The Oils & Serums

Oils and serums are some of my favorite skincare products. No other product type seems to have the ability to create a glowy, luscious canvas with quite the same ease. Read on to hear about the three I've naughtily been keeping from you all these months...

The serum for combo to oily skin - Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum ($50) does exactly what its name suggests. Often times, oily skin can become exacerbated by drying skin care products or over-washing, causing it to react by producing more oil. This serum balances combination to oily skin types by giving it the hydration it needs, no more and no less, which in turn, helps skin regulate its own sebum production. It absorbs quickly into the skin, with minimal greasiness. When used at night, I always wake up with soft and moisturized skin that somehow manages to be completely shine-free. That's how I know it works. As with all Osmia Organics products, Facial Calibration Serum is soothing and non-irritating, complete with a natural, herbaceous scent.

The oil for 'damaged' skin - Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($36) is a self-proclaimed multi-tasker. It claims to increase skin firmness and elasticity and improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and fine lines. I use this oil at night, typically 3-4 drops under my night cream, and although it doesn't claim to, I notice that it offers an additional dose of hydration that is more than welcomed in my routine. With consistent usage over the course of about four months, I've noticed that it actively works to minimize the scarring left behind by healing blemishes, while also working to slowly fade existing marks. Luckily for me, I can't test out the fine line claim yet, and as I've only used it on my face, I also can't speak to its stretch mark fading abilities either.

The serum for a morning pick me up - One Love Organics Morning Glory Brightening Complexion Booster ($29 for 0.5 fl.oz./ $48 for 1 fl.oz.) is what I call the 'cup of coffee for my skin'. I either apply it on its own or mix in 3 drops with my morning moisturizer. It absorbs almost instantaneously and leaves behind no greasy residue whatsoever, allowing it to sit nicely under makeup without disturbing the peace. It brightens up and awakens my complexion each morning, to the point where I fear I may have developed a slight obsession with it. My favorite part is that it also works to de-puff early morning skin. I don't ever want to wake up without it.

Disclosure: The Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum 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 experiences with the products.


The Spring Edit

Spring used to be the season of pastels for me, but I think I've finally outgrown that obsession (not to mention, pastel tones look horrific on my skin tone). This season, I'll be focusing on light and fresh skin, natural, barely-there eyes, with pops of color in cheery floral shades on my cheeks and lips in varying degrees of subtlety.

For a fresh base, I've been loving Bourjois Happy Light Foundation. It has light to medium coverage with a dewy and illuminating finish. As with all the Bourjois foundations I've tried, it blends easily and lasts well throughout the day. Perking up a dull, post-winter complexion? Check.

Stila In the Know Palette is a great all matte, neutral palette that doesn't often get talked about (admittedly, the orange shade is a bit of an odd ball). It makes perfecting the barely-there eye look a breeze. I've been mixing Desert and Rain and sweeping that messily all over the lid and on my lower lash line. If needed, Earth and Ebony double as liner shades as well...smudged out, of course.

Two blushes that have not left my cheeks lately are Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop and Milani Luminoso. Plum Pop is a cool-toned medium pink that, against all odds, seems to flatter even my warm complexion, and Luminoso is an old standby that has yet to disappoint me. Considering it's affordable and available at the drugstore, I don't hesitate at all in saying it's a must-have product.

Lip options include CHANEL Rouge Coco in Cheri for an everyday petal pink and Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Dressing or Lancôme Lip Lover in Orange Manege when my lips are crying out for a bit more punch. Le Rouge is one of my all time favorite lipstick ranges (Rose Dressing is a beautiful coral pink), and the Lip Lovers are a more recent favorite in which I'm already crafting up a wish list of shades to add to Orange Manege.

Lastly, the scent of the season award goes to Flora by Gucci Gorgeous Gardenia, gifted to me by the ever so generous Mel. I'm a lover of floral scents, and this one just screams my name. It's feminine, sophisticated and suitable both during the day and at nighttime. And, if you can't wear floral scents in the spring, when can you wear them, right?


