Over the years that I have been doing this blog I have shared a lot of things related to skin care and skin health. But there is one thing I realize I have never shared with you, the actually journey from having a full-blown damaged skin from having a reaction to thriving healthy skin.
So after my skin being dried out from air travel on our vacation to being neglected after falling ill, and now I have had a major reaction that has left me with a rash all over my face. I thought this would be the perfect time to not only share my skin care journey with you, but also show you how much of a difference each product you add to your skin care routine can make in the way your skin looks and feels.
Here is how I want to go about this. I have taken pictures that of how my skin looks now. You can see that below. I am starting out with the three products I consider to the basic necessities of my skin care routine. For me the three things I always have to have is a some sort of an exfoliator, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. After three days I will take a new picture of where my skin is at, and I will add an additional product. I will keep this process going in three-day increments until I am using 9 products for a full Korean skin care regimen. (I originally planned on seven, but I thought why not do a full 9 step routine to show people what that looks like and what a difference it makes.) At the very end I will show you all what the side beside pictures of beginning and end look like.
Before we talk about the exact products I started with, lets take a look at where I am starting with my skin.
You can only see tiny bits of the problems in this full face picture, so I am also going to share a couple of closeups.
The lighting is bad in my house, so this isn’t too much better, but you can see more. If you look around my brows and on my eye lids next to my lashes you can see areas that look like dry flaky skin. That is one of the many things that happen with my allergic dermatitis, and from what I understand it is very common for anyone with a Balsam of Peru allergy. My skin is also very dehydrated and you can see that along my cheeks, both in this picture and the next.
In this picture you can see better where I really feel the majority of the pain from the reactions I have. If you look around the crevice of my nose and the of my chin, you can see a lot of redness and texture. Whenever that happens, those red spots usually feel like they are on fire.
I of course do have other issues with skin care, they just aren’t my first concern. But it is always a bonus if I see improvement with those things as well. In general while I have never suffered from a lot of Acne, I do get blackheads. Mainly I see those in the temple area. I also have some of the earlier signs of aging skin. I have a couple of sun spots, a small wrinkle in my forehead, and loss of firmness. Additionally, my skin can have a tendency to look dull.
Now that we have discussed my skin concerns, lets take a look at the three products I am starting out with.
For the first three days I used only these three products:
My exfoliator is the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub. I usually by mine at Walgreens, but you can also find it at Amazon.
For my cleanser, i am currently using the Tony Moly Banana Cream Foam Cleanser. I believe I purchased mine from YesStyle (though it is currently not available there), but you can also find it at Amazon and at Riley Rose.
And my moisturizer is the Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour. I typically purchase mine at Sephora, but you can also find it at Ulta and at Amazon.
So the big question is what sort of results did I get after just three days?
You can probably see that I still have some dry flaky patches of skin, especially around my eyebrows and eye lashes. But there has been some improvement. The most noticeable thing for me is that a significant amount of the redness has subsided, and I am not having as much of the allergic reaction symptoms. So not as much of the burning and itching.
If you want to find out what product I add to my routine next, make sure you check back next week. I will be continuing to document the products I use and the progress in my skin.
This is the fourth in a series of Shampoo and Conditioner reviews. I will be reviewing a Burt’s Bees shampoo and conditioner. Don’t forget to check out my last review on the Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner.
My Hair And Scalp Type
(notice this section will be in every shampoo and conditioner review for reference. This is for convenience so you do not have to look back at earlier posts)
My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.
My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaly, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.
This is the Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner with Baobab. I purchased mine at Meijer’s, but they don’t seem to currently have a website to link to. So I have linked to Amazon. Of course it is also available on Burt’s Bees website and some of the places Burt’s Bees products are sold. Each bottle is 10 fluid ounces, and it sells for anywhere from $7 to $8 depending on where you buy it at.
There were a lot of reason I wanted to give this a try. Most of all I had not seen this products before and I really wanted to give some product out of the more natural category a try. There are some things on the label that really intrigued me, which will be a big part of the discussion in several ways.
