when I know I’ll have a luscious 10 hours or so beauty sleep at the weekend…
The Fluid costs around EUR15.00 / GBP11.00/USD28.00 for a 50 ml tube, which lasts about 3 to 4 months. It’s easy to get hold of online and many health food/”green” shops stock Lavera products. NB this is from the “Neutral” line, not to be confused with the similarly-packaged “Baby & Kinder Neutral” range for smaller persons – also unfragranced and sensitive-friendly, but slightly different formulae. Lavera do three other main ranges, fyi:
(1) The “Basis” range which is, again, quite basic (but fragranced; a pleasant rose).
(2) A regular line of less straightforwardly functional products: several colour-coordinated ranges aimed at various different skin types (with essential oils and smells).
(3) “Lavere” for “mature skin.”
If you like companies like Fresh and Kiehl’s, or other concocters of high-class natural stuff – this has more of the good stuff, and the “fillers” are things like shea butter… Herewith the ingredients, without further ado:
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Olea Europaea (Olive Oil)*, Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Tricoprylin, Squalane, HydrogenatedPalm Glycerides, Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil)*, Shorea Stenoptera (Shorea Butter), Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose Oil)*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Lysolecithin, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn Oil), Dipotassium Glycrrhizate, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid.
*ingredients from certified organic agriculture.
(Courtesy lavera.ie. Yes, the Lavera line is also very organic, worth knowing if that’s your poison.)

Lavera – Lavera Baby und Kinder Skin Oil  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 7:36:00 PM

A very good vegetable-oil-only alternative to mineral baby oils. Useful – like the others – in the bath or shower, after showering or bathing, as an eye make-up remover, and as a general-purpose skin and hair oil. Can also be used, for example, as a hair pre-wash treatment; or smoothed on one’s face and left for a couple of minutes before cleansing. The Lavera contains olive, evening primrose, jojoba, almond, and sunflower oils. More info here.
Like other Lavera products, it is not tested on animals, is cruelty-free and vegan and has been tested on human subjects suffering from useful skin conditions inc. eczema, specific allergies, and general irritability.
Pleasant scent; I agree with the previous reviewer that one needs to use this up before it becomes rank and rancid. This is a problem with some veg-oils. Two factors can help: the bottle, and the contents.
The Lavera bottle is a good one, dark and plastic with a plastic flip-cap (like their body lotions). One can decant oil into a dark brown *glass* bottle – like the ones used for essential oils, obtainable from most healthfood / vegetarian shops. Or a plain old cooking oil bottle.
Some oils are less smeggy than others: this apparently goes with vitamin E content, as it’s a (mild) natural preservative. Jojoba and wheatgerm oils, for example, keep very well. Adding them tp your blend helps, and/or something like the JASON range of Vitamin E oils (the ones labelled as containing many 1000s of I.U.s).
Other alternative, non-mineral baby oils worthy of attention:
Burt’s Bees
California Baby (labelled as “baby massage oils”; there is a sensitive one, that’s still a little scented; the scented ones are delectable, the “calming” one particularly so)
Weleda (a pleasant light chamomile)

Lavera – Lavera Neutral Body Lotion  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 7:04:00 PM

Excellent body lotion; an old-fashioned oil-in-water formula, good for sensitive skin. Also exists in heavier, Intensive, water-in-oil form, unperfumed; ingredient list at end of review. Sinks in nicely. A good option for one’s chest/bust/cleavage area; and has none of those things we’re supposed to be worrying about re. being found in suspicious removed breast tissue (the parabens and so.). Like other Lavera products, it is not tested on animals, is cruelty-free and vegan and has been tested on human subjects suffering from useful skin conditions; sensible as the Neutral line is targeted at allergic, sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema.
And as for the ingredients – wow. If you like companies like Fresh and Kiehl’s, or other concocters of high-class natural stuff – this has more of the good stuff, and the “fillers” are things like shea butter… Herewith the ingredients, without further ado:
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive Oil)*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose Oil)*, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Buxus Chinensis (jojoba Oil)*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Helianthus Annuus (sunflower Oil)*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea BUtter), Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Lysolecithin, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid.
*ingredients from certified organic agriculture.
(Courtesy lavera.ie.)

Lavera – Lavera Neutral Intensive Handcream  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:59:00 PM

Good hand-cream; rich, intense, unscented, friendly to skin when it’s being unfriendly and positively prickly. Like other Lavera products, it is not tested on animals, is cruelty-free and vegan and has been tested on human subjects suffering from useful skin conditions; sensible as the Neutral line is targeted at allergic, sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema.
And as for the ingredients – wow. If you like companies like Fresh and Kiehl’s, or other concocters of high-class natural stuff – this has more of the good stuff, and the “fillers” are things like shea butter… Herewith the ingredients, without further ado:
INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Olea Europaea (Olive Oil)*, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm Kernel Oil), Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxysterate, Tricaprylin, Caprylic/Capric, Triglyceride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glyceryl Oleate, Shorea Stenoptera (Shorea Butter), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose Oil)*, Buxus Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Magnesium Sulfate, Lysolecithin, Cera Alba (Cera Flava/Beeswax)*, Steryl Beeswax, Behenyl Beeswax, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Alcohol.
*ingredients from certified organic agriculture.
(Courtesy lavera.ie, further info here.)

Elave – Intensive Cream  lippies5.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:45:00 PM

An excellent cream suitable for highly allergic dry skin. Can be used all over, including the face. Elave (Irish, made by Ovelle, and available online) is formulated for, and tested on, highly allergic conditions such as eczema and assorted forms of dermatitis. Minimal ingredients, no animal testing (a hard combination to find for the highly allergic). This is not too heavy, but very moisturising. Come in a handbag tube, a smallish tube (sits nicely on washbasin), and big container with pump. It works at least as well as Eucerin and E45, indeed better as less greasy and spot-producing.

