The New Moisturizers.

It wasn't long ago that I was relying on my beloved Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè to cover all of my facial hydration needs, both day and night, and don't even get me started on my body. Laziness + lack of caring meant that I was lucky if I moisturized my body once a week. Cringe-worthy, I know.

With the return of the cooler weather (and rain...yay -_-), I vowed to start taking better care of my skin, and that required acknowledging that I probably needed a more heavy-duty nighttime moisturizer and definitely a more consistent body moisturization routine. And, I think I've succeeded. *pats self on back*

I was recently given the opportunity to try the Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Daytime Facial Cream ($20.95), and since I was kind of on this new moisturizer kick, I thought, "Sure, why not?" After my first use, I knew it was a great product, particularly for combination/oily skin types. It has more of a light, lotion consistency rather than a true cream, and it absorbs extremely quickly into the skin. It leaves the skin with nothing more than a faint, rejuvenating scent of fresh oranges, and no greasiness whatsoever. Often times, I notice that my skin is more grease-prone on no-makeup days, yet when I use the Sea Buckthorn Daytime Facial Cream, my face remains relatively shine-free even at the end of the day. 
I'd say it offers enough hydration for oily skin but would only suffice on combo skin in the warmer months. Drier skinned ladies should steer clear. Though I've absolutely been enjoying using it, I'll likely need to swap it out for my Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè soon as the temperatures continue to drop.

In terms of night creams, I've recently tried and completely fallen head-over-heels for two: Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins ($39.50) and NUDE Cellular Renewal Moisturiser ($92 for the full-size; pictured is a mini from a duo pack). The first smells of freshly squeezed orange juice and the latter, faintly of baby wipes (sorry, but it does). They're both thick and luscious creams that melt into the skin, as opposed to simply sitting atop it, and leave my skin feeling plump and nourished come morning. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm more than a little obsessed. They're quite heavy and ultra-hydrating, but never greasy, making them absolute perfection this time of year when my skin is calling out for the big guns.

Lastly, my body. Oh, my poor, neglected body. It gets such little love and is overlooked more than I'd like to admit. Though I love a good body butter, on days when I decide to take a morning shower and am rushing to get dressed and out the door, I don't have time to wait for everything to sink in, you know? I prefer using thick body butters before bed so that I have all night for my skin to become "clothes-ready." With the Osmia Organics Body Oil (I have the scent Stream) ($20), I apply it all over my arms and legs right out of the shower when my skin is still wet and allow it to dry while I brush my teeth and go through my skincare routine. By the time I'm done and ready to get dressed, my skin is just about dry and miraculously, the oil is completely absorbed, leaving no trace of greasiness to be found. And, my skin feels soft and hydrated for the entire day. Definitely not as intensive as a body butter, but perfect for everyday.

And that, my friends, are the new moisturizers. Phew.

Disclosure: The Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Daytime Facial Cream was 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 honest and based solely on my own experience with the product.


A Recent Skincare Disappointment.

I love La Roche-Posay. I really do. Their Effaclar Serum is an effective, yet gentle, chemical exfoliant, and the Effaclar Duo helped save my acne-ridden skin a few years back. With that said, you can imagine how much it pains me to write a less than favorable review of a LRP product, let alone a much beloved one.

I wanted to love it, you guys. I swear, I did. But, alas, La Roche-Posay Serozinc failed to impress me.

Serozinc is, essentially, a glorified facial water spray. I was so eager to try it that I had it imported from Belgium, via my mom who was on vacation at the time. It contains water (duh!), sodium chloride and zinc sulfate. The zinc is meant to be soothing and purifying, and many a blogger have claimed that it's helped clear up their acne. Unfortunately, for me, it did absolutely nothing except wet my face, which, as we all know, so can good ol' H20.

