A New And Even Softer Clarisonic Brush: The Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush

Wednesday November 20, 2013 | Product Reviews Skin Care

One of the biggest points of contention with the Clarisonic is that it can be too rough for the face’s delicate skin.

But during my latest haunt inside a Sephora store, I found that the folks of Clarisonic have come out with a new Luxe Brush Head Collection.

These brushes characteristically have tapered, ultra-long filaments.

The result is that the brushes feel super duper soft. And yet, they still retain the ability to cleanse “6x better than hands alone.”

Clarisonic with Cashmere Luxe Brush

For the blissfully unaware, the Clarisonic Cleansing system uses sonic technology of more than 300 movements per second to deeply cleanse for smoother and more radiant skin.

Another advantage of using the Clarisonic is that it preps the skin to better absorb skincare products.

I, for one, use the Clarisonic Mia 2 (read my first impressions of it).

I began using it in January 2013. Which was the beginning of this year! Time sure is flying…

To this day, I still think my Clarisonic Mia 2 was worth every single penny.

As someone who advocates only the gentlest care and handling of the skin, I’d been using what was, at the time, the softest brush Clarisonic had to offer: the Delicate Brush Head.

Five months of use and the bristles on the Delicate brush finally began to stiffen and feel too rough on my skin. So I replaced it with the Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush Head.

Soft Clarisonic Brushes

[Delicate Brush Head on the Left, Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush on the Right.]

If you’re still on the fence about the Clarisonic, then this new soft-as-a-baby-angel’s-butt-err-wing-tips brush should finally put an end to your fears that the Clarisonic is “too rough” for your skin.

The Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush Head has a dual layer design, to gently massage the skin and generate “fluid forces” to cleanse and increase the skin’s hydration levels. It’s really best for mature and extremely dry skin types. Or for people who are crazy about using only the “gentlest” skincare products.

Using this brush feels wonderfully soft on the skin. But amazingly, it’s still incredibly effective at picking up makeup and dirt. I can literally see all the makeup and grime on the brush after using it.

At $30 per brush, this brush is $5 more expensive than the regular brushes (turning my nose up to this price bump).

But I would bet that this one is actually soft enough to use every day. And that’s something I will not say for the other regular Clarisonic facial brushes out there.

Clarisonic Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush

[Close-up view of the Cashmere's dual layer design.]

Even then, using your Clarisonic everyday, twice a day is just never necessary.

I like to use my Clarisonic as my deep cleanser and exfoliator.

Meaning that even with the softest of brushes, it should still only be used 2x per week. No more than 3x per week.

Also, do not fail to follow up your Clarisonic cleansing sessions with a special treatment! Like a Vitamin C Serum or a Retinol.

Recently, I’ve been following up my Clarisonic with this baby…

Caudalie SOS Thirst Quenching Serum

[SOS Thirst Quenching Serum by Caudalie. It's TOTAL LOVE!]

I will have to tell you about this new love of mine another time.

For now, I must be going as tonight happens to be my special date night with my Clarisonic ;)

Q’ for the Clarisonic users out there:
What type of brush heads do you use?

John Masters Haircare: Evening Primrose Shampoo & Rosemary Pepermint Detangler

Wednesday July 17, 2013 | Hair Care Product Reviews

I’ve heard many great things about John Masters Organics haircare products.

So when it was time to replace my used up shampoo & conditioner, I went on a limb and picked up two haircare products by John Masters Organics…

1) The Evening Primrose Shampoo (for dry hair) 
2) The Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler

John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo + Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler

At the time, I was slightly worried that I’d made a rather arbitrary and frivolous purchase.

But after having seen the stellar results on my hair…

I’m confident that I’ve found two amazing haircare products that’s well worth their price. 

About The Brand

The brand John Masters Organics was founded by famed hairstylist John Masters, who was inspired to create a clean, botanical-based luxury-end haircare brand in the early 90s.

They only have a select few products that have been made with great care, keeping not only the beauty of their clients in mind, but also their safety and that of the environment.

John Masters goes beyond just having safe, natural and organic ingredients in their products. They also source their ingredients from local farmers. And the simplicity of their packaging reflects this great respect for the environment.

Evening Primrose Shampoo (For Dry Hair)

John Masters Organics haircare: Evening Primrose Shampoo

This is a shampoo that helps to replenish dry, damaged hair.

My hair naturally tends to be very dry. So at the bare minimum, I want a shampoo that…

- Cleans my scalp without over-stripping it of its natural oils
- Moisturizes my hair without weighing it down
- Leaves my hair soft, smooth and shiny

At the same time, a product that is made of safe, gentle ingredients by a company that has some sense of ecological responsibility are also qualities that are well appreciated!

And hooray! I did find all these qualities in this John Master’s shampoo.

