Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Review

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I should change the title of this post to "I was wrong nine years ago when I reviewed Cetaphil because I ignored my dermatologist's advice and fell for junk science and fear mongering."

Back in 2008, I wrote about the so-called nasty and harmful ingredients in Cetaphil, which is one of the most highly recommended skin cleansers ever. It is recommended by dermatologists (including mine) and pediatricians alike. Again, junk science and scary articles swayed my own view. I fell for fear and believed that if I loved my kids, I'd only buy the most natural stuff ever. Many of us fall for this even if THESE FEARS HAVE ZERO SCIENTIFIC BASIS.

Not long ago, I returned to a very old stand by of mine, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. I had been trying out the Korean Skincare Routine (more on that month-long experiment next week!) and my skin was dealing with product and multi-ingredient overload. I bought Cetaphil because I know how quickly it soothes and calms my skin.

I am a convert. This one now sits in both showers and by my bathroom sink for me to use at night. I used to like Cetaphil. I just stopped using it because of "chemi-killz" and unfounded fears. I am human, make mistakes, and believe in owning up to them. I was wrong in that 9 year old review. 

More about Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

The formula is NOT sexy. It lacks sophistication, the latest in ground-breaking botanicals, and slick packaging. One might say it is very ordinary, even boring. And that is okay. This is a damn good no frills product for sensitive skin.

If you wear long-wearing makeup and/or waterproof mascara, this will need to be your second cleanser. In fact, I love double cleansing and I use my cleansing oil to remove makeup, rinse that off, and then follow with Cetaphil.

Can we please talk about the ingredients? They are so basic, but serve a purpose:

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

That is it. Now I know what you may be thinking if you are a long-time reader. It might be something like, "Has she completely come undone? This is full of - gulp - parabens and sulfate and nothing NATURAL."

It contains just what the skin needs for a gentle cleansing and NOTHING more. That is why it will be effective for most people. There is water, a fatty alcohol (not drying) which is an emollient, sodium lauryl sulfate (a surfactant), stearyl alcohol (another emollient), and preservatives to keep it fresh.

But isn't Sodium Lauryl Sulfate bad? No, it is not. Even the alarmist "clean" consumer resource of the EWG rates it as safe. It is a tried and true cleansing agent.

And what about those nasty parabens? The truth of the matter is that parabens have a long history of safety and efficacy. They are used around the globe, including in the European Union, where cosmetic ingredients are quite regulated. They serve a purpose: to protect the integrity of a product and keep the nasties OUT so you don't get harmed.

The Beauty Writer's Bottom Line

If you are a budget beauty shopper -- or even if you are not -- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (NOT the oily skin version with fragrance and a totally different consistency) is a solid choice. No bells and whistles. I consider this the L.L. Bean backpack of cleansers. Those backpacks have been around forever. They may not be fashion forward, but they are sturdy and functional. If they don't live up to your expectations, they can be replaced for life. I consider this cleanser to be that dependable, kind of boring item. It is very affordable and because it contains so few ingredients, is a very solid choice if your skin is sensitive. It is fragrance free, which I am really happy about.


  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4651417/
  • http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/paraben_web.pdf
  • https://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/eu-scientific-committee-clears-parabens-in-cosmetics-as-harmless/
  • http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_132.pdf
  • https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm128042.htm
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19101832
  • https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/parabens/

Budget Beauty Favorites

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I am sent several high end products to try each week. I have worked for brands with high-priced skin care. I have been given these products to use as part of my compensation. So why are about 60% of the products I am using on my face DRUGSTORE products?

I will tell you why: Drugstore products, in many cases, are just as good as their high-end counterparts. 

What is even better is that it is no longer impossible to find great quality drugstore products free of less than stellar ingredients. I switch around my brands quite a bit based on what I am reviewing, but when I sit here and think about what I am using right now, I have to share how you can find great products without breaking the bank. 

My current drugstore or budget beauty favorites:

W7 Lightly Toasted Eyeshadow Palette

The W7 Lightly Toasted Palette is stellar! It is everything you want out of the original Urban Decay Naked Palette but without the fallout and high price tag. Brushes matter when using this - or any shadows- so ditch the applicator that is included and use your good brushes. My favorite brushes are from It Cosmetics, Cat Cosmetics, Jane Iredale, and Real Techniques.  Applied with high quality brushes, the W7 shadows are silky, buildable & highly pigmented.

