Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator Review

This lotion has a NAME. Surge! Intense! It’s making some claims. And it should for $40.

I didn’t pay $40 for a lotion, don’t worry. I got a sample using ipsy points back in May.

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You might remember that I wasn’t initially impressed with it. I didn’t think that it was moisturizing nearly as well as my CeraVe. A bunch of you yelled at me to really give it a chance because you love it.

And you were right. I just wasn’t using enough.

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I had to hurry to take pictures before I used it all.

A 7 mL sample lasted me for a month of once daily use. I still used my CeraVe at night. Why only once a day? This lotion doesn’t make my sunscreen pill up. I was rationing it. The pill life is real, but I refuse to try new sunscreen when I have so much left of what I’m using.

It hydrates well when you slather it on and dries pretty quickly. It doesn’t have any added fragrance, but does smell faintly of alcohol. Butylene glycol (an alcohol) is the fourth ingredient. My organic chemistry classes didn’t teach me to identify alcohols based on smell, but I think that might be it.

So, am I going to start budgeting for an annual fund of $80 on morning moisturizer alone? I was pretty tempted. It’s good. BUT it contains some of the micro-plastics that I’m trying to avoid in my skincare. Environmentalism has saved my wallet.

I think that the major ingredient my daily CeraVe doesn’t have is squalane. I’m going to try adding a squalane serum to my routine and continue to pray for a sunscreen that doesn’t pill with my current set up.

Any squalane recommendations for me?

Stuff I liked: July/August 2018

Yeah, we missed July’s wrap up the first time around. July was the longest month of my life. Buying a house is no joke. We’re completely moved out of the apartment now. Settling and unpacking takes a bit longer. I’m working on a “what we did in our first month” post, as well. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re making progress when there’s so much to do.

I have some post card paintings to mail out and more to work on. I don’t have a good set up for painting as of yet. I kind of, uh, threw a lot of stuff away in the move. Like my office chair. I figured it would make me buy a new one quickly. I needed a new one.

I have not bought one.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask
9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life
Ipsy, A Year In Review
Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask
My Birchbox Free Gift
eShakti Review
Birchbox July 2018
Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur Lipstick in Orange Ya Glad (uncharacteristically for Grumpy Skin, I LIKE this one!)
Valjean Labs Facial Mist in Clarify
We bought a house!
The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

I’m almost caught up on my reader. I’m actually writing posts (like this one!) instead of relying on my queue. We’re getting back to normal.

I’m low on media recommendations for you guys. Next month!
Stick your best blog post of the past two months in my comments so I make sure I don’t miss it.

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?

Valjean Labs Facial Mist in Clarify

The beauty aisle at TJ Maxx got me. TJ Maxx is such a dangerous place. You can get amazing deals, but you’ll never be able to repurchase the products ever again. This is where brands go to die. I was just going to go in for a silly mask as a treat, but I came out with this replacement for the witch hazel toner that I had run out of.

Valjean Labs facial mist in Clarify. Contains Vitamin A and witch hazel. Comes in a spray bottle.

It’s not strictly marketed as a toner, but it has witch hazel. I figured I could use it for the same purpose. I didn’t realize at the time that vitamin A is retinol so it might not be great for morning use. Wear your sunscreen and don’t impulse buy, kids.

Back of the Valjean labs facial mist bottle. It was it soothes, refreshes, and hydrates the skin. It also tells you that Vitamin A helps balance oil production and that witch hazel reduces redness and inflammation. Use instructions are to use it after cleansing before moisturizing, or throughout the day over makeup.

The instructions seem super weird to me knowing that vitamin A is retinol. Use it to balance oil production? Spray it over your makeup? No. Don’t do that. Use it at night and wear sunscreen the next day because it sensitizes your skin.

Having said that, I love it. It has a light, generic smell that I’m a fan of. I get a sweet glow in my skin from using it regularly. Bare skin photo below for evidence:

Frumpy hoodie selfie after washing my face and giving it a spray.
I also really love that it’s a spray. Misting your face is surprisingly soothing.

So I’m going to buy this again and live the glow life forever now, right? Well, no. I think this spray is only sold at Urban Outfitters. We’re overdue for another Urban Outfitters controversy so I’m preemptively not a fan.