How It Performed
Moisturizing shampoos for me, at best, usually means not drying. I rarely find one that I actually find moisturizing. In fact there is only a few that I can think of that is actually moisturizing, and most of those are more oil based. This really performed well on my hair. It was moisturizing, it wasn’t oily, it left it soft and manageable. I really like what it did for my hair.
The conditioner performed well also. I would say it verged on almost being too moisturizing for me, but not quite. I definitely don’t need to use a hair mask with this one. And just a little bit goes a long way. That is probably the first hair product I have felt that way about, but its true.
Overall I would say that I am very happy with the way this shampoo and conditioner performed for my hair. And I think most people who have very thick, course, and dry hair will like it. I would not recommend this for anyone who has fine, thin hair or anyone who struggles with their hair being limp or oily.
The Allergy Affect
Before I say anything else here, let me say that I have not had a reaction to this product. It hasn’t improved my scalp from previous reactions, but it has not caused a reaction either. This is a very distinct difference that perhaps only other with contact dermatitis will understand. For the rest of what I want to say, there is a bit of a story involved.
When I am trying to decide whether to give a product a try there are always a few things I do to make that decision whether I think it will cause a reaction or not. Two of the top things are reading the ingredient list and smelling the product. I have probably mentioned this many times over the years.
I smelled the product and no alarms went off. So I read through the ingredient list, and again no alarms went off. But I did notice something interesting I had not seen on any of the other products I have tried. In the ingredient list it has fragrance, and right by it is a little asterisks mark. When you look at the bottom to see what the asterisks is about, it says natural fragrance. When I smelled the product it had that very natural kind of smell like many Korean products do. This had me intrigued, so I visited their website for more information.
Looking at their product page didn’t really give me any more information than the bottle did, so I decided to look around the rest of their website. After much searching I found no information that directly answered my question, but I did find on their contact page a link that says it is to email them about product and ingredient inquiries. So of course I sent them and email.
I messaged them and let them know that I am a blogger and that I was working on a review of their product and why fragrance information was important. I of course let them know what product I was reviewing, and I asked for information about their fragrance mix used. The initial reply I received was an automated response saying they needed more time to research my question. But when I got the actual response from a person, this is where my problem started.
The first response I got back from Burt’s Bees was odd, to say the least. All it said was, ‘Thank you for your patience. So we can help, would you mind providing the UPC for the product in question? We look forward to hearing from you.”. Now remember my question was a general question about fragrance for the anyone, not one specific fragrance, and definitely not about me having a reaction to the product I purchased. The response I got was more what you expect when you have told the company you had a reaction to the product.
So I responded back to them, not with an answer to their question, but I just sent back a message saying I was a little confused why they needed that to answer my question. Did they perhaps misunderstand what I was asking. I mean, this should be a simple answer from them. They are not creating a different fragrance for each bottle of moisture shampoo they make.
I did get another response back from them, and I felt just as frustrated by this one as the last. Their response read, “Thank you for getting back to us. The majority of fragrances in Burt’s Bees products are natural, composed of proprietary blends of essential oils and natural extracts. We ask that you please consult with your doctor before using our products. If you happen to have an allergy to a specific ingredient, please provide the name so that we can let you know if it is in the product.”. Again, I didn’t have a reaction and wasn’t asking for that reason. And even if I had, with a allergy to something like Balsam of Peru, it’s not as simple as just saying I am allergic to Balsam of Peru.
First of all most doctors and health professionals don’t even know what that is, I don’t expect someone at a beauty company to know. You can literally react to hundreds of things that are chemical twins to Balsam of Peru. And people with my allergy don’t all react to the same things. So admittedly I was very frustrated when I sent my last response back to them. I sent back a simple question. “Did you even read my initial email?” I never received another response from them.
I have really mixed feelings about this, and a lot of it has to do with the email exchange. On the one had I think the product was excellent, but I have said many times how important customer service is to me. And the email issue isn’t just that they didn’t want to tell me what their fragrance is, but that they indicate that you can ask and then rather than directly saying in the beginning that they can’t share that sort of information. (I am guessing that is what all the dancing around the subject is about. I would hate to think they are really so incompetent that they can’t read an email and comprehend it.)
