Uncategorized

First Impressions: Infrared Sauna, Skincare Benefits

Summary

Benefits:

  • Improves collagen and elastin production with regular use
  • Regenerates damaged cells
  • Improves wrinkles and fine lines over time (see image in link below)
  • Heart rate increases, improving cardiovascular health.

Things to consider:

  • The sauna gets quite hot and you will be soaked with sweat (which is the idea)
  • Your heart rate will increase in the sauna, if you have prior conditions ask your doctor before use
  • Consider using the sauna in 10 minute increments, taking a quick break for some cold water in between
  • You will need to sign a waiver because well, it’s a sauna and it gets super hot and makes your heart rate increase

 

When I first heard about infrared saunas, I was skeptical. That is also something you should know about me, I’m a pretty skeptical person. Okay, so I’m Scully from the X-files. If you can’t back it up with evidence, I don’t believe you. Now, there is logic behind why something like this COULD work; basically, there are many forms of light can destroy cells… I’m going to explain this so, if you can accept the above statement as general fact and don’t really care why, you can skip the next section. If you are a nerd, or just like to questions everything, like me, please read on.

Electromagnetic Waves, Light, and IR Saunas

There are different categories of electromagnetic waves in the world. WTF is that? Well, think about a rainbow. A rainbow basically represents the light, or electromagnetic waves, that we can see. Red light has longer wavelengths than the rest of the rainbow. As the rainbow goes from red to violet, the wavelengths get shorter, as illustrated below:

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Now, there are forms of light (electromagnetic waves) that human eyes cannot see without the help of technology. On the Short-wave end of the spectrum, these include UV rays, which go below violet and have even shorter waves, x-rays which go below UV and have even shorter waves that UV, and Gama rays. These electromagnetic waves at shorter wavelengths tend to have greater negative affects on our bodies. Think of scientists and doctors telling you to avoid blue light from screens near bedtime because it can affect your sleep, also UV rays damage our cells as do X-rays and Gama-rays. However, there are benefits to these kinds of light as well. UV light helps our bodies produce vitamin D and can treat skin conditions like scleroderma.

On the long-wave side there are infrared waves, microwaves and radio waves. Studies have shown that these kinds of light have fewer negative effects on our bodies and, like UV light, can sometimes be beneficial. So, how does that work? Well, it’s actually not simple. It depends on many factors including the intensity and length of exposure. Many people have vitamin D deficiencies because we spend so much time indoors. Usually, 30 minutes of sun exposure in the morning can be beneficial. But think about it, you are not spending hours, or even a full hour in the sun and you are out in the morning when UV rays are far less intense. It is when you spend hours outside in the heat of the day that UV rays become dangerous. Keeping this in mind, and reading some studies that I will link at the bottom of this post, I decided to try out an Infrared sauna. But, seriously, check out this image from a study in the Yonsei Medical Journal (I cannot feature the image here due to copyright restrictions, so click the link!)

The IR Sauna Experience

I really was not sure what to expect except that I knew I would sweat…which is another crazy thing about me. I don’t sweat normally. Yes, I’m a mutant that does not wear deodorant on a daily basis because my arms don’t smell on a daily basis. Roxi and Sierra have smelled them and can attest to my superpowers. Anyway, I knew I would sweat in the sauna.

The sauna was actually a small box about 5’4 tall (my head touched the top), and large enough for me to sit in with my legs outstretched if I wanted to. The room was small because it needs to trap the heat, and the heat is what you want. We may not be able to see infrared waves, but we can feel them as heat. Inside the room, one wall was covered with infrared bulbs, and the entire thing was insulated with the kind of reflective fabric you might find on a car windshield sun shade. It was hot in there!

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The spa technician recommended that I use the sauna in 10-minute increments because the heat could feel intense quickly. I took my first 10 minutes, got out for about a minute to get some water, and went right back in for another 10 minutes. The first round was very bearable, no problem! I didn’t feel overheated, though I did start sweating (remember, I’m the lady that doesn’t sweat). However, the second round, I was soaked.

