Showing posts with label Beauty Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beauty Reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Hypochlorous Acid: A Versatile, Innovative Health and Hygiene Solution

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in hypochlorous acid (HOCl) as a naturally occurring yet powerful solution with many applications ranging from promoting wound healing and skincare to household cleaning without toxic chemicals. This colorless, dilute acid solution is gaining recognition for its remarkable benefits and uses, making it a valuable tool in promoting health and maintaining a clean environment

In this review, I’ll share what I have learned about this safe, non-toxic, electrolyzed salt water solution and how I use it.

Hypochlorous Acid Spray for Skincare, Health & Hygiene


How I Discovered Hypochlorous Acid Spray

Last year, the esthetician from whom I buy my medical-grade skincare added a hypochlorous acid spray to the toners she carries. Since she only carries products from brands with meaningful clinical studies that validate the products' effectiveness, I knew that Hydrinity Hyacin Active Purifying Mist was a high-quality product. According to Hydrinity's Hyacin Active Purifying Mist product page, "Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) is a potent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent that works overtime to treat blemishes, renew compromised skin, and deeply calm even the most stressed and sensitive skin types, including those prone to eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Used by dermatologists worldwide, this refreshing purifying mist is renowned for its wound-healing abilities, is free of all chemical irritants, and safe for all skin types."

I decided to order a bottle of the Hydrinity Hyacin Active Purifying Mist from my favorite medical-grade skincare supplier, SkinBEAUTIFUL RX. I have occasional breakouts and, as I have gotten older, tend to heal more slowly from cuts and scrapes, and the hypochlorous acid spray has really helped with both. It also is great for helping to soothe insect bites.

I was really impressed with the effectiveness and versatility of this product, and I also started seeing more ads for other brands of hypochlorous acid spray, such as Magic Molecule. So I did more research into different applications and different brands and discovered there was a lot more to learn.

Understanding the Science Behind Hypochlorous Acid

Hypochlorous acid, often referred to as nature's disinfectant, is a weak acid formed through the electrolysis of salt water. It mirrors the antimicrobial properties of the body's immune system, particularly in fighting bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This naturally occurring compound is colorless, and its ability to effectively combat pathogens makes it a promising candidate for many applications.

Health and Wellness

  • Skincare: In the realm of skincare, hypochlorous acid has found its place in combating various dermatological issues. From acne treatment to soothing irritated skin, it offers a natural alternative to traditional skincare ingredients, ensuring a healthy complexion without harsh side effects.
  • Wound Healing and Infection Prevention: The innate antimicrobial properties of hypochlorous acid can accelerate wound healing. By reducing the risk of infections, inflammation, and scarring, HOCl is becoming a key component in advanced wound care, offering a gentle yet effective approach to recovery.
  • Oral Health: The incorporation of HOCl into oral care products has shown promising results in reducing bacteria in the oral cavity. This not only contributes to improved oral health but also aids in preventing conditions such as gum disease and halitosis.

Household and Environmental Applications

  • Surface Disinfection: Hypochlorous acid is an effective disinfectant for surfaces within households and in public spaces. Whether it's countertops, kitchen utensils, or bathroom fixtures, HOCl provides a safe and efficient means of maintaining a hygienic living environment.
  • Air Purification: Hypochlorous acid's ability to neutralize airborne pathogens and allergens makes it a valuable tool to promote a healthier indoor atmosphere in enclosed spaces.
  • Fruit and Vegetable Wash: Concerns about pesticide residues and contaminants on fruits and vegetables have led to the adoption of hypochlorous acid as a natural wash. Rinsing produce with an HOCl solution helps eliminate potential threats, ensuring that our produce is not only delicious but also safe.
  • Laundry Disinfection: Adding hypochlorous acid to the laundry cycle enhances the disinfection of clothes, bedding, and towels. This extra layer of protection helps provide peace of mind in a world increasingly concerned with hygiene.

More Economical Hypochlorous Acid Options

Once I started to understand the many uses for this antimicrobial solution, I started thinking of other ways I could benefit from it, such as bringing a TSA-approved spray bottle with me when I travel to disinfect airplane tray tables, public phones, and other surfaces, such as gym equipment.

I wanted to keep a small spray bottle of it in my purse to sanitize my hands after using a public restroom and another bottle next to each bathroom sink, since HOCl is less drying than alcohol hand sanitizers. (I found this article on using hypochlorous acid as an antiseptic in caring for patients with a suspected COVID-19 infection very interesting.)