I've been using it both morning and night for the past two months or so, spritzing it directly onto my face after cleansing (after toner at night) but before moisturizer. I feel as though I've given it more than enough time to work its magic, and I've yet to notice any difference it's made in my skin. Despite doing absolutely nothing for me, I'll enjoy using it up as it feels quite cooling and refreshing on the skin, and the aerosol spray nozzle is incredibly effective, creating an overpriced, even mist of glorified water. The one use I have for it, personally, is spritizing it on before applying my Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum, simply because it requires damp skin for application. 

Other than that, you let me down, LRP. You let me down real bad.


The First Berry This Fall.

Happy Fall, everyone! Berry tones always seems to run rampant this time of year, and it seems the trend won't be fading out any time soon. Bobbi Brown Berry is a newly released, limited edition blush for fall. And ladies, she's a beaut.

Berry is a bright, slightly rusty red wine with pigmentation that is hard to match. It's both a breathtakingly beautiful and frightening shade all in one. My usual go-to bright, scary blush application technique of a single light tap of my blush brush into the pan, then removing most of the product onto the back of my hand, still yields far too much product for one application. Between you and me, I definitely suffered from some serious clown cheeks after my initial attempt. 

Since then, I've learned that a lighter than light tap into the pan is absolutely necessary, and fluffing your brush onto the back of your hand until you feel as though there is no possible way there could be any product left on the brush before applying is also absolutely necessary. Trust me. I also tend to go back in with my powder brush and blend around the edges, just for good measure. Yes, I'll admit the application takes a bit of patience and practice, but once you get it right, Berry makes is so worth it. Considering its intense pigmentation, it blends quite smoothly, and as I'm sure you can imagine, it lasts all day and then some.

When applied in extreme moderation and blended seamlessly, Berry offers a bright and youthful flush of color with a richness that helps transition your look into the cooler months. 

Berry makes it easy to create a cheek that is the star of any look, if you so please; however, I chose to pair it below with a warm, bronze eye and sheer, berry lips, and I thought it complemented the subtle fall-hues perfectly.

And just in case, like me, you thought Berry might be a NARS Mounia dupe....it's not. Sorry, ladies. Mounia on the left; Berry on the right. Granted, the lighting is terrible and neither swatch is completely true to color, but I think you get the idea. Mounia is more subdued, while Berry is far brighter and more red.

Bottom line: If you're a fellow berry fan (holla!) and willing to spend the time to master the application, Berry is a must-have. If you're a swipe-and-go kinda girl, skip it.

Bobbi Brown Blush in Berry is available from Sephora for $26.


How to transition your skincare routine into Fall.

Transitioning your Summer skincare routine into Fall is easy with my three, easy tips. Read more about them here on POPSUGAR Beauty!


A daytime red from the drugstore.

After realizing how brilliant Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Pink Lust is, I was desperate to add at least one more Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour to my collection. I settled on the red in the range, called Sheer Rouge.

Sheer Rouge is a sheer (surprise, surprise!), juicy red with slightly pink undertones. To be honest, I was hoping it would be more of a true, bright cherry red thank a pink-toned one, but we can't win 'em all, can we? Like Sheer Pink Lust, the formula glides on like a lip balm and moisturizes like one too. The pigmentation can be built up to about medium opacity, and though there is a bit of slip to the formula, it's not so much so that the lipstick ends up all over your face after a few minutes. 

My only qualm about Sheer Rouge is the lasting power. Without eating or drinking, I noticed the color faded significantly after only an hour or two, although my lips still felt hydrated long after the color had disappeared.

Regardless of this downfall, I think Sheer Rouge would make a great, pocket-friendly, on-the-go daytime red lip option, particularly for those who aren't bothered by the need for reapplication. It's easy to apply (doesn't require a mirror), incredibly moisturizing and offers just enough red to spice up a daytime look without going overboard. 

*tosses into handbag*

Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Rouge is available at Target for $10.99.


The Monday Post #2

Monday is by far the gloomiest day of the week for me, followed by Sunday simply because it precedes Monday. Hopefully, The Monday Post will give you some beauty inspiration and help you get through the week! 