I am a Lancôme Lip Lover

Lancôme is one of those brands that I don't often give a second look, but that all changed with the release of their new Lip Lover range, an innovative super-gloss, if you will, with a balm base, lip line smoothing properties and saturated color. All I can say is, Lancôme did good. Granny makeup, this is not.

During an impromptu Sephora visit over the weekend, I spied the new range sitting prettily in the middle of the Lancôme display and decided to indulge in a bit of a swatchfest. Available in a wide range of shades that range from nude to bright to vamp, I can personally attest to each shade being a winner. I eventually headed home with the shade that caught my eye just a bit more than the rest - Orange Manege. It's a striking bright orange-coral with subtle shimmer.

When applied full on and straight from the tube, Orange Manege is incredibly pigmented and nearly opaque; however, one of the things I love most about the Lip Lover formula is how easily the color can be sheered out as well, increasing its versatility in my already rather lipgloss-heavy makeup collection. Below, I applied Orange Manege lightly and blended it out with my finger on the left, compared to applied straight from the tube on the right.

The Lip Lover formula provides impeccable moisture for hours on end, and a beautiful, even stain is left behind even after the initial glossiness has worn away. It has a thick gloss-balm texture that isn't sticky or tacky in the slightest, yet it still manages to boast impressive lasting power. My lips look perfectly smooth and plump with as much or as little color as my heart desires. In short, the Lancôme Lip Lover wears flawlessly and feels absolutely incredible on the lips. Easily one of my favorite new releases in recent months.

Lancôme Lip Lovers are available from Sephora for $23.


Detoxify. Soothe. Hydrate.

I try to take good care of my skin everyday, but once a week, I like to go all out and pamper my skin with a face mask trifecta. Yup, three masks back to back. It usually occurs simultaneously with tea drinking. Sure, it may sound like overkill to some, but hear me out on this one. Each mask serves a completely different purpose, and the effects of one help to maximize the effects of the next, and so on. Sound good? Here are the three simple steps I follow, as well as the masks I use to accomplish each step.

Step 1 :: Detoxify
To begin, I detoxify my skin by drawing out impurities from clogged pores and smoothing off the surface of all the dead skin cells that have accumulated throughout the week. This step is crucial if you want any skincare product to actually have the opportunity to penetrate the skin. The perfect mask to accomplish this? Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask ($50). I let it dry down on my face for 20 minutes before rinsing off in circular motions. Skin should look polished and feel silky soft at this point.

Step 2 :: Soothe
After the rather intensive skin detox and exfoliation step, I soothe my skin by slathering on May Lindstrom The Honey Mud Gentle Cleansing Silk ($80). I often use this as a cleanser throughout the week, but during my triple mask routine, I rely on it for its calming properties. I spread a thin layer of the pudding-like cleanser/mask on my skin and let it works its magic for 15 minutes before rinsing clean (no harm in leaving it on even longer though!). The cocoa and honey scent will shift you into relaxation mode instantly.

Step 3 :: Hydrate
Lastly, once my skin is in the post-detox and soothing treatment stage and looking rather bright and refreshed, I amp up my usual overnight hydration routine by swapping out my night cream for Origins Intensive Drink Up Overnight Mask ($24). The fruity scent is downright delicious, and the extra boost of hydration replenishes whatever moisture may have been lost during the previous steps. You'll wake up the next morning basking in the beautifying effects of your three step regimen from the night before.

There you have it - a once weekly mask routine that sounds exhausting but feels heavenly. Go on. Light a candle, grab a magazine, and get maskin'.


