Shea Moisture

Encyclopedia of Face Masks

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The western skincare scene has usually been limited to clay, mud, charcoal, cream, gel kind of masks. Move to the east and we have a whole new innovative category of masks. Starting with the more traditional sheet masks for various parts like face, hands, feet with different materials to a rather new age innovative Oxygen bubbling, Splashing or Patting, Rubber modeling, Spot treatment, Lip masks!!!! Below I have a list of masks based on various consistencies and textures:

  • Clay, Mud, Charcoal
  • Powder aka Ubtan
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Sheet – face and eye – cotton, gel, sea weed/kelp, hydrogel, foil back sheet mask
  • Sleep or Overnight – cream, gel or bouncy textures, water pack
  • Peel off mask – Gels
  • Rubber modeling
  • Oxygen Bubbling
  • Splash or Patting
  • Mousse pack – too cool for school eg mousse pack
  • Nose pack – mainly for white and black heads
  • Spot treatment
  • Hand & feet
  • Lip mask

In terms of why we mask, its simple – immediate crash injection of whatever skin needs. Below are some outcomes expected of masks, and the gobbledygook it’s usually marketed with:

  • Repair, Rescue
  • Detoxifying, Decongesting, Purifying, Deep Cleansing, Mattifying, Clarifying, Pore Correction
  • Exfoliating, Resurfacing, Retexturizing
  • Radiance, Brightening, Glow, Luminous
  • Hydration
  • Moisture
  • Firming, Lifting, Shaping
  • Self Tanning Sleep Mask

I’ll talk about my current masks on rotation based on their purpose in life and intended outcome for my skin. Here I have a decent mix of price points and regional availabilities. Of course if all else fails, diving into your kitchen and whipping up one of your own creations is always an option. I have a post on DIY masks you could refer for some ideas and inspiration.

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Charcoal, Clay and Mud Masks

I hate paying ridiculously priced clay, mud or charcoal masks! They are the cheapest ingredients and formulating a mask with them as a base doesn’t cost an entity as much moolah. Large mark up zone, so beware and ensure you read inci list here. Look for life changing ingredient (as if they exist – eye roll) to justify a price tag.

Generally formulated with some soothing, hydrating and moisturizing ingredients. This category of masks can leave the skin dry and parched. This happens because the mask is left on too long. These masks should be left long enough for it to work but not to the point where they are bone dry. By doing so it is drawing moisture from skin. Once you let it dry completely to the point you cannot move your face, you would need a bloody chisel to break through (exceptions: Aesop, SkinFood NZ, Sanctuary Spa). Therefore I prefer slapping these on when I intend to step in the shower. With the steam and clay/mud/charcoal it draws impurities to surface and truly detoxifies the skin. Plus its easier to remove and goes down the drain instead of messing up the sink.

Great for oily, combination, congestion prone skin. Alternatively also good for skin who need a detox. Drier skins need to be slightly careful with masks, add couple of drops of facial oil to avoid any post-mask tightness or dryness.

Quick blurb on all masks pictured above: Dr. Organic Virgin Olive Oil – too drying, hard to work with; Good Things Manuka Honey – purifying yet leaving skin supple; Nip+Fab Kale Fix – seriously softens the skin; Caudalie Purifying – too strong essential oils, not crazy about this one; Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus – smells amazing but results are mediocre; Moreish – another Kiwi fave mask, almost creamy and leaves skin supple; Cattier – limited availability outside France, good basic clay mask; Mahalo Bean (limited edition) – not available anymore but left skin radiant; Andalou Naturals – great drugstore option; Aesop – long time fave, wonderful detoxifier; SkinFooz NZ – the best mask truly, not drying, applies nicely, very mild exfoliating and nourishing; Derma E – exfoliating particles not for sensitive skins; Sanctuary Spa – warming sensation, easy to remove; Colleen Rothschild Detoxifying – minty freshness, leaves skin refreshed and purified.

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Brightening, Radiance, Firming Mask

Texture wise this category varies between gel, cream and whipped mousse. Ingredient base will usually have some form of AHA, or Enzymes to allow the surface exfoliation which results in brightening and radiance. Occasionally some masks include physical exfoliation aspect as well, in this case its M61 Skincare Vitablast C Scrub & Mask. I tend to slap it on, leave it for a while and then gently massage/exfoliate the skin. Given its formulation with Vitamin C it helps brighten the skin. Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey mask is an unusual one in this category, whilst Antipodes claim it to be purifying as honey draws impurities to surface I prefer this mask for subtle glow and brightening my skin. Easy cream application leaves skin soft, supple and glowy.