So I am at that point where does the product outweigh the behavior of the company and my frustration with them. But I suppose only time will tell with that. I am still testing out shampoos and conditioners. Maybe I will find something I like better.
Tell me in the comments if you have tried this shampoo and conditioner. I would especially love to hear from any of you with contact and fragrance allergies. And don’t forget to let me know if there is a specific shampoo and conditioner you want me to put on the list to try out.
I can’t believe three weeks have already passed. Really by the time you will be reading this most, if not all, of the month will have been over. I have already used a lot of sheet masks this month. If you missed what I used the first two weeks I also have recaps of week one, and of week two. Make sure to check those out.
Last week was a some exploring mixed with using up some things before they go bad. This week I wanted to keep trying some new items, but I also wanted to bring back some of the favorites. There was one misstep in the plan, and you will see that as we go.
I even added something on the fun side this week. So lets take a look at week three’s recap.
This is the Yadah Moisturizing Mask Pack. I think the packaging makes it pretty obvious this has honey as an ingredient. This is extra moisturizing and honey is also great for pimples.
This is a great mask for anyone with extra sensitivities or someone like me who has a contact allergy. It says 4 free on the pack..It is free of parabens, fragrance, ethanol, and artificial colors. You can also find brands marked as 5 free and 6 free. It is often looked as a competition with some brands who can make their products the most natural.
Day sixteen’s mask is the Pore Rosehip Mud Sheet Mask from JJ Young by Caolion Lab. I received mine in a subscription box, and unfortunately it looks like everywhere that carried this particular mask is out of stock. If you want to try something similar, you may like this It’s Skin Color Solution Mud Mask Sheet.
I had never tried one of these mud sheet masks before. It was definitely an interesting experience. I’m not sure that I am ready to pass judgment on whether I like them or not until I try another one or two.
I will say that I found myself worrying that it would stick to my brows or get in my hair. That didn’t happen, and I was pleasantly surprised by that. And it was a lot less messier and easier to remove than a traditional mud mask.
Day seventeen comes with a bit of a story. This mask is the Superfood Broccoli Mask from Nohj. I had never used this mask before, but I have used broccoli masks from other brands before. As I was putting the mask on I realized it didn’t smell like the other broccoli masks I have tried, and I didn’t like the scent at all. But I powered past the smell and put it on. I had it on for about two minutes and started feeling my face having a burning and tingling sensation that I associate with an allergic reaction.
I went ahead and took the sheet mask off at that point. I went back and looked and sure enough there were several ingredients I react to with my Balsam of Peru Allergy. This was particularly odd because it was in my stash of sheet masks that were ready to use. I always check ingredients before putting any masks in there.
This was definitely not a case of it being a bad mask. I will say I did not care for the fit for me. I had to make some cuts around the eyes and mouth to make it fit, but there are
On day nineteen I used the Pumpkin Ade Sheet Mask from Mediheal. I did tell you that I love this line of sheet mask. While the cacao one is my favorite, all of them do great things for my skin.
I do believe that this is another seasonal mask. I tend to stock up on the ones that I love when I see them, that way I can use them all year round. This should be back in stock in the fall. With the exception of a few eBay sellers, no one seems to have them in stock right now. I wouldn’t personally recommend buying sheet masks on eBay mainly because of their shelf life. I don’t know of any similar masks to this one to recommend.
You should know that I wouldn’t be able to stay away from my favorite brand for long. On day twenty I used a Pearl Essence Sheet Mask from eSfolio. Pearl essence is really great for anyone who has rough or dull looking skin. It gives you that glowing youthful look to the skin.
Yes, your eyes have not deceived you. I have decided to use eSfolio on back to back days. But for day 21 I decided to go all out and use a hydrogel mask from them. This is their Aloe Hydro-Gel Mask.
This is currently sold out everywhere I know of that carried it. I am honestly not sure if this was a one time item or if it will be back. I bought mine on YesStyle in the winter time. Keep in mind many seasonal items are opposite of what they are for us. So aloe which we think of as used in summer, they have their summers as we have winter. However if you are just interested in trying a hydrogel mask, you might enjoy this ALL MASK STORY – Pearl Brightening Hydro Gel Mask.
