Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner & Acne Repair Kit - Haul & Review - Plus More!

Remember when the last 21 Days Of Beauty was at Ulta? That's how long I've been neglecting to post this haul... This most recent 21 Days Of Beauty wasn't all that exciting (though I did end up purchasing a few Beauty Steals); the only deal I was really looking forward to was the 25% off all Mario Badescu products. But I was really looking forward to it!
Mario Badescu is one of the unsung heroes of the skin care world; the packaging is pretty basic and they do little to no advertising. but that means you get great products at a very reasonable price (which is made even more reasonable by getting an additional 25% off!).
Because I am a Platinum member at Ulta (...no judgment. Actually, it's mostly because that's where I get my hair done and you earn points on salon visits, too!), I got free shipping on any Beauty Steal during the 21 Days; it's also way easier for me to shop online than to go to my local Ulta, so the free shipping was extra appreciated. I initially was only going to get the Mario Badescu items, but I also needed another Nyx Wonder Pencil; there was a buy one, get one 50% off on Nyx eye and face products so I grabbed another Nyx product I had my eye on, and then I added yet another item (which ended up being being basically free) in order to use a $3.50 off of $10 coupon. Trying to get the best deal while shopping online at Ulta is like solving a very complex, but fun, puzzle.
Lately, the free samples you get with your Ulta order have been pretty lame (you only get two, and I get a foil packet of either the Benefit Porefessional or the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer every. Single. Time.), but in this order, I got a Seven Days Of Shadow sampler from Urban Decay. This has been offered as a "deluxe" gift with purchase sample in the past, so I was pretty surprised to see it as a regular sample. You get what are essentially foil packet samples of seven different Urban Decay eye shadows and the original Primer Potion. Pretty cool, actually!
With any Mario Badescu purchase, you also got a free packet sample of the Aloe Moisturizer. Mario Badescu (MB from here on out) also doesn't offer a lot of high value gifts with purchase, which I think is another way they keep costs down.
I'll start with my MB products since they were the main point of this haul, and I don't want you to have to slog through anymore extras to read about them. First up is my favorite Mario Badescu product (and favorite toner ever): the Glycolic Acid Toner. Granted, this isn't the "cleanest" toner: it has fragrance, parabens, and added color (I don't know why it has to be blue; I think it'd actually be a weird greenish color if they didn't add anything since there's red added to it), but it's the only one that I've found that really works for me without being crazy expensive (plus the additives are near the bottom, so there's not a high concentration of them). I've used, and enjoyed, other glycolic toners, specifically the Pixi one, but at $18 for this 8oz bottle, the value really can't be matched. One of the biggest things I look for in toners in that they are alcohol-free, which can be surprisingly hard to find among the less expensive ones. This is the third time I've purchased this product (which says a lot since a single bottle lasts me five-six months), and I will continue to repurchase it.
The other MB products I wanted to try were acne-specific: the Drying Lotion and Buffering Lotion. I ended up purchasing this Acne Repair Kit because I got both of those products, plus the Drying Mask, for less than the first two combined (after the 25% discount; it's a little more to buy all three together, but it's less than buying all three individually).
The Drying Lotion and Buffering Lotion are both very well rated acne treatments, but I've been avoiding them because of their high alcohol contents (if there's one skincare ingredient I try and avoid, it's alcohol). I figured this was as good as time as any to finally give them a try, especially since I was getting such a good deal.
If you've heard of any MB product, it's most likely to be the Drying Lotion. This is a cult favorite acne treatment and I'm pretty sure it's been around for quite a long time. It's a pink sediment in a bottle of alcohol; to use it, you dip a q-tip into the pink sediment (do not shake it up; if it's shook up, you have to wait until it settles again before using it) and dap it on any acne spots. You want to use it at night since you will have pink spots all over your face, which look kind of goofy. In the morning, you rinse it off and are left with smaller, less grouchy pimples (whenever I use it, it ends up flaking off in the night, so it's not there when I wake up. It's weird, but I haven't noticed any ill effects from it, so if that happens to you, I wouldn't worry about it). I've used this a few times and, while it doesn't make the pimple immediately go away, it cuts down on redness and makes it heal much, much faster. It has a strong medicinal smell, but it's not unpleasant. Side story: it brings back pleasant memories for me since it reminds me of family vacations at the cabin with my parents and grandparents. Sometimes, after swimming in the lake, my sister and I would get chiggers (they're the larva of a type of mite) and my grandma would use calamine lotion to soothe the irritation; this Drying Lotion smells almost exactly like that calamine lotion. Ah, memories.
Next up is the Buffering Lotion; this was the product I was most interested in trying in this kit. This is like a more intense version of the Drying Lotion, made specifically for cystic acne. Out of all the types of acne I get, cystic acne is the most common; it's also the most painful and most difficult to treat since it's under the skin. I end up with painful, red lumps that I can't do anything about that lasts for weeks; sometimes even months. There are very, very few products on the market for cystic acne, and there are even fewer that actually work, but this Buffering Lotion has gotten rave reviews from people who say it really does! Like the Drying Lotion, you apply this at night, but unlike the the Drying Lotion, you shake this up first. You also only apply it every other night, since it is super strong. Luckily (or unluckily), I had a flare up of cystic acne on my chin, so I was able to test this out. While it didn't cause it to go away immediately, it took away a lot of redness and pain and shrunk it significantly (very similar to the Drying Lotion's affect on regular pimples). I feel like it's making my cystic acne heal a lot faster, even after just three uses (so after six days). I also noticed no extra dryness or irritation, which is also a bonus since some acne treatments can be so aggressive they end up doing more harm than good. I'm going to keep using this and see how long it takes for this flare up to go down completely and to see if using the product helps cut down on any extra redness or scarring, but even after these first six days, I am very pleased with the performance of this product.
The last product in this kit is one I haven't had a chance to try yet; this is the Drying Cream. This wasn't a product I originally intended to purchase, but since it's supposed to work in tandem with the Drying Lotion and Buffering Lotion, I figured it would be worth it to try it in this kit. This is a tinted, sulfur-based cream (so it smells kind of...weird) that, unlike the previous two products, can be used both day and night, and even under makeup to help conceal blemishes. I'm curious about this product, but have been reluctant to use it since it does have a foil seal and I already have a lot of other products open (so I don't want to start using it until I am really ready to, if that makes sense).
Since I was already getting free shipping on my MB order (though I think after adding everything, I was over the $50 threshold anyways...), I figured I'd grab another Nyx Wonder Pencil in Light since I needed to replace mine.
This is a flesh-toned wooden pencil that can used for a variety of things, including spot concealing, reverse lip-lining, and, what I use it for, to line the inner waterline and make your eyes look brighter and more awake.
There are a lot of these types of pencils on the market now, but this is the only one that I think looks natural and not too white or too orange. I get the color "Light", and it comes in two additional shades, "Medium" and "Deep", for a variety of skin tones (a lot of pencils like this don't come in additional colors, so thank you, Nyx!).
Because Ulta is very, very good at getting me to buy more through the use of "buy one, get one 50% off" sales, I bought another Nyx product that I've had my eye on. This is the Glitter Primer, to be used, as the name suggests, as a primer for glitter. I used to use Glitter Fix from Glamour Doll Eyes, but my tube ran out (...and is older than I'd like to admit), so it was time to get more. I thought about getting some higher end glitter primers, including the Too Faced and Urban Decay ones, but the Nyx one had really great reviews and was only $6. I haven't tried this yet (I don't wear glitter all the often), but it will be good to have around when the desire to be magical and glittery strikes me.
Finally, I picked up a Panda's Dream Eye Patch eye mask from TonyMoly. The only reason why I purchased this (besides the fact that I like both TonyMoly and eye masks), was to get my drugstore product total over $10 so I could use my $3.50 off coupon. Since this eye mask was only $3 (and since the total of all my drugstore products before the coupon was about $11.20), the mask was pretty much free.

And that's everything! Really happy with everything I got, especially the MB products, which were the whole reason for this haul. If you're looking for inexpensive but effective skin care (and who isn't, really?), especially when it comes to acne treatments, definitely give Mario Badescu products a look!

Thanks for reading! <3

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