Friday, November 22, 2013

"Where the hell have you been?!"

I’m getting that question a lot and for good reason- it’s been a few months since I’ve updated the blog and several weeks since I last posted anything on Facebook or Twitter. Rest assured there’s nothing tragically wrong with me so no need to worry.

The first thing that happened is I got a job in early September. I started The Dragon’s Vanity when I was unemployed and looking for something to fill my time while I was waiting to hear back from potential employers. Staying busy kept me sane. But once I got a job, it demanded more of my time than I had realized.

I am the Counter Manager for both Clarins and Elizabeth Arden at my local Younkers store. I had never used any products from either of those brands before (I had never even heard of Clarins before). This is my first retail job, my first sales job, the first time I’ve had someone working under me, and my first cosmetics job. Needless to say, I had a LOT to learn in a short amount of time.

Clarins sent me to Chicago for 2 days in October to learn about their product line, and they had several online training courses to go through to learn further. I had been hired on just after the last Elizabeth Arden training class, so the Account Executive stopped by my store to give me training on their products, gave me training material to review on my own, and they also recently got some online training courses up and running.

I was studying and learning both brands on the fly while also learning how to sell products in a retail setting and manage a part-timer under me. I spent many nights doing ‘homework’ on the products and brands I was responsible for selling. It’s been a lot but it’s also been very rewarding.

My skin care and makeup routines have changed now that I get Gratis from the brands I sell. I don’t think I will talk much about work or the products I use because I don’t want that conflict of interest here, suffice it to say my Rosacea is happy and my skin looks great.

The other thing that’s taken some of my time is Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. If you know anything about these illnesses, you know they can be terribly debilitating. Even a crowbar can’t get me out of bed some days. I spent most of 2010 in ‘The Danger Zone’ of this illness and have been working with professionals to manage and control it.

After 3 years of coping with this, I can now manage and control it without medication during the summer months. I use meditation and self-talk techniques that were taught to me by my Psychiatrist and Therapist. I also spend an hour each day in direct sunlight. I can’t put sunblock on for these therapeutic sunning sessions because that prevents the UV rays from penetrating the skin to produce natural Vitamin D, which is the whole point of this for me. Since I’m a Ginger and burn very easily, I break my hour up into 10-20 minute chunks.  I also take a daily Multi-Vitamin with 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D.

But from mid-November to mid-April, all of that just isn’t enough (and it’s too damn cold to sit outside in a t-shirt for an hour). I need medication to chemically balance me. It took almost a year for my Psychiatrist and General Practice Doctors and I to find the right combination and dosage of medications to restore the balance in my brain. Every person’s own chemistry is different, and that’s why there are so many drugs on the market that work differently to treat the same things.  It takes time to get it right.

The solution we finally found was a combination of Sertraline (Zoloft), Buproprion (Wellbutrin), and Buspirone (Buspar) every day, and a low dosage of Propranolol (Inderal) as needed.  The first 3 balance and maintain my mood, and the last one is literally my “Chill Pill” for when I feel an Anxiety Attack coming on. It’s actually a blood pressure medication, but when prescribed in low-doses as-needed for Anxiety it prevents the heart from racing and therefore stops the panic before it gets out of control.

In late-October I start easing myself onto the medications. I take ½ the normal doses I am prescribed to get my system used to the effects. Most of the Serotonin receptors are actually in the stomach. These medications increase the activity in the stomach, thereby increasing acid production. If I jump right in and take the full doses I’m supposed to, I get so much acid in my gut in just a few hours that I have to throw it up. It literally feels like I’ve swallowed battery acid. Not fun. So after the ‘transition’ period I step up to the full doses. I do the same when I come off them in the spring- for the last several weeks I take ½ the amount of medication before stopping altogether for the warm, sunny months.

This year I started my transition a bit later than I should have due to financial concerns. This week I finally stepped up to the full doses of medication, but of course these things take time to build up in the system. While I haven’t been back to ‘The Danger Zone’, I haven’t been functioning in day-to-day life either. Luckily my manager understands the challenges one faces when dealing with MDD and Anxiety, so she has been working with me while I readjust for the season. I wish more people were that understanding.

All that to say I’ve been working, and lately, depressed. I decided to go in to all that just in case it can offer hope and help to anyone else out there battling this.