That wraps up week three. There won’t be the same kind of recap for week four as I will be traveling. I will instead be doing a what skin care I traveled with post. I will still be sheet masking while traveling, but there will be some repeats. But if you want to see me using them you can catch that on my social media.
Tell me in the comments if there is a mask you would like to see me try out or give my thoughts on.
First I want to say thank you to Vivo Per Lei for sending me the box of Collagen & Avocado Oil Sheet Masks to try out. I think most of you who regularly read my posts know that I love trying new things, especially new sheet masks. And since I am using this month to concentrate on skin care as a form of self-care, the masks couldn’t have come at a better time.
Each box contains five individually wrapped masks.
I pretty much have my evening skin care routine mapped out for the month. And I have been using the daytime to play with new products I want to test out and see what works for a good day routine. I don’t think there is any such thing as too much sheet masking. So doubling up on the occasional day seem like a good thing to me. Any excuse to use another sheet mask right?
Since I always have concerns about my Balsam of Peru contact allergy, one of the first things I always do is check out the ingredient list before using a new product. The only possible cause for concern here that I could see is that Parfum is in the list. That isn’t always a problem for me, but I just never know until I use the item in question. Since there were no major concerns, I felt good about going ahead with trying the product.
This mask from Vivo Per Lei in a lot of ways is very similar to any other sheet mask I have used, but there are also a few big differences. I will make sure to note them as we go along.
Per usual the instructions say to cleanse your face prior to use. The rest of the instructions is where the differences start to appear. First, it does not tell me to use a toner prior to using the mask. So even thought I typically would use a toner, I wanted to use the mask as the instructions directed. Next it says to take one mask pack, open, and apply to the face.
The first thing that I noticed when I opened the mask was that, even though the ingredient list says parfum, there was no strong perfume smell. I don’t think it really smelled like avocado either, but just a clean natural sort of scent.
The directions continue by saying to keep the mask on for 15 minutes. While I had it on I did feel something working on my skin. Just a slight warming and tingling sensation, nothing that alarmed me. Occasionally sheet mask do cause little sensations, the majority just feel cooling though.
Now here is where things were both surprising and really different from my perspective. It calls for rinsing the residue away after you discard the sheet mask. I am so used to patting it into the skin with the exception of the bubble masks I use. But again, I thought it was best to use these by the direction.
I am happy to report that I did not have an allergic reaction to the mask. I know I have at least a few people who follow the blog because they have the same or similar contact/fragrance allergies. It was moisturizing for sure. I’m not sure I saw any difference in firmness of my skin or fine lines, but it’s also one of those things I think you might need more than a couple of uses to see a difference.
Some things to note, that may or may not be of importance for you. It does have the FDA seal of approval on the box. The box does not have it, but on their website this product has the bunny seal that says it is not tested on animals. I was trying to figure out where the company was based at, but I am not 100% sure. After looking everything over its either the US or the Netherlands. The box says the product is made in China, but I do not believe it sold there or that the base of operation is there, otherwise I don’t think they could get the bunny seal.
If you would like to try this mask out for yourself or to what else Vivo Per Lei has to offer you can find their products on their website.
Tell me in the comments which Vivo Per Lei product you would want to try?
I saw drastic improvements in my skin in week one of August. If you missed it, make sure you check out what sheet mask I used in week one of August. I started week two off with very minimalistic patches of textured skin and dry spots. And I have some of the leftovers of a allergic reaction around the parameters of my face where a sheet mask will never touch. Over all it is not a bad place to be starting week two from.
I tried to switch it up a bit more this week. I used a lot from my favorite brand last week, so I decided not to use it at all this week and I tried to put a little more variety of types of sheet masks I used. I have also slowly been working on doing some daytime skin care this week. I won’t be sharing that here in this post, but you may see a couple of things I tried pop up as review posts.
Just like last week I will be linking each one to the cheapest place I can find to purchase, and if they are priced the same at multiple places I will choose the one I think is most convenient for the majority of people. So let’s take a look at what I used in week two.
