9.30.2015

My Nighttime Skincare Routine

Way back before I truly understood and appreciated the importance of making skincare a priority in my beauty routine, my morning and nighttime skincare routines used to be, more or less, the same. Nowadays, I tend to think of my morning routine as gentler and lighter, as a way to refresh and prep my skin for makeup and the rest of the day, while my bedtime routine focuses more on deep cleansing and more intensive treatments with a heavier emphasis on hydration to last throughout the night.
The first step in my nighttime routine is to remove my makeup, and cleansing oils are always the way to go. My favorite is still the L'Occitane Shea Butter Cleansing Oil ($22), as it's incredibly effective and doesn't leave behind a filmy residue. However, even if it did, it's nothing my nightly second cleanse couldn't take care of. For this, I use either the Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser I talked about in my morning skincare routine post or the Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash ($10), which I reviewed in-depth here. Regardless of what skin type you have, I think most would enjoy this Pacifica one. It's amazing.

Once my skin is completely cleansed, I reach for an exfoliating toner. I have the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($28) on hand as well, but I much prefer the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner ($39). The Clarins has a gel-liquid consistency that glides over the skin and leaves almost a thin veil of moisture behind. It's gentle enough to be used daily, but it's effective as well.

Every other night, I alternate between a retinol and a normal, hydrating night cream. I'm currently using the SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 ($57) and I love it. I experienced some peeling the first few weeks I used it, which is to be expected, but I saw a drastic change in the appearance of my complexion after about four weeks of consistent use. Not only has it noticeably faded my acne scarring, but it's made my skin look so much smoother, too. On my off nights, I've been reaching for the L'Occitane Peony Perfecting Cream* ($42), which is ultra-moisturizing, without being greasy or pore-clogging. I love how soft it makes my skin. Although it smells beautiful, I wish it wasn't so heavily scented, as it's not ideal for when my skin is acting up and feeling more sensitive.

Unlike my daytime eye cream, I prefer something a bit heavier for nighttime, and the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream ($55) is utter perfection. It's the thickest, richest and most luxuriously creamy eye cream I've ever used, but it's not greasy. It takes a bit of time for the cream to fully absorb into the skin, and because of its heavier texture, it's probably not ideal for wearing during the day under makeup, unless you have a very dry under-eye area. At bedtime, however, this eye cream is what dreams are made of. My eye area feels nourished, plump and supple all through the night and well into the morning, and although I don't have any wrinkles yet, I definitely think they'd have to put up a strong fight in order to get past the formidable barrier this eye cream puts up.

The very last step in my bedtime skincare routine is my lip balm, and for that, my go-to has always been and still is the C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm ($7.50).


*PR sample

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Disclosure: The product denoted with (*) 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 based solely on my own experience with the products.

9.28.2015

Glossy Skin and Lids

It was nearly impossible not to feel inspired by all of the beauty looks seen on the runway during New York Fashion Week. Similarly to the clothing being showcased, the makeup products used for those looks weren't always the most affordable, so I wanted to create a look using easily accessible products from Walgreens. The theme? Glossy skin and lids.
The focus of the look is obviously on the skin and the eyes, so having a nicely prepped base is key. I first applied the No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum under my moisturizer. It’s meant to have anti-aging effects and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I don't have the ideal skin to test out anti-aging products, since I don't really have any wrinkles yet, but I like how the serum feels. It has a satiny texture and subtle smoothing properties. After applying my usual moisturizer, I slathered on a few drops of the Botanics Smoothing Facial Oil Triple Age Renewal with Purple Orchid. When applied to bare skin, this facial oil sinks in super quickly and leaves behind no greasy residue at all, making it suitable for use in the morning under makeup, as well as for oily skin types. However, since I wanted an ultra-glossy effect, I applied it over my moisturizer, which allows it to inject the skin with that extra dose of dewiness. In case that wasn't enough, I also applied a thin layer of the Botanics Radiance Balm All Bright. Despite the name, it's more of a lotion than a balm. I love how soft and smooth it makes my skin look and feel. It brightens my complexion just a touch, without any actual shimmer or sheen. I love this one for days when my skin looks tired and drab.