The ingredients list is crazy long and chock-full of botanical ingredients.

Ingredients: Made with 21 certified organic ingredients

Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, aqua (water), babassuamidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside, sodium cocoamphodiacetate, panthenol (vitamin B5), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, urtica dioica (nettle) root extract*, sorbitol, lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, citrus limon (lemon) peel oil*, glycerin, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, hydrolyzed soy protein, chamomilla recutita (chamomile) flower extract*, equisetum hyemale (horsetail) extract*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract*, symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf extract*, achillea millefolium (yarrow) extract*, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract*, potassium sorbate, salix alba (willow) bark extract*, arginine, serine & threonine (amino acids), sodium chloride, sodium benzoate, sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), sodium pca, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, linum usitatissimum (flax) seed oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, sulfur, soy tocopherol, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil*, juniperus mexicana (cedarwood) oil*, pelargonium pelatum graveolens (geranium) flower oil*, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil*, santalum album (sandalwood) oil*, linalool†, citronellol†
* Certified Organic
† A natural component of essential oils

My view of plant-derived essential oils in beauty products is that they are usually harmless, provided they are formulated in the proper amount.

And they provide wonderful benefits to the skin and hair. Though often times more studies are needed to show the true scope of their effects.

Other ingredients that caught my eye:

  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice – A humectant that helps to retain moisture
  • Babassuamidopropyl Betaine – An antistatic, hair conditioning agent
  • Decyl Blucoside – A mild non-ionic surfactant
  • Sodium Cocaomphodiacetate – Used to clean the hair and increase foaming capacity; made from fatty acids from coconut oil
  • Panthenol – Used to coat the hair shaft
  • Arginine, serine & threonine – Amino acids for stimulating hair growth
  • Sodium Chloride (salt) – Used to thicken the formula, but can also be used to remove dead cells and product build-up
  • Sodium PCA -A derivative of naturally occurring amino acid proline; a conditioning agent and humectant; binds moisture to cells
  • Sodium Hyaluronate – Salt form of hyaluronic acid; used to retain moisture
  • Sulfur – Often used in shampoos to help relieve dandruff, and to enhance the appearance and feel of hair by increasing hair body, suppleness, or sheen
  • Evening Primrose Oil – the star ingredient of this shampoo; helps to add moisture and strengthen hair

I’m not sure why evening primrose oil is the main featured ingredient of this shampoo.

If you look at where it’s located in the ingredients list, there are a lot of other essential oil ingredients that come before it.

Why not call this John Masters “Jojoba Oil & Nettle Root” shampoo? Hmm…?

How To Use: Shake well. Apply to wet hair. Lather. Rinse.

My experience:

The first thing I noticed is the dark amber color of this shampoo. It has the consistency of a non-sticky gel. And the scent is a light herbal blend of mint and pine.

Another noticeable characteristic of this shampoo is that it hardly lathers up.

If you like sudsy foamy shampoo, then the lack of bubbles in this shampoo might bother you. But keep in mind that bubbles in shampoos are used to make it seem like the product is really good at cleaning your hair.

When I use this shampoo, I only need a teaspoon’s worth. I focus on working it onto my scalp and then work my way down to the tips.

Results:

I’ve been using this shampoo for a month now. And the results were everything that I could want from my shampoo!

My scalp is clean without being stripped of its natural oils.

My hair looks and feels super soft and shiny, frizz-free and full of body. And the results last for up to three days.

In summary, I love it!

Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler

John Masters Organics haircare: Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler

This is a lightweight conditioner made with organic plant oils, protein & vitamins. It works to detangle unruly hair and add shine.

As a detangler, this product has a thinner consistency than regular conditioners. Detanglers are not as deep-moisturizing. But they work to soften hair and reduce static in order to keep hair tangle-free.

This is the first time I’ve used a detangler, so I expected it to be quite similar to a conditioner. But in fact, I would say it’s better at reducing hair frizz than other conditioners that I’ve tried.

As with the shampoo, the ingredients list is long and packed full of plant extracts and essential oils which work to soften and moisturize the hair.