On day eight I used the Acai Berry Lifting Ice Cold Mask from Ladykin. This mask is not currently in stock, but I have linked to the page so when it comes in stock you can get it. This particular mask is great for its anti-aging properties. It is a type of cellulose mask, but it feels like a very thin hydrogel mask.
I personally love how this feels, but I hate trying to apply this type of cellulose mask. Its like trying to use cling wrap. Its constantly sticking to its self, and applying it quickly and easily is something I apparently lack the skill for.
My only complaint for this mask is the fit isn’t the best for me. I shared a side view of me wearing this one so you can hopefully see the patch on the side of my jaw that just is not covered.
On day ten I tried another new to me mask. This is the 3 Step WITHBEE Honey Bomb Mask from Wonjin Effect. Honey is obviously one of those ingredients that is very moisturizing. It is also antibacterial and good if you have issues with acne. I am not typically acne prone, but I do enjoy the occasional honey mask.
This one in particular had a really great smell, like clover honey. I actually really enjoyed the milk cleanser that came with it, I may even look into purchasing some in the future if I can find it. And these three step kits are really handy for travel, so I would definitely purchase this mask again for that alone if for nothing else.
The mask I used on day eleven is Mediheal’s Cacao Ade Sheet Mask. I couldn’t find this mask listed anywhere that I trust, so I didn’t link it. As I have mentioned before, there are a lot of Korean sheet mask out there that are seasonal, so you can only find them for a limited time each year. So if it is something that you want or need in your skincare routine year round, you should stock up for the year. Don’t stock up too far ahead though, because they can eventually go bad.
This particular mask is on the favorite list for me. Actually I really love this brand, and I especially love this particular line of masks from them. This one would make my top ten sheet masks. It not only does great things for my skin, but it also really smells like chocolate, so its great for giving you that spa like experience at home.
The mask for day twelve was the Stayed Up Late Mask in Emily from Tsaio. This is unfortunately out of stock everywhere so I have linked it to the page and you can hopefully get it when it comes back in stock if you are interested.
This mask is used for brightening the skin and firming. Obviously it is black mask. Black masks are quite popular. Honestly they don’t do anything special for me. I mean they aren’t bad, but I haven’t found one that I thought was amazing either.
Day thirteen had me bringing out the Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Mask from Annie’s Way. This is a super thin mask. Probably the thinnest one I have tried so far. It fit my face really well, but because of how thin it was and the fact that it was clinging to itself it took forever to put on.
I don’t really have a bunch of wrinkles to speak of, so I don’t know if it does anything in the immediate. However I think it can’t hurt to use it as a preventative.
I had purchased this in a three pack a while back and only used one of them prior to this. It does okay things for my skin, but I honestly am not a fan of this one. It has a highly perfumed smell. It hasn’t caused a reaction from my contact allergy, but I really find the smell offensive.
And with that we have finished the second week of August, or at least the 14th day. Tell me in the comments about some of the sheet masks you have tried recently. Do you have a suggestion for one you think I should try or one you would like to see reviewed?
I am sure many of you are familiar with the brand Farsáli. Several of their products, like their Unicorn Essence, have become beauty blogger sensations and have blown up on social media. One product in particular I had not heard about was the Volcanic Elixir. At least I hadn’t heard about it till it landed in Sephora earlier this year.
Because of my personal experience with volcanic essence products in Korean Skincare I was extremely interested in trying out the Volcanic Elixir from Farsáli. If you have followed me either here on the blog or on my Instagram account for any amount of time then you know one of my all time favorite sheet masks is a Volcanic Ash Essence Mask from Esfolio. And while Farsáli is not a Korean brand, the ingredient concepts should be the same.
What The Product Does
I think when you spend any amount of time learning about Korean cosmetics you start to gain an understanding of what ingredients are used for. The great thing about Volcanic related products, in most cases like this one, they are good for all skin types and a full range of skin conditions.
So what does the brand say it does?
The properties of this oil are known to help regenerate skin tissue. The Volcanic Elixir, for this unique reason, can condition broken skin, and repair sun- and acne-damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties — making it ideal for acne sufferers. What sets this oil apart from others, is a certain lipid called calophyllolide; which is not found in any other oil, and is a very strong anti-inflammatory.