I probably could have gone for another 10 minute round, but I figured I’d take it slowly my first time. I didn’t feel overheated or tired, though I was hot. It actually felt really good. One of the cool things that I want to add, because I think the strangest things are cool, was that I could see every vein in my legs and arms as I sat there in the sauna. I don’t know if it was the light or the fact that my heart was pumping blood faster, but it was pretty awesome I have to admit. I looked like a living cardio vascular diagram.

A few days later, I noticed that my skin did look better. The texture looked much smoother. Unfortunately, I caught an illness a few days after (unrelated to the sauna), so I didn’t get to enjoy the effects very long. However, I will look forward to next time. This is one of those things that does more for you the more you use it, so I will definitely go back.

Overall, I would say it is worth it if you plan to keep up visits a few times a month. I would also be interested in the possibility of purchasing couple home bulbs to use on my face between visits, but I would definitely want to research a bit more about bulb frequencies to ensure I’m getting the right product.

If you have an IR sauna experience, please let us know in the comments, it would be great to hear a range of stories, whether people loved it or not, and how many people felt that it did something for their skin.

Resources and Articles:

Another BIG thank you to Nurture Day Spa for the opportunity to review their wonderful infrared sauna. Not all businesses are supportive of having their services reviewed on blogs, and they have been fantastic! ❤

 

❤ -Lynn Lynn

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Makeup and Skincare · Uncategorized

Skincare Dupe: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum vs. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule

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Roxi told me the other day that she had decided to reevaluate her life choices. Or, maybe just her criteria for evaluating serums. Her epiphany came when she rejected a $60 serum on the basis of it not being expensive enough. Surely cost directly correlates with the effectiveness of the product.

Why is this a thing in our culture? “You get what you pay for.” I say you are paying for a whole lot of marketing, packaging and bureaucracy. Let’s talk about what serums are and are not. Then, maybe I can convince the Roxis of the world to break the cycle of consumerism and save some money

What a Serum Is:

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Serums are expensive. There is just no getting around that fact in the western world. They are also not too different from each other. They may do different things, but all have the same blueprint. In general, serums have a base of water, glycerin, glycol, and much of the time, alcohol; next come the active ingredients, including acids and/or plant extracts; and finally, dyes and/or fragrances, thickeners, stabilizers, and other ingredients necessary to formulate and maintain the product.

The thing that makes a serum a serum is that those actives (acids and extracts) are higher up on the ingredients list, meaning their concentrations in the product are higher. Think of a serum like a topical vitamin supplement. The actives give your skin nutrients and can also help to heal any minor skin issues like light acne, redness, fine lines, etc.

What a Serum Is Not:

Serums are not cure-alls. When you have major issues inside your body that nutrients cannot help, you have to go to the doctor. The same is true for your skin. Problems like rosacea, allergic reactions and severe acne are most often beyond the powers of serums and may require a prescription or other treatments.

I get frustrated when people look for miracles where there are none. If you have wrinkles, nothing is going to make them go away short of cosmetic surgery (they will come back as you age, though). However, fine lines cause by dryness can be helped with serums and creams. It is important to know the difference. Knowledge will save you money and aggravation.

What I look for in a serum:

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  • I LOVE fermented ingredients! They are phenomenal in skincare as fermentation increases the nutrient vales of the actives.
  • I want meaningful extracts. I am that person who will go through the ingredients list and Google every last one so that I know why it is in the product and what it will do for me.
  • I like antioxidants. I am in my early 30s and need to fight off those early signs of ageing. I don’t produce as much collagen and my skin cells don’t work as well as they did 10 years ago. I’ll take all the help I can get from these tiny skincare powerhouses.
  • I like hydration. I have dry skin, so I tend to skip serums with “alcohol, denatured alcohol and/or SD alcohol” high up in the ingredients list. Just for reference, cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol are not drying alcohols.