Ingredients: Made with 17 certified organic ingredients

Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, aqua, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, panthenol (vitamin B5), hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, sorbitol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, linum usitatissimum (flax) seed oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil*, lecithin, tocopherol, sulfur, citric acid, arnica montana (arnica) flower extract*, camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract*, chamomilla recutita (chamomile) extract*, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract*, equisetum hiemale (horsetail) extract*, foeniculum vulgare (fennel) seed extract*, lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, hyaluronic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil*, rosa canina (rose) flower oil*, geranium maculatum (geranium) oil, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil*, nardostachys jatamansi (spikenard) rhizome/root extract*, limonene†
* Certified Organic
† A natural component of essential oils

Ingredients of interest:

  • Behentrimonium Methosulfate – Despite the fact that it has the word ‘sulfate’ at the end, this ingredient is considered to be mild and safe, and acts as an anti-static and conditioning agent
  • Cetearyl Alcohol – Don’t be fooled by the word alcohol. Not all alcohols are created equal. This is a fatty alcohol, and fatty alcohols are usually derived from natural sources to give a smooth, soft feeling to the hair shaft by helping the cuticle to lie flat on the surface of the hair
  • Panthenol – Used to coat the hair shaft
  • Hydrolyzed Soy Protein – ‘Hydrolyzed’ means it’s been formulated to be absorbed by the hair shaft. A protein that’s used for moisture retention and for improving hair texture and gloss
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein – Used to increase hair’s ability to retain moisture, add volume and reduce hair porosity, overall improving smoothness
  • Sorbitol – A humectant that prevents moisture loss by pulling water by osmoses
  • Jojoba Seed Oil – A natural ingredient that works to condition hair and scalp and balance sebum production
  • Coconut Oil – Another popular natural hair conditioning agent. Coconut oil is wonderfully moisturizing!
  • Rosemary Oil – Stimulates hair growth; adds volume and shine
  • Peppermint Oil – Reduces scalp irritation, treats oily scalp

Again, as with the shampoo, the featured ingredients of the Detangler (Rosemary & Peppermint) are found lower on the ingredients list.

Maybe calling this product John Masters “Jojoba and Coconut Oil Detangler” would have made more sense?

How To Use: Apply desired amount to clean, wet hair. Leave in 1 to 3 minutes. Rinse.

My experience: 

This is a light cream with a fresh peppermint scent. More peppermint than rosemary, actually.

I need to use only a teaspoon’s worth of this stuff.

I work backwards, starting from the tips of my hair and work may way up towards the scalp.

Results:

I’ve washed my hair with and without this detangler. After a month of use and observation, I can say that this detangler really makes a difference on my hair.

It works immediately to reduce static and frizz. Especially at the tips, which makes combing through my hair a lot easier.

It leaves my hair soft, moisturized and full of bounce. When I scrunch my hair, there is less static and frizz. So for a lightweight conditioner, this works very well for me.

As I have thick, medium coarse hair, I’m not sure how well this detangler would work for very coarse hair types.

John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo + Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler

[Closeup view of the Shampoo and Detangler]

Closing Thoughts 

On occasion, I’ve tested these products separately. But mainly, I’ve used them in conjunction with each other. So it’s hard for me to say which product really made the difference.

I can say with certainty that, for me, the John Masters Evening Primrose Shampoo and Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler work wonderfully together!

When I say that the effects last for up to three days, I simply mean that I can go three days without washing my hair.

But these products seem to have an on-going effect on my hair.

Overall, my hair feels softer, looks shinier and is a lot more manageable than it’s been in a long time.

John Masters Organics haircare results: Before

[BEFORE photo. My greasy hair badly in need of a wash]

John Masters Organics haircare results: After

[AFTER photo. Better, but I still need a haircut! ]

To sum it up

What I Like About The John Masters Evening Primrose Shampoo & Rosemary and Peppermint Detangler: 

- Clean and healthy balanced scalp
- Soft, moisturized hair
- Silky strands, reduced frizz
- Bouncy hair (not weighed down)
- The light herbal scent
- Packed with incredible ingredients
- High quantities of natural and organic ingredients
- The clean simple presentation of the bottles
- Recyclable packaging

What I Don’t Like About Them :

- The scent is too light; there’s hardly a trace of a nice scent left on my hair… but this is just me looking for something to complain about ;)

How Much: $16 for each bottle (both products come in 8 fl oz / 236 ml size bottles)

Would I Buy These Two Products Again: A resounding YES!!!

John Masters Organics haircare results

[Sorry to get all like 'The Ring' on you, but...]

John Masters Organics haircare results

[The proof is in the shine!]

I’m really happy with how soft and shiny my hair looks and how my scalp feels clean and healthy. The effects are incredibly long lasting.

I’m also impressed with the level of quality with which these products were made and the ethics behind the John Masters Organics brand.

To me, I’m willing to pay more for stellar results by quality products from responsible companies.

* * *

A note about where I like to read up about cosmetic ingredients… 

Like most of you, I don’t have a background in cosmetics chemistry and I don’t have a cosmetics ingredients dictionary, so I end up having to rely on google search pretty much all the time.

The sites that I frequent the most are: 

Cosmetics Ingredient Review
Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
Truth In Aging
Paula’s Choice Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary 

 

Getting Savage On The Beach With Badger’s Broad Spectrum Sport Sunscreen (SPF 35)

Tuesday July 2, 2013 | Product Reviews Skin Care

[ Edits made Nov. 05, 2013 ]

Finding the perfect sunscreen is NOT easy.

