Monday, July 21, 2014

Korean Sheet Masks: Etude House Collagen Essence & White Pearl

Just a quickie today; as you may know from a previous post, I'd recently become a very happy hoarder of various Asian sheet masks *gives the squishy packets a quick hug*. However, I realize that just hoarding isn't very helpful for you guys, so I've decided to start using them, and give you a quick rundown of my thoughts, organized per brand. First off: Etude House.
The Collagen Essence Mask (under $2 per mask, 0.67 fl. oz/20 ml of essence, on eBay or Amazon + shipping) is a firming mask, and the ingredients include glycerin, hydrolyzed collagen, rosemary leaf extract, hyaluronic acid, soothing betaine and antioxidant arginine.Unfortunately, this mask also contains alcohol - and if your skin is sensitive, you can definitely feel some stinging after application. It has a pleasant, slightly sharp floral scent, and enough essence in the pouch to last two applications. Both of the Etude House masks are made of quite thin but resistant paper and come without the plastic backing, but are easy to smooth over the face - I just find that the shape of the nose area definitely does not fit my rather pronounced nose :)
Anyway, the Collagen Essence Mask was not my favorite: it didn't seem all that moisturizing, felt a bit uncomfortable on because of the stinging, and my skin felt incredibly sticky after I removed it, and the stickiness would not go away; so much so that I ended up washing it off after about an hour. Interestingly enough, Etude House makes two more Collagen sheet masks: one in the Moistfull (sic!) range, and one in the Alphabet range, which the White Pearl mask is also a part of.

The White Pearl Sheet Mask from the I Need You!/ Alphabet range (under $2 per mask, usually sold in three packs on eBay) is brightening, and contains pearl extract, arginine, glycerin and natural extracts of Indian lotus and Chinese plum. This mask had a fresh soapy scent to it, and it was satured enough for me to able to use it twice - although the second time it started drying out a bit as I was wearing it. Now, I definitely noticed some results after using the White Pearl mask: my face felt cool, soothed and hydrated, and it calmed down redness and irritation, making my skin look more even. For the price, I give it a big thumbs up - and now I really want to try other masks in the Alphabet line, because really - how cute! Elder Flower, Fig and Mango sound especially appealing :)

Have you tried any sheet masks from Etude House? What are your favorites, and where do you usually order yours from?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Underwhelmed: Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Melted Peony

Liquid lipsticks seem to be all the rage these days - I still remember the first liquid lipstick I've ever tried, and actually wore to my middle school prom at the tender age of 15. It was a rusty brown Avon number that I nicked from my mum, and the shade was so, so wrong on me, but I felt all grown-up and glamorous applying it. Oh the memories...
So when the liquid lipstick trend rolled back towards the end of last year, I thought that a) I must be getting on in years if I can already observe recurring beauty trends, b) it's quite cool to see brands release new products, but I don't really care if my lipstick is solid, or liquid, or gaseous - although that last one would be kind of awesome. That being said, when I received an email offer from Beauty.com for a free sample of Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Peony ($21 for 0.4 oz) with a purchase, I didn't exactly resist taking advantage of it.
The deluxe sample comes in a smaller version of the full-size packaging, which is a squeezy tube with a sponge tip applicator, much like the Clarins Lip Perfector glosses. There are five little holes in the applicator, wherein the product oozes out - I find it quite easy to control the amount this way, although the packaging gets quite messy in the process; definitely not an OCD-approved design. There's some raspberry candy (Mamba fruit chews?) type of scent to the product, but it doesn't linger too long on the lips.
The actual formula of the Too Faced Melted lipstick isn't very thick and it feels quite creamy with a bit of slip, and very little stickiness. It applies easily and evenly on the lips, and it has a standard cream finish right off the bat, just like your regular lipstick would have. So far so good.
My issues with this liquid lipstick start as soon as I'm done applying. I simply find the texture of Too Faced Melted really, really unflattering on the lips. While I can get an even layer of product that doesn't cling to dry patches too badly, the lipstick just sits heavily on the lips, exaggerating every little lip line I have, and some that I didn't even know existed - I hope you can see this in the close-up shot (and please excuse the upper lip peach fuzz). I actually find this texture very similar to the cheaper than chips NYX Round lipsticks that I now wish I'd never purchased.
In terms of wear, the Too Faced Melted Lipstick lasts okay when left alone, but drinking or, heavens forbid, an actual meal, obliterates it within minutes - again, pretty much exactly what you could expect from any mediocre lipstick. It also does not wear comfortably; my lips start feeling tight and dry pretty much right away, and are in a state of an absolute mess when I finally can't stand it no more and decide to remove the dastardly thing from my face. Why so dry?!
The shade I have (Melted Peony) also doesn't help the texture issue. On my arm, it swatches nicely enough along some of my My Lips But Better nude pink shades - it's not as brown but still quite warm, and it has a pretty vibrancy to it. On my lips however, the white base in this shade becomes a lot more apparent, and to my eyes, looks borderline pornstar pink. It's almost that universally abhorred concealer lip, just in light pink instead of beige.
L-R: Too Faced Melted Peony, NYX Tea Rose, Maybelline Color Sensational in Warm Me Up, Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie
I really wish cosmetic companies spent more time perfecting their textures and bringing out truly innovative products, instead of just going with a new gimmicky format - look, it's melted! Yeah, that's also what happens to any old lipstick if you leave it in a really hot space, Too Faced. I'm sorry, but melting a lipstick is definitely not enough to hold my attention these days. NEXT!
Have you tried any of the new liquid lipstick formulas? Are they all same old, same old, or have you found some favorites?

PS. In case you're (still) interested in giving the Too Faced Melted lipstick formula a try, there's currently a promo on Sephora for a free Melted Peony mini with $25 purchase - the code is LIPMINI.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cult Classics: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm

If there was one stellar example of a product that was launched from nothingness into the spotlight by a beauty blogger, it would be the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm ($63 for 100ml, available on feelunique.com with free worldwide delivery), recommended so often and for so long by Caroline Hirons that I did absolutely cave myself, even if it meant ordering from the UK. This post also offers a glimpse into my crazy hoarding habits: I believe I orderded this two years ago during Christmas, which I was spending in Poland, and then when it didn't arrive in time to be packed for our return trip to the US, I picked it up a year later and took it home - at which point I still didn't crack it open, because I had other things that needed finishing. But now... at long last... it's all mine to enjoy!!!
First off, a rant - I really dislike the packaging. I believe the design has been slightly altered since I got my pot, but it doesn't change the fact that using it is simply a pain in the backside. Sure, it looks luxurious with the double layer of plastic and has a nice heft to it; which would also make it a nightmare to travel with. But more than that, the product is a BALM - and surprise surprise, balms melt in warm weather - and then the oil seeps in between the layers of plastic, kind of ruining the luxurious effect. The product also comes with a plastic stopper/lid which I can never properly fit onto the opening of the tub, causing the oils gathered on top to ooze out the sides; oh, and I also CANNOT screw on the lid properly. I don't believe it's just a sudden deteroriation in my motor skills, although husband claims my dexterity only extends to being able to walk straight on a sidewalk and chew gum at the same time... anyway, eff that stupid jar. I hate it.
I'm only putting up with the idiotic packaging because the product inside is so LOVELY. The texture of the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm is soft and very smooth - a lot smoother than the other cleansing balm I'd been using, the Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe (although this brand actually managed to figure their packaging out). It melts and spreads on the skin very easily, and even more importantly, when removed with my standard hot cloth, leaves absolutely no residue, just soft, clean, nourished skin. I can tell the Emma Hardie balm is much easier to remove and lighter than the Elemental Herbology even when I rinse my oiled palms under the tap - it just comes off right away, which balm/oil products rarely do in contact with water. For this reason, I think the Moringa Cleansing Balm would be a great gateway cleansing balm for a balm cleansers' beginner.
I mainly use the Emma Hardie balm as my second cleanser on make-up wearing days; I prefer to first remove the slap with a cleansing oil and then nourish the skin with the Emma Hardie; I also use it as an only cleanser on make-up free days, or in the mornings. I absolutely do not find it too rich or heavy for morning use; in fact, I think it leaves my skin refreshed and prepped for make-up application. I actually disregard the instructions, which tell you to emulsify the product with water in your hands before applying - I just go straight in with the balm on a dry face, massage it in, concentrating on congested areas, and then remove with a damp hot cloth. Voila!
One other important thing to mention is that the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm smells absolutely divine - like jasmin and mandarin oranges, which makes the cleansing process so much more enjoyable. There's quite a lot of essential oils in this formula, and even though citrus essential oils often irritate my sensitive skin, I have no issues with the product, and get very minimal redness when I cleanse with it - more so from the hot water and facial massage than the actual balm.

So yes, I'm happily joining the gazillion other beauty bloggers who rave about the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm - it's just really, really good. I do wish it was easier to get hold of outside of the UK, and the price point was lower - but I can't help loving it. Definitely worth the splurge (although knowing myself, I'll try something cheaper/ more easily accessible once I'm finished with my jar - which won't be for a long time, hopefully).

Have you tried this cult cleansing balm? What is your current favorite cleanser?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Summer-Proof Make-up Routine

You know how everyone bitches about their make-up melting, smudging and smearing all over in the summer heat and humidity? I never used to get that; sure, I'd slightly adjust my products for summer, opting for easier, more lightweight formulas and brighter shades, but I wasn't terribly bothered. Yeah... and then I moved to New York - and now I really get it. So here's a quick rundown of make-up bits I've been using recently, with a very simple look at the end, in case you're looking for some everyday summer face inspiration.
First off, base products. I don't think I've ever reviewed Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Make-up ($37 for 1 oz) on the blog (the shade I have is Intensity 1; I would have preferred to have 0.5, but 1 works in the summer), and I had actually neglected it for a long time - which is a shame, because it's a beautiful base for summer. The coverage is definitely on the light side, but can be built up to medium - though I prefer to do a thin layer all over the face and then spot conceal my scars/blemishes. When used over a more emollient moisturizer, it blends out seamlessly with a buffing brush, and retains quite a dewy finish, without pooling in the pores or fine lines. And you guys, this thing lasts - I sure do get a little shiny/sweaty in my T-zone as the day goes on, but Double Wear Light never goes patchy or slides off the face, which I consider a big accomplishment.

Also previously not mentioned on the blog, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly ($29 for 0.22 oz) is my weapon of choice for masking any imperfections. It's seriously pigmented, and long-lasting; it blends out very easily when applied on the skin, but after a moment, sets and doesn't move around, which is especially important for concealing blemishes. My preferred application method is to apply a bit on the back of my hand, and then use a separate brush to pick up product and dot it around the face, which I then blend out with my fingers for a thin, invisible layer - a bit labor-intense process, but I find that applying it on the face straight from the wand globs on way too much product. To be perfectly honest, for my under eye area I still prefer to use the Bobbi Brown Corrector - but the NARS will do in a pinch. In terms of shade selection, Chantilly, the lightest shade in the range, looks very, very fair in the tube - though it does oxidize a bit darker on the skin and matches my skintone quite well in the end.

As you can see, no primers included in the line-up, however I do experiment with face primers here and there, and sometimes even spritz my face with Skindinavia No More Shine Make-up Finish (reviewed here) - but I don't find those added products do anything in making my base last any longer. The only primer I reach for every time I do my make-up is NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base - my eyeshadows never crease when I use it, and my eye make-up stays intact for an entire day.
Speaking of eyes, I have less patience for elaborate eyeshadow looks in the summer - and I also like a bit of color. Enter some waterproof eyeliner pencils; my long-standing favorites are NYX  Slide-ons (reviewed and swatched here) as well as Sephora Contour Eye Pencils 12HR Wear (reviewed and swatched here). Most often, I use them to line my upper lashline for a subtle cat eye, but I also enjoy using the darker shades to tightline, or wearing the lighter shades in the bottom waterline. In the face shots below, I attempted a gradient flick with NYX Esmeralda on the inner half and Sephora Surfer Babe on the outer part, with some matte shadows on the lid for more definition - but overall, I keep things very quick and easy.

Now, I've been experiencing more mascara fails recently than I care to admit - one big drawback of having long lashes (and not a lot of lid space) is that my mascara-ed lashes now touch my brow bone, and most mascaras transfer within the first 15 minutes of doing my make-up. Which is why I busted out a deluxe sample tube of Anastasia Lash Genius Clear Waterproof Topcoat ($21 for 0.19 oz)- I didn't really have high hopes for this, but you guys, it's pretty brilliant. The brush on the Lash Genius is a standard wiry type with lots of bristles, which makes distributing the product on top of mascara a breeze, and there's no weird residue or globs visible on the lashes - it looks like it's not even there. Oh, but it works - no browbone transfer, no smudging, no flaking, and at the end of the day, it comes off easily with a cleansing oil. Big thumbs up!