The Best of Drugstore Lipglosses

I hate to admit it, but I can really be a makeup snob sometimes. It's no secret that high-end and luxury brands entice me to a much more ridiculous degree than do drugstore brands; however, there's one area of beauty the drugstore just seems to get right - lipgloss. Here are some of the best I've found while roaming the aisles of Target, Ulta, Walgreens and the like.
Revlon Colorburst and Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($8) :: It shouldn't come as a surprise that Revlon makes some great lipglosses, especially considering how fantastic their lipsticks are. Compared to the Super Lustrous Lipgloss formula, the Colorburst formula has slightly less pigment (coming in at around medium), feels lighter on the lips and is completely non-sticky. Super Lustrous lipglosses are a bit tackier (but not sticky), and as a result, they last longer on the lips. I also find them more moisturizing. Both are non-scented (although the Colorburst glosses can tend to smell a bit funny to me.) 

Shown: Revlon Colorburst Lipglosses in Bellini and Killer Watt; Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Pop (old version). Can be found at all drugstores.

NYX Butter Gloss and Mega Shine Lipgloss ($5) :: The Butter Glosses feel like gloss-balm hybrids on the lips. They're incredibly moisturizing and offer light to medium pigmentation with a sweet, dessert-like scent that's difficult not to drool over. (Truthfully, they sound a bit like the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors, no?) On the other hand, the Mega Shine Lipglosses offer more punch in the pigmentation department, boast similar moisturizing properties and have a medicinal cherry scent that, thankfully, dissipates quickly.

Shown: NYX Butter Gloss in Apple Strudel; Mega Shine Lipgloss in Nude Peach. Can be found at Ulta and some Target stores.

Essence Stay With Me Longlasting Lipgloss ($3) :: Now, for the underdog. In my mind, Essence is a cheap-n-cheerful brand with products I don't often give a second glance to - except for their glosses. The scent reminds me of an old Bourjois lipgloss I used to own (back when the brand was still available at Sephora), and trust me, that's absolutely a good thing. It has a unique hourglass-shaped doe-foot applicator that hugs the lips perfectly during application. The formula is incredibly moisturizing, and the medium to full pigmentation is impressive.

Shown: Essence Stay With Me Longlasting Lipgloss in My Favorite Milkshake and Candy Bar. Can be found at Ulta.

My favorite formula of the bunch? It's a toss-up between the NYX Butter Glosses and the Essence Stay With Me Longlasting Lipglosses. Shade-wise, I basically love every shade pictured here, so no help there. Can you tell I like my peaches and corals?


My Favorite Look This Week #8

I've been wanting to experiment a bit more with different eyeshadow placements lately. I really liked how this turned out, although admittedly, I found the overall effect was more apparent in real life than in these photos. 
What I normally go for is pretty simple: a lighter shade across the lid with a darker shade in the crease. Sometimes, I'll use a darker shade in the outer v as well, but that's about as adventurous as I get. 

With this look, I applied the darker shades (RBR Abyssinian Catbird layered over Burberry Midnight Brown) on the inner and outer thirds of the lid with a lighter shade (Clinique At Dusk) concentrated right in the center.

: Face :
Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 3.5
Hourglass Dim Light

: Cheeks :
NYX Taupe Blush (contour)
NARS Luster Blush

: Lips :
YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 6 Rouge Bergamasque
Urban Decay Lip Liner in Naked2

: Eyes :
Burberry Midnight Brown
Burberry Almond
Clinique At Dusk
Rouge Bunny Rouge Abyssinian Catbird
The pop of brightness in the center of the lid is more subtle in my case, simply because of the shades I worked with. You could certainly create a more dramatic effect by choosing more contrasting shades. 

So what does this eyeshadow placement actually do? It gives the illusion of your eyeshadow catching the light perfectly in any lighting, and it opens up the eyes in the process. 

Lastly, shout-out to NARS Luster. You rock my world every. single. time.


Cream Eyeshadow Loves

A good cream shadow can literally be a lazy girl's best friend. When I want to wear eyeshadow, yet I know I don't actually have enough time to apply anything decently with a brush, I reach for a cream. (What can I say? I love my sleep.) 