And then there are the ingredients. I don’t mind that there’s added color and fragrance. My skin doesn’t get irritated easily, so it’s just silly that the extra ingredients are there instead of harmful. Instead, I’m bummed that the second ingredient is glycereth-26. Also known as polyethylene glycol 26. You might recognize the word polyethylene from microbeads. If not, let me point you in the direction of my handy microplastic reference sheet.

Yep. The second ingredient is plastic. So the product isn’t tested on animals, it’s just terrible for anything that comes in contact with the ocean. Cool.

I’m going to finish using it and then banish it from my memory.
You bet that I’m putting my next toner into a spray bottle, though.

 

Birchbox July 2018

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My first Birchbox is here! Birchbox is a subscription box a lot like ipsy. For $10 a month they send you an assortment of makeup, skincare, and hair products. Birchbox is a little different from ipsy in that you get more choices for the box that you receive each month. You can choose a curated box, where you know all of the products ahead of time, or you can choose a product from a short list and have the rest of the box remain a mystery. I think you can also choose nothing and let the algorithm gods decide your box. There’s a lot of options here.

I chose the curated box. It had things that I wanted to try.

What’s in my box
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Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
People really like Kiehl’s. My skin generally likes clay. There’s one weird thing. This smells exactly like coleslaw. I like coleslaw, so I’m going to use the whole tube. But it doesn’t scream “CLEAN FACE” to me. The combination of clay and salicylic acid is a bit too drying for my tastes, AND it’s inexplicably got microplastics in it. So I wont be buying it. Also..that cole slaw smell.

Purchase or pass: Nope. I can only use it two or so times a week before my skin starts crying for moisture.

MakeupDrop Original
I thought I’d get on the silicone applicator train. I do love reusable items.

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It’s hilariously small. I thought for sure this was a baby size that they were sending out as samples, but it looks like this is their full $20 applicator. Um. Okay. You could buy a silicone cooking mat and cut it into fun shapes for less money.

It also, uh, doesn’t work. You can’t blend with it. Maybe you could use it for certain highlighters, but I’ll just keep using my fingers. It’s not worth the hassle. I also happened to drop it down the sink the first time I used it and had to get Mr. Grumpyskin to pull out a pipe to retrieve it. It’s that small.

I was going to ask if anyone wants it, but I don’t expect any bites now that you know it’s been down my sink drain. (Silicone is easy to sterilize!)

Purchase or pass: I will literally give this to you for free. Someone out there has to straight up spackle their face.

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer

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I got a sample of Benefit’s Watts Up highlighter a while back and LOVED it. This, not so much.

So let’s take a close up look of my foundation over this primer. It looks like it definitely filled in my pores. It’s somehow making the foundation settle into my pores in a very not cute look. It did have staying power, because I had to bust out the face wash to get it to wash off.

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Purchase or pass: Some people swear by this. I am not those people. Nope.

W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara
Do you KNOW how hard it is to find mascara without microplastics in it? I’m surprised that this exists. It works..okay. I don’t know. My eyelashes are pretty intense. This doesn’t clump or flake, but it also doesn’t add much of anything. It is probably nice for people who have light lashes who want to go for a natural look. For $21 on my eyelashes..I probably just wouldn’t wear mascara.

Seriously, I’m not negative just to be negative. I’ve curled both eyelashes and am wearing THREE COATS of this mascara on only one eye. I even wiggled the brush during application. I tried. Tell me which eye in the comments.

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Sometimes I forget that I put this on in the morning and when I wash my face at night am momentarily terrified because something black is coming off my face.

Purchase or pass: This is $20. No.

Bumble and bumble. Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler
Is this a sign that not using a blow dryer is finally going to become cool? I feel like hairdressers give me shit all of the time for hating them. I haven’t personally used a blow dryer in actual years.

This just makes my thick and straight hair very fluffy. I spend most of my hair effort trying to make it more sleek. This is going into the giveaway pile.

Purchase or pass: Pass.

All in all, this wasn’t a great first box. The mascara is the only truly usable item, and that might be because I literally cannot tell that I’m wearing it. I think a lot of people were disappointed by this month’s box. I’m not angry yet, so I’ll toss in my referral code: I get $5 to use in their store if you sign up with my link.