Anyway, I haven’t done much nail art, though I still do my own clear acrylic nails and color block manis and pedis. I also do my mom’s clear gel manicure every 2 weeks. I’m slowly looking in to possibly going to school for my Nail Tech license, but finding funding for it has been challenging. I’ll keep you posted if/when anything develops on that.

I have been working on a post on my new hair style and the products and tools I use to maintain it, but I can’t guarantee when that will be up.


Thanks for sticking around. Regardless of what goes on in my life, The Dragon's Vanity will always be a part of it. I hope you all have a great holiday season. {Hugs}




Friday, September 6, 2013

Koi Mani


Koi Markings mani - Shade
Koi Mani

Hi folks! I'm out of town for the weekend, but I'm so excited about this manicure that I couldn't wait until Monday to feature it.  Its inspired by Koi and the various markings each breed has.  I've always thought Koi were beautiful creatures and their colors are perfect for this transitional period between Summer and Fall!


I used this photo for inspiration and reference.

Left Hand
Pinkie = 8
Ring = 13
Middle = 17
Index = 19
Thumb = My own creation

 
Right Hand
Pinkie = 32
Ring =  18
Middle = 35
Index = 21
Thumb = 7



Oranges
Zoya - Kyle2;  Starrily - Walking On Fire;  Zoya - Kate

Whites
JulieG - White Orchid;  Zoya - Ginessa

Blacks
JulieG - Black Sheep;  Starrily - Flight of the Bumblebee

Top Coats
Zoya - Hurry Up Fast Dry Drops*;  Zoya - Chloe;  Sally Hansen - Diamond Flash


I started with a coat of JulieG - White Orchid on all of my nails except my right middle finger and right thumb.  I followed the white with a coat of Zoya - Ginessa.  For the bare thumb and finger started with a Jelly Sandwich of Zoya - Kylie2, then Starrily - Walking On Fire, then Zoya - Kate.

From there, I used a dotting tool to make the patterns and markings on the nails, sometimes overlapping colors (like on the left Index finger).  The more imperfect it is, the better it looks- it reminded me of doing leopard print in that sense!  Anytime I wanted orange in places I followed the same Jelly Sandwich process to keep the look congruent.

For the black areas, I kept the Flight Of The Bumblebee sparse, and overlapped onto the white just a little to get a few of the tiny black glitters to show up. I did the same in a few places with Walking On Fire, just to add to the 'scale' look.  I added Zoya - Chloe over each nail before topcoating.  Chloe really shows off her magic over dark polishes, and in this look she adds a slight 'scaley' texture to the black areas without adding color.

My left thumb ended up with a Gradient/Jelly Sandwich combo, which I think turned out really cool.
Koi Markings mani - Sunlight
Direct sunlight


I tried a more simple, abstract version of this before removing it and trying for more realistic markings.  I think this lovely too and perfect for someone who wants this look but isn't confident in their nail art skills.  Its just layering glitters over base colors!

Abstract Koi markings achieved by layering glitters.
Abstract Koi markings achieved by layering glitters.
For this I used:
JulieG - Black Sheep
JulieG - White Orchid
Zoya - Kylie2
Starrily - Walking On Fire
Starrily - Flight of the Bumblebee
Starrily - White Noise
JulieG - Cleopatra's Cobra
Zoya - Chloe
Sally Hansen - Diamond Flash Top Coat

You could also change this up by doing the solid orangey-coral color on all your nails and doing a Koi Pattern on an accent nail if these are too busy for your liking.


So there's some ideas for a different animal print to try out!  You could use any orange, black, or white polish, and several brands make Mylar top coats now, but I must say that Starrily's glitters** are fabulous for this look!


If you decide to recreate these looks, please share some photos with me at thedragonsvanity@gmail.com or on The Dragon's Vanity Facebook page!  Have a great weekend everyone!


*There are a LOT of layers in this look so the Fast-Dry Drops helped ensure each layer was cured before the next layer went over it.  You could probably do this look without them, but it would take forever for it to dry.

**No, I am not being compensated for mentioning Starrily, I just really like their products and believe in supporting small businesses.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I still have faith in Batman

Yeah, how d'ya like them apples?

Batman is my absolute favorite superhero.  My first exposure was Batman The Animated Series on Fox.  I used to rush home after school so I could catch the full episode.  Since then I've loved everything Batman.  Batman is a total badass regardless of the incarnation, but as a character, an idea, he's had some ups and downs. (Who hasn't?!)

