This year I've been making a real effort at letting go of things I don't need, getting rid of clutter, and trying to save up a bit of cash, so naturally I decided it would be the perfect time to join Birchbox - the beauty subscription box service where you pay money every month and they send you a ton of little samples, many of which I will probably find later this year under a cushion in the dog's bed, unopened.
However, it turns out getting a fancy-pants present in the mail full of little beauty samples every month is quite a lot more practical than it sounds. I travel a lot and these tiny little tubes of hope and promise are perfect for the road. You just have to take them with you with the understanding that you might occasionally be disappointed in a product, perhaps even to the point of desperately scouring the shelves of a Tesco Express at 2am hoping to find an alternative moisturizer that doesn't burn your face like a thousand fists full of needles heated on the surface of a thousand suns.
However, that's not what happened this past weekend. I actually "discovered" two products this weekend; one had been a part of my September Birchbox, and the other I had been hoarding in a bathroom cabinet for a few months.
Despite my initial concern that this product's ridiculously-long moniker would weigh-down my travel bag, I decided to take it with me to Edinburgh for the weekend. I first used it on Saturday, then walked the 30-40 minutes from my hotel to the course I was on, getting absolutely soaked with rain along the way. My skin not only stayed soft through the whole aquatic portion of my walk, it stayed that way all. damn. day. Even after I dried off. After a repeat performance on Sunday with much better weather, I was sold. My skin looked and felt fantastic, even after walking for miles and driving the nearly three hours home.
Marcelle City 24H emulsion is a moisturizer that feels almost like a sort of barrier cream. It comes out thick, yet has a super-lightweight feel that is almost reminiscent of a primer, minus the sort of creepy silicone feel that most primers have that makes me instantly suspicious of them. This emulsion gives the skin a lovely 1/2 matte 1/2 satin finish, and like I said before, it lasts. It has no irritating perfumes or essential oils, no parabens (which the predictive text on this laptop keeps wanting to change to "parables", which incidentally are also completely absent in the formula), and the price point is fair. I've just gone back to Birchbox and given them even more of my money to get the full-sized one (simplifying your life is so expensive you guys.) It's a bit hard to come by in the UK, but right now you can find it on Birchbox by following the link above. If you're in the USA or Canada, its easier to find.
The second thing that surprised me this weekend was a happy accident that had been quietly lying in wait in my medicine cabinet at home. I think I may have snagged The Studio 35 Beauty Nourishing Coconut Mask in Walgreens the last time I was in the States. Regardless, this was another thing that I was not anticipating liking, having essentially plucked it from the cheap pile at the impulse buy displays near the checkout. Quite often I'll put one of these impulse buy masks on my face and after about 30 seconds, am immersed in the feelings I imagine you would get if you smeared your face with peanut butter and slid a hive of angry bees on top of your head. I've kind of come to expect these single packet masks to be clay-based, smelling so strongly of faux cucumber and/or lavender as to evoke suspicion that it is actually meant as a bathroom cleaner, to be irritating AF, and above all else, to be supremely drying to your skin.
This is not the case with the Coconut Nourishing Mask. It goes on a lot like the aforementioned clay masks, yet it's lighter (and also, there are 2-3 applications per packet unless you're doing your whole upper torso. Do people do that!?) The mask dries-down like one of the aforementioned clay masks, but a lot thinner and more flexible, leaving me with the impression that a lot of the moisture in it actually gets taken-up into the skin. You can leave it on as long as you like (or I should say, I can leave it on as long as I like - I forgot it was there for a good hour), and when you rinse, your skin is soft, supple, and much more evenly-toned.
Because this mask was such a happy accident, I was inspired to spend approximately 8.7 seconds doing Internet research on it. It turns out that Studio 35 Beauty does a lot of hypoallergenic products - I guess that's kind of their thing. And again, he price point is right. This is a great product for right around two US dollars per pack, which is just as well because all this simplifying my life and saving money is costing me a fortune.