Ready to save $65? Good. Let’s do it.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum vs. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule:

Summary:

  • Both of these products contain bifida ferment lysate, a probiotic fermented yeast.
  • Estee Lauder smells stronger (a plus for me because I love it!)
  • Estee Lauder has caffeine, chamomile, kola seed extract, squalane, and sodium hyaluronate.
  • Missha has more antioxidants, extracts and fermented ingredients, niacinamide and biotin.
  • Estee Lauder costs $95 for 1.9 oz
  • Missha costs $30  for 1.8 oz
  • Thoughts: GIMMIE THAT MISSHA! 😉

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum:

EL

First off, I am going to abbreviate to avoid having to type out Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum a million times, so we’ll call it ANR for now. Second, and at the risk of sounding like someone who doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about, my favorite thing about this serum is that is smells like a margarita. There, it’s on the record.

Having said that, the number one active in ANR is bifida ferment lysate, which is a probiotic fermented yeast. Bifida ferment lysate is basically a supercharged antioxidant. ANR also has Kola seed extract, which provides caffeine Other actives include more caffeine; Sodium Hyaluronate (topical Hyaluronic Acid), chamomille, lactobacillus ferment, and algae. ANR also contains some chemical emollients and hydrators, and some fillers including dyes, stabilizers and emulsifiers.

The antioxidant properties alone, make this a fantastic serum, but I like the addition of caffeine, chamomile, and the extra fermented ingredient. I also like that it is alcohol free and paraben free!

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule:

IMG_0134 I’m going to abbreviate “TR” for this one; same reason. TR unfortunately has a much milder smell. You almost can’t smell anything, but the faintest hint of margarita is there, so I’ll take what I can get. Again, the active is bifida ferment lysate, and it is alcohol and paraben free. However, TR also has so many more antioxidant ingredients including the extracts of blueberry, beet, carrot, cabbage, cacao (cocoa), melon and rapeseed. TR really takes the antioxidants to another level!

TR has no squalane, but it does have a bit of caffeine from the cocao and a multitude of other ingredients that ANR doesn’t. These include way more fermented ingredients (I counted ten fermented ingredients to ANR’s two); niacinamide (vitamin B3), which improves the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and strengthens the skin’s surface; biotin, which also strengthens skin; and loads of other plant extracts to improve skin condition and function.

I really like the Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule. I love all the fermented ingredients and plant extracts and I like that they are higher on the ingredients list. Although I really love the smell of the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, essence of maragrita is not worth $65. These serums do the exact same thing, only TR adds way more antioxidants to your skin. Al in all, I’d say this is a dupe that has outdone the original!

❤ – Lynn

Makeup and Skincare · Uncategorized

How to Supercharge Your Skincare Routine With Antioxidants

We know antioxidants are good for us. They are vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need to function, and they may help slow the ageing process as well!

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Your body is a system. All parts of that system work together to do whatever it is that you do on a daily basis, from breathing to growing hair to hauling it up at Sephora. The basis for this entire system is cells. 37.2 TRILLION microscopc cells that make up who you are.

Cells in our bodies are produced, reproduce and die all the time, but as we age, cells don’t reproduce and function as well. This contributes to aging. If you want to be super depressed, Google “cells and ageing.” Basically, our bodies start breaking down in phases, and the first cells to stop working? Skin cells. Ugh, I know. It’s a cruel world.

Your skin cells start to degenerate in your mid-twenties and factors like stress, smoking, alcohol, pollution, and radiation (like UV rays from the sun) can speed up the process. So, what can we do to help our cells and ourselves? Antioxidants are a good start.

In short, antioxidants can help prevent cell damage. There are many types of antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. We know that these vitamins and nutrients are good to put on our skin via a vitamin c serum or retinoids, but we don’t often think of how much consuming them can help our skin as well.

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You should consume antioxidants every day. Daily values needed for each antioxidant will vary depending on the individual, so you should talk to a doctor and reserch before starting any supplements. Some antioxidants may not do much harm in larger amounts such as vitamin C, but some could have side effects. The general rule is to eat better. Eat foods rich in antioxidants at each meal. Some good foods are berries, green tea, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, legumes, carrots, watermelon and sweet potatoes.

So, how about topical antioxidants? Start with a good vitamin C serum to use for your morning routine. I love Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. When using vitamin C or other acids, make sure to apply extra sunscreen!