The Volcanic Elixir aids in regenerating new, healthy skin. It can be used on acne and acne scars, dry and scaly skin, stretch marks, etc.
So it really seems like the possibilities are endless if you are at either end of the problem skin scale. I’m not sure that you would gain any benefit if you have normal skin, unless you have scarring from the past.
My Skin Care Needs
For me, as you know I have very dry skin with scaley patches and keratin build up in creases (the scaley patches and keratin build up are from my allergy and are not constant). Due to my Balsam of Peru allergy I am fragrance sensitive, and that includes essential oils. I am also sensitive to select other possible ingredients in skin care products.
What You Get
Your product comes in a dark bottle with a dropper. You get one fluid ounce or thirty milliliters of product. The Volcanic Elixir has one single ingredient, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, so no worries for my fellow contact allergy sufferers, unless of course that is your allergy.
I did notice all of Farsáli’s other products seem to come in a second size option, but this one does not. I am not sure if that is something they are planning on adding or not. There is no mention of it on their website, so if anyone knows please tell us down in the comments.
The very first thing I noticed when I got the bottle was how hard it was to open. I don’t know if I got a defective bottle or if they all are like mine, but you have to twist forever and then it suddenly pulls up and it makes it sort of messy. Putting the dropper cap back on seems just as difficult.
Once the lid was open the next thing I notice was the heavy natural, earthy smell coming out. If you are use to using fragrance free products or even some Korean products (depending on which kind) this is a smell you are probably already use to and won’t think twice about. This is noted on Farsáli’s website, so they do tell you before you buy. For those of you who have never tried a fragrance free product before, you may not be prepared. Some people find natural smells offensive. Personally I like them and find it comforting.
The other thing that really stands out about this product when you first start using it is the texture. You can somewhat see it in this picture:
It is an oil, but what makes it different is that it is very thick and has somewhat of a gritty texture. Now I can feel the texture with my fingers, but once I apply the elixir to my face I no longer feel it.
How To Use It
Like most oils and liquids, you want to shake this up really well before using it each time. The website recommends using it as a night treatment, almost like a moisturizer. I agree for the most part, though I prefer putting an actual moisturizer on over top of it.
I have seen a lot of people on the web saying this is a great face oil for makeup. No, that is not the intended use, and I really can not believe anyone would want to do that with the texture this oil has. While I don’t feel the texture once applied, I have to think that would mess with the look and feel of your foundation.
I have been using the Fersáli Volcanic Elixir for close to a month now. I use it about three to four nights a week, and I am considering using it on a nightly basis for a while just to see what happens. I will explain why.
I find that I really like the product. It does have a lasting effect on the dryness of my skin, however on the days I do not use it I see the symptoms of my contact allergy creep back in. So I want to see if I can get a more lasting effect if I do it every day.
But on the days I did use the elixir the night before, my skin looks wonderfully clear. Here is one I took and posted to Instagram recently that was on a day right after using the Farsáli Volcanic Elixir:
The bottom line for me is I will be repurchasing this product. I love that I don’t have to worry about what the ingredients are and that it is fragrance free. It works well on my skin. And it shows results.
My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.
My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.
I bought mine on Amazon, but it is also available at Ulta. These are all small travel size bottles that come in this package, but there is a Monoi Luxury Hair Care Gift Set that comes with full size products if you would rather have that. The shampoo, the conditioner, and the hair mask can also be bought separately in full size.
I had never tried anything from this brand before, but I had heard a lot of wonderful things about the brand. They are (or at least they use to be) a small woman owned company. Their products do not contain sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors.
I picked this line specifically because it contained a lot of ingredients I had good experiences with. It was for intense moisture and repairing the hair. One of its large claims was that it would help prevent breakage of brittle hair. It really had a lot that appealed to me. And outside of fragrance, there were no ingredients that immediately concerned me. (If you also have a Balsam of Peru allergy, please note this does contain citric acid. I know that some react to that, I do not.)
How It Performed
I tried the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner combo four different ways, all ways that I typically would use other shampoos and conditioners before doing this review. I wanted to make sure I had a fully adequate comparison to the other shampoos I have used in the past. And so for me that means the hair mask in this set only got used once.
