Clarisonic Smart Profile Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush Review

Clarisonic Smart Profile Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush Review

Clarisonic Smart Profile Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush Review

If you’re in the market for a new skin cleansing brush and you like your gadgets, Clarisonic’s Smart Profile may be just the device for you. I’ve tried both the Clarisonic Mia 2 ($219 AUD) and Mia Fit ($315 AUD) before, but the Smart Profile ($349 AUD) really takes the cake in terms of convenience and features. It still has all the features that Clarisonic fans are used to, with some added bonuses that will make your routine much easier.

Regular Clarisonic Features

“Sonic” cleaning

All the Clarisonic brushes feature the “sonic” oscillating back-and-forth brush movement instead of the one-way rotation on most brushes. This is great because it reduces torque on the skin so it jiggles instead of roughly twisting, giving you a thorough but still gentle clean.

Handy magnetic USB charger

The chargers that currently come with all three Clarisonic devices are USB-enabled, so you can charge them from the wall using a USB wall adapter (included with the brush) or through your computer or laptop. It’s very convenient for travelling, when you might not have the right adapter or enough adapters around. The chargers attach magnetically to the brushes, which avoids exposed metal surfaces so you don’t need to worry about rust or electrocuting yourself, or plugging it in the wrong way. (If your bought your brush a bit earlier, it may not have the USB feature.)

Smart Profile Features

Here are the extra features the Smart Profile has:

“Smart” RFID Facial and Body Brushes

Unlike the Mia 2 and Mia Fit, the Smart Profile is designed to be used for both the face and the body, and comes with both a Smart Dynamic Facial Brush head for normal and oily facial skin, and a larger Smart Turbo Massage Body Brush Head with stiffer bristles for exfoliating and massaging the body. Both brushes contain RFID chips that tell the handle which preprogrammed timer to use. Since brush heads get worn out over time, the Smart Profile also registers how long you’ve used the brush head for. A notification light comes on after 90 minutes (3 months) of use when it’s time to get a new brush head (don’t worry – the brush head won’t stop working if you decide not to change it!). The Smart Profile also works with regular brush heads, but these nifty features won’t function.

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L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay’s My UV Patch Review

L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review

I was really excited to hear about L’Oréal/La Roche-Posay’s My UV Patch, a recently launched electronic wearable that can measure your UV exposure. La Roche-Posay have some of the best sunscreens on the market, so you know they’re serious about sun protection. My UV Patch is a blue heart-shaped patch that’s about the size of a large coin and half the thickness of an average strand of hair. It can be worn on your skin (the back of your hand is recommended) for up to 5 days, lasting through showers and swimming. You apply your sunscreen over the patch, so you can see how much UV protection you’re getting with your regular sunscreen.

L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review
Here’s how it works:

  1. Stick the patch on your hand
  2. Enter your details into the app
  3. Scan the patch with the app when it tells you to (around every hour)
  4. The app tells you whether or not you’re being sun-safe, and whether it’s time to reapply sunscreen
  5. The app gives you a chart of your UV exposure throughout the day, and tells you when you’ve had too much sun (how much of your “sun stock” you’ve used)

L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review

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Smile Makers Vibrators Launch in Priceline…whaaat??!

Smile Makers vibrators launch in Priceline...what??!

Today I want to talk about something awkward but necessary: sexual wellbeing. Sexual wellbeing is an extremely important but taboo and under-discussed aspect of physical and psychological health. If you know me in real life, you may want to stop reading around here and detour to the safer waters of sunscreen quantities or exfoliating or hair protectants instead. Or not, since we’re talking about breaking taboos in the name of health here! (It’s OK, I promise there are no photos of me using the things, and no in-depth descriptions of my relationship with my junk.)

Priceline Pharmacy, the more health-focused arm of Australia’s popular female-oriented health and beauty chain, has just started stocking the Swedish brand Smile Makers. Smile Makers makes personal massagers and lubricants that have been in Asian and European pharmacies since 2013. It was created to counteract a big problem worldwide, which you can see through these stats from a survey performed on Australian women*:

  • 75% of feel that sexual satisfaction is important to their overall wellbeing
  • 4 in 10 are not sexually satisfied
  • 47 percent have used a vibrator before
  • More than half (55%) of those who have not used a vibrator before are interested in trying one
  • 23 percent did not feel comfortable in a sex/adult shop whether in person or online

*Ramblin’ Brands claim based on research conducted by Nielsen (25th August – 2nd September 2016, 1,002 sample size, out of 5,329,000 Australian women aged 18-50 population estimation)

Sexual health research backs up a lot of these claims, as well as the fact that vibrator use is associated with positive sexual function and is rarely related to side effects. Lower sexual satisfaction is correlated with poorer physical health (heart disease, diabetes) and mental health (depression, anxiety). In other words, there are a lot of women out there who could benefit from owning a vibrator, but aren’t comfortable purchasing them, due to where they’re stocked. Less than a quarter of the surveyed women, but still – that’s a decent chunk.

