The Ordinary Caffeine Solution + 5% EGCG Review

Alright guys, I’m finally getting around to reviewing my mini haul from The Ordinary (via Sephora, because TO can’t figure out how to take my money directly) that I made in January. I gave myself enough time to properly integrate the products and use them enough to see what they are (or aren’t) doing for me.

If you’ve read my post about The Ordinary drama, you’ll know I wont repurchase anything. Uh. Spoilers.

 

 

First up is the Caffeine Solution. People lose their minds for this stuff. It’s supposed to help with under eye bags and discoloration. We’ve seen my eye bags on the blog before. Now, this solution isn’t supposed to be magic for my situation. Most of my puffiness comes from how my fat deposits sit, but I do have some discoloration and get some sleepy puffiness on top of that.

I gave it a solid three months of twice daily use. Nothing.

Actually, okay, nothing is a lie. My under eye situation got worse. This product has a weird formula. A little goes a very, very, very long way. It’s hard to use a small enough amount of this product. It leaves a weird film as it dries. Any concealer that you put on above it balls up and doesn’t blend properly. It burns if you get it too close to your eyes. And what really takes the cake is that I think it’s drying my skin out. I didn’t have issues with crepe-y skin before, and I do after using this on my eyes for two months. That’s unforgivable.

And to add injury to it all, check out this lid:

Image of The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution bottle. The threading is jacked up so it doesn't completely close.

It won’t close. The threading is all jacked up.
The only upside is that this was only $7, so I don’t feel too bad about throwing it away.

Have you tried anything from The Ordinary? Did it work how you expected?

DearPacker Gold Collagen Eye Patch

Shoutout to my friend Ebony for sending me a bunch of Korean skincare goodies! Friends don’t let friends suffer through ipsy skincare alone.

Today we’re getting up close and personal with my eye bags. I can hear my mom shouting that it’s my ALLERGIES and I am PERFECT. It’s not allergies, it’s just my face. I’ll let her say that I’m perfect, because moms.

I always have eye bags. Nothing short of a professional is going to get rid of them. I use creams. I hydrate. I mostly get enough sleep. I don’t expect these patches to do much. They’re cool, though. Both in style and temperature.
Image of the DearPacker Gold Collagen Eye Patches. They're a light gold, slightly shimmery, and come in a plastic tray inside the foil packet.
They’re translucent, shiny, and a neat jelly texture. I’m not sure what claims they’re making, or what magic ingredients they have, because I don’t read Korean. I do know that collagen is too large to be absorbed through your skin. So that’s not doing anything.

The more you know.

For the sake of science, I tried these on a day that I didn’t sleep well after doing two 12 hour days at work. There’s some room for improvement on my face.
My before face, in desperate need of some sleep.

My face with the patches on.

And after 40 minutes:
My face after the patches. My undereyes look a little better, but I still need to sleep.

I think that I have less redness under my eyes. The area around my eye bags might be more plump from the hydration, which reduces the appearance of the bags a little.

I still need concealer, but it did something tangible! Is there a gif for that? I feel like there should be a gif for products I try that actually do things.

I should exclusively start using products with packaging I can’t read. This is the least complaining I’ve ever done.

Stay tuned for an excessive amount of Korean sheet mask reviews!

April 2018 Ipsy Bag

The situation: You give ipsy $10 a month. Ipsy sends you a “curated” bag of makeup samples. Mostly I hate it.

This month’s theme is “social butterfly”. They’re mocking me. I like going to bed early and reading books. I refuse to go to an event if there are more than three people there. Show of hands, how many times have you personally asked me to go to something and I’ve told you that I don’t want to? They even sent a little card with this bag telling me to say yes to everything this month.

No.

What’s in my bag
Picture of my April 2018 ipsy bag and contents. Baker (my cat) came over to nuzzle things because he can't stand not being the center of attention. This month's bag is white and covered in pink/purple butterflies with pink foil corners.

Baker would not let me take a fancy flat lay picture.

Swatches without flash (left) and with flash (right):

PRETTY WOMAN Nail Polish in Girl Boss
We’re going to ignore that lavender nail polish tends to look weird with my skin and go straight to the formula. I swatched this without a base or top coat to get a look at the color. This is the fastest drying nail polish that I’ve ever seen in my life. I actually watched the solvent evaporate.

The first coat was pretty weird and patchy. It looks kind of like a golf ball. There are dents everywhere from how quickly it dried.
Pretty Woman nail polish in Girl Boss on my thumb nail. It's a very light lavender color.

I thought for sure the second coat would be even weirder, but it mostly evened out.

Purchase or pass: Other than the color, it’s pretty nice. I might consider another one of their colors after my next big nail polish purge.

TRIFLE COSMETICS Sugar Bunny Lip Scrub

Image of the Trifle Cosmetics Sugar Bunny lip scrub container. It's white, with a mosaic of white bunnies in black dresses.Some of the Trifle Cosmetics lip scrub on my index finger. It's light green and grainy.