And, since I use it to help heal cuts and scrapes quicker, I also wanted to keep small spray bottles in the medicine cabinet and in my nightstand.

Since the Hydrinity Hyacin Active Purifying Spray was $60 for 3 fl. oz., I wanted a more economical version for these more widespread uses.

What I discovered is that there are several brands of hypochlorous acid, with more and more coming on the market as the popularity of this product grows.

Initially, I bought some small bottles of Magic Molecule brand hypochlorous acid spray to keep by my nightstand and in my purse. But even on sale, the price was more than I wanted to spend for using it as liberally and frequently as I wanted, for everything from washing my produce to healing and soothing scrapes, cuts, and insect bites and sanitizing my hands. So, I decided to look for a more affordable bulk option that I could use to refill my little spray bottles.

I ended up buying a 1L (32 fl. oz.) refill bottle of e11ement Hypochlorous Acid Face and Skin Spray for $27.50, enough to refill a whole bunch of smaller spray bottles many times over. The e11ement Hypochlorous Acid spray works beautifully, and now I don't have to think twice about how often I use it.

If you don't already have small mister bottles into which you can decant the contents of this quart-size refill bottle, I can recommend the following:

Hypochlorous acid spray has been a great addition to our household. It's excellent to use after shaving (face or body) to soothe the skin. If you have teenagers or family members who are acne-prone, they will also benefit from using it as a facial toner after washing and drying their faces and then allowing the HOCl spray to dry before applying any other topical skincare products such as acne medication, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc.

Hypochlorous Acid: A Versatile, Innovative Health and Hygiene Solution by Margaret Schindel

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Awesome, Affordable Beauty Gifts to Fill Her Christmas Stocking

Now that November is upon us, it's time to start thinking about what to buy for the friends and family members on our holiday gift lists.

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to give special things that our gift recipients would love to have but might not treat themselves to. While larger, more expensive Christmas gifts might need to be a bit more practical, stocking stuffers are the perfect vehicle to treat giftees to something a bit more fun and indulgent that won't break the bank.

Affordable Beauty Gift Stocking Stuffers
Image generated using Canva AI tools

Many women and teen girls love and use makeup, skincare, and other beauty-related products, while others who might feel guilty spending money on something so impractical might secretly love to receive beauty gifts to enhance their appearance.

Even women who don't wear much makeup might enjoy some nice skincare, bath, or spa products to make them feel a bit more pampered and special.

Following are some wonderful affordable beauty gift stocking stuffer ideas handpicked to delight the women and teen girls on your Christmas list.

The Best Makeup Stocking Stuffers

Whether your gift recipient wears just a quick swipe of lip balm or enjoys a full face of glam makeup for special occasions, I've got makeup stocking stuffer ideas that your favorite woman or teen will love.

Nearly all of these makeup gifts are priced at $25 or less, and most cost less than $15, so it's easy to put together a nice selection to fill her Christmas stocking without busting your holiday gift budget.

There are so many little-known brands on Amazon (mostly from China) that knock off high-end palettes and other makeup but are of questionable quality and safety. It's hard to know whom you can trust!

The brands I am recommending are excellent quality, established, and trustworthy companies that make products that perform as well as much more expensive brands and offer very similar products at value prices. So, you can order these affordable beauty gifts with confidence.

Lip Balm, Gloss, or Oil

I feel positively undressed without something on my lips, especially since mine tend to be dry and chap easily in winter. I own a large collection of lip balms, glosses, and lip oils ranging from drugstore to high-end, and I'm very picky about quality! Here are some of my most affordable favorites.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm Stocking Stuffers is a 4-pack of Burt's Bees beeswax lip balms available in different flavor combinations, including the Best of Burt's Bees combo of original with vitamin E and peppermint, strawberry, coconut & pear, and vanilla bean. These lip balms are great to keep by the bedside, in a purse, in a coat pocket, etc., so it's great to have a four-pack! There's a reason these have stood the test of time. (I've used them for decades!) Even women and teens who don't wear makeup will appreciate a good set of lip balms, especially in the winter months.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Fat Oil Lip Drip is a real bargain! It has all the moisture, shine, and gorgeous shades of high-end glosses without the premium price tag. 

