7 Weirdest Beauty Ingredients

This is a round-up of the 7 weirdest beauty ingredients that companies have used to market their beauty products. They made me laugh so much I had to write an article on them so here it is.

placenta face mask review

Placenta: This sheet mask from Amazon contains placenta, although the question-and-answer and the reviews don’t make it clear WHAT mammal the placenta came from. My guess would be pig or cow, but since I don’t read Korean (I know, shocking) and anyway there’s no picture of the ingredients in Korean OR English, I really don’t know. Except that there is some sort of mammalian placenta in this mask and people are putting it on their faces anyway. This other one says its placenta comes from real horses. I imagine there are a lot of horses giving birth all the time in Korea. There is also a placenta leave-in treatment for bleached hair. So you can walk around all day with afterbirth on your head. Sexy.

donkey milk review

Donkey milk. Like, milk. But specifically from donkeys. For when other milk just won’t do the job. This donkey milk skin gel mask claims to provide a rich source of vitamins and nutrients for the skin. It also contains an extract from young pears, because as we all know, it’s all downhill once pears start to age. It comes in a 10 pack, so that’s nice. There’s just one thing I don’t get. Why donkeys, specifically???

bee mask review

Bee venom: I already reviewed the Manuka Doctor Apinourish Restoring Night Cream which didn’t really do anything for my face. But there’s also bee venom masks and serums that are supposed to use bee venom to tighten and improve skin elasticity. Or, they may just give you the sensation of being covered in bees.

gold face mask review

Gold: The concept of gold face masks is pretty well-established in the beauty world at this point, right? Okay, chemistry lesson. Gold is an unreactive substance. We can leave it in the ground for thousands of years, and when archaeologists find it, it’s completely undamaged by chemical processes of decay. It doesn’t interact with other elements. That’s why we value it and like to make gold jewelry (although a lot of the gold in mass-produced jewelry is mixed with other metals to water it down, so it will taint a little over time, for example 14 karat gold is only 58.5% pure gold) If you put it on your face, it won’t actually do anything. So whatever ingredient is REALLY working in these gold face masks, it’s not the gold. It’s some other active ingredient that probably sounds less luxurious if you name a product after it.

snake venom eye cream review

Snake venom: This tube of face mask from Amazon contains snake venom, although since there’s nearly 3000 species of snake in the world, you might not get the same results if you go to your local national park and piss off a king cobra then stick your face near it. There’s also an eye cream for people who always wondered how it would feel to be bitten by a snake in the eye.

mizon cream review

Snail goo: Mizon Snail Repair Face Cream is the most popular version of this, but snail goo is available in a huge range of products including eyelash conditioners, face masks, hand creams and more. There’s even a range of snail bee products such as this face mask, with both bee venom and snail goo in them. Personally, I’ll give it a miss.

Tony Moly red wine mask sheet for pore care.

Red wine: In the Tony Moly I’m Real sheet mask collection, one of them is a red wine sheet mask which I’ve reviewed here. It’s full of antioxidants for cleansing pores. It didn’t make me drunk.

Which beauty ingredients do you think are super-weird? Have you tried any of them?

Reasons not to start a blog

I’m going full-on sweary opinionated bitch for this post, because you know I like to tell it like it is.

I just want to throw my hands up in the air and give up sometimes, because every month the Internet gets filled up with more crap.  To be honest, I have stopped reading other people’s blogs for the most part, not because I don’t want to (I really, really love some blogs and feel sad that I’m missing their posts), but because I don’t have time due to my master’s degree (I’m hoping I’ll have SO MUCH time when we move to Asia), and there’s no way to bring them all together in one place (I used to use Feedly, but it kept breaking down and not notifying me of new posts) and keep track of them all.  There’s so many shit blogs out there now, I can’t even look at WordPress Reader, and I’ve made my thoughts clear about Bloglovin’.

This situation is such a fucking joke it’s untrue.  There’s just so many people who think they’re going to get noticed simply by writing a half-assed blog post, they’re drowning out all the good stuff.

So, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, I can save you a BOATLOAD of time and effort.  Here’s a bunch of reasons not to start a blog:

  1. To make money. I’ve been blogging for 2 years now, and I maybe make $200 a month in a good month. It’s hard work, and I can’t put as much time into it as I would like this year, because I’m doing a master’s degree and writing erotica as well. For 18 months I put about 30-60 hours of work per week into coming up with new content, making and editing videos for this site, choosing things to try, researching all the science, writing and re-writing posts, and taking photos, and if I had been able to do that for the last 6 months, I’d maybe be making $250-300 per month. After 2 years. I generally don’t accept product placement or free products (there has been one exception to date, and I got the ebooks free because the author used one of my photos, I just decided to review them anyway), so I make a lot less than some people, but (aside from the bipolar and anxiety) I can sleep at night knowing I only write about things I want to write about. And 80% of bloggers don’t make any money doing this. It’s certainly not easy money.
  2. To “raise awareness” about something. Starting a blog doesn’t actually raise awareness about anything, you’re another drop in the ginormous ocean of all the websites that exist online, and no-one knows where to find your blog. If you want to raise awareness, you have to do something better than write about yourself online. Climb a mountain and blog about it. Raise $10,000 for charity and blog about how you did it. DO SOMETHING!!! Trust me, every month, about twenty new blogs pop up that are trying to “raise awareness” about bipolar, depression, anxiety and OCD. Generally they post six times (I can probably tell you the title of at least half of those posts), wonder why the Queen hasn’t come to visit with their Nobel prize yet, then they give up. So much for the positive thinking that they wanted to sell you. Mostly, they wanted to raise awareness of themselves, not any kind of illness or cause. If you want to raise awareness of yourself, apply to “America’s got talent.” Talent not necessary. Actually, these days, you have a second option: Run for president.
  3. To become famous. Drop, ocean, you, small fish. There are millions of blogs out there — WordPress powers 20% of the Internet.
  4. To sell Avon/Younique/Herbalife/other “not a pyramid scheme” pyramid selling schemes with a limited product range. People who start a blog for this reason tend not to do very well because they broadcast instead of having a dialogue with readers. WordPress isn’t a place for broadcasting your sales pitch. That shit belongs in the 80s with door-to-door salesmen. If you want to sell to people, you need to make damn sure you know what you’re talking about and then you need to talk to your potential customers like they’re actual people (because they are. Everyone is a person first, they are ALWAYS a person, until the day they die, and sometimes they’re also a customer), not like they’re some minions that will flock to your website. Fuck. That.
  5. Because you hate beauty but everyone always tells you how good you look so you thought you’d graciously share your godly knowledge of how to draw eyeliner around your face with us mere mortals. Gee thanks. Now piss off. If you hate beauty, don’t fucking write about beauty. Write about something you don’t hate and leave the beauty blog website names for people who are actually going to enjoy talking beauty. Same goes for hair. I can’t believe how many people do this! No-one wants to comment on shitty patronizing articles when they’re just copied from other people’s, anyway. Which is what the “I hate beauty” bloggers all seem to do. I’ve even seen them copying my stuff. I don’t care how pretty you think you are, if you hate beauty, it really shows.
  6. You are really fake and live your whole life faking things (because secretly you hate beauty but you want to make money). Ugh. Go die in a corner. Then see points 5 and 1, above.
  7. To get free stuff. If this is your only reason for blogging, you’re basically ripping off companies, not writing about their products very well and not increasing their sales. How long is that gravy train going to last for you? This happens in beauty, travel and lifestyle blogging, and it’s so obvious to anyone who reads blogs a lot. The only way to get free stuff constantly is if you regularly write a good blog about something you like and care about. Then apply for free stuff. And be picky about what you apply for. Free crap is still crap.

I mean, is it me, or are there just too many people like this in the blogosphere these days? Usually they last 2-6 posts then they never bother updating again because the universe never recognized their obvious talent for blogging.

The things I’ve just listed are all some potential side effects of writing a blog, not the reason to do it. They might not happen for you. In fact, they probably won’t. Sorry. Blogging should be to share your unique lived experience, your passion, your joy, your sorrows… something you fucking care about, good or bad. Otherwise, you’re just taking up bandwidth. All the best blogs are run by someone who cares about something so much or feels so strongly about something that they shared it with the Internet.