The recent news that has fans and critics foaming at the mouth is that Ben Affleck has been cast to play the Dark Knight in the upcoming Superman/Batman movie.  The popular consensus is that this is a horrible idea and that Mr. Affleck will ruin the whole movie.

Two people taught me valuable lessons that apply to the current Batman/Ben Affleck/Batfleck nerd crises on the intarwebz.

1) Christopher Nolan has taught me not to put so much weight on casting choices.  I questioned Christian Bale and he turned out great.   I questioned Heath Ledger and he turned out amazing.   I questioned Anne Hathaway and she turned out great.   Here's a few other controversial casting choices in just the comic world alone that turned out fine:


Michael Keaton as Batman
Henry Cavil as The Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner
Kelsey Grammer as The Beast


I'm more interested in the director and writer.  Here's the math as I see it:

[Great Acting] + [Terrible Writing/Terrible Direction] = (more often than not) Awful Movie.
[Terrible Acting] + [Great Writing/Great Direction] = (worst case scenario) Tolerable Movie.

You can have the best acting in the world, but if the story is shit and the direction is nonexistent  you'll be watching a hot mess on-screen.  However if the acting is sub-par but the script is gold and the direction is on-point, then at absolute worst-case scenario you'll get an okay movie at the end; Most often it equates to acceptable and somewhat entertaining.  By this math, the acting doesn't have near the weight as writing and directing. 

No one is going to know for sure what this particular movie's formula is until its actually complete and we all either pay for insanely overpriced tickets to see it in the theater or break the law and stream it into our living rooms on our laptops.  And this leads me to the second person & lesson:

2) My mother taught me 'Don't judge a book by its cover.'  That advice can easily be modified to fit many circumstances, like 'Don't judge a makeup product by its price,' 'Don't judge a person by their clothes,' and 'Don't judge a movie by its lead actor(s)/actress(es).'

No one knows how well this thing is going to turn out until its actually turned out.  So STFU internet... and wipe your chin, you still have a little foam there...

It doesn't matter who plays Batman, who writes the story, if the next incarnation is a graphic novel, an animated series, or a live-action, if its a reboot, prequel or sequel, and regardless if it blows my socks off or sucks ass...


I still have faith in Batman.





PS:
To those of you who say 'Daredevil,' I say 'Good Will Hunting.' :P




Friday, August 23, 2013

Is Your Makeup Gross? Clean Makeup Series Part 3: Testers


In a previous post I talked about easy ways to clean your makeup brushes.  In this series, I've covered Expiration Dates and Sanitation of your own makeup.  Today is the 3rd and final part of my Clean Makeup Series, and its something that really grosses me out: Testers.  Let me start with a little Public Service Announcement:


FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR 

DO NOT
PUT ANY PRODUCT FROM A TESTER 
ON ANY PART OF YOUR FACE 
UNLESS YOU HAVE AN ASSOCIATE 
SANITIZE IT FIRST!
Various testers at my local mall
Various testers at my local mall

I'm completely serious.  You have no idea what kind of germs the last person who used it left behind.   Would you like to get pink eye or a stye?   No?   Then keep tester eye products away from your eyeballs!   You're just asking for a cold or a cold sore when you use a tester lipstick straight from the tube.  At least 80 people rubbed their grubby little fingers all over that sample makeup brush before you picked it up wiped it all over your face- remember that when you wake up to a breakout tomorrow.

The ideal scenario is that you flag down an associate, politely ask them to sanitize the tester so you can use it, and they sanitize it again when you're done with it.  I know we do not live in a perfect world.  So lets pretend there isn't an associate available who can sanitize this product for you; How do you figure out if the color will look good on you without putting it on your face?
  • If you didn't bring any alcohol or tissues with you to sanitize the product yourself (who does that, anyway?!), then just swatch it on the back of your hand and hold it up to your face to get an idea of what the product would look like on your skin tone. 
  • If that doesn't cut it, just buy the dang thing and try it at home.   If you end up hating it you can simply return it.   ANY returned makeup gets shipped back to the manufacturer so they can dispose of the used product and recycle the packaging.  You never have to worry about buying 2nd hand makeup at the store.
  • One last thing about testing Mascaras: If you read the product description of any mascara, you'll notice that at least half the hype is about the design of the mascara wand. But if you want to hygienically try it out you have to use a generic disposable mascara wand. This means you are really only testing 1/2 the product. 
    • The best way to test a mascara with its original wand is to apply the mascara to your arm hair. No, it isn't the same as applying it to your lashes, but you can get an idea of what the formula and wand combo have to offer you without any unexpected yuckiness near your eyeball. 
    • And again if this doesn't cut it for you just buy it and try it at home. You can always return it if it doesn't work for you.

