May 2014 Product Review: CC Pollen’s Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey

So for May’s product review I got a lovely box chock full of items from CC Pollen. They sent me a skincare collection and a fabulous assortment of honey. I figured it made more sense to review them separately so for May we’re focusing on the skincare and in June we’ll dive into sweet honey goodness.

CC Pollen sent me their Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey line. The idea is that royal jelly has many benefits that will result in firmer, healthier and younger looking skin. The purported benefits of royal jelly include supporting skin renewal and acids that contribute to collagen production and promotion. The addition of honey is for keeping skin hydrated and because it “…supports the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and refresh depleted skin, leaving it feeling silky, soft and supple.”

I was really intrigued with the ingredients and I don’t recall ever trying Royal Jelly in skincare products before so I was excited to give these a shot.

C.C. Pollen, Foaming Cleanser, Royal Jelly Skin Care, with Honey, 4 oz
(Retail: $ $9.33)
Verdict: Miss
The packaging on this was nice and the smell was a little sweet but not flowery (almost like the scent of baby products). I found the fragrance to be really pleasant and not at all overpowering.  Unfortunately the cleanser to was really drying.  I have combination skin with some oily areas, so I can only imagine what happens to the folks with overall dry skin. The only way you should try this out is if you have oily skin, otherwise skip it.

C.C. Pollen, Toner, Royal Jelly Skin Care, with Honey, 4 oz
(Retail: $10.77)
After the cleanser I was afraid this toner might be really drying as well, but it was pretty nice. Toners typically fall into two categories: refreshing or astringent. In my opinion this one is actually in between. If you want an astringent toner, but don’t want one that’s really  harsh, this might be a good choice for you. I’d skip this if you have dry skin, but I think it would be a great fit for the folks with oily skin or oily/normal combination.

C.C. Pollen, Anti Aging Serum, Royal Jelly Skin Care, with Honey, 1 oz
(Retail: $21.57)
So this has that same light sweet, scent as the other products and a wonderful gel consistency. It’s cooling to the touch and goes on light and smooth. I think the texture is a perfect match for summertime and I feel like it helped smooth out any irritation or redness my skin had.

C.C. Pollen, Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey, Moisturizer, 2 oz
(Retail: $14.37)
The first thing I was struck with was the packaging. I love the metal tins. I tend to only keep a few beauty items on my tiny bathroom counter and this one (along with the night cream) were cute enough to keep out. They are a great alternative to lovely (but oh so breakable) glass and not so lovely plastic. Anyway, enough about the outside, let’s get to the inside. This cream went on smoothly and sunk into my skin pretty quickly.  It had that same pleasant scent as the rest of the line. It’s a lighter moisturizer and I think it’s a good option for ladies who don’t like the feel of heavier face creams.

Night Cream
C.C. Pollen, Royal Jelly Skin Care with Honey, Night Cream, 2 oz
(Retail: $17.97)
The night cream was in the same adorbs packaging of the regular moisturizer and I actually found the products to be quite similar, although this one was a little richer.  However in terms of a “night” cream, it’s definitely on the light side.  I liked the product and found it gave me excellent hydration, but I tend to prefer more intense creams and serums at night. (I like my skin to do the heavy lifting while I sleep). I think this might be a really great fit for ladies with oily skin who still want to keep their skin fresh and hydrated.

All Products
I really enjoyed trying these products. The line has a lovely scent and the products go on smoothly and they all possess a pleasant consistency. I think these products would be a great fit for ladies with oily or normal skin that want their skin to look fresh without slathering on heavy moisturizers. If you’ve got dry skin, I’d probably skip these because of the drying nature of the cleanser and toner. If you just want to try out one product, I’d recommend the moisturizer, since I think it will work just as well for day or night. It’s also a great price for the size and one jar will last you awhile.

So what type of moisturizer do you use? Do you prefer heavier or lighter creams?


Coupon Code: If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at CVF809 for a discount on your first order. They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

March 2014 Product Review: D’Adamo Genoma skincare

Do you give a lot of thought to the science behind your skincare?  March’s product review is on the science focused D’adamo Genoma skincare.  The folks at D’adamo were super gracious and sent me a giant box filled with their entire skincare line for me to review.