Favorite beauty read/viewing: Beauty Professor gives an introduction to MAKE Cosmetics via glowing reviews of the Silk Cream Lip Color and Soft Focus Foundation. Is it wrong to add an entire brand to your wishlist? Because I just did.

Beauty goal: I'm normally too lazy and/or too sleepy to reach for liquid or gel liner in the mornings; however, every time I do a winged liner on my days off, I'm reminded of how much confidence it gives me. I guess I just really like how it looks on me. So, my goal this week will be to make the time and put in the effort to do winged liner for at least 3 days, simply because it makes me feel good...and that's more than enough reason to justify a beauty goal :)

Product Rediscovery: MAC Era eyeshadow is definitely a product that doesn't seem to get the credit it deserves. I find that the touch of shimmer spices it up just enough and keeps it from being just another boring neutral. I love wearing it alone on the lid or through the crease.

Beauty lust: When I posted about my NARS blush collection, I also listed three shades currently on my wishlist. After receiving quite a few comments on the post as well as on Twitter, the point was well taken and Dolce Vita has swiftly been pushed to the very top of my beauty wishlist.

Most looking forward to: Getting over being sick. My throat started hurting Thursday afternoon, and it's just been going downhill from there. I'm starting my next rotation today, and I can't wait to feel 100% again! 

Hope you all have a great week!


Benefit Rockateur.

On my birthday last month, I decided to gift myself Benefit Rockateur. After seeing some swatches floating around the blogosphere, it looked like a blush that would be right up my alley, and surprise surprise - I was so right.

Benefit Rockateur is pinky-peachy-beige with soft shimmer. The texture is smooth and soft without being powdery, and it has medium pigmentation that can be easily built up. The swatches shown below show two layers.
Although Rockateur is indeed shimmery, I find that it translates into more of a satin finish on the cheeks than a sparkley or shimmery one. It's like the much less shimmery, more muted cousin of MAC Stereo Rose. It imparts the most healthy and radiant flush of color that doesn't compete with the rest of the makeup. Definitely a great blush to add to my goes-with-everything pile.

Other things:
- Yes, it comes with one of those brushes. Yes, I threw it into my makeup drawer where I store the rest of my Benefit boxed power brushes.
- Yes, it's scented. I personally think it smells heavenly, and I can't really detect it at all once I've applied it; however, if you're sensitive to fragrances on your skin, this might be an area of concern.
- It comes with 0.17 oz of product, compared to 0.28 oz for the older boxed powders, and yet it costs the same. In some ways, I do feel a bit ripped off, but then I think about the last time I even managed to use up an entire blush and I stop being bent out of shape over it.

Overall thoughts - Must-have? No. Nice-to-have? Absolutely.

Benefit Rockateur can be purchased from Sephora for $28.


Packing light and just right.

My boyfriend and I went to the coast last weekend for a relaxing getaway. Though it would have been completely like me to overpack (clothes and makeup), for some odd reason, I was able to exercise extreme restraint this time, only allowing myself to pack what I truly thought I'd actually use within those two days. And you know what? I used almost every single thing I brought, with the exception of just one product. Not bad, eh?
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder

Chanel eyshadow duo in Sable
UD 24/7 liner in Perversion
Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12Hr Wear in Flirting Game
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara

Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in GY901 Natural Black 

NARS blush in Mounia

Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Pink Lust
Shu Uemura eyelash curler
Inglot 6SS (for setting under-eye concealer)
Sigma E25 * (for blending)
MAC 217 (for blending)
Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer #57 
Sigma E55 * (for applying lid color)
Real Techniques blush brush 
EcoTools powder brush
Real Techniques stippling brush 

The lone product I brought but didn't use was the Stila liquid liner. I brought it just in case I felt like doing a cat eye one or both days, but I ended up going the less dramatic route with my liner that weekend, opting to just have UD Perversion on my top waterline and Sephora Flirting Game on my lower waterline and lash line.