I hope this last post has opened your eyes to the risks involved with Testers and how to avoid those risks while still finding the right product for you.  I also hope this 3-Part Clean Makeup Series has helped some of you with keeping your makeup clean and keeping your face healthy. Thanks for reading and enjoy your clean makeup!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is Your Makeup Gross? Clean Makeup Series Part 2: Sanitation

Is your makeup gross? Clean Makeup Tips
Hello again, and welcome to Part 2 of this 3-Part Series about clean makeup practices! If you missed Part 1, be sure to check that out for important information on Makeup Expiration Dates.  

Part 2: Sanitation

I sanitize my own personal makeup every few months.  If I'm doing someone else's makeup, then EVERYTHING gets sanitized before it touches someone else, including the makeup brushes.  When I'm done, it all gets sanitized again before I use it on myself.  I don't want their germs any more than they want mine.

I use the following products when I sanitize my makeup:
  • A little spray bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol.  Higher concentrations evaporate too quickly so they don't do as good a job of sanitizing.  Its all about the science, baby!
  • Paper towels.  I prefer them over tissues because they leave less lint behind.
  • My pencil sharpener.  


Potted or Panned Creams or Powders
Wipe the surface of the product off with a clean paper towel, then spray with alcohol.  Allow the alcohol to evaporate before closing or using. 

Traditional Pencils/Sticks 
Use your makeup pencil sharpener to shave off the top layer of product.  Spray with alcohol & allow it to evaporate before closing or using.

Automatic Pencils/Sticks & Lipsticks
Twist up a little of the product, gently wipe off the surface of the product with a clean paper towel/tissue.  Hold the product upside down and spray with alcohol.  This keeps the alcohol from running down inside the packaging and compromising the integrity of the creamy stick of product, thus reducing the risk of breakage.  Allow the alcohol to evaporate before closing or using.

Pumps, Bottles, Squeezy Tubes, & Sprays
Wipe off the nozzle/opening with a clean paper towel/tissue, spray with alcohol & allow it to dry before using.  Remember to do the same to any caps before closing the product back up.

Lip Glosses, Liquid Lipsticks, Pen or Inkwell-Type Eyeliners, Clickey Pens, & Mascaras
You can't really sanitize these products due to the nature of their packaging and applicators.  If you suspect your product has been compromised, just be safe and either pitch it or recycle it.  If you plan to use one of these products on someone else, there are a couple rules you should follow:
  • If you've already used the product on yourself, open a new one to use on the other person.  They don't want your germs any more than you want theirs. 
    • If you're going to use the applicator that came with the product, just give the other person the newly-opened product once you're finished.  You won't be able to safely use it on anyone else, including yourself, because it can't be sanitized.
    • If you're keeping the product, DO NOT use the applicator that came with the product to apply on the other person.  Instead, use a disposable applicator or Q-tip to fish some product out onto a palette or the back of your hand first, and then use a brush or Q-tip to apply.  NEVER DOUBLE-DIP; If you need more product get a fresh disposable applicator or Q-tip to fish some more out.

That's all for Part 2, be sure to come back Friday for Part 3: Testers!  And if you missed them, be sure to read Part 1: Expiration Dates and my Makeup Brush post for brush-cleaning tips.




Monday, August 19, 2013

Is Your Makeup Gross? Clean Makeup Series Part 1: Expiration Dates

Is your makeup gross? Clean Makeup Tips
Recently I put up a post about my Makeup Brush Collection.  In that I talked about how I spot-clean and deep-clean my makeup brushes and how often I clean them.  That got me thinking about the cleanliness of my actual makeup, and how just as with makeup brushes, a lot of folks don't realize they need to clean their makeup too.  So I thought I would put together this series of posts explaining how I know when to throw out my makeup, how I keep it clean, and how to handle makeup testers in stores. 


Part 1: Expiration Dates

The primary thing to be aware of, as with anything that expires or goes bad, are your senses.  Has the smell, texture, (in some cases, taste) or color of the product changed since the day you first opened it?  If so, get rid of it.  I don't care what the expiration date on the package is, I don't care what the general rule of thumb is, and I really don't care if it was limited edition or how much it cost!  If any of those things change its better to be safe than sorry and assume it has gone bad.  The only exception is if you JUST got the product- if it smells weird or is too clumpy or something like that, consider returning it and getting a replacement from a different batch/lot number.

