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

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

How to Soften Dry, Callused, Cracked Heels the Easy Way

As we age, we're more prone to developing dry, cracked heels that can be painful as well as unsightly. There are many contributing factors, some within our control and others not. However, if you suffer from cracked heels, you know they can be challenging to treat effectively.

I've tried many different treatments for this annoying condition. In today's review, I recommend some simple tips that have helped me the most. Here's to healing our dry, cracked heels!

How to Heal & Soften Dry, Callused, Cracked Heels

Background photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

What Causes Cracked Heels?

The helpful WebMD article "What to Know About Cracked Heels" explains that cracked heels can develop "When the skin around your heels becomes dry and thick...Extra pressure on the fat pad of your heels can cause dry, thick skin to form cracks, or heel fissures."

According to the article, contributing factors may include:

  • Wearing sandals, clogs, or other open-heeled footwear
  • Taking hot baths or hot showers
  • Using soaps with harsh ingredients
  • Standing for long stretches of time
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, athlete's foot, heel spurs, Sj√∂gren's syndrome, or juvenile plantar dermatosis

How to Treat and Repair Dry, Callused, Cracked Heels at Home

After consulting multiple reliable sources, here are the at-home foot care steps I have followed to heal my dry, cracked heels successfully. I repeat these steps periodically, as needed, to prevent and heal my heel cracks.

The best time to do these steps is just before bed to allow the healing foot cream or ointment to soak into the skin and do its work while you're sleeping.

Caveat: The WebMD article explains that "Occasionally, severely cracked heels can get infected and lead to a skin infection called cellulitis" and advises talking to your doctor "if your heels are severely cracked or don’t improve after you’ve treated them for a week."

Step 1: Use a diamond foot rasp to remove the top layer of thick calluses.

If your calluses aren't too thick and your heel cracks aren't deep, you can use a pumice stone after soaking your feet in warm, soapy water (see step 2). However, if your heels are extremely dry and have thick calluses, use either a Diamancel Diamond Foot Buffer #11 Medium Rasp or, for even thicker calluses, a Diamancel Diamond Foot Buffer #22 Coarse Rasp followed by the #11 Medium Rasp.

These files are an investment, but they will last for many years and can be easily washed in hot, soapy water and then dried and disinfected with isopropyl alcohol after each use.

Note: I have tried but do not recommend the "cheese grater" style metal foot file. It removes a lot of skin quickly and has sharp "teeth" that make it easy to accidentally remove too much callus and possibly cut into your skin, which could lead to infection. This type of foot file also leaves the surface very rough and requires a lot of effort to smooth with a pumice stone or fine diamond foot buffer.

Step 2: Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for 20 minutes.

Use gentle soap and warm, not hot water, in a tub or, if you prefer, a dedicated foot bath. Consider the affordable HoMedics Bubble Mate Foot Spa, a splash-proof, heated foot bath with water jets and raised massage nodes to pamper your tired feet. This is on my holiday wish list and would make a great gift, especially as part of a spa gift basket! 

(My mom had a heated foot bath many years ago that she used to bring with her to the nail salon when she got a pedicure since she was extremely conscious about good hygiene at the salon. She also loved using it at home to soothe her aching feet after a long day.)

After soaking your feet for 20 minutes, use a pumice stone to smooth away any calluses or, if you used a diamond foot rasp in step 1, to smooth any roughness left by the rasp(a).

Step 3: Towel-dry your feet well.

Use a clean, absorbent towel to dry your feet very thoroughly, especially in between your toes to help prevent athlete's foot.

Step 4: Apply a healing ointment or moisturizing cream.

I have tried numerous foot creams to heal dry, cracked heels. Based on my experience, if you have very dry, callused heels with fairly deep cracks, I highly recommend starting with the Kerasal Nighttime Intensive Foot Repair, Skin Healing Ointment for Cracked Heels and Dry Feet. I discovered this fantastic ointment thanks to the recommendation of a well-known and highly respected board-certified dermatologist on social media. I'm very grateful to her for introducing me to this miracle cracked heels treatment!

It contains 5% salicylic acid, 10% urea and soft white petrolatum to exfoliate, soften, and moisturize hard, dry, cracked, and callused heels, and is approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association. It comes in a small tube, but a little goes a long way.

