Empty Bottle Review: Era Organics Revive+ Scrub

Empty Bottle Review: Era Organics Revive+ Scrub

I’ve always been hesitant when it comes to face scrubs. As an acne sufferer, I’ve always thought scrubs would be make it worse. And while I still don’t advocate using an abrasive scrub on a very active breakout, I was pleasantly surprised by how well my skin tolerated Era Organics Revive+ Microdermabrasion Face Scrub.

Included in one of the LadyGang’s awesome boxes, this scrub peaked my interest because of one of its main ingredients, Manuka honey. This super honey is always in our house because of its skin-soothing and healing properties. Sore throat? Manuka honey in tea. Burn yourself on a curling iron or skillet? Manuka honey will stop the pain and help avoid a painful blister. Era Organics included Manuka honey in this scrub to fight bacteria, moisturize and firm the skin.

There’s also aloe vera and rapeseed oil in there and if microbeads hurt your hippie heart, not to worry — the little scrubbers in this product are actually broken up walnut shells. Like Andrew Zimmern, I can’t really stand walnuts (they just taste greasy to me, ew) but they left my skin so incredibly smooth and it didn’t feel like they were damaging my skin.

This is what I liked so much about this scrub from Era Organics. Using it 2-3 times a week at night helped brighten my complexion and gently remove dead skin so every product I applied afterwards absorbed better. No tightness. No burning when I followed with a toner a la Home Alone. My skin was moisturized and refreshed afterwards, not red and angry.

I chose not to use it as a mask which you certainly could, especially if you have an active breakout. You’ll still get the benefits of these amazing ingredients and washing it away with your hands will provide a bit of gentle exfoliation.

When an esthetician told me to add a scrub to my routine, I originally thought she was just trying to sell me something, but the Revive+ scrub from Era Organics was a sweet, all-natural surprise my skin ended up being thankful for.

See what else I’ve used up here.

Empty Bottle Review: Biologique Recherche Quintessential Serums

Empty Bottle Review: Biologique Recherche Quintessential Serums

I used to think when it came to serums, it was a one-and-done type deal when it came to application. That you had to find the one product that either did it all or settle on treating just one thing at a time. Then, I started using Biologique Recherche and really learned the art of layering products, which is where their Quintessential Serums come in.

The Quintessential Serums are the OGs, the ride or dies, the serums you use to build the foundation of your routine. They are great for layering throughout your routine and highly concentrated. Since they don’t contain any perfumes — only natural ingredients — they (like all BR products) have a strong smell. In short, they’re great for anyone who wants to avoid added fragrances and dyes, but they take some getting used to.

The two Biologique Recherche serums I’ve come to love are Serum Placenta and Serum Complexe Iribiol. I use them in the morning after cleansing and toning.

First, I press four drops of Serum Complexe Iribiol into my skin, which contains zinc and iris extract. These ingredients make it a potent serum for balancing acnegenic skin. It’s recommended as a spot treatment, but I found using it all over was the best approach to help get my hormonal breakouts under control and keep new ones from popping up. It can also help with scarring.

After that absorbs (it only takes a few seconds) I go for the smelly stepsister, Serum Placenta. I refuse to live without this one and also use four drops. Serum Placenta promotes healing thanks to placental biostimulin protein extracts, making it ideal for those annoying marks acne leaves behind and other blemishes. You can also use it around your eyes for dark circles or on the marks ingrown hairs leave behind after shaving. Ugh.

Once both of these are dry, I will layer a spot treatment on top if I have a zit, otherwise I’ll move onto my moisturizer and sunscreen. This combo has made a phenomenal difference in my skin to clear it up without drying it out. They both actually calm my skin, reducing redness and they’ve never made me dry.

When purchasing these serums, I definitely recommend starting with a small bottle, since they’re pricey and you want to make sure you like them. They also expire in about six months.

I was told during my recent facial to move onto Serum Dermopore from Biologique Recherche now that my skin has cleared up. I’m a little nervous to leave Serum Iribiol behind but I’ll keep you posted…

What did we learn today? LAYER THAT SHIT UP.

See what else I’ve used up here.

Facial Bliss: My Visit to Rescue Spa

Facial Bliss: My Visit to Rescue Spa

When I was nearing the end of my twenties, I told myself I would find an esthetician I loved in my thirties so 20 years from now people would suspect I was a vampire. Ya know, like Jared Leto or Bianca Lawson. I’ve had several facials since then but nothing has compared to my experience at the NYC outpost of Rescue Spa.

I first found out about Rescue Spa when trying to purchase a bottle of the toner I couldn’t stop reading about, Biologique Recherche P50 1970. After discovering the magic that is this smelly potion, I wanted to know what else this place offered. Rescue Spa is a treasure trove for skincare junkies like me and what I love is they don’t stock products just because they’re trending — the carefully curated inventory is made up of products that just plain work.

