The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

This sheet mask makes me bummed that I’m quitting sheet masks.

A spoiler, I guess. Sometimes I have to put nice things on my face, okay? I can’t just squirt lemon juice and baking soda all over my skin and then go sit in the sun every day.
(Don’t do that. Get off Pinterest. Your skin thanks you.)

Image of the front of Tonymoly's The Chok Chok Green Tea watery mask sheet (sheet mask). It's pretty minimalist and touts that it contains 100% pure green tea ferment extract.

My friend in South Korea sent me that good Tonymoly shit! And it’s good. So good that I’m letting the weird little blurb about tea being cultivated throughout four seasons slide (kind of). Tea plants don’t like winter.

I, too, thought that I would tone down the science snark when I left my research job. It turns out that it just means that I have more energy at home to look into random plant biology.

And the back of the packaging. It's mostly in korean, aside from the ingredients list and instructions. Nothing interesting in English.

I, uh, still don’t read Korean. Who knows what claims they’re making on the packaging. Let’s rip this bad boy open.

It smells so good. I want my entire skincare routine to smell like this product. The scent is all of the nice parts of green tea without the bitterness. Maybe a little lemon, too. I want to cover my body in it.

An unflattering picture of me wearing the sheet mask. I've got my giant weekend septum ring in.

The mask material is solid. It’s one of the thick ones that feel like cloth. Maybe it is? It’s not one of the ones that are super flimsy and dry immediately. You can hang out with this one for a while.

My face felt moisturized after using this mask, but wasn’t greasy or sticky. I’m into it. My friend is an angel and sent me multiples, so I can confirm that nothing bad happens with repeated use. It’s straight up nice.

I’m also quitting sheet masks. They create more waste than I’m comfortable with. I don’t need a foil packet and a cloth/paper face cover for half an hour of use. I don’t believe that they’re any more effective than a traditional mask or lotion, so I’ll be switching over to those.

I was hoping that I could just transfer my love of this product over to the rest of Tonymoly’s green tea line, but after a quick glance it looks like everything contains microplastics. Boo.

I’ll be scouring the internet for a green tea mask that smells similarly. Do you have any suggestions?

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.

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?

 

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Review

I’m officially branching out into the “privileged white woman self help daydream” genre. There’s probably a shorter name for that, but you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I picked this book up because someone had abandoned it (and 19 others) during move in month at my apartment building. I’ll start any book. Whether or not I finish them is a different story.

Cover of Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

I did finish Paris Letters. I’m going to give it some shit here, but it was honestly cute. It was well-written and lovely. I was wholeheartedly invested when I thought this was fiction. Janice is likeable. The idea of quitting your corporate job and mysteriously making a living while sleeping with a hot butcher is likeable. I’m down with escapism. I wanted it to happen. Please read this book through that lens.

About three chapters in I realized that this was a memoir. I was supposed to be reading this under the guise of “oh, I can do that with my life.” She even gives her money-saving tips at the end.

So can I? Can I Paris Letters my life up?

Janice’s Goals (AKA The Plot)
– Save/make $100 a day to support herself and quit her job. Tasks are enumerated in The List in the back of the book.
– Quit said job when she hits $30k and move to Europe.
– Fall in love and be utterly content, freed from her corporate hell.

She ends up saving $60k remarkably easy, which is the only number about her finances that is ever given. This book pushes the vagueness pretty hard in attempts to be more relatable. I was bummed about that. I love a girl that hustles, and this book minimizes how much work changing her life like this would have taken.

Can I live Janice’s Life?
There are 100 money tips in the back of the book. The person that previously owned this book dog eared the page for reference. Maybe they had to get rid of the book because they were moving to Europe? I hope they’re doing well.

70+ of the tips are to stop buying things and to sell what you don’t need. I’m crushing this. I’m not making a net gain of $100 a day from it. Lame.

Most of the other tips are basic financial literacy things. She paid off her credit card debt. She started dabbling in the stock market. I honestly think the reason she couldn’t immediately quit her job is because she had always lived a life that didn’t require having a handle on her finances. That’s not a cute love story, though.

There are a few things that I found useful. While she was planning her escape, she took 20 minutes a day to clean up her apartment. I’ve started doing 10 minutes a day. Not because I am actually planning to run off to Europe and find a hot butcher. My apartment just has too many things for the amount of space it is and needs some love after I spent five months working full time and taking classes.

She also journals, which I agree is immensely helpful in sorting out the thoughts in your head.

And then there are two things that are uncomfortable goals for me, but I’m going to make them. She puts a donate button up on her blog and sells some art. I’ll accept those two challenges. (There’s a Ko-Fi link in the sidebar if you’d like me to move to Paris.)

After I learn to properly paint and open an Etsy shop, I will come back and point out that it will take me over a decade to save the money that she did to move. This isn’t looking like a great plan.

Instead of faulting Janice for my inability to emulate her, I am going to point out that she has read Eat, Pray, Love and The Secret. Maybe my problem is that I just haven’t read enough of the privileged white woman self help books?

Which one should I try next? How many until I’m properly enlightened and free? Will the number of books that I’ve read directly correlate to how many years it takes for my Bachelor’s degree to start paying off? Stay tuned.

 

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?