Review: Derma E Skin Detox!

Uhh wow, hello there, middle (ish) of March. o_O 2017 is FLYING.

After all the traveling we’ve been doing, my skin has been in dire need of some epic TLC. So much flying dries a person out, who knew? It also probably doesn’t help that I hadn’t been drinking nearly as much water as a person is supposed to. I’m working on that though. So far for the month of March I’ve consumed at least 96oz of water a day (with 1 exception.) I can’t say I’ve noticed much of a difference 9 days in other than going to the restroom way more often than I’m used to, but I’m sure my body is appreciating the hydration.

dryer than a desert! 😉

Anyway. My skin. Not the happiest it’s ever been. Enter: 2 new charcoal-based products from Derma E; a detox scrub, and a purifying mask. The star ingredient, Activated Charcoal, known for absorbing 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities, helping to remove toxins from the skin’s surface. And lemme tell ya, my skin hasn’t been happier in a long time! Although my face has never been acne-prone,  I haven’t had any super annoying surprise pimples pop up either, so that’s a definite win. I’ve been using the scrub and the mask a couple of times a week, and despite the tubes being fairly small, they’ve lasted a surprisingly long time! (That said, they’re sadly almost empty now, but I plan on repurchasing.) Time to get into the nitty gritty. (Heh, gritty. Like the charcoal in the mask. Get it?) Oy, it’s been a long week.

Mask: I still put a moisturizer on after using the mask, but it doesn’t dry my face out nearly as much as other (similar) masks I’ve tried in the past. It has little exfoliate bits, doesn’t smell weird, and I’m pretty sure I’m able to see where the mask pulled out impurities on the dried mask. Maybe that’s just what I’m telling myself, the world will never know. It definitely seems to be helping my skin balance out though, especially after all of the traveling we did at the beginning of the year. The only real negative I can come up with is that the mask seemed to dry up a bit in the tube – but not to the point of being unusable.

Scrub: I love exfoliating face washes, especially when the exfoliate bits aren’t too harsh.  I’m looking at you, St. Ives. This scrub is gentle enough to use every day, but also scrubby enough that I can actually feel it doing its job. I love that the scrub doesn’t dry out my face, and that my skin looks and feels bright and fresh after using it. I’ve also been using it on my back and chest for a little extra detox action. My only real (non-complaint) complaint is that the cap is hard to open, but I’ve just been unscrewing the entire thing which is good enough for me!

I really can’t say enough about the charcoal detox line from Derma E.  Both products haven’t caused my semi-sensitive skin any problems, and the products have been allergy-tested – so if skin sensitivity has been an issue for you in the past, it might be worth giving these products a whirl! Derma E is also 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, GMO-free. It really doesn’t get much better than that. (Actually yes, it does. The mask is only 1.7oz, which meant I was able to bring it to Disney World! Everything is better in Disney, even masks.)

You can find Derma E’s detox line on their website and at Ulta; let me know what you think if you try them out!!

Review: HASK Chia Seed Oil Volumizing Collection

Hey hey, I’m back with another review for my favorite shampoo brand! I’ll start with a quick refresher, since it’s been a while since I last reviewed anything from HASK. HASK shampoos and conditioners are free of sulfates, parabens, drying alcohols, and phthalates (lol how do you pronounce that?) – all things that aren’t necessarily the greatest for your hair. HASK’s hair care products have SO many different benefits, ranging from curl care to color protection and moisturizing – all made with exotic ingredients and oils. They’re pretty great, and I’ve continuously been impressed with how soft and clean my hair feels after using any of the varieties. So soft.

Whew, now that that schpeal is over, on to my review! I’ve been able to try out a few different varieties from HASK, and while I really don’t have complaints about any of them, I use a volumizing shampoo on a daily basis….so I was super excited to get the opportunity to try a Volumizing duo from HASK! I’ve noticed with other sulfate-free shampoos that they don’t seem to do quite as good a job at lathering up, leaving my hair feeling a little less clean than with other shampoos, but for whatever reason I have yet to run into this problem with any of the HASK products I’ve tried. It’s probably the natural oils/nuts and such 🙂

The volumizing effect comes from Chia Seeds that are fortified with proteins, antioxidants, calcium and nutrients like omega-3s to boost shine, increase volume and lock-in moisture without weighing hair down. Sounds like magic, right? It acccctually might be. I can say with confidence that my hair has been feeling a bit bouncier over the past few weeks, and there’s definitely a difference from my normal dry, winter hair. Not to mention all of the traveling we’ve been doing. I’m pretty sure my entire body is drier than normal this winter. Darn airplanes.

