Empties #1: Skincare Staples

LEFT: Lypsyl's Intense Protection LypMoisturizer
RIGHT: Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream

Hi! Today was finally warm (40's) and semi-sunny but...because of all the ice that's accumulated the past month and a half, the landscape has still been a nuisance with deep puddles everywhere. And ever since I got back from California, my disgust for NYC has only gotten worse, but oh well. Onto the content of today's post!

If you've read some of my other beauty/The Ice Block posts, you may have heard me rant about my skin many, many times before. Over the past 2 years, my skin's sensitivity has gone to a whole new level. It started with heavily chapped, peeling lips, turned into two incidents of a full-face rash, with skin peeling around my eyes, cheeks, chin, and mouth area, and finished with random incidents of dry/itchy/flaky areas specifically near my chin and between my nose and upper lip, as well as random hormonal breakouts (oh the joys of having oily skin THAT STILL FLAKES!) and incidents of hives that turn into dry patches.

In short, my skin has been a war zone. While I still, to this day, have yet to pinpoint the exact cause (except hives, which are always food-related for me), I've managed to find two products that have helped me put up a winning fight against whatever that cause is: Lypsyl's Intense Protection LypMoisturizer and Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream.

This is my first "Empties" post and I guess you can call it a combined review of two or more products that I've clearly developed an opinion on. After all, I've used them up completely.

Because it's wholly relevant since my empties are both skincare products, I want to start by describing my skin type. The obvious: my skin is sensitive. Now to delve a bit deeper: if my skin were to be in a healthy state, I would describe it as combination skin, where my T-zone (nose and tip of the chin especially, as well as my forehead somewhat) has the potential to become slightly oily while the rest of my face (particularly my cheeks) is slightly dry, almost borderline normal.

On most days, though, my skin is just dry. And when its sensitivity kicks in, it goes more down the so-itchy-you-want-to-rip-your-face-off-as-it-slowly-flakes-away dry path as opposed to the oh-em-gee-I-look-like-I-slicked-my-face-with-grease oily one.

With that being said, lets talk about the two products I want to share today.

LYPSYL'S INTENSE PROTECTION LYPMOISTURIZER * Lasted about a year with nearly daily use.

I thought I'd start with my holy grail lip balm since my skin began to show its selfish, bitchy side with my lips.

LEFT: My first Lypsyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer.
RIGHT: My new one, since the first has been used up.

While searching the drugstore for a lip balm that wasn't Vaseline, my mom suggested the Lypsyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer to me, not because she ever used it (which she hadn't) but because the ingredients list looked promising. The ingredients are actually printed onto the tube itself, though the text on the tube does wear away with use/time. The picture I took below is from my new tube, and you can see that the text is already wearing off:

The ingredients list.

Anyway, this product prides itself on "pure swedish beeswax," amongst other ingredients including shea butter and coconut oil. Unlike most lip balms, this product's "bullet," if you will, is wider and flatter - an ellipse rather than a circle. The packaging is also different than your typical lip balm, as there is no dial to twist at the tube's bottom. Rather, there is a little protruding bee that you can slide up and down along the tube's side - thus winding the product up and down from the tube.

See the little bee on the left side of both tubes?
LEFT: My first, used up tube.
RIGHT: My new tube, wound up a bit to show the product.

The product itself applies clear with a natural sheen (no high-gloss finish like Vaseline, thank God). Lypsyl actually has two lip balms - this one (the original) which has a minty scent/flavor and another with sun protection that has a "honey berry" scent/flavor. I've used both and I gave my boyfriend the "honey berry" one - whose scent he preferred - because it just didn't feel the same on my lips, nor was it as moisturizing as the original.

LEFT: My new tube (closed) and my old tube (opened) wound up completely to show what little, unusable product is left.
RIGHT: My new tube wound up completely to give a rough idea of the amount of product you get.

The original - that I'm discussing here as an empty - is amazing, for me. It is slightly waxy at first, but soon becomes creamy with use. It can be built up to give your lips a creamy veil, or it can be applied lightly for a lighter, thinner-feeling creaminess. The best part about this product is that it lasts on my lips for hours - and when I say hours, I mean 4+ hours. Most importantly, though, it heals my lips and leaves them moisturized after it is completely worn off.

A closeup of my new tube wound completely down. You can see a good chunk of it has already been used up!

I always get concerned about being "reliant" on lip balms, but with this one my lips never freak out if I skip a day or more of using it. They simply stay soft and comfortable - a welcomed opposite from their worst chapped state. I use this lip balm when it's especially cold outside, before applying lipstick, and when my lips begin to feel drier than normal.

Just a few notes:

In terms of applying lipstick, yes, I use this product as my "lip primer" in the sense that I use it to make my lips a smoother canvas for color, as well as to prevent them from drying even the slightest from the makeup (this lip balm has no affect on the vibrancy or longevity of lipstick, like an actual lip primer). Do keep in mind, though, that this balm is too slick to hold lipstick directly after application. What I usually do is wear it for about 10 minutes, pat it down on the back of my hand/onto a tissue until it feels slightly tacky, and then apply my lipstick. If you don't pat it down, the lipstick will impart barely any color.

Also, like all products, there is one thing I wish was different about this balm: the minty scent/flavor. On most days I enjoy the presence of mint in this product, because it does sooth my lips when they feel dry. However, when my lips are badly irritated/raw, I find that I have no choice but to use Vaseline/Aquaphor because the inclusion of mint irritates them further.

But, overall, after trying EOS (which sucked), Nivea, Chapstick, Carmex, and Burt's Bees, Lypsyl is by far my favorite brand, not just for moisturizing my lips, but healing them. I will continue to repurchase the minty original.

VIVITE'S REPLENISH HYDRATING CREAM * Lasted about 4 months with daily use.

Before my first laser treatment, my face was undergoing its second full-face rash, and the woman assisting me with my treatment recommended Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream - the day cream from Vivite's sensitive skincare line.

LEFT: My new jar of Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream in its external packaging.
RIGHT: My old jar.

After becoming an avid researcher in terms of what products I buy, and reviewing products here on this blog, I am much less inclined to believe what someone tells me - especially someone that's already selling me something else. But Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream actually soothed my skin that day, and I decided shortly after to buy it online via Amazon for nearly half the price.

The ingredients list.

It didn't heal my skin, though, and that's why my 'passion' for this product isn't as grand as that for the Lypsyl lip balm. But my facial skin has been way more problematic than my lips, so I am prone to becoming complacent rather than only settling for the best. When your skin revolts the way mine does, you're always afraid to try something new. In fact, it took until just before my trip to California - nearly four months after using Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream - to try a different brand moisturizer. And what stupid timing that was, because my face broke out into small bumps and started its infamous peeling act. I was back on the steroids I try so hard to avoid using for three days before my skin was manageable with regular moisturizer.

LEFT: The new jar out of its packaging.
RIGHT: The old jar. You can see the streaks of product left behind through the frosted jar.

Returning to Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream did the trick, too. In fact, I'm so shocked to say that it's been over two weeks since I stopped using the steroid (which I did, keep in mind, only use for three days) and even the stubborn dry patch between my nose and upper lip is nothing short of soft, healthy skin. I've used this moisturizer on the patch for months and, at best, it kept the patch's itchiness/flaking under control (again, it didn't heal it), but it seems that using this moisturizer directly after the short steroid treatment has kept my skin in perfect shape. I don't have high hopes about it staying this way, but it's so great to have healthy skin for a change (as well as being able to wear makeup without having to maneuver around bad spots).

LEFT: My new jar, unopened.
RIGHT: The old jar opened, so you can see what little product is left behind.

Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream is a moisturizer with a thicker consistency, which I prefer. It really coats my skin and makes it look and feel smoother. I find that it absorbs slowly, but I personally prefer that, too, because I like feeling my moisturizer when I happen to check my face. I know most people don't, but when you've had a dry rash covering most of your face that made everything feel like sandpaper, feeling soft, barely sticky moisturizer is a blessing. It's comforting, really. (When my rashes were at their worst, moisturizer would disappear in less than five minutes, leaving my skin as dry and flaky as before moisturizing.)

A closeup of the product remaining. You can see how thick it is in this picture. 

This product comes packaged in a frosted jar, which has decent weight to it. While I hate having to dip my fingers directly into the product, I love that this moisturizer is unscented. I know I'm not sensitive to fragrances, for the most part, but I've come to learn that if my skin is even slightly irritated, it is almost impossible to heal without steroids and, above all, becomes even more irritated by just about anything. As such, I do apply Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream twice a day to keep my skin protected, sometimes applying to that small area between my nose and upper lip an additional one or two times.

Unlike the Lypsyl lip balm, I feel like I can't go too long without using this moisturizer. In other words, I feel like my skin is somewhat reliant on it. But, again, after my recent history with rashes and topical steroids which, for those that don't know, can easily do skin more damage than good when used long-term/often, I rather be reliant on something that won't make my skin exponentially worse in the long run.

The main drawback to this moisturizer is, well, that it isn't the "best of all worlds" moisturizer. And I say this because when my skin is badly irritated, such as that dry patch I keep referring to, this moisturizer will sting the area upon application. That can't be too good, but that was the exact reason why I tried a different brand of organic moisturizer before leaving for California. You know, the same brand that, although it didn't sting on that area, gave me bumps and dryness all over my face. It was almost Skin War III.

So, with that being said, I'll continue to use and repurchase Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream.

Overall, Lypsyl's Intense Protection LypMoisturizer and Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream have become two staples in my skincare routine (and, lately, make up more than 80% of it). I've completely finished these products once, and will continue to use and repurchase them until...well...until I don't know when. 

Because both products are skincare-related, I won't say I do or don't recommend them at this point in the post. Why? Because skincare is so unique to each person. While I do read reviews on skincare products before buying them, I know how moody skin can be and rather just provide my thoughts, as opposed to giving recommendations as though these products will have any chance of potentially working for you. As such, do with these reviews what you will.

Thanks for stopping by. 'Til next time! ('<>')>


Have you had a similar struggles in finding skincare products that work? Feel free to share them below. 

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