Know Your Ingredients: Bis-phenylpropyl Dimethicone

biotherm skin energetic

What it is
Bis-phenylpropyl Dimethicone is a colourless silicone.

What it does
Bis-phenylpropyl Dimethicone is a hair and skin conditioning agent. It makes them soft, while also giving hair shine.
In addition, it gives products a silky feeling and improves their spreadability.

Side effects
Bis-phenylpropyl Dimethicone is generally considered to be safe.

(Source: Science-y Hair Blog)

Are They Dupes?: Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus VS Equate Beauty Precision Focus Wrinkle Serum

clinique equate serum dupes

Equate, Walmart’s house brand, is famous for offering even more affordable versions of popular skincare products from drugstore brands like Olay, Jergens, and Garnier. Earlier this year, Equate took it a step further and started duping department store brand Clinique too. Are the Equate versions worth checking out? The Beauty Precision Focus Wrinkle Serum certainly is. It’s an almost exact dupe of Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus and costs less than half the price!

Let’s take a look at the ingredients, shall we?

Ingredient Analysis


Silicone base

Both serums can make skin look smoother and fine lines and wrinkles smaller, but only temporarily. That’s because its anti-aging properties are due to the same blend of silicones (Dimethicone, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11), which fill in lines and wrinkles and create a barrier on the skin that increases its ability to repel water and gives it a smooth and silky soft feel.

A lot of people don’t like to use silicones because they believe they don’t allow skin to breathe. But skin doesn’t breathe. It doesn’t have lungs. Instead, it can absorb moisture from the air and pour out sweat. Occlusive agents can temporarily reduce these abilities, but, because silicones have particular molecular structures made of larger molecules with wider spaces between each one of them, the barrier they create doesn’t completely occlude skin, allowing it to perspire.

glycerin molecular structure


Glycerin is an humectant that provides some much needed hydration to your skin. How? By drawing water from the environment into the skin. According to a 2001 study, a 20% glycerin formula can significantly increase skin moisture after just 10 days of use. The concentration of glycerin in these serums is lower, but it will still increase your skin’s moisture level somewhat.


Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Palmitoyl Oligopeptide

Touted as an alternative to botox, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, also known as Argireline, has anti-aging properties. A 2002 study (the only independent one I’ve come across) has found that an “emulsion containing 10% of the hexapeptide on healthy women volunteers reduced wrinkle depth up to 30% upon 30 days treatment.” Unfortunately, the concentration of this peptide in both serums is much lower, so its effects are limited. And they certainly aren’t comparable to botox injections, which, unlike topical creams, can reach the muscle-nerve connections, blocking them.

Palmitoyl Oligopeptide has many names. It’s also known as palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 or Matrixyl. What does tdo? It can increase the firmness of your skin by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. A 2005 study has shown that 3 ppm of this peptide can significantly improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But, as you’ve probably guessed, both serums contain much less.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Ingredients

Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Silica, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Acetyl Glucosamine, Plankton Extract, Whey Protein, Sea Whip Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Caffeine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Sodium Hyaluronate, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ergothioneine, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholesterol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Lecithin, Carbomer, PEG-8, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

Equate Beauty Precision Focus Wrinkle Serum Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Silica, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Sigesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Plankton Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Juice, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Whey Protein, Pinanediol Camphanediol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Ergothioneine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Lecithin, Caffeine, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Linoleic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Cholesterol, Sodium Hydroxide, Linolenic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Peg-8, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol.


Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus is available in two size: 1oz ($49.50) and 1.7oz($76.00). Both can be purchased at Sephora. Equate Beauty Precision Focus Wrinkle Serum is available at Walmart. A 1 oz bottle will set you back only $16.87.

The Bottom Line

Although both Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus and Equate Beauty Precision Focus Wrinkle Serum contain small amounts of anti-aging antioxidants and peptides, it’s their silicone bases that smooth out skin and make wrinkles and fines lines look smaller temporarily. That’s why, if you’re interested in this formula, I highly recommend you go with Equate. You’ll get the same benefits at a fraction of the cost, and can invest the rest of the money in a retinol or vitamin c moisturizer or serum that can help prevent the signs of aging.

Have you tried these serums? If so, what do you think of them?

Looks: Pink Punch

pink punch

Today’s look is very simple. So simple that it requires zero eyeshadow blending. Just sweep a bright eyeshadow shade on the lower lashline, apply mascara, and you’re good to go. If fuchsia is too bright for you, you can use any other shade you prefer. I think it’s a fun and wearable way to pull off some of the boldest shades in your stash, don’t you agree?

Here’s how you can recreate this look:

Products used:
Sleek Makeup Good Girl Eyeshadow Palette
Pupa Vamp! Mascara in Chocolate Brown
Dior Diorskin Nude Foundation
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit
Sleek Makeup Blush in Suede
Milani Minerals Blush
Miss Pupa Lipstick In Divine Raspberry

1. Apply a bright cherry fuschsia shade (I used Pink Punch in the Sleek Makeup Eyeshadow Palette) on your lower lashline.
2. Apply brown mascara.

1. Apply foundation and concealer as needed.
2. Contour your cheekbones with a matte bronzer that’s slightly darker than your skintone (I used Sleek Makeup Blush in Suede).
3. Apply a peachy pink blush shade with gold shimmers (I used Milani Minerals Blush in Luminous) on your cheeks.
4. Apply a bright and shiny raspberry lipstick shade (I used Miss Pupa In Divine Raspberry) on your lips.

7 Tips For Curly Hair Care

We always want what we don’t have. In my case, that’s curly hair. It’s so fun and cute, unlike my straight hair, which is as flat as a board and never seems to hold volume for more than a couple of hours in a row. So frustrating! But curly hair, as gorgeous as it may be, comes with its own set of challenges too. It’s drier and so more prone to split ends, more affected by humidity, and more difficult to style.

Some women are so frustrated with their curly locks to resort to flat irons to turn them into a straight and sleek mane. But if you’d rather keep your gorgeous curls, here a few tips and tricks to take care of them. With the right techniques and products, it’s easier than you think. ;)

1. Choose gentle and moisturizing shampoo

Curly hair tends to be dry, so it needs gentle shampoos that won’t dry it out even more. Paul Mitchell Curls Spring Loaded Detangling Shampoo and Aveeno Active Naturals Nourish + Strengthen Shampoo are both great options to consider. They contain gentle surfactants that won’t strip all the natural oil from your hair and are loaded with conditioning agents to give your locks that badly needed extra boost of moisture.

2. Don’t wash hair too often

The less you wash your hair, the better. I’m not suggesting you go days without washing it, especially if your hair is oily, but only that you don’t wash it more than it is really necessary. Overwashing it will only dry it out even more. And the towel-drying, combing, and blowdrying required after washing can further damage hair if you’re not careful. Hair is very fragile and pretty much anything can damage it. While some of this damage is inevitable, you don’t want to manipulate hair too much. The less you do so, the better.

3. Leave conditioners on as long as possible

Just like dry and damaged hair, curly hair is badly in need of moisture. So, when shopping for a conditioner, opt for a rich and conditioning formula such as TRESemme Smooth & Silky Conditioner. It has one of the most moisturizing formulas I’ve ever come across and costs only $5.99. Your hair will also great benefit from a leave-in conditioner. That’s because the more you leave conditioning ingredients on your hair, the better they’ll work, and the more hydrated your hair will be. My favourites for curly hair are EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Leave In Conditioner, which contains huge amounts of hair-penetrating oils such coconut and avocado oils, and Beauty Without Cruelty Leave-In Conditioner, which contains both oils and synthetic (but good!) conditioning agents.

4. Blot (not rub) your hair dry

Be super careful when towel drying your hair. Don’t rub! This will cause damage and lead to frizzy hair. Instead, gently blot the water out of your hair with the towel.

5. Use a diffuser to blowdry hair

The heat from the blowdryer can dry hair, leaving it brittle and lifeless. Ideally, it would be best to let hair air-dry, but that’s not always possible. In that case, keep your blow dryer on a low setting and attach a diffuser to it. A diffuser reduces the impact of the hot air blowing over your hair, preventing it from becoming dry and helping the curls to maintain their shape.

6. Don’t brush

Brushing hair can cause frizz too. Instead, gently detangle your locks with the help of a wide-tooth plastic comb. Or, better yet, use your fingers to do the job.

7. Tame unruly curls

Do you want sculpted curls without the crunch? Try Garnier Fructis Style Curl Sculpting Gel. It works great for those with thick, curly hair that need a lot of hold.Those who prefer less hold and a more lightweight formula can opt for DevaCurl Light Defining Gel instead. If you want some volume too, Paul Mitchell Extra Body Thicken Up is a great option to consider.

Do you have curly hair? If so, how do you take care of it?

Product Review: Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum

skin actives vitamin c serum

Name: Vitamin C Serum
Brand: Skin Actives
Size: 30ml
Price: $15.50

From Skin Actives’ website:
Refresh your skin with our ready-to-mix Vitamin C Serum. The acidity of Ascorbic Acid (L) and the Orange and Lemon extracts will exfoliate and promote skin renewal. The Vitamin C will help restore elasticity to aging skin, promote collagen synthesis, protect against UV Damage, reduce redness, promote wound healing, suppress melanin synthesis, and more.
The serum can be purchased in premixed 15% form, or in a ‘mix-your-own’ kit that can be used to make a serum customized up to 20%

What I liked:
– lightweight texture, sinks quickly into the skin
– loaded with antioxidants that can protect skin from UV damage and prevent premature aging
– exfoliates skin, making it look brighter and pores smaller
– can reduce hyperpigmentation
– leaves skin soft and smooth
– opaque, air-tight bottle keeps the antioxidant stable and effective for long
– pump dispenser pours out only the amount of product you need
– the price

What I didn’t like:
– because the concentration of vitamin c is so high, it could irritate sensitive skin

Vitamin C is one of the anti-aging superstars everyone should include in her skincare routine. But if you’re on a budget, finding a good vitamin C serum or moisturizer can be tricky. Most products out there are either quite expensive, or packaged in jars that make vitamin c go bad pretty soon, or contain so little of it to provide barely any benefits at all.

Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum 15% Ascorbic Acid (L) provides all the benefits of vitamin C without any of these cons. It is available in two versions, Premixed and Mix Your Own, both of which cost only $15.50. The serum is packaged in an opaque and air-tight bottle that keeps vitamin C and the other antioxidants stable and effective. And the concentration of vitamin C is so high (%15) to be very effective. A little too much maybe for those with sensitive skin, who could experience irritation while using it. Everyone else though, will love it. Here’s why:

Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Ferulic Acid

L-Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) does it all. It can brighten skin and lighten discolourations, it stimulates collagen production, and can fight free radicals, thus preventing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.Very effective on its own, it works even better when used with antioxidants Vitamin E and ferulic acid, both of which are included in the formula.

According to a study performed by Duke University, “this combination of pure natural low molecular weight antioxidants provides meaningful synergistic protection against oxidative stress in skin and should be useful for protection against photoaging and skin cancer.” It’s no substitute for sunscreen, but it helps.

Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid

Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are both humectants. These ingredients work by drawing water from the environment into the skin, thus helping to keep it hydrated and supple. Hylauronic acid is particularly beneficial for the skin because it has the ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and works well both in high and low humidity conditions, making it an excellent choice for dry skin.

Final considerations on the formula

In addition to vitamins C and E and ferulic acid, Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum contains many other antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid and astaxanthin (it’s what gives salmon its red colour), which can fight free radicals and keep wrinkles at bay for longer. I could have done without the inclusion of the exfoliating citrus oils, because they can be irritating, but at least their concentrations are too small to do skin any harm.

Texture and performance

The serum has a lightweight consistency that sinks quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky residue behind. Because the concentration of vitamin C is pretty strong, the instructions say to use it only once or twice a week. My skin can tolerate pretty much anything, so I use it three times a week. The first time I used it, I felt a slightly tingling and warming sensation on my skin, but that never happened again. I guess my skin got used to it pretty fast.

That doesn’t mean that the serum isn’t working though. On the contrary, I can see a big improvement in how my skin looks and feels. My skin feels softer and smoother and looks a little bit brighter. My pores have always been pretty much invisible everywhere bar on my nose and the surrounding area, which is the oiliest on my face. Well, since using this serum, they look smaller. The exfoliating action of vitamin C helps prevent them from getting all clogged up and stretched out, thus making them look smaller.

What about its antiaging properties? Well, I’ve been using this serum for little more than a month, so it’s too soon to say how good it is at keeping the signs of aging at bay. But it contains high concentrations of effective antioxidants so, with regular use, it can certainly help your skin age more slowly and gracefully.


Water, Ascorbic Acid (L) (Vitamin C),Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Phloretin, Pomegranate Seed (Punica granatum) Oil, Tocotrienols, Vitamin E Oil (Alpha-D-Tocopherol), Astaxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beta Carotene, Xanthan Gum, Lemon (Citrus limon) Extract, Orange (Citrus sinensis) Extract, Citrus Essential Oils, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol,Sorbic Acid.

Mix Your Own:
Serum: Water, Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Phloretin, Pomegranate Seed (Punica granatum) Oil, Tocotrienols, Vitamin E Oil (Alpha-D-Tocopherol), Astaxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beta Carotene, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Essential Oils, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid.

Powder: Ascorbic Acid (L) (Vitamin C), Lemon (Citrus limon) Extract, Orange (Citrus sinensis) Extract.

Available at: Skin Actives

Skin Actives Vitamin C serums is loaded with antioxidants that can stimulate collage production, reduce sun damage and hyperpigmentation, prevent wrinkles, and exfoliate skin. As a result, skin looks brighter, smoother, and softer. Its lightweight texture sinks quickly into the skin too. However, the high concentration of vitamin C could irritate sensitive skin.

Rating: 4.5/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

4 New Eyeshadow Palettes For Fall 2014

eyeshadow palettes for fall 2014

Pretty eyeshadow palettes are so hard to resist, aren’t they? And so many tempting new ones have been released in time for fall. Here are those that ended up on my wishlist:

This travel-friendly palette features 8 jewel-inspired shades in shimmery and metallic finishes to help you create a variety of looks from subtle and natural to glamorous and dramatic. The shades included are Nude Pearl, Beige Pearl, Golden Pearl, Light Bronze Pearl, Olive Pearl with Gold Shimmer, Bronze Pearl with Gold Shimmer, Forrest Green Pearl, and Copper Pearl with Shimmer. Available at Nordstrom.

Paul & Joe have released three new eyeshadows trio for fall. Silver Screen, which features silver, grayish purple, and true black shades; Le Film, which houses champagne, taupe, and bordeaux hues; and my favourite Technicolor, which contains reddish brown, mustard, and old blue tones. Its compact is decorated with foxes. Ain’t that cool?

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, MUFE has released a gorgeous new eyeshadow palette. It features 30 neutral and colourful shades inspired by 30 makeup artists and their journey within the industry: M100 (Dany Sanz), D104 (Debbie Zoller), ME310 (Ricky Wilson), D320 (Jackie Gomez), ME108 (Viktorija Bowers), ME624 (Ve Neill), M618 (Craig Lindberg), M930 (Stephen Sollitto), ME654 (Mai Quynh), I606 (Darcy Gilmore), I550 (Greg Wencel), M548 (Pati Dubroff), M536 (Jo Baker), M532 (Joyce Bonelli), ME122 (Anthony Merante), M636 (Roshar), I662 (James Vincent), D640 (Melanie Inglessis), ME512 (Anthony Nguyen), D868 (Charles Porlier), ME400 (Luis Casco), I746 (Angelina Avallone), S852 (Frances Hathaway), S742 (Lottie), I922 (Kubuki), D206 (Eryn Krueger Mekash), I340 (Elizabeth Cohen), ME304 (Merell Hollis), ME230 (Jodi Urichuk), and I220 (William Lemon III). Available at Sephora.

This palette features 5 hues inspired by the lustre and varying shades seen in the darkness and dancing shadows of the Black Pearls. Champagne Pewter Highlighter is a peachy metallic champagne; Metallic Rosy Brown, a peacock pink and gold shade; Aged Bronze, an interchanging, cool olive metallic; Aubergine Gunmetal, a dark, gold-tinged eggplant-grey metallic; and Midnight Blue Gunmetal, a deep, smoky blue-grey metallic. Available at Rouge Bunny Rouge.

Which of these palettes would you like to try?