So much volume! Well, more than usual anyway.

Yay clean hair 😀 Also – I definitely wasn’t exaggerating when I said HASK has shampoo for basically any of your hair needs. You can see all of the varieties on their website, and can find them at Target, Ulta, and even some on Amazon (if you’re like me and avoid going to stores as much as possible. Plus we have Prime so…) (Except also it’s totally worth being able to smell before you buy, because they all smell SO good.) Thanks again for the samples, HASK!

Have you tried any of HASK’s hair products? Any favorites? Let me know!

Packaging Review: Derma E Rebrand

Yes! You read that right! I actually get to review the new packaging for Derma e, rather than the product this time around! It’s not often that I get to bring my graphic design background into the blog-osphere! I always get super excited when I notice a brand has re-vamped their image (Swiffer, I’m lookin’ at you,) and this is no exception 🙂

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You may remember a while back I wrote a review for some Derma e products to help with Joe’s dry skin, and another reviewing their hydrating night creme. Sooo I’m pretty familiar with the products – they’re great! That said…their branding left something to be desired. It didn’t necessarily look like the premium, all natural product I know they are, and with all sorts of creams, washes, and masks on the market, it’s become even more important to differentiate from everything else out there! Good packaging makes a difference, even if you don’t think it’s something you take into consideration when making a decision.

Let’s say I’m trying to decide between two bottles of wine. One bottle is $7.99, the other $10.99 (sorry y’all, we just bought a roof. Cheap wine is where it’s at.) They’re basically exactly the same but I’m drawn to the label of the $10.99 bottle just a bit more! Maybe it’s screen printed on, or maybe it has a cat on it; either way, I’m more likely to buy the one with nicer packaging.

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Luckily for derma e, their products are at the same (affordable!!) price point as their competitors, are still ‘eco-ethical’, and now they have SUCH nice packaging to go along with the great products inside the box.

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Derma e’s new packaging has already begun to roll-out, and will be in full swing by March 2017. You can find Derma e products at Ulta, Whole Foods, and of course online!

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Review: Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum

Last week we had a few activities around the office; some allowing us to ‘be the consumer’ and others more focused on usability, including an aging simulation. Gloves to simulate tremors, an extra 55 pounds of weight, ear plugs, glasses to simulate retina detachment or something (I could barely see) – it was kind of awful, but super interesting at the same time. Aging can be scary, especially if you don’t take care of yourself while you’re young!

So…what does this have to do with reviewing a skincare product? Your skin ages too! And while wrinkles may not be physically debilitating like the tremors or loss of muscle mass I experienced last week, keeping your skin healthy (and out of the sun, cough cough) is still super important. Besides, who doesn’t want to look their best! 😉

Enter: one of Valentia’s newest products, the Night Revive Retinol serum (or, nighttime serum from here on out.) I’ve been using this serum before bed for a couple of weeks now, and I have seen no changes. BUT THAT’S OKAY. I don’t have any wrinkles to get rid of, and my skin is pretty great, all things considered. I didn’t expect the serum to immediately make my face as soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom! Thad said; I DO feel confident that by using this product in my 20s and beyond, my skin will thank me as I get older!

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Okay, now let’s get into the details (supplied by Valentia.)

KEY INGREDIENTS:

Retinol (Vitamin A): Works at the cellular level to stop winkles, manage breakouts, and evens out skin discoloration.
Vitamin C: Guards skin against environmental free-radicals to prevent premature aging.
Vitamin E: Provides intense hydration to diminish the drying effects of retinol.
Squalane: Derived for pure olive oil to soften and condition delicate skin.

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As with all Valentia products, this nighttime serum is made of all natural, organic ingredients. It is unscented, and doesn’t leave a gross, greasy residue after application. (That’s probably my favorite part, yay!) You can find this serum, as well as the other Valentia products I’ve reviewed on their website and on Amazon.

Take care of your skin, y’all! (and Happy Halloweekend!!)