Since I was only going to be away for two days, I tried to limit myself to only packing products I truly believed I would reach for. Unlike longer trips, I didn't find it practical to pack different options for eyes, lips, cheeks, etc., especially since we didn't have any special occasion type of outings planned during our trip. And to be honest, there wasn't anything that I missed while I was away that I wished I would've brought with me. I was perfectly happy and content with my lightly packed makeup bag and found it to be just right for both me and the occasion.

*PR sample

Do you typically overpack makeup for short getaways?

Disclosure: The products denoted with (*) 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.


Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a tad perplexed when I first opened up a box from Osmia Organics, expecting nothing more than a run-of-the-mill face mask, and instead, I was faced with a dry powder, a ceramic dish and a spatula. *scratches head*

That's when I started to realize that the Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask could not be any farther away from those run-of-the-mill masks. It's better. MUCH BETTER. For starters, it contains three types of clay, raw cacao, manuka honey and activated bamboo charcoal. Intriguing, no?

Once a week, using the provided spatula, I mix 2 teaspoons of the black powder with 1.5 teaspoons of water in the ceramic dish. The end product is somewhat reminiscent of thick, chunky tar. Although Osmia says it can also be used as an exfoliating paste (meaning just applying it and immediately rinsing off), I prefer to use it in its mask form, leaving it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing clean. 

Similarly to other clay masks, there is a progressive tightening effect that occurs as the mask dries and draws out oils and impurities from the skin, although I don't find it uncomfortable. 

This is how the mask looks about a minute or two after application...

and this is how it looks once it's completely dry.

The Detox Exfoliating Mask doesn't rinse off with quite the same ease as other, more traditional clay-based masks on the market. It requires wetting hands and working the warm water into the surface of the dried mask before massaging the product off. This is also when the mask transitions into the exfoliation step, as it has grainy particles (apparently walnut shells and olive leaf powders) that slough off dead skin cells on the surface. The rinsing process, when performed at the sink, is quite a messy one, often leaving splotches of black-tainted water all over the sink and countertop...probably explains why Osmia recommends rinsing off in the shower :) 

Immediately post-treatment, my skin feels nothing short of incredible. Though my skin does feel a bit drier than it was before I started (to be expected when working with clay masks), it never feels overly tight, itchy or stripped of moisture, which by the way, can cause skin to attempt to counteract the dryness with excessive oil production. What I'm absolutely infatuated with is how unimaginably soft, smooth and plump my skin looks and feels. Often, when using clay masks, I feel the need to immediately slather on a thick cream as a kind of emergency rescue measure to put the moisture back into my skin, but with the Detox Exfoliating Mask, I feel as though my night cream/serum is allowed to complement the mask, acting more as a sealant than anything to simply lock in the amazing-ness that was left behind.

I think the Detox Exfoliating Mask would be a fantastic (not to mention necessary!) addition to just about everyone's skincare routine, with maybe the exception of those with extremely dry and/or sensitive skin types. It's a product that I don't imagine I'll allow myself to be without for a long, long time.

The Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask (1.4 oz) is available from their website for $50. It's amazing. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: The product in this post was sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this review. The opinions expressed in this post are honest and based solely on my own experience with the product.


A few must-have crease shades.

Eye-catching duochromes and dazzling, shimmering eyeshadows will never cease to make my heart skip a beat, but there's no denying the necessity of a few, solid crease shades. Here are some of my favorites.
Clockwise from left:
Burberry Almond
MAC Texture
MAC Wedge
MAC Quarry

Burberry Almond is a mid-toned brown that is my go-to for blending out darker, smokier shades. It adds a bit of warmth while also helping darker shades to transition out more seamlessly.

MAC Texture is a rusty, orange-brown that is surprisingly wearable and not nearly as orange once blended out. I love using it with warm-toned shadows.