Does anyone else have any reasons they think people shouldn’t start blogs? I’m going to take my bitch hat off now.

the righteous banana of indignation
Behold!! The righteous banana of indignation. I don’t fucking know. I just made it up because I wanted a picture of something.

Review: ROC Retinol correxion sensitive night cream

I’ve been trying a few different face creams recently and two have stood out as phenomenal. I don’t use the term “Holy Grail” usually, because I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration about most things, but when it comes to skincare, ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream and Olay Three-Point Regenerist day cream are now my Holy Grail products.

ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream for sensitive skin.
Packaging of ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream for sensitive skin.

I bought ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream from Amazon back in December and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s been a great addition to my usual skincare routine!

How the box says to use it: The instructions on the back say to use ROC retinol correxion at night, going two nights with cream then taking a break for two nights before using it for two more nights, and so on, until your skin gets used to it, then to use it nightly.

How I use it: I’ve been using it two nights on, two nights off for the last 6-8 weeks and I don’t feel ready to use it every night yet. Why? Because it’s effective! It’s working perfectly for me so why go overboard?

ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream tube review how to use
ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream tube.

The immediate effect: When I first used this on my skin, it seemed to enlarge my pores and make my whole face look dry for about two days, then it completely settled down again and now my skin looks better than ever.

The long term effect: After about three uses, my skin got used to it and I found it seemed to be re-drawing my skin (I honestly don’t know what the word is, it was like an IRL photoshop airbrush) smoothing over all my fine lines and making my skin look more vital. It’s been completely amazing! It contains retinol which is drying to the skin so make sure to use a good day cream and maybe even face oil as well!

Negatives: Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to UV light, so make sure to use a sunscreen during the day when you use ROC retinol correxion night cream at night. I try to always use SPF-30 or above anyway, so it’s another reason to wear sunscreen. Also this stuff does nothing against blue circles, but that’s fine because the Olay Regenerist 3 Point day cream does.

The scientific bit: It contains Retinol which is a form of vitamin A that stimulates collagen production in the skin.

The packaging: It comes in a box with a clear window so you can see the tube of cream. Inside, there’s a plastic tray to hold the cream in place. I’d like to know if the packaging is recyclable or not.

ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream is available on Amazon.

What actually happens when a content farm steals your handmade content

Today I want to talk about something that very regularly affects writers, beauty bloggers and photography bloggers, and occasionally affects travel bloggers too: Content theft. How does it happen and what can you do about it?

I am a moderate traffic website; according to both Amazon and Alexa, I am not yet in the big leagues (I’m in the top 1,000,000 websites, but so are 999,999 other sites). I do have some very good SEO, however, and I score first result on the first page of Google for at least 10 different search terms, because I work very hard to make my content relevant to what people are searching for. Because of this, I’m not blind to the crappy games some other sites play so they can rank higher in Google.

The past two days, however, my single most popular article has taken a nosedive. My traffic has plummeted and I have lost more than a hundred visitors a day. When investigating this, I discovered that a content-farm type website has basically stolen my top ranking article, reworded it and dumbed it down, and posted it on their site. They aren’t ranking above me, but they’ve got enough relevance that they’ve taken some of my traffic away. The thing is, despite the fact they’ve directly paraphrased my article, and added in some photoshopped snazzy pictures (that they also haven’t attributed), they’ve not actually said where they got it from. And they haven’t asked me if they could steal my stuff.

content theft statistics
Picture showing my most popular page; this page was most popular, day in day out, for months.
content theft how to tell
The stats for the blue circles page have increased, proving this shouldn’t have been a “quiet day.” It’s only my most popular page that’s been affected, and all the other stats were just the usual day-to-day fluctuations. That’s how I knew it was probably a content theft issue.

I get by solely on my income from this website and from the books I write (on my author website). This website (Delight and Inspire) generates 20-100% of my income on any given month. Needless to say, I don’t make much money. So when someone steals my personally researched and written articles, changes a few words to get past Google’s duplication penalties, and, by proxy, prevents visitors from finding my site, it makes me feel worried. If people took every article from my site and did that, I’d have no income. It would be like someone putting the PDF of my books on torrent sites, and it’s obviously not a nice feeling.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it because they haven’t just copied and pasted my work. So this is an exercise in pragmatism more than a solution. I am usually not remotely precious about copyright, and when people email me, asking if they can, for example, translate my articles into Italian, I am usually happy that the information is getting shared. But that’s the difference. The cool Italian guy asked, and I knew they were using my content in that way, and I’m happy with the result, which is that Italians can now read that information in their own language. I now get 1-2 emails a week from Italians trying to cross the Bering Strait (true story). Generally, I think sharing information is the way forward.

