Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask

One of those “Beauty Products You NEED” Buzzfeed articles convinced me to buy this. It was winter. My lips were too dry for lipstick. I had been considering buying the Laneige overnight lip mask, then Buzzfeed showed up with this alternative for $9.99.

Top view of the container. It says "Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. An overnight lip mask with ginger and sugar that moisturizes your dry chapped lips to create a smooth lip."

The bottom of the tin. It's all in Korean, so I don't know what it says.

The product page (not an affiliate link) touts that it contains shea butter, beeswax, and murumuru butter. Sounds moisturizing. Great. The main ingredient is polybutene, which from my limited research seems a lot like petroleum jelly. I think the goal here is that the main ingredient is locking in the moisture that the rest of the ingredients provide. It, uh, kind of works.

Image of the Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. It looks a lot like Vaseline.

The product has a very light ginger scent. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to smell the sugar, or if there is supposed to be a flavor here. I have no idea where the sugar comes in. It’s not textured. It doesn’t taste like much of anything. 0/10 do not recommend eating.

Image of the Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask. It looks a lot like Vaseline. This is a side view, showing that I've used quite a bit of the product.

I had been using this nightly for five months when this picture was taken. You can see that I haven’t hit the bottom yet. One container could easily last a year. It’s very thick, so you don’t need much. It also stays all night. I’ll wake up in the morning and have to wipe it off to avoid getting it all over cups.

It definitely helped over the winter. My lips didn’t crack once. But it’s not a miracle worker. I expected more moisturizing properties. It is a mask, after all. I don’t feel that my lips have any added moisture from using this mask, just that it prevents moisture loss. I wasn’t able to wear lipstick every day, which I understand is asking a lot during blizzard season. The heart wants what the heart wants, okay?

I’ve tried layering with Glossier’s Balm Dotcom, but I haven’t noticed a difference in moisture.

I’ll use this up, then probably buy the Laneige mask for fun, and then settle on using Vaseline at night. The Amazon reviews are still all screaming about how this is Holy Grail status, so you may have better luck. I think it’s good enough to use up, but not good enough for a repurchase.

9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life

I’m going to tell you the secret to being organized. The whole secret. Are you ready?
It is a learned, developed skill. You have to practice it. You do not emerge from the womb completely organized. It is something you become. You have to figure out what works for you to keep you on track. It’s a process.

I use apps for a lot of organization/productivity. I also have two notebooks and obsessively put things into my Google calendar. What needs an app and what needs to be down on paper are different things for different people. This list of apps can help you get started, though.

And finally, all of these apps are free! I’m also only linking to the android store. Sorry, iphone users. You can handle searching.

Image of ClearFocus timer.
ClearFocus
Have you heard of the pomodoro technique? It’s pretty simple. You time how long you work and then take a short break, and repeat in cycles. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it really helped me plan my study time when I was in college. I like this app because it lets you name what task you’re working on, and then go back and see how much time you’re spending on each one. I don’t use it as much now that I’m out of school, but I can see it being useful if you have a job where you’re juggling multiple projects.

Image of the Sleep Debt Tracker dashboard.
Sleep Debt Tracker
This isn’t going to give you fitbit levels of sleep tracking, but it does help me make sure that I’m laying in bed without staring at a screen for a minimum amount of time. I find the bedtime reminders particularly helpful. I tend to ignore them if I set them myself.
I need my phone to be an authority figure. #millennial

Image of the Hydro Coach dashboard.
Hydro Coach
Hi, I’m April and I’m admitting to the internet that I am too dumb to remember to drink enough water. This app was EXTRA useful when I was working a job that didn’t let me keep water at my desk. Those exist. It’s rough for the chronically dehydrated.

Image of the Loop Habit Tracker dashboard.
Loop Habit Tracker
This app is so simple, but so useful. I’ve tried some of the fancier habit trackers and they just don’t do it for me. It’s just a checklist. You can set how often you want to do things, and are able to look at a plot of how you’re performing. I use this to keep track of what parts of my rotating skin routine I’ve done most recently.

OurHome
OurHome is definitely made for parents to schedule chores. I don’t have kids. I’m busy and have a busy partner. We set each chore to be worth an amount of points equal to the number of minutes it takes. So ten points of dishes is ten minutes of dishes. It eliminates wondering if you’re doing more housework, and also helps us keep track of when we last cleaned the bathroom.
Though, if you have to ask..clean it again.

Memo
Yeah, the regular memo app in your phone. I use it to keep track of how things fit when I’m shopping and to type up book quotes that I want to use later. I used to keep longer term lists in there, but it turns out I just ignore them.

Mint
I’ve been using Mint for something like seven years at this point. Keep track of your money.