Another good option is Ebanel Urea Cream 40% plus Salicylic Acid 2%. It has a consistency that one Amazon reviewer likened to Elmer's glue, which helps it adhere to the skin while it does its work. It may not be the most cosmetically elegant formulation, but it's extremely effective!

Once your feet are in better shape and your cracks have healed, you can switch to something less heavy-duty and more economical for daily or nightly maintenance. Good choices include Dr. Scholl's Dry, Cracked Foot Repair Ultra Hydrating Foot Cream, Miracle of Aloe Miracle Foot Repair Cream for Dry, Cracked Feet & Heels, or Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E Foot Magic Moisturizing Foot Cream. All of these are available on Amazon, and most can be found at a well-stocked drugstore.

Whichever cream or ointment you use, make sure to massage it in very well before putting on your heel socks or sleep socks.

Step 5: Put on heel socks or thin, breathable bed socks and wear them overnight.

I prefer wearing thin cotton or bamboo socks to bed if I'm applying my foot cream or ointment to the balls of my feet as well as my heels. Bamboo or cotton bed socks allow the skin to "breathe," and thin socks are less absorbent so your foot cream or ointment stays on the skin of your heels vs. on your socks.

My favorite socks for this purpose (and also my favorite summer or warm weather socks) are the SERISIMPLE Women's Bamboo Ankle Socks. They come in a pack of five pairs for less than $17 (at the time of this post's publication), so $3.40 a pair, and they are excellent quality! They are thin, soft, and lightweight and slip on easily over foot cream or ointment. They also come in a very large selection of pretty pastel, mid-tone, and dark color assortments.

But if my feet are in really rough shape and I'm applying the ointment just to my cracked heels, I'll put on toeless, silicone-lined heel socks before going to bed.

For the latter, I really like the ZenToes Moisturizing Fuzzy Sleep Socks. The outer shell is a soft, fleece material, while the heel is lined with a silicone gel infused with jojoba seed oil, olive oil, and vitamin E to add an extra layer of softening and moisturizing ingredients where they are needed most.

The silicone gel creates a warm, hydrating environment that helps your foot cream or ointment penetrate while you sleep. These open-toed sleep socks are also washable and reusable, and one size fits most. Even after the infused oils are used up, they still work perfectly with your preferred foot cream.

I also love that these are made by a small, woman-owned business based in Wisconsin. Although the socks are not manufactured in the USA, the company prides itself on doing three product quality checks before they are shipped out to customers: before they leave the factory, when they are received at the USA warehouse, and when they are packaged in that USA warehouse.

In addition, ZenToes uses individuals with diverse abilities who work for Opportunities, Inc. in Wisconsin, a Community Rehabilitation Program, to package their products "with dignity and purpose."

For a short-term quick fix, replace steps 4 and 5 with an intensive repair foot mask.

There are Kerasal Nighttime Intensive Repair Foot Masks that can be used instead of steps 4 and 5, although as single-use products they are less economical (and less environmentally responsible). But they're great if you want to try out the Kerasal Nighttime Intensive Foot Repair ointment to see how you like it before investing in heel socks or thin cotton bed socks.

Also, if you want to wear sandals, go to the beach, etc., and notice at the last minute that your heels are cracked, you can use the Kerasal Daytime Intensive Repair Foot Mask (pack of 2 pairs). These won't deliver the same results as steps 1–5, but they can definitely improve the way your feet and heels look and feel in less than half an hour.

To use them, start by washing and drying your feet thoroughly. Then, remove one pair of the foot masks and put them on. Put your feet up and relax (they're too slippery to walk around in) for 20 minutes, then remove the covers and massage any residue of the healing cream into your feet.

Helpful Tips to Prevent Heel Cracks

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To keep your feet and heels soft, smooth and healthy, here are some habits to adopt that can help prevent or reduce calluses and heel cracks:

  • Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces
  • Wear closed-heel footwear
  • Take warm, not hot, baths or showers
  • Use mild soaps
  • Dry your feet and in between your toes thoroughly to avoid athlete's foot
  • Keep your skin at a comfortable temperature and moisturize your feet daily and/or nightly with a foot cream after showering or bathing and drying the skin well

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional and this article should not be construed in any way as medical advice. When in doubt, consult your doctor before attempting to treat your cracked heels at home.