This lip gloss is also vegan and comes in a range of shades to suit any taste. I own three colors and am tempted to add a few more to my collection. If you're not sure which color your gift recipient might like, the clear version will add a beautiful shine to bare lips or over a favorite lipstick. Or, choose a few different shades to add to her stocking.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Butter Gloss is a cult favorite among beauty influencers and makeup artists, for good reason. This gloss keeps lips soft and smooth, adds a hint of flattering color, and isn't sticky. This set of 3 NYX Butter Glosses in packs of three extremely wearable shades is a winner!

Another extremely affordable gloss that looks and acts like those from more expensive brands is the Rimmel Stay Glossy Lip Gloss. The shades range from neutrals and pinks to reds that are flattering to many different complexions. The formula is long-lasting, moisturizing, and non-sticky while providing lots of shine. This gloss is also cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny-approved (i.e., the company has made a genuine commitment to ending animal testing), and looks beautiful on bare lips or over lipstick or balm. Rimmel is a very popular brand in Europe that more and more beauty editors are recommending in the affordable beauty category.

Makeup Palettes

Makeup palettes are extremely popular beauty gifts for the Christmas holidays. They feel like an indulgence that your recipient might not buy for herself but would love to receive as a gift. They're also great to take on vacations, business trips, etc.

Fortunately, the affordable makeup palette selections are getting better and better, with shades and formulations that rival those of expensive luxury brands. The shades available at any given time may change, but you're sure to find some wonderful options among my top recommendations.

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP palettes are a fantastic choice. The quality and selection for the price can't be beat. The NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Ultimate eyeshadow palettes each contain 16 highly pigmented eye shadows that glide onto the lid silky smooth and blend out effortlessly. There is always a wide range of options, from neutrals to brights, with something to suit any taste. Some palettes are all-matte, while most include a mix of matte, satin, shimmer, and/or metallic shades. Your gift recipient will have fun mixing and matching the 16 shades to create a whole wardrobe of eye looks for different moods, outfits, and occasions. Tip: Most teen girls would love the gift of a good eyeshadow palette!

If your gift recipient is really into makeup, she would probably love the NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Highlight & Contour Pro Palette. It contains eight "creamy" powder highlight and contour shades that are pigmented enough to make a difference, but not so pigmented that they are hard to blend out (one of the keys to effective face contouring). Learning how to contour subtly can help you slim (or shorten) your nose, accentuate (or fake) cheekbones, minimize jowls, and other artistic "magic tricks." This set has a wide enough range of shades to work for many different skin tones, too.

Physicians Formula is another of those affordable beauty brands loved by magazine editors and influencers that looks and acts like formulas costing much more. 

The brand is known for its silky powder formulas, and a Physicians Formula Face Palette is a great way to give a beautiful selection of coordinating powders in a range of finishes. 

For example, the Physicians Formula All-Star Face Palette Holiday Gift Set for 2023 includes six stunning pans of bronzers, highlighters, face powder, and blush to flatter a wide range of complexions, although they are probably best suited to light-to-medium skin tones.

ColourPop "Of Quartz" 9-pan eyeshadow palette
My ColourPop 9-pan "Of Quartz" palette, now discontinued
(but there are always plenty of new choices!)

ColourPop Eyeshadow Palettes are amazing quality for the price. The brand is famous for its stunning palettes and, especially, its fabulous shimmer shades. 

I have one of the 9-pan palettes (called "Of Quartz") and absolutely love it. I love the versatile mix of mattes and shimmers and how easily I can blend out the formula, even on my crepey, hooded lids. 

There are also larger palettes, including "mega" sizes with 30 shades (which won't fit in a stocking)! You can choose from sets that would appeal to women who prefer subtle makeup or colorways with bold, bright hues that fashionistas and teen girls would enjoy.

The Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Eyeshadow Palette comes in a smaller choice of shades, but these eyeshadows have the same luxe feel as the brand's acclaimed face powders, blushes, highlighters, and bronzers. It's a    wonderfully blendable formula that's extremely easy to apply and manipulate to achieve the desired look.

I also appreciate the mix of matte, satin, shimmer, and metallic shades in these versatile palettes that would flatter all skin tones.

 Like all Physicians Formula makeup products, these eye shadows are clean, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, safe for sensitive skin and eyes, and dermatologist-tested.

Tips on Choosing Eyeshadow Palettes as Gifts

If you're not sure which palettes your gift recipients might prefer, here are some guidelines to help you choose.