Blurbs on others: Andalou Naturals Berry Enzyme – again great drugstore alternative without hefty price tag; Forest Essentials Yogurt Purifying – stings skin slightly, smells yummy, whipped yogurt texture and results are meh; Dr Lewinns Reversaderm – sure shot radiance with runny blue lotion like consistency; Natio 10min Brightening – so good, but limited to Australia; Farmacia Barcelona Gold Mask – slightly gimmicky with gold ‘powder’ but decently hydrating; Nip+Fab Bee Sting – nothing firms skin like this fella, taut skin; Chantecaille Fruit and Flower – smells amazing, feels creamy and leaves skin glowy. love.

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Hydration Boosters

Hyaluronic acids, Glycerin, fermented ingredients or masks formulated with serious humectants are all about major hydration. Absolute treats for skin and sensorial experiences include Mahalo Petal – the smell is heavenly, apply and step in shower and the whole bathroom smells divine. Words are not enough to describe the scent. In terms of hydration its a mild everyday use mask. May Lindstrom The Honey Mud classified as cleanser, but No its too lush to go as cleanser hence a sweet spicy honey mask. An inexpensive treat is Super Facialist Una Brennan Rose Hydrating mask and Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses mask.

The beauty of these masks is you can use everyday (if your skin needs it). Leave it on for as long as your heart desires and skin is left hydrated, nourished and smooth.

Serious hydrating masks are – Bioderma Hydrabio (nothing like this fella), Rodial Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Acid (overnight leave on mask), Natio Ageless Vitamin C hydration and The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture mask.

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Powder masks

The purpose could vary from mere cleansing, exfoliating, detoxifying to enzyme radiance. Recently I wrote about cleansing powders aka ubtans could also be used as masks. Since the ingredients are in dried powder form this one has greater shelf life but can be messy to use. At the same time it gives you the flexibility and allows creativity on the liquids to use for mixing. May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is enriched with spices and oils and tends to self heat (due to spices) when applied to the skin. Love this mask for its ability to decongest and purify skin.

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The new concept of splashing or patting unadulterated concentrated ingredients on skin for crash radiance. The methods of application can be as creative as they can get, but what remains consistent is the result on skin. Bright, radiant skin like someone slapped it to life! This product is truly tailored for clumsy individuals like me. Definitely look into this, now available in Sephora too, so you can try a sample.

Click here for my detailed review

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Sheet Masks

These masks are now becoming all the rage in western markets whereas they have dominated the east Asian market for decades. Made with various materials, ingredients these masks pack a punch and truly feed the skin. The beauty of these masks is you can get it for absolutely any skin concern. Sheet masks are also made specifically for neck, hands, feet, eye, and lips.

Personally I love using these after acid tone stage, as my skin drinks up all the essence in these masks, follow with serum or ampoule and finish off with oil or moisturizer. The fits and sizes of these masks can vary for a lot of non Asian faces. In some instances, the forehead is not big enough or nose is tiny, or mask in general is smaller. They are made with Asian faces in mind however the outreach of these masks is phenomenal.

Whilst Korea dominates the sheet masks domain, Asian countries like Japan (HadaLabo, SKII, Shiseido, Harihada, Biore), Taiwan (My Beauty Diary, Naruko, Neogence, Silk Whitia), Singapore (DrGL, BioEssence, RachelK), Hong Kong (Hiruscar,Wai Yeung Tong) are not too far behind and worth giving a try.

These masks are wildly creative with the ingredient formulation too, from oils to fermented ingredients to animal by products (donkey milk, snail mucin, abalone serum), EGF factors, etc. The price points can also range from a $1 to $40 per sheet mask.

The new trend also includes cleansing gel, peeling gel, aqua or milk peel swab (aka acid tones), essence and sheet masks making it a one stop shop for convenience and travel friendly. Reme G, Ettang, Papa Recipe, Somoon, The Saem are some brands which have got on board with this concept.

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Not a huge deviation from above mentioned Sheet Masks, these Eye patches specifically address puffiness, bagginess and brightening eye area. Common ingredients that are often used are caffeine, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, bamboo water and other fermented ingredients.

On a disgustingly warm day, keeping any sheet mask in fridge for few minutes before application can seriously feel amazing, slapping on cool sheet mask whilst everything around you is boiling and feel like your insides are melting. Amazing for travel, excellent short cut to an elaborate routine without compromising on results.

How innovative and experimentative are you with masks? I’d love to know in comments below is there any category of mask or brand I absolutely must try.

HHW.com

xx

Budget Skincare: USA Drugstore

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A mission to curate skincare on a budget, not only in USA but also UK and Australia. I have collaborated with ever so lovely and fabulous Sal aka Ummbaby to find skincare options that don’t burn a hole in our pocket. Below I have a run down on USA drugstore finds, however keep your eyes peeled for UK drugstore/pharmacy/chemist options which Sal will post this week and finally I will post budget skincare options for Australia.

In USA, there are a number of avenues to explore what we call “Drugstore Skincare”. Sold in venues like Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, Duane Reade, Walmart, Target, etc. Now Ulta may not be technically a drugstore, but it stocks inexpensive options of skincare. This post intends on unraveling all skincare options in a typical skincare routine format. Unfortunately I won’t be talking about each product in detail, this post will aim to provide you with some pointers at certain products and brands. Whilst I have not used every single product mentioned in this post, I have reviewed each ingredient listing. Even if you’re not on a budget and love to mix and match high end and drugstore skincare, this post will help you fill in those gaps.

BRAND TALK

Some brands will feature repeatedly in each category and some products in these brands are worth a looksie. The brands include, Yes to, Burts Bees, CeraVe, Olay, ROC, Pacifica, Derma E, Shea Moisture, Simple, Garnier, Michael Todd, Soap & Glory, Hada Labo Tokyo, Indeed Labs, Andalou Naturals, Devita, Alba Botanica, Nip+Fab, Acure Organics, S.W.Basics,  Michel Todd (Ulta), Tony Moly (Ulta), Pixi Beauty (Target). There is also The Body Shop, whilst its not technically drugstore, a lot of their skincare it’s at a fab price point.

First Cleanse

Typically a first cleanse is intended to remove the first layer of war paint and debris from face. You want a product that effectively and efficiently shifts and removes the makeup. Micellar water and oils are fuss free, joyless effective options.

Micellar Water: Used on a cotton pad and swiped all over the face to remove makeup. Some love and some hate. Personally its my lazy route to a proper skincare routine. Brands that cater to micellar water connoisseurs at drugstore level include: Simple Micellar Water, Garnier Micellar Water, Pacifica Cactus Water Micellar Water, Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar Cleanser.

Cleansing Oil: The ultimate lazy human’s cleansing Bae! One pump, schmeared all over face and BAM! The war paint melts away and face can be wiped clean with a cotton pad (not recommended or preferred) or Hot Cloth (correct way! IMO). Our lazy bae’s are sold by Burts Bees Cleansing Oil, Mineral Fusion Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser, Shea Moisture Peace Rose Oil Complex Facial Cleansing Oil. There are others like Boots No.07, Neutrogena however they contain Mineral Oil as first ingredient. You can also look into The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil.

Second Cleanse

Once makeup and dirt from face is removed, this step is intended to feed, nourish and cleanse the skin. Look for cleansers with decent ingredients that you’d like to ‘feed and nourish and nurture’ your skin with. Removal method is hot cloth (sold in Costco, Target) again!.

Gel Cleanser – There are various options of gel cleansers, such as gel to oil, foaming gels, creamy gels. Options: Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Pacifica Quinoa Sensitive Face wash.

Milk and Cream Cleansers – Great for all skin types. Easy to work with and effective at its job. Burts Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser, Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Creme Cleanser, Yes to Cream (all ranges) cleansers, Andalou Naturals Cleanser (Meyer Lemon, Apricot Milk), Burts Bees Brightening Cleanser and Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser.

Balm Cleanser – The Proper Cleansing Product One Should Invest (notice caps, intending emphasis). Enriched with oils and essential oils to feed the skin with goodness and include a aromatherapy-esque massage. Yes to Coconut Melting Gel (Ulta only – says Gel but texture and consistency wise, it’s denser thus in the balm category), Pixi Cleansing Balm, Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter.

Mud Cleanser – Wonderful for congested skin or skin looking for an ooomph with a cleanse. Or if you’re lazy like me and want a 2in1 step ‘second cleanse and mask’ look no further than Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser (my review, click here).

Face Mask

Masks are intended to address specific concerns of skin in a ‘crash course’ format and of course with continued use you will see noticeable improvements. Generally, clay or mud masks are great for congested, oily, combination skins. Hydration is for dehydrated skins, but sometimes also adds that boost that makes you look alive. Sheet Masks, are obviously an Asian beauty staple and perfect for my multitasking brain, slap it on and continue moping, cleaning, laundry etc.

