Browsing Tag


Beauty, Skincare

Current evening skincare routine

DSC_8336Last week, I shared my morning skincare routine, and now I’ll walk you through everything I do to take care of my skin at night.

If I’m wearing makeup, the first step is always oil cleansing. I’ve been using the Aromatica Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil for about a month now, and I do like it. I’m not sure it’s worth the hefty price tag since it doesn’t work any better or worse than the other oil cleansers I’ve used that cost one fifth of what this does. After oil cleansing, I always use CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser to remove any leftover residue from the first cleanser, and to make my skin squeaky clean. I do still love and use my Clarisonic Mia, although I try to use it only once or twice a week. I cringe when I think back on all the over-exfoliation I used to put my skin through!

Once the cleansing is over with, I make sure to wait a bit until my skin is completely dry before applying my tretinoin .025% cream. Over the winter months, I find waiting any more than 10 minutes to be unbearable, even though I think waiting 15-45 minutes is recommended. I’ll usually wait about five minutes after applying the tret before moving on to the Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum. I should confess that I haven’t used it for about a week, and I haven’t seen much of a difference. I’m not sure if this stuff actually does anything or if it’s just rose-scented aloe water. My last step is to moisturize with CeraVe PM, aka the best moisturizer of all-time…maybe. I can’t help but think back fondly on my Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask. I still have half a tub of it, and it’s been calling to me recently! Lastly, and I didn’t include them in the picture, but I usually slather the area around my mouth and nose with Aquaphor or the Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum to try to keep the flaky skin at bay.

Next on my skincare agenda is to find a toner and to try to FINALLY work in some of the products I got for Christmas into my routine.

Beauty, Caila's Favorites

January Favorites

I only have a few favorites this month. I did a ton of shopping (like an embarrassing amount) but most of it either arrived within the past week, or I haven’t formed a full opinion on it yet. Here’s what I’m absolutely sure I loved in January:

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation | I know I just wrote about this last week, but it really was my favorite foundation in January. I wore it almost exclusively from the day I bought it. The natural appearance and light coverage combine to make a formula that works really well for me.

Wet n Wild Wonder Gel Nail Polishes | These were definitely the standout product of January. I absolutely love the opaque, long-lasting formula of these. I’m not a nail polish connoisseur, but I think these might just be the best ones I’ve tried. Check out my review here.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Blush in Rosé Champagne | When Wet n Wild reformulated their Color Icon blushes, they came out with a new color, Rosé Champagne. It’s a shimmery peach, and it is gorgeous. The shimmery particles aren’t chunky; they create just enough glow to make this a slightly highlighting blush. It has a warm undertone, but I think this is one of those everyday blushes that works with any look.

Christine Kobzeff | My last favorite of the month is a Youtuber I discovered a few weeks ago. Christine has a lifestyle channel that focuses on cruelty-free and vegan products. I love her “What I eat in a day” videos because the food she eats is simple and accessible, and it’s been great inspiration for me to try to eat better. Her personality is also really refreshing. I feel like most of the big beauty Youtubers are in their early to mid-20s, and their content is for teens and young girls. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but I like that Christine’s content feels like it’s more for my age range.

Beauty, Makeup, Reviews

Disappointing Products #2

I’ve been trying quite a few new products lately. Honestly, I tend to like most things I buy, but there are the odd few that don’t impress me:

Milani Big and Bigger Lashes | I hate when mascaras have such hyperbolic names and then don’t live up to them! This mascara was so meh for me. The brush is kind of freaky, although I will say it made it easier to get to the lashes right at the inner corner of my eye. As far as volume goes, I didn’t feel like it did much for my lashes. In fact, it’s one of the more understated, natural-looking mascaras I’ve used. It also doesn’t hold a curl, which is probably the number one thing I look for in a mascara.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara | I got this mascara in one of Sephora’s $10 Black Friday deals along with a Tarte lash curler. Love the lash curler, hate this mascara. Again, it was meh, but beyond the formula, which is neither lengthening or volumizing, it transfers so much! Twenty minutes after applying, I have black smudges under my eyes. Complete deal-breaker.

Colourpop Matte Lippie Stix in “LBB” | This is the patchiest lipstick I’ve ever tried. I have two other Colourpop Lippie Stix that I really like, but this one applies terribly. Trying to fix it by applying more just makes it worse. Maybe it would work with the matching pencil or with a lip primer underneath, but as is, it’s terrible.

Flower Beauty Color Play Crème Eyeshadow in “Wild Geranium” | The color of this eyeshadow looks so beautiful and metallic in the jar, but it doesn’t translate on the lids. I wore it several times and found it to be patchy and difficult to apply. I had to keep layering it to make it show up. I like creme eyeshadows like the Maybelline Color Tattoos for their convenience, but this one took way too much effort.