How to Soften Dry, Callused, Cracked Heels the Easy Way by Margaret Schindel

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Best Spa Headbands for Face Washing, Skincare, Makeup Application

Today's product review is for my favorite spa headbands, which I use both morning and evening to hold my hair back while I cleanse my face and apply my skincare, sunscreen, and (sometimes) makeup.

The spa headbands I tried before discovering these were uncomfortable and/or unattractive. Fortunately, my new spa headbands are both comfortable and cute and come in a range of color choices.

The Best Spa Headbands - Cute and Comfortable

One of My Favorite Beauty Accessories

Recently, I have been sharing product reviews of several of my favorite affordable beauty and skincare tools and accessories, including microfiber spa wristbands that keep your arms dry during facial cleansing, soft microfiber-covered face washing sponges and silicone facial cleansing and exfoliating lip scrubbers that cleanse your pores gently and effectively and make your lips smoother and fuller.

Now, I'm pleased to share the spa headbands that I use twice a day to keep my hair out of my face during cleansing and then application of my skincare products, sunscreen (every day, rain, snow or shine!), and makeup (if I'm wearing any).

3 different styles of spa headbands
The terrycloth wrap (left) has a hook-and-loop closure that snagged my hair. The soft microfiber plush band (right) was too tight, despite the elasticized back. Fortunately, the padded headband (center) is perfect—comfortable, easy to get on and off, and even cute!

Before discovering these, I had been using either terrycloth or microfiber spa headbands that encircle the entire head. Some were too small (even though I don't have a large head), making them uncomfortable. One had a Velcro-type hook-and-loop closure that often snagged my hair. The other wasn't adjustable and, despite the small length of elastic at the back, was hard to get on and off and gave me a headache. Also (admittedly a secondary consideration), neither was very attractive while I was staring at my face in my magnifying makeup mirror, lol.

Recently, I started seeing beauty influencers on Instagram and YouTube wearing these cute, padded spa headbands to keep their hair away from their faces while demonstrating skincare or makeup application. 

Honestly, my expectations were low, especially when I looked on Amazon and saw how inexpensive a set of two of these headbands was. But after I messaged one of the "mature beauty" influencers I follow who assured me that they were, indeed, both comfortable and secure, I decided to give them a try.

I'm so glad I did!

Key Features and Benefits

Here are the main reasons I love these affordable padded spa headbands.

Spa headbands in 3 colors
Three of my four padded spa headbands (I have two in black)

Comfortable

The spa headbands I had tried before either were too tight or had a Velcro-type hook-and-loop closure that often snagged my hair. One of my hesitations in ordering these was that I often find semi-rigid (plastic or metal) headbands uncomfortable and they tend to give me a headache after I wear them for a short time. 

Fortunately, these padded spa headbands are quite flexible and don't give me a headache.

Secure

Even though these bands are flexible enough to be worn comfortably—even throughout the day, if you wish—they also hold my hair securely, keeping it away from my face while I am cleansing or doing my skincare, sunscreen, or makeup application.

Attractive and Versatile

Even though I prioritized function over looks when searching for spa headbands, the fact that these are much cuter and more functional than the others I tried is a nice bonus. In fact, these look nice enough for younger women and girls to wear as a casual fashion accessory. Even as a senior, I sometimes wear the black one when I go out for a walk.

They’re also great for keeping your hair off your face while exercising or soaking in a tub.

Note: When I wear these in any color other than black, my husband has been known to teasingly call me Lady Liberty. 

Choice of Colors

These come in sets of two in a range of color options. At the time of this post's publication, there are seven color combinations to choose from:

  • Black and light blue
  • Black and lime green
  • Black and white
  • Black and bright yellow
  • Light blue and white (although the product photo on Amazon shows one white spa headband and one pair of microfiber face-washing wristbands)
  • Light pink and black
  • Light blue and light pink

Inexpensive and Good Quality

As of this post's publication, nearly all the color choices sell on Amazon for $9.99 plus free Prime shipping for Amazon Prime members. Since they come in a set of two, that's less than $5 per band! The pink and black combo currently is even less expensive at $7.71 for the pair.

Given the low price, I was nervous about the quality. When my order arrived, however, I was delighted by the quality of the materials and finishing. Although I have only had mine for two months so far, they have held up well.

In fact, I like them so much that I recently ordered a second pair so I could get a light blue one.