The second thing to be aware of is that makeup does actually have an expiration date, and it is printed on the product's primary packaging.  It looks like an open jar and will have a number & letter in it.  24M means 24 months, 3M means 3 months, etc.  This tells you how long you can typically safely use the product from the first time it was OPENED.  This means the date you actually opened the product, not the date you first used it.  So for example if you got something for Christmas and swatched it right then, but didn't actually use it until July, you're already 6 months in on your expiration 'timer.'


Expiration Dates printed on various products
Expiration Dates printed on various products
So how do I keep track of when I need to throw a product out?  I'll be honest, I don't even bother tracking eye shadow and other powder products because they last so long and they're very easy to sanitize.  Until recently I relied more on the sensory ques than the printed expiration dates.  It was all very vague and full of guessing: 'I think I got this on my birthday so that was how many months ago?" 

But now that I have a Brush Cleaning Calendar, I'm going to use that same calendar and write the name of the product on the date I opened it.  This way I can easily see exactly when its time to throw a product away.


What if the expiration date isn't printed on the product,
 or what if it rubbed off? 

What follows are industry generalizations on expiration 'timers' for different types of products.  I got these generalizations from Koren of EnKore Makeup.  Again, the expiration date stamped on your product trumps these generalizations, and the sensory ques trump all.

Cream Products: 1 year
gel/ cream eyeliners & eye shadow bases
cream shadow sticks
eyeliner & lipliner pencils
lipsticks, lipstick crayons, lip glosses, & lip balms
cream foundations, blushes, highlighters, & bronzers
primers
moisturizers

Sprays: 1 year
refresher, setting, and finishing sprays
spray-on foundation
spray-on bronzers

Powders: 2-3 years
loose, mineralized, pressed or baked foundation, blush, bronzer, highlighter, & eyeshadow

Liquid Foundations: 6-8 months
liquid foundations in pumps, tubes, or bottles

Liquid Liner and Mascara: 3 months
liquid eyeliner pens/markers
inkwell-style liquid eyeliner
any mascara


A Note About Recycling

When its time to chuck that mascara please consider aiming for a tote destined for a makeup counter rather than your trash can.

Several brands are now accepting makeup and beauty empties so they can properly recycle the packaging and reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.  Some companies like Aveda, MAC, and Lush will only accept their own packaging, but
Origins will accept ANY cosmetic brand's empties!  I'm sure there are others out there too, feel free to do your own research if you don't have an Origins store or counter near you.


Return to Origins Recycling Program
Return to Origins Recycling Program


That's it for Part 1 of this series, be sure to come back on Wednesday for Part 2: Sanitation- Keeping Your Makeup Clean!




Monday, August 5, 2013

Mani Monday 5

Vol V

It’s Mani Monday again!  We skipped last week’s Mani Monday but no one seemed too bent out of shape about it.  However I wasn't going to press my luck and skip it again this week!

*****
Sheer looks are just that- sheer polish with intentionally visible nail line.
Distraction: OPI Which is Witch?
Distraction
I know this is a glitter polish, but its sheer enough that I decided to include it in my Sheer category this week.
2 coats OPI - Which is Witch?
1 coat China Glaze - Fairy Dust
1 coat INM Out The Door Top Coat

*****

 Color-Block mani could be simply one color on all 10 digits, one color on 8 digits with a different color on 2 accent nails, or it could be Skittles nails where each nail is a different color.  The only rule for this category is a limit of one color per nail.
Asphalt: Zoya Harley & Zoya London
Asphalt
Sally Hansen had a competition going on this summer with nail art (I never entered, just watched for inspiration).  One of their categories was Street or City or something like that.  I got to thinking about textures and came up with this colorblock.  I never went further with putting graffiti or art or anything on it because I liked its simplicity.

Zoya - London on pinkie, middle, and index fingers
Zoya - Harley on ring finger & thumb with INM Out The Door top coat
I reversed these on the other hand.

