8.01.2015

Blog Sale

Happy Saturday! Just dropping in to say that I've just put up a blog sale in hopes of finding new homes for some great products I'd been hoarding in my stash. I did a makeup clear-out this past week, and although I do love a lot of the products I put in the sale, they're just not getting used and loved enough by me. Please stop by and score yourself a bargain!

7.31.2015

The Skincare Products I Wish I Didn't Need But Really Do

Listen, beauty blogging is a lot more glamorous when we're talking about lip glosses and sparkly eyeshadows, but sometimes you have to talk about the not-so-pretty stuff too, ya know? I wanted to talk about some products (one in particular) that have helped me combat breakouts on my back and chest, because I know some of you may be suffering from the same problem. 

No one wants to walk into Sephora and say, "Excuse me, could you help me find a product to help with my bacne?" but at the same time, it sucks to not feel comfortable wearing certain things, especially in the warmer months, because you're embarrassed. Believe me, I get it. I went to a wedding a few weekends ago and right before I stepped out of the car, I decided to check my makeup in the mirror and realized I probably needed to extend my concealer onto the spots that managed to pop up on my chest in the day or two prior (proof below). Sigh. 

Even in a fuzzy, front-facing camera quality photo, you can still see some of the spots near my collarbone.

Murad sent me a few of their acne-combating body care products recently, and when I opened the box, I literally said, "Yes! An acne body spray!" Yes, I'm sad. I know. Although I'm not much into using face wipes these days, the Clarifying Wipes ($18) for blemish-prone skin are fantastic post-workout or after a day at the pool or beach. I love how clean they make my skin feel, and I like using them to quickly freshen up my face and body after something sweat-inducing when you can't jump in the shower right away. These are great to keep stashed in your pool/beach/gym bag. Since they're meant to be clarifying, they're fantastic at removing sweat and oil, two things that love collecting in pores and causing unsightly breakouts. 

The Acne Body Wash ($40) with 1.0% salicylic acid has a slightly menthol scent, a cooling effect once applied to the skin and a sugar scrub-like texture. I reserve this for use on my "problem areas," like my chest and back, and use my regular body wash for everywhere else. It makes my skin feel refreshed and soothed.

My favorite product of the bunch, hands down, is the Clarifying Body Spray ($40) with 0.5% salicylic acid. I spray it across my chest and back once I've dried off after my shower, and I give it a minute or two to dry before getting dressed. It's a light mist that is completely clear, so it feels like nothing on the skin and doesn't get on clothing. I sometimes use it at night before bed, too, and I haven't noticed it drying out my skin whatsoever. Similarly to the body wash, the menthol provides a cooling effect that is really refreshing. The spray bottle even works when held upside down, making it easy to reach more difficult areas like my back. 

With consistent use of the Acne Body Wash and Clarifying Body Spray, I noticed the skin on my chest and back cleared up completely after about two weeks, and it's stayed breakout-free ever since. In my mind, I've attributed more of this to the body spray than to the body wash, simply because the spray is a leave-on treatment that continues to work throughout the day. While I like the wipes and the body wash, my must-have is the body spray. It's definitely a product I plan on purchasing once I run out.



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.

7.28.2015

ColourPop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Rocket and Scandy

When I placed my ColourPop Cosmetics order for Nillionaire eyeshadow, I knew I had to at least try a couple of their Lippie Stix too. I'd heard great things about their satin and matte formulas, in particular, so I settled on Rocket and Scandy, both satins. In retrospect, I maybe should have gotten at least two different finishes, just so I could compare, but oh well. 

ColourPop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Rocket ($5) is a bright, warm coral, and Scandy is a neon, cool-toned fuchsia. They both look a bit creamier on the lips than what I would consider to be a true satin finish, but they're not glossy either. The Lippie Stix are pigmented! They're opaque in one pass, and they glide on during application without tugging at my lips. I find the slim, slanted lipstick shape makes it easier to achieve a precise application as well. Both Rocket and Scandy last about 6 hours on me, without needing any touch ups. They wear away nice and evenly (no settling into lip lines here), and they're hydrating enough to make it comfortable to wear, even for longer periods of time.

