Sunday Pamper Session: Faves and First Impressions (Review)

s1589472-main-heroEarlier this month I celebrated a birthday– the big 22 (cue the TSwift). Everyone knows the best part about celebrating a birthday is the free gift from Sephora, so naturally I waltzed in there today to buy something super cheap so that I could get my birthday present from the beauty gods. This inspired me to get my face super clean and give myself a bit of a skincare treatment.

First Impression: After removing my make-up with coconut oil and a wash cloth, I decided to try out the skincare tool I actually purchased from Sephora today– a konjac sponge! I’ve been wanting to try out one of these bad boys for a long time, but keep forgetting about it when i’m in beauty stores. These sponges come in a pack of two for fifteen dollars (one charcoal purifying sponge and one pink smoothing sponge). They’re sephora brand.

Instructions say to put them into warm water to soften them (they feel like a soft rock IMG_0501when you open the package). After soaking, the texture of the sponge falls somwhere between the grittiness of a sea sponge and a synthetic dish sponge

Favorite: I let my konjac sponge soak for about 2 minutes before taking it out and applying one pump of my FAVORITE CeraVe Cleanser. I use this cleanser with my fingers every night, but
since I have a new tool I figure I’d stick to something familiar to give my skin a security blanket of sorts. IMG_0503

The cleanser got significantly more foam-y when using the sponge. I massaged t
he cleanser into my skin for about a minute using the konjac IMG_0507sponge, and surprisingly my face wasn’t red at all after rinsing (something that typically happens when I deep clean. Despite not receiving a harsh exfoliation, my skin felt supple after rinsing as if I had scrubbed with a microbead cleanser.

First Impression: After rinsing, I decided to try out a part of my Fresh Skincare  Birthday Gift that I received for free from Sephora. I used the Fresh Rose Face Mask.

The mask was a brown gel consistency and was easily smoothed over my skin. Immediately I felt the mask toning my pores and refreshing my face. The smell was fresh and rosy, but not too strong. I let the mask dry on my face for about 7 minutes before rinsing it easily off with just warm water.

First Impression: After patting my face dry, I decided to try yet another new product I received today. This time the product was sent to me by Leven Rose to try at a discounted rate for my honest review.

This Neroli water (or Orange Blossom) smelled to me like honeysuckle (which I loved) and felt very gentle on my skin. I am not yet able to tell if it did anything for my skin, but it sure felt luxurious going on!

Favorite: Then I applied this AcneFree night cream I’ve been using for the past few weeks. I can’t say I’ve noticed anything super dramatically different about my skin, but I can say it moisturizes deeply and hasn’t broken my skin out.

Favorite: Last, but not least, I applied what I have left of a Merle Norman Eye Cream I received from a friend. It is one of the most rich in texture eye creams I’ve ever used from a tube, and definitely moisturizes adequately.

Whether or not any of the skincare I used tonight made a real difference, it left me feeling pampered and like I was trying my best! So far, I approve of all of the new products and tools I used tonight, and am still loving my faves! Now, I’m off to watch the new Game of Thrones episode! YAY!


Review: Botanics Iconic Clay Mask

Disclosure: This is my Holy Grail skincare product and I am a long-time lover of this mask.


IMG_0468I’m on my third tube of this mask, so I figured I’d share why I love it so much. I first tried this bad boy out at my friend Robyn’s house. We were having a wine and pamper night and her mom had picked it up for her at target (which is the only place I’ve ever seen it in stores, let me know if you know of somewhere else to get it). I fell in love IMG_0460and haven’t looked back.

The mask is a wonderful stereotypical green color and smells like metallic dirt. Fair warning: the consistency is a little watery and you must shake the tube before each use because the product’s ingredients settle a bit between uses. It dries super quickly. I took this picture one minute after application and it was already mostly dry. I like to leave it on for approximately 15-20 minutes, but I never time it.

IMG_0469Now we get to my favorite part of this mask– you can literally see the oil and impurities leaving your skin. As the mask begins to work, the part of the mask covering your t-zone will darken over your pores. This grosses a lot of my friends out, but I love being able to see my skincare working.  After I’m done with the mask, I rinse off in the sink. Some people like to remove it with a wet washcloth, but I find it rinses clean with just warm water. Then I moisturize and go to bed! I use this mask once a week, and it’s dramatically changed my skin for the better. I find it keeps my oil-loving pores at bay without being overly drying.

y’all, I implore you to head to target and buy a tube of this stuff. I hope you like it as much as I do! My kitten approves!


Review: GVP Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Shampoo & Conditioner + GVP Smoothing Serum

Who doesn’t like Paul Mitchell Shampoo? Seriously. I love the stuff. A while back my mom bought me the Awapuhi Shampoo (because I’m poor and can’t afford it myself) and I fell in love. Because of the high price point, it quickly became a “special occasion” shampoo that I could only use occasionally for fear of it running out (Does anyone else do this? Let me know so I don’t feel crazy.)

Well, I had a $5 coupon at Sally Beauty Supply so I decided to go there and treat myself earlier this week. I’ve been on this lavender kick lately– I diffuse lavender in my room, use lavender in my bath, I’ve been drinking lavender lemonade, etc. SO upon browsing the products in the hair care aisle of Sally I was so excited to see these:


These claim to be comparable to Paul Mitchell Lavender Mint Shampoo & Conditioner.

GVP aims to imitate high end beauty products and even boasts identical ingredient lists on the back of each product, so because of both my love of Paul Mitchell and my love of Lavender I picked up the shampoo and the conditioner.

The packaging obviously isn’t what GVP is known for: it’s plain and cheap feeling. However, you get what you pay for– and in this case you’re paying for the product itself which is awesome. The money you pay for a GVP product goes toward to goop you’re putting on your body, not the bottle it comes in or the marketing that sells it.

The shampoo has a pearly white slippery consistency and is easy to distribute throughout the scalp. It lathers up nicely and has a lovely fresh lavender and tea tree scent. The entire lathering experience brings me back to the last time I was having my hair washed in a salon because of the expensive smell of the shampoo. It rinses easily and doesn’t feel like it’s stripping the hair of moisture.

The conditioner has the same lavender and tea tree scent. The consistency wasn’t too runny or too thick– it was pure white and went into my hair with plenty of slip. One of the biggest things I NEED my conditioner to do is detangle the dread locks that develop on the underside of my hair by the end of the day– and this conditioner did that with no problem. It rinsed clean and left my hair smooth and I even think it helped my hair dry a little faster.

Bonus: IMG_0389.JPG

I also bought the GVP version of the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum– which is a hair favorite of many of us. At least 7 different hair dressers have used it on my hair but I couldn’t ever talk myself into spending the money for it. I found the Smoothing Serum to be equal in performance and you definitely get more bang for your buck. My super curly hair was less frizzy and SO SUPER soft. It also smells super fresh and delicious– almost like blueberry? I might be wrong.


At the end of the day, these products probably aren’t as good as the Paul Mitchell products but for less than half the price and identical ingredients a girl can’t complain. If you’re at Sally Beauty Supply, pick these up and let me know what you think!