Clay or Mud Masks – Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Face mask, Nip+Fab Kale Fix Clay Mask, Nip+Fab Glycolic Instant Fix mask, S.W. Basics Hibiscus Mask (Target), Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask, Now Foods Clay Powders (available in Moroccan Red, European Green, Bentonite clay and can be used with ACV, Milk, Water, Honey….dabble in kitchen. My DIY recipes click here).

Hydration – Hada Labo Tokyo Anti Aging Facial Mask, Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Overnight Creme Mask, Derma E Hydrating Mask with Hyaluronic Acid.

Radiance – Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus, Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask, Pacifica Future Youth Enzymatic Resurfacing Mask, Yes to Grapefruit Pore Perfection Brightening Peel, Acure Organics cell stimulating facial mask.

Sheet Masks: Yes to Grapefruit Pore Perfection Paper Mask, My Beauty Diary Sheet masks (now sold in Target for under $15).

TIP 1: Sometimes the whole face doesn’t need a specific type of mask, you can apply clay mask on T-zone, while radiance or hydration mask on forehead and cheeks. Listen to what your skin needs and cater accordingly.

TIP 2: You don’t necessarily need to spend money on this category, there are umpteen number of home made options, all you need to do is explore your kitchen cabinets. I have a post on DIY Masks, click here.

Acids for Exfoliation

Regular readers know my LOVE for acids, if you would like to know about more AHA and BHA please refer to a separate post where I explain it’s basics. If  you’ve used highend acid peel pad you will know the pad’s surface is a lot softer on skin and companies invest a bit more in packaging. In the drugstore space, some pads can feel slightly abrasive, some pads don’t feel as well soaked and in some packaging is just meh (basic plastic jars).

Nip+Fab Glycolic Acid and Night Pads Extreme, Alpha Hydrox pads, Clearasil Refreshing Superfruit Pads (Walmart), Shea Moisture Superfruit Renewal Peel Pads (Ulta, my review), Michael Todd Organic Lemon AHA & DMAE Toner (Ulta), Pixi Glow Tonic (Target)

Toner

Once you acid exfoliate (where the acids lower skin’s ph 3-5), you need to bring you skin’s ph balance 5.5, still slightly acidic) back to normal/slightly acidic and hydrate skin. If the skin’s ph balance is higher than 5.5 (alkaline) it may result in skin being dry, sensitive and inflamed skin. Chemistry lesson Over!

Personally I wouldn’t spend a lot of mooolah in this category. Basic Rose Water (how to choose right rose water is simplified and explained here).

Yes to Grapefruit and Yes to Cucucmber Toning Mists, Mario Badescu Facial Spray Aloe, Herb and Rosewater, Shea Moisture Black Soap Problem Skin Toner,  Derma E Purifying Toner, Derma E Hydrating Mist with Hyaluronic Acid, Derma E Evenly Radiant Brightening Toner, Firming DMAE Toner, Anti Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner, Mario Badescu Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion, Acure Organics Facial Toner Balancing Rose plus Red Tea, Avalon Organics Vitamin C Facial toner.

Eyes

Depending on your age and condition of the skin around your eyes, you want to choose an eye cream with specific ingredients. Younglings can get away with basic hydration boosters and soothers. Slightly more mature individuals or individuals looking to prevent early want to look into an eye cream with ingredients like Peptides, Retinol, Skin Hydrators, Niacinamide, Vitamin C and E.

Yes to Cucumbers Eye love Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel, Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Eye Cream, Burts Bees Renewal Smoothing Eye Cream, Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum, Indeed labs Eyesilix, Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Eye Patch, Nip+Fab Bee Sting Eye Fix, Shea Moisture SuperFruit Renewal Eye Cream.

Treatment Serum 

This is the only category I would really recommend to reserve a bit more $$$ to splurge on. Whilst drugstore do dish up some decent options, I’d still say identify your particular skin concern and get one serum (moderately priced serum) to really notice a difference in skin. Something to look into – most of Olay products are high in Niacinamide compared to other drugstore brands, and are reasonably priced. If you’re interested I have a separate post on serums based on specific skin concerns and ingredients to look out for each skin concern.

Pixi Overnight Glow Serum, Olay Regenerist, ROC Retinol, Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum, Alpha Skincare Rejuvenating Serum (super shot of Glycolic Acid), Andalou Naturals Turmeric Enlight Serum, Indeed Labs Hydraluron, Peptabright

Face Oil 

Short cut to thoroughly moisturize your skin. Why I say this? Typical moisturizers have silicones, fillers, emulsifiers etc. However face oils (blend of carrier and essential oils) are 3-4 drops of concentrated moisturizer for skin and fabulous for Every skin type. I have a separate post on why I prefer Oils over Moisturizers, click here. Drugstore do cater to some lovely oils, but make sure its all oils, no other ingredients are added.

