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[un]making faces ["get it off me"] :: product review

well, as with most people who like their beauty products, i tend to purchase quite a few of them. and since i've been sharing more of this part of my personality on the blog lately, i figured i'd share some of the good, bad and truly ugly experiences i've had with some of my purchases. i figured i'd kick it off with the antithesis of cosmetics, though: makeup removers.

ok, we were all young once. we all went through our twenties coming home at four in the morning and passing out with one of our boots still half on. ah, the halcyon days of youth when the removal of makeup was something that was accomplished by putting the pillowcases in the laundry. we've all most likely done the "makeup from the night before" look, thinking we looked disheveled and perhaps a little sexy. indeed. isn't it pretty to think so?

the fact is, it's not a good idea to wear your mascara until it flakes off and the oils on your skin do not make a good cleanser. whether you're like me and have reached an age where your face isn't going to forgive you for a few nights of too much wine and bad decision making, or you're part of a generation that realises it's not always wise to take your youthful good looks for granted (smart folks, you), it's important to find things that are going to get the makeup off your face and let nature preserve you as best it can.

here are a few reviews of products i've tried in the past to help guide you on your way. since this is a personal blog, i'm dealing exclusively with products i've actually bought and used, so it's by no means comprehensive. this is just my accumulated knowledge thus far (accumulated only since i stopped falling asleep every night with my makeup still on). prices and availability are for the canadian market.

CONTINUE ON TO THE REVIEWS/ RECOMMENDATIONS



body shop camomile waterproof eye makeup remover :: i grew up on the body shop. i was the kind of kid who really warmed to their earth-friendly, people-friendly message and grew into the kind of consumer who stuck with them because i liked the idea that they stood for good things. i'm always a little nervous about trying "natural" products around my eyes, but this one is a real winner. i think i could seriously pump it directly into my eye without any harm being done. it's gentle enough that i've never found it irritates my skin and i don't find it leaves a heavy, oily residue. unfortunately, like a lot of cream products, this one doesn't do terribly well at removing mascara. it takes a lot of effort to get all the black crud out and even then, there seems to always be some dark smudges the next morning.
price :: $14.50
availability :: body shop stores and on line

body shop vitamin e gentle cleansing facial wipes :: ok, this might be cheating a bit, because it doesn't actually say that these are to be used for makeup removal. nonetheless, they are "cleansing", so i figured i'd give it a shot. learn from my fail. these are too rough and dry too quickly to be used to remove makeup. in addition, vitamin e is one of those things that, while unquestionably good for skin, is something that often causes a bad reaction around the eyes. these are wonderfully light, but they really aren't built to remove makeup- more like a quick refresher after the gym (assuming you're one of those energetic people who hauls your butt to a gym and doesn't just sit at home sipping wine and working on your blog). the wipes are not terribly moist and have a tendency to dry out before you finish the package.
price :: $14 for 25 wipes
availability :: body shop stores and on line

yves rocher micellar cleansing water :: this is another wonderful company for feeling good about yourself and what you buy. they have a long tradition of using natural products ("botanicals" in their terminology) and, since they supply many of their own key ingredients, they don't have the taint of unfair trade about them as many others do. unfortunately, after trying this for about a week, i had to stop because my skin was starting to break out. the product was reasonably efficient at removing makeup (although it still took a fair amount of rubbing) and its watery, rather than oily or creamy, consistency made it really nice to use (no residue!). unfortunately, although it has no sign- such as heavy perfume- that it might cause a reaction, it did. i'd recommend this one only if you're willing to spend some time removing makeup (i'm impatient) and if your skin doesn't often react to new products.
price :: $19
availability :: yves rocher stores and on line


cliniderm gentle eye makeup remover :: having fallen completely in love with their spf 45 sunscreen last year (seriously, my holy grail sunscreen- absorbs well, feels light, doesn't make me break out and protects me like a samurai guard), i really wanted to love this product. in fact, it's not bad. it has a heavy cream texture, but it absorbs fairly quickly, so it feels moisturizing rather than greasy. the entire cliniderm line is methodically purged of irritants, meaning that, no matter how sensitive your skin, you're seriously unlikely to have a reaction to anything in their line. it does a decent job of removing eye makeup, but it's not great. i tried applying it, waiting a few minutes and then wiping it away, which is really how these products are supposed to work (rather than applying and wiping or rinsing right away) and it removed some makeup, but there was still plenty left (particularly mascara, the bane of all makeup removers). although it stung a bit in my eyes (kind of hard not to get some in there), i had no reaction whatsoever and it actually seemed moisturising.
price :: $19
availability :: most major pharmacies

mac cosmetics facial wipes :: i guess i'm saving the best, or at least my favourite, for last. i am already a fan of mac, but i hadn't thought about trying their cleansing products until one of the associates at my local store pitched them to me. i figured that it couldn't hurt trying. mac have a lot of makeup removal products, but, as the associate promised me, these are the bomb when it comes to getting crud off your face. a single wipe clears away everything (although it does sometimes take some rubbing) and leaves my skin feeling fresh and soft and toned (never irritated). if your skin is normally oily, i'd venture to say that you don't need anything else on a nightly basis. it fulfills my tendencies towards sloth by allowing me to accomplish everything in one quick step, but it doesn't leave me looking like i neglected my beauty-duty. unlike virtually every other wipe on the market, these ones are plenty moist, but to keep that moisture circulating, it's best to store the package upside down, so that the liquid doesn't collect near the bottom. the wipes are biodegradable and the package can be returned to mac through their "back 2 mac" program, which allows you to get a free lipstick, gloss or eye shadow for every half dozen empty packages you return. and if that's not good enough for you, the wipes come in a convenient bulk size that actually make them more affordable than most competitors, while sacrificing nothing in quality. oh, and if you want to keep an extra pack around, they are exceptionally good as quick cleansers/ toners for leather footwear. (i'm not joking. as the cute guy with the spiky hair at the bay said "it makes sense. leather is a skin.")
price :: $21.50 for 45 wipes or $31 for 100 wipes
availability :: mac cosmetics stores, mac counters at the bay or on line

one more little tip. if, like me, you are lazy and choose to remove makeup, cleanse and tone in one fell swoop, it's important to understand that you're only removing the surface dirt from your skin. there's nothing wrong with that, but remember to give your skin a good deep cleansing- preferably with an exfoliant- two or three times a week.

so that's my advice on the subject. i realise there are about a hundred million makeup removers i haven't covered, but this is what i've tried. if you have comments on things that you've tried, speak up! feedback is always welcome.

on that note, wish me luck, because i'm off tomorrow to have someone else do my makeup for me. this is something that i've tried only a couple of times, with mixed results. this time, it'll be one of the makeup experts at nars who'll be deciding what to do with my face. one way or another, the results will be up here forthwith. perhaps i'll try a makeup remover?

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