The first time I tried them with a hot oil treatment that I use fairly often. Then I tried them on their own. The third time I used them with a Korean brand dandruff shampoo that I use occasionally. And the fourth and final time I used them with the hair mask that came in the set.
I was actually surprised at how moisturizing the shampoo was. I realize that the shampoo contains oils, but I have used lots of shampoos that contain various types of oils and none of them have felt like that. I think it did a decent job at cleansing too, but the standout feature is just going to miniaturization. I almost felt like I could have went with out conditioner after the shampoo, if that tells you anything.
The conditioner performed just as well. Not only was it moisturizing, but it also felt very smoothing to my hair. I could definitely tell that after my hair dried this was still smoothing as I was not experiencing as much fizziness. I typically have to use an additional leave in conditioner with most shampoo/conditioners. But I did not have to with these.
One big thing I could not say whether it was specifically the shampoo or the conditioner, but I definitely saw less hair loss with this set. It could have been coincidence, but I find that unlikely.
The Allergy Effect
As I mentioned in my last post, anything that has a fragrance, I always put it through the smell test. Smelling this product was no help. It definitely has a unique fragrance that I have never smelled before. That actually made me far more nervous than it just having fragrance. I suppose it was the element of the unknown. To be completely honest here, I am not really a fan of how this smelled, but if something works for me I don’t care ultimately.
I am happy to say that I did not have any reaction to the shampoo and conditioner. However, I don’t think it did anything special as far as helping my dermatitis either. The one exception would be when I mixed it with my dandruff shampoo. That was probably the longest I have went itch and scale free in a long time. I don’t know if that was coincidence or if it was something special about the combo. And it would take a lot longer of testing to find out.
Now I am not sure why, but I didn’t fare as well with the hair mask. After using it I was itchy almost immediately. Looking at the ingredients nothing looks all that different or stands out to me as to why the hair mask would cause that.
Overall, with the exception of the hair mask, I really like the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection. I think I will keep this on the list of shampoos and conditioners that I feel okay using in a pinch. If I don’t find anything better this year I may even circle around and give this one another try for a while.
Tell me in the comments if you have tried anything from Carol’s Daughter before. Let me know what you tried and what you thought about it. And as always, I am taking requests of what you would like to try.
Since I wanted to do this month of beauty posts, I thought I would starts things off by talking about something that is deeply personal to me, and actually effects every decision I make when it comes to beauty products. For as long as I can remember I have had issues with having reactions to lots of different products and foods. I honestly thought when I was a teenager that I was allergic to everything. I avoided what I could, but I didn’t always know what was causing these reactions.
While I never had a lot of acne, my skin constantly stayed red, irritated, inflamed, scaly, itchy, etc… This was on top of the migraines I got from exposure to many items as well as blisters, itching, and a swollen tongue. However my parents were extremely poor, they didn’t have health insurance, and they rarely had the money to take me to the doctor when I was extremely ill, let alone for something like this. So I did the best I could with what I had.
I want to share some of the things that have happened where I had allergic reactions that were confusing. In elementary school I had to stop using wood pencils that you sharpen and go exclusively to mechanical pencils. After using traditional pencils for a few days I would develop what looked like a third degree burn with small bumps and blisters in the are the pencil continually touched. As a preteen I was in the grocery store with my mother and they were handing out samples of Farmer’s Cheese. One bite and my mouth started feeling odd. Within a minute I had three large blisters on my mouth. Anytime I am walking through a store, or enclosed public place really, it is a real possibility I am going to have a reaction. All it takes is walking by a man or woman wearing a heavy dose of the wrong perfume or cologne and I will within minutes have a migraine and red blotchy spots all over my face. Sometimes it will feel like my face is on fire, sometimes it will only feel itchy. And this is just a small sample of things that happen.