When I started coming to NYC more often for my job, I got the chance to visit the spa to re-up my P50 and knew I had to make an appointment. Bright, elegant and with an incredibly friendly and helpful staff, Rescue Spa is truly luxurious. My first visit was on my birthday in December so I decided spring was a great time to do another deep clean.

My appointment last week was with Maven for a microderm facial. I love microdermabrasion to help even and refine my complexion, but when I’ve had it done at other places, it always felt rushed and not really tailored to my face. It also hurt. But everything about the Rescue Spa facial is customized.

After chatting with Maven about my skin — and settling into one of their super treatment soothing rooms — she gave my skin a thorough double cleanse. After that, it was time for steam and extractions, which are the definition of “pain is beauty.” But Maven worked quickly and efficiently, getting out all the nasty shit in no time. She even checked my ears.

Next came the microdermabrasion. What I loved is that she really took her time, getting not just my face but all under my jaw. She also changed tips on the machine to go back and target specific areas that need a bit more love. Best of all, no OMG-this-chick-is-taking-sandpaper-to-my-face feeling.

Once the microdermabrasion was done and my skin had been wiped clean once again, it was time for her to start “building” my glow. Rescue Spa primarily uses Biologique Recherche products in their facial treatments and the art is in the application. Maven started with P50, applied upward from my collar bone, all up my neck to boost circulation and really help the product sink in. After that, a mask was applied and I settled in for an amazing facial, arm and shoulder massage.

Once the mask had done it’s magic, Maven applied a range of serums and creams including Serum Placenta and Amniotique E. to moisturize and help the skin recover. When it was time to get up, my face was a bit pink but not painful (I’ve had facials that leave my face feeling tender for almost 24 hours). I looked dewy and fresh and walked around barefaced for the rest of the day.

The team at Rescue Spa helps you develop a custom routine for your skin to help you achieve what you desire but are never pushy about making sales. Yes, they make product recommendations, but are very upfront about costs and they take “no” for an answer. Let’s be honest, the products they carry aren’t cheap.

I also left with some tips from Maven about how to sneak more water into my diet, since I am always dehydrated. She suggested celery…I left and ate pizza. Learning curve, am I right?

The entire treatment took about an hour and 15 minutes and a week later my skin is still soft, smooth and clear. The carefully selected products she applied after made all the difference to keep me from breaking out, which has happened after the majority of facials I’ve had before, both bargain and expensive.

This is why I’ll keep going back to Rescue Spa time and again because I, too, believe everyone’s skin is different and beautiful skin is worth investing in. Oh, and NYC air is pore-clogging gross.

Empty Bottle Review: Environ Sebu-Wash

Empty Bottle Review: Environ Sebu-Wash

Happy Monday! This week, I’m sharing my review of Sebu-Wash from Environ. But before we get there, I have to say … it’s the best day of the year.

Why?

Because it’s the day after Easter and that means HALF OFF ALL CANDY. For us childless folks, this is our holiday. A gentleman at the drugstore agreed with me enthusiastically as we both filed our baskets with bags of jelly beans and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and then the clouds parted and I remembered there are still good people in this shitty world.

I digress (because I’m high on sugar) …

Sebu-wash was recommended to me by another one of the ace estheticians at Rescue Spa, where I treated myself to a facial this weekend (full post coming later this week). She suggested it to help combat oil and keep my breakouts in check. Since they’ve never steered me wrong before, I immediately added it to my cart.

The texture of this cleanser is a gel and it creates a nice, rich lather. I like to use it after removing my makeup in the evening. You could probably use it with a scrubbing brush as well.

My dermatologist recommended always massaging cleanser into your face for at least 30 seconds before rinsing and I found once I started really taking my time with it, I began to see the benefits of Sebu-Wash. My skin feels clean without being tight and I haven’t experienced any dryness at all. Any product, makeup or dirt left over is gone. I still wake up in the morning with a straight-up reflective complexion, so I can’t say much for its oil-control claims, especially since I’ve never used it during the day. But the salicylic acid and tea tree oil in this wash have definitely helped clarify my skin without being harsh.

The only thing I don’t love about this product is the smell. I’m personally not a fan of tea tree oil, but it’s not so overpowering I would avoid using Sebu-Wash. I mean, my skin is clearly a fan. I left it back in NYC when I went back to Detroit for almost two weeks and experienced more breakouts and my skin felt more congested overall. I’ll definitely be packing it on my next trip.

All in all, a solid choice for squeaky clean skin that doesn’t make your face feel like your skin shrunk a la Leatherface. Give it a try!

See what else I’ve used up here.