Sunblock Collection Overview

Just in time for summer I want to briefly review my current sunblock collection- likes and dislikes. I never go outside without sunblock and I am very picky when it comes to sun protection for the face. My sunblock needs to have good ingredients, be non-irritating to my skin, not look oily, and last but not least, it needs to be non-stinky (most sunblock smells make me dizzy).

  1. Innisfree Triple Care, SPF 50+ (around $11 for 50ml on eBay)

One of the newer members of my sunblock family, and one that is here to stay. The texture is not too thick, it is easy to apply. It does have a noticeable white cast, which fades a little, but I don’t think this would be a good option for people with darker skin color. This sunscreen doesn’t have that yucky physical sunblock smell, not much of it anyway, but it has added fragrance. I don’t find it unpleasant, but it may be a problem for some. The sunscreen has a nice semi-matte finish, definitely not oily. I find it works well under makeup and can also be applied on top if needed. I’d also suggest a good moisturizing serum underneath for those with dry skin.


Water, cyclopentasiloxane, zinc oxide, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, PEG-10 dimethicone, dicaprylyl carbonate, titanium dioxide, isodecyl neopentanoate, niacinamide, disteardimonium hectorite, green tea extract, mica, dimethicone, magnesium sulfate, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, methicone, phenoxyethanol, aluminum hydroxide, glyceryl caprylate, fragrance, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, stearic acid, polyglyceryl-6 polyricinoleate, tocopheryl acetate, caprylyl glycol, adenosine, yellow iron oxide, triethoxycaprylylsilane, biosaccharide gum-1, sunflower seed oil, camellia sinensis leaf extract, orchid extract, orange peel extract, Opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, Saccharomyces ferment filtrate.

2. SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50 ($34 for 30 ml)

This is the most expensive sunblock I currently own. This is a tinted product suitable for light skin and it doesn’t smell like anything, which is a bonus. It has a nice matte/natural finish and slight blurring effect. However, I found the texture kind of weird, very silicon-y and slippery to the extent when it literally slides and rolls off the skin, so sometimes I end up with little “peels” on my face. I always feel like due to this texture, I end up with not enough sun protection on my face, and it is important to apply enough product for it to work.

No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to make it work with any of my makeup. Reapplying is out of question too. Thankfully my skin is good enough to not wear foundation most of the days, so I manage to make this sunscreen work, but will not repurchase once I finish the tube, which won’t take long, as the tube is only 30 ml.

Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 4%, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Talc, Dicaprylyl Ether, Triethylhexanoin, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aluminum Stearate, Peg-8 Laurate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica Silylate, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol,Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Iron Oxides, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid

3. Babyganics Mineral-based sunscreen spray SPF 50 (around $11 for 177ml)

Pretty nice sunscreen, I don’t like it much for my face, feels a bit too heavy, but it is good for the body. It smells like sunblock, but it is not too overwhelming. It is a liquid product that comes in a spray bottle, which is a horrible way to apply sunscreen in my opinion, so I just spray it on my palms and apply to my skin. It spreads easily and has a nice semi-matte finish. It contains no PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide (11.2%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5.0%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, VP/hexadecene copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Hexaglyceryl Polyricinoleate, Polysorbate 80, Phenethyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Citric Acid, Squalane, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Lecithin*, Polysorbate 60, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil*, Sorbitan Isostearate *Certified Organic Ingredient

4. Kiss My Face Face Factor SPF 30 (around $9 for 60ml)

My all-time favorite. Comfortable, non-irritating, moisturizing, doesn’t create too much of a white-cast on the face compared to similar products. Works great under makeup, doesn’t cause any breakouts or clogged pores. Not stinky! It has a bit of a “moist” finish at first, but everything fully absorbs into my skin, or can be powdered lightly. I went through several tubes of this sunblock already, it is my skin saver. The only minus- it is SPF 30, which is just not always enough for New York spring and summer. Great ingredients too.

Active Ingredients – Purpose:Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 3%, Zinc Oxide 3% – Sunscreen.Inactive Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Polysorbate-20, Stearyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Oil) Seed Oil, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, a-Lipoic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin-C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin-E), Sodium Hydroxide, Linoleic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

5. PreVentin-AT Intensive Retinol Day Treatment SPF 30 (CVS’s StriVectin “dupe”) 50ml

Picked this up on some huge sale at CVS as it had a pretty interesting ingredient list. Sadly, this didn’t work out for me, mainly because it stings a bit upon application and I can’t tolerate the smell, which is that dreadful physical sunblock smell mixed with very strong perfume. It is a thick yellow-toned cream, which I found a bit difficult to spread, and had similar issues as with SkinCeuticals, where sometimes it kind of rolls off the skin, perhaps with my skincare products. Would not repurchase this.