My Birchbox Free Gift

Mr. Grumpyskin reads the blog. That’s not really news. What was is that he reads the blog enough to know that I was thinking about getting Birchbox next.

I mean, we also talk. But this showed up on my birthday shortly after I posted the poll for which subscription I should try next.

Picture of my free gift Birchbox + contents (listed below).

My first official Birchbox didn’t arrive until a few days ago. In the interim they sent me a box of their fan-favorite items, along with a sample of micellar water as a free gift.

What’s in my box

Davine’s OI All in One Milk, Shampoo, and Conditioner
We’ll talk about the milk first, because it’s a multi use item. I like it a lot. It has a nice spray cap, doesn’t require half the bottle for my thick hair, and smooths my hair without making it feel greasy. I feel like I have to wash my hair less when I use this. I’m not sure how it’s doing that, but I wont complain. The fragrance is REALLY strong, though. Like, it’s the third ingredient strong.

I do have a request. Can we stop calling things “milk” that aren’t milk? I don’t like thinking about what nipple created this. I have a biology degree so that is exactly what I go to. And I don’t mean like “let’s make the FDA regulate it” because they have more important things to do. I want a cultural milk shift.

Purchase or pass: I’m considering it. I need to see how long it lasts first. Buying a $32 bottle of hair milk every month isn’t in the budget, money or plastic bottle-wise. The sample is still going strong a month later, though it’s hard to tell exactly how much I have left because the bottle is so dark.

The shampoo and conditioner are also both good, though they have the same strong smell and the shampoo has microplastics in it.

Jouer Cosmetics Lip Enhancer
This is okay? I’m not sure that it’s performing any better than Chapstick would. Birchbox says that its tinted pink, but it’s definitely not. It’s more milky. I know, I used the “m” word. It was descriptive!

Purchase or pass: Pass. It’s got polyethylene in it. Boo, microplastics.

NUFace Prep-N-Glow Cloths
Confession time: I’ve never used a proper makeup remover wipe. I haven’t been missing out. It takes your makeup off, sure. I don’t think its a good substitute for washing your face.

Purchase or pass: I don’t buy single use items. My apartment is so small that I can handle walking over to the bathroom.

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Birchbox insists that this does not budge. They’re right. I wore this on my oily eyelids with no primer on the sweatiest day in recent memory. This is after about 10 hours, and twenty solid minutes of soaking sweat:

Close up of my eyes with little baby winged eyeliner. It's crispt and hasn't smudged at all.

Purchase or pass: Does anyone with a beauty subscription actually buy black eyeliner anymore? It’s also got microplastics in it, surprise. I think microplastics might be a component of most long wearing makeup.

Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
Every vitamin C cream smells EXACTLY the same. Apparently costing nearly $100 (full sized is $85) means that it still smells like a CVS vitamin C supplement. I don’t mind it, but I expected money to smell differently. It’s a decent lotion, if a little greasy. I definitely felt like it gave me a little glow that I’ve started to associate with skincare items that contain microplastics. I’m not sure if my theory is correct, but I do wonder if the plastics are added as a thickener because they can sort of sit on top of your skin and hold shine there.

I know they say it’s a serum, but it’s a creamy lotion consistency.
After about a week of use it started to break me out.

Purchase or pass: lol no.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O
I’m not sold on micellar water yet. It’s a cool idea. In theory it works exactly like, you know, soap. I can’t use this with my konjac sponge and refuse to buy cotton rounds. It’s not super impressive with a rag. Doesn’t touch the eyeliner that’s close to my eyelashes, but scrubbing my eyes with my sponge does.

Purchase or pass: Eh.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer
This stuff is my Cerave on steroids. It was awesome. Moisturizing but not greasy, didn’t pill with my sunscreen. I’m glad it has microplastics in it, because I was trying to figure out how to budget for a $50 lotion.

Purchase or pass: My wallet has been saved by my commitment to the ocean.

I’m considering buying something on the first box! Birchbox is looking like a better decision. I have a referral link if you’re looking to join. I get $5 to use in their store if you do.

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.