These are some of my favorite cream shadows. Some I adore for just a natural wash of color; others I love with a touch of smudged black liner for an ultra-simple and quick smokey eye. They do me right every time.
Clockwise from top left:
Dior Diorshow Fusion Mono Long-Wear Eyeshadow in Météore
CHANEL Illusion d'Ombre in Diapason
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze
MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist
Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow in Mutt
Smashbox Limitless 15Hr Wear Cream Shadow in Topaz

L to R:
Dior Diorshow Fusion Mono Long-Wear Eyeshadow in Météore
CHANEL Illusion d'Ombre in Diapason
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze
MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist
Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow in Mutt
Smashbox Limitless 15Hr Wear Cream Shadow in Topaz

: Dior Météore is undoubtedly the sparkliest of the group; it looks beautiful when paired a semi-matte complexion base and a wine lip (like in this look). 

CHANEL Diapason is quite a shimmery one as well (the blue-toned sparkle is stunning!), although it's much less apparent when applied with fingers than with a brush. 

: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze is one most of us know and love. Mine is starting to dry out a bit, but the color is still as beautiful as ever - the perfect mixture of brown and taupe. 

: MAC Constructivist is a smokey eye favorite; UD 24/7 liner in Perversion smudged into my top and bottom lash lines finishes off the look perfectly (as evident in this post). I've experienced quite disappointing wear-times with many Paint Pots, but Constructivist holds up nicely on my lids.

: Buxom's Stay-There Eyeshadows are completely underrated, and it's a shame because the formula is very similar to the much less wallet-friendly CHANEL Illusion d'Ombre formula. Mutt is my current go-to everyday shade for a beautifully subtle wash of golden bronze. 

: I spoke about Smashbox Topaz in more detail in this post. I often wear it on its own for a touch of somethin' somethin'; otherwise, I pair it under nearly every taupe eyeshadow in my collection.

Wearing Buxom Mutt all over the lid
With the exception of Diapason, can you see a color theme with my favorites? Neutrals will always have my heart, after all.

Don't forget to get your entries in for my 4 year blogiversary giveaway before this Sunday at midnight PST


The Mid-Week Wish List

:: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster :: I'm using a sample of this at the moment and loving every drop of this light and brightening serum. I use it at night to maintain the potency of the vitamin C.

:: Flora by Gucci Gorgeous Gardenia :: I first tried a sample of this scent about two weeks ago, and it's still lingering on the jacket I wore that night. I was completely taken aback by how unexpectedly beautiful the scent was. Every time I put on said jacket, I can nearly hear Gorgeous Gardenia saying, "Buy me."

:: Givenchy Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadow :: These are new for spring and already available on Sephora's website. I love a good cream shadow, and if Givenchy's offering is even half as amazing as their Le Rouge lipstick range, I'm sold.

:: Kahina Night Cream :: My first Kahina product was their Facial Lotion (which I absolutely LOVE), and seeing as how they just added a night cream to their line-up (pictured is their eye cream...oops!), it only makes sense that I should plan on owning the pair at some point in the near future.

:: Dior Addict Fluid Sticks :: Dior makes some of my favorite lipsticks ever, and I'm not ashamed to admit that their new for spring, Addict Fluid Sticks make me weak at the knees. Looks like there will be 16 stunning shades total.

What's topping your wish list at the moment?


4 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

The 22nd of this month will mark Will Work for Makeup's 4th birthday, and I can hardly believe it! Of course, my blog would be nothing without all of you, so I figured the best way to thank all of my readers, both old and new, is to give away a couple of amazing products :)
I'm giving away one CHANEL Rouge Coco Lip Colour in 61 Cheri and one Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat. If you recall, I have the Hourglass blush in the shade Dim Infusion and while I love it, I wanted to give away a shade I thought would be more universally flattering :)

There will be two winners, and I set up each giveaway separately in case people wanted to enter to win one but not the other. Thank you to each and every one of you who reads my blog, and GOOD LUCK!