Oh hey, a full sized product! That’s awesome because I’d never spend $18 on a sugar scrub. It smells exactly like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It does not taste like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I checked.

Purchase or pass: Pass. It works well, but I could dump some sugar in literally any lip balm and it would do the same thing for less than $18. However, I’m eyeing their Lip Parfait in Summer Cone. It’s the same price, but you don’t immediately wipe it off.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan
Have you ever wanted to coat your lips in silicone face primer? Because that’s the exact texture of this lip cream. Applying it was an experience. Once you get it down into a thin layer it’s okay. Getting to that thin layer is the issue. Just check out that chunk!
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've got a chunk on my cupids bow from the applicator not holding product well.
It’s so thick and clumpy on the applicator. I’m not sure if my tube has started to dry out or if the texture is just terrible. Once it mostly dries you can’t tell that you’re wearing anything.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Milan on my lips. I've cleaned up the chunky bit and it looks nice.
Purchase or pass: I’m torn. I think it’s a pass based on the trauma of the application.

DELECTABLE BY CAKE BEAUTY Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Sweet Mint
It’s a hand cream that smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I was going to fuss at it for being expensive, but it’s actually not. It’s just a solid hand cream that smells a little bit too much like dessert. Seriously, my hands are making me hungry.

Purchase or pass: I found a $15 off affiliate link (you get $15, I get $15). They’ve got a box set of half sized hand creams for $9 and I want it.

NOMAD COSMETICS Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun
Nomad Cosmetics Illuminating Highlighter in Midnight Sun. It's a tiny little pan.

I’m cranky about how tiny this highlighter is. It came in a little carboard box that I had to rip in half because physics didn’t intend for packaging that small to be able to open.

Having said that, this highlighter packs a pretty hard punch. It’s a nice champagne color without looking yellow. I’m not a fan of the mica concentration, but I’ve started to feel that all powder highlights are too much light straight glitter for me.

Purchase or pass: Their website auto-plays music. Hard pass. (I also couldn’t find this product on their website, but mostly the auto-play is a sin.)

Wow, I think that everything in this month’s bag was usable! It must be because I finally cancelled my subscription. But never fear, I’m getting bags until June and picking a new subscription for July.

I don’t learn from my mistakes.

BLAQ Meteor Shower

Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.Picture of meteor shower by blaq sample from the February 2018 ipsy bag. My cat makes an appearance in the bottom, out of focus.

Ooh, boy. (And hi Baker!) Remember in February when I said that this was the most distressing thing that ipsy had sent me?

I like outer space. A lot. I’ve cried in the DC museum twice. I can name whoever is speaking on NASA TV at pretty much any time. I’ve been caught timing my runs so that I can stop and wave at the ISS as it passes overhead.

I don’t like that I can be given a one time use meteorite that I am expected to wash down the drain.

I have part of a meteorite in a necklace. A lot of them land in Africa and are then sold. Ultimately they’re dirt, so I understand that this scrub is just a gimmick. Meteorites aren’t bad for your skin, I guess. We aren’t robbing them from museums. The ones being sold to be made into scrubs aren’t scientifically interesting. There’s no real reason why this is so upsetting to me other than I really value outer space, so treating it like it’s disposable hurts my soul. I wasn’t going to use it at all. I was just going to rant here.

Then I got this email:
"Hi April, We are reaching out because your February Glam Bag contains the BLAQ Meteor Shower Scrub. We've heard from a few members who already tried their sample that it may be difficult to wash off. We wanted to reach out to all ipsters who received this item and recommend you apply the body scrub on a small area of your skin first before using it in the shower. If you find the scrub difficult to remove, there are a couple of solutioins for removing excess residue the scrub may leave on your skin. 1. Rub an oil (we like coconut oil!) or any oil based cleanser in a circular motion and rinse off with warm water, or 2. Apply any soap (body wash, hand soap) to the area, rub in a circular motion, and rinse off with warm water. If you have any questions, ipsyCare will be happy to help you.

Ipsy sent out a product so bad that they had to send an email explaining how to wash it off! You bet I’m using it now.

I decided to rub down one of my legs. I figured if it was nice, awesome. I have some ingrown hairs and could use some exfoliation. If I stain my leg black..pants are an easy way to avoid questions.

Blaq meteor scrub pre-rinsing. My leg is very gray.

It wasn’t very pleasant to rub on. It has a weird earthy smell that I’m not into, and the texture is hard to spread. I like a higher oil content in my scrubs. It also felt pretty harsh. My go to scrub is some white sugar dumped in whatever oil I have in the kitchen.

Buying scrubs is kind of dumb. Yeah, it’s fun as a luxury item. You guys know you can make your own really easily, right? Okay. Good.

Anyway. I decided to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and just rinse it off.
Blaq meteor scrub post-rinsing. My leg is gray and patchy, despite evenly rinsing it off.

I was still gray and patchy. Okay, so using a loofah should scrape it off, right?
Blaq meteor scrub post scrubbing. Most the gray has come off, but a small amount remains. The instructions from the company specifically say not to scrub it off.