After applying a bit of tinted moisturizer to even out my complexion, I used the Botanics Radiance Highlighter Pen in Warm to brighten up my under-eye area, as well as the tops of my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose. It's one of those products that's kind of a highlighter-concealer hybrid. The packaging makes it a convenient choice for on-the-go touch-ups, too. To finish off my skin, I used the bronze shades in the No7 Perfectly Bronzed Mosaic Bronzer to add warmth and used a mixture of the pink and coral shades on the apples of my cheeks.

For my glossy lids, I used the sponge tip applicator to apply the Colour Prevails Eye Shimmer Powder in Bronze to my lid. It has quite the sheen on its own anyway, but I also used a wet, flat eyeshadow brush to pat down the color to make it more vibrant and glossy. I used a neutral tan shadow to blend it out.

L to R: Botanics Radiance Highlighter Pen in Warm, Colour Prevails Eye Shimmer Powder in Bronze, Botanics Radiance Balm All Bright, No7 Perfectly Bronzed Mosaic Bronzer
Glossy Skin and Lids
I love how fresh and healthy the overall look is. If you need the look to last all day, I'd recommend adding a bit of powder only where your skin needs it. The more skin you leave in its glossy state, the better.

In terms of products, my favorites of the bunch are the Botanics Radiance Balm All Bright and the Colour Prevails Eye Shimmer Powder in Bronze. The balm is a nice little pick-me-up for your skin, and while I don't love the packaging of the eye powder, there's no denying it looks beautiful on the lids. It also wears well, even without primer.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Walgreens through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Walgreens Beauty, all opinions are my own.

9.24.2015

Autumn Berries and Vamps

Autumn is by far my favorite season for makeup, and the main reason lies in the lip color choices. I love berry lips, and when I'm feeling more adventurous, nothing makes me feel more bad-ass than a vampy lip. Here are my picks for the season.
MAC Lipstick Rebel //
Rebel is still one of my top 3 MAC lipsticks. It's a must-have, as far as I'm concerned. It's a purple berry with awesome lasting power and the perfect satin finish. This one is a stainer, though, so best not to apply it unless you're committed to wearing it the whole day.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 107 //
107 is a great drugstore fall lipstick. It's a red berry with a satin finish that is sophisticated without appearing aging.

butter LONDON Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon in Toff* //
I love Toff because I don't have anything else like it in my collection. It's a creamy blackberry, and since it has a shinier finish, it's a bit easier to wear because it's more moisturizing than a matte or satin, and its overall effect doesn't appear as harsh.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Crushed Plum //
Crushed Plum was a favorite from last year, and I have a feeling it will continue to get plenty of love this year, as well. It's a vampy plum, and the Creamy Matte Lip Color formula is one of my all-time favorite mattes.

Wet n Wild Lipstick in Cherry Bomb //
If you're looking for a ultra vampy lip color but not ready to commit to a higher end price tag, Cherry Bomb is calling your name. This is one of the darkest shades in my collection, and although I'm still a bit intimidated by the idea of wearing this deep merlot shade out, there's no denying it's a head-turner.

L to R: MAC Rebel, Rimmel 107, butter LONDON Toff*, Bobbi Brown Crushed Plum, Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb
Clockwise from top right: MAC Rebel, Rimmel 107, butter LONDON Toff*, Bobbi Brown Crushed Plum, Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb (also in full face photo)
These are the more dramatic lip choices I like to go for in the fall, but I tend to reach for more subtle variations for daytime. I may talk about those in a post soon. Who else is rejoicing the start of fall? *raises hand*

*PR sample

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Disclosure: The product denoted with (*) 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 based solely on my own experience with the products.

9.18.2015

Allure & butter LONDON Arm Candy Nail Lacquers + Giveaway!

Allure and butter LONDON recently joined forces and created an array of nail lacquers in varying shades and finishes. Arm Candy encompasses a 4-piece lacquer collection ($30), as well as the six individual nail lacquers ($15 each) in this post.

