The Ordinary is an interesting name for this range of powerful serums and actives which offer results and prices that are anything but. Their simple formulations of Retinol, Vitamin C, Antioxidant Blends, Oils, and more range in price from $5 to $15ish. I bought these 4 from them recently and have been so impressed. Here’s a rundown of my thoughts on each.
Do you happen to remember when I purchased some random glycolic peel from Amazon with tons of glowing reviews but most of them posted on the same days in broken English? That bottle sat collecting dust for almost a year until I tossed it out. What was I thinking buying an acid for my skin from a faceless, nameless company on Amazon? Lesson learned. This solution has become one of my all time faves that I use twice a week to fade scaring and to brighten dullness and it WORKS like crazy. You first apply the rich garnet colored serum to dry, clean skin and let it sit for up to 10 minutes. It does have a tingle to it so I know it’s working, but nothing too intense. After that I wash it away and marvel at how bright my skin looks. It’s like I just had a facial! My pores are smaller and there’s noticeable glow to my skin. I did it the other morning when I was getting ready and skipped foundation altogether which is a BIG deal for me. For $7.20 or $15 on Amazon (it probably evens out with shipping since it’s Prime on Amazon) it’s definitely worth a try.
I love SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum but not the $165 price tag. This antioxidant serum has more Ferulic Acid and SkinCeuticals (3% versus their 0.5%) which is made from the seeds of fruit like apples and oranges. It serves as a skin protector form environmental pollutants, but it also helps the Resveritrol to work better as well. And Resveratrol, which is extracted mainly from grapes, offers huge antioxidant protection and is known to improve skin texture. It’s also known to have 17x the potency as compared to other antioxidants so it packs a huge punch in skin protection. And the best part is the cost. Just a cool $7.90 for the 1oz bottle.
Rose Hip Seed Oil has been a longtime fave of mine. This one is 100% organic, and naturally rich in skin-loving fatty acids as well as vitamins A and C. It’s known to brighten the skin, fade scaring, help decrease fine lines, and calm acne. It’s good for all skin types and so easy to use. Mix it with your moisturizer if you’re feeling dry or use it solo if you just want sheer hydration. For $9.80 you won’t find a better moisture solution.
The whole reason I starting looking into The Ordinary was because of raves about this mineral serum with Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Zinc which together balance sebum, reduce redness, calm, and keep pores clear. I use it on clean skin in the morning before adding anything else and I can tell my skin feels more balanced. For $5.90 you really just have to give it a try.
Worth checking out is their Serum Foundation $6.70 which comes in a ton of shades and SPF protection, and THIS Retinoid $9.60 that I just saw as a Kim Kardashian fave.
Not that you’d go knocking down their door should something not work for you (especially when you spend $7), but they do have offer a full refund up to 1 YEAR after your purchase if you’re not happy.
Although I always do my due diligence before posting everything here on HOB, when I received Charolette’s Web Hemp Oil, I was sent into a research frenzy. I had heard about their oil though the story of a little girl named Charolette who was having 300 grand mal seizures a week and whose parents were advised to place her in a medically induced coma just to give her little body a break. She was just 5 at the time. Her parents experimented with creating their own hemp oil by extracting it from a very low level THC strain and giving it to their daughter who miraculously went a week without having a single seizure. This is before the oils were mainstream and word of their treatment in so many medical ailments were just starting to go mainstream.
That’s when Charolette’s mom Paige met the Stanley brothers, a legendary family here in Colorado who were growing a special strain of marajuana high in cannabidiol and low in THC. Basically, it had the medicinal qualities without the THC that creates a high. They were able to provide the family with the oil offering it in a safe dose and now years later, Charolette has just a few seizures a month, and the 6 Stanley brothers have perfected their oil retailing to those who want relief, even starting a non-profit to (among other things) provide free hemp oil to those who are suffering and can’t afford the oil themselves.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta made this story mainstream, see the video below for a clip from the CNN special, Weed.
If you aren’t familiar with the vast conditions CBD oil treats, here are just a few:
Relieves Pain and Inflammation (General or from MS, Arthritis, or Injuries)
Has Antipsychotic Effects
Panic Disorders Acne
Cancer (more on that HERE)
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
There is also some really exciting research on its effects with those suffering from early stage Alzheimer’s patients too.
Just Google ‘CBD Oil’ along with whatever condition you have and see what it can do. The way it heals the body is pretty amazing, THIS article explains more about how exactly it works. The topic isn’t such a taboo one any longer, especially when you remove the high from the equation.