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Review: Valentia Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

I’m glad Valentia seems to like me as much as I like their products – it’s easy to review what they send because it’s so hard to find something I don’t like!

I try to use a moisturizer every day, especially after learning my great great Aunt’s secret to pretty amazing skin at 100+ years old was Pond’s cream. That said, I notice that my skin has slightly different requirements as the seasons start to change. Joe and I seem to get out and about more often in the Fall, whether we’re climbing dunes, bar-hopping, or sitting around a bonfire for hours; so I need a moisturizer that can stand up to all of that chilly, blowy air!

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The consistency of the moisturizer had me a bit worried at first; it seemed like it would be greasier than I prefer, but it soaked right into my skin and didn’t feel greasy at all, phew. It’s been working well as primer for powder foundation (on the somewhat rare occasion that I use that…) – but I’ve also found myself wearing no foundation at all more frequently! Which I guess isn’t really that crazy for me, but still.

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The main ingredients in this moisturizer are:

  • Botanical Hyaluronic Acid to moisturize, support skin elasticity, and plump skin from within.
  • Kojic Acid to control melanin production and prevent dark spots.
  • Ginseng to boost skin firming collagen, fight wrinkles, and give the skin a brighter and more energized look.
  • Safflower Oil that repairs skin’s natural moisture barrier and provides superior skin protection.
  • Shea Butter that infuses skin with a myriad of vitamins and nutrients for superior skin hydration and nourishment.

It should go without saying , but I also like knowing I can feel good about putting Valentia products onto my skin. 🙂

Oh, and did I mention I have a discount code for you!? Use code MRNJMRV3 for 20% off of your purchase on Valentia’s website! I still use the Detox mask at least once a week – definitely my favorite product, but everything is fab <3 (ps, the code expires Nov 11.) Treat yo’self!

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Review: ARK Skincare

My parents instilled in me from an early age to take care of my skin – and while I haven’t always heeded their advice (and as a result, have had my fair share of sunburns) – I do my best to keep my face protected! Even if that means getting carded until I’m 40 and staying out of the sun basically the entire summer before my wedding 😉

Enter: ARK Skincare. ARK is a British skincare brand with products that treat skin by age and skin concern. For reviewing purposes, they sent me Age Protect Moisturiser and Pro Remove Pre Cleanse – and I’m obsessed.

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First of all, I love love love that they arrange their products by age. As explained on ARK’s website:

There are two main transition periods in the aging process where there is a dramatic shift in hormone production and a significant change in the way the body functions: late 20s to early 30s and late 50s to early 60s. ARK has looked at the skin externally and internally during these periods, to create three age-specific product ranges, which support skin with the optimum level of nourishment and skin-perfecting ingredients.

Makes perfect sense, right? I think so.

Okay, let’s talk about the moisturiser. Which I’m spelling with an s because it’s coming from England 😉 Obviously.

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Love:

  • it isn’t a regular pump bottle
  • it’s hydrating without feeling greasy
  • it has soothing ingredients
  • my face feels happier!

Maybe Don’t Love So Much:

  • no SPF!

Really that’s all. If this moisturiser also included SPF, it would be my favorite ever, without question. The pros absolutely outweigh the cons over all, but as a brand that’s all about protecting your skin, I was surprised by the lack of sun care!


And now for the Pro Remove / Pre Cleanse product! Which I definitely thought was Pro Remove Pro Cleanse until 3 minutes ago, but that’s alright. This stuff is kind of super awesome.

This innovative product is the first step in our powerful cleansing routine. The multi-fruit lipid blend dissolves every last trace of daily grime, excess sebum and make-up – even waterproof mascara – while nourishing and soothing skin with a blend of natural ingredients.

Reading the directions is important with this cleanser/makeup remover – you first apply it to your face without water. I didn’t follow the directions the first time. I was just too excited, okay?!

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Love:

  • ingredients that fight acne, and sensitivity
  • removes waterproof mascara
  • doesn’t leave my skin feeling too dry
  • I don’t have to scrub hard to feel like it’s working

Maybe Don’t Love So Much:

  • it stung my eyes 🙁 but that’s my fault.