Affordable Beauty Gifts for Women of All Ages

Any woman or teen girl who enjoys beauty, skincare, or makeup application would probably love to receive a set of these cute, comfortable, padded spa headbands as a gift. 

If the women or girls on your list are avid skincare or makeup enthusiasts, consider putting together baskets of beauty gifts including some or all of the following spa accessories to create luxurious "gifts for her" at an affordable price. The plush VOLO Hero microfiber hair towel is the most expensive item at $44.25, but most of the suggestions below come in at around $10-$15 (as of this post's publication).


The Best Spa Headbands for Face Washing, Skincare, Makeup Application by Margaret Schindel

Find More Great Gifts for Her in My Health and Beauty Product Reviews

The Best Silicone Face Cleansing Brushes for Better Skin and Smoother Lips

The Best Reusable Microfiber Facial Cleansing Sponges for Better Skin

These Inexpensive Face Washing Wristbands Keep Your Arms Dry

The Best Travel Toiletry Bag for Women Is a Bargain!

You’ll Love These Insanely Comfortable Memory Foam Slippers

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Best Silicone Face Cleansing Brushes for Better Skin and Smoother Lips

I recently reviewed two of my favorite products for washing the face, reusable microfiber facial cleansing sponges and microfiber face washing wristbands.

Today's health and beauty product review is about another favorite tool in my skincare routine: silicone face scrubbers that I use a few times a week to help gently yet effectively deep clean pores around the oilier T-zone and to gently exfoliate and plump the lips.

These inexpensive silicone facial scrubbers are also hygienic and can't harbor bacteria like face towels, so they're great for anyone who deals with acne or blemishes.

Silicone Face Cleansing Brushes and Lip Scrubbers

Proper Cleansing Is Key to a Clearer, Smoother, Brighter Complexion

As I mentioned in previous reviews, the most important steps for achieving and maintaining your best complexion are 1) cleansing your face properly both morning and night (and after exercising), 2) using good skincare products targeted to your skin type and skin concerns, and 3) applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will provide UVA, UVB, and blue light protection 365 days a year, rain, snow or shine.

Washing your face properly means cleansing gently and thoroughly with lukewarm water and a good facial cleanser, lathering and massaging your face for 30-60 seconds, either once (single cleanse) or twice (double cleanse), either with the same cleanser or with two different cleansers, usually an oil-based cleanser for the first cleanse to break down sunscreen and/or makeup and a water-based cleanser for the second cleanse to break down excess oil and sebum.

The Right Tools Help Cleanse Your Face Thoroughly and Gently

I like to wear a terrycloth headband to hold my hair back away from my face and microfiber face-washing wristbands to keep my arms dry when I am cleansing my face. I also use soft microfiber facial cleansing sponges rather than a washcloth as part of my facial cleansing routine, for reasons I explained in my recent microfiber facial cleansing sponges product review.

At age 69, my former peaches-and-cream complexion with virtually invisible pores is no longer. Inevitably, the pores in my T-zone have enlarged with age. And, despite never having had so much as a blemish or a blackhead through my teens and twenties, I now have to deal with periodic, random blemishes.

That's why I have also started using silicone face cleansing brushes to gently but thoroughly clean the pores in my T-zone.

I have two kinds of silicone facial scrubbers, as they are often called (although I caution against using them to aggressively scrub your skin): a silicone facial brush and a silicone lip scrubber.

How to Use Silicone Face Cleansing Brushes and Lip Scrubber Brushes

Here is how I recommend using these types of brushes for cleansing the skin effectively, applying skincare products after cleansing, and exfoliating and massaging the lips before applying lip balm, gloss, or lipstick.

Silicone Face Cleansing Brushes AKA Silicone Facial Scrubbers

The facial cleansing brush is an oval pad with small, fine silicone bristles covering most of it and a smaller section at one edge with larger, round nubs.

The small, fine brush bristles deep-clean pores around your nose and the rest of your T-zone more deeply than by using cleanser and water with your hands or the microfiber face washing sponges I recommend. If you have oily or combination skin or are blemish- or acne-prone, adding these silicone facial cleansing brushes will help keep your pores clear and avoid spreading bacteria from your hands or a cleansing cloth.

The small silicone brush bristles are also great for applying your skincare products after washing your face. It allows you to cover more surface area with the same amount of product by spreading it without absorbing it (like your fingers and palms do), which makes your investment in your skincare products go further. It's also a more hygienic way of applying these products to your face.