ColourPop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Rocket (far left) and Scandy (second from left)
*all other products swatched here will be in separate posts
Wearing ColourPop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Rocket (left) and Scandy
Both Rocket and Scandy are bright! They're great summer shades, and at only $5 each, I don't hesitate at all in recommending them. For my next ColourPop order, I have my eye on a few more muted lip shades in a variety of different finishes as well. 


7.26.2015

blotterazzi by beautyblender

Sometimes I buy stupid things that are a waste of money. This is one of those times.

It was one of those late-night online shopping kind of moments. Those will be the death of me. But anyway, I was just in one of those 'I want to buy something' kind of moods. I'd heard beautyblender had just released this new thing called blotterazzi, a reusable alternative to blotting sheets. "I have an oily t-zone. I blot my face a lot. I need these," I thought. And so I bought them, and quite literally, ten seconds after I did, I wondered if it might have been a mistake. Yeah, it was one of those purchases.
It's not that I hate them. It's just that they don't even work as well as the brown Starbucks napkins I always have on hand and currently use (what? I go to Starbucks a lot and I have an oily t-zone, so naturally....), and mind you, these cost $20 (please refer back to the opening line of this post). 

blotterazzi ($20) comes with two tear-shaped blotting sponges that are made from the same material as beauty blenders. You're meant to use them dry and dab them onto any oily areas and they absorb the oil without disrupting your makeup. That part is true, actually. I notice that when I use these, they really do leave my makeup intact and I don't really see any transfer onto the sponge. However, compared to a napkin or tissue paper or traditional blotting sheet, these don't absorb nearly as much oily, in my experience. It's nice at first, because it takes down a lot of the obvious shine without completely mattifying the skin, but then I noticed I'll need to blot again a short time later (maybe 30 minutes to an hour?), whereas I could normally go for considerably longer periods in between blotting with the other types.

A positive about blotterazzi is the case. The compact is really adorable and perfect for carrying around in your handbag, and the mirror is awesome. Also included is a clear teardrop-shaped plastic sheet that says "don't toss me; keep me" as it's meant to separate a used sponge from a clean one. The bottom surface of the compact has holes to allow ventilation, so presumably, the used sponge should be kept on the bottom. Before I realized this, I kept mine on top and noticed my mirror got oily. #gross The sponges themselves are reusable and can be cleaned with the beautyblender soap (or probably any brush soap).

Final verdict? The oil-absorbing properties of blotterazzi are mediocre, its ability to not disrupt existing makeup is fantastic and the design of the compact is great, but as a whole, it's nowhere near being worth the $20 price tag. 

In my next life, I hope I don't fall for gimmicky products so easily. One can only hope.


7.25.2015

The Toner That Is Dehydrated Skin's Best Friend

During one of my frequent browsing sessions of the 'Just Arrived' section on sephora.com, I noticed the addition of a new skincare brand - belif. After a few weeks and a couple reviews started trickling in for their products, I noticed a common theme - they all had really good reviews. Although I didn't intend on trying anything just yet, as my skincare stash was already overflowing as it was, the belif Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner ($28) piqued my interest when I saw it in-store. As someone with a combination skin type who suffers from a very oily t-zone but skin that can otherwise tend to feel dry/tight/dehydrated, a toner formulated specifically to balance normal to combination skin types sounded right up my alley.

The two main ingredients in the belif Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner are bergamot, intended to balance and soothe, and sage, for hydration. It has a gel-liquid consistency that is more viscous than your typical liquid toner. Using a cotton pad, I apply it once or twice daily (always in the morning, sometimes at night too) on cleansed skin, and the soothing properties are instantaneous. Once dry, it leaves a veil of hydration atop the skin that you can literally feel if you touch your skin. It really helps to lock in the moisture from my moisturizer that I apply after it, and it doesn't disrupt other skincare or makeup products that sit on top of it. It's gentle enough to be used twice a day, and I can feel the difference in my skin when I don't use it.

In the past, the types of toners I tended to go for were those that had more clarifying and oil-controlling properties, but as my skin changed over the years, my focus has switched to those that are more balancing, and the belif Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner does a wonderful job at that. I love how it envelops my skin with a veil of moisture without making my t-zone more reactive. In fact, it actually helps to tone down my oil production by pulling my skin out of its dehydrated state and creating a more balanced one.

So yeah, you could say my dehydrated skin and I are fans.


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