Years ago, I thought I didn’t need or want a specific product for my eyes. I just used whichever face product I liked (I’m so sensitive I’d rarely put anything on my face that couldn’t be near my eyes). I admit I still am not an eye cream fan, but a nice light serum can be very pleasant and helpful.
When people talk eye products, they often want something that alleviates dark circles. I want to say right up front that I personally have never experienced any product that helped in that area. The only thing that ever helped with my constant just-got-in-a-bar-fight look was eliminating processed and sensitivity-aggravating foods. But there are other things an eye product can do for you.
When I looked for an eye serum, I was after something unscented, that provides a little moisture, but not too much under makeup, and that kicked the butt of my morning puffiness. I have found three eye serum products that I love. They take a few minutes to sink in, but that actually works out well, because…
…I started doing a little eye massage every morning. Using one finger on each eye, I pat the serum all around, then massage from the outer corner to the inner corner in little circles, both above and below. This seems to get fluids moving, and assists the serum in depuffing. I’ve tried the massage with random products, and a serum really does make a difference. Here are my top choices:
Blissoma Bright – Eye Vitalizing Nutrient Serum: I reviewed this some time back, but I’m going to plagiarize myself a bit for the sake of comparison. Just a few minutes after a little eye massage, my puffiness is dramatically better. The consistency is very thin, so I pump it out slowly and carefully. About half a pump per application works for me. The texture is perfect for under makeup – you’ll be moisturized but not remotely greasy. With regular use, I feel I look more awake throughout the day. Can’t beat that! The way I use it, the bottle lasts a couple of months. ($45.99/.5 oz)
Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum: This review by Pemberley Jones convinced me I had to try Kahina’s Eye Serum. I’m glad I did. The texture of this one is easy to work with. It’s pleasantly light, but half a pump holds together nicely on the finger. I do experience some pilling if I layer it on top of other products, so this is definitely a first layer. It does help with puffiness, but excels at softening the skin, yet firming the eye area. And I am a sucker for violet glass packaging. ($78/.5oz)
La Bella Figura Decouverte Under Eye Repair Serum: As an oil based product that does have a light scent, this is different from the other two. Sink in time is longer, but this is my favorite for a truly luxurious eye massage. When my eyes really need some pampering, this is what I reach for. Application with the pretty glass roller ball packaging is unique. It can be rolled directly on the eye area or on a finger, and the amount is easy to control. ($115/.33oz)
I said I love them all, right? So how to choose? Honestly, I keep going back and forth between them. They all accomplish essentially the same missions. If you want to use a serum at night and/or firming and fine lines are a priority, I’d go with Kahina. If morning puffiness is more of an issue for you, I think Bright has the edge. If you are yearning for luxury with your results, go LBF. They all have good long-term results. With any of these choices, you will have a winner.
Have you tried these? What’s your favorite eye cream or serum?
When my holy grail fragrance free shampoo and conditioner was phased out in a rebranding, I was super bummed. It can be a challenge to find gluten free, vegan products, especially in fragrance free forms that cater to dry skin and curly hair. And I lost more than a shampoo and conditioner – my basic bath products must be multi-functional.
I guess I’m pretty demanding. I need my conditioner to function as a rinse-out, leave-in, styling product, and shave cream. It has to work for a good, soothing scalp scrub on no-poo days. I like my shampoo to double as a body wash. And, in case it’s not obvious, the ingredients must be very clean. Pony and cupcake optional.
Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo: This works well for my once or twice a week shampoo habit, and as my daily body wash. Desert Essence actually makes a separate body wash, which is fine, but the ingredients are nearly identical, and I prefer the extra moisture that comes with a shampoo. This product could lean more toward moisturizing than it does, but since I don’t shampoo often I’m happy with it. It lathers more than many natural shampoos. It’s a solid performer, and, I think, would please those with normal or oily hair as well.
Desert Essence Fragrance Free Conditioner: The shampoo meets my basic needs, but the conditioner is definitely a holy grail product! I’m not sure why the company doesn’t have it in the organic line packaging, as it does have several organic ingredients. It’s very thick and moisturizing – the perfect curly girl conditioner. It’s awesome for a scalp scrub, and makes me feel clean and fresh without the need for a daily shampoo. It leaves my hair very soft, and makes a great shave cream. It’s perfect on days I use henna, to rinse out the last bit of graininess. On its own it’s a nice moisturizing leave-in and a great styling product. I also love to mix it with other styling products to get the consistency and performance I want on any given day. A pump of this makes my Rahua Hair Wax and John Masters Shine On even more versatile. A great trick to add extra moisture (and scent if you like) is to mix it with a few drops of your favorite oil. A bit of May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff makes this heavenly on days I want scent.
It makes me so happy to find these basic products in a fragrance free version. An extra bonus is that they are quite inexpensive. At $8.99/8oz, and add on that it’s not hard to find them on sale, it’s a good bulk purchase. The upside down squeeze bottle packaging is utilitarian, so I bought glass pump bottles to dispense the products. Much more convenient, and prettier.
What are your fragrance free favorites?
I’m the president of the fan club of face oils. Since they are best applied on moist skin, my obsession for them matches well with my obsession for hydrosols. But last winter I started needing some additional help with my dry skin, especially right around my lips. Just like your lipstick rubs off in the course of the day, any product you’ve applied around the lip area can wear thin. A sip of kombucha here, a mid-morning snack there, and even before lunch I’m unpleasantly dry.