When someone does it without acknowledging the source material, however, they’re just trying to make themselves look good with other people’s hard work. And that’s not ok. I would bet money that the person who stole my content was paid by the content farm for “creating” my content. But since half the internet is run by automatic bots and computers these days, with little user generated interaction on sites like Livestrong (a content farm), there’s no-one I can contact about this issue (normally, you can contact someone and ask for the page to be taken down or attributed).

So after the initial infuriation has worn off, I am left with the truth of the situation. Someone stole my stuff, they fooled Google (and whoever paid them to “write” it) and my income has been affected. I cannot do anything about it, so I can either go crazy (crazier) with rage and fury at this daylight robbery and turn into a pathetic dribbling ball of tears, or I can choose to let it go.

Imma let it go, and looking to the future, I’m going to try to ensure that I keep producing fresh, relevant content for my readers that ensures I always rank first on Google for other things. Like my lip plumpers review or my eyelash serum comparison reviews that I have written.

How have you dealt with copyright theft? Let me know in the comments!

Korean vs Japanese beauty BB Review: Clio Water Me Please vs Sana Pore Putty

Today it’s Korean beauty vs Japanese beauty, and I’m testing out how Korean brand Clio’s Water Me Please BB cream stands up against Japanese brand SANA’s Keana Pate Pore Putty BB Pact (which I also reviewed here).

Korean vs Japanese Clio Water Me Please vs Pore Putty BB Pact Cream
Left: Clio Water Me Please BB Cream. Right: SANA Pore Putty BB Pact.

I applied both to my face without any moisturizer or base, to see how they fared just on their own, because normally a BB cream is used instead of layers of traditional make-up. SANA Pore Putty BB Pact SPF 40 PA+++ was on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB SPF 30 PA++ is on the left.

Please bear in mind I am currently ill having contracted Fresher’s Flu at university this weekend, and my face got severely weather battered by going sailing today as well, and it’s past my bedtime but I’m trying hard to make time for you guys today (I’m scheduling it so you can read at a more friendly time of day); so that’s three good reasons why my eyes are so red and puffy!! That makes this the perfect day to test these two products though, because there’s no point testing out foundations on a good skin day when I look great anyway!

My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.
My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.

The Clio Water Me Please gave a much more natural look with less coverage than the SANA Pore Putty. I think I would use this one when I wanted something lightweight that didn’t look like I was wearing makeup. My boyfriend couldn’t actually tell I was wearing makeup.

My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.
My face with a good view of the SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right.
My face with SANA Pore Putty BB Pact on the right and Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left.
My face with Clio Water Me Please BB cream on the left. There’s a definite line down the middle of my forehead between the two products.

White Cast / Grey Cast:

The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream has been criticized by some beauty bloggers for giving a grey cast, but when I applied it today with a beauty blender (actually, a cheap Chinese dupe; my budget doesn’t currently stretch to an expensive make-up sponge), it did not give a grey cast. In fact, its base tones blended perfectly with my natural face color (NC15-20). The SANA Pore Putty SPF40 PA+++ gave a slight white cast in the mirror but it’s not noticeable in the photos for some reason.

Did they Cause Breakouts?

The Clio Water Me Please BB Cream did not cause any breakouts at all, and never has done, not even the time when I first used it and smeared WAY too much on my face (seriously, dab it on lightly). It’s uber skin friendly.

The SANA Pore Putty has left my skin with very minor breakouts every time I’ve used it, so after using it several times I can honestly say I think it’s the Pore Putty doing it. However, while my skin is usually normal, occasionally it goes on a spree of being sensitive and gets upset at certain products. Just like it occasionally goes dry or oily. Weird, huh? I think it’s down to what I eat throwing my skin out of balance sometimes, but I can’t prove it.

Blendability:

I found that the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream blended exceptionally well on my face (NC15-20) and on the back of my hand (about 2 shades darker). It was practically invisible, which is fabulous for a product with SPF-30 and PA++. The SANA Pore Putty didn’t blend so well, and sort of sits on top of my skin, but it’s only as bad as my L’Oreal True Match, which is to say you can hardly tell.

Creasing:

I don’t have any permanent lines to find out if either product settled in them, so I’m only talking about expression lines here. The SANA Pore Putty made those expression lines more obvious, which made me look older when I smiled or frowned. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact definitely creased more in the under-eye area, making that area look more dry, but the Clio Water Me Please BB cream left a more uneven surface, especially around the (ever-growing) pores either side of my nose. The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact worked to minimize these pores, even if the make-up itself was more obvious. I will add that a good primer will get rid of more of this issue, regardless of which BB you use.

Coverage:

The SANA Pore Putty was just much better at covering up red areas, though. In the three photos, you can see the line down my forehead where the SANA Pore Putty is covering up all the redness I’ve currently got from being ill, and the Clio Water Me Please BB cream isn’t covering that up. Definitely if you have clear skin the Clio Water Me Please is a much better choice, but if you have things to cover up, SANA Pore Putty is better.

SPF:
The SANA Pore Putty BB Pact is SPF40 (or possibly 35; they keep changing it), ten whole SPFs more than the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream. More importantly, Pore Putty is PA+++ and Clio Water Me Please is PA++, meaning Pore Putty offers 33% better protection from harmful ageing UVA rays than Clio Water Me Please.

Conclusion:

In general, the Clio Water Me Please BB SPF 30 PA++ is a very good BB cream, good value for money at $11 a tube, and I think it’s got a lot more advantages. However, if you are looking to minimize the appearance of pores, or cover up redness, the SANA Pore Putty BB Pact SPF 40 PA+++ really comes into its own and does those jobs very well. It also has the better sun protection, which is a consideration if you don’t use separate sunscreen year-round. Neither of these BB products are very expensive compared to some other products, and that also counts in their favor. If I had to just use one on an average (non-sunny) day, however, I would reach for the Clio Water Me Please BB Cream.

Which is better: Studio fix style setting spray or hairspray (for actually setting make-up)?

I did a fun beauty investigation over the past week to find out whether hairspray, setting spray (or nothing) is better for making your make-up stay put in a variety of weather conditions!  The video’s tests are hilarious but it’s asking a real and important question about a beauty product that most of us use without thinking (or have in a drawer and forget about, if you’re like me).

Does setting spray or hairspray work better in a rainstorm?

I tested setting spray against no setting spray then got into the shower to see what they did in a rainstorm.  Oh that was hilarious!!

Next I took my make-up off, did a complete reapply and tested setting spray against hair spray in first a light rainstorm (shower on low) then a heavy one (shower on high).

I found that hairspray worked marginally better but neither of them were really designed to stand up to this sort of abuse.

Does setting spray or hairspray work better during exercise?

After the rain test I took my experiment outside to find out what was better to keep make-up in place during exercise.  I did about 30 minutes of exercise outdoors on a hot day to see which product was best at fighting make-up meltdown.

Lastly, to test for whether setting spray or hairspray was better during those really hot days for example when you’re on a long bus ride, I used my hairdryer.  Unexpectedly, the heat from the hairdryer made any perspiration evaporate but it did also show some interesting results about make up that’s been fixed with setting spray – on the side of my face where I used setting spray, I ended up with a nasty little breakout on my cheek.  On the side where I used hairspray, this did not happen (and my eye make-up looked fresher on the hairspray side).

Conclusion:  Hairspray isn’t just a cheap alternative to setting spray.  If you need your make up to last longer, hairspray is actually better.  Which leads to the question, why is Studio Fix called a setting spray not something else???

Limitations:

I did not look at whether spraying your make-up brushes with setting spray would increase the intensity of eye shadow colours.  Maybe in a future investigation…

What do you think of my little experiment?  Let me know your thoughts!

Emily the Strange Make Up Tutorial

So I’m still waiting for the white hair to arrive for the Lily Munster tutorial, in the meantime, here’s another thing you can do with a black wig (or straight long black hair if you’re so blessed), white foundation and black eyeliner.  Enjoy: