Cleansing Balm

Mahalo The Unveil Cleansing Balm

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Mahalo is a brand that has featured many times on the blog and repeatedly day after day on my Instagram too. Their Rare Indigo Balm is possibly one of my fave balm….dare I say over the infamous May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon too. So when the geniuses behind Mahalo Care announced their new launch, of course I took a plunge of faith.

What was promised? Well the new UNVEIL cleanser is an ideal balm-to-milk cleansing formula that sinks luxuriously into skin to effectively dissolve makeup and daily impurities, unveiling soft and glowing complexion. Experience: Creamy, soft and delicate, green-tea colored 100% water-free concentrated cleansing complex. Melts upon contact with skin. Will not clog pores. Aroma: Fresh and crisp scent of lemon, rounded with notes of exotic fragonia, ginger, cardamom and pink peppercorn. Hints of warm cocoa create a gourmand calming aromatherapy experience. Ideal Dose: Depending on the needs of your skin. A pearl-size dollop for a regular day makeup removal, or a half pea-size scoop for a thin veil of gentle and soothing cleanse.

I’ve used this balm for few weeks now and ready to share my thoughts and experiences. Firstly the packaging, in a classic Mahalo packaging i.e. glass jar encased in a bamboo outer shell. Whats inside, is a luxurious waterless rich balm enriched with lush oils, butters, matcha green tea and clay. The first whiff of scent is of lemons, cardamom and ginger. On touch and massaging all over skin it gradually melts to an oil. Per instructions, dosage of a pea size didn’t do a thing. My face definitely needs more than pea size and this is not limited to this balm….absolutely any cleansing balm. I don’t understand when people say ‘pea-size’, honestly it takes more than that (I will stop my rant).

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Upon massaging the balm on skin, it melts to a glorious oil and the scents start making their way to my nose. The lemon cardamom scent sure tickles my fancy. Now if I had to compare with Emma Hardie balm, it certainly doesn’t have that level of slip factor. This balm gives more grip than slip when massaging. Next step, emulsifying stage. Personally, I’m a hot face cloth/wash cloth/flannel (call it what you may) kinda woman but to test the claims of emulsification I went with the flow. So yes, it does emulsify…but it takes works to emulsify the balm. The emulsifying feels different…the milky emulsion feels more slippy compared to Emma Hardie or other Asian cleansing balms or sherbet cleansers.

The after effect is lovely on my skin, some say it leaves a residue. In my experience, yes there is a slight residue when I emulsify but the residue is not offensive by any means. The residue on my skin feels moisturized and not slimy or icky (if you know what I mean…not the best way to articulate). When I take off the cleanser with hot cloth, its perfection. Absolutely no fault. Performance wise I find it hard to fault, even with makeup removal. The pic above shows how effortlessly it melts the matte lipstick by Soap and Glory and emulsifies to milky goodness.

Quick dive in ingredient listing – all looks scrumptious to me, nothing negative to say!

Ingredients: prunus amygdalus dulci (sweet almond) oil and in-house phytonutrient infusion* [medicago sativa (alfalfa), arnica montana (arnica), calendula officinalis (calendula), symphytum officinale (comfrey), centella asiatica (gotu kola), ocimum sanctum (holy basil tulsi), azadirachta indica (neem), scutellaria lateriflora (skullcap)], persea gratissima (avocado) butter*, macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil*, jojoba esters, mangifera indica (mango) butter*, theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter*, astrocaryum murmuru butter*, theobroma grandiflorum (cupuacu) butter*, argania spinosa (argan) oil*, cera alba (beeswax)*, ricinus communis (castor bean) oil*, cetearyl olivate (and) sorbitan olivate, non-gmo mixed tocopherols, salix alba L. (willow) bark*, plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) oil*, coco glucoside, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf*, calophyllum inophyllum (Polynesian tamanu) oil*, cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil* & papain*, lecithin*, montmorillonite (french green clay), citrus lemon oil*, agonis fragrant (fragonia) oil*, elettaria cardamomum (cardamom) oil*, zingiber officinalis (ginger) oil*, schinus molly (peppercorn) oil*, frankincense sacra oil*, melaleuca quinquenervia (niaouli) oil*, citrus aurantium var. bergamia (bergamot) oil*, commiphora myrrh oil*, rosmarinus officials (rosemary antioxidant) extract*