Smile Makers aims to solve this problem for those women by introducing accessible products outside of the “adult” world – in Australia’s case, in the female-friendly environment of Priceline Pharmacy, alongside other health essentials like vitamins and Panadol and makeup (a frequent mental health necessity!).

Smile Makers vibrators launch in Priceline...what??!

 

The Smile Makers range in Priceline includes five personal massagers (The Millionaire, The Tennis Coach, The Fireman, The Surfer and The Frenchman) and two premium lubricants (Little Light Liquid and Generous Gel). The waterproof vibrators use easy-to-clean phthalate-free silicone, run for about 4 hours on a AAA battery and are pretty darn quiet. There’s a single button that cycles through 4 speeds and a pulsation mode. The prices are also pretty reasonable ($24.99 for the Surfer, $49.99 for the rest).

The big question: should vibrators be sold in a pharmacy, where people of all ages can potentially see them? I have to admit, when I first saw Smile Makers between cellulite cream and flea tablets in a department store in Switzerland, I found it confronting and did a double take. And I made sure there was no one else in the aisle before I took a closer look (and a surreptitious photo). The sleek design is as inoffensive as you can get (elegant, abstract designs have been partially credited for the widespread acceptance of vibrators in pop culture). While I know greater access and normalisation of sexual wellbeing a fantastic idea and I’m pretty darn socially progressive, on a gut level I’m still a bit uncomfortable.

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How do air-activated heat packs and eye masks work?

Air-activated heated eye masks like the Kao Megurhythm Steam Hot Eye Mask are awesomely convenient little inventions. They heat up instantly once you open the package, so you don’t have to mess around with hot water or microwaves. Here’s the science behind how they work!

How do air-activated heat packs and eye masks work?

 

Air-activated eye masks work the same way as the air-activated heat packs called kairo that are incredibly popular in Japan, especially in winter. These heat packs work thanks to a heat-releasing (exothermic) chemical reaction that starts when you expose the porous pack to oxygen in the air.

Here’s the reaction:

4Fe(s) + 3O2(g) + 6H2O(l) → 4Fe(OH)3(s)                    ΔH < 0

iron + oxygen + water → iron(III) hydroxide + heat

This oxidation process is pretty much the same as what happens when iron rusts. The product itself contains iron powder and water but no oxygen, so the reaction can’t proceed until the sealed bag is open and oxygen from the air can work its way through the holes in the pack to reach the other reactants. The bags also often contain salt which acts as a catalyst to speed up the reaction, and vermiculite and activated carbon which can help distribute water and oxygen more evenly for a more sustained reaction, as well as insulate the reaction and trap the heat in the heat pack. The inside of a heat pack I bought from Daiso looks like this after 6 hours, with a pad of black activated carbon and brown iron(III) hydroxide:

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Genie Beauty Review: Instant Line Smoother, Million Dollar Lash Kit and more

Genie Beauty Review: Instant Line Smoother, Million Dollar Lash Kit and more

I recently had the chance to meet Lisa Claycomb, the product developer who started the “instant skincare” brand Genie Beauty Products, and learn all about their products. Genie has been a hit on shopping networks QVC and TVSN. What really struck me about Genie were their product innovations, and how much sense they made once Lisa explained them to me. Here are some of their coolest products:

Genie Beauty Review: Instant Line Smoother, Million Dollar Lash Kit and more

Instant Line Smoother ($59.95 AUD / $38 USD for 19 mL, $99.95 AUD for 30 mL) is the hero product from Genie Beauty. It’s based on film forming ingredients that dry to make a tightening film, filling in lines and flattening out puffiness and sagging skin. This gives your skin an instant pick-me-up in just 2 minutes! You can also mix it into liquid foundation. It dries clear so you don’t need to worry about weird colours, and it contains moisturising collagen, aloe vera and silk proteins to hydrate the skin underneath. I found that it flattened out my undereye area nicely, and as a bonus, my concealer creased less too. There are some stunning before-and-afters on their site showing Instant Line Smoother on people with serious crows feet and sagging – this is definitely worth trying if you’re considering a facelift!

