8.25.2014

The Best $5 I Spent This Month: Yes to Coconut Cooling Lip Oil

While roaming aimlessly around the beauty section at Target one afternoon, a new product from the Yes to Coconut range caught my attention: Cooling Lip Oil. I've never tried a lip oil, let alone a cooling one, and seeing as how the coconut branch of the Yes to ____ line aims specifically to hydrate and restore, I was all on board.

The Cooling Lip Oil comes in a skinny squeeze tube and has a sweet coconut scent. If you can imagine the consistency of the ideal lip gloss formula, this is it; in other words, not too thick, not too thin, and not oily or greasy at all. It has a very subtle cooling effect (not even enough to really cause any tingling), thanks to the addition of eucalyptus oil. The fatty acids in the coconut oil work to provide intense hydration that actually lasts. My lips feel smooth and plump but never sticky, and the oil hangs around for hours (great for overnight use too!) and adds some healthy shine. My smacker feels healed and moisturized, long after the oil has disappeared. 

If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you might recall that I'm ridiculously loyal to the C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm to use at bedtime. The Cooling Lip Oil is like the slightly less intense sister that's more suitable for daytime use because it's less thick and completely non-sticky. It's basically replaced all of my other daytime lip balms since I got it. Hey, I can't help that I freakin' love the stuff. I think I've found an unmatched lip hydration combo in these two!

Yes to Coconut Cooling Lip Oil is available from Target for $4.99.


8.20.2014

Another Day, Another Matte Liquid Lipstick Love


It's no secret I'm a big fan of bold, matte lip color, and the liquid lipstick varieties just seem to be all the rage lately (read about some of my favorites here). Being highlighted in today's post is Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Bachelorette, a deep, reddened pink.

The formula on this one is niiice. It applies like a dream - no streakiness in sight, and it's opaque in one coat! It's comfortable to wear and hardly drying, a tough feat considering its matte finish, it lasts hours and hours through drinking and careful eating (no bleeding or feathering here!), and it fades evenly and subtly without settling into lip lines. I get tons of compliments every time I wear Bachelorette. It's just that kind of shade, you know?

In terms of my matte liquid lipstick obsession, the Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick formula is up there with Bite Beauty's Cashmere Lip Creams and Armani's Lip Maestros

Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick retails for $19 and is available from Sephora.

Have you given this one a try?


8.13.2014

Summer Essentials

After living in Oregon for the past few summers, I kind of forgot what it felt like to truly have summer essentials. The second I moved back to southern California, the blistering heat and unremitting rays of the sun required me to make some changes to my routine almost immediately.


In terms of skincare, spray lotion has been my body moisturizer of choice when temps creep into the 90s and beyond. The St.Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion in Oatmeal & Shea Butter absorbs instantaneously into my skin, and while it offers only minimal hydration throughout the day, it's typically all my skin needs in the warm, summer months.

For sun protection, I've been reaching for my mini Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment at the pool or beach, since it boasts SPF 15 (sunburned lips are a b*tch, by the way), and the Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil wih Meadowfoam SPF 50. I'd never tried a sunscreen oil before, but I actually love using this one on my face! It can be a bit greasy if you use too much; I usually use two pumps if I'm going to be wearing makeup, making sure to let it fully absorb before applying foundation, and I go all out and use 3-4 pumps if I'm just wearing it at the pool or beach, sans makeup. It makes my skin look dewy and glowing, but not too shiny or greasy, and I love its fresh and delicate citrus scent.

In terms of bases, I've been all about those of the non-foundation variety, whether it's a tinted moisturizer, BB creme or tinted sunscreen. A reigning favorite continues to be Dior Nude BB Creme, with it's fresh, medium coverage that doesn't weigh down my skin. Stila Convertible Color in Petunia, a vibrant coral, is one of my favorite summer cheek colors. Not only is the shade absolutely stunning and tan-enhancing, but the dewy finish is long-lasting and more sweat-resistant than powders. Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Powder in At Goldcome Bay has been a staple bronzer for me this summer, especially when I started the season at my absolute palest. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It's one of the best bronzers out there for fair complexions.

On my eyes, I keep it super simple most days with just a light wash of cream eyeshadow and several lashings of mascara. Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow in Mutt, a golden bronze, is one of my favorites. The formula is a more affordable dupe of Chanel's Illusion d'Ombre. Lancome Lip Lovers are still among my favorite lip products this season, and 336 Orange Manege is quite possibly the summeriest shade of the line-up.

My last summer essential, and something I neglected for a few years while I was living in rarely-sunny Oregon, is my sunglasses from Anthropologie. I love how the light tortoise frames contrast with sky blue arms. So chic!


8.06.2014

My First Spray Tanning Experience + a Giveaway!

When it comes to fake tanning, I'm the newbiest newb who's ever newb'd. I've used self-tanner exactly once in my entire life, and at the time, I had no idea what the bottle meant by "gradual tan." The only thing I remember is that as this particular drugstore body lotion mixed with self-tanner wore off, it left my legs looking dirty, scaly and horrendously patchy two days after I applied it. To say I was not a fan would have been an understatement.

Fast forward a few years and with a mini bottle of St.Tropez in hand, I finally felt ready to tackle the fake tanning beast once again. However, reading and watching countless blog posts and videos regarding exactly how to self-tan left me ultimately feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. Luckily for me, Sunless Inc., who owns VersaSpa and Mystic Tan, offered to let me try out one of their sunless tanning booths at the perfect time.

The day after my first spray tan - Success!

I went to a local tanning salon that had VersaSpa booths and was pleasantly surprised by how clean and fancy they were. I tried out the VersaSpa Pro booth and seeing as how I tan quite easily but was rather lacking in color at the moment, I went with the Level 2 color.

In preparation for my spray tan, I exfoliated my entire body and shaved the morning of to create a smooth and even canvas for my tan (no moisturizing though!). Once I was in my tanning room, I applied their blending lotion to any chronically dry areas on my body, including my feet, ankles, knees, elbows and hands. The tan likes to latch on to dry skin (which will turn it darker than the rest of the body), so lathering up those problem areas with lotion is particularly important for even color.

Once inside the booth, I pressed a green button to start up the process. There is a voice that walks you through each step, like telling you to put your heels on "4" and toes on "2," and the ladies at the salon were extremely helpful in explaining to me the three different standing positions beforehand to ensure the most even tan possible. After each pass of spray tan, there was a pass of the heated drier to help dry the tan and so that you don't get cold standing there in your birthday suit. In total, the process took less than five minutes!

Although you can technically wash off the tan after only four hours, it's recommended to leave it on longer in order for the DHA to continue to develop the color. During this time, it's important to stay as dry as possible (i.e. don't get wet and try not to sweat!) to prevent streakiness and ensure the tan doesn't come off before it's able to do its thing. I felt a bit sticky and uncomfortable during this waiting period (it would probably be ideal to get your spray tan at night, sleep with it on and wash it off in the morning), but on the plus side, I noticed there was a complete absence of the much dreaded fake tan odor! I showered eight hours later and was extremely pleased with my medium tan that was neither too brown nor too orange. I naturally tan quite brown and ashy, but Level 2 left me looking much more bronzed and glowing. It was the perfect shade of tan for me. 

Moisturizing is crucial for maximizing the life of a spray tan. Although I typically only moisturize once a day after my shower, post-spray tan, I lathered up morning and night. I also refrained from exfoliating during the week after my spray tan, minimized shaving as much as I could, and gently patted myself dry with a towel post-shower. Remember, exfoliation of any kind means the color will come off more quickly! My color lasted through a solid seven days, after which I noticed significant fading. There were particular areas (like my chest) that did turn a bit patchy, but only once most of the color had faded anyway, so it was hardly noticeable. 

The cost for a VersaSpa spray tan varies by location, but my VersaSpa Pro spray tan costed $40 at the particular salon I went to. Pricey? Absolutely. Worth it? Perhaps for a special occasion! Overall, my first spray tanning experience was a huge success.

Before (top) and After
Now on to the best part of this post - the giveaway! Sunless Inc. has generously offered to let one of my lucky readers try out a VersaSpa spray tan for themselves. Simply enter through the widget below:


Disclosure: Sunless, Inc. provided me with a complimentary gift card for a VersaSpa spray tan and will be providing another gift card for this giveaway. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience.

7.02.2014

The Spot Fighters


Luckily for me, my mid-twenties have meant good things for my skin. I still vividly remember my struggles with cystic acne, starting back in my teens and persisting well into my early twenties. It was likely a combination of prescription acne medications and hormonal changes as I aged that eventually put an end to that stage of my life...for the most part, anyway. 

Nowadays, my skin tends to remain breakout-free the majority of the time, with my trouble period being around that time of the month and my trouble area being my chin. Having tried more than my fair share of acne products over the past decade, I've finally narrowed it down to a small team of three products worthy of remaining in my pimple-fighting arsenal.

The gentle one // If you've been following my blog for a while now, you might remember back in the day when I used to use La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo religiously. I'd apply it all over my skin, under my moisturizer, once to twice daily, depending on the severity of my acne. I don't use this one very often anymore, but it still holds a special place in my heart. It's light and gentle and doesn't tend to cause much dryness, even when used twice daily, as I did. In my opinion, however, it's not potent enough to be used as a spot treatment for pimples that have already surfaced, but the next two are.

The natural one // It's weird, because Osmia Organics Spot Treatment doesn't contain any ingredients I'd normally associate with fighting acne, as its key ingredients are evening primrose oil and a slew of essential oils. It's an oil housed in a tiny rollerball that is meant to be used only on spots, as its name would suggest, and not all over the face for preventative measures. Due to its slightly greasier consistency, I apply it only at night, and oftentimes, new pimples that could be felt brewing under the surface the night before are diminished and less painful by morning, often never surfacing at all. Although it has quite a strong herbal-scent, it's incredibly gentle and the evening primrose oil actually nourishes the skin, never allowing healing pimples to turn horribly dry and peely.

The strong one // Benzoyl peroxide has always been my spot-fighting weapon of choice, as salicylic acid tends not to be strong enough for me. With that said, one of my main qualms with benzoyl peroxide in the past has been its drying qualities...and the fact that it dyes my pillow cases and towels. Now, of course, there's nothing to be done about the bleaching thing, other than to switch to white linens, but Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Treatment Lotion manages to combine the potent acne-killing properties of benzoyl peroxide into a lotion that is very minimally drying. Although it can be applied all over, I use this as a nighttime spot treatment, similarly to how I use Osmia's. It's slightly more drying than Osmia's, but still considerably less drying than other benzoyl peroxide products I've tried in the past.

When I really need to bust out the big guns, I first apply Osmia Organics Spot Treatment, then layer Kate Somerville Anti Bac on top. Seriously. I wouldn't recommend doing this all the time, but sometimes you have no other choice, ya know? Although the combination of a lotion over an oil seems and looks odd, it seems to have additive spot-fighting effects that can't be ignored.

Here's to hoping that one day, I won't need a spot-fighting team in my skincare routine anymore, but until that day comes, at least I'll have these three products.


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