The individual Arm Candy lacquers include:
Statement Piece :: orange-red creme
It's Vintage :: rusty brown creme
Disco Nap :: charcoal with silver glitter
Lust or Must? :: rich, espresso creme
I'm On The List :: pearlescent rose gold
Nude Stilettos :: pale peach creme

Allure & butter LONDON Statement Piece
Allure & butter LONDON It's Vintage
L to R:
Allure & butter LONDON Disco Nap, Lust or Must?, I'm On The List, Nude Stilettos
All of these swatches were done with two coats, with the exception of I'm On The List, which only needed one to be opaque. I tend to have pretty good luck with butter LONDON polishes, and these were no exception. I get a solid 4-5 days of wear before experiencing any chipping or tip wear. These polishes apply so smoothly, and they fill in nail ridges as well, creating an overall smooth surface, which also maximizes the shine.

Statement Piece is one of my favorites, because it reminds me a lot of Essie Clambake (which I love), but it's much more opaque. I'm On The List is an obvious favorite, and I like that it's more pearlescent than even metallic, just because the finish is so smooth. There's no glitter or shimmer whatsoever. Love.

Allure and butter LONDON Arm Candy Nail Lacquers
butter LONDON generously sent me an extra set of nail lacquers, so if you want to add these to your collection, you can enter via the widget below. Please note this giveaway is open to residents of the continental US only, due to the nature of the prize.





Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me for consideration for a review. The giveaway prize is courtesy of butter LONDON. 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.

9.16.2015

Pumpkin Spice Facial in a Jar

It was love at first sip for me with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but it wasn't love at first use with the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask ($58). Initially, I actually thought this exfoliating treatment was a bit too mild and gentle for my taste (I was used to more intensive exfoliating masks like the Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask), but with each use, I slowly came around, and now I'm hooked. 

The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask "exfoliates with pumpkin enzyme, peels with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and polishes with aluminum oxide." Upon opening the jar, the warm and delicious aroma of pumpkin spice lures me in. Once or twice weekly, I scoop out about a nickel to quarter-sized amount of product (one jar will last you ages), wet my fingertips and massage the mask onto clean, dry skin. It's recommended to leave the mask on for 3-7 minutes before rinsing clean, but I usually leave it on for about 10 minutes. Keep in mind, my skin is not very sensitive, so a shorter amount of time may be plenty for more sensitive skin types.

There's a tingle when the mask is drying, but it's not uncomfortable, in my opinion. The pumpkin enzyme and AHA provide the chemical exfoliation, while the aluminum oxide crystals provide some physical exfoliation. Afterwards, my skin feels completely fresh and rejuvenated, looks brighter and feels as smooth as a baby's bottom. It's basically an autumnal facial in a jar.

I've been using the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask for several months now, but I'm really going to savor it this coming fall season, especially. The scent is divine, and it truly performs. Once I wrapped my mind around the fact that this was going to be different from the clay-based exfoliating masks I was used to, I was really able to appreciate it for what it was. It's a product that will work for a variety of skin types, since you can almost tailor the intensity based on how long you leave the mask on. 

Lovers of pumpkin spice lattes and skincare (*raises hand*), listen up: This mask has your name written all over it.


9.12.2015

Summer Beauty In Review

After a couple of weeks of scorching heat, I'm kind of ready for summer to end. I discovered and re-discovered a lot of great beauty products this summer. Here are my favorites of this past season.
I swear this post isn't sponsored by Murad. They sent me a generous package at the beginning of summer so that I could try out some of their products, and I fell in love with quite a few of them. I talked about the Clarifying Body Spray* in this post, and it's been a godsend in terms of keeping any chest or back breakouts at bay. I'm nearly out of this and will absolutely be replenishing my supply. Their Collagen Support Body Cream* was the perfect body moisturizer for the warmer months. Its texture is interesting (reminds me of slightly melted whipped cream?), and it's perfectly lightweight for summer while still being hydrating enough, and it sinks in quickly. The scent reminds me of lemongrass - fresh and invigorating. The Invisiblur Perfecting Shield*, without a doubt, had to be included in this post. In addition to being a fantastic makeup primer for my combination skin, the SPF 30 meant that I could skip an additional facial sunscreen step. I talk more about it here.

