Apr 132014

Coconut Oil1

Ever since Into the Gloss did a post on oil-pulling, the media has been buzzing about this ancient technique. Essentially, one holds an oil in the mouth for about 2-3 minutes (some say up to 20 minutes). Just like using an oil cleanser, the teeth and gums are cleansed. Others claim that this technique actually reduces plaque, whitens teeth, and reduces bacteria in the mouth.  Liz and I set to investigate.

Coconut Oil3

The braver of the two of us (Liz) started about a week ago using coconut oil. After seeing her results after only a week, I decided to jump in. I’d heard that coconut and sesame oils tasted the least awful, so I picked up a jar of coconut oil at Whole Foods ($11) to try it. As you likely know, it’s solid at room temperature. I dig a tiny bit out with a spoon, hold it in my mouth until it melts, and hold it there while I check my email. I’ve gone about three minutes to a maximum of ten. I promise:  It doesn’t taste completely terrible at all (unless you hate coconut).

My results after a week of use:

  • My teeth are much whiter.
  • I like these results without the use of harsh peroxides or other chemicals that seems to strip off staining. Some make my teeth very sensitive. Instead, the oil seems to act a lot like an oil cleanser by washing. I’m not having any sensitivity.
  • There is definitely less plaque, although I’ll always floss like a good girl.
  • Bonus points for dabbing some of the coconut oil on the ends of my hair and pinning it up before my morning shower. The oil is a nice deep conditioner.

Overall, not bad for 11 bucks. So long as I remember to use this consistently, I’m looking forward to having whiter, healthier teeth using this method.


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Apr 132014

It’s hard for me to believe that I used to use harsh products to tackle clogged pores and acne. Are there people who don’t have their Sea Breeze regrets? I envy them. I used to wonder why my skin seemed even oilier when cleansers and toners were supposed to help. Little did I realize that my skin was over-producing oil because I was using products far too harsh for my skin.

Amarate daily exfoliator

Recently, I was sent two products that have helped me to cleanse my skin effectively without the harshness. One is Amarte Daily Exfolipowder ($35/2.8 oz.), which is powder crystals that turn into a cleansing paste when combined with water.

amarate cleanswer

According to the company:

Daily ExfoliPowder® helps you discover your true beauty with a refined, plant seed-based exfoliant that removes dry skin and reveals the smooth, radiant face beneath. This Wonder Wash is delicate enough for daily use so you can always be your spectacular self.

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I was surprised to find that this gentle cleansing powder seemed to remove all of my makeup. It felt as gentle as a cleanser as I’ve ever used. Once I mixed the powder with water, there was no scratchiness, stinging, or roughness.

Amarate powder cleanser 4

I also love fact that a powder can be packed for travel, as this cleanser doesn’t start out as a liquid. Overall, thumbs up on this one.

seba 3

The other item is Sebamed Deep Cleansing Toner ($14/5 ounces). Although this does contain alcohol as a second ingredient, the product advertises a 5.5 ph. It feels as comfortable as water, and there is no stinging.

seba md 1

According to the line, the product “offers antibacterial action and is therefore extremely effective in preventing the developement of pimples. Panthenol encourages skin regeneration and hamamelis soothes it. Silk proteins and allantoin act as moisturizers.” Overall, this is a rather nice toner that feels gentle and seems effective.

Ingredients for Amarte Daily Exfoliopowder:  water, Zea mays (corn) starch, sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium lauroyl aspartate, titanium dioxide, Phaseolus radiatus seed extract, Oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, Triticum vulgare (wheat) bran extract, Salix alba (willow) bark extract, Pinus densiflora (pine) extract, pearl powder, arbutin, genistein, elemental sulfur, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, sodium palmitate, phenoxyethanol
Fragrance: summer fruit

Ingredients for Sebamed Facial Toner: Water, Alcohol, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, Hammamelis virginiana bark/leaf/twig extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Cucumis sativus fruit extract, Hydroxypropyl Oxidized Starch PG-Trimonium Chloride, Urea, Caramel, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Levulinic Acid, p-Anisic Acid, Cl 42090.