CW is unique for a few reasons; first they’re organic so their plants are grown pesticide-free, second they invented this strain so they know it well. Third, they have a team of doctors on their Scientific Advisory Board making sure their products are safe, effective, and well researched. It’s also made in the USA which for me is important knowing how toxic the chemicals used in the hemp crops can be.
My Experience with Charolette’s Web Hemp Oil
Over the past year I’ve struggled with anxiety and panic. We’ve been looking to move for over a year and the process just wore on me. With 3 kids 5 and under, 5 businesses between Mike and I, and lots of moving parts I just started having panic episodes where my heart would race, my adrenaline would rush, and feelings of complete dread would take over. It started happening more and more frequently as the move neared which is about the time CW sent over their oils for me to try. I was really scared to try it at first because I didn’t want to feel weird and it just seemed so foreign to take something that you associate with a high for a condition. First, the taste. It tastes like, well, pot. Like an oil version of a joint. Smells like it too, but really, what would you expect? You drop it into a smoothie or juice and the taste goes away. They sent over their Everyday Hemp Oil and their Everyday Advanced in a mint chocolate flavor which takes the edge off slightly, but don’t expect Junior Mints. The Advanced is 50 milligrams versus 10 from the Everyday. The effect takes a week or so to fully kick in, and when it did I just started to feel normal. The panic and anxiety just faded out like someone slowly turning down a radio until the music just stops. It was so subtle that I didn’t even notice at first until I stopped to appreciate how much clearer I felt. After the move I’ve fallen off (with everything!) but I’m starting to be faithful with it again. I’m also going to order CW Paws for our 14 year old dogs who are struggling a little bit lately in hopes that it will help with their joints, vitality, and overall health.
This was a surprising treatment that was really unexpected and not something I would’ve sought out otherwise. Do your research to see if Hemp Oil might benefit whatever condition you have, and find me on social (@HookedOnBeauty on FB and IG) to let me know your experiences with CBD.
Everyone can use a little more light to their skin. Adding some glow brings life to otherwise dull complexions and elevates any look. It’s what we Makeup Artists do so that skin doesn’t look one dimensional which is often the difference between ho-hum and compliments from strangers.
Now we’re not talking about shimmer here, that glittery look is ok on young skin but when you’re grown, you need some glow. And glow is a tough balance to strike. Too much and you look like you just emerged from a sauna, if the finish or formula is off, it could settle into fine lines and actually highlight less than perfect skin. Confidence in Your Glow from IT Cosmetics gives a huge boost to your complexion and the most beautiful glow with a highlighter, blush, and bronzer together in an ombre palette. They have a brush that works like magic to apply all 3 at once so it lays down the color just as you need it on your cheeks (shown below). It makes application a million times easier because of its width, what you pick up from the compact you sweep directly onto your cheeks.
It’s like a watercolor sunset that’s both eye-catching and subtle at the same time. The tones are so natural, and they blend really well so it just looks like healthy, radiant skin and not just dry streaks of color which is the worst.
As with any makeup from IT, you’ll find it ‘acts’ like skincare. CiYG contains vitamin C, a super ceramide complex, peptides and collagen which give it that silky texture and allow it to blend into the skin instead of sitting on top looking powdery and dry.
IT was kind enough to send over some awesome products for me to try so I’ll be sharing my thoughts on those in the coming weeks along with hosting a giveaway! Find me on Facebook HERE as well as Instagram (HERE) for details of when the contest launches.
It’s hard to get a good looking brow. Too much powder can make them look heavy and over-drawing with a pencil can be so severe. For just the right amount of color and hold, I’m LOVING Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder from 100% Pure.
I seriously can’t recommend this stuff enough. It’s a small tube that resembles mascara but with a shorter wand to get a perfect brush over brows. It comes in Medium Brown or Soft Brown (shown below) which works for lighter hair and somehow invisibly fills in sparse spots in my brows while also keeping them in place with a lightweight gel. They use green tea leaf fibers to create volume by plumping the tiny hairs and Vitamin E to strengthen brows in a clean formulation (their first ingredient is green tea extract.)
Update: It looks like it’s such a hit that it’s out of stock but you can click for them to email you a reminder when it’s back.