For those avoiding parabens, this is the one item in this post that is not paraben free. When it comes to parabens, however, the scientific community has spoken. I no longer fall for the ridiculous fear mongering. Science is greater than fear.  Here is a good link for you if you are still worried about parabens.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Iced Amethyst

I am on my third tube of Revlon Iced Amethyst 💄- it is my perfect shade and rich & creamy. Plus, it is just $4.99 at Target. I have not purchased three tubes of the same lipstick since I was working for Estee Launder and used to go through Divine Wine quickly because it was "my" shade. That was in the late 1990s. The Iced Amethyst is much cheaper, creamier, and longer lasting.

No, the ingredients aren't "clean" or green, but the product is paraben free and it leaves your lips looking healthy with richly pigmented colors. It's the best budget lipstick formula out there - tried & true.

Ingredients: Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Ozokerite, Polybutene, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Paraffin, Cera Microcrystallina ([Microcrystalline Wax] Cire Microcristalline), Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite Synthetic Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polyethylene, Serica ([Silk Powder] Poudre De Soie), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Palmitic Acid, Ethylene/Propylene Copolymer, Silica, BHT, Benzoic Acid. May Contain [+/-: Mica, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Red 6 Lake (CI 15850), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 27 Lake (CI 45410), Red 33 Lake (CI 17200), Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Carmine (CI 75470)]

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

I finished my Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and am loving the $5 Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser.

The moment I tried this one, I thought to myself, "I have tried this one before." I knew I hadn't, but it felt identical to a primer I used to use: Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer. That product has been discontinued, but the ingredients list is very similar and side by side in a blind test, you would not be able to tell the product apart.

I put this on my oily t-zone and use an illuminating highlighter from e.l.f. on the rest of my face. 

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Stearyl Heptanoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Silica Silylate, Propylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Prunus Cerasus Extract/Bitter Cherry Extract, [+/- May Contain: CI 73360/Red 30, CI 77492/Iron Oxides]

NYX Cosmetics Sculpt & Highlight Brow Contour 

Another repurchase: I am on my fourth NYX Sculpt & Highlight Brow Contour in Ash Brown. It is superior to my other 3 favorites in rotation from Anastasia, It Cosmetics and Milk Makeup. Under $10 at Target!

This is a two sided eyebrow product. One side features a silky soft highlighting thin crayon to apply under the brow bone, while the other is your color to add definition and fill in your brows. This is really a lovely product.

Ingredients: Highlight Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Talc, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Paraffin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Mineral Oil/Paraffinum Liquidum/Huile Minerale, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ozokerite, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina/Cire Microcristalline, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Copernicia Cerifera Cera/Cire De Carnauba, Petrolatum, Polybutene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499). Contour Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ozokerite, Di-C20-40 Alkyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, C30-50 Alcohols, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499).

L'Oreal Voluminous Feline Noir Mascara

Lastly, it's another beautifully formulated mascara from L'Oreal -- the Voluminous Feline Noir Mascara, which is a good dupe for Lancôme Hypnose Buildable Volume Mascara, which sells for $27.50. By the way, we've discussed it here before -- L'Oreal is the parent company of Lancome. I have found since my days of working for Lancome (starting my junior year of college) that there is a L'Oreal dupe for just about every single Lancome product.

I would say that this L'Oreal mascara is the perfect duper for the Hypnose. Just $8 at Target, this mascara lives up to its claims. Not going to lie: this is my favorite mascara of all time. It is official and, after 20+ years of searching, I really believe this is what I'd call my holy grail mascara.

Ingredients: Aqua / Water / Eau, Paraffin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Copernicia Cerifera Cera / Carnauba Wax / Cire De Carnauba, Ethylene / Acrylic Acid, Copolymer, Styrene / Acrylates / Ammonium, Methacrylate Copolymer, Cera Alba / Beeswax / Cire Dabeille, Synthetic Beeswax, Bis-Diglyceryl, Polyacyladipate-2, Polybutene, Cetyl Alcohol, Steareth-20, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Steareth-2, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acacia Senegal Gum, Tribehenin, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Silica, Tetrasodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, BHT. May Contain: CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 77007 / Ultramarines.

Cire d'Abeille Skin Care Review

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cire d'Abeille Skin Care is a brand of artisan-crafted products made here in the Rochester area in Fairport, New York.