Given the glorious ingredient listing, I would not use this balm to remove my makeup. Absolutely NOT. It would be a wonderful morning cleanse or second cleanse. fullsizeoutput_3618

Here’s another claim up for discussion, “antioxidant-rich enzymes create a gentle, yet effective thorough cleanse to exfoliate, soften and smooth, while leaving the moisture barrier of the skin intact and balanced.” Now for a cleansing balm which spends limited time on skin, it seems a little far fetched. So I came up with an alternative and creative way to put the antioxidant rich enzymes to work. Massaged the balm on skin, and took some steam with a hope that the enzymes would do their job. Result – nada except skin was softer with rich oils and certainly helped the moisture barrier. Did I have an exfoliating effect…ermm no, far fetched claim.

Now my final point on this balm, which puts me in a place of utmost hesitation in terms of recommending and repurchasing. This balm retails at $70 for 50ml (plus $6 shipping) whereas other balms on the market are lot more value for money. Value in terms of quantity vs. dollar paid.

  • Restorative Cleansing Balm by de Mamiel – 100ml for £54.00 (USD $66) – Double the quantity and the price is still less than Mahalo
  • Emma Hardie – 100g for £38.00 (USD $46)
  • Lilfox Jungle Glow Rainforest Honey Enzyme Cleanser + Mask – 100ml for USD $75.00
  • The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser – 70ml for USD$74

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the brand, the creator of this brand and her products, but this product will not be a repurchase for me simply from value for money perspective. Have you tried this cleansing balm? Any other balm cleansers which provide more bang for your buck?

HHW.com

xx

Yes to Coconut Melting Cleanser

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Finally we see a gorgeous melting cleanser in the drugstore/chemist range. At a fabulous price point with  lovely ingredients, is this cleanser worth trying?

My Simple Answer: YES!!!!

Yes to Claims: We’ll stop the world and melt with you! This dual-texture cleanser can be mixed with water for a creamy cleansing experience or slathered directly onto skin (sans water!) for a luxurious, balm-like feel. Either way, it’ll melt right in, dissolving dirt and makeup and hydrating with virgin coconut oil and moringa seed oil… then effortlessly rinse right off. Like buttah!

Every single word from their claim stands true, except the part of stopping the world to melt with me!

Ingredients: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Sucrose Stearate, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Water (Aqua), Tocopheryl Acetate, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Fruit, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Orchis Mascula Flower Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum). *Certified Organic Ingredient

Generally, coconut oils have a reputation of congesting skins but this cleanser emulsifies with water (unlike regular coconut oil) so beautifully it doesn’t leave a residue. Adding some other ingredients like Moringa, Noni, Hibiscus, Banana Fruit extract, Guava  extract, Kukui seed extract has taken a regular coconut cleanser to a new level.

In terms of consistency and texture, it is slightly denser than a gel but lighter than a balm. On contact with skin immediately melts in an oil and provides great grip. Smells Oh SO Gorgeous. I’ve never liked coconut scented beauty products (not sure why). But this one I’m reaching for time and again.

 

Upon adding water, it immediately emulsifies and turns into milky lushness. However per usual my preference lies with steaming face cloth compress to remove the cleanser. The scent lingers on the skin for a short while and it’s not nauseating strong. Once all done, it leaves skin super soft and supple. I don’t need to run for a toner or an oil.

It says it can melt makeup, however I like to use this as a second cleanse or a morning cleanse. Almost all skin types (including sensitive) can use this cleanser, however dry and mature skins might love this more than a teenager congestion prone skin. I think in the American Drugstore market it is one of a kind and steering the ship in the right direction, well done Yes To!!!

If you’ve tried this, have you had similar experiences?

HHW.com

xx

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm

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About time Estée Lauder expanded the Advanced Night Repair range and gave us something new to be excited about. New launches include Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask (yet to try) and Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm. It’s an established fact, I have a weakness for cleansers. Plus I’ve used and loved the serum (repurchased multiple times) for years now, so based on the experience of the serum I didn’t hesitate on giving this balm a try.