First, a little background….The founder, Dr. Peter D’Adamo is famous for his bestselling books which focus on gearing your diet toward your blood type.  He’s brought his science background and the idea of matching your products to your blood type into a skincare line.  It is Dr. D’Adamo’s assertion that “most other skin care products contain irritants for one or more blood types” so this line is “formulated to be right for all types.”

Here’s what this skincare like doesn’t include:

●None of the following common irritants: wheat or milk proteins; corn or coconut by-products, or aloe vera.
●Mineral oil, parabens, paraffin or petrolatum or any petroleum-based products.
●Propylene glycol or other potentially harmful ingredients used in typical moisturizers.
●They also do not test on animals.

What they do include:
●All-natural, wild-crafted and organic botanicals.
●Carnoisine, a powerful amino acid that inhibits the aging process and rejuvenates skin cells.

So what we’ve learned is that this is an uber sciency anti-aging skincare line that should be especially beneficial for those with allergies and sensitivities.

To understand where I’m coming from with my review, I’ll give you some info about my skin.  I’m in my thirties and have combination skin. I am sensitive to certain ingredients, but they most frequently pop up in makeup rather than skincare.  I have large pores and while acne isn’t usually an issue, blackheads can be.

Now enough gross stuff about my skin and let’s try this stuff out already.

Cleanser & Toner
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Rejuvenating Cleanser, 3.53 fl oz (104 ml)

(Retail: $39.95)
Description: “D’Adamo Genoma Cleanser is a creamy, super-hydrating formula that gently removes dirt, make-up, and excess oils without stripping essential oils from the skin. Dr. D’Adamo uses the naturally occurring amino dipeptide carnosine to help block chronic glycation. The Cleanser is enhanced with wild-crafted extract of krameria root, a gentle cleanser, and extract of lemon myrtle, long used for healing by indigenous Australians.  As an added benefit, the cleanser can also be used as a hydrating mask.”
Verdict:  Like
There’s not much of a scent and the packaging is on the clinical side.  Unlike the description, I didn’t find it to be “super moisturizing”, but I also didn’t feel like it stripped my skin either. I think it’s a solid cleanser and would appeal to those who are sensitive to scents and particular ingredients.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Age-Inhibiting Toner, 3.53 fl oz (104 ml)
(Retail: $39.95)
Description: D’Adamo Genoma AGE-Inhibiting Toner provides continuous hydration to your skin. Dr. D’Adamo uses three natural mineral peptides to enhance toning of the ligaments underneath the skin, helping to tighten soft and sagging facial muscles. Wild-crafted extracts of milk thistle, neroli flower, and krameria root help to tighten pores and expel trapped dirt and debris.”
I’ve only ever found a couple toners that didn’t make my skin super dry or sting when I applied them.  This one went on smoothly and lifted any of the stubborn bits of mascara and eyeliner that like to appear even after I use a cleanser.  I also loved using this as a makeup remover.  If I get a little too excited with the eyeliner, I just dab a little onto a cotton pad and voila the smudge is gone and my skin is refreshed.

Day & Night
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Day Light Face Cream, 1.67 fl oz (49 ml)

(Retail: $36.95)
Description: “This hydrating Cream plumps up and softens the skin reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. D’Adamo created two powerful herbal combinations for this Cream: a lecithin, carnosine, and milk thistle complex to stop the stiffening of collagen fibers and a date, pomegranate, and strawberry complex to provide superior antioxidant protection. The addition of wild-crafted extract of cassia seed provides moisturizing benefits similar to hyaluronic acid.”
Verdict: Miss
This is a thin, more liquidy day cream.  Like the other products there isn’t much of scent.  I found it just didn’t do much for my skin.  I prefer my day creams to have some kind of spf or more of a brightening effect.  If you like lighter day creams, then this would probably be right up your alley.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Restorative Night Cream, 1.67 fl oz (49 ml)
(Retail: $36.95)
Description: “This is a heavier Cream designed to promote a more intense level of restorative support; improving hydration, firmness, and smoothness of the skin, while reducing wrinkle depth. Dr. D’Adamo blends a proprietary extract of mung bean, known for its anti-irritant properties, with carnosine and yerba mate, known for their ability to block tissue-aging glycation. The addition of wild-crafted clary sage enhances the drainage of the lymphatic channels underneath the skin and enhances tissue detoxification.”
Verdict:  Like
This cream was a bit thicker than the day cream but not quite as rich or thick as most night creams I’ve used.  It applies easy and I think folks who dislike really heavy night creams would like this.  I didn’t find it super moisturizing but I did feel like it helped even out my skin tone a bit.