Especially if you are a person with extraordinary expectations.

A sunscreen must be able to protect the skin from burning in the sun for a sufficient amount of time. That much is obvious.

And also, it should be made from good quality ingredients. It should be safe to use. In other words, it should not cause the skin to break out with pimples. Or react in any other negative way.

For most people, these are just a few reasonable things to ask for in a sunscreen product.
Badger's Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream (SPORT)

But for me, I have a few other things on my list of demands.

I want a sunscreen that does all of the above. But in addition, I want one that does not give off a ghostly white cast.

And it certainly should not cause collateral damage!

So today, we’ll have a look at a natural sunscreen product that I’ve been using: Badger’s Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream (For Surfing & Other Performance Sports).

While this sunscreen meets several of my essential criteria, ultimately it falls far far from being that perfect one…

Badger Natural Sunscreen

Badger is an American natural and organic cosmetics company based in New Hampshire.

This particular sunscreen that I got is specifically formulated for Surfing and Other Performance Sports.

It is a thick moisturizing cream that’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Badger cut down on all the nonsense by creating this sunscreen with only a total of 5 ingredients!

Someday I’ll have to explain to you why short ingredients lists are really impressive.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide (non-nano uncoated zinc oxide 22.5%)

Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E).

*= Certified Organic

Badger Sunscreen Sport

Zinc oxide is a natural physical sunscreen.

It is made from a powdered mineral that sits on top of the skin, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays. As such, physical sunblocks like zinc oxide tend to give off a whitish cast.

Specifically, all Badger sunscreens are formulated with non-nano uncoated zinc oxide.

Non-nano means that zinc oxide particles are not small enough to be absorbed by the skin and into the bloodstream. And uncoated means that the zinc oxide will not react as much to UV rays nor generate cell-damaging free radicals.

Badger’s website gives a more detailed explanation of Zinc Oxide Sunscreens & Nanoparticles.

On the beach with badger sunscreen (sport)

I’m going to be brief.

When it came to my experience with using Badger’s Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream (Sport), this is what I discovered:

The Good

+ Heavy duty protection from the sun.
+ Long lasting protection.
+ Moisturizing for the skin.
+ Does not cause my skin to react in any negative way.
+ Made from safe ingredients.
+ The ingredients list is short and packed with natural & organic ingredients.
+ Incredibly water resistant.

On the beach with Badger sunscreen (sport)

The Bad

- This particular sunscreen will make you look paler than a ghost.
- When you put on it on, it’s like putting on war paint.
- Incredibly difficult to spread and distribute evenly along the skin.
- It is soo thick and heavy!
- It even glows.
- The label says unscented, but there is a strong peculiar smell to it.
- I know this was made for outdoor sports, but there’s a difference between playing beach volleyball and going on a savage war path.
- It stains clothes.

My mistake was going for the one labeled “Sport.” Badger carries several different kinds of sunscreen, and I should have probably gone for the one made for “Daily” or “Active” use.

For me, the worst part about this sunscreen is that it stains clothes. Two of my summer shorts have been stained with white streaks, which I’m still dutifully trying to remove. What kind of sunscreen stains clothes?? This one, apparently.

I wanted this particular sunscreen because I knew I was going to the beach and so I wanted heavy duty protection.

But this sunscreen turned out to be a little too heavy for my needs. Even for running and splashing around in the beach.

Still, it’s not a complete dud because it’s still great for one important thing

Protecting the skin from the sun!

suncream, badger, sunscreen,[Wearing Badger Sport Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 - way to protect yourself!]

Closing Thoughts

I will continue to use this sunscreen!

I think Badger’s Sport Sunscreen with SPF 35 is still great for doing the most important thing of all… protecting the skin from the sun!

Also, it’s made from safe ingredients that do not cause my skin to break out.

I am just going to have to take extra precautions not to get this cream on my or anyone else’s clothing.

And if that unfortunate event were to arrive… I will make sure to point out that…

One good way to remove sunscreen stains (and grease stains and other oily based things) from clothes is with the help of dish detergent! *

When I’m through with this tube, I suppose I’ll be back again on the market for that perfect sunscreen.

One that provides effective protection, made of safe and natural ingredients but does not make me look like a frolicking ghoul and does not stain my clothes!

* thanks to the friendly advice of Jentri, the Badger representative… whose kindly response can be found in the comments section! :)

~~~

How Much: $15.50 for 87 ml / 2.9 fl oz

Would I Purchase This Sunscreen Again? Actually, it’s not as bad as I originally thought.  No, not this particular one. But I’m interested in trying the “Daily” version of this sunscreen.

 What about you? Which sunscreen product are you using this summer?