  • Green and hazel eyes are complemented by purple shades, taupes, and earth tones, including bronzes, golds, and burgundies.
  • Blue eyes are flattered by warm, orangey browns, like amber or copper, or gray and silver shades for a smokey eye look.
  • Brown eyes can wear almost any shade, especially warm browns, golds, purples, and blues.
  • When in doubt a neutral color palette is the most versatile and flatters most eye colors and skin tones.

Just remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules when choosing eyeshadow colors, especially for beauty lovers!

Affordable Skincare Stocking Stuffers for Women and Teen Girls

An effective skincare routine makes a huge difference in our skin's appearance and health. A stocking filled with a good quality makeup remover, facial cleanser, micellar water, facial serum, and moisturizer would be a wonderful gift for teens as well as for any woman who still washes her face with soap. (Most soaps are too harsh for facial skin, disrupting the protective skin barrier and causing excessive dryness, oiliness, acne, sensitivity, and other problems!)

A set of sheet masks would be a wonderful treat to encourage someone who's feeling stressed or overextended to squeeze in a few minutes of much-needed, relaxing, self-care and "me time."

While you might want to tailor products to the recipient's skin type, the following recommendations are appropriate for most.

Oil-Based Cleansing Balm/Makeup Remover

Cleansing balms are a great first step to remove sunscreen, makeup, and skincare at the end of the day. One of my favorites, Farmacy Green Clean makeup meltaway cleansing balm, is available on Amazon in a cute 0.4-ounce sample size that's perfect as a beauty gift stocking stuffer.

This popular makeup-removing balm dissolves even stubborn, long-wear makeup, waterproof mascaras, and mineral sunscreens. It's the first step in a two-step cleanse, to be followed by a gentle facial cleanser.

This cleansing balm is effective without stripping the skin of its natural moisture or damaging the protective skin barrier. It leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth, not dry or tight. It's also free of parabens, sulfates, and artificial coloring and is not tested on animals.

Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm starts to melt into an oil as you massage it into your skin with your fingers, and then it turns into a milky cleanser as you add water and continue to massage. Just rinse with warm water and continue with step two (your gentle facial cleanser). I also recommend following with micellar water on a cotton pad to remove any cleanser residue before applying your nighttime skincare routine.

Facial Masks

The SpaLife Holiday Treats Facial Masks 12-Pack has the cutest, most festive packaging! It's also more wintry than specifically Christmas-y, so it would also make a great gift for other winter holidays and gift-giving occasions.

The set comes with a dozen face mask packets in four yummy holiday scents, so it's easy to split up into multiple gifts to help stuff several stockings.

It includes three of each of the following:

  • Eggnog-scented anti-aging facial masks
  • Peppermint cocoa-scented nourishing facial masks
  • Gingerbread-scented soothing facial masks
  • Candy cane sundae-scented brightening facial masks
 These would make great gifts for anyone who loves a bit of holiday whimsy! 

TONYMOLY is an extremely popular Korean skincare brand that's PETA-certified and 100% cruelty-free (no animal testing).

The TONYMOLY I'm Real Sheet Mask Collection is a fun way to introduce the women or teen girls on your Christmas gift list to sheet masks—skincare-infused paper masks that hold the serum against your skin and let it soak in as you lie back and relax.

This set of 5 different sheet masks focuses on deep hydration and includes one each of the following:

  • I'm Aloe, infused with aloe extract and a water-based essence to hydrate the skin
  • I'm Avocado, an "avocado-infused micro emulsion-based essence" that nourishes the skin
  • I'm Watermelon, infused with watermelon extract to hydrate, refresh, and condition
  • I'm Lavender, with lavender extract to relax, soothe, and deeply hydrate
  • I'm Coconut, with vitamin E and coconut extract to "remove dirt and revitalize skin"

To use them, start with a freshly cleansed and dried face. Lie or lean back, open and unfold the sheet mask carefully, and place it over the face, aligning the cutouts with your eyes, nose, and mouth. Gently smooth the mask against the skin and let the serum soak in for 20–30 minutes. (I recommend listening to music or an audiobook to enhance the relaxation effect.) Then remove the paper and pat/press in any excess serum into the face and neck.

Gift-Worthy Skincare Sets

The e.l.f. SKIN Hydrated Ever After Skincare Mini Kit includes small sizes of everything a woman or teen girl on your gift list will need to keep her face soft, smooth, and hydrated. It includes a makeup melting cleansing balm, facial cleanser, hydrating booster drops, face cream, and eye cream.

These products are infused with hyaluronic acid to help hydrate and plump the skin, ceramides to help strengthen the skin's moisture barrier, and peptides to help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

While these products would be ideal for someone with dry skin year-round, they are also excellent for all skin types during the cold, dry weather months. (Did you know that even oily skin needs hydration to help regulate oil production?)

Even if your gift recipient already has a skincare routine, she will appreciate this complete set of TSA-approved travel sizes for packing.

All of e.l.f.'s products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and Leaping Bunny-certified, and they're very good quality at surprisingly low prices. At less than $20 (at the time of this post's publication) for the entire 5-piece kit, the price for this stocking stuffer can't be beat!

Korean skincare is known for its innovation and high quality at reasonable prices, and COSRX is a popular brand recommended by many dermatologists and beauty influencers. The COSRX All About Snail Kit would make a wonderful gift for women with more mature or sensitive skin.

The hero ingredient, snail mucin, may sound off-putting, but it's a powerhouse skincare ingredient with multiple benefits. In the medically-reviewed EveryDay Health article "Snail Mucin 101: A Detailed Guide," Georgia Smith, a Sydney, Australia-based cosmetic chemist and founder of Skin Sister, described snail mucin as "a complex mix of proteins, enzymes, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, antimicrobial peptides, iron, zinc, and proteoglycans." It can help strengthen the skin barrier; retain moisture; improve plumpness, smoothness, fine lines, and wrinkles; promote collagen building; enhance wound healing; and improve the appearance of scarring. It is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, potentially helping with acne and redness.

The COSRX All About Snail Kit includes TSA-approved travel sizes of four of the brand's most coveted skincare products: Advanced Snail Mucin Gel Cleanser, Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream, and Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream.

Pampering Body Care Stocking Stuffers

Skincare isn't just for the face, especially during the cold, dry winter months. A gift of a body wash, body scrub, exfoliating gloves, or moisturizing body lotion can soothe and smooth dry, crepey skin all winter long. A moisturizing hand cream, cuticle balm, or foot cream is something every woman or teen girl can use.

Here are some gift-worthy body care stocking stuffer ideas.

Aromatherapy Shower Steamers or Bath Bombs

I only recently learned about shower steamers, which are similar to bath bombs but designed for use during a shower instead of a bath. 

Cleverfy Aromatherapy Shower Steamers are beautifully packaged and are available in several different assortments of different sizes and scents. 

The boxed sets of six Cleverfy Aromatherapy Shower Steamers are the perfect size for stocking stuffers, but you might also consider splitting one of the larger assortments into several gifts.

I really like the set of six aromatherapy shower steamers that includes one each of the following scents:

  • Menthol & eucalyptus
  • Peony & pear
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Cocoa & orange
  • Lemongrass & coconut

Hand and Foot Care

The Burt's Bees Tips and Toes Kit is a boxed, six-piece set that's perfect for gift-giving and costs much less than you might expect. It includes a full-size pomegranate tinted lip balm to soften and smooth lips while adding a hint of color, plus five mini sizes of the following products:

  • A cute little tin of almond & milk hand cream that's perfect to tuck in a purse
  • A tube of honey & grapeseed hand cream
  • A tin of hand salve
  • A tin of lemon butter cuticle cream (a long-time favorite that's perfect for massaging into dry cuticles on the go)
  • A tube of coconut foot cream

These travel-size products would also be great for a frequent traveler.

You could also put together a set of high-quality nail care tools for a woman or teen who either loves having pretty nails or wishes she did. Check out my in-depth guide to The Best Manicure Tools to see my personally curated, tried-and-true picks. Consider adding a bottle or two of nail polish. Essie nail polish kits always include some great holiday gift sets at affordable prices, and the quality is excellent.

Spa Accessories

Consider filling her stocking with one or more spa accessories to up her beauty and skincare game. Check out my in-depth reviews of the best spa headbands for face washing, skincare, and makeup application, the best silicone face cleansing brushes, the best reusable microfiber facial cleansing sponges, and my favorite microfiber face washing wristbands to keep your arms and sleeves dry.

Need an Elegant Christmas Stocking to Stuff?

Check out my recent product reviews of The Most Beautiful Christmas Stockings for Elegant Holiday Decor. You’ll find a selection of festive picks to hold these beauty gift stocking stuffers.


❆❅❄ Wishing you and your loved ones a beauty-filled holiday!


Awesome, Affordable Beauty Gifts to Fill Her Christmas Stocking by Margaret Schindel

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