Beauty, Reviews

Empties #4


Empties! Where I tell you what I thought of a product in a few sentences and whether or not I would repurchase it.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo | This is one of my favorite shampoos I’ve ever used. It lathers really well, but doesn’t dry out my hair, and it has curl-friendly ingredients (no silicone or sulfates). I’m halfway through another bottle of it, and I would repurchase it, but my husband hates the scent, so I’m going to pick up something new.

Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask | This has been my go-to moisturizer since I first tried it last October. Even though it’s meant to be an overnight mask, I personally don’t think it’s all that rich, especially compared to some moisturizers like Cerave in the tub. I feel totally comfortable using this both morning and night, and find that it sinks in very well. The only downside is that it comes in such a small jar! I think I’m currently on my fourth or maybe fifth one, and I only started using it about four months ago. I’ll definitely be repurchasing it for the foreseeable future, although I do have another moisturizer waiting to be tested.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence | This is the first Asian sunscreen I’ve ever tried, and I really liked it! It’s such a light formula that sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave a white cast. I found it to be quite moisturizing and good underneath makeup. Unfortunately, I won’t be repurchasing this since Bioré supports animal testing. I’ve been trying out the Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream as a replacement, but I think it may be breaking me out.

Clinique All About Eyes | This was a recommendation from my dermatologist back in September. I used it up completely, but I didn’t notice any difference, good or bad. I’ve already been using something different for a few weeks that I think is just as good if not better.

Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask | This is another recommendation from my dermatologist. I’ve been using it because it contains benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial acne treatment. I want to stop using Neutrogena products though, so I’ve been eyeing the Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment. I’m hesitant because it’s a leave-on product unlike the Clear Pore Cleanser, and I’m afraid that the Paula’s Choice treatment along with tretinoin will dry my skin out even more.

L’Occitane Lip Balm | I bought this lip balm in August and used it up completely by December. I’ve never, ever come close to using up a lip balm in such a short amount of time before! I did like it, but I thought it felt very waxy on the lips, and I had to apply it often throughout the day, which is why it didn’t last very long. I will not be repurchasing this.

Bobbi Brown Corrector | This was my favorite under-eye concealer for ages. It was creamy, and it did a nice job of canceling out the blue around my eyes, but it creased so much…maybe more than any other concealer I’ve used. I stopped using it because I’d had it for a couple years, and I think it went bad! I started getting dry, flaky patches on my eye lids, and it was a week or two before I realized that it was my super old concealer. I liked this, but Bobbi Brown supports animal testing, and there are so many other concealers I want to try anyway!



Beauty, Skincare

An Aquaphor alternative


Those closest to me know that I’m an Aquaphor addict. I sing its praises to anyone who will hear. Complain about dry skin near me, and I’ll be by your side with my tube in milliseconds. I get that it’s gloopy and sticky, and it takes a while to sink in, but I’ve found that it heals any dry skin, clears up patches of eczema, and keeps my cuticles looking decent. As someone who uses a super-drying  prescription acne medication, I basically can’t survive the winters without Aquaphor. There’s just one problem, Aquaphor is a Eucerin product, and Eucerin is not a cruelty-free brand.

Out of all the dozens of products I use, I knew Aquaphor would be the toughest to give up when I decided to try to only buy cruelty-free items, but I really wanted to see what else was out there. After a little googling, I found out about a product by Alba Botanica called Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly. This product is marketed to moisturize, prevent windburn, gently remove eye makeup, soothe diaper rash, and to create a moisture barrier, basically everything Aquaphor claims to do. I found a tube at Whole Foods for about $7 and started putting it to the test.

The only major differences I noticed are the texture and how fast it sinks into the skin. Anyone who has used Aquaphor can probably recall how it feels to apply it to your skin. It feels thick and greasy, and it sits on top of the skin for several minutes before sinking in. Un-Petroleum feels less like grease and more like whipped oil, and it sinks into the skin slightly faster. As you can see from the pictures below, the Aquaphor appears to sit on top of my skin, while the Un-Petroleum seems to melt into it.


Truthfully, Aquaphor creates a better moisture barrier. Its effects last longer because the main ingredient is petrolatum, arguably one of the best emollients out there. I can put it on my lips, and around my mouth and nose (where I have stubborn dry skin) and still feel it there in the morning. Not so with Un-Petroleum. I have to reapply it more often than I would with Aquaphor. I have noticed that when I use the Un-Petroleum as a lip balm, it provides a nice gloss and seems to plump up my lips somehow, making the lines less noticeable. I have not used it to remove eye makeup because I honestly think it’s way too thick, and I can’t see myself putting it near my eyes. All in all, I find the two products very similar. They work pretty much how you would expect based on the ingredients of each one.