Cire d'Abeille is local and I felt an instant connection right off the bat. This line is stellar and I want to share it with every single person I know. Although it has been YEARS since I had my facial care line and life has taken me in other directions business-wise and passion-wise, I know how hard it can be to get a solid skin care brand off the ground. I also know first hand that it takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to get those products Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free. So I give this brand kudos for her dedication. I am impressed.

I am not just impressed by Ashley's passion for being cruelty free or because she is local. I am truly impressed by the products themselves!

I am very fortunate to be able to try out beauty products in all price ranges for this blog and for my print work, as I am introduced to so many products I may otherwise never have encountered. Many of these products are very good. Rarely, others stand above the pack and I want to scream from the rooftops about them. That is how I would describe Cire d'Abeille

Cire d'Abeille Skin Care is owned by Ashley Monney. As I mentioned earlier, her cruelty-free, paraben free products are handmade in small batches right here in upstate New York. From body scrubs to lip balms, you're sure to be impressed with anything you try!

I have tried over a dozen items from this local company and I can say that Ashley's creations are little slices of heaven. Each lip balm is unique and delightful. The body scrubs are exquisite - perfection in jars.

Intoxicatingly scrumptious body care products like Black Button Distilling Bespoke Boubon Cream Coffee Infused Body Scrub are comforting and smell like heaven, as is The Waffle Factory Salted Caramel Latte Body Scrub. I was so excited to see the latter on the counter the other day when I had a group of four 12 year olds out for waffles. I just had to buy it!

The Lime & Mint Exfoliating Body Scrub? Hello, can you say mojito?! Like every single Cire d/Abeille product I have tried, this one smells so fresh and truly unique, blended exquisitely -- expertly.

And friends, the Toasted Coconut Latte lip balm is the BEST lip balm on earth -- no joke -- and I have tried hundreds in the past ten years of blogging. It contains coconut oil, shea butter, coffee infused sweet almond oil, carrot seed oil, and more. It is moisturizing, non-sticky and tastes amazing. Truth be told, ALL of the lip balms are total perfection. Next up on my "to try" list: The Waffle Factory Banella Lip Balm. What is Banella, you ask? It is a banana, chocolate, and hazelnut cream lip balm. Delicious.

Could this be the planet's best scrub?

How do the scrubs from Cire d'Abeille stack up? It is true. I am super picky about scrubs -- not to be difficult, but because I absolutely love body scrubs and am a touch critic. I have three brands of scrubs that I absolutely adore: Clover and Bee, Lemongrass Spa, and Rachel's Plan Bee. They all have their strengths. They all have left me sad when I use my last scoop. All have very good ingredients. Because of these factors, I want to break down cost since I have recommended them all to you over the years.

Rachel's Plan Bee ($20 for 7 ounces or $2.86 an ounce)
Lemongrass Spa ($28 for 8 ounces or $3.50 an ounce)
Clover and Bee ($34 for 10 ounces or $3.40 an ounce)
Cire d'Abeille ($8.99 for 4 ounces or  $2.25 an ounce)

The Bottom Line: Cire d'Abeille Skin Care has the BEST body scrub. It is no contest. When you look at ingredients, packaging, how the product FEELS and WORKS, I prefer this brand to the others. The price cannot be beat when it comes to high-end caliber body exfoliants at a very affordable cost. Of the 4 brands, this checks everything off the list of what you are looking for in a body scrub.

  • Beautiful, gift worthy packaging
  • Made locally 
  • Made with ingredients from other local businesses
  • The texture of the scrub is superb
  • Moisturizing, yet non-greasy so you won't slip in the tub

Shop Local with Cire d'Abeille

One last point: I feel really good about using these products, not just because of the fact that they work well and make me feel pampered and special, but because supporting Cire d'Abeille helps support our local economy. You see, Ashley could buy the largest economy size can of coffee to make her scrubs with coffee in them. She doesn't. She uses Union Place Coffee Roasters coffee, which is in Rochester. Her wine-infused products could me made with a big cheap box of wine. Instead, she supports local businesses such as Deer Run Winery and Casa Larga

These are just a couple of the MANY businesses Cire d'Abeille partners with to create such unique products. When you support your fellow local small business owners, you are not only helping your local economy, you're also making deposits in the karma department (in my eyes, anyway)!

I really wanted to tell you all about Cire d'Abeille much sooner, but I did not want to hurry with the post because this brand is really something special. Do yourself --and your skin -- a favor and head over to the Cire d'Abeille website, Facebook page, and Instagram account.
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