Splurge Skincare

My interest in natural skincare and beauty products was piqued around the start of the year, and one of the things I found I loved most in my quest to try different natural brands was that there is an abundance of smaller brands making fantastic products that really deserve more recognition. Splurge Skincare is one of those brands.
Christine and Kara, two teachers from Boston, are the masterminds behind Splurge Skincare. The brand's philosophy? "People shouldn't wait for a special occasion to treat themselves well, it should be something they do everyday." Can't say I disagree.

I tend to think that whenever a brand offers only a couple products in their line-up, those products are bound to be amazing. They've (hopefully) focused their time and attention on perfecting those few products, instead of making a bunch of mediocre ones just to say they have them. I respect that. Splurge Skincare makes three products: The Rub, Lip Buttahs and Tinted Buttahs. I was sent two scents of The Rub and one Lip Buttah to test out.

I have The Rub in the scents Peppermint and Winter. The primary ingredient in this body scrub is sugar. Just as you might imagine would happen if you were to rub sugar onto wet skin, the more you massage it in, the more it will dissolve. The Rub does exactly that, leaving behind an incredibly soft and smooth surface. Other key ingredients include organic safflower oil, meadowfoam oil, glycerin, organic cocoa butter, organic shea butter, aloe vera leaf juice and vitamin E. I don't hesitate at all in saying that it's the most moisturizing body scrub I've tried to date. 

Unlike many other body scrubs I've tried that carry the option of being used in place of a body wash, The Rub is truly meant just for exfoliation. As the directions instruct, The Rub should be used post-cleanse; think of it as an adjunct to body wash. I typically use it only where my skin tends to be the driest and flakiest (arms and legs), but it's absolutely gentle enough to be used all over and daily.  

Hands down, my favorite scent of the two I have is Peppermint (it's also available in Almond and Lemon). It smells exactly like candy canes, and I get tempted to sneak a taste every so often, although I haven't yet, ok? Everyone just calm down. After using The Rub in Peppermint, there's a slight cooling effect from the mint that feels incredibly invigorating, especially on I-can't-seem-to-wake-up kind of mornings.

I also have the Lip Buttah in Lemon (also available in Peppermint, Almond and Orange Chocolate). Main ingredients include babassu oil, organic cocoa butter, beeswax, sweet almond oil, organic castor oil and vitamin E. The scent is very subtle, and the tube is a flattened oval shape. Despite having a fair amount of slip to it, it sticks around for quite the while on my lips. It's moisturizing and makes my lips soft, but it's not anything ground-breaking, nor is it the best lip balm I've ever tried. It's good at moisturizing my lips most days, but it doesn't do enough for them when they're chapped or ultra-dry.

For me, The Rub is really where it's at.

Splurge Skincare The Rub ($26 for 8 oz.) and Lip Buttah ($7) are available from their website.

Disclosure: These products 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 honest and based solely on my own experiences with the products.


One Taupe Base Suits All

A recent re-discovery is the Smashbox Limitless 15 Hr Wear Cream Shadow in Topaz. I used it out of the blue one day, and since then, I've worn it almost daily. I love it on its own, but my favorite way to wear it is paired with a variety of different eyeshadows. I've learned that if it has even a hint of taupe in it, it's guaranteed to look phenomenal on top of Topaz.
Topaz is described as a soft golden beige, but on me, it reads more silvery taupe. It's quite metallic when swatched heavily, but it blends out to a sheer wash of color when worn on its own. Coming from someone who doesn't have much luck with the staying power of most MAC Paint Pots, Topaz wears all day without creasing on me, even when it's not set with a powder. In fact, when I use it as a base for other eyeshadows, I'm able to forgo primer altogether.

