Sunday, September 6, 2009

Soap Crazy Part II (picture heavy!)

More soaps, wee!!! Obsessed? Very much so :) Again, most of these were given away as gifts, but hubby and I did use up a couple of bars ourselves in record time! Also, although I've occasionally received samples of cold process soaps along with my various purchases, I've only recently bought my very first cold process bar from LOLSoaps below. I've been curious about cold process soaps after reading that a quality bar of cold process soap is milder and gentler than your average melt-and-pour bar.

You see, up until now, the vast majority of the soaps I've bought from Etsy are what they called "melt-and-pour" soaps. These melt-and-pour soaps are handmade, but are not made from scratch:
- They are handmade because the maker bought a pre-made soap base from a supplier, melt them, add in various formulations of fragrance/essential oils and/or colorants, then pour them into molds and made into myriad designs.
- They are not made from scratch because, of course, the soap base was purchased pre-made from a supplier.

Cold process soaps, on the other hand, are made from scratch through a careful and time consuming process that requires lots of patience. To read all about soap making, see the About.com's Soap Making Basics page. As for me, I'm not about to go make pounds of the same soap and would much rather pay for different bars :P

BUT with all that said, unfortunately it turned out that I very much dislike cold process soaps. Stupid me, but I never even tried any of the cold process soap samples I had and only after LOLSoaps' Rose Garden & Thyme Cold Process Soapette did I go back and use all the samples - I wanted to see if whatever it was that bothered me was specific that LOLSoaps' bar or it was something common to cold process soaps. Well, it turned out that what I hated was common to cold process soaps, or at least common among all the cold process soap samples I had.

Beneath the fragrance/essential oils that gave the cold process soap its scent, there was another funky odor that is otherwise very slight until the actual wash, upon which it gets overwhelmingly strong to me and lingers on my hands even long after. It was something like a funky plastic-y foamy smell that I can't really describe. I just know I couldn't stand it and it made me wants to wash my hands again. At first, I thought it was the LOLSoaps' bar as the Rose Garden & Thyme scent could barely mask that odor (during washing). But then when I went back and tried all my other cold process soap samples, they ALL had that same smell!!! Urgh +.+ I don't know what that smell is! Does anyone know? Now I avoid cold process soaps like a plague. It's just me though. You might not share my problem with that smell at all :)

- LOLSoaps: a brand new shop that just started in April 2009 with very few sales so I thought I'd try them out.

Rose Garden & Thyme Cold Process Soapette: before the wash I actually liked the Rose Garden & Thyme scent. It's an flowery herb scent that's nice and soothing, not too overly rosy. And then I went to wash my hands with it, and bleargh, it all went down hill from here. Definitely not the soap maker's fault though as the offending odor was uniformly found in all my other cold process soap samples as well.




- KcSoapsNmore: another relatively new, 9-months old shop that sells a small variety of mostly "fun" soaps in different animal/food/seasonal shapes or just plain rectangular bars. Occasionally though, they'll have a few beautifully layered and cut goat's milk bars that you'll have to keep an eye out for, like this simple but adorable Polka Dot Cherry Goat's Milk Bar, or this triple layer White Ginger and Amber Goat's Milk Bar (I couldn't resist and bought them both :D will review later after use...). Also, their soaps arrive occasion-ready, as in they are wrapped in nice cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon and need no further gift-wrapping!

Peony & Tulip Goat's Milk Soap: this was a gift for my mum in law :) She likes flowers and would cut fresh flowers from her garden to decorate her house, so I thought she would like a nice bar of flowery soap. And it was totally flowery, in fact, a bit too flowery for me. It was pretty though, and pink :D






- Heathen's Hearth: soaps from this maker aren't as aesthetically pleasing as those from Anderson Soap Company below or KcSoapsNmore above, but most of them are made with goat's milk base, which I absolutely love due to its moisturizing factor. Although I must admit their goat's milk soaps could be a bit more moisturizing, but may be that's just me and my alligator hands speaking. I love both Anderson Soap Company and KcSoapsNmore, but I think Dennis (Anderson) tries to keep all his soaps vegan-friendly while I'm not really into the majority of the "fun" soaps from Kasey (of KcSoapsNmore). So yeah, I go to Heathen's Hearth for goat's milk soaps. Plus they have some really nice scents, like these Lavender Mint or Tea Tree and Peppermint Goat's Milk bars.

Rice Petals & Shea Natural Goat's Milk Soap: this is a duplicate for Bath & Body Work's now-discontinued Rice Petals & Shea scent, which I used to like. This bar's fragrance is a bit sweeter, much softer though and not as strong as the original Bath & Body Work's scent.






Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap: this is supposed to be a Burt's Bees duplicate, although I don't know the original scent so I can't really compare. It smells good though :) Has a really strong top note of cherry candy cane and a faint bottom note of baby powder. And the scent lingers for a long time after washing. I will probably buy this bar again!




- Anderson Soap Company: my reliable soap source :D Dennis makes some of the best shea butter-based soaps out there that are even milder and gentler than Heathen's Hearth's goat's milk soaps! Still, I prefer goat's milk soaps and just wish that Dennis would make some goat's milk bars, although I don't think he will :P I haven't asked, but given how wildly successful he is, I'm sure he'd been asked countless times and if he would make goat's milk soaps, we would have seen them by now.

Mystery Fleur-de-lis GWP Soap: Dennis threw this one in for me and it wasn't labeled so I have no idea what it is! It is too floral for me though, so chances are it'll go to another recipient :)




Lime & Cucumber Melon Soap




Strawberry Shortcake Soap: this is an olive oil hot process soap. Huge bar too! And I can smell the strawberry shortcake even though it was pretty well-wrapped. I was really curious about it, but it went to my friend Trangy as a present anyway :)





Coconut Crazy Soap: another bar I was curious about, but ended up giving to Carla as I know she loves coconut. Oh well, even more reasons to go back :P




Poppy Black Cherry Exfoliating Soap: as you can see, I like this soap enough to buy a couple of bars. The soap smelled really strong inside the packaging, so much that when I store this soap together with other soaps, it overwhelmed those bars and they all smelled like this black cherry scent! But then after I open one bar to use expecting a small sensory assault, nothing happened! I mean, the soap had a subtle black cherry scent along with a similarly pleasing musky powder fragrance that are common with many of Dennis's shea butter soaps, but it wasn't anything so emanating that it would scent my sink area like the Exfoliating Lavender Buds bar did.


I did like the soap a lot though. It made my hands smelled nice and clean, with a dash of cherry :) Oh, and the exfoliating poppy seeds were nice, but they gave the soap the same problem the lavender buds gave the Exfoliating Lavender bar above - the soap crumbled as they fall out towards the end.



Didn't stop me from buying multitudes of them though :D




See my previous Soap Crazy post.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lavshuca Cheek Color Select

I've had these Lavshuca Cheek Color Selects for a loooooong time but didn't quite get around to using them until now. The truth is that I had forgotten about them :( In fact, I kind of forgot about the entire Lavshuca brand! Being as fickle as I am, I don't really follow the current/seasonal collections/trends and whatnot. When rotating my makeup I mostly just pick whatever suits my fancy at the time. That means I can get totally distracted with some things (like L'Occitane earlier this year, or the current obsession with handmade soaps, for example!) and forget about everything else :X

That said, you will definitely see more Lavshuca items in the near future as I'm determined (erh...we'll see how long that'll last...) to carve out several posts for them. These Cheek Color Selects have been discontinued for a while now. Back then, I got mine from Sasa.com, but you can probably find them on Ebay. There were 4 colors available: PK-1, OR-1, RD-1, and BR-1 (or was it BE-1? It's been so long I don't remember +.+). I am only reviewing PK-1 and RD-1 today.



These blushes come in a pearly pink case with a raised "L" for "Lavshuca" logo. The compact has a mirror and a brush, which I don't use. Each blush has 5 different color stripes with the top 2 meant for highlighting. I usually just swirl them all together and don't really bother with picking up each individual colors. These blushes are fragrance free.

- PK-1: this whole blush might as well be a highlighter as it is so very sheer, even on me! With one layer, I get just a slight hint of fresh but cooler pink and that's about it and I assume you can layer for a brighter pink shade. I like my makeup sheer though :) Plus, the sheerness makes this blush very easy to use and you can't really mess it up since it's not that shimmery to begin with, despite the pictures.


From top to bottom:
- Very pale airy pink with shimmers
- Powder pink with shimmers
- Bow pink with shimmers
- Lilac with shimmers
- Bubblegum pink with very few shimmers, almost matte. It is definitely brighter and cooler in natural light than in the pictures.


- RD-1: this one is better pigmented than PK-1. It gives me flushed, but subdued, red cheeks. Very few blushes can actually achieve this so I love it! Again I don't use the top 2 stripes as highlighters and just swirl the whole thing together. I suppose if I concentrate my brush on the bottom 3 stripes, the blush would be even more pigmented.


From top to bottom:
- Warm fleshy pink with shimmer
- Pale peach with shimmers
- Unripe watermelon red with shimmers
- Pale lemony yellow with shimmers
- Muted tomato red with very few shimmers, almost matte.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Etude House Moistfull Toner & Lotion

I wanted to try Etude House Moistfull Toner and Lotion but didn't want to buy the full size, which contains a whopping 150 mL of the product! I mean, what if I hate them, I'd be stuck with 2 giant bottles of stuff I won't use! So instead, I got this Moistfull Special Set, which includes the full size 50 mL Moistfull Gel Cream, and a 25 mL each of the Toner and Lotion.





I read somewhere that the Moistfull Gel Cream is really good and very moisturizing. And because it's supposedly moisturizing, I decided to set it aside for the dryer winter instead. It's still pretty humid outside, so I don't really need a super moisturizer right now.



I'm happy to report that the Moistfull Lotion worked out okay for me (and hubby too!). However, the Moistfull Toner did not. The Toner had an interesting texture. It was like a runny gel instead of your average water-like toner. Of course, it was chock full of alcohol, but that wasn't what that bothered me. I just couldn't get over how sticky it was! Cacaopack did mention this to me before, but I was determined to try it myself, and boy was she right. The Toner was sticky by itself and stickier underneath the Lotion. Yuck!



But the Lotion was quite good. And potent as hell. I could not use more than just dabs at a time, and when I accidentally did, my face was a grease ball by the afternoon (even with the waterproof sunscreen!) or the next morning. Good thing it was not sticky at all though, unlike the Toner. In fact, it felt really good on clean, bare skin. The scent is a fresh/clean type, and I actually like it a lot. But I guess this Lotion is also winter material and not for the humid weather. Hmm...now I have to wonder what the Gel Cream is like. May be I'll try it sooner rather than later...

Either way, I went a bought the full size Lotion. And as expected, it came in this gigantic glass bottle, the whole whopping 150 mL! Wow. This will probably take me and hubby years to finish, especially when all you need is dabs. Sheesh.

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