For vitamin A, try a retinol or a serum containing retinoic acid or retinyl palmitate. I prefer my vitamin A in a moisturizer to combat the strenth of the reinol. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer is a great one to start with.

Vitamin E is a pretty common skincare ingredient in moisturizers, serums and toners. Take your pick! Or, try Mario Badescu Complex Moisturizer With Vitamin E SPF 20.

If you want something that packs all your topical antioxidants into one product, check out Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum.

The antioxidants we consume and the ones we apply to our skin will work together to help slow down cell damage and provide us with logevity. Other things you should do along with using antioxidants are wearing sunscreen every day all day. I don’t care what time of year it is and what your plans are, wear a good sunscreen.

Also, have a good skincare framework. Cleans or apply water to your skin twice a day, use toner twice a day, then follow with your serums and treatments. Finally, moisturize and apply your SPF. Rememeber to exfoliate regularly to get rid of the dead cells as well.

Additionally, if you don’t have a routine like this already, be sure to give the routine about 90 days to start working. USually, people stop using skincare after 15 to 30 days if they don’t see results, but this is not enough time.

One last note, if you have issues with vitamin A, talk to a dermatologist to get on a good routine for use. Vitamin A can be tricky to get the hang of.

❤ – Lynn Lynn

Makeup and Skincare · Uncategorized

Drugstore Products That Perform Like High-end Products

Drugstore products are hit or miss, and it can be frustrating to find the ones that really stand out. Below is a list of some drugstore products that rival their high-end competitors.

1. Maybelline Eyestudio Color-Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Eyeshadows

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There are now a few different products in the Color Tattoo line including eye crayons and liquid shadows. There really is no substitute for the original with this product. The cream gel shadows can’t be beat for color payoff and wear time. (I found that the eye crayons and liquid shadows were streaky and not as pigmented). The cream gel shadows really do last all day with great color. I have hooded eyes and really like to use them on my lids because they don’t transfer onto the upper eye area.

I actually prefer these to the MAC Paint Pots. For me, the application was better and they lasted longer. Plus, they are less expensive! All three of us use these almost daily and LOVE them. They come in a range of colors and finishes and run about $6-8 USD.

2. Milani Baked Blush

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These have gotten a lot of attention since their release for good reason. The 11 shades offered are beautiful, super pigmented, and blend wonderfully! They also contain jojoba seed oil and are paraben free.

These blushes have been compared to Nars Orgasm blush, and both Luminoso and Dolce Pink are crowd favorites. Milani offers a mix of matte and shimmer shades, and have added two new shades to the lineup. Again, all three of us love these. They run $8 USD each at milanicosmetics.com.

3. L’Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care

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The Hydra Genius Skincare line from L’Oreal includes three moisturizers, each for different skin types (Normal/Oily, Normal/Dry, and Extra Dry). The moisturizers are a gel hybrid that provide the appropriate amount of moisture for your skin type.

These moisturizers are similar to the feel of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Both have dimethicone near the top of the ingredients list for a silky feel, and aloe to sooth the skin. I use the normal/dry flavor and love it! Hydra Genius runs about $14-18 USD depending on where you purchase.

4. NYX Pore Filler Primer

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NYX pore filler is a primer that utilizes dimethicone and polymers to reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines. This helps provide a smoother makeup application. The product has a very thick consistency that evens out the skin’s surface and keeps makeup from settling into pores and lines.

This product is similar to higher-end pore fillers like Porefessional and Spackle primer. Because this product is dimethicone-based, only use a pea-sized amount to keep it from pilling and balling up as you work it in to your skin. Pore Filler leaves skin soft and smooth and provides a flawless foundation application. It costs $14 USD at Ulta.com

5. L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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This is a brand-spakin’-new mascara in the Voluminous line from L’Oreal Paris. I will tell you now that I pretty much have zero luck with drugstore mascaras. I have watery eyes due to allergies, drugstore mascaras always smudge, flake, or never do anything for my lashes. I have been a hardcore fan of Tarte’s Maneater Mascara since its release. The only drawback is that they don’t make a waterproof version.