*****
Glitter manis are either glitter by itself or layered with another color.

Zoya Erika & OPI Lights of Emerald City
Its a Party!
This one looked like a baby shower on the nails, very Spring. 
2 coats Zoya - Erika
1 coat OPI - Lights of Emerald City
1 coat INM Out The Door Top Coat

*****

Stamp Art is nail art done with the help of a stamping kit like 
Salon Express or Konad.
Zoya Jelly Mani with stamp art
Flutterbye
I wanted to make a 'scene' on a finger with this so I played with layering and depth.
2 coats Zoya - Belle
Stamped the flower with Konad White and Salon Express stamping kit
2 more coats Zoya - Belle
Stamped the butterfly with Konad White and Salon Express stamping kit
added dots for the 'flight pattern' with Migi Nail Art Pen - White
The rest of the nails have 4 coats of Zoya - Belle.


*****

Freehand Art is done without stamping, but can still use tools like tape, fine brushes, or dotters to achieve the look.
Zoya & Its So Easy leopard print
Wild Side
This was my first-ever leopard print and I can't believe I had never done it before- its so easy and looks great! I played with patterns a bit, doing just 1/2 the nail, the whole nail, a french tip, and a diagonal on the thumb.
3 coats Zoya - Felicity
Its So Easy Stripe Rite - Black
Migi Nail Art Pen - Gold Glitter
1 coat INM Out The Door Top Coat

*****

I hope you enjoyed this week's installment of
 Mani Monday!  Which look was your favorite?  If you have a mani or pedi you'd like to share, please share them with me on Facebook,  Google+InstagramPinterest, or Twitteror you can email them to me at TheDragonsVanity@gmail.com! I'll feature it in an upcoming Mani Monday!

Want to see more? Check out the previous Mani Mondays!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What I look for in a Makeup Wipe


So many choices, what should you use?
I've mentioned it before, I have Rosacea Type 2 on my cheeks.  It isn't super severe but I want to take care of my skin so it doesn't get worse or spread.  I use Pevonia’s RS2 line and it works quite well for me.  However there are a few other things I use in my skin care routine that I think really helps the expensive Pevonia do its thing as efficiently as possible.

The main thing I do is I remove my makeup before I wash my face.  I know to some folks that sounds like washing the dishes before sticking them in the dish washer, but hear me out. 

If you use your cleanser to take your makeup off, you’re using all of that cleanser’s energy just getting that makeup off.  By the time you rinse and pat your face dry, the only thing you've accomplished is removing makeup.  Any extra benefits your cleanser claims to have won’t have had a chance to take effect on your skin because it was spent just removing your makeup.

Using a makeup remover or a makeup wipe first means that your skin is bare and ready for your cleanser to actually do the things it says it’s going to do, whether that’s fighting acne or calming Rosacea or exfoliating pores or whatever it is.

I prefer the makeup wipe method because it’s easy, convenient, portable, and the wipes can serve multiple functions (cleaning hands, spot-cleaning makeup brushes, personal hygiene in a pinch, etc).  But the problem with makeup removers is that so many of them are so very harsh.  I've seen a makeup remover wipe take the finish off of a table.  Really, do you need (or want) that kind of potency when removing your mascara?!  I sure don’t!

So when I started my search for the perfect makeup wipe, the first place I looked was the ingredients list.  (If you didn't figure it out from my Setting Spray Review, I'm definitely a label reader.)  What I like to see are skin-soothing ingredients like chamomile, rose,  aloe, and vitamin E.  Anything with alcohol, fragrance, salicylic/beta-hydroxy acid or alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids) went right back on the shelf because those are well-known skin irritants.  My final requirement is that they need to be cheap- under 30 cents each.  Bonus points for being nice to the environment.  

After searching through all the makeup remover wipes and face wipes with no luck, I walked over to the baby section and started reading the baby wipe ingredients.  I got closer and closer until I found my Holy Grail makeup remover wipe.  It was the Walgreens Renew Naturals Soft & Gentle Bio-degradable Wipes (unscented).  These were the absolute best makeup wipes I've ever used.  Ever.  They had 10 ingredients total and they were made from environmentally sustainable, organically grown, biodegradable bamboo fiber.  They took all my makeup off without irritating my skin or eyes, and they smelled wonderful even though they were unscented.  I just can’t say enough about these things. 

Walgreens Renew Naturals Soft & Gentle Bio-degradable Wipes (unscented)
The best wipes ever.
And then Walgreens discontinued them a few months ago. 