Whew. Lots of goodness. ARK also has a variety of serums should you prefer to treat your skin by specific problem rather than age. I don’t know about you, but my eyes are drawn to the anti-redness serum. There’s only so much concealer can do! 😛

Anyway, I’m looking forward to continuing to use these products as a system to keep my face looking and feeling its best – especially as we start getting into the cooler/dryer months. Thanks again, ARK!

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Review: Farmacy Honey Potion – Hydrating Mask

Very rarely have I gotten Joe involved in blog-related shenanigans, but a couple weeks ago we had fun filming a video “review” of Farmacy’s Honey Potion hydrating mask! I always appreciate having a reason to break out the nice camera 😉

Review: Farmacy Honey Potion – Hydrating Mask from Wanderings of Claire on Vimeo.

My happy face at the end says it all, right?! My face has definitely felt more moisturized after using this mask – but I did have to figure out how to actually use the product before experiencing those results. Hence the more instructional video rather than a straight up review. That said, let’s rewind a bit.

Review:

I’m all about the unboxing experience, and definitely think this mask’s packaging is worth mentioning. It felt like a premium product from the moment I took it out of the box it was shipped in, and that feeling of being a high-quality product continued as I actually began to unbox the product itself. So good. Oh, and the lid of the glass container is magnetic, which keeps the little metal scooper from getting lost. Brilliant if I may say so myself!

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Buuuut this is where things got tricky for me. Should I use the scooper to apply the product to my face? Should I rub it in, or leave it kind of gloppy? How long should I leave the mask on? Directions were nowhere to be found, so I just ran with my gut. Unfortunately, after winding up with a gloppy smattering of honey potion on my face, it was pretty clear that my gut was wrong. 

I rinsed off round 1 of mask application, applying a smaller amount with my fingers for round 2. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t work out significantly better! The mask got warm as I smoothed it onto my face, turning white with time…instead of slowly dripping off in globs. I can’t wait to use the mask once it’s a bit cooler out; I can picture the warming sensation feeling so nice on a cold day!

Did I mention the mask is all natural? Here is a description straight from Farmacy’s website (where I also just discovered some directions, fancy that!)

An intensely moisturizing combination of honey (a natural humectant used since ancient times), propolis (a healing antiseptic found in beehives) and amino acid-rich royal jelly, it enhances skin renewal for a younger appearance. 

 This super hydrating mask with natural honey sugars is rich in amino acids and essential B vitamins.

It gently warms and transforms into a rich cream as it’s massaged into the face, soothing and revitalizing the skin. 

The ingenious magnetic spatula attaches to the top so you’ll never lose it.  

Needless to say, once I figured out the right way to put the mask on, I was sold. After rinsing the mask off about 10 minutes later, my face felt so smooth and moisturized; I can only imagine how great my face will look and feel after using the mask continuously.

Thanks, Farmacy, for providing this mask for me to review!!

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Review: EverPro Back2Blonde + Giveaway!

Disclaimer: Back2Blonde sent me this product with no compensation other than the spray to test and review. This post consists of my honest thoughts & opinions about the product!

From lemon juice to Beach Blonde and Sun-In to getting my hair professionally highlighted, I’ve wanted to keep my hair a little blonder than its natural dirty blonde color for about as long as I can remember. (Except for that one year I decided to go with an auburn-y brown color. But that’s beside the point.) However…my hairstylist stopped working weekends shortly after I moved to the other side of the state, and the budget for highlights has been redistributed to health insurance, car payments, and little things like 200 pounds of mortar to tile a porch! Oh, adulthood.

Maybe someday I’ll find a salon here in Kalamazoo, but that day is not today! Or tomorrow, or probably the day after that. Plus I’m trying to grow my hair out again, so I don’t need to go in for a cut 🙂 Thankfully my hair does get a bit blonder in the summer, but that doesn’t keep my roots from coming in sort of dark.  Enter: Back2Blonde by EverPro.

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The spray comes in 3 shades; Dark Blonde, Medium Blonde and Light Blonde

Despite accidentally turning my scalp yellow the first time using it, the aerosol root-touch up was super easy to use…and I figured out how to avoid the yellow scalp issue after a couple of uses. I wouldn’t say that Back2Blonde is a miracle-worker, but there definitely was a noticeable difference after application.