I wish I wasn’t such an expert on this subject, but unfortunately I am. My skin has always been a rollercoaster ride since forever so it’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve tried every concealer from every major cosmetics line out there. Because the thing is, covering breakouts is complicated because of so many different reasons. First, the color of the affected skin is darker than the rest of your skin, so getting it all to be the same shade is a challenge. Second, you need a consistency that isn’t oily so that it grabs onto the skin drying to an almost matte finish which gives it longevity so it doesn’t slide off. Apparently this is why there are endless choices for concealer. It’s a tough thing to get right.
IT Cosmetics recently figured out how to get it right. Their Bye Bye Breakout is one of the most comprehensive because of how well and how long it covers, along with how effectively it treats the actual breakout making skin look better. This dense, creamy liquid has some weight so it doesn’t thin out. I dab it over red marks and buff it out quickly with a brush (not a traditional taklon concealer brush which moves it around too much- they have a great one for this very thing), until all traces of red are completely gone. It’s easy to do because it’s a powerhouse of coverage with a weightless appearance and a matte finish that disappears into the skin completely covering any signs of redness. I then set it with their Bye Bye Breakout Powder.
The coverage is enough of a reason to love it, but it treats the blemish as well. It’s a concealer and drying lotion combined (you know those pink treatments that you wear overnight and apply with a Q-Tip?) which contains zinc oxide, kaolin clay, witch hazel, tea tree, sulfur and a gentle AHA/BHA complex. It’s a bunch of skin-healing and inflammation-reducing ingredients that’s so incredible because it’s truly equal parts cancel and treat which is a rare find.
A few tips:
– Grab a shade either exactly the color of your skin or a step lighter, I use Light and it works great. Going darker will only make the spot look more pronounced and will look obvious against your lighter overall skin tone.
– Set it. The general rule of makeup is to always set a cream with a powder to get longer wear. IT also sent over their Bye Bye Breakout Powder which is an incredible one. It’s a talc-free treatment that uses zinc oxide, kaolin clay, witch hazel, colloidal oatmeal, tea tree, sulfur and a gentle AHA/BHA complex to treat the blemish. It gives an airbrushed effect in what feels like a finely milled powder as good as any I’ve carried in my kit. It sets the concealer and make the skin look fresh and light, not heavy or cakey at all. You can of course set with any powder, but this one has additional treatment ingredients to heal acne too.
– Don’t over-do it. I use a little foundation, then spot treat with Bye Bye Breakout, then I apply the powder. I let the concealer do most of the covering where I need it most to get the most natural look possible. There’s nothing worse than a face full of cakey makeup.
If you’re struggling to cover breakouts, this is one you’ll want to try!
Note: There are no affiliate links in the post. Product was sent to me from the company, but opinions (as always) are my own.
On a recent trip to the mountains here in Colorado for the 4th of July holiday, we stopped into Target to grab a higher than 25 SPF since the sun’s rays are so much more intense at that altitude. I grabbed 2 SPF 50 formulas from companies that I knew featured mineral protection from zinc so we could get the safest protection possible for the girls delicate skin. One of them was Pacifica All Mineral Continuous Sunscreen Spray SPF 50.
With this formula, it was love at first spray. The light lotion smelled like the beach (not surprising from Pacifica who is known for their yummy fragrances) and the sunscreen, although white in color, blended in easily and completely leaving behind only a slight slip of moisture just like a body oil would. I couldn’t wait to use it every day, for like, the rest of my life. It was such a relief to find something with this caliber of protection that I liked and could also be good for the girls.
Um, no. In fact, ‘too good to be true’ would be a big fat understatement. This stuff is like spraying on cooking oil and iodine where you just wait for the burn to happen. I literally haven’t had a sunburn in more years than I can count, but with this I did. In fact we all did. Well, maybe not all of us, but those of us who actually used it including my 3 year old, and Mike while Harper and Lola wore another brand (more on that formula later) and had no signs of sun. And yes, I know how to shake a can, apply generously, and re-apply which I did throughout the day. It just didn’t work. Our skin was pink and hot by sunset and I was so mad at myself for trusting something that didn’t remotely look like any sunscreen I’ve ever used.
I dislike giving negative reviews as much as I do the smell of hot garbage, but I can’t allow another family to spray down their kids thinking they’re protecting them when they aren’t. It’s not a lipgloss shade that didn’t work for me, this is important.
The formula is missing from Pacifica’s website and has a ton of negative reviews on Target.com from people who say they’ve also been burned using the spray.
On the bright side, there is a new formula that we found to be mild in whitening, easy to blend, and just $13 that I’ll review soon.