ACRYLAMIDE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE COPOLYMER, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, Water, Avobenzone 3.00%, Bakuchiol, behenyl alcohol, bisabolol, butylene glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, carbomer, cetearyl alcohol, CHLORPHENESIN, citric acid, Dimethicone, DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, DIMETHYL ISOSORBIDE, disodium edta, ethyhexyl methocycrylene, Ethylhexlyglycerin, Fragrance, Glycerin, glyceryl stearate, hydroxypinacolone retinoate, isohexadecane, isostearyl neopentanoate, myristoyl nanapeptide-3, NEOPENTYL GLYCOL, DIHEPTANOATE, Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, octocrylene 2.70%, Oxybenzone 4.00%, PALMITOYL OLIGOPEPTIDE, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, Phenoxyethanol, POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE, polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PPG-2 ISOCETETH-20 ACETATE, RETINOL, Retinyl Palmitate, SODIUM ASCORBATE, sodium hyaluronate, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM LACTATE, SORBITAN OLEATE, tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate, xanthan gum




L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow- No-go

Happened to test this one foundation, and felt like I needed to tell the world not to buy this. Of course, we all have different skin, skincare, preferences in texture and coverage, but certain things are universally bad.

The first thing I noticed when I squeezed this out of the tube was the strong alcohol smell. I turned to the tube to look at the ingredients, and they only list octinoxate 3.2% in an easily visible place, to see the full list you have to actually peel off 2 sheets to see what is in the foundation, and the print is very light too. Anyway, alcohol denat. is listed as number 3, but since you can really smell it, there is quite a lot of it. This is a very drying ingredient, which can do a lot of damage to the skin., especially in the long run.

I went ahead and tested the foundation anyway. It applied more or less evenly, the color matched me well, and the finish looked fairly nice, although it was obvious I had foundation on my face. After just a couple of hours I noticed that the foundation started breaking up on my skin, and I developed lots of small bumps (see the pictures), and my face felt super uncomfortable. I actually washed this thing off while at work. Haven’t done that in a long time!

I do have sensitive skin, and very picky about what foundation looks like on my face and whether I can feel it on my skin. Very few foundations/tinted moisturizers/BB creams make it into my makeup bag, because I only want the absolute best in terms of ingredients, finish and wearability.

Now it is possible that this foundation started to break up because didn’t play nice with some of my skincare, might look pretty on some. But I think nobody should use this product because it contains a lot of alcohol. L’Oreal should know better than to create formulas like that.

YSL Touche Eclat. Is it worth the hype?

YSL Touche Eclat is one of those cult products that is frequently considered a must-have.  In fact, claims, one is sold every 10 seconds. Recently I got my hands on a generously sized sample, that allowed me to test it a few times and see if it is worth the hype. The luminizing pen claims to “erase signs of fatigue and brighten the completion”. “8 hours of beauty sleep in a click”. Sounds promising, especially when it is 7am, and you are getting ready for work wondering if there have been any pandas among your distant relatives.

I had my sample in color 1- for fair to light complexions with pink undertones. We have a match. The luminizer/concealer is light creamy consistency, slightly peachy color to  cancel out the dark circles and imperfections, applies fairly nicely. The coverage, however, is very light. It does cover dark circles a bit, but not well enough.

Before (no makeup):

After YSL Touche Eclat:

As you can see, the undereye area looks a bit better and brighter, but far from 8 hours of sleep kind of look in my book.


YSL Touche Eclat + eye makeup. Dark circles are even more visible with the rest of my makeup. Also, the product started creasing after just a couple of hours.

My conclusion is, YSL Touche Eclat is not worth the hype and the hefty $42+ tax for 0.1 oz/ 2.5 ml. Yes, it was a revolutionary product for it’s time, when there weren’t so many concealers, and particularly highlighters, but nowadays you can get something much better and cheaper. Even Maybelline’s dark circle eraser outperforms this, because it actually covers and brightens. Or my all-time favorite MAC Pro-Longwear concealer, with is pure magic. Touche Eclat really needs a concealer under it to work, which creates an extra step in routine (who has time for this?) and extra expense. I tested Touche Eclat as a highlighter for high points of my face too, and, yes, it brightens and is a good quality product, but again, it isn’t that impressive, there are hundreds of highlighters that are was good or better for much less than $42.