For lips and cheeks, I honestly switch things up a lot, but I thought I'd show you some products I haven't featured in a while. Inglot AMC Cream Blush no. 88 ($12 for 5.5g/ 0.19 oz) is always my go-to in the summer: the neutral rosey brown hue goes well with both warm and cool-toned looks, and the satin/matte finish stays put thoughout the day. And you guys know I love bright shades on the lips: the Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon in Red Sunrise (reviewed here) claims to be waterproof, and I have to admit that it does wear quite well throughout the day, but not as long as Beaute's Liqui-Gel Stain in Flouron (VERY recently reviewed here, lol), or other lip stains in my collection. But in the end, I don't really mind reapplying lip products, so I rotate my choices daily.
Here's what these products look like on the face: I also used the pencil end of Revlon Brow Fantasy through my brows (rant here), and set my T-zone with Make Up For Ever HD Powder. Very simple, but with some fun, brighter colors. If you're interested to see which staple products I was using in my last everyday summer make-up routine, click here.

How do you switch up your make-up routine for the summer? Do you reach for more waterproof and long-lasting formulas, or use different shades?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Loving the Orange Lip: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Audacious

I know, I know, by now Revlon Matte Balms are old news - but it takes me a while to decide whether to jump or not on a particular product bandwagon. I mentioned a couple months back, while extolling the orangy red virtues of OPI Red Lights Ahead... Where? nail polish, that was interested in trying a similar shade on my lips, even though warm reds rarely look good on my skintone. So yeah, I really went there - instead of trying an orange red, I actually decided to try a pure bright orange in a matte formula: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in the shade Audacious ($8.99 for 0.09 oz/ 2.5g). Because I'm not a lipstick wuss. Also, I figured that if it was a complete shade fail, at least it'd been at a drugstore price point.
But a fail it's definitely not - in fact, it's pretty fantastic, and I'm just slightly obsessed with Audacious. Gimme all the ORANGE! I think the reason this looks so audaciously bright (har har) on my fair cool skin is the shade's white base, which gives it a more neon appearance. Muted, brown-based oranges on me? A complete flop. Vibrant, white-based or clear almost fluorescent orange shades? Sign me up.
Compared to my other orangey lip products, Revlon's Audacious is the most decidedly orange - Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Sheers in 301 gives just a hint of peachy orange on the lips, recently reviewed Beaute Liqui-gel Stain in Flouron is a lot more pink (and neon!), while Chanel Rouge Allure in Conquise has a more muted, rosey quality. Beaute's Flouron is the only other matte in this line-up, but because of its creamy gel stain formula, it sinks into the lips and wears a lot more closely than Revlon's heavier, more traditional matte lipstick formula; as you can see in the arm swatch, the textures are quite a bit different.

L-R: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Audacious, Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Sheers in 301, Beaute Liqui-Gel Stain in Flouron, Chanel Rouge Allure in Conquise
Speaking of textures, I usually detest mattes and try to avoid them in my lip products, but the Colorburst Mattes are surprisingly quite good. They're even more matte in finish than Givenchy Le Rouge, another matte-ish lipstick I tolerate; I'd say Revlon walks the line between very matte and chalky, but manages to stay on the good, wearable side. The matte finish aside, the Revlon's Balm has a creamy feel with a lot of slip (no dragging!) for easy application, and after a couple minutes seems to set a bit on the lips, which means no accidental color migration and good longevity. There's quite a bit of a refreshing mint scent to the product, which makes it tingle very slightly for a couple minutes after application - a welcome bonus in the summer heat.
Similarly to their Kissable Balm Stains (which are another favorite of mine), the Matte Balm wears very comfortably on the lips, and while it's not moisturizing enough on its own on my dry lips, it doesn't suck out all the moisture either. I would however recommend prepping your lips before applying the Matte Balm (exfoliating, a thin layer of lip balm), as it seems to go a little patchy around dry flakes or other areas that are still healing. But I think Audacious is worth the extra effort - I just really love this shade, and taking the size of my lip product collection into account, it's quite a surprising discovery.

Are you loving the orange lip trend as well? What are your orange lip favorites?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Japanese Jellies: Canmake Cream Cheek Blushes in CL03 and CL04

Another beauty blogging pals inspired acquisition - I'd been lemming these Canmake Cream Cheek blushes for months (around $10-12 on eBay), so when Jenni from Life and Lens of Beauty offered to pick up some Asian make-up bits and smuggle them in her suitcase for me, I was pretty ecstatic. On that note: 1) Blogging is such a solitary hobby that I often forget people actually read me, and I'm always beyond surprised to learn some people read me in faraway places, like... Hong Kong!, 2) Jenni was incredibly generous and brought a LOT of things for me to try, including candy *evil cackle*, 3) As a result, expect a slew of Asian beauty product reviews - also because Kar Yi showed me around Asian beauty stores in Flushing, Queens, and inevitably, shopping ensued.
Now that we have the most random intro in the history of blogging out of the way, let's focus on the jellies. The main reason I really wanted to try these Canmake cream blushes (besides the adorable dinky packaging; note that the silver motif on the lid and the shape of the clasp are different on the two shades) was the formula/finish: a squishy, shimmer-free jelly. Now, the Canmake Cream Cheek blushes come in two shade ranges: regular (labelled with numbers only) and clear (labelled as CL + number). I have two shades from the Clear range to show you: CL03, Clear Orange and CL04, Clear Pink Joy - I suspect the finish on the blushes from the regular range differs, but I haven't personally tried any.
Apart from the product name and the shade, I have no idea what the labels say about the product - but if you speak Japanese, feel free to pitch in. The blush compacts are small and made of lightweight clear plastic - they do feel slightly flimsy, so I wouldn't bash them around too much for fear of breaking the hinges or something, but I do like that you can easily see the shade within, and the size is very portable.
Now, I understand that if you've never tried any make-up or nail polishes with a jelly finish, it may sound pretty confusing. Jelly shades are vibrant, clear, transparent colors with a glossy or glowy finish - they go on the skin slightly sheer but provide a bright pop of color. What I mean by 'clear' is that there's no white base mixed into these, and formula allows for both a light veil of color, or can be layered for more opacity and shade depth. I hope that the comparison swatches below show the difference more clearly! *pun not intended*
L-R: Canmake CL03 swatched heavily and blended out, Canmake CL04 heavy & blended out
In terms of texture, Canmake Cream Cheek blushes are quite a solid gel/cream in the pan, but melt when rubbed with the fingers and transfer on the skin very easily. Both shades I have are very blendable; my favorite application method is to pick up some product with my fingers, dot it on the skin, and then blend out with a small stippling brush. The finish is dewy, but the blush doesn't feel heavy or sticky on the skin, and lasts all day on me without losing its pretty glow.
Clear Orange CL03 is a somewhat reddish orange on me, or what I'd call a ruddy peach. The tone is quite similar to Face Atelier Facade in Arabesque, although the latter is more muted (due to the white base), and the finish differs significantly as well - the Facades are a smooth matte formula. As you can see, both Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine and NYC Blushable Creme Stick in Plaza Pink are lighter, and achieve the glowy finish by the addition of shimmer particles: gold in Lush Nectarine's case, white pearl for Plaza Pink.
L-R: Canmake Cream Cheek CL03, Face Atelier Facade in Arabesque, Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine, NYC Blushable Creme Stick in Plaza Pink
 Clear Pink Joy CL04 is a medium warm pink. I pulled out my most vibrant pink blushes to compare the shades, but both Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Flushed and NYX Powder Blush in Pinky are definitely cooler, with Pinky leaning almost lavender - and both have some of that white base. Stila Convertible Color in Blushing is significantly more muted and leans mauve, and sits heavier on the skin than the Canmake formula.
L-R: Canmake Cream Cheek in CL04, NYC Powder Blush in Pinky, Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Flushed, Stila Convertible Color in Blushing
Here are the two Canmake Cream Cheek blushes swatched on my cheeks. The lighting in both photos is a bit different, but I hope that you can see that Clear Orange gives a warm, peachy hue to my skin, while Clear Pink Joy has that naturally flushed look to it that compliments my cool skintone rather well, if I dare say so myself. I do think that both shades are very wearable, and should suit a wide range of complexions - the undertones are very well balanced and pull neither too warm or too cool. I'm wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear Light foundation in both photos, and the blue lashline experiment on the left was done with Fyrinnae London Mod eyeshadow and Urban Decay 24/7 pencil liner in Electric.
So yes, I'm slightly obsessed with these Canmake cream blushes, and now I really want the red shade, Clear Red Heart. My blogging pals were right - they're fabulous, and the jelly finish, while quite popular in Japan, is very hard to procure among the Western brands. For more swatches and raves about Canmake Clear blushes, check out Driveller Kate's review here, and Haru at Rouge Deluxe swatches them here. Have you tried these, or any other Canmake products?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Glow in the City: Radical Skincare Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum

It's getting hot in here! It's also getting pretty muggy, and sticky, and gross - welcome to summer in New York City. Not gonna lie, compare to the mild, rainy climate of the Pacific North West, NYC has been sort of screwing my skin up: the harsh winter turns it into a dry mess, the humidity kicks my oil production into another gear and causes eczema flare-ups, the sun burns my fair complexion in 15 minutes flat, and the air pollution... I guess it's just freaking me out.
So when I was offered an opportunity to test and review the Radical Skincare Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum* ($190 for 1 fl oz/ 30 ml, available on radicalskincare.com, while the older version of this product, called Peptide Infused Antioxidant Serum, is also available on sephora.com, dermstore.com, Barney's and SpaceNK), I thought it'd be a great product to accomodate the changes in my skin's needs. The concept behind Radical's new product is 'one serum for all skin types, all ages, all ethnic origins to fight the 16 causes of aging once and for all'. Sounds pretty neat, right?
And there's lots of cool science stuff to back it up: my press release goes on to enumerate all 16 causes of aging, which Lionel de Benetti, Radical's Scientific Advisor, established during his cosmetics research. I'm just going to mention a couple that may not come to mind automatically, and which are also factors even younger skins often struggle with, like poor hydration, pigmentation disorders, cell inflammation, weak lipid barrier, and poor nutrition. The Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum uses 13 different active ingredients, including two hexapeptides, which work in synergy to fight all the causes of aging for optimized results. The active ingredients are backed up by Radical's Trylacel Technology for a maximum anti-aging protection and skin repair in a stable formula.

The Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum claims to increase hydration, improve skin's permeability for better absorption of other skincare products, diminish fine lines & wrinkles, improve skin's firmness, tone and clarity, and provide broad spectrum antioxidant protection. Now, these are some seriously high claims to fill, and right off the bat, I honestly can't evaluate some of these on my 27 year old skin without conducting all sorts of lab tests that I have no business pretending to know about. But I can still tell you about my experience using the serum once a day in the morning for over a month.
The texture of Radical's serum is somewhere between a gel and a lotion, with a good slip for easier application and not an overly strong clean floral fragrance that dissipates after a couple minutes. The smooth, thin and blendable texture is partly thanks to some silicones in the formula (so I don't recommend trying to rub the serum into the skin - I like patting it in), which also help the product to absorb quickly with no sticky residue and a soft, glowy satin finish, which is why I find it perfect to use in the mornings before doing my make-up. I quite like that the packaging has this handy locking pump mechanism, but I wish there was a 'window' on the side of the bottle to see how much remaining product I still have.
After over a month of testing the Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum, my skin seems softer, plumper, more even and hydrated. The serum doesn't clog my pores but it also doesn't keep my skin clearer - which isn't its purpose anyway. I don't have very many fine lines to begin with, but it keeps some dehydration lines on my forehead and around my mouth at bay. I only use one pump of the serum each time to cover my entire face and neck, and I'd say it's definitely hydrating enough even on its own for my combination skin in the summer, thanks to hyaluronic acid and some lovely carrier oils in the formula (desert date, rice bran, sweet almond, jojoba) but in the winter, or for dryer skin types, I'd definitely recommend using it in conjunction with a good moisturizer.
The most surprising result I've achieved while using the Radical Skincare Serum is how much more even and calm my sensitive skin has become. I regularly suffer from redness (broken capillaries around my nose, irritation from products/environment, generally pink skintone) as well as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks, freckles and some weird, red/purple splotches mostly on my forehead. After incorporating the serum into my routine, I find my skin looks a lot less red and doesn't get as irritated during cleansing, the weird splotches are almost gone, and my acne scars seem to be fading faster.

Overall, I really enjoy using Radical's Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a solid anti-aging product, especially those with sensitive skin who can't use more irritating active ingredients like retinol or AHAs. However, I personally find the price point a bit prohibitive; I understand that good quality, active skincare can't really be cheap as chips, but at this stage in my life, I can't afford to repurchase this product, though it's a truly luxurious serum if you can fit it into your budget.

City folk - are you concerned about aging factors like air pollution? Do you use products with antioxidant protection in your skincare routine?

Disclaimer: The product marked with an asterix (*) is a press sample I received from Radical Skincare for review consideration. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!