Eye Cream & Serum
D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Genoma, Eye Cream, .5 fl oz (15 ml)
(Retail: $39.95)
Description: “This hydrating cream, formulated by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, firms and protects, reducing the appearance of fine lines and puffiness around the eyes.”
Verdict:  Hit!
This is possibly the thinnest eye cream I’ve ever tried.  One pump is enough to cover both eyes, below and on the lid.  The consistency is actually refreshing and maybe it’s just willful thinking but I did feel like it diminished the fine lines around my eyes a bit.  Like the other products, in this line not much of a scent.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Anti-Age Serum, .50 fl oz (30 ml)
(Retail: $29.95)
Description: “This light, refreshing serum does double duty. Crafted from organic Trehalose and all-natural botanical extracts, it provides superior hydration to skin cells, while minimizing the appearance of Age-spots. Particularly suited to dry and sensitive skin, this serum will leave your skin looking lighter, brighter, and more luminous. Only the finest wild-crafted herb and botanicals are used in our products, and there are no mineral oils, parabens, paraffin, or petroleum, which can be disruptive to hormonal activity.”
Verdict:  Hit!
As is the theme with the D’Adamo line this product is light with a thinner consistency and not much of a scent.  I used it at night and I felt it did a really great job of evening out my skin and helping smooth out some fine lines.  Personally it was a bit drying, so I probably wouldn’t use this every day and instead alternate with a more hydrating serum.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, 4 fl oz (120 ml)
(Retail: $36.95)

Description: “Montmorillonite, a French green clay, has been used for centuries to detoxify and lift impurities from the skin. Dr. D’Adamo blends botanicals, minerals and organic oils to heal, tone and moisturize, keeping skin smooth and supple. Weekly use of Deep Pore Cleansing Masque leaves skin feeling healthy and purified.”
Verdict:  Hit
This product has the typical clay mask application where you slop on some thick sludge, let it dry and hope for the best.  The mask was ready to remove in about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t difficult to take off, although as is par for the course with these, it was a bit messy.  I thought it did a good job of cleaning out my pores and leaving my skin refreshed.  Sometimes these masks can leave your skin super sensitive or bit worse for the wear, but none of that happened with the D’Adamo mask.

Body Cream & Body Wash
Daily Repair Body Lotion
(Retail: $29.95)
Description: ”Dr. D’Adamo blended aloe vera with shea nut butter to create a body lotion that not only moisturizes, but heals dry and damaged skin.”
Verdict:  Miss
With Body Lotions, I tend to like them to have a nice scent and be super moisturizing.  I found this to be not particularly compelling.  Again not much of a scent and while it moisturized it wasn’t at the level of my usual products.   If you have a lot of allergies this might be a good option for you, but it’s a miss for me.

Cellular Renewal Body Wash
(Retail: $29.95)
Description: ”Cellular Renewal Body Wash contains two key ingredients; vitamin B5 which increases the humectant properties of the skin and plays a role in cellular metabolism, and sodium hyaluronate a naturally occurring substance that penetrates the skin’s basal layer to replenish devitalized cells.”
Verdict:  Miss
This is the first product I tried in the line that actually had a scent.  It was light citrus, but it still wasn’t quite as strong as most women would like in a bodywash.  I didn’t find this hydrating enough for me and like the body lotion I found it pretty pedestrian.

Full Line

I liked this line a lot.   If I had to pick one favorite it would the toner, which I felt left my skin refreshed and did double duty by removing makeup.

This line would appeal to folks who prefer a more streamlined and not uber feminine approach to their skincare.  There’s not much scent, the packaging is more science than beauty and the consistency of the product is a lot less heavy than what you’d expect.  I think if you’re trying to get the man in your life to try a skincare line, this would be a fabulous choice.  It doesn’t have the flowery scents or the girly packaging that often intimidates men from trying out skincare products.  I also think this is a great option for the folks that have a ton of allergies and need to spend an hour reading the label of every product since this line is specifically created to eliminate many allergens.

Overall I enjoyed trying these products. I find the idea that your blood type influences the type of skincare you should use to be very intriguing and something I am going to give more thought to in the future.  The D’Adamo products aren’t as feminine as I typically like in my skincare, but they are solid and high quality.

Do you have any allergies to skincare or makeup?  If so, what products do you find the most problematic?

Coupon Code:
If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at CVF809 for a discount on your first order.
They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

February 2014 Product Review: Pacific Perfumes!

So it’s that time again – time for a monthly product review!  February has brought me a wide variety of solid perfume samples all the way from New Zealand!

Pacific Perfumes creates unique solid perfumes “inspired by the startling South Pacific and the essential elements of earth, fire, sea and air.”  Their products are 100% Sustainable and 100% natural and contain certified organic ingredients.  Their perfumes are “steeped in certified organic golden jojoba oil, then carefully blended with certified organic beeswax to create each of the hand poured fragrances.”  For an extra earthy touch they come in adorable wooden containers.

Now to start, I’m not a perfume person.  I’m super sensitive to scents, and therefore super picky so my perfume collection is somewhat limited.  I do however, love solid perfumes and I think they are highly underrated.  I have a lemon scented one I got from Anthropologie a ways back and I keep it in my commuter bag.  If a chain smoker (or someone else who’s not so fresh sits next to me on the bus), I can just whip it out, dot it on a few strategic points and have a much more pleasantly scented commute.

So all of the perfumes had the same packaging and consistency.  They go on smoothly and they have a really soft, hydrating feel against the skin.  I’m going to go through the scents and give you a description.

Artisan Range
They donate donate $1 from each sale of the Artisan range  to New Zealand Forest & Bird Society

The Wild Goddess:  ($50.00)
  A subtle, very refined scent.  It feels very “uptown girl” to me.
Simply Paradise: ($50.00) This one has that herbal + musk scent to it.  I find it a little on the strong side.
Pure Legend: ($50.00)  This one has a bit of patchouli  and an earthy vibe.

Solid Pefume
Other Scents

Hula Lei:($28.00): Very floral with a hint of the tropics.
Love the Mango: ($28.00) My Pick!  This was my favorite of all the scents I tried.  It’s fruity and fresh, without being synthetic or overly sweet.  A perfect summer scent.
Forest of Ferns: ($28.00) This fragrance is a bit sharper , like a not too sweet citrus mixed with a hint of pinetrees.
Pacific Goddess: ($28.00)  This one has those warm vanilla tones, but it’s not super sweet or synthetic.  I think this scent would appeal to a lot of ladies.
Island Passion: ($28.00) This one is a bit spicy with warm and musky tones.  It almost has a unisex feel to it and I think it would appeal to men as well as women.
Frangipani: (28.00) This one is a super light floral.  If you like just having a hint of perfume, this one is for you.

Verdict: Hit!

I loved the consistency of the perfume.  I found it hydrating and easy to apply.  While I wasn’t in love with all of the scents, I adored the Mango one and would have definitely purchased it at the $28.00 price tag.  I find that solid perfumes last a lot longer than regular ones, so that $28 will go a lot further as compared to a typical perfume spray.  I also totally dug the organic wooden packaging.

If you’re looking for a unique perfume, and you love organic and sustainable ingredients, you should definitely give Pacific Perfumes a try.

Do you have any perfume solids?  What do you think of them?

New Feature: Monthly Product Reviews! January 2014: L’uvalla Organics

So at the beginning of the year I promised you some new features and now I’m ready to deliver.  I’ve got a good friend in California who’s a beauty guru and has the skinny on lots of cool beauty and organic  brands.  Each month she’s going to send me some awesome surprise products to review and thus bringing a little LA style to my NYC life.

So my January surprise came from a brand I am actually familiar with: L’uvalla.  I adore their eye cream and it’s part of my regular beauty routine.  I’ve also sampled a couple of other L’uvalla items in the past.  They are an organic skincare company that manufactures their products in France (ooh la la).

A little on L’uvalla..

According to their site, “L’uvalla (loo-VA-la) means love the spirit within all things.”   Their skin care products only use all natural and certified organic ingredients and are sustainably produced from seed to shelf for optimal environmental preservation.  They use fair trade practices and their beauty products are animal cruelty-free and vegan-approved by COSMEBIO, PETA and Leaping Bunny.

Okay so it sounds like these folks are uber serious about their commitment to nature, but the big question is “How are the products?”

Let’s dig into my mystery box and find out.

Milk Cleanser
Hydrating Milk Cleanser
(Full Size Retail: $26.80)
Verdict:  Hit!
This is a nice milk cleanser and it works well with my Mia Clarisonic.  Personally, I prefer oil cleansers, especially at this time of year, but this was a lovely product.  It has a very light, herbal scent (not perfumey) and didn’t bother my sensitive skin.  If you like milk cleansers, you’ll really enjoy this one.

Night Cream
Age Defying Day/Night Cream with Argan Oil: (Full Size Retail: $47.04)
Hit! (for winter time or those with dry skin)
I had actually sampled this product before and wasn’t that thrilled with it.  I have combination skin and I found that it didn’t absorb well and left my skin a little greasy.  But with the polar vortex + my long commute requiring a lot of outdoor time, my skin has been painfully dry.  I just slathered this on at night and it did a wonderful job of combatting my horrible winter skin.  I don’t think I’ll use this product in summer time, but right now it’s wonderful.  I think folks with very dry skin would like this a lot.

Orange Toner
(Full Size Retail: $23.04)
Verdict: Love!
The only toner I could ever use was one by Bliss that is sadly now discontinued.  I usually skipped toners entirely as I found them to be way too harsh on my skin. But this toner is completely different.  It doesn’t give that harsh burning feeling other toners can and it does a great job of picking up any of that little dirt you may not have scrubbed away.  I also found it to be fabulous as a makeup remover.  I just dab on a cotton square and easily wipe away the many eyeliner smudges from my attempts at winged liner.  The scent is not particularly citrusy.  Like all the of the L’uvalla products I tried, it’s more herbal than perfumey.  The packaging on this products is fabulous (I am a sucker for cobalt blue glass) so I’m happy to leave it out on my bathroom counter (unlike the ugly plastic stuff that gets tucked away).  I would happily buy this at the retail price.  If you’re like me and could never find a toner that worked for you, I’d highly recommend giving this one a shot.

Also included were some sample packets.  (Only the milk cleanser was a repeat of the full size product already included.)

Eye/Lip Cream with Argan Oil
(Full Size Retail: $63.36)
Verdict:  Love!

This is a product that I use regularly.  I know it’s pricey (as eye creams always seem to be) but my eye area is very sensitive and so many things I’ve tried just don’t work.  This consistency on this cream is just right and it absorbs quickly.  I notice an improvement in the little lines around my eyes when I use this product regularly.  I tried other eye creams and they just didn’t work as well, so I went back to this one.   A little of this goes a long way and one tube will last you a very long time.

Balancing Day and Night Cream with Argan Oil: (Full Size Retail: $47.04)
Verdict: On the Fence

This one seems similar to the Age Defying cream and I’d say that it’s probably more suited to my combination skin.  I didn’t have as many applications as the Age Defying cream so it is hard to judge.  I think I might try out the full size of this come summer time.  If it’s as good as the eye cream I know I’ll love it.



I really liked all the products that were sent to me.  I was already sold on the eye cream, but the orange toner was a revelation.  I probably would have passed it by and just assumed it was like all the other toners I’ve tried.  The organic and natural aspects of these products really elevate them above a lot of the other skincare out there.  L’uvalla’s products really make me feel like I’m sitting in a spa in France and that’s something I can use because most of the time I’m sitting in a subway under New York.

What do you think about organic skincare?  Is it a “must have” for you or just a “maybe”?

Coupon Code:
If you want to give these products a shot you can use my code at CVF809 for a discount on your first order.  They are a fabulous place to buy everything from groceries to essential oils and they offer lots of freebies at checkout.

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