Genie Beauty Review: Instant Line Smoother, Million Dollar Lash Kit and more

Million Dollar Lash Kit ($29.95 AUD / $15 USD for Lash Booster or Mascara, $39.95 AUD / $25 USD for both, 10.8 mL each) is the best booster/mascara combo I’ve tried so far. The TLC Plus Lash Booster goes on white and has a curved brush for easy application. It extends your lashes quite impressively and is compatible with any mascara. The TLC Plus Lash Mascara has a cool V-shaped applicator that applies 2 coats of mascara with one swipe. Both the lash booster and mascara are loaded with beeswax, carnauba wax and silica and nylon fibres to thicken and lengthen your eyelashes. Here’s the before and after on my lashes:

Genie Beauty Review: Instant Line Smoother, Million Dollar Lash Kit and more

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Remington PROluxe Salon Dryer and Straightener Review

Remington PROluxe Salon Dryer and Straightener Review

Remington have released two styling products that promise to give salon quality results at budget-friendly prices: the PROluxe Salon Straightener and Dryer. I was lucky enough to try both of them.

Remington PROluxe Salon Dryer and Straightener Review

Both PROluxe products have what Remington call “PROheat technology”, which improves even heat distribution for more effective and less damaging styling. In straighteners, the heat of the plates drop as you glide it along cold hair, so even if the temperature is set right, you’ll still have to go over your hair a few times, causing possible uneven heating and spots with increased damage. The PROLuxe straightener uses a digital sensor to monitor the heat and immediately boost it back up when it drops for “one pass” straightening. The ceramic coating has 15 times more ceramic than a regular straightener as well to promote even heating, and is extra smooth to limit snagging. There’s also a handy switch to lock the plates closed for easier storage.

I had a wave put in my hair at Edwards and Co salon using the PROLuxe straightener – I was impressed by how quick it was, and how long it lasted (3 days with a metric truckload of dry shampoo, including 2 dance classes!). If only the straightener came with a stylist who actually knows what they’re doing and can see the back…

Remington PROluxe Salon Dryer and Straightener Review

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How Does the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush (Theoretically) Work?

How Does the Clarisonic Brush (Theoretically) Work?

How Does the Clarisonic Brush (Theoretically) Work?

I always assumed that the Clarisonic cleansing brush was an attempt to clean the skin via sonic cavitation, which is when sound waves cause tiny jets of water to smash into a surface to clean it, like a thousand tiny power hoses (that’s how sonic jewellery/glasses cleaners work). But for sonic cleaning via cavitation to work, you need a hard surface, which glasses and jewellery are, but skin is not, so I was pretty confused.

I recently stumbled upon a paper from 2006 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, where the inventors of the Clarisonic discuss how it’s designed to work. (Important note: the paper doesn’t present any data of the Clarisonic in action to show that that’s how it actually works, but it’s interesting to see the theoretical background anyway!)

The Clarisonic Brush Head

The Clarisonic brush head has two parts: an outer ring that’s fixed and doesn’t move, and an inner section that’s attached to a motor inside the handle.

From the Clarisonic patents, the inner section rotates back and forth between 8 and 26°, at a frequency of 176 Hz (i.e. it makes 176 cycles from the left to the right and back again in a second; you can also think of it as 352 “sweeps”).

How Does the Clarisonic Brush (Theoretically) Work?

How the Clarisonic Brush Head Works

Here’s the question: if you put the brush against your skin, which part of your skin gets cleaned the most? If you’re a normal sensible person who hasn’t looked at the Clarisonic website in much detail, you’d say, “the part of your skin that’s sitting under the moving inner portion.”

This is where it gets really interesting – the part of the skin that the brush is designed to deeply clean is actually the part with no bristles on it! It’s the skinny ring in between the outer and inner portions (0.05-0.125 inches, or 1.3-3.2 mm according to the patents).

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Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

My skin gets dehydrated in winter despite my best efforts to gently cleanse and exfoliate it, so I’ve been using hydrating masks (both sheet and not) to try to boost the moisture levels. I came across this nifty silicone sheet mask tool at Daiso and knew I had to get one!

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

The Daiso Silicone Mask is essentially a silicone sheet mask with ear loops to hold it in place.

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

You can use it on top of a sheet mask, or on top of a regular mask or even by itself, according to the instructions on the back. I’ve also been using it over hydrating masks.

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

 

There’s a bunch of advantages to using this mask:

It keeps your face warm when masking in winter: When water evaporates, it takes a whole bunch of heat with it, which is why sweating cools you down so well and why hypothermia happens so much more easily when you’re wearing wet clothes. Some people use sheet mask warmers, but the mask only stays warm for a few minutes after application, and if it gets too hot, there’s the chance that sensitive ingredients could break down.

When water evaporates from the top of the sheet mask, it carries all the other ingredients with it. This means that as your mask evaporates, unless it stays absolutely soaked in essence, all the good ingredients will end up clustered on the side furthest away from your skin. The sheet mask slows down evaporation so the ingredients don’t migrate away.

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