Claims: Micro-Purifying, Micro-revitalizing. This lightweight balm melts into a silky cleansing oil as you massage over skin, then transforms with water into a milky emulsion that rinses easily for a clean, conditioned feel. Removes makeup and impurities, including pollution, as it purifies deep within skin’s surface to improve your overall healthy look.

When to use: Estée Lauder specifically say Use at night, then follow with Advanced Night Repair skincare to create a revitalizing nightime ritual for healthier, younger-looking skin. 

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Ingredient Listing: Ethylhexyl Palmitate (derivative of palm oil, provides dry slip factor), Carthamus Tinctorus (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth 30 Tetraoleate (fatty acid), Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate (emollient, emulsifier), Water\Aqua\Eau, Silybum Marianum (Lady’s Thistle) Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract (Japanese Knotweed), Algae Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender), Methyldihydrojasmonate, Tocopherol, BHT, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

One ingredient may stand out for wrong reasons, Polyethylene – which may cause skin irritation. Green/Natural/Organic Beauty People, this formulation is “Toxic” for you!

Similar ingredient listing and formulation (consistency and feel) to Clinique Take the Day off Cleansing balm. After all, Clinique falls under the Estée Lauder umbrella! However with the addition of some lovely extracts Lady’s Thistle, Algae, Chamomile, Lavender it brings it in line with the Advanced Night Repair range.

This may not be considered a typical cleansing balm ingredient listing with typical carrier oils and essential oils. However this is very typical of an East Asian cleansing balm like RMK Cleansing Balm, Su:m 37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm or Banilla Co. which have similar ingredients, texture and consistency in their cleansing balms.

Packaging: Housed in a plain plastic tub with classic gold lining twist open lid. Light enough to carry for travel (70ml – $40).P1020891

Texture & Consistency: The balm needs a little bit work of digging in unlike our beloved Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. It’s a proper solidified balm (think Clinique Take the Day off). It would have been nice touch, if Estée Lauder actually provided a spatula to dig in (like the Asian brands do with the solidified cleansing balms).

Scent: Faint scent of Advanced Night Repair serum. Actually let me add, very very faint almost to nothing if you don’t have a nose of sniffer dog.

Performance: Once on the finger and face, immediately melts to an oil, melting makeup and providing good grip for an extended massage. Whilst this removes makeup just fine, it stung my eye like a MOFO! My fault I got carried away and lets be honest I should have known better. So next time I removed makeup little bit cautiously around eye, continued cleansing and everything came off just fine. It can be used as makeup remover, second cleanse or morning cleanse. Although I would prefer something more lush with oils for second or morning cleanse. It provides a really good grip to massage, no slip slop business.

 

The balm emulsifies beautifully with water to milky goodness, however my preference still lies with a proper warm steaming wash cloth over my face. My skin doesn’t feel dry, stripped or stretched. No magical skin improvements from using this balm. Does the job!!!

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So in conclusion, is this a ‘must have’ balm? Nope, there are other options available with similar formulation which perform just as well and at a fraction of price. However like me, there is slight possibility to get sucked in the hole “extension of Advanced Night Repair range” and fall for the balm.

HHW.com

xx

Rodial Cleansing Balms

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Possibly the most used in any skincare routine is a Cleansing Balm. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the balm feature in my daily routines, but I’ve rarely ever stopped to properly tell you about it and why I love it so much.

Of course the brand is controversial from its product naming perspective, but lets turn a blind eye on that for a moment and focus on the actual product, ingredients and its performance.

Cleansing Balms – I wouldn’t know how to cleanse without balms and oils! They’re the very cornerstone of proper cleansing or makeup removal for me. One thing that irks me slightly with most balms is their packaging. Usually housed in glass or plastic pots and we need to dip our paws in there to scoop and smear goodness all over our faces.

What I LOVE about these two rockstars here, they are housed in plastic bottle with a pump and no paw dipping business. A pump that actually works (some brands I’ve had issues with pumps). Its one of those pumping mechanisms where it would scooop every last bit out.

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Next is the Texture: lovely lush balms! Whilst Glamtox is slightly more denser balm (right in tray), Bee Venom is slightly runnier in texture (left in tray). In terms of application and schmearability (such technical words ;)) they glide like a dream. Remove makeup efficiently and effectively. No eye stinging either.

Scent wise I couldn’t choose one over the other, Glamtox is slightly more herbalish scent while Bee Venom reminds me of their Superfood cleanser scent. Subtle sweet floral. I know the name Bee Venom and its scent just dont correlate with each other.

Some balms  (e.g. Boots Botanics Balm – click on link for full review) dont emulsify, aka dont turn into milky lushness when mixed with water. However these two, are BFF’s with water, emulsify beautifully and you wouldn’t need a wash/face cloth. Although I always use a wash/face cloth (proper cleansing ritual).  They leave my skin thoroughly cleansed and not dry or stripped. My skin feels comfortable after cleansing and ready for next skincare step.

Glamtox Claimshelp to improve the appearance of uneven skintone and hyperpigmentation. Skin will be left looking brighter, nourished by vitamins and collagen production stimulated for firmer, plumper looking skin.

Bee Venom ClaimsWonder ingredient bee venom (listed third last ingredient) works to plump fine lines and wrinkles and firms the skin ……………. improve the appearance of uneven skin tone. 

Big claims, but the balms are on the skin for such a short while, I dont think they stand true to such claims.

On the flip side, I’ve used both of them as Hydrating Masks (left on skin while I clean the entire house) and my skin appears well hydrated and plump. Although nothing happened to my acne scars or pigmentation.

Glamtox Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycerin, PEG-8 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate, Tribehenin, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Polysorbate 20, Glyceryl Behenate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Salycilic Acid, Parfum (Fragrance), Limonene, Linalool, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Palmytoylproline, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Nymphaea Alba (Water Lily) Flower Extract, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol

Bee Venom Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond ) Oil, Glycerin, Glyceryl Behenate, PEG-8 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polysorbate 20, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Limonene, Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Nymphaea Alba (Water Lily) Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Linalool, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citral, Bee Venom, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.
Cautions: Do not use if you have an allergy to bee stings. A patch test prior to use is recommended. If signs of irritation occur discontinue use immediately.

Have you used Rodial cleansing balms? Did you have a similar experience to mine?

HHW.com

xx

2014 EMPTIES

GOOD LORD!!! Where did 2014 go? This is pretty much the same thing I say every year end. Anyway so as I mentioned few months ago, I was gathering most of my empties for 2014 and would do a post on them. So without further ado let’s get started (based on categories).

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Andalou Naturals Clemetine Ginger Shower Gel – nice while it lasted.

Dr Bronners Magic Soap – comes in many fragrances and I’ve pretty much tried ‘em all. Always a repurchase.

Forest Essentials Mashobra Honey & Vanilla Shower Wash – got these during our holiday in India and these smell heavenly.

Kiehls Vanilla & Cedarwood – nice but not a repurchase left my skin dry.

L’occitane Amanda Shower Gel – Love & repurchase.

The Body Shop Tropical Oasis Shower Milk (now discontinued) – creamy wash which smells frigging awesome but sadly discontinued.

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Yes I’m Eucerin Junkie and so is my husband. One bottle for each quarter.

Dove Nourishing Lotion – this was a holiday emergency purchase, needless to say went back to Eucerin.

Argan Body Crème – this stuff is RIDIC, sold in Spain supermarkets for ‘a Euro’ and smells divine and ultra-nourishing. Waiting for next Spain trip to stock up.

Bath and Body Works Twilight Woods – purely used it for its fragrance period.!

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EO Organic Deodorant – purchase from Whole Foods, nice while it lasted.

Bath and Body Works Brown Sugar and Fig Body Splash – simply and purely for fragrance.

Secret Clinical Strength Sport – have repurchased this many times and will continue to do so.P1000980

This one is a mixed bag. Somehow I managed not to save my shampoo or conditioners!

Aveda Invati Shampoo, Conditioner and Scalp Revitalizer – good while it lasted, not a repurchase

Aveda Pure Abundance – same as above

Daily Beauty for Wildlife Beach Spray – Yep I will repurchase, once I get through the million products I’m working through.

L’Oreal Everstrong Overnight Hair Repair Treatment – Nope made my hair flat.

Eva – Nyc Therapy Session Hair Mask – Nice while it lasted not a repurchase, same as above.

Random Samples – Molton Brown conditioner, Lush Hair Doctor – not purchasing any of these.

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Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser – very affordable glycolic cleanser with slight tingle, repurchase at some point in future.

Priori Gentle Facial Cleanser – expressed my love before, repurchase at some point in future.

Reviva Brighten and Lighten – experiment which was pleasant and will keep this cleanser in mind when I’m seriously broke but don’t want to compromise on results.

Nuxe Comforting Cleansing Milk – love the scent, repurchase at some point in future.

Skin Blossom Gentle Cleansing Milk – nice but won’t repurchase.

Vasanti Brighten up – read here why I won’t repurchase this cleanser.

Dermalogica Precleanse – we’ve had on and off relationship, repurchase at some point in future.

Clinique Take the Day off Makeup Remover – same as above.

Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm – Defo repurchase when I’m in London.

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Frutique Papaya Enzyme Exfoliating Gel – raved earlier about it here, though not a repurchase.

Real Chemistry Peeling Gel – trial from Birchbox, did nothing to my skin, therefore not a repurchase.

Organi Enzyme Honey Peel – Extremely pricey but darn good. Can’t repurchase as it’s sold only in Australia.

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Neostrata Oily Skin Solution (2 bottles) – we’ve been consistent with each other and will repurchase at some point in future.

Alpha H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid – same as above

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Floral Toner – nice while it lasted.

L’occitane Roses Hydrating Face Mist – same as above

Pixi Glow Tonic – Love this product and working through the back up bottle now.

Rohto Hadalabo Gokujyun Hylauronic Lotion – will repurchase at some point in future.

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Alpha H Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum – This has been repurchased for second time and it is FAB.

Aesop Oil Free Hydrating Serum – Whilst it’s pricey, it lasted forever. Made my skin appear oilier hence not a repurchase.

Juju Aquamoist Whitening Essence – experimental order from sasa.com which left me underwhelmed.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Serum – This is excellent as day time serum, working on my second bottle now.

For localized spots in addition to La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, I tried Aesop Control Gel (great product but too pricey for what you get) and Burts Bees Acne Solutions Spot Treatment (no repurchase, except giving a cooling sensation did nothing).

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Hydraluron – I have ranted about this endlessly….refer Here.

Bioderma Hydrabio Legere – Excellent product, immediate nourishment and have a back up.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo – Lifesaver, always a repurchase.

Juju Aqamoist Hylauronic Essence – experimental order from sasa.com which left me underwhelmed.

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Origins Ginseng Eye Cream – Loved it, wanted to repurchase but it was out of stock. Hopefully when I finish my existing one I may come back to this.

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Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – working through my third jar right now and still loving it.

Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Enzyme Mask – Holy smokes this stuff was good, but many similar products on market which I’m keen to try.

Aveda Intense Hydrating Masque – Loved the scent, this was a trial pot but lasted me a while so I might take the plunge at some stage.

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Biore UV Aqua Rich Jelly and Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, bantered on about this in my previous posts too.

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Revlon Colorstay Foundation – always there, one of my unsung hero.

Lakme Absolute Foundation – plesant while it lasted.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer – In a committed relationship with this concealer, currently working through 2 of these simultaneously (one in purse and one in ‘concealer drawer’).

Bobbi Brown Gel Liner Black – Loved it! Trying Maybelline now.

Mac Paint Pot – Bare Study – this shade dried out too soon, not repurchasing.

Nars Pro Primer – Defo repurchase.

Guerlain, Clinique, Make Up Forever & Lakme Lipstick – Loved ‘em all while they lasted. No repurchases here.

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Kiko Night Balm – Nice but can’t repurchase till I travel to Europe.

Nuxe Reve De Miel – we share a very committed relationship where I have backed up 3 more of these lovely pots.

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Kiehls Hand Salve – www.thebomb.com yes love this product and been using for 4-5 years now. Always a repurchase.

Eucerin Intensive Repair Hand Cream – by now you may have guessed anything with AHA and I’m all over it.

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Year eve and may the new year bring you lots of love, luck, happiness, health, wealth, and peace in your lives.

xx

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