I went searching for something I could dab on those especially dry spots throughout the day as needed, something quick and easy to apply that would sink right in.
These moisturizers all have a water and/or aloe base blended with very light oils, antioxidants, vitamins, various botanicals, etc. They sink in fairly quickly, and work well applied alone, layered with an oil, or my favorite – mixed with a drop or two of oil first, then applied. The method will all depend on your skin type and the season, of course. Adjust as needed.
Blissoma Pure: This “sensitive skin soothing complex” is my favorite. It seems so quiet and unassuming with it’s simple name and unscented nature. But the performance is impressive. It’s got the perfect thick-but-not-too-thick texture, and is the best product I’ve tried for calming after hair removal. Just a simple tweeze of the eyebrows can set my skin to complaining, never mind that darn upper lip area, and applying Pure lets me go on about my business without inflammation. It mixes well with any oil for extra hydration, and won’t compete with other scents. On its own, or mixed with an oil or balm, it is the best for moisturizing my extra dry spots. I like the simple packaging – a glass bottle with a nice pump that lets you easily use just a bit if you don’t need a full pump. ($25.99/oz)
Graydon: This Canadian brand makes two of my honorable mention moisturizers. The Putty is light in texture and lightly scented. For this texture, it is remarkably moisturizing and reparative. I recommend it if you want a light texture with a powerful anti-inflammatory punch, and enjoy just a suggestion of scent – from carrot seed, chamomile, and lavender EOs. The Berry Rich Cream is more substantial in texture, but still doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin. With no intentionally added scent, it gives one just a hint of berry from the blueberry and red raspberry seed oils. (each $29/1.7oz or 50ml)
Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream: I’m not one for herbal generally, but this is nice – light and refreshing. The texture is too light for my mature skin, but would be a great choice for normal to oily types, or those with issues of perioral dermatitis. ($60/1.7oz)
Have you tried these? What’s your favorite water-based moisturizer?
I’m a big fan of the highlighter/illuminator category of cosmetics, as you may have noticed way back in this post. Both of these new kids are from well known clean beauty brands and are gluten free. One is vegan. They are quite different from one another, and different from any other highlighter I’ve tried as well. I think they will both work on a variety of skin tones, though to different effect.
One of my favorite uses for a highlighter is to press it gently into my un-mascaraed lashes and all around the eyes, close to the lash line. On its own it makes me feel polished and standard workday appropriate, adding brightness to the eyes and making me look awake, even when that’s barely true.
Kjaer Weis Radiance: This is my first Kjaer Weis product. I’ve been wanting to try the brand for a long time (I drool for the packaging alone), but the presence of carmine in the cheek and lip colors held me back. The highlighter does have beeswax, but is otherwise vegan. When I heard that there was a new highlighter on the market with a little lavender to it, I knew I had to have it. Radiance is very creamy and feels nice on the skin, and that pearly beige and lavender undertone is really unique. It is the most shimmery highlighter I own, and that makes it more of an evening or special day treat for me. But it is gorgeous and a worthwhile purchase. ($56)
La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise: This is part of LBF’s new “more than makeup” line, and is versatile addition to a brand I already love. It is more gold than the other highlighters I’ve tried, so if you desire that warm honey look, I highly recommend it. It also stays on the best of any highlighter I’ve used, with its drier texture, and remained nearly unchanged at the end of the day. It does have what I would consider a strong scent, from the flower wax that keeps it vegan, so be aware of that if you are sensitive. Keep in mind, I’m practically the scent police – most people probably wouldn’t think much of it. ($38)
Have you tried these? How do you use a highlighter?
This is going to be a great makeup season for me, and all you lovelies that dig on orange and purple. Even if you don’t think they are for you, give something a shot. Two of my fave super clean companies are at the forefront of this color extravaganza.
These are not the drugstore makeup colors of my 70s childhood. They are fresh and hip, and will make you feel that way, too.
RMS Beauty: The “wearable brights” are now available from their website, but I was so intrigued I nabbed them up in the preview launch on net-a-porter. Curious (lip2cheek) is a very buildable orange, so you can go subtle or all out as desired. It has a very slight shimmer to it, but wears like a semi-matte when applied lightly. The lip2cheek designation is a true one for me. It is a fresh alternative to pink. Royal (lip shine) is a purple with a pink base, maybe not quite as much shine as some of the other lip shine shades (a good thing in my book). It has more shimmer than I was expecting or desired, but I still think I can carry it off. If you like shimmer, this is the one to go for. I can see this as a good one to layer on top of your other favorite lip colors.
Ilia Beauty: Ilia lipsticks are buildable and have my favorite semi-matte finish. These colors are less obvious versions of orange and purple on me – more of a suggestion, really. Perfect Day is advertised as a toned down coral red, but I feel its orangey tones. This is a great one if you don’t want take the full orange leap (if you do, try Ilia’s Voila). I actually had to rescue it from my pretty-but-not-me bag that I take to parties to share with friends. On a blah day I dug it out and added it to my small collection of colors that travelled with me on a recent trip. When I got up at 3am to make a 6am flight, I blearily dabbed on some Perfect Day, and it brightened my attitude. Around The World (exclusive to net-a-porter) is described as rose with a bold lavender undertone. For me, it works as a more summery version of Ink Pot, a personal favorite (and the one to try if you are going full purple jacket).
These colors are taking me seamlessly from summer into fall. Will you be working orange and purple into your transition?