Weleda – Skin Food  lippies3.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:12:00 PM

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This is a handy household staple, kept for cases of extreme chapping, and for use on feet. It works. Also smells very pleasant, to my nose. The Weleda baby/Calendula range can also be recommended: particularly the intensive Weather Protection Cream. I’ve used either the WPC or the SF in a thin layer on my hands, under gloves, in extremely cold weather. Both seem to act as a sort of hand-mask. Once you’ve got into warmth, rinsed the layer off, and rubbed in hand-cream afterwards in the normal fashion, hands are touchably soft. Too heavy for the face, though.
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Alcohol, Beeswax (Cera Flava), Glycerol Linoleate, Hydrolyzed Beeswax, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Viola Tricolor Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Cholestrol, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Coumarin*. * From natural essential oils

Eucerin – Original Moisturizing Creme  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:06:00 PM
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This is a staple for those days when skin reacts to everything, acting like a stroppy attention-seeking toddler. It calms, soothes, moistens. All over. A tub is kept under the kitchen sink at all times.
INGREDIENTS: Water, petrolatum, mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone.

Treatments -L’Occitane – Shea Butter Nail & Cuticle Cream  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 5:56:00 PM

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous cuticle cream. Tiny tube, but super-concentrated and lasts for ages.
I have had crap nails all my life, not improved by biting them. I recently had my first ever professional manicure – very very frightening. I tried to cope with terror by engaging my Curist in conversation on nail and hand maintenance. Apparently I have dry skin (no surprises there) and, associated in part with this, hangnails. Now, I’d often heard about the hangnail, but had no idea what it corresponded to in reality. A bit of nail hanging off the end of one’s finger? No, that’s just Talons. Hanging off the edge? Like, growing to the left or right of the formal edge of the nail? Weird, but who knows. Anyway, I now know what a hangnail is, and it’s that dry rough dead skin around the cuticles and going up the nail – you know the stuff, that’s so wonderful to chew on. And then, before you know it, all self-control is lost, resolutions abandoned, and you’re biting your nails again.
But not if you rub this stuff in around AND ONTO the nails on a regular basis. My hands actually look quite elegant now. I do rub this stuff in religiously, though, keeping a tube by my computer and with me when reading (that being part of actual work, and no I’m not a student; and a major risk-area for playing with nails, squeezing zits, chewing hair, etc.).
There are probably many other squeezy tubes of gunk out there that work; put in enough oily stuff, of the right consistency and skin-friendliness, and functionality is assured. This still gets 5 lippies.
And the extra bonus tips: (1) Soak hands in a bowl of warm water with some oil in it (olive, avocado, jojoba, etc. – whatever takes your fancy; a tub of warmed lard would probably be ace) for about 10 mins. after removing varnish, and before applying some anew. This was passed on by the Curist. (2) Olive oil and fine-grain salt scrub. See review elsewhere.
Also, the L’Occitane cream does more for my nails than protective bases etc. (ex. Nail Envy). Marvellous.
INGREDIENTS: WATER, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE, POLYGLYCERYL-3 RICINOLEATE, PEG-30 DIPOLYHYDROXYSTEARATE, PRUNUS ARMENIACA (APRICOT) KERNEL OIL, HONEY, PHENOXYETHANOL, SILICA, MAGNESIUM LAURETH SULFATE, FRAGRANCE, METHYLPARABEN, TOCOPHEROL, TETRASODIUM EDTA, PROPYLPARABEN, COMMIPHORA MYRRHA OIL, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, BUTYLPARABEN, ETHYLPARABEN, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, ISOBUTYLPARABEN, DAUCUS CAROTA SATIVA (CARROT) SEED OIL, BENZYL ALCOHOL, BENZYL BENZOATE, CITRONELLOL, HYDROXYISOHEXYL 3-CYCLOHEXENE CARBOXALDEHYDE, COUMARIN, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL, LINALOOL, ALPHA-METHYL IONONE, HEXYL CINNAMAL, LIMONENE

Clinique – Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief  lippies4.gif gingerrama on 8/24/2007 5:00:00 PM
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Not useful as a straight-forward moisturiser, but very useful for a moisture top-up.
Used at the end of the day, returning from work, it’s very refreshing. Can be kept refrigerated for this purpose in summer.
It’s really at its best for air travel: this is the only thing I’ve found that really works on long-haul flights, and that doesn’t cause breakouts within the next day (see: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, and any Vaseline-esque concoction like the Eight Hour Cream or E45). That is, one puts on one layer in the airport (say, just before security) and another towards the end of a flight. A non-skimpy layer, mind you, as though one were applying a face mask.
The tub is not ideal (a tube would be better), and it is expensive, but this is a marvellous item, worth the space it takes up in your clear ziplock bag.
INGREDIENTS: water, cyclopentasiloxane, butylene glycol, glycerin, birch bark extract, lady’s thistle extract, green tea leaf extract, saccharomyces lysate extract, sucrose, aloe barbadensis leaf water, trehalose, hydroxyethyl urea, sorbitol, oleth-10, tromethamine, caffeine, hydrogenated lecithin, hydrolyzed extensin, sodium hyaluronate, tocopheryl acetate, palmitoyl olgiopeptide, caprylyl glycol, dimethicone, glyceryl polymethacrylate, peg-8, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolumer, magnesuim ascorbyl phosphate, carbomer, hexylene glycol, disodium edta, phenoxyethanol, red 4 (CI 14700), yellow 5 (CI 19140)

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