This past week, L’Oreal released their Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. I heard about it from Tati on Youtube and reluctantly went to purchase it. HOLY CRAP this stuff is it! I have found my singular drugstore mascara! This stuff amps up my lashes (almost falsies-core) and stays put. I napped in this stuff with no smudging.

The best part is that IT COMES IN WATERPROOF!!!! This product, to me, is better than a lot of higher-end mascaras and it only costs $10
USD at Ulta.com (You can save $1 by purchasing at Wal-Mart or Target superstores). I had to get mine at Target.com because I could not find it in any store anywhere!

6. Batiste Dry Shampoo

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Okay, here is a bonus hair product that we cannot live without! Batiste Dry Shampoo is 100%, hands-down THE BEST dry shampoo value out there. This is a big assertion, but we stick by it. This gives second and third day hair new life and volume. It comes in several different flavors, including color-tinted for blonde, brunette and dark hair to avoid the chalky, white residue some dry shampoos can leave behind. We only wish there was a red version for Roxi! Grab this at Wal-mart for around $6 or $7 USD. Otherwise, expect to pay $8-10 elsewhere.

Hopefully, this list will save you some $ on products. As drugstore brands up their game, consumers benefit from an increasing number of dupes and value products that behave like they are higher end. Let us know what you have tried from this list and if you agree or disagree. Also, let us know if you would like more posts like this.

❤ – Lynn Lynn

Makeup and Skincare · Uncategorized

Brow and Lash Tinting: Is It Worth It?

I did it. I decided to get my brows done. I am going to admit something to you and I don’t want you to freak out. Are you sitting down? Good.

I have never gotten my brows done professionally. Never. Never shaped, never waxed or threaded, and never tinted. I have tweezed my eyebrows myself, since I was a teenager. I have fine hair and not a whole lot of it. Same with my eyebrows. They are pretty sparse near the ends. I will never have Cara Delevingne eyebrows. Let’s take a moment to mourn that, then move on.

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before lash and brow tinting

I found Nurture Day Spa and made my appointment. My hope was that I would have darker, fuller looking brows, maybe not have to do much to my eyebrows in the mornings, thus shortening my routine. While I was booking I noticed the salon had a package deal: Threading + brow tint + lash tint. Yes, please.

I went in for my appointment with Robyn, a licensed esthetician. Robyn was very personable and did a fantastic job. She was very upfront about the process and the fact that eyelash tinting makes more of a difference on blondes and redheads than brunettes (so I volunteer Roxi next to check out the difference it makes for her).IMG_5920

My eyebrows were super easy. I went a shade darker, and it took about 5 to 7 min for the dye to do its job. The blue-black dye on my eyelashes took a bit longer, between 10 and 15 min. The lash dye can sting a bit if it gets into your eyes, which I had read about before, so I was prepared for that.

I also got my eyebrows threaded, which didn’t hurt as much as I had heard. It is also preferable to me because, as Robyn said, it doesn’t cause the skin to loose elacitcity due to pulling like waxing can, and it is much more precise. S, was it worth it?

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After lash and brow tinting

I was very pleasently surprised, especially with my eyebrows. I barely had to fill in anything with eyebrow pencil when I got home, and I had a much better idea of where to fill in. My lashes looked longer and thicker from the tinting, so one coat of mascara was plenty!

I will definitely do this again. My eyebrows look fuller and more defined. I can actually see the hair on the outer ends, which is something I could barely do before. This will make my mornings so much easier!

If you have ever thought about tinting, I would go for it! If you had to choose between brows and lashes and you are brunette, go with brows, but if you can find a package deal, that is probably your best option.

If you are in the OKC Metro area, definitely check out Nurture Day Spa. besides tinting and threading, they offer waxing of all kinds, message therapy, facials, microdermabrasion, sauna, soaks, masks, body treatments and tons of awesome package deals!