MAC Wedge is a light brown that is lighter and cooler compared to Burberry Almond. This one is a great crease shade for nearly any look.

MAC Quarry is a mauvey-brown that is fantastic paired with purple or pink tones on the lid; definitely a must-have crease shade for brown-eyed gals.

All four of these shades are great at creating depth when applied to the crease (I like using the MAC 224 brush), but I also enjoy using them on the lower lash line for some added definition without being overt. It's funny because I don't often reach for most of my MAC shadows anymore, but most of my go-to crease/transition shades are by MAC and continue to be staples in my collection.

L to R:
Burberry Almond
MAC Texture
MAC Wedge
MAC Quarry

Below, I'm wearing LORAC Garnet on the lid and lower lash line (from the PRO Palette) with MAC Texture in the crease:

What are some of your must-have crease shades?


My NARS blush collection.

When it comes to blush, NARS knows what they're doing. From the vast shade range to the promise of excellent pigmentation that always delivers, their blushes have earned a cult following for a reason. My collection of NARS blushes may not be as extensive as you might expect; however, I feel as though the relatively modest selection I have make up quite a strong group, as there actually aren't many others from the brand still remaining on my wishlist. 
Clockwise from left:
Orgasm (in a duo with Laguna bronzer)

Orgasm is a bright pinky-coral with golden shimmer. If there was an award for most raved about product in magazines, it would undoubtedly go to Orgasm. Surprisingly, I don't reach for Orgasm all that much, and while I don't absolutely hate it, I don't particularly care for how it looks on me either. It sometimes gives me a rosacea-esque look that I'm not exactly fond of, for obvious reasons. 

Douceur is a brown-tinged, tawny pink that looks so much more flattering on the cheeks than it appears in the pan. It's one of those goes-with-everything kind of blushes that you can never have too many of in your collection. It gives a sculpted look to my cheeks that I find really flattering, yet still natural and never overdone.

Luster is a shimmery, golden peach that is insanely flattering on both untanned and tanned skin tones. Speaking from experience, Luster is one of those shades you really have to try on your cheeks in order to truly appreciate what it can do for your complexion. It instantly gives my skin a lit-from-within kind of look, as if I've soaked up more vitamin D than I really have.

Mounia is a raspberry red that could not be any more perfect for fall and winter. The tiniest amount blended onto both cheeks immediately perfects the rosy-flush-from-being-out-in-the-cold look, without having to actually endure the cold. Unfortunately, Mounia is discontinued :(

Sin is a mauvey, berry-grape that quite frankly, looks muddy and scary in swatches but completely transforms itself on the cheeks. Another fantastic fall and winter blush when you find that your go-to pinks just don't offer enough depth or richness.

Desire is a bright bubblegum pink that instantly brightens up any complexion. I really don't use this one as much as I should. Maybe because it looks beautiful yet utterly terrifying at the same time. A light-handed application is absolutely required with Desire.

L to R:

If I had to choose a favorite, it'd be a toss-up between Douceur, Luster and Sin. I love both Mounia and Desire, but admittedly, I don't reach for either one as often as I'd like, probably due to them requiring a more careful application technique. Orgasm, I could do without and I definitely think it's overrated, but I still use it every now and again just for the hell of it.

So, what's left on my NARS blush wishlist you ask? 
1. Dolce Vita - Looks like the perfect grown-up blush. The I-only-have-one-blush-in-my-makeup-bag-because-that's-all-I-need kind of blush. Vastly different from the shades I tend to go for.
2. Madly - For a no-blush kind of blush look....because the best way to make it appear as though you're not wearing something is to wear it, right? Makes no sense. My apologies.
3. Deep Throat - Just because it looks so pretty on so many others. I'm sure I already have a dupe somewhere. Don't need it, but stillllll.


The Monday Post #1

Monday is by far the gloomiest day of the week for me, followed by Sunday simply because it precedes Monday. Hopefully, The Monday Post will give you some beauty inspiration and help you get through the week! 