Safer ingredients don’t always mean better ones. Shame on me for not sticking with a company known to produce sunscreens that work.
Reviews like this practically write themselves because I’m jumping with excitement over sharing something that I believe 100% will work. Cutting to it, Blue from Silk’n will improve (if not eradicate altogether) any sort of mild or moderate acne you might have. Seriously.
It’s this little handheld device that omits a blue light that is proven to destroy bacteria, while also heating the skin which gives a drying effect to affected areas. It seems so simple and almost silly that holding this light to your face will clear it up, but it does. For me, any breakout that was even the least bit inflamed was taken down within 2 uses. Then my skin, which has been giving me the worst time for about a year now, just slowly started to stop breaking out over the course of about 10 days. There isn’t anything else I was doing differently. This was it. Nothing I’ve used has been this effective in clearing up my skin.
Typically blemish-fighting solutions are filled with chemicals like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and even harsher ingredients that I try to avoid. I love how this is a chemical-free solution that you can use on teens, pregnant women, and even the most sensitive skin.
So here’s the bad news- you have to use it to see results. I know you’re thinking, ‘well no shit,’ but it’s time consuming unlike sleeping on a cream and calling it good. Considering the suggested time per area is 3 minutes, and given the small size of the device, it takes me about 30 mins to do my whole face. That’s a big hit especially when you’re using it morning and night like I try to in order to make the biggest difference. The other thing is that it needs to be plugged in the whole time you’re using it, so I do my sit-in-the-sink-while-scrolling-through-Snap stories thing while moving the light around my face. I can get over the time commitment though because I feel motivated to use it, but on nights when I’m so tired I can barely get my contacts out before hitting the pillow face first, it’s the first thing to give.
Not to sound all commercial-ish, but if you’re spending money on creams, potions, and even serums filled with baby foreskin (yes it’s a thing, and yes I’ve used it), then why not just cough up the $150 for an effective treatment that plugs into the wall and therefore literally never runs out? It will probably save you money and give the best results.
**I received the device free of charge from the company to test, the words and conclusions were my own. Affiliate links are present in the review**
I’m such a fan of clean beauty, but very few lines standout the way Pangea does, which they 100% guarantee (more on that below) but that’s just one of the reasons that I’ve become such a fan.
The well-edited line feels intentional and curated to provide solutions for parched, problem, and sensitized skin which they do well. Like really well.
In fact, their balancing oil might be one of the best calming, redness reducing, acne fighting serums that calibrates skin back to a more comfortable state. Within just a few days’ use. It’s not a hydrating serum which I’m happy about because I can use it on cleansed skin, and then add a balm or moisturizer on top as I normally would without the combination feeling to heavy. It contains some of the best healing essentials around in a base of organic rosehip, argan, jojoba, and tamanu oils, the last being one of my very faves. The star in the formula, though, is pomegranate oil which is a powerful antioxidant which also fights inflammation. It feels weightless so it absorbs quickly and completely, feeding my skin powerful plant actives. It’s one of those serums that I can see myself always using because it leaves skin looking so calm and fresh. I really can’t say enough about it.
Their Facial Scrub also struck all the right notes because the ratio of ground Adzuki Beans (which provide the mild exfoliation), to the base of moisturizing aloe, cranberry, almond, evening primrose, and other oils is less than what you’d find in more abrasive scrubs, but it’s just what your skin needs. During my last facial, my aesthetician told me that I was over-exfoliating to the point where the skin on my face was starting to almost callous. Yikes. A milder polish like this one insures that you’re buffing away dead skin which leaves a healthy glow without overdoing it.
Along with over-scrubbing, I’m also known to over-mask. I’ll slap on a clay mask that should be on for 10-15 minutes and forget about it for hours. That’s hours with an s. Sometimes it’s a great drying treatment when I’m in breakout mode, but I know that it can also strip, dry, and dull if I’m not careful. Pangea’s Facial Mask is a nourishing one with Japanese Matcha Tea, Acai, and Goji Berry in a base of Organic Aloe. It’s like a smoothie for your skin, a treat that brightens, detoxifies, and instantly upgrades without any harshness or drying. It’s an incredibly refreshing change from those thick, dry masks we’re used to chiseling off which seem pretty old school in comparison.