The section with the larger nubs is great for giving yourself a gentle facial massage, either with cleanser and water immediately after you have used the fine silicone brush bristles to cleanse your pores or with a facial oil, serum, lotion, or cream when you are applying your skincare. A facial massage will increase circulation, giving your skin a more youthful glow.

lip brushes

Silicone Lip Scrubbers / Lip Brushes

One side of the silicone lip scrubber has small, fine brush bristles. The other side has larger, round nubs.

The small, fine silicone brush bristles can be used with your facial cleanser to gently and lightly exfoliate lips and remove dead skin. You can also use them to gently dry brush your lips before applying lip balm.

Keep in mind that the skin covering your lips is extremely thin and delicate. Don't rub hard and don't over-exfoliate!

I also like using this side of the lip brush to deep clean the pores around my nostrils.

The side of the lip brush with the larger, round nubs can be used to massage lips, increasing circulation that will temporarily give you plumper, fuller-looking lips.

Note: Although there is an oval hole in the handle of the lip scrubber for extracting blackheads, I strongly recommend against using it for that purpose. Using a combination of gentle but effective chemical and physical exfoliants is much safer and less likely to damage your skin!

Benefits of Silicone Face and Lip Brushes Recap

  • Helps to cleanse pores gently yet effectively.
  • Hygienic and antibacterial.
  • Perfect for oily, combination, blemish- or acne-prone skin.
  • Improves circulation for a more glowing complexion.
  • Bonus: Can be used to apply facial oils, serums, lotions, or creams to make your skincare products go further.

A 5-Piece Silicone Face and Lip Brush Set at a Great Price

I bought my silicone face and lip scrubbers on Sephora a while back. The ones I bought, which are hot pink in color, are no longer available (although Sephora does carry other versions). However, I found almost identical ones on Amazon in a 5-piece set that costs less than either the single face brush or lip brush I purchased on Sephora!

For just $6.99 with free Amazon Prime Delivery (at the time of this post's publication), you can get a set of three silicone lip scrubber brushes and two silicone facial cleansing brushes. It's a fantastic deal that lets you keep one set in the bathroom, one set at your skincare or makeup dressing table (if you have one), and an extra lip brush for your purse (to massage and plump your lips before reapplying lip balm, lip gloss or lipstick during the day).

Thoughtful, Affordable Gifts for Beauty and Skincare Lovers

If there is a woman you know who enjoys skincare products and taking good care of her skin, she would probably love to receive a gift set of these silicone face cleansing brushes and lip scrubbers, along with the plush microfiber face-washing puffs and microfiber spa wristbands I reviewed previously and a pair of cushioned terrycloth headbands.

The Best Silicone Face Cleansing Brushes for Better Skin and Smoother Lips by Margaret Schindel

Read More Beauty Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Product Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Gift Reviews From Our Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Best Reusable Microfiber Facial Cleansing Sponges for Better Skin

Receiving several compliments on my skin recently was a delightful surprise, something I never expected at age 69! I have been blessed with good genes and have invested in medical-grade skincare products for the past several years, which have made a big difference. But I also have noticed a big improvement in the appearance of my skin over the past few months since I changed the way I cleanse my face, using an enzyme-based facial cleanser and a microfiber facial cleansing sponge.

I purchased my first one at Sephora, but when I went back to purchase a second so I could have one in use and one in the laundry, I was dismayed to discover that Sephora no longer carries it. Fortunately, I found a nearly-identical microfiber plush-covered face-washing puffs on Amazon in a smaller size that I like even better.

Here's my product review of the Vtrem Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Soft Facial Cleaning Puffs I chose.

Microfiber Sponge Face Washing Puffs

The Importance of Proper Face Washing for Beautiful Skin

A few years ago, when my formerly peaches-and-cream complexion was showing its age, I decided to upgrade my drugstore and Sephora skincare products and invest in medical-grade skincare products with high concentrations of active ingredients delivering clinically proven superior effectiveness. I have been amazed at the difference these products have made in my complexion.

Until this year, however, I didn't realize how much of a difference simply cleansing the face properly would make in the health and appearance of my skin. If I was working on the computer until the wee hours or came home very late after an evening out, I confess that sometimes I would just swipe my face with makeup remover or micellar water on a cotton pad, brush my teeth and go to bed. But not anymore! 

What does "cleansing the face properly" mean? Removing makeup and/or sunscreen thoroughly, washing the face by massaging with a good, gentle facial cleanser and lukewarm water for a full 30 seconds, and then rinsing thoroughly, both morning and night. This is especially important if you use a mineral-based sunscreen*, as I do.

My skin is clearer and my pores are much less visible since I started washing my face properly a.m. and p.m., no matter how tired I am. Honestly, the difference has been remarkable!

Using a Microfiber Facial Cleansing Sponge vs. a Wash Cloth

An equally surprising discovery was the difference it made when I switched from using a washcloth to a soft, microfiber plush-covered face-washing puff.

Like many people, I grew up using a cotton terrycloth facecloth to wash my face. A few years ago, when I was upgrading my skincare products, I switched to a bamboo terry facecloth. The terrycloth texture was supposed to provide light exfoliation, and the bamboo fiber was softer than cotton.

Instead of massaging in my facial cleanser with my wet hands for 30 seconds, as recommended by dermatologists and estheticians, I was putting the cleanser on the wet washcloth and using that. Unfortunately, I finally realized that even using the bamboo terrycloth cloth gently was irritating my skin and that what I had been mistaking as a healthy flush was actually low-level inflammation.

There are much better — and safer — ways to exfoliate the face, and over-exfoliation can cause significant problems on delicate facial skin! So, when I saw the microfiber plush-covered facial cleansing sponges on Sephora, I decided to trade in my bamboo facial washcloth for a plush microfiber face washing puff and use my hands to massage my face with cleanser and water for 30 seconds before removing the lather with the wet microfiber puff and doing a final rinse.

It took only a few days for me to start noticing a difference! My skin looked smoother, I had fewer tiny breakouts and my complexion was more even-toned. I never dreamed that cleansing my face correctly — i.e., thoroughly but gently — twice a day would result in such a noticeable improvement!

How I Use Microfiber Facial Cleansing Sponges

I wear broadband mineral sunscreen every day, rain or shine, indoors and outdoors to protect from UVA and UVA rays as well as "blue light" from my mobile phone, laptop, TV, and other electronic devices. Sometimes I also wear makeup.

Many people do a "double cleanse," a first cleanse with an oil-based cleanser to dissolve and remove sunscreen and makeup and then a second cleanse with a water-based cleanser to cleanse the skin and pores thoroughly. But I find that using a good micellar water cleanser as the first step works just as well and allows me to get off all my makeup and mineral sunscreen so I can clean my pores gently and thoroughly afterward with just a single cleanse with an enzyme-based facial cleanser and water.

Microfiber facial cleansing sponge, spa wristbands, spa headband and skincare on bathroom counter

Here's my facial cleansing routine, which I do after pulling back my hair with a comfortable terrycloth spa headband and putting on my favorite microfiber face washing spa wristbands (you can read my detailed product review) to keep my arms dry:

  1. Use ISDIN Micellar Solution, 4 in 1 on a couple of cotton pads to remove makeup, if I am wearing any, as well as sunscreen. It is far and away the most gentle and effective micellar water cleanser I have used, including my former favorite, Bioderma Sensibio. It removes even mineral sunscreens easily and is suitable even for sensitive skin.
  2. Wet the face and neck area as well as the hands.
  3. Dispense a small amount of a gentle yet effective facial cleanser onto one palm, then rub the palms together to create a lather and massage it over the wet face (including the eyes) and neck for at least 30 seconds. Then use a silicone facial cleansing brush to work the cleanser into the pores. (Read my detailed silicone facial cleansing brush product review to learn more about this helpful and inexpensive skincare tool.)
    Note: Currently, I use either Osmosis Purify Enzyme Cleanser or Revision Skincare Enzyme Cleanser, which are expensive but worth trying if you have enlarged pores and sensitive skin.
  4. Saturate the microfiber face washing puff thoroughly with water and wipe/rinse off any remaining lather, then do a final rinse by splashing your face and neck with water.

Features and Benefits of My Favorite Microfiber Face Washing Puffs

Microfiber makeup remover puff with skincare products

The Vtrem Reusable Makeup Remover Pads Soft Facial Cleaning Puffs (Set of 4 Colors) are:

  • Soft and gentle on your skin. As I learned from my experiment with bamboo terrycloth facial cleansing cloths, it's important to be very gentle with your skin, especially your facial skin. These hypoallergenic makeup remover pads / facial cleansing sponges are covered with soft, silky microfiber plush fabric that is gentle enough for even sensitive skin.
  • Gentle but effective. Even though these face washing puffs are gentle on your skin, they are also effective, allowing the cleanser to get deep into the pores for a thorough cleanse.
  • Reusable and hygienic. Because they are reusable, like washcloths, they are environmentally friendly. And because they come in a set of four, you can wash them frequently and still have a fresh one ready to use, so they are also hygienic.
  • Well made, durable, and affordable. These facial cleansing sponges will last through 200 washes apiece and come in a set of four, so they will last you for several years. They come in a set of four for just $11.99 at the time of this product review's publication, less than $3 apiece.

Note: The Amazon product image shows a black drawstring pouch for these face washing puffs, but mine did not come with one. However, each facial cleansing sponge in the set of four does arrive in its own clear cellophane envelope.

A Thoughtful, Affordable Gift for a Beauty and Skincare Lover

I think any woman who enjoys makeup or skincare would love to receive a set of these plush microfiber face washing puffs as a gift, either alone or with the microfiber spa wristbands and terry spa headband I mentioned previously. You could even splurge and add a VOLO Hero premium microfiber hair towel / turban (see my product review).

* An Important Note About Wearing Sunscreen

A good face cleansing routine is especially important if you wear and reapply sunscreen every day. As any dermatologist or esthetician will tell you, wearing an effective broadband sunscreen is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine.

A broadband sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 and preferably with filters that block "blue light" should be worn every day, rain or shine, 365 days a year and reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming. Even though UVB rays (the ones that cause sunburn) don't penetrate through car or window glass, UVA rays (the ones that are skin-aging and cause fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, etc.) do pass through. And our electronic devices expose us to blue light that also causes photo-aging!

Please read my review of two of my favorite mineral sunscreen brands to learn more about this important topic: Review of EltaMD® and Colorescience® Mineral-Based Physical Sunscreens.

The Best Reusable Microfiber Facial Cleansing Sponges for Better Skin by Margaret Schindel

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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Best Travel Toiletry Bag for Women Is a Bargain!

I've purchased a lot of travel toiletry bags over the years to accommodate my makeup, makeup brushes, skin care, shampoo, hair styling products (such as heat protectant), deodorant, face and body sunscreen, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. None of them worked well for me until I tried the NISHEL travel toiletry bag for women.

I'm delighted to share this excellent find. Here's my product review of this lightweight and large capacity toiletry organizer that folds down compactly when not in use.

NISHEL Travel Toiletry Bag Organizer - Spacious, Lightweight, Compact

I've purchased quite a few travel toiletry bags in my quest for one that met my needs. Unfortunately, they were either too large, too heavy, or not configurable to fit the variety of sizes and shapes of travel toiletries, makeup, brushes, etc., I like to take with me on trips.

Finally, I discovered this bag while watching a product review video (or maybe Instagram Live) from a well known beauty influencer whom I would gladly credit if I could remember which one.

It has quickly become one of my favorite travel accessories. Here's why I love it.

Well Thought-Out Design Holds a Lot of Toiletries, Keeps Them Organized and Easily Accessible

The NISHEL Travel Toiletry Bag for Women Large Capacity, Travel Essentials Organizer, Hanging Makeup Case for Accessories, Cosmetics, Toiletries is designed for optimal toiletry organization.

Two handles make this lightweight travel toiletry organizer bag easy to carry.

A large outer zipper compartment on the front provides easy access without opening the organizer.
NISHEL travel toiletry bag
The bag is slim and compact for storage when not in use and has a front zipper compartment.

The bag unzips fully to lie or hang flat.

Unzipped travel toiletry bag
When unzipped, it lies flat or hangs straight. The top and bottom flaps fold out for extra storage.

Once unzipped and with the flaps unfolded, there are four interior zippered sections with see-through, clear plastic fronts.

NISHEL travel toiletry organizer, fully opened
When unzipped with the flaps folded out, there are four generously sized, zippered compartments with clear plastic fronts to keep all your makeup, skincare, shampoo and other travel toiletries organized and easily accessible.