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination in Medium* was my most used base these past few months. I love the substantial coverage and dewy, glowing finish. I have quite a few bronzers that I enjoy using in my collection, but I could not stop myself from reaching for Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze day in and day out. No other bronzer perfects the sunkissed glow the way this baby can. I was also into a more dramatic highlight, so I dusted off MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle and threw it back into my daily rotation. I tried the BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle for the first time this summer, and Lychee/Opal was on my cheeks constantly. The flushed glow it achieves is unmatched.

CoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara Waterproof dethroned my previous HG mascara, and although it's a complete pain to remove, its volume and curl-holding capabilities are so incredible that it's worth the struggle. One of my most worn lip products of the summer was actually a 100-point perk from Sephora: NARS Lipgloss in Orgasm. The shimmer peachy pink is such a flattering shade, and the formula is quite good.

*PR sample

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Disclosure: The products denoted with (*) were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with any of the companies, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.

9.09.2015

Wayne Goss Brush 02 and Brush 14

Wayne Goss Brush 02 (top) and Brush 14

I'd been lusting after the Wayne Goss brushes ever since his first brushes launched on Beautylish. A couple months ago, I finally bit the bullet and ordered Brush 14 and Brush 02.

Brush 14 ($33) is from The Face Set, and it's my go-to for applying powder blush. The brush has an interesting longer domed shape, and the fluffy, loosely-packed bristles allow quite a bit of flexibility. It's great for sheering out heavily pigmented blushes in order to achieve a natural, even wash of color. I bought the NARS Yachiyo Brush years ago with the intention of using it for that very purpose, but Brush 14, although a different shape altogether, is infinitely softer and doesn't shed at all (two of my issues with Yachiyo). Brush 14 is ideal for applying any powder that either needs to be sheered out or only needs a featherlight application. I use it to apply moderately pigmented blushes as well, but I find that the brush needs a few extra swirls into the blush in order to pick up enough pigment. Because the application is so airy and light, you never run the risk of disturbing the makeup underneath.

Brush 02 ($35) is from The Collection, and I love it for contouring. It's much smaller than the rounded end of the glo minerals Contour/Highlight Brush, and it's most similar in size and shape to the Real Techniques Contour Brush, except it's slightly more tapered, and the bristles are much softer and are not as densely packed. For my face shape and size, I enjoy using Brush 02 for contouring because it's quite small and allows me to control exactly where I want to place the product. The flexibility of the bristles makes blending easy peasy. This would also be a fantastic brush for applying powder, blush or highlight.

Wayne Goss Brush 14 (left) and Brush 02
All Wayne Goss brushes are cruelty-free, made with natural bristles and handcrafted in Japan. The handles are all black and made from a durable wood called Hornbeam. When I first picked up my brushes, I was surprised by how light they were, especially Brush 14. The design itself is sleek and minimalistic. Both brushes are incredibly soft and a pleasure to use, making scratchy bristles a problem of yesteryear. I ordered both from Beautylish.


9.05.2015

My Custom Buxom Eyeshadow Bar Palette

Buxom recently came out with a powder eyeshadow formula where each eyeshadow "bar" essentially comes in a pan format to be inserted into their empty palettes. Each single eyeshadow bar retails for $12, while the purchase of an empty palette with six bars of your choice retails for $40. Buxom also released three pre-made palettes that also retail for $40.

The palette is made of a sturdy plastic and includes a large mirror.
The Buxom Eyeshadow Bar Single Eyeshadow formula is fantastic. The shadows are silky and smooth, without any powderiness or fallout. All of the shades I have are pigmented and blendable. The formula claims to have primer-infused technology, and while I find they apply and initially look great without primer, I experience some fading (but not creasing) with these after a full work day without primer. Primer extends the wear time significantly until I remove my makeup at night.

My eyeshadow preferences are mainly neutral tones these days, so most of my shade selections shouldn't come as a surprise. The only oddball here is that stunning, shimmery mint shade called Room Service, and although I knew I wouldn't use it very often, I just had to have it. It's beautiful. I'm not much for color on my eyes, so I've been reserving it for use in my inner corners, but the pop of mint is so brightening and unexpected.

The shades in my palette -
Room Service :: shimmery, iridescent mint green
Famous Flirt :: pale peach with a satin finish
Invