2.26.2015

Perfect Hair in Three Bottles? Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo, Conditioner & 5-in-1 Styling Treatment

Until recently, I was never really a "hair person." I washed and conditioned it, sure, but I didn't put much thought into the products I used, and I didn't splurge on hair products the way I often do on makeup. When Living Proof contacted me and asked about my hair concerns so that they could send me a few products to try that were catered to the mop on my head, I was pretty excited. After several weeks of trialing the three products I have, I can honestly say that I'm impressed and would purchase all three.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day collection of products is aimed to do five things: smooth, volumize, strengthen, condition and polish. The line boasts Living Proof's patented molecule, OFPMA, which is meant to provide a "residue-free, weightless shield" that in the shampoo, repels dirt, keeping hair cleaner for longer. When the shampoo and conditioner are used together, hair is supposed to get healthier over time. I've always washed my hair every other day, as the roots and my face-framing layers get quite greasy by the third day, and the Perfect Hair Day Shampoo ($24 for 8oz) has extended my need to shampoo one extra day. I like that it doesn't leave my hair feeling squeaky clean, often a sign hair was stripped of moisture, and although it is free of sulfates, there is still a little bit of lather for lovers of lather, such as myself. I equally love the Perfect Hair Day Conditioner ($24 for 8oz), too. It has the perfect consistency of an everyday conditioner - not too thick, nor too thin. I only apply it to the bottom half of my hair, and it leaves my hair feeling soft, healthy and tangle-free, but never weighed down.

Considering how much I love the shampoo and conditioner, it came as a surprise to me that I love the Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment ($26 for 4oz) even more. Again, it's meant to smooth, volumize, strengthen, condition and polish, like the rest of the PHD line, but this time, in addition to the OFPMA molecule, it also contains PBAE molecule that provides beefy volume and thickness to the hair. To be honest, the patented molecules sound a bit gimmicky at first, but when the products really deliver, how can you not buy into it, even just a little? I apply a dime to nickel-sized amount to my damp hair, from root to tip, and finger comb it through. A lot of the time, I simply let it air dry after that, but I noticed immediately that my usual air-dried coif became much more polished and less frizzy. When I do blow dry my hair post-treatment (recommended by Living Proof for best results), I get the best blow dry of my life. My hair is perfectly smooth and polished, and I have none of that poofiness I normally get post-blow dry that typically requires some sort of additional product to tame it.

I was wary about the multitude of claims made by the Perfect Hair Day line, but after trying it out for myself, all three products really impressed me. Of the three, the 5-in-1 Styling Treatment is definitely the must-have. I have my eye on their Night Cap Overnight Perfector next...


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Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me for consideration for a review. 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 with the products.

2.25.2015

The Ultimate Blemish Concealer: BECCA Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème

One of my all-time favorite concealers for covering blemishes and other pinpoint concealing is Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I could do without the dual-shade compact, because although the mix-and-match option seems nice in theory, I've used up one shade at a much faster rate than the other, which is awkward when it comes time to need to repurchase. Unlike creamier concealers that I like to use under my eyes (Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer), Secret Camouflage is thick and very dry, so it lasts all day and then some, and it's perfect for oily skin. However, when my skin is less oily all over and more combination with dry patches, I often wish for something as long lasting as Secret Camouflage, but more hydrating and a bit creamier and easier to spread. That's when BECCA Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème ($32) comes into play.

If you were to take Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage and mix it with a touch of the Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, you'd have the texture of the BECCA Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème. It's mostly solid in the pot, but it still manages to maintain its creaminess as well. I apply it to blemishes with a small, flat concealer brush and pat it into the skin with my finger. The warmth from my fingertip helps to blend it in more seamlessly than a brush can. On the skin, it reminds me a lot of the Secret Camouflage in that it's incredibly high coverage and it's just tacky enough that it really adheres to the skin, but unlike Secret Camouflage, it's easier to blend, and its creaminess means that it performs much better on drier patches. Similarly to Secret Camouflage, its lasting power is excellent.

The shade I have is Macadamia, described as a medium beige with yellow golden undertones. It's a bit too dark on my NC23 skin tone, but I can still make it work. The other shade I was considering was Tahini, but when I swatched the two side-by-side in store, Tahini seemed a touch too light for me. Here is Macadamia swatched next to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers in Custard and Honey for reference.

BECCA Macadamia, NARS Custard, NARS Honey
Overall, BECCA Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème ($32) is love for me. It's exactly what I wanted Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage to be, especially as my skin isn't quite as oily anymore. It's become my go-to for concealing blemishes and small scars, but the texture is not ideal for concealing larger areas of overall redness or the under-eye area, in my opinion.


2.23.2015

Becoming a "Lash Person" with Esqido Mink Lashes

Before Esqido Mink Lashes ever contacted me, asking if they could send me a couple lashes to try out, I'd ummmed and ahhhed over placing an order for a pair or two of their mink lashes for a at least couple months. I'd heard nothing but great things about them, but seeing as how rarely I reach for false lashes (let's be honest - my application could use some practice!), I wasn't convinced they'd be a worthy investment for a lash noob, such as myself. Once I tried my first pair, however, all doubt flew out the window.

I was given the opportunity to try out two pairs of Esqido mink eyelashes: Unforgettable ($36) and Little Black Lash ($34). Esqido uses a scale of up to 5 to describe how much volume each style offers, and the two I have are the most natural pairs, each ranking at 2. Unforgettable offers length of 5-10 mm, and the lashes are thicker and longer at the ends, making for a gorgeous , winged cat-eye effect that really elongates the eye. Although these are a bit dramatic for day to day wear on my smaller eyes, they're the perfect going out lash for me. My eyes felt so pretty and fluttery when I had them on. They almost looked like lash extensions. I loved it.

Esqido Unforgettable Mink Lashes
Esqido Unforgettable Mink Lashes
Little Black Lash are the perfect "is she or isn't she wearing false lashes" lashes. They're ultra natural, and they offer 6-10 mm of length, with the most length concentrated in the middle of the band. Although, according to Esqido's volume scale, they offer the same amount of volume as the Unforgettable lashes, they're noticeably less full. I'm not an everyday lash wearer, by any means, but if I were, these would be ideal. They're appropriate for work, regardless of work setting, as no one will ever be able to detect them on your eyes. They're like 'my lashes but better.'

Esqido Little Black Lash
There are several differences between mink lashes and the synthetic ones you pick up at the drugstore. Firstly, Esqido lashes have cotton bands that are more pliable and mold to your eye shape more easily, making them more comfortable to wear. With the Unforgettable pair, while they weren't uncomfortable by any means, they didn't feel invisible either. However, I could've worn the Little Black Lash for days and completely forgotten I had them on.

Secondly, with proper care, Esqido mink lashes can be worn up to 25 times, whereas most drugstore lashes start losing shape or falling apart after a few uses. It's important to remove them by holding the band and never the lashes themselves, and I always pick off any remaining dried lash glue from the bank before placing them back in their box.

Also, look closely at these lashes. Every single lash looks like a natural lash, albeit longer and thicker, maybe. That's because they're thickest at the root and tapered at the tip, just like a natural lash. Many drugstore lashes are the same thickness from root to tip, making them easier to detect as falsies.

Overall, I'm in love with these lashes. They actually make me want to wear falsies more often because of how natural they look. At $34-$42 a pair, the Esqido mink lashes are definitely an investment. However, when you consider the fact that a pair of drugstore lashes will set you back around $5 for about 3-4 good uses, the cost isn't really all that different. Currently, you can also receive 15% off your order with code LOVESQ.



Disclosure: These lashes were sent to me for consideration for a review. 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 with the products.

2.16.2015

The Jelly Cleanser


NUDE Skincare is one of the few skincare brands that rarely fails to impress me. Besides their eye cream, which was just okay, in my opinion (read all about that one here), I've loved every other product I've tried from them. So, when they released their Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly ($38), it was added to my wishlist and subsequently, checked off, before you could even say 'Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly.' 

After working the jelly into my dry skin, I remove it with a warm, damp washcloth, moving in circular motions for gentle exfoliation. I normally don't even bother adding water to emulsify it, and I find it still works brilliantly. It leaves behind no residue - just soft, plump and healthy looking skin that feels balanced and content. None of that tight, squeaky clean feeling here. On my combination skin, I appreciate that it's hydrating enough for my drier areas, but still purifying enough for my oily t-zone. It has a very faint and non-offensive scent. 

In terms of how it well it removes makeup, I'm afraid this is where I won't be of much help. You see, I tend to reach for oil-based cleansers for makeup removal (waterproof mascara is a pain to remove), opting to reserve those cleansers deemed to be more 'special or luxurious' for either a morning or second cleanse. So, I have not yet tested the Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly during makeup removal, and I likely won't, any time soon.

When I first tried the NUDE Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly, I was immediately reminded of one of my all-time favorite cleansers, the Oskia Renaissance Gel Cleanser. The NUDE one is slightly thicker and requires more warmth from your fingers to melt the product into the skin than Oskia's, especially in the colder months, but in terms of how it leaves my skin feeling, I find the two to be pretty much the same, which is a huge testament to how great I think the NUDE cleanser is. 

Similarly to Oskia's, the NUDE Skincare cleanser is truly a cleanser that I feel would work beautifully on all skin types, from dry to sensitive to oily. If you're in the US and have struggled to get hold of the Renaissance Gel Cleanser (or even if you already have and love it, like I do), I'd recommend adding a bottle of the NUDE Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly to your top shelf.


2.13.2015

A New Everyday Staple: BECCA Wild Honey Mineral Blush


I haven't tried too many BECCA products, but just about everything I've tried has exceeded my expectations. They seem to be a brand that constantly surprises me with products that truly deliver. I really like the packaging too - very substantial and unique. One of my recent BECCA acquisitions is their Mineral Blush in Wild Honey ($32).

BECCA Mineral Blush in Wild Honey is a peachy nude with a satin finish. It's similar to NARS Luster, except it's a bit deeper, less pink and lacks shimmer. It's incredibly smooth, pigmented and easy to blend. Despite having a satin/soft matte finish, it isn't chalky or powdery at all. It's an easy throw-on blush shade that is perfect for any time of year, but it would be particularly gorgeous in the summer, as it's one of those that kind of acts as a blush and bronzer in one by delivering a flush and creating a warmth at the same time.

BECCA Wild Honey (L) and NARS Luster
Wearing BECCA Mineral Blush in Wild Honey
I've been wearing Wild Honey constantly since it landed on my doorstep. The formula is so easy to work with, and the warm peachy shade just seems to agree with my complexion. The satin finish looks so natural on the skin, too. No wonder it's one of my favorite blush finishes :)


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