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See?! Roots are still there, but look so much better! Maybe not quite as perfect as the models in the Back2Blonde how-to video, but that’s okay. I was sent the Medium color to try out, and I’d say it did a pretty good job. I’ve seen so many horror stories of root touch up products, so I was happy to see that the spray looked natural – especially since I was heading to work! 🙂

The only real downside to this product – other than a slight learning curve – is that it only lasts for one hair wash. Womp womp. It makes sense, since it isn’t a hair dye, but I’d appreciate a little more longevity! (And not have to worry about sweating it out/off during hot barre.)

The Verdict?

While I’m not one to worry about my roots showing, Back2Blonde does exactly what it should, and does it well! If you’re looking for a root concealer between hair appointments – I definitely think you’d be happy with this spray. Plus, $11 is much cheaper than an appointment at your salon 😉

Back2Blonde is hosting a giveaway – 25 people will win a full-size sample of the spray! Good luck!!

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Review: BAMBOO Eau De Parfum

So this review/post was planned for last week, but as it turns out, trying to write a well-rounded review on perfume during a week of terribly bad allergies isn’t the easiest thing to do!

First, I just gotta say how awesome the unboxing experience was! I didn’t take any photos, but the perfume arrived from the Fragrance Outlet in a high quality box and nice ribbon. Perfect for gifting, if that’s your kind of thing! Sheesh – I wish I had taken pictures. It was seriously so pretty! I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it 😉

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As I was talking to my friend Kaitlyn about writing this review, she mentioned some of the things she looks for when picking out a new perfume, and I liked her set of requirements:

  • Does it smell like grandma perfume? No.
  • Is it too strong? Nope!
  • Does it make me feel pretty? Sure does!
  • Does the smell last longer than 10 seconds? Yup!

All good things!

What does it actually smell like, you ask? Well my rather uneducated nose would say “kind of fresh and floral but not too girly or overpowering.” Fragrance Outlet on the other hand has a much more accurate description:

  • Top notes: Blackcurrant, violet leaves, ivy
  • Middle notes: Lily, rose, ylang-ylang, freesia
  • Base notes: Musk, cedar and vetiver

See, exactly like I said – kind of floral, but not too girly! Wearable on a day to day basis, if you’re into that, but also perfectly good for special occasions! Two thumbs up, for sure 🙂

Perfume makes me feel fancy!
Perfume makes me feel fancy!

Disclaimer: Fragrance Outlet sent me this perfume with no compensation other than the product to test and review. This post consists of my honest thoughts & opinions about the product!

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And this, my friends, is why you read Amazon reviews.

So I saved my kitty’s life today, what have you accomplished?

One of the specials Amazon had on Prime Day was a set of 3 calming cat collars, which I thought would perfect for our upcoming move. Something to keep Barb from stressing about being in a new house? Sign us up!

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I decided to leave work early today to do some cleaning/packing, and figured it would be the perfect time to test out a collar to see how Barb would react. Welp, about 30 minutes and 3 totes full of shoes later, Barb was flopping around on the ground and making a noise I had never heard before. She may be a weirdo, but I knew that wasn’t a normal thing. The collar managed to get stuck between her jaw and the back of her neck, causing her to choke herself as she tried to ‘fix’ the situation. Not good.

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There’s a reason I’m not an illustrator 😛

Thankfully after lots panicked, scratch-filled wrestling to try and get a hand on the collar (without hurting Barb even more,) I managed to cut the collar off. Luckily Barb seems to have gotten out of the ordeal injury-free, but I wasn’t quite so lucky. Other than the bazillion scratches, I was shaking so badly – it was a scary situation!

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Her paws had quite a bit of my blood on them at the end of it. Lovely.
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Booooo, collar.

After a fairly thorough check to be sure that Barb didn’t need to go directly to the Vet, I decided to go to Amazon to see if anyone else had similar issues. Sadly what I found was a slew of one-star reviews describing exactly what I had experienced, and in many cases much worse.

From Amazon:

Poor kitties.

Needless to say – Barb will be getting lots of extra lovin’ this weekend, and I will absolutely be reading more than the first 3 Amazon reviews before buying anything else! While I wasn’t planning to spend the evening slathered in Neosporin, I’ll take this over the Vet any day. Plus I just discovered Ellen on our Apple TV which is awfully amusing. (Yes mom, you’re reading that correctly.)

Hopefully your Friday night is a bit calmer than mine has been so far, and happy weekend!

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