[insert dramatic music and lighting
*drops to my knees
NNNYYYOOOOOHHHH!!!!! Curse you Walgreeeennnnssss!!! 
*shakes fist in the air*

Sorry about that...  Anyway, I started my search again.  After a month or so of looking I found some baby wipes that would tide me over until I found my new HG wipe.  It’s the Gentle-Touch B Baby Wipes by Field Day.  I found these at my local New Pioneer Food Coop, but they also have a website.  The package claims they’re “alcohol free, gentile & soft for baby’s skin, hypoallergenic, free of dyes & fragrances, whitened without chlorine bleach, and contains natural aloe vera & vitamin E.”

Field Day Baby Gentle-Touch Baby Wipes
Field Day Baby Gentle-Touch Baby Wipes
Here’s the ingredients and what they do:

Water (filtered water)
I’m sure you can figure this one out without any help. ;)

Decyl Glucoside (a mild surfactant) 
According to Wikipedia, this is “a mild non-ionic surfactant used in cosmetic formulas including baby shampoo and in products for individuals with a sensitive skin. Many natural personal care companies use this cleanser because it is plant-derived, biodegradable, and gentle for all hair types.

Glycerin (soothes and cleans)
Glycerin is used in medical and pharmaceutical and personal care preparations, mainly as a means of improving smoothness, providing lubrication and as a humectant.

Less than 1% of:
Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (preservative)
This seemed like it was going to be a deal-breaker after reading this article about it.  But at the time I had run out of my backups of the Walgreens wipes and needed something.  So I got these wipes anyway as they had the least ‘offensive’ ingredients list of any I had found locally.  I liked that they didn’t use a parabens as the preservative, but wished they would have used Tea Tree Oil instead like Walgreens did.

Simethicone
According to Wikipedia, this “is an oral anti-foaming agent”.  I would imagine it’s been put in this product to reduce any foaming the water and decyl glucoside may produce.

Citric Acid (stabilizer, balances pH levels) 
I know this is on my 'no' list but it’s in an extremely small concentration so it’s unlikely to cause a problem on the skin. And as stated before, I needed something at the time.

Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E- moisturizes and protects)
Another ingredient I don’t think you need help figuring out.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (aloe vera)
Another ingredient I don’t think you need help figuring out.

Field Day Baby Gentle-Touch Baby Wipes
Field Day Baby Gentle-Touch Baby Wipes
I do like that the ingredients list isn't super long with a ton of junk that doesn't need to be there.  KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).  As the package promises, they don’t contain any alcohol, fragrance, or dyes.  The main preservative isn't a paraben, but it isn't the nicest of chemicals out there either.  I don't like that it uses citric acid as a preservative because this is a known skin irritant.  These wipes do contain aloe & vitamin E as promised, but since they’re the last 2 ingredients in the list I would guess they’re only there in trace amounts. ~grumble~   

The actual wipes themselves are very soft to the touch and don’t feel scrubby or scratchy to the skin, which makes my Rosacea happy.  They're 6.3 inches by 7.9 inches, and are a nice thickness- not too thick so you can't feel what you're doing, but not so thin that your finger nails poke right through them.

How do they work?  My experience is that they work pretty well actually.  They remove my makeup relatively easily with little scrubbing, even eye makeup and glitter comes off with them*.  I noticed that have to work at my lashes a bit more with these than I did with the Walgreens wipes to get all the mascara off.  I don’t notice any excessive redness on my face, and I don't experience any stinging on my sensitive cheeks or in my eyes (I wear contacts). 

I do notice my face feeling a little ‘tight’ just after using one of these, which means its sucked all the oils out of my face.  This can be a bad thing, but the feeling goes away relatively quickly and I don't feel like my face is overcompensating by getting really oily.  However I never had this issue with the Walgreens wipes.

I have had a few really late nights where I used all the energy I had left to remove my makeup with a wipe just before crashing into bed; no actual skin care routine was performed.  I woke up the next morning with OK skin- no excess dryness, redness, or irritation.  My face would have felt more normal had I done my skin care routine the night before, but it wasn't awful.

I’m still on the hunt for the ‘perfect’ makeup wipe, something as similar as possible to the Walgreens brand baby wipes I used to adore, but for now I think these will do OK.   Someone who’s less picky than me might find these to be their own Holy Grail wipe so that’s why I decided to share this find and my experience with it.

So what do you use to remove your makeup?  Do you have any suggestions to help me out on my search for my new perfect makeup wipe?  Leave me a comment below!


*please note the most long-lasting, water-proof makeup I wear are the Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils and Glide-On Liners.