Keeps Limited Sink and Counter Space Clear

In many hotels and vacation rentals, bathroom counter space is at a premium. The NISHEL travel toiletry bag can hang on the shower rod, towel rack or door hook to keep from cluttering up the limited sink and counter space. And it's easy to see where all your toiletries are, even mini travel sizes, and access them easily throughout your stay.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

That was one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings and one that definitely applies to this hanging toiletries organizer.

Here is a close-up look at each of the four interior zippered compartment sections, along with a peek at what I put into each section when I did a trial run of this organizer in anticipation of our next vacation.

Top Flap Section

The top flap is a zippered compartment with a sturdy hanger hook. It folds out to let you hang the organizer in a closet or in the bathroom.

Top flap compartment of NISHEL travel toiletry bag
I packed two eyeshadow palettes in the top flap zippered compartment. You can see the attached hanger hook that lets you hang this travel toiletry bag in a closet or on a door hook.

Top Center Section

The top center section is a very generously sized, zippered compartment with a clear plastic front and elastic-top nylon mesh pockets.

Upper middle compartment of NISHEL travel toiletry bag
I put a bunch of makeup brushes, eye pencils, mascara, lip glosses and a blush compact into the upper center zippered compartment with the elastic-top divided mesh bag. As you can see, I could have easily fit quite a bit more into this section!

Lower Center Section

The lower center section is another generously sized, zippered compartment with a clear plastic front. This one has two rows of wide, elastic strips across the center, stitched down in staggered sections, to securely hold products in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Lower middle section of NISHEL travel toiletry bag
I put two bottles of facial mineral sunscreen, a large can of mineral sunscreen spray, an eye treatment and concealer with SPF, toothpaste, floss and deodorant into this section with elastic loops and still had room to spare.

Bottom Flap Section

The bottom flap is another zippered compartment similar to the top flap, but without the hanger hook.

Bottom flap compartment of NISHEL travel toiletry bag
In the bottom flap zippered compartment, I put travel size shampoo, conditioner, styling products, and my Dnsly electric toothbrush in its hard travel case.

Note that this doesn't even include the exterior front pocket, which can fit additional toiletry or other travel items!

This travel toiletry bag has a large capacity that holds everything I want to bring with me and keeps it accessible and organized during my trip. Despite its large capacity, it's also extraordinarily lightweight, which I love!

Either of the two main center compartments can be used to hold makeup brushes securely, if desired.

A Choice of Colors

This travel toiletry organizer comes in the following colors (I've provided descriptions because some of the color names are a bit misleading): Pink (dusty rose-beige), Aegean Blue (soft navy), Lake Blue (dusty dark teal), Purple (dusty medium lilac), Rosewood-Pink (dusty chestnut brown) and Black.

I purchased the Pink, which looks more like a beige to me.

An Affordable Travel Gift

The list price of the NISHEL travel toiletry bag is $29.99. However, at the time of this product review's publication, the Amazon price was only $23.99.

The Matching Travel Accessories Also Are Great, Affordable Gifts

I love that this brand also makes coordinating travel accessories (not all of them are available in all the colors).

The NISHEL Travel Jewelry Organizer for Necklaces, Earrings, Rings, Bracelets, Watch is 9.5" long × 5.5" wide ×1.5" deep. Its slim profile belies its generous capacity, thanks to its four buckled straps to hold necklaces or bracelets, five zippered pouches, earrings panel that can hold 14 pairs of earrings, and a long buckled band to hold multiple rings securely.

It has a list price of $23.99; the Amazon price at the time of this product review’s publication was $16.99.

The NISHEL Double Layer Travel Makeup Bag Women, Large Cosmetic Case, Organizer for Travel-Size Accessories Bottles, Brushes, Conditioner, and Skin Care Products is a large train case style makeup travel bag that a deep bottom section that holds a lot of makeup and skin care products, as well as a large, separate zippered compartment on top that can accommodate a very large number of makeup brushes.

It would be great for a makeup artist to carry to client appointments or for anyone who has a large makeup collection.

It has a list price of $29.99; the Amazon price at the time of publication was $22.99.

I think the NISHEL travel toiletry bag, travel jewelry organizer and cosmetics train case would all make wonderful, affordable gifts for women, especially those who love makeup, skin care, hair care or jewelry.

The Best Travel Toiletry Bag for Women Is a Bargain! by Margaret Schindel

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