Un-Petroleum’s ingredients are: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Beeswax, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol. 

Aquaphor’s ingredients are: Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol.

The only potential problem I can see with Un-Petroleum is coconut oil, which can be comedogenic, so I would not use this on large portions of your face if you have a known sensitivity to it. The only ingredient in Aquaphor that could cause a bad reaction is lanolin alcohol, which can be a mild irritant and acne trigger. I haven’t had any reaction to either product.

I thought I would list a few pros and cons of each product to provide my concise thoughts.

Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum


  • Cruelty Free
  • made from plant oils and waxes as opposed to petroleum
  • Creates good moisture barrier
  • Great, plumping lip balm
  • Cheaper than Aquaphor


  • Not quite as moisturizing or long-lasting



  • Creates amazing moisture barrier
  • very long lasting


  • product of company that is not cruelty-free
  • main ingredient is petrolatum, a byproduct of the oil industry
  • more expensive

So do I think Un-Petroleum is better than Aquaphor? Not quite, but I do think it’s comparable, and I will continue to use it over Aquaphor. I feel better about supporting Alba Botanica, and I like using a product made of more sustainable ingredients.

On a side note, Alba Botanica’s site seems to be down, but I found Un-Petroleum for $3.95 on Thrive Market, with an additional 15% off a first-time order. I have no affiliation with Thrive Market, I just thought it was an amazing deal!



Beauty, Nails, Reviews

Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel nail polishes

I recently got rid of the majority of my nail polish collection. To be honest, I don’t paint my nails often because I can’t stand having chipped nails, and most nail polishes tend to chip on me within 24 hours, so it seems like a waste of time. I probably had about eight polishes until I decided to try out a couple from Milani. They were nice; they lasted about the same as any Essie or Nails, Inc. polish would on me, but they didn’t change my life.

From left to right: Stay Classy, Peri-wink-le of an Eye, Condensed Milk, Left Marooned

Enter the new Wet n Wild 1 Step WonderGel Nail Colors. Wet n Wild claims that these are a gel formula that does not need a top coat and lasts up to two weeks. Okay, those are seriously crazy claims, and I can tell you that no $5 nail polish from the drugstore will ever be able to live up to them. I can also tell you that I’m not going to go without a base coat or a top coat, I don’t care what the claims are. You can see my review of the Sally Hanson Miracle Gels where I had some people telling me they might work better without a base coat like the box claimed (spoiler: they didn’t). While the WonderGels did not change my life (they come mighty close, though), and while they don’t last for two weeks, I love them. They are also way better and way cheaper than their Sally Hanson counterpart.

I purchased four shades (there are 18 colors in the range), 719A Condensed Milk, 733A Left Marooned, 729A Peri-wink-le of an Eye, and 732A Stay Classy. All of them except for the lightest shade, Condensed Milk, impressed me. The first one I used was Stay Classy, and I got away with using only one coat. It lasted about three days without chipping, which is better than most polishes on my nails. After the fourth day, my nails still looked passable (one or two tiny chips), but I wanted to try another color, so I took it off and tried Peri-Wink-le of an Eye. Damn, this one is amazing! It’s such a beautiful light blue, and I think it’s great for spring. This one lasted five days without chipping on me, which is the longest any nail polish has lasted for me, ever! I’ve been using Left Marooned on my toes for about ten days, and so far my nails look as good as the first day. The finish is shiny, and while I’ve never had a real gel manicure, my nails genuinely look like they have a high quality polish on them, which could maybe pass for gel?

And now for some close-ups of my sausage fingers! As you can see, you can get away with just one coat of the three darker colors:

One coat of each shade

two coats of each shade

the shape of the brush is pretty standard

I did mention that Condensed Milk didn’t impress me. I actually bought this one about a week after the other three, and I wish it was as good, but it’s just not. The formula is somehow thicker than the others, and yet less opaque. I had to give up trying to use this one because I could not get it to be completely opaque, and it wouldn’t dry enough for me to put my top coat on.

The only other criticism I have is that the color of the packaging does not necessarily match the color of the actual nail polish inside. This was most apparent with Left Marooned, which is less maroon and more of a classic red.

Left Marooned

I tend to be harsh in my criticism of nail polishes. I use my nails a lot at work to open boxes and to scrape tape off of things, and like I said, not many formulas impress me. If a nail polish lasts more than 36 hours on me without chipping, I’m very happy. With that said, I can’t think of anything bad about three of the four WonderGels I purchased, and I will definitely be picking up more shades.

I purchased mine for $4.99 each at Rite Aid and Duane Reade.