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making faces :: product review [lush skin care]

it's been a while now since i've gone to bed at what anyone could consider a reasonable hour. the problem with being awake at dawn every morning is that i can't really do much [because i don't want to wake up dom or my neighbours, particularly the irascible ones downstairs who don't like cats], but i feel like i have to do something or else i'm going to die of boredom.

i do try to sleep, of course. i stay supine for as long as i can, until some unbearable random thought just practically propels me out of the bed. last night, for instance, it was the sudden realisation that there are no decent tiki bars in montreal. i mean, it seems like every city has at least one place with a koi pond and drinks served in coconuts, but i couldn't think of one. [turns out that the only one is actually a kind of horrible vintage place in the east end that i now feel i must try.]

since i was up and i could already see the ravages of sleeplessness on my face, i decided to try giving myself a facial with some of the lush products that dom was given to test on himself and me before he officially starts work there. i'd already tried this once, but i figured that since my skin, like the rest of me, was really fatigued at this point, the results should be even more obvious.

NO REST FOR THE WICKED, BUT IS THERE GOOD SKIN?



step 1 :: toner tabs
toner tabs are like large vitamin pills you dissolve in very hot water and allow your skin to absorb through the magic of steam. it works sort of like your grandparents probably remember vicks working, where you fill a bowl with freshly boiled water, drop your medicine in and then make a tent with a towel [or dom's favourite damned t-shirt, which i apparently got all messy in the process and he had to clean in the sink] over your head and the bowl, trapping all the steam and opening your pores to let in the goodness.

today i tried the vitamin c tab [i'd previously tried the vitamin e], which is supposed to be good for dry and aging skin [mine is both, although all skin is aging, technically]. after about a minute, i definitely felt like my skin was "happier"- fresher, livelier, more "awake"- although whether that's because of the tab or just the benefits of holding my face over a pot of steamy water, i can't say. my skin was noticeably softer, though, which i think would be the result of the tab.

a word to the wise- store your tabs somewhere they can't get knocked around. i wasn't quite so careful and i was greeted by a lot of white powder going everywhere when i pulled the tab out of its wrapping. 

$1.95ea

step 2 :: ayesha face mask

this is one of lush's truly "fresh" products- meaning that there's a lot of vegetables and fruits in them and they'll last less time than the cheese you buy the same day. it's best to buy these in small increments, since they really don't keep that long.

i'm usually a little iffy about masks, because so often, they have a clay base which is great for sucking the oil right out of your skin, but not so great if your skin needs to hang on to the oil it has. however, this mask is exceptionally soft and gentle and is actually very moisturising. although it apparently does have some clay in it, i didn't get the uncomfortable tightness that normally accompanies playing around with a mask. that said, if you're skin tends to be oily, i wouldn't really recommend this, as i don't think it would offer the toning and balancing such skin would need. i also wouldn't recommend it if you're very picky about smells. i didn't mind the scent myself, but for sure some people will find it "funky". [it's loaded with asparagus. you can tell.]

as with most facial masks, there is a bit of mess involved and i'm assuming that it was in a fit of insomnia-induced insanity laziness that i likely dirtied dom's shirt by wiping my asparagus-and-kiwi pulp-covered hands on it.

once it's on, of course, it occurs to me that the superintendent could be coming by at any time to fix the living room window frame, which sustained some water damage and caused a nice little rainstorm in the apartment last week. if he were to arrive at this moment, he would see me sitting in front of a table with a bowl of dingy water, a lot of white powder and what looks like a pile of baby shit smeared on my face, with five very wired contraband cats [although everyone knows i have them, i've never been specific about how many of them there are] excited that mom is up to keep them company. it also occurs to me that i'm supposed to leave this mask on my face for half an hour, which means that even if he does arrive, i'd just have to kind of nod and act normal, or else my time will have been wasted.

fortunately, he didn't drop by, but just take this as a word of warning: make sure that you are going to have the time to use these masks properly [twenty to thirty minutes, not including prep and cleanup time].

$5.95

step 3 :: moisturiser

i tend to tone my skin with either orange flower water or rose water. they're cheap, i can pick them up with the groceries and i can use them for baking as well as skin care. so having rinsed, i use some orange flower water and then apply moisturiser to face and around my eyes.

for the eyes, i've been trying "enchanted eye cream", a very gentle, neutral cream with no real fancy science behind it, no magic ingredients that send micro-gnomes to rebuild your skin, but that imparts moisture to this area where the skin tends to be fragile and prone to damage. the good news is that mostly what the area around your eyes needs is simple hydration, because it's an area that can't retain moisture terribly well on its own.

i was given a sample of "gorgeous cream" to try as a facial moisturiser, which is probably meant as a description of the product, but that always just makes me think of the episode of family guy where the volcano insurance salesman tells peter he obvious bought a store full of "handsome cream". [i think that makes me peter in this situation.]

as far as i can tell, this is the most expensive item that lush sells that isn't a gift set. the cost is driven by the natural oils used, apparently and in this case, the price is particularly high because there is a greater concentration of pricier ingredients like evening primrose oil and a less of cheaper ingredients like cocoa butter. the price is horrific when you compare it to what prestige brands charge for their creams [not all of which have serious science behind them, no matter what they claim], but i think it is a leap for the average lush customer.

the good news is that you really don't need to use much product. although it's recommended for normal to combination skin, i found it quite rich for me [slightly dry to combination].

enchanted eye cream :: $24.95
gorgeous cream :: $85.95cad/ $89.95usd

you may notice that i only have one set of prices listed for most products, rather than different ones for canada and the u.s. that's because lush, as far as i can tell from scanning their web sites, maintains no differences in price as a baseline [i'm assuming that deviations from this are due to import levies on specific ingredients, although i haven't asked]. so that makes them a free trade angel on the currency gouging index. way to go lush!

my bad
all in all, while i think that those looking for products to address more serious skin concerns might want to look elsewhere [or at least include other products in their regimen], these are some excellent products for hydrating, toning and soothing the majority of skin types, without a lot of synthetic additives. if it can make my insomniac face feel revived, it should do wonders for normal people.

all products available at lush boutiques. all products except the face mask are available on the lush web site. [where you can also search for a lush location close to you.]

[editor's note :: in case it wasn't clear from my flippant intro, these products were provided free of charge, not to me, but to dom, who is secure enough in his masculinity to work for lush. i chose to review them, honestly, of my own free will.]

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