Yes to Blueberries Face & Neck Oil, Pixi Rose Oil Blend, Loreal Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil, Olay Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil, S.W Basics Oil Serum, Acure Organics, Badger Organics Rose Oil, Mad Hippie (vitacost.com), Boots Botanics Triple Age Renewal Facial Oil

Moisturizer

I have limited experience in finding a good moisturizer in drugstore, and I will not pretend and make recommendations. Based on the inci lists I think some of these could be decent options to look into:

Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Moisturizer, Shea Moisture Superfruit Renewal Facial Moisturizer, Nip+Fab Bee Sting Deluxe Cream, Pixi H2O Skindrink, Burts Bees Intense Hydration Day and Night Creams.

Lips

We all need a good lip balm or stick, I’ve been regular with Nuxe Reve de Miel for years however at $20 a pot, its far from an inexpensive options.

Burts Bees would be an alternative to Nuxe Reve de Miel, Smith’s Salve

Treatment

Generally there would be serums to address your specific skin concerns however sometimes treating your skin to a weekly or bi weekly treatment can make a world of difference. I’ve use Derma E Overnight Peel (click here for my review) and have compared it to Sunday Riley Good Genes too (click here). 

Curated Drugstore Skincare Routine $100 – $120

(depends on your location within USA) 

Skin Type: Normal to Combination, needing a Radiance boost.

First Cleanse – Simple Micellar Water $8 , Shea Moisture Peace Rose Oil Complex Facial Cleansing Oil $9

Second Cleanse Yes to Coconut Melting Gel $10

Mask Now Foods Moroccan Red Clay $6-$9 (depends on your location, can be mixed with water, ACV, Milk, Yogurt, refer to my DIY Mask recipes)

Acid Nip+Fab Glycolic Acid and Night Pads Extreme $15

Toner Mario Badescu Facial Spray Aloe, Herb and Rosewater $7

Eye Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Eye Cream $15

Serum Pixi Overnight Glow Serum $24

Face Oil Yes to Blueberries Face & Neck Oil $16, Boots Botanics Triple Age Renewal Facial Oil $15

Lips – Burts Bees $3.30

Treatment Derma E Overnight Peel $19 (optional)

Hope you’ve found this useful and informative. To read and explore drugstore/pharmacy/chemist options in UK please keep an eye out for Sal’s Ummbaby’s post on A guide to UK Drugstore skincare. Thank you for taking the time to read.

HHW.com

xx

SheaMoisture Superfruit Peel Pads

Claims:

SheaMoisture’s SuperFruit Renewal Face Peel Pads are biodegradable, naturally-infused pads that gently retexturize skin to remove dead skin cells, revealing fresh, healthy, youthful-looking skin. Organic shea butter and mango butter blend with a proprietary antioxidant SuperFruit complex of red raspberry ketone, goji, acai and guava extracts to help soften and renew skin. Grapefruit seed oil and lotus seed extract combine to improve skin’s texture and tone.

Ingredients:

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Water, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Shea Butter Polyglyceryl-6 Esters, Tocopherol, Maltodextrin, Niacinamide, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Caprylyl / Capryl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Polyglyceryl-10 Decaoleate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Gluconic Acid, Fragrance.

Ingredient wise nothing jumps negatively at me. The reason they’re gentle is also clearly evident with first three ingredients being Aloe Leaf Juice, Water and Glycerin. Followed by Glycolic Acid and other fruit extracts.

 

Its wonderful if you’re starting with acids or need a gentle morning acid tone. Except my only gripe remains with the pads themselves. Whilst they are soft they don’t seem to be well soaked and by the time I bring the pad down to my jaw and neck its dry! This is seriously my pet peeve with peel pads.

 

The effects on skin are mildly noticeable on my acid addicted skin (I’m not the appropriate candidate to test this product), however someone who uses this product for the first time will notice a difference (so it has found a new home). It doesn’t dry out the skin at all, due to the wonderful addition of Aloe, Glycerin, Shea Butter (listed as 6th ingredient). I have not noticed any congestion with Shea Butter either.

If you’d like something more punchier at same price point of $14.95, look into Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme with a base of Glycolic and blended with Salicylic, Lactic and Hyaluronic acid.

HHW.com

xx