Life update: I’ve just had wisdom teeth surgery! I was supposed to see a Peter Murphy concert today (exactly 12 years since I first saw him with Bauhaus in Berlin), but the whole tour got rescheduled. I think that was a blessing in disguise, as my face is still insanely swollen, and I’m drowsy from the painkillers.
As I’m shambling around my apartment in pyjamas instead of slapping glitter on my face in anticipation of the “godfather of goth” show, I thought I’d write up a couple of reviews of recent purchases. Those goodies don’t have much in common, except for one thing: they all fall into the “boring staple” category. However, I have developed an outsized love for at least one of them, and that product would be…
Essence I Love Extreme Mascara
Tacky packaging aside, this $4.99 find is seriously the best mascara I’ve ever tried, so I was happy to repurchase it. Granted, I don’t expect much from mascara. The most it can realistically do for me is: 1) make my tiny, pale lashes a little bit more visible, and 2) not be a pain to use. I’ve tried a lot of expensive “cult favorites,” and believe it or not, most of them FAILED to pass those simple tests. Kevyn Aucoin Volume dried up on me too quickly. Urban Decay Troublemaker has a weird spiky wand that makes it hard to paint my lower lashes. Milk Makeup Ubame is too subtle. It Cosmetics Superhero gunks up in its packaging horribly… But I haven’t had any of those grievances with I Love Extreme. It gives my lashes a moderately spidery but still “separated” look, and I like its no-bullshit wand. The latter is straight and on the bigger side, but not obnoxiously huge, which works for both upper and lower lash application.
The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye and Lip Makeup Remover
Eye makeup remover is another one of those product categories that are ubiquitous, but damn, it’s hard to find one you truly like. I was peeved when Target stopped selling Sonia Kashuk’s Remove, my “holy grail”–I went through countless bottles of it over the years. When my last drops of Remove were gone, I picked up the Body Shop’s Camomile Makeup Remover, which thankfully turned out to be a worthy replacement.
Like the Sonia Kashuk remover, the Body Shop is a bi-phase product, which takes everything off in a pinch. This is important for me, because I like to wear heavy makeup: 3+ eyeshadows, eyeliner to tightline, liquid lipsticks, etc. Moreover, the Body Shop is gentle enough to not irritate my skin or eyes. So yes, it does stand its ground in comparison with my old holy grail. The only issue is the price: $18 for 5 fl oz vs. $11 for Sonia’s 4.75 fl oz. I would be down for exploring cheaper cruelty-free options for this kind of product.
Pacifica Kale Charcoal Ultimate Detox Mask
I’m not a fan of face masks, because they tend to irritate my face. But I still try them sometimes, as my combination-type skin, with issues such as blemishes and clogged pores, could potentially benefit from a good mask. If I could only find The One…
Recently, I was curious to try clearing out my pores using the Fifty Shades of Snail “Super Pore Killer” method, which necessitates a clay mask as one of its three steps (after salicylic acid and before cleansing oil). It turned out to be surprisingly hard to find such masks at my favorite “hippie” co-op, San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery. (What I found was “raw water.” WTF, Rainbow??!!) The Pacifica Ultimate Detox was one of the few clay masks available. Even though its name highlights “kale and charcoal,” it’s actually a traditional cleansing mask with clays as the second and third ingredients. The product is affordable (around $10), and like everything by Pacifica, it boasts youthful “earth mama”-style packaging, reminiscent of Tarte in its glory days. I like that the format is “ready-to-apply,” without the necessity to mix clay with water.
Regarding quality, my verdict is this: the Pacifica mask is not The One, but it’s okay! So far, I’ve only tried it on my blemish-prone T-zone, as part of the aforementioned “Super Pore Killer” method. Even though that area is the hotspot of my rosacea, I didn’t notice any extra sensitivity or irritation. In general, I’ve found the Pacifica to be a very basic clay mask, which soaks up the oils and leaves the skin slightly dry. It has a bluish grey color, which has prompted me to call it “my stone-eater mask” (in reference to N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth books, haha).
As for the results of the “Super Pore Killer” method, they have been mixed. The method didn’t “vacuum clean” my pores, but they have indeed become somewhat clearer; my skin got generally softer; and I’ve been getting fewer blemishes. However, I’m debating if I should continue, as treatments that require rubbing my face with cleansing oil for a few minutes make me suspicious–the risk of busted capillaries is real.
So yeah, those were my drowsy little reviews. Have you tried any of those goodies & what are your favorites in those product categories?