Brow tinting gets a ❤️❤️❤️❤️ (and a half) out of ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Lash tinting gets a ❤️❤️❤️ (and a half) out of ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Threading gets a ❤️❤️❤️❤️ out of ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

❤ – Lynn Lynn

 

 

Makeup and Skincare · Uncategorized

Review: Milani Contour & Highlight Cream & Liquid Duo

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I was never a fan of contouring. Okay, wait. Let me rephrase that. I was never a fan of contouring myself. Not becuase I didn’t like the way it looked, but becuse I wasn’t comfortable with contouring. I mean, I know I’m never going to be Mario Dedivanovic, let’s be real hereBut, whenever I felt brave enough to try, it always looked ashy or too dark on my lighter skin. I was also never confident in my technique. Did I blend too much or too little? Did I take it in to far? Did I swipe that too high? I just about gave up. Then, I met Milani’s Contour & Highlight Cream & Liquid Duo. I bought it.

The duo comes in five flavors: Fair/Light, Light/Natural, Natural/Medium, Medium/Dark, and Deep/Dark. I picked up the Fair/Light as I am usually the second lightest shade in most drugstore foundations.

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Top: Contour; Bottom: highlight (I promise, it’s there)

I was mostly in this for the highlight since I love liquid/cream highlight under my foundation and it was a nice, fair, nude shade. But, that contour stick didn’t look too bad either. It was a decent taupey-tan color, cool toned, not too large…maybe I could give it another shot…just to wear around the house since I was obviously going to mess it up anyway. I drew some lines below my cheek bones, near my hair line on my forehead and on my jaw line, making sure to go up over the corners to round off my square jaw. I blended it out with a sponge. Hmmmmm… It actually, kinda, sorta looked good. This thing must be super simple to apply if I didn’t screw it up. I tried it again, and again in the following days, eventually branching out to blending with a contour brush.

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Contour

I freaking love this contour stick. I had tried the Benefit Hoola stick with no success (love the powder bronzer btw). I had tried other sticks, creams, powders, and managed to look ridiculous every time, but not with this one. The color is perfect for me,  and the ease of application is amazing. It blends into a shadow on my skin without dragging or caking or blotching. I will purchase this again and again, and Milani can never discontinue it. EVER.

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Highlight

Now, the highlighter. Not as much luck with that one. I was already a highlighting pro (If I do say so myself ;P) My favorite technique is to put something blinding under my foundation to give a glowy finish. I put this on and it vanished. Ummmmm…where’d you go? Helloooo? I put some more on…..nope. I could swear this was spposed to be highly pigmented. It just didn’t happen for me. I also didn’t like the consistency. It was like someone just mixed highlighting powder into a facial cream or something.

That said, I will still continue to purchase this if not only for the contour stick. I really hope Milani either improves the highlight or makes a stand alone contour stick becuase it kind of feels like a waste to use one thing and not the other. Not so much so that I will stop buing it though.

Real quick ingredients breakdown: Key points are no parabens or mineral oil and it has some avocado oil too! That is a bonus!

Ingredients: (In order as always!)

Water (Aqua): It’s in everything, seriously.
Glycerin: a humectant and moisturizer
Glyceryl Stearate: protects skin from water loss
Octyldodecanol: an emulsifier and solvent (stabilizes the product and keeps liquids and solids together)
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene: an emollient and helps the pigment distribute evenly
Trilaureth-4 Phosphate: an emulsifier
Propylene Glycol: a skin conditioning agent
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: a skin conditioning agent
Phenoxyethanol: a preservative
Cetyl Alcohol: a stabilizer and emollient
Carbomer: a thickener
Avocado Oil: a hydrating oil with nutrients
Ceteareth-12: an emulsifier
Ceteareth-20: an emulsifier
Triethanolamine: a buffering agent used to control pH
Tin Oxide: increases the volume of a product
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): an antioxidant, and it’s lipophylic
Mica ( CI 77019): a pigment
+/- MAY CONTAIN
Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891): a pigment
Carmine (CI 75470): a pigment
Iron Oxide (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499): a pigment

This one gets a ❤️❤️❤️❤️ out of ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ from me.

❤ – Lynn Lynn