Fast forward to my mid twenties and it has done nothing but gotten more severe. I finally had health insurance and I decided that it was time to visit a dermatologist for my skin, as that seemed like the most logical place to start. They diagnose me with seborrhea dermatitis, which is not an allergic reaction at all, and honestly at this point I was still willing to believe the allergies were a separate issue. They give me a prescription cream, told me to use a heavy duty dandruff shampoo and sent me on my way. I use the cream as it was directed for almost a year with no real results. The most I ever got was some relief from the burning. Then one day I had a reaction so bad, I think if I could I would have ripped my own skin off. I know that sounds really graphic and disturbing, but the level of pain I was in was indescribable. That is the point where I decided to go to an allergist and see if I could find out anything different.
I had planned on taking some photos of my enflamed skin so you all could see what it actually looks like, however I started a new product to test out for this month that actually helped clear my skin up. If I do have a reaction sometime this month I promise to take a picture and share it. But before moving on with my story I did manage to find pictures on a dermatology websites of people who have the same allergy and seems to have a very similar looking reaction to help give you an idea of what I deal with. And if you image search what a Balsam of Peru Contact Allergy looks like, you might be both horrified and realize I am one of the lucky ones. But I digress, back to the allergist. When I got there they ran a standard panel for allergies where I came up allergic to dust, dust mites, and lobster. Knowing none of these are the culprit for my issues they suggested I also take a patch test. Patch tests are different from skin prick tests. While the skin prick tests are used to find food and seasonal allergies, the patch test looks for contact allergies. While the patch test is optional, I highly recommend everyone take it, especially if you suspect an allergy to something like a fragrance. Also unlike the skin prick test, with the patch test you wear it overnight or longer and then come back for an analysis.
As you have probably guessed at this point my patch test came back positive for something called Balsam of Peru. The thing is that is the only thing I tested positive for. This left me very confused since, as I mentioned earlier I thought I was allergic to so many things including foods, cosmetics, fragrances, and so many other things. So if I only tested for one thing, how am I reacting to all of those things? And what does the Allergist tell you? “Take this paper, go home, do some research, and use this cream.” Ironically, I am given the exact same prescription cream the Dermatologist gave me.
I made my way home and read all the info the Allergist gave me, which is now available to view here. It soon becomes apparent why I am having reactions to so many things, and that I am going to need to do a lot of my own research since the info given is very basic and there is so much to remember. For instance the plant alone can go by so many other names as well as 20+ chemical ingredients they make from it, and dozens of genetically similar items like essential oils you can have reactions to. Between all of the items I can have reactions to, they are used in foods, medication, cleaning products, cosmetics, skin care products, etc.. And they tell you that this plant is rarely used anymore, which is a bit deceptive. Its true, you rarely see Balsam of Peru or any of its other names listed as an ingredient. However, the many types of alcohols and other chemical ingredients made from the plant are common ingredients. Also, since this is also sometimes used as a fragrance or flavoring, that is all that is required to be listed in an ingredient list. And there is a loophole often used:
Because of allergic reactions, since 1982 crude Balsam of Peru has been banned by the International Fragrance Association from use as a fragrance compound, but extracts and distillates are used up to a maximum level of 0.4% in products, and are not covered by mandatory labeling.[30 –
So many people may use a product thinking there is no Balsam of Peru or any of its derivatives in it, and yet still have a reaction. Over the years it has been a process of trial and error, but those with stronger reactions do not have the luxury of the trial and error process. It would be so much easier to find things to use if western culture wasn’t addicted to artificial flavoring and everything smelling like roses.
If you would like additional information on Balsam of Peru contact allergy, I have found the following sites helpful:
If you have been diagnosed with a Balsam of Peru contact allergy already and have been looking for help, don’t be afraid to reach out by leaving a comment below or messaging me on my Facebook page.
For my readers, I know this isn’t my usual topic, but it is relevant as we move into the month of beauty. The next few posts will be about my routine, and new products I am trying. I also will be covering some favorite cosmetic brands, new and old that I am able to use. And feel free to ask any questions. There are articles out there that make this seem rare, but there are other things that say this is one of the top fragrance allergies. I think there might be a lot of people out there that are silently suffering like I use to, that just never got tested. I hope there are people out there I can help in some way. And isn’t your skin as import as any dress you can put on when it comes to beauty? Do any of you have rare unheard of allergies?