More reasons to love the natural brand Dr. Woods…

Remember that time I reviewed an awesome facial cleanser that I impulsively purchased while shopping at a natural food store? Yep. It happens, ya know? You go in a store with a list and end up picking up stuff you didn’t intend to. Freaking Target does it to me every time. The good news is, that Dr. Woods cleanser was spectacular! And since using it, I’ve gotten my hands on some more of their other products. Their availability in stores is tricky but you can find most of ’em online and for A LOT cheaper than what they’d be in stores.

And y’all knowwww how much I love bar soaps.

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My skin is doing all kinds of craziness due to this pregnancy. My normally dry skin has gotten all weird and oily. This Shea Vision Naturals Tea Tree oily/combination skin ain’t too shabby.

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And like all Dr. Woods products, it’s vegan. I’m in love with the fragrance as I was with the cleanser made for normal skin. It’s got a nice woods-y since but nothing over the top. This cleanser also has a clear consistency making it ideal for those with oiler skin. This baby can easily go for over $10 in stores but I found it for less than $6 at LuckyVitamin.com. And as far as those bar soaps…

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I like them a lot. I’ve been using bar soaps more for hand washin’ than body washing simply because my eczema-ridden skin can’t get too much moisture from bar soaps. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy ’em anyway. I love shea butter soaps and considering how moisturizing shea butter is in its natural state, I wish it was AS moisturizing in a bar. But alas, it’s not. These soaps are still pretty fantastic. Mostly because they smell all earthy and woodsy.

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Ingredients-wise, they follow the same preservative-free philosophy of all Dr. Woods products.

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I’ve got one bar in my guest bathroom and another in my bathroom but I tend to like the raw black shea butter best. The red currant clove has a nice and spicy fragrance but it’s a bit on the strong side. Like most bar soaps, it dissipates after awhile but while lathering up, these are very nice soaps. And they’re decently priced at around $3 online.

Dr. Woods rocks and I really wish I could see more of this brand in stores.

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But I don’t mind stocking up online either. If you’re a lover of natural products and lookin’ to try something new, you’ll like Dr. Woods.

My favorite Asian beauty product comes to the States!

I adore cosmetics from other countries. Especially Asian cosmetics. I follow a ton of beauty bloggers who live in Japan, Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong and I am forever going gaga over the the cosmetics and tools that seem to only be in their neck of the woods. And for the longest, you just couldn’t find sheet masks in the U.S. Until now!

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I know. I look all creep-tastic like I’m Michael Myer’s OTHER sister but I am beyond excited that these are finally accessible. Not quite drugstore accessible but hey, I can settle with ordering them online. I’ve done beauty swaps with some of my Asian beauty bloggers and the gals aways included these awesome sheet masks. Trust me, y’all. If you haven’t tried ’em yet, they are definitely worth a try.

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Say “hi” to the brand MaskerAide. MaskerAide has a nice line of sheet masks that not only cover a wide range of needs but they are also vegan! Aaaand fragrance-free! I know, I know! These were so made for me.

Packaging-wise, I find these to be adorable. I’m a little annoyed at how the blonde chick is on EVERY sheet though. Why couldn’t there have been a little more diversity on the various sheets? Y’all know how I get. Lack of diversity annoys me, even in beauty products.

But anyway – there are 6 different kinds of masks for various conditions…

Detoxing

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One that helps with aging skin

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A mask for skin that has been beaten up by the weather

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A mask for brightening and energizing

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A pre-nighttime mask

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One that helps with awakening and refreshing skin

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I think these descriptions are cutesy and just to see if they were really different, I took a peep at the ingredients from all of the packagings and they are all different. For example, the detoxing mask includes aloe vera gel whereas some of the others do not. Okay, fair enough.

While I like think these are nice, I woud have loved to see masks targeted to dry skin, oily skin and acne sufferers. Those make sense to me whereas do I really understand the use of a Beauty Restore mask? Meh. Not so much. But aside from that, the lack of preservatives and the performance of these masks are really impressive. Each masks comes with instructions…

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And added information about the ingredients.

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Very impressive, uh? Especially the fragrance free part. Y’all know I’m a fragrance hater but I think anyone would be if they’d have to wear a facial sheet on their face for a good 10-20 minutes, ya know?