That mostly got it. The irritation (that probably only I can see) is from shaving a few days ago, not the scrub. I look slightly gray tinged and dirty, instead of incandescent and shimmering.

Are we surprised? I’m throwing the rest of it out.

Did anyone else try it? I heard that some people had issues with irritation and allergic reactions, so be careful if you do.

Don’t Cover Yourself in Glitter and Run Into the Ocean

I am full on dragging a product I’ve never tried today, but for good reason. Look at what showed up as an ad for me:
glittterscreen1

Glitter sunscreen. If you don’t think about it, it sounds pretty great. Antioxidants! Paraben free! Cruelty free! Vegan! It even is somewhat ocean aware and is oxybenzone free. (Though it still contains octinoxate, making it toxic to marine life.)

But it has glitter. Some shimmers aren’t plastic, but polyethylene terephthalate and polymethyl methacrylate definitely are. Plastic in the ocean is a huge problem. This week a sperm whale washed up on a beach with 64 pounds of plastic in its stomach that led to its death. Microplastics are everywhere (in your food! bottled water!) and this company wants you to jump into the ocean covered in it. I don’t care how nice it smells or how fun it is, don’t run into the ocean covered in glitter.

Actually, don’t jump into any body of water covered in glitter. Remember the water cycle? All water goes back to the ocean.

Let’s all collectively quit glitter.

Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Pink Clay Mask

I received this mask in my February ipsy bag. The first I noticed was that instead of instructions or an ingredients list, there is a Vitamin A warning.

Front of the sample Sand & Sky pink clay mask. It says that it detoxifies and brightens.The warning on the back of the Sand & Sky pink clay sample reads "This product contains Vitamin A. Use with caution if also taking dietary supplements or using other products containing Vitamin A."

The warning isn’t super useful. I’ll spare you the google rabbit hole: Vitamin A is retinol. Retinol sensitizes your skin to the sun. I would recommend using this mask at night and wearing sunscreen afterwards. There’s a small risk of excessive Vitamin A intake if you’re pregnant. I should not be your main source of advice if you’re pregnant.

The second thing I noticed was that this was the absolute stingiest sample I have ever received. They should have sent a foil packet. This tube contains enough product for one very thin application. One.

It’s not very pink, either. They cut the pink clay with bentonite. That doesn’t sound sexy, but bentonite is made from volcanic ash. Where’s my pastel metal volcano advertising? Missed opportunity.

Image of the Sand & Sky pink clay mask on my skin. It is the slightest tint of pink before it dries.

True to ipsy fashion, this mask burns like a mother as it dries. It didn’t break me out or make my skin red, though. My skin even felt SUPER smooth and soft after. It was nice. It made me forget that this smelled vaguely like a hospital.

So, I looked up purchasing it and —

Screenshot from the Sand & Sky website. One tub of the mask is $49.00.

The website looks like a marketing scam. If you changed all of the pink to yellow, it would be an ebook money grab targeting old people.

Guys. Don’t pay $50 for a product that doesn’t tell you to wear sunscreen with it.

While we’re at it, calm down with the “not tested on animals” hype. Do you know why they don’t test their product on animals? Because everything in it has already been extensively tested on animals. There’s nothing innovative or new going on here. It’s not a commitment to animal welfare. They aren’t testing because they don’t have to and it’s easier to not do it. Everything you use that is “cruelty-free” is built on years of animal testing. That’s a low bar for changing the world. I’ll be impressed when we’re pioneering biodegradable packaging and cutting down on water used in production. If a company isn’t doing that, I don’t care.

I’m mostly just mad that it’s $50. That’s obscene.

What’s the most expensive dirt that you’ve ever rubbed on your face? This is mine.

Okay, I’m finally done with The Ordinary.

Weird stuff has been going on over at The Ordinary, a popular skincare brand loved for their inexpensive and science-based formulas. Some higher up people quit/got fired. (The old co-CEO recently did her first interview about it.) I wasn’t fussed. Business gets dirty. There were bad Glassdoor reviews about management that were more concerning to me, but not enough to keep me from ordering.

Then there are the Instagram posts. Most of them are just kind of cringe-y. Between product photos there would be a picture of a dead sheep, talking about how the company doesn’t test on animals. There was some comment sass, which is pretty easy to ignore.

Yesterday was the final straw for me. A commenter very politely explained to the CEO that posting pictures of homeless people without their consent is gross. His reaction was to make another post about her. This combined two of my least favorite things, petty call out culture and non-consensual photos. I noped out of the brand then and unfollowed them.

Apparently that was just the start to this week’s drama. Today, the whole US team has been fired. I’m not sure how relevant my remaining The Ordinary product reviews will be when they’re posted, but I wanted to say now that they have already been written and I’m not repurchasing anything. Who knows if I could if I wanted to, since the US team was so disposable.

There are alternatives listed here that I’ll be looking into.