These products were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 132014

Le Mieux 1

Le Mieux Collagen Peptide Serum ($85/1.7 ounce) is described as a moisturizing serum which is designed to address hydration, even skin tone, boost collagen, and fight free radical damage.

Skincare Sunday03

This product, which is intended for twice-a-day use, applies a bit like Chanel’s Hydramax serum–it’s a lightly hydrating gel that leaves skin feeling fresh all day. It’s quite lovely, actually, especially when I extend it’s use down to my neck and décolletage. There’s a restorative quality to the product. As The Nonblonde said in her review, this is lovely to use after a face mask or peel.

Skincare Sunday05

Le Mieux Collagen Peptide Serum is intended for purchase by professionals (see the Le Mieux website).

This product was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 132014

Couvent de Mimies Rose Toner1

I’ve recently been introduced to a French skincare company which is very unique and worthy of note – Le Couvent des Minimes. The aesthetic is very French premium natural, similar to L’Occitane. Le Couvent des Minimes derives from a hotel and spa located in a convent established in the 17th century by monks with a strong interest in botany. According to the company:

The Minim Brothers, were botanist monks, who built terraced gardens and cultivated the lands all around the convent. They grew and studied several beneficial plant species and used their expertise to provide food and remedies to the surrounding community. These same plants have inspired the current collection of beauty care products and can be found in our recipes today.

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The company has sent me a few items to try, including the Le Couvent des Minimes Minceller Water ($17.50/6.7 ounces). This has an insanely luxurious rose scent and lovely velvety feel. The texture is sublime–it leaves my skin feeling soft (but not a bit oily).

Rose Toner3

I find that I usually need 3-4 passes of a moistened cotton pad to remove all of my foundation, skincare, mascara, and sunscreen.  By the end, by skin is uber clean and fresh feeling. It’s a relaxing end-of-the-day ritual.

Rose Toner2

The primary ingredients are:

  • Damascena Rose Floral Water: Refreshes and softens
  • Centifolia Rose Absolute Essence: Tones
  • Wild Rose Berry Polyphenols: Protect against free radicals and restore radiance

Rose Toner4

I’m hoping to review another two products that I received from the line. So far, these all been using a similar cosmetic aesthetic of primarily natural ingredients that have proven effectiveness, relatively simple formulas, and luxurious scents. As I love natural and luxurious products, as well as those that are made in France, I can tell that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The Le Couvent des Minimes Mincellar Water is available here.

This product was sent to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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Apr 132014

MAC Tranquil Cleansing Oil1

Travel-friendly skincare is my holy grail. When on the road for long days of work, I wear sunscreen, long wear foundation, and mascara that stands the test of time. These are not delicate substances that can be removed with whatever-they-put-in-hotel-bathrooms, at least on any dependable basis. Last August, during my soul-restoring walk down New York City’s Fifth Avenue, I stopped by the MAC store for a ten-dollar investment in MAC Cleanse Off Oil in Tranquil ($10). At the moment, the most attractive features of this product were the baggie-friendly 1.0 oz. size, and a decent lock on the lid.

MAC Oil3

This purchase was one of the best investments I’ve made in travel skincare. Since August, I’ve nearly run out of this little bottle with no spilling or accidents. I’ve used it both in carry-on and checked luggage, and always in a baggie for safety’s sake. Yet there has been no accidental leaks, spills or openings–each time, the baggie is bone dry when I arrive (save for that great nail-polish explosion of ’13, but that isn’t MAC Cleanse Off Oil’s fault).

MAC Tranquil Cleansing Oil2

As far as the oil goes, I have had excellent results. I always follow with my travel Clarisonic Mia of course, and toner, but I find that MAC’s Tranquil Oil works as well as Shu and Shiseido. No breakouts, purging, or other problems. As the summer travel season starts, I can confidently recommend this one to you. In fact, I have invested in a full size five ounce version (I’m on my second bottle).

MAC Oil6

The travel size of MAC Tranquil Cleanse Off Oil is available at Nordstrom.com and MAC online.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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