Favorite beauty read/viewing: Dovey from Cute and Mundane reviewed several of the new Make Up For Ever Artisan brushes that will be available starting this month, and the luxe, dark wooden handles are seriously making me drool. The Precision Crease Brush (#214) is calling my name...

Beauty goal: I'm really going to try to force myself to take my makeup off right when I get home from work. I usually wait until right before I go to bed to remove it, and at that point, I'm so exhausted that I find myself lying around, unable to go to sleep because I still have my makeup on, but yet too lazy to go take it off. Lose-lose situation.

Product Rediscovery: I uncovered the Bare Minerals Ready Luminizer in the Love Affair at the bottom of my daily makeup bin yesterday, and after dusting some on to the tops of my cheeks, I was reminded of how utterly amazing highlighter can be. This rose gold one deserves more love from me.

Beauty lust: Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colour in Burnished Copper. Watch Sandra's video and you'll understand why.

Most looking forward to: Thursday! My boyfriend is coming to visit and we're going to the coast this weekend!

Hope you all have a great week!


Love at first sight.

This post contains PR samples
I always try to do my research before purchasing or trying out new products, but despite what others say about how well or how poorly something worked for them, it's always a toss-up once you actually try it out for yourself. Sometimes, it ends in disappointment and wasted hard-earned cash; other times, you'll fall in love with something and wonder how you ever lived without it. Luckily, I've been on a winning streak with quite a few new products recently.

1. Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins: I've only been using this for about a week or two, but I'm completely infatuated with the fresh scent and how intensely hydrating it feels on my skin. It's a lusciously thick cream that doesn't feel greasy or overly heavy.

2. Osmia Organics: I was recently sent their Facial Calibration Serum*, Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair* and Detox Exfoliating Mask* to try out, and I'm obsessed. I'd heard great things about Osmia Organics around the blogosphere, but I was still surprised by how fantastic the products actually were. All three products are utterly amazing and will be reviewed in detail once I've tested them out more.

3. Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Pink Lust: I purchased this after seeing Emily rave about it recently, and I wasn't surprised at all when I ended up loving it too seeing as how her product recommendations rarely disappoint. Sheer Pink Lust is a beautiful my-lips-but-better shade, and the formula is insanely smooth, hydrating and comfortable on the lips. Think a slightly sheerer version of the MAC Sheen Supreme formula but with less slip and improved staying power.

4. Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Sancerre: I reviewed this recently and it sounds like a lot of you are fans of this gorgeous raspberry red shade too! If you haven't already, give these Cashmere Lip Creams a swatch when you next find yourself in Sephora...you'll thank me later ;)

5. Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain in Nude Chic: Every brand seems to be releasing their version of the lipstick/balm crayons lately, but at just under $3 a pop, I couldn't resist adding another to my ever-growing collection. Nude Chic is similar in shade to Sonia Kashuk Sheer Pink Lust, but it's slightly more nude/mauve. The formula is incredibly moisturizing and continues to hydrate my lips for several hours. I don't really notice a staining effect with Nude Chic, but I suspect it may be because it's one of the lighter shades. 

6. Milani Blushes in Flora Passion and Romantic Rose: I was ecstatic when I was gifted both of these by my friend for my birthday! Both blushes have silky smooth texture with great color pay-off. Flora Passion is a beautiful pinky-coral, while Romantic Rose is one of those mauvey-pinks that seems to just suit everyone. It reminds me a bit of Tarte Exposed actually!

L to R:
Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain in Nude Chic
Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Pink Lust
Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Sancerre
Milani Blush in Flora Passion
Milani Blush in Romantic Rose

Jordana Twist & Shine Moisturizing Balm Stain in Nude Chic

Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in Sheer Pink Lust

Any products that made you fall in love at first sight recently?

* These products were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for mentioning them on my blog. The opinions expressed in this post are honest and based solely on my own experience with the products.
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