Are you in love with spray toners like I am? I avoided them for years not really understanding their power, but now I’m totally addicted. It not only adds vitamins and antioxidants, but you can also use it on top of makeup to press it into the skin which makes for a more natural look. You can also blend foundation that has cracked or separated mid-day with just a few sprays, pressing it into the skin with a damp Beauty Blender. Tons of uses right? Pangea’s 3 Toners are so popular, each for a unique skin need. I got to try their Argentinean Tangerine & Thyme for compromised skin and it is certainly one of the best facial toners I’ve ever tried. The mist from the bottle sprays wide and even allowing a fine mist to reach over my whole face in just 2 sprays. It smells like heaven and the ingredients are packed with vitamins and are antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, and refreshing.
But the best part is their guarantee. Below is a screenshot of their promise that you can return anything at any time if it doesn’t work for you. Few companies have the confidence to offer such an incredible guarantee, and I’m sure very few people need to take advantage of it.
If you have questions about which of their products might work best for you or suggestions on something I should try hit me up on IG @HookedOnBeauty. I always love hearing from you!
It’s a fact that blush is one of the most difficult things for women to apply. Lipstick? No problem. Eye liner? Got it. (thanks YouTube!) Even foundation has become a no-briner with the invention of the Beauty Blender. It’s blush though, that has most women so confused that they skip an opportunity to brighten and enhance their complexion with such an important step. I understand though, that pigment builds so quickly that 2 sweeps of color might give a healthy glow, but 3 might turn you into a clown meme.
The easiest way to keep that color from looking so concentrated is to use one like Antonym’s Certified Organic Baked Blush which has swirls of blushy pigment combined with lighter more neutral tones blended together. This ensures that you’re getting a good dose of blush but without the intensity of pure pigment alone. This one also happens to be made from organic ingredients that start as a cream and are then baked into terracotta pans which creates a creamy powder that looks so natural and blends effortlessly. This is the one I bought in Rose which has balanced amounts of pink and bronze with a third shade that’s close to a skin tone. Combined, it gives a warm glow that’s easy to apply and hard to mess up. If you’ve always wondered what these marbled blushes are all about, it’s to give a more subtle flush and a nice mix of tones.
I grabbed this one on sale at Pharmaca a while back, and if you’re a natural beauty (or vitamin) junkie, you should be shopping either at Pharmaca, or on their site if you don’t live near one. They specialize in skincare, makeup, and supplements with some different offerings like Himalayan salt lamps, oil diffusers, and other things that you don’t really need but you’ll buy anyway sprinkled in. It’s typically cheaper than Whole Foods and they’re always having sales. And no, there isn’t a single affiliate link in this post either. I’m really that obsessed with Pharmaca!
You can also check out Antonym’s organic line HERE and on their popular Instagram page.
When IT Cosmetics sent over their Confidence in a Compact™ with SPF 50+ a few weeks ago, I was just days from a purchase I made of a really fancy Chanel foundation (that I now see has a bunch of crappy reviews on Nordstrom’s site) that I A. hated paying $60 for because B. the color was a little too pinky for me anyway. I only bought it because it was supposed to be the latest and greatest in foundation technology and I haven’t been getting the coverage I’ve needed lately with anything else I have on hand. But it wasn’t just desperation that led me to appreciate this unique foundation, it really is a one-of-a-kind find that my skin is loving.
Above all, it covers. Like really covers, but without looking heavy or cakey at all. It glides on subtly covering any redness or spotting while letting the texture of the skin show through which is the most important factor in natural looking foundation. If you’re like me and have some major covering to do, get a shade deeper than you would normally wear so you don’t have go back in and touch up like 15 spots. I could probably do Light, but Medium does the trick and is just a click deeper than my skin so it does the job of covering scaring because it’s around the same depth as the scars.
Coverage aside, what makes it so unique is that it’s actually a solid serum containing collagen, hyaluronic acid, squalane, and antioxidants to treat the skin as skincare would, along with a physical SPF 50 to give the super sun protection that I’m all about these days. So when I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to layer the 265 serums and creams waiting for me on my counter, I can buff this in and know that I’m giving my skin some benefits and protection along with the quick coverage I need.
It comes with a sponge inside the compact, but use a brush to buff it in for best results. I’m really into their Heavenly Skin CC+ Skin-Perfecting Brush #702 which is infused with collagen, silk, peptides, and antioxidants and has the softest hair that completely erases any signs of obvious foundation by completely buffing it into the skin.
It feels completely weightless and stays put even in the heat. It’s a serious foundation for those who are craving coverage and natural looking skin.
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