I test drove 2 of these masks. My favorite between Detox Diva and Beauty Restore is definitely Detox Diva. This is one hydrating mask! Application is simple too. Simply rip ‘er up…

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…when removing the mask from the packaging, you’ll have to be careful as the mask is super moist and may drip all over.

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Which I guess is a good thing. At least you get enough product. You’ve got to be careful about peeling open the mask as if you do so too roughly, you may tear apart some pieces.

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And then you apply it on your face. It really is that simple and these sheet masks feel great! Unlike most masks, they feel cool the entire time you wear them. And it feels goooood. I can’t say for sure if the mask changed my skin’s condition greatly as I only used 2 in a span of 2 weeks but who knows? Maybe overtime and with regularly use they’d do some good. The relaxing nature of these sheet masks are reason enough for why I’d like to make an effort to wear one at least once a week.

You can get these from MaskerAide sheet masks from MaskerAide.com at $4.99. Here’s to hopin’ we’ll see these in stores soon. Woo hooo!

Any sheet masks lovers in the house?

Stretch Marks: Attempt to beat ’em or ignore ’em?

Stretch marks. For some, they are like the WORST thing that can happen to your body. And for me…they’re just a a part of life. They come around if you’ve lost some weight or gained some weight. Or you could be one of those lucky ladies who have amazing genetics and don’t get stretch marks at all. In which case, I don’t like you.

Hahaaaa! I’m kidding. I’ve got two different brands of oils here that have a ton of claims but they both claim to help fade stretch marks over time. And well uh, with my growing belly, I figured why not give these bad boys a whirl? Say hello to the ever so popular Bio and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil.

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This review won’t be comparing the two (because I’ve only got 1 body to test drive ’em on. Ha!) but rather give a brief intro into their claims, if they rock and if they perform well enough to motivate a consumer to use time and time again.

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Let’s start with Bio Oil.

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Price: $19.99
Where To Purchase: Ulta stores and at Ulta.com
Size: 4.2 oz and 2 oz ($11.99)

I didn’t know it before, but pregnant women everywhere swear by this stuff. I’m not even kidding. Visit a pregnancy forums or store and chances are, you’ll see people bragging about this oil. In fact, just check out Ulta’s review section of this oil and you’ll see a ton of testimonies from users everywhere. This stuff is popular for a reason, uh?

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Like any kind of oil, it has a greasy consistency but I found it to sink into the skin nicely.

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It has a pretty prominent floral smell. If I had to guess I’d say roses? It’s a bit too much for me (y’all know how I feel about fragrances) but after a few days of wearing it daily, I actually got used to it. I used this oil on my belly but it can also be used as a makeup remover, hair oil and alllll over the body. I’ll likely only use it on the belly though.

Then there’s Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil.

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Price: $10.99
Where to Purchase: Most drugstores
Size: 5.1 oz

Everyone knows about good ole’ Palmer’s and their Cocoa Butter Formula products and in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they will donate 15 percent of the sales (with a minimum donation of $100,000) of specially-marked bottles of the following classic Cocoa Butter Formula products to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Cool stuff!

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Like Bio Oil, this is a, you guessed it, oil. Performance is similar in that it’s greasy going on but smooths out once you rub it in.

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Fragrance-wise, if you love the smell of cocoa butter, you’ll love the smell of this stuff. I also dig the pump dispenser.

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It makes distribution easier. It’s an oil that you could easily use all over if you wanted to. Like the Bio Oil, I’ve been using this just on my tummy

I’m going to keep going back and forth with both products to see if overtime my stretch marks will fade. Can I be honest though? I’m a bit skeptical and I don’t think anything can make ’em disappear. And I’m okay with that. But I’m a beauty blogger who loves beauty stuffs so I’ll keep slathering to see if I get any results. I’m cray-zay like that. 😎

Are you a stickler about trying to beat stretch marks?

Neosporin Eczema Essentials review

Since getting pregnant, my eczema has gotten 10x worse. Pre-pregnancy, I was always able to keep it under control. The itchies were confined to my lower back and while I had a few patches on my arm and neck, for the most part, it was manageable. Lately though, eczema has taken over my chest, parts of my arm and practically my entire back. It’s starting to hurt my feelings but wearing outfits and up do’s in my hair that show off my neck are virtually impossible.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to try Neosporin Eczema Essentials, I jumped to it. Because after all – what harm could it do? My next step was going to the dermatologist AND allergist. I saw a commercial about these products a few weeks ago and Skeptical B was all like, “Yeah yeah…promises to bring fast relief to eczema suffers. Whatever.” And then I got the products in my hands.

There’s a line-up of 3 Eczema Essentials products. The Daily Body Wash, Daily Moisturizing Cream and the Anti-Itch Cream. I’ll review each product individually and then rap on how they work together. I’ve been using these regularly for approximately 2 weeks time.

First up, the Daily Body Wash ($7.99)…

What it says it will do:
This collodial oatmeal skin protectant is proven gentle and non-irritating even on eczema-prone skin. Effectively cleanses even the most dry, sensitive skin. Contains a lipid, humectant, emollient and botanical blend to help retain moisture essential for healthy looking skin.

Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Cocoglucoside, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/Beheneth 25 Methacrylate Copolymer, PEG 150 Distearate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Mineral Oil, Propylparaben, Polyquaternium 7, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Shea Butter, Glyceryl Oleate, Squalane, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Corn Oil, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylene Brassylate, Cis 3 Hexenyl Salicylate, Dihydrocitronellol, Oat Kernel Extract, Cholecalciferol

What I thought:
Like all of the products in the Eczema Essentials line-up, this body wash is fragrance-free. It’s a creamy cleanser that lathers well and rinses thoroughly but doesn’t dry out the skin too much. I didn’t find it to be particularly moisturizing but it didn’t leave my skin super tight after drying off so that’s always a good thing. The price point is about right for a speciality body care product. I think I’m using too much of it because the bottle seems to be getting emptier after only 2 weeks. These thicker and creamier body washes seem to be better for my skin than the clear ones.

 

Daily Moisturizing Cream (about $11)…

What it says it will do:
Clinically shown to relieve itchy skin due to eczema on contact. Shown in a clinical study to be as effective as the leading prescription* (*vs. the leading barrier emulsion in subjects with mild to moderate eczema with twice daily (or as needed) use.) Contains colloidal oatmeal, a skin protectant that helps relieve dryness, itch and irritation due to eczema.

Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Ceramide NP, Steareth 20, Oat Kernel Oil, Oat Kernel Extract, Benzalkonium Chloride, Sodium Chloride

What I thought:
Packaging-wise, I would have loved to see more product in this cream. Because of the thick consistency of it, you’re likely to go out of product pretty quickly. Especially if you use it daily. Speaking of consistency, it feels nothing like a traditional lotion. In fact, at first glance, it looks like a creamy vaseline but once you rub it in, it feels like a greasy-less body balm.

Crazy description, I know. It turned me off the first time I used it but somehow it works. It takes some serious elbow grease to get it all over but to extend its use, I find myself only using it on my trouble areas and using coconut oil everywhere else. Of all of the products in this line-up, I found this to be the most effective. It kept the ash away and soothed my eczema. My condition of the skin on my lower back went from all alligator-ish to…smooth. Shocking! The eczema on my neck improved quite a bit too. I chuckled at the “Restores visibly healthier skin in 3 days” plug but I don’t know, y’all…by the 3rd day skin saw some serious improvements. WOW!

Hydrocortisone Anti-itch Cream (about $9)

What it says it will do:
Contains a dual-action formula to provide fast relief of itch flare-ups due to eczema while it moisturizes to restore visibly healthier skin. Clinically shown to improve dryness, flaking and the appearance of redness.


Ingredients:

Water, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Ceteareth 6, Dimethicone, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Edetate Disodium, Methylparaben, Sodium Citrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Ethylene Brassylate, Oat Kernel Extract, Dihydrocitronellol, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, Cis 3 Hexenyl Salicylate, Sodium Hydroxide

What I thought:
I didn’t actually use this because I’m not sure if hydrocortisone is okay for pregnant women. I’ve been meaning to ask my midwife if it’s okay but forget every time I see her. Either way, I’m going to err on the side of caution and use this after Bean gets here. It looks promising and I can’t wait to see how well it works in conjunction with the other products.

 

Overall:
Having used 2 of the 3 of these products for 3 weeks, I am geeked! I would still like to visit a dermatologist and allergist to see if my eczema could be alleviated in other ways but for now I’m okay with using these products. Especially the cream. I usually tear apart my skin with itching and haven’t been doing so lately. So yep! As a crazy eczema suffer, I would say that Neosporin’s Eczema Essentials line-up is definitely worth the time and investment.

St. Ives eliminates even MORE bad stuffs from their products!

I know many folx think this whole “preservative-free” and “natural skincare” thing is just another way for brands to trick us into thinking we HAVE to buy their products. Many brands tote titles like cruelty-free, all natural and organic to convince us that their products are more superior than the ones that don’t tote these titles. As a skeptic, beauty editor and consumer, I raise a side eye to all of ’em. But at the same time, I do celebrate when brands claim that they’ve eliminated harmful ingredients from their products. Since I suffer from skin issues that are exacerbated when I use products that are drowned in fragrance, sulfates and other artificial preservatives, I LOVE when brands remove them altogether. Three cheers for St. Ives! And why?

Their scrubs are now sulfate-free. In the past few years, they have also removed parabens and phthalates from their products as well. Way to go St. Ives!

The sulfate-free scrubs include the following:

  • St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
  • St. Ives Timeless Skin Apricot Scrub
  • St. Ives Blemish Control Green Tea Scrub
  • St. Ives Sensitive Skin Apricot Scrub

I’m excited. Now if they add a fragrance-free scrub to their line-up, I’Il be their BFF ‘fo life yo. I’m serious. I know fragrance-free is tough for brands because people love to smell pretty but let’s face it – artificial fragrances can oftentimes be as damaging to skin as phthalates. And don’t even get me started on the migraine triggering they can do. By the way, like all St. Ives products, you can grab these at drugstores nationwide for no more than $6 a bottle.

Are you more likely to use a brand if they claim to be preservative-free? Or are you all about using what works for your skin and lifestyle?

 

Biore’s new look!

Okay, so we all know how ridiculously sensitive my skin is and how I very rarely change up my skincare regimen. But just because I can’t use a product doesn’t mean I don’t want to sound the horn and tell y’all about ’em. Such is the case with Biore.

Biore has been busy yo! Look at that redesign. This certainly isn’t the Biore that I grew up with but I’m okay with that. The packaging is cleaner, classier and definitely hipper. Fine by me. I haven’t personally tested any of these products but I did want to showcase them for my Biore fans. The best thing about Biore? The fact that they have SO many skincare products for various skincare needs.

4-in-1 Detoxifying Cleanser

This multi-tasking face wash that cuts your routine down to one step, gently removes dirt, oil and makeup from skin without over-drying or stripping skin of its natural oils. The formula cleanses, tones, stimulates and detoxifies to help restore a healthy glow.

 

Steam Activated Cleanser, with SteamActiv™ Beads

Esposo LOVES these kind of cleansers. This invigorates skin with a cooling mint extract complex that contrasts against the warmth of the steam to revitalize the senses.

 

Pore Unclogging Scrub

My fellow acne suffers will dig this one. This creamy pearlized formula is designed to lift away pore-clogging dirt and oil. The cleanser contains spherical exfoliating microbeads that gently remove dull, lifeless surface cells without damaging skin and Salicylic acid to help prevent blackheads and breakouts from forming.

 

Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser

I’ll be holding on to this one for when after Baby Clumps is born. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a warming cleanser! This powerful blackhead-fighting cleanser is formulated with Zeolite, a special mineral clay that warms on contact with water, to help open up pores and clear out dirt, oil and makeup.

 

Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (available in 8 and 14 count nose strips)

Clean a week’s worth of dirt build-up in by using these once a week. The strips are the deepest way to clean pores in just ten minutes.

 

Daily Cleansing Cloths

These ultra-convenient, pre-moistened wipes are infused with grapefruit and pomegranate. Each cloth is double-sided, featuring a textured side for mild exfoliation and a smooth side to wipe skin clean.

 

These products are moderately priced between $5.99-$11.99. The pore strips are the most expensive of the bunch but you can score the cleanser for close to nothing at $5.99. I’ve seen these products are over drugstores and you can scoop ’em up at Drugstore.com.

Any Biore lovas in the house?

15 Melbourne: All Natural Skincare

Natural skincare lovers – I’ve discovered another brand that I think you’ll love. There’s a special place in my heart for brands that who pride themselves on using natural ingredients. Many have jumped the bandwagon but there are only a few that have done it well.

File 15 Melbourne under “pretty spectacular”. I’ve only tried a few products from the line but color me impressed. Let’s start with a product that I know all too well.

Castile soap! I’ve raved over this magical stuff for years. I use it for EVERYTHING. Regrettably, I had to stop using it for my skin a while back (it can be too drying for us eczema suffers) but castile soap has a gajillon other uses. How does this compare to Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castile Soap? The difference is the formula. Castile soap is made from 100% olive oil and Dr. Bonners uses a blend of oils but it’s not true castile soap.

I find them to be pretty comparable in look, feel and overall performance. 15 Melbourne’s 16 oz bottle runs for $15 and I believe Dr. Bronner’s is a little less than that. If you’re not familiar with castile soap, please oh please introduce yourself to it. This stuff is fantastic for body and hair as well as using as a cleaning agent for household chores. There really isn’t anything it can’t do. And since I’m a fan of lavender, I just love how relaxing and calming this smells.

Lavender & Chamomile Creamy Shea Butter Soap ($5)

Bar soap lovers rejoice! This bar of soap is currently sitting in my guest bathroom and the gal pals that come to visit can’t stop complimenting me on it. If you’re not a fan of lavender (I know many aren’t), you’ll appreciate how lightly scented this is. In fact, both the lavender and chamomile are subdued. Which is nice. This soap gives off a very nice and creamy lather.

Unlike many bar soaps, it doesn’t leave the hands and body streaky clean but cleansed and moisturized instead.

Organic Whipped Shea Butter-Pink Grapefruit ($7.50)

Oooooh how I adore shea butter! Especially white shea butter. I find it to be less nutty in smell in comparison to yellow shea butter. While I’m okay with my shea butters being fragrance-free the subtle whiff of pink grapefruit bodes well with me. It’s really hard to scent shea butter so it isn’t a prominent smell. The pink grapefruit really doesn’t last long on the skin but it smells pretty and citrus-y at first application.

Peppermint Lip Butter ($5)

Oooh la laaaaa. While I’m not a fan of dipping my fingers into lip products, I have actually just take this tin and rub the product over my lips. I’m not sure how much more sanitary that is but hey….it works. The primary ingredients of this lippy are shea and mango butters, argan and avocado oil. Oh, and that decadent essential peppermint oil too. It feels divine on the lips and I find myself using it more than my beloved Sugar Lip Balm. It works beautifully as a base for lipsticks too.

15 Melbourne has a ton of lovely homemade products and I think most have a nice price point. I love supporting smaller independent brands so it was my honor to feature this brand. I love how a great deal of the products are unscented and I’d also love to see some more products in their line-up. Maybe a natural body splash and body oil? Hmmm…

Check out 15 Melbourne and if you make any purchases, tell ’em B from Clumps of Mascara sent you!

The NEW Clarisonic Aria. My wallet groans…

I have a love/hate relationships with Clarisonic. And I’m not ashamed to admit this either. We all know why I LOVE the brand. I’ve publicly bragged about them  more times than I can count. I’ve purchased the Mia, played with the Plus and swooned over the Mia 2’s newest colors. Any time I’m asked about my favorite skincare products, I tell folx to save their pennies and get a Clarisonic.

So how I can hate Clarisonic at the same time? Because these magicians keep coming out with MORE Clarisonics that I feel like I HAVE to purchase. And just how in the world do you justify having more than one Clarisonic? How? You can’t. And for that I both scoff and jump for joy every time I see a Clarisonic doused in a new shade. And in this case…an entirely new brush.

Her name is Aria. A beautiful name for such a beautiful device. These press photos don’t do her any justice but she’s a beaut. And she’s glossy. Glossy! That’s like a synonym for glitter. Beauty lovers love glossy and glittery packaging.

Check out some of the specs of Lady Aria herself…

  • three speeds make for a variety of customizable cleansing options
  • an illuminated bezel indicates speed selection as well as pause and charging modes
  • a USB enabled p-Link charger allows you to recharge Aria
  • the convertible drying stand, which can be used on your sink or in your shower, converts into a charging cradle by simply attaching the pLink charger
  • beautifully modern high-gloss finish
  • two-year warranty ensures longevity

 

Dude, this chick is fancy yo. She comes with a USB charger and an illuminated bezel? I mean…wow. Priced at $199, she sits comfortably between the Mia ($119) and the Plus ($225). *sigh* I hate that I feel like I need it. I hate that I’ll be dreaming about this bloody thing until it’s in my possession. But I love that it exists.

The Clarisonic Aria is currently available online and in Sephora stores. For Clarisonic lovers who are like me and can never say “no”, give my condolences  to your wallet.