I get daily texts to help me live intentionally & feel like a boss. -Shinetext app
Shine
The only referral link of the bunch. I think I get a sticker if a few people sign up? I love stickers.
Anyway, shine is a little text bot that sends you motivational messages at a set time every week day. I set them to send while I’m on the train for my morning commute. It’s helped me to be a little more reflective and ready to attack my day.

Sample texts from BGSDlist.
BGSDlist
Have you ever wanted Kelly Sue DeConnick to send you sporadic motivational texts? She has lowkey changed my life. I love her.

What are your favorite productivity apps?

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask

Ipsy sent me this sheet mask in March. I used to think that you couldn’t mess up a sheet mask, but they’ve proven me wrong in the past. Let’s take a look at the claims and packaging first.

Meg Cosmetics PM Mask, front packaging.

There is 27 mL of serum in this mask. I’m not sure if that’s comparatively a lot because that’s not a number I’ve paid attention to in the past, but this mask is JUICY. Like be careful opening it, juicy. I nearly shot some in my eye.

Meg Cosmetics PM mask, back packaging. I listed the interesting ingredients below.

The ingredients

  • Eco-friendly lyocell sheet certified by OEKO-TEX
    I did some googling, and as best as I can tell, this certification just means that there weren’t crazy chemicals used in the production process. I was hoping for the sheet to be extra biodegradable or to use less water in the production process, but nah. It’s just a regular woodpulp fabric. I assumed that they’re Standard 100 certified instead of Made In Green. The Made In Green certification is supposed to give me a tracking code with my product that lets me look into the production process. There isn’t one. I’d be into that.
  • Camellia sinesis leaf water
    It’s tea. It’s just tea. Can you imagine being this pretentious?

The other ingredients are pretty normal: some botanical extracts, some typical skin stuff. I did learn that people use arginine for erectile dysfunction. So that’s now in my brain forever.

  • Glucose
    This is normal for skincare, I’m just mad there’s not more of it in the mask because I got some in my mouth. It tastes AWFUL.

How did I get it in my mouth, you ask? This is the worst fitting mask I have ever used.

Just LOOK at how tiny the mouth hole is. It’s really hard to not accidentally eat some of the serum.
Image of the mouth hole for the Meg Cosmetics PM mask. It overlaps with my top lip, which means I eat some of this mask.

As far as the serum formulation, it was a pretty okay mask. I would have preferred that it didn’t smell like lavender, but my skin felt hydrated after I used it. The packaging and actual sheet are just awful, though.

I’m also really cranky that they want to tout an eco-friendly process when there’s an entire extra plastic sheet in there.
A whole extra plastic sheet! With eyes/nose/mouth cutouts.

I’ll just throw that directly into the ocean.

We can do better than this.

Stuff I liked: June 2018

I almost have some exciting real life news, but I’m going to wait until next month to tell you all. I don’t want to jinx it.

I can tell you that my birthday fundraiser for the ACLU went really well! I raised $200 with an additional $10-30 in late donations. I need to hunt those down. That translates to A LOT of painted postcards. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s two that I’ve mailed out already:

Watercolor painting of Killmonger from Marvel's Black Panther movie. It says "IS THIS YOUR POSTCARD?"
Watercolor painting of a Siamese cat on a blue background.

Only, uh, 20 more to go.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Review
The Ordinary Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion Review
Birthday Fundraiser for the ACLU! (The fundraiser is over, obviously, but there’s some more art here!)
What Subscription Box Should I Try Next?
June 2018 Ipsy Bag — LAST IPSY BAG!
Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid

Podcasts

Reveal I’ve been going through Reveal’s back catalogue. They’re a treasure. They have a really good series on immigration, if you’re not quite sure what’s going on.
ZigZag Radiotopia got new summer shows! This one has women explaining blockchain. I’m two episodes in and it seems like a great podcast.
Ear Hustle Episode 17 – The Row Ear Hustle is on their summer break, so now is a great time to get caught up with them. They interview inmates on death row in this one. An important listen.

I clearly don’t know what fiction podcasts are any more. If you listen to a good one, let me know about it in the comments.

Books

Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, and Fonografiks
Saga is so consistently good. If you’re looking for trans characters and discussions of abortion in your sci-fi/fantasy, this is the volume for you. And yes, I look for those things. I can only read about so many stoic middle aged men in spaceships, okay?

Video Games

That summer Steam sale got me. I bought something like 6 games, hated three of them, returned them, and bought two more. Steam has a nice return policy. “It wasn’t fun” is a valid return reason.

Right now I’m playing Fallout 4 and I love it. It got some bad reviews, so I had stayed away from it. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’m having a great time with it.

What are you guys doing this summer?

The Ordinary Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion Review

Are you guys ready for the only thing that I’ve liked from The Ordinary so far? ( To refresh your memory, I haven’t been a huge fan of their Glycolic Acid or Caffeine Solution.)

You’ve read the title, so you know that we’re talking about their retinoid today.

 

Retinols/retinoids are typically used for anti-aging and acne. I don’t have much trouble with acne, so I’m using this product for it’s anti-aging benefits. Real talk: it’s basically impossible to evaluate how well an anti-aging product is working for me personally. I’m in my 20s. Maybe I’ll look like an unwrinkled toddler when I’m 70. It could be because I used this for 50 years, or my genetics. We’ll never know.

Having said that, I like this product. My skin has become so much softer since I’ve started using it. It’s easy to use, not sticky, and absorbs well. There was a very short adjustment period where I noticed the smallest clogged pores as my skin adjusted, but no crazy “purge” or irritation. I’m also a huge fan of The Ordinary reminding people to use sun protection when they use this. Do you know why my skin feels so soft since using a retinoid? It’s because I’m dissolving the top layer off of it. Wear your sunscreen.

I do have one complaint.

 

It’s runny and just ever so slightly yellow tinged, which means it looks exactly like pus to me. There’s a faint yeast smell to it. I had trouble identifying the smell until I found a pizza that smelled just like it. The yeast smell could mean that there’s some GMO technology at work here. I’m fine with GMOs. Or my nose is off. We’ll never know.

30 mL for $10 is great, so I’m planning on repurchasing when I run out. Maybe the color or consistency will be better by then. I wrote this a little while ago. Until The Ordinary gets themselves sorted out, I’m in the market for a new retinoid. Do you have any suggestions?

 

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Review

Bottle of The Ordinary's Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution.

Another day, another product from The Ordinary that I’m disappointed in. This toner isn’t as bad as the caffeine solution, but I still wont be repurchasing it. Partly because of the drama, partly because it hurts my face.

I’m a reformed physical exfoliator. Scrubbing your skin within an inch of its life to reveal a new layer is satisfying. I get it. It’s also terrible for you. This is where chemical exfoliants come in. The idea is that they also remove that first (dead) layer of skin, but less traumatically, clearing up skin texture and imperfections.

I’ve been alternating this a few times a week with my retinoid. I haven’t noticed a difference in my skin quality. I do think it’s doing something because it stings and dries my skin out. It also leaves a film that doesn’t go away until I wash my face the next morning. Yum.
Photo of the directions. Tells you to use it once a day, preferably at night & to not rinse it off or get it in your eyes.
The instructions explicitly tell you not to rinse your face, so I might not be alone. Though that reminder could also be there because products aren’t magic and don’t work perfectly with 0.1 seconds of exposure to your skin. Don’t rush your routine!

Props to The Ordinary for reminding everyone to wear sunscreen, though. I appreciate that. You especially need it when you’re exfoliating/using actives.

I think that I would benefit from a toner that has a lower acid content or more moisturizing factors to balance out the acid. Some people have success with using this on their arms or legs, so this may be demoted to a body care product.

I’m considering trying Pixi’s Glow Tonic instead. It has a slightly lower glycolic acid percentage, and most people think this is a dupe for that product. What do you guys think? What’s your favorite chemical exfoliant?

Aviary Attorney Review

I received Aviary Attorney in my March 2018 Humble Bundle. That’s..some words, I know.

Humble Bundle is a monthly game subscription. It’s kind of like ipsy, but for Steam. I subscribed to get a cheap copy of Dark Souls III. Dark Souls is an action role-playing game. You kill things. Well, theoretically. Mostly I die.

Aviary Attorney is a totally different genre, so it was more of a stretch for me to start playing. It’s a visual novel beautifully illustrated with Victorian drawings. You play as a French bird lawyer.

Screenshot of Aviary Attorney. It's a black and white image of two birds dressed in Victorian clothing. The text at the bottom has the main character, Falcon, saying "Ugh. Too early for worms. Pass the Cabernet Sauvignon."

Yeah, you heard me. You’re a lawyer who is a bird, not a lawyer for naughty parakeets.

The game doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s impossible to do with the theme, but it still manages to be full of plot and oddly compelling. A full play through took me about two hours. Most people would probably take longer. I, uh, hate reading in video games.

It’s a visual novel. I know. I was trying to branch out.

I got a terrible ending the first time through and was a little tempted to go back and fix it, so there is some opportunity for meaningful replay. And there are a lot of puns. That either adds a star to the rating or detracts one. I’m still not quite sure.

This game gets a solid meh (3/5) from me based on the type of game that it is alone, but check it out if you’re into the read-and-click style of games.

Bird. Lawyers.

I have a referral link for Humble Bundle here. Unlike ipsy, they are a great deal. I subscribe when there’s a game I want. The rest of the year they leave me alone.