From left to right (all eyeshadows are shown layered on top of Topaz):
Smashbox Topaz 
NARS Bellissima
NARS Kalahari
Benefit Where There's Smoke
Burberry Pale Barley
Burberry Rosewood

I love the extra dimension and lasting powder Topaz provides as a base for taupe shadows. Even under a matte shade like Bellissima, the overall effect is just a bit more glowy, without being overtly shimmery. I can't quite explain why I love it so much, except that it seems to enhance most every eyeshadow I pair it with. 

If you've never tried the Smashbox Limitless 15 Hr Wear Cream Shadows, you're missing out. And, if you're a lover of all things taupe, Topaz is certainly worth a gander. While you're at it, try swatching it under other eyeshadows. You'll see what I mean.

Smashbox Limitless 15 Hr Wear Cream Shadow in Topaz is available from Sephora for $20.


The Monday Post #9

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: My most recent facial cleanser addition is a delicious one from May Lindstrom (review forthcoming). After quickly falling in love with the ethos behind the brand's beautifully earthy products, I found this post on Eco Diva Beauty Blog with a breakdown of each product - perfect for ML newbies. My wishlist was updated accordingly.

Beauty goal: Soooo....my brushes. I can't remember the last time I gave them a good shampoo. Yikes. Adding that to my to-do list as we speak. 

Product Rediscovery: My Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer has been working overtime lately. Although I don't absolutely love it as a foundation, as a concealer, it's the bomb. Impeccable coverage, and the shade SX05 is a great match for me. Now, if they could just figure out a way to get rid of that nauseating scent...

Beauty lust: My friend recently gave me a sample of Tatcha Revitalizing Eye Cream, and damn - it's good. It's rich and luscious but absorbs quickly, leaving behind a plump and nourished eye area without any greasiness or slip. The downside? A 0.5 oz jar will set you back 135 big ones. Ouch.

Most looking forward to: Both of my giveaway items for my 4 year blogiversary should be here by early next week, and I can't wait for you guys to see them! I know you'll love them just as much as I do :)

Hope you all have a great week!


The Exfoliation Schedule

If you ever wanted to test the theory that exfoliation is just another overrated step in the skincare process, forgo it for a couple of weeks and re-assess the state of your skin. Unfortunately, yours truly did this in January, not willingly or intentionally, mind you. (I blame traveling woes.) The damage? My skin was dry, flaky and blemish-ridden, aka a hot mess.
As soon as I was able, I jumped back on my regular exfoliation schedule, vowing never to forsake it again. And really, when I thought about how simple it was, especially considering the vast difference it made in my complexion, I felt like an idiot for ever even considering it could've been simply a nice, but not necessary, skincare step. It is crucial.

My exfoliation schedule looks a little bit like this:
:: Every night after cleansing, I splash a bit of DDF Glycolic Toning Complex onto a cotton pad and swipe it across my entire face, avoiding only the eye area. It provides just enough chemical exfoliation to maintain the state of my skin, and I don't find it too harsh to use daily, although my skin isn't typically sensitive either. 
:: Once a week, I cleanse my face in the shower with my Clarisonic Mia, paired with a variety of different gentle cleansers (I'm not too picky), for a slightly more intensive exfoliation treatment. 
:: Also once a week, although not on the same day I use the Clarisonic, I enjoy 20 minutes of skin purification with Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask
:: Both of these once a week, physical exfoliation options give my skin that extra kick in the tush it needs to remain smooth, blemish-free and glowing. 
:: It's worth noting is that on days when I use the Clarisonic or the Detox Exfoliating Mask, I skip the Glycolic Toning Complex. My general rule is to incorporate a maximum of one exfoliation step into your routine each day. Be gentle to your skin!

Luckily, the story of my skincare disaster ended well. Within just a few days, I noticed a dramatic improvement in the state of my skin (back to my baseline), and it was clear to me that the culprit was truly my lack of exfoliation. Its role in removing dead skin cells on the surface prevents pores from getting clogged and causing breakouts, it allows serums, oils and moisturizers to absorb more freely, requiring less product, and it creates an overall glowing complexion. By the way, how many times can I say 'exfoliation' in one post?

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