Monday, September 9, 2019

Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream Review



I've had the oddest skin in the last few weeks. What was once normal/combination, perhaps even a tad oily in the summer months, became bone dry especially around my mouth. There wasn't anything I did that made it so. I was perfectly normal one day, and the next the bottom half of my face could no longer hold moisture.

The silver lining in this unfortunate turn of events is I now have the appropriate skin type to test Tatcha's Dewy Skin Cream. I actually purchased one when it launched in February, but quickly returned it because it was too much for my skin then. While finding ways to soothe my dry skin, one of the things I tried was using increasingly occlusive creams. I went from a gel cream to the stuff I used in previous winters, but nothing worked. That was when I broke out this beautiful purple tub, hoping that what was "too much" half a year ago is exactly what I need now.

Bear in mind that I'm not relying on the occlusive layer (aka last layer of skincare) to provide me with the hydration I need. To fix my dry skin, the essence/toner/serum parts of my routine went on overdrive. However, I've found in addition to all that I needed a heavy layer at the end to ensure the hydration stays locked in.



I mean it in the best possible way when I say the Dewy Skin Cream is the thickest, most emollient occlusive cream I've ever tried. It almost feels like a facial oil without actually being one. This is exactly what I want, especially during the daytime. Facial oils are incredible at locking in hydration as a final step of skincare, but doing so in the morning is impractical due to its dry-down time. The Dewy Skin Cream is a good alternative. I'm free to put on sunscreen or makeup immediately after application, but I have a strong barrier to prevent evaporation.

As you might guess from the name, the Dewy Skin Cream takes after the Dewy Skin Mist, which to this day remains my favorite face mist. Both products impart a glow upon use. In fact, to test this theory, I applied the Dewy Skin Cream to my face without any other skincare product. By the third hour my skin felt parched, but it looked glowy, as if it was plump with hydration (it really wasn't). The light scent of the cream is similar to the one used in the mist, which I personally find pleasant.

I definitely wouldn't recommend this cream to anyone with normal or oily skin. In fact, the skin on my forehead is still relatively normal, which means when I use this cream on that area it ends up being too oily. So yes, I am currently using two different moisturizers on my face and yes, I know it's a little ridiculous. But you gotta do what you gotta do!

Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream is $68 and available at:
Tatcha website
Sephora

Products in this post were provided by the company for editorial consideration.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Le Labo City Exclusive Gaiac 10 + Memories of the Past



Longtime readers of Messy Wands would know that I'm terrible at identifying scents. I smell a thing, but I can't describe what the thing is, not knowing the difference between the smell of cedar or oak or musk or any of the floral varietals. I've always admired perfume bloggers who seem to be able to identify different notes with precision, whereas my approach to fragrance resembles a weak hand-flapping motion. I can tell you what I like, but I can't tell you what it smells like.

For that reason, I've written about perfumes maybe twice in the entire history of the blog. Today though, I invite you to experience something truly special: Le Labo Gaiac 10.

Gaiac 10 is one of Le Labo's city exclusives, which are limited edition scents usually only available for sale in its inspiration city. Perhaps unsurprisingly if you know me, Gaiac 10 is the Tokyo edition. I remember chancing upon the collection at the Williamsburg Le Labo store. By then, I've heard of Gaiac 10 being spoken about with reverence by other beauty bloggers, so it was the first one I spritzed on. It drew me in a way no other perfume has ever done, and to this day remains the only perfume I would wear.

Since I have no vocabulary to describe this smell, in Le Labo's own words:
Gaïac is a very hard, greenish wood that isn’t as dry as cedar, but is as subtle, profound and stable. Le Labo’s Gaiac 10 is a tense formula built on gaiac wood and surrounded by musks (4 different types in all), with hints of cedar and olibanum (incense).
To me, it smells like a walk in a clean forest, like this:

This was me in Mount Kōya in 2015

As the label indicates, I purchased it for myself almost exactly two years ago. I recall writing those specific words down to serve as a reminder of time gone by. In September 2017, I was in my third semester at Columbia University and was taking my first notoriously difficult undergraduate CS class. I was desperate to do well, knowing that the outcome would affect my chances of getting into the master's program. That fall, I met some of my best friends at Columbia, which finally gave me the college friendship experience I've always craved (I didn't have a lot of friends in undergrad because of a controlling ex, but that's a story for another day). I also learned a lot about myself when my boyfriend wanted to take a break — I descended into an anxious wreck because it was a situation that wasn't under my control. I was a shell of a human being because I kept spiraling, going over what-ifs and plausible scenarios that could happen, wanting to be prepared when it did. What to do if he broke up with me, what to do if he asked to get back together, and every decision spawned more branches. Part of it was a normal reaction to a breakup, but most of it was anxiety as I have never experienced it before.

We eventually made up, but I also committed to a lot of introspection and self-therapy because I didn't want to be the kind of person who falls apart anymore. My particular form of therapy is journaling and asking myself the hard questions. If I go down five levels of why, I would usually get to the root of the problem. I think it's easy to identify that I'm angry or unhappy, but it's much more difficult to admit that the emotion I'm feeling is due to some sort of insecurity I have with myself. I've found, however, that being truly honest with myself is mentally and emotionally freeing.

I'm glad I decided to label my bottle in such a way, otherwise I would have forgotten about the minutiae of a time that was pivotal in my life.

Le Labo city exclusives are available worldwide in the month of September. That means you are able to smell every single city exclusive at your local Le Labo store. If you're not close to one, you can purchase discovery sets (and full size bottles) on the website. Also, if your city exclusive bottle runs out, you can refill it at any Le Labo store at any time.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense Review

I bought the Suqqu Extra Rich Glow Cream foundation a couple weeks ago from Taiwan and frankly, I haven't been able to get it to work. I know it can be done, because the SA applied it on me and it looked great that day. Since I've returned to the US though, every attempt has been a patchy mess. This led me to wonder why I succumbed to the hype when I already own a foundation that serves me well. Like an errant spouse with a wandering eye, I regretted it almost immediately after it happened.



Here's my trusty, clearly well worn Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense in 21 Medium Pink. After a year of regular use, most of the sponge no longer dispenses product anymore. I'm currently squeezing and scraping the sides for what's left before inserting the replacement (each cushion purchase comes with a refill).

Because I'm fortunate to have pretty good skin, my foundation needs are simple: light but buildable coverage, hides redness, evens out skin tone, doesn't feel heavy. I specifically want my foundation to not look like I've applied foundation on my skin. This is not my experience with most foundations.

You can see in the before/after photos below that the Sulwhasoo cushion does exactly what I want it to. The differences are subtle, for which I am grateful (thanks mom for the good genes and skincare indoctrination!). In the second photo, my skin tone is more even. Some of the veins on my cheeks are no longer visible. It gives my skin a more polished feel. Most importantly, it doesn't look like I've put anything on my skin at all. I also like that it has buildable coverage. On days where my skin is a little more lackluster, I just apply a few more layers. No matter how many layers I have on, it never feels heavy.

no makeup!

with foundation

Sulwhasoo marketing materials say this includes Radiant Pearl Powder Complex, which provides a healthy glow. I don't know what exactly is Radiant Pearl Powder Complex, but I can attest to the fact that my skin does have a nice glow after applying the foundation. If you're looking for something that's mattifying, this is not it.

Sulwhasoo also claims that this cushion has anti-aging properties due to its inclusion of red pine extract. Personally, I think one shouldn't make makeup purchasing choices based on its purported skincare benefits. It's highly unlikely that we would either apply enough or have high enough concentrations of the ingredients to matter (I'll save my diatribe on foundations with SPF for another day).

That said, I love this foundation and I'm sorry I strayed. It's sometimes difficult to curb the knee jerk response of wanting shiny new things when what I have works perfectly in the first place. I'll try to be better next time!

It turns out Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense is a little difficult to find in the US right now since it's sold out at most major retailers. I've reached out to them to see if they have any plans to restock it (GOD FORBID IT'S DISCONTINUED) and will update you accordingly. In the meantime, you can get it from Koreadepart, which ships items directly from Korea.

Sulwhasoo's other foundations are available at:
Sulwhasoo's website
Bloomingdale's
Nordstrom