Current Skincare Routine


I’m always struggling between the desire to simplify my routines and wanting to try new things, which leads me to adjusting how and when I apply various products.

  1. Tretinoin Cream 0.05% has quickly become my favorite and can’t live without product. It deserves a separate post with actual skin photos. But there is no other skincare product that managed to change my skin as noticeably as tretinoin.
  2. Kiss My Face Face Factor SPF 30 is the only sunscreen I ever repurchased. Multiple times. Non-stinky, non-oily, moisturizing, soothing and comfortable to wear even for very sensitive skin. The price is also great, so you can actually apply the necessary amount as often as needed without any heartbreak.
  3. Lumene Refreshing Toner Bright Touch I’ve started using toners very recently, as I used to think they are an unnecessary extra step, but I have enjoyed this toner greatly. It is very moisturizing and non-irritating. No bad ingredients like alcohol, and nothing irritating. Unfortunately this exact toner has been discontinued as part of Lumene’s redesign, now they have face mists, which are probably great too.
  4. Mizon Snail 80 Intensive Repairing Serum is a wonderful moisturizing serum. Unscented plumping and brightening serum. Must have for those days when skin is sensitive and cranky.
  5. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Speres 2% is the most controversial item in my routine, as vitamin C is supposed to be a great anti-aging tool, but I find that I have to be very careful when using it on my sensitive skin. Took quite a bit of time to get used to this product. I currently use it on the nights I skip tretinoin.
  6. The Ordinary “Buffet” is the newest addition to my skincare routine, so at this point I can’t say how effective it is at fighting the signs of aging. I use it every morning after my toner. The serum has a thicker slippery consistence, easy to apply. It is unscented, which I love, doesn’t sting or burn, absorbs quickly without leaving any film or residue. It is packed with peptides and all the good stuff, so i’m looking forward to updating you on how it works.

Wet’n’Wild Wild Shine Nail Color in Blazed

Quick swatch of Wet’n’Wild’s Wild Shine Nail Color in Blazed. I apologize for questionable photos.
The color is not very bright, it is sort of a pastel coral. Nice for summer, but not my favorite. Application wasn’t particularly smooth, in fact was rather disappointing, and you need at least 2-3 coats for proper coverage. It is a jelly type of polish, so if you manage to apply it nicely, it will look nice.
I say it’s not the best Wet’n’Wild’s polish, I might have gotten a defective bottle though, as their Caribbean Frost is one of my favorite polishes of all.



Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

This I a pretty famous product, but for some reason I bough it not long ago. And I love it! It comes on this nice tin container, that is easy to open even with wet/slippery hands, yet it is safe to throw in your purse, it closes securely.


The cream is very thick, so you need just a little bit. It is 100% natural and smells soooo good- real sour lemon flavor. The butter is easy to apply throughout the day, as it isn’t too greasy, and I find it very moisturizing. I do a lot of housework, and my cuticles can look dreadful. I can see real improvements with this cream. It works so much better and is so much easier to use than oil.



I’m wearing one coat of Sensationail’s Pink Chiffon SOG here.

EzFlow TruGel in Patina. Many Pictures!

I have been incredibly busy with a bunch of things at work and outside work, so never even got to share some new swatches! You are about to see one of my most recent buys- EzFlow’s TruGel in Patina. I really like EzFlow’s soak-off gel polishes for a number of reasons- they are super affordable (you can get a bottle for 7-8$ on Amazon), they are great quality, easy to apply, last really well through any troubles you might face.

EzFlow in Patina is a very beautiful color, pictures don’t do it justice. It is a very deep, almost black, mauve/brownish color, the color of dried blood, with golden and subtly multi toned shimmer. The brush is great and easy to use, 2 coats give a full, even coverage, as can be seen in pictures.

For this manicure I’ve used Gelish primer, Gelish base, EzFlow TruGel in Patina, Gelish top coat, and Sensationail LED lamp. Curing time 30 sec for base and top coat, and 1 minute for color polish. I suspect, all those brands might cure faster, but it is easier to do it this way with Sensationail LED lamp’s timer.

Photo taken with flash to show the shimmer better:

EzFlow TruGel Patina under flash

In daylight.

EzFlow TruGel Patina in daylight


And one photo in artificial light. Trying to show the gorgeous shimmer that you can see under bright light or sunlight, but it is not nearly as impressive as in real life.

Patina in artificial light

Stay tuned to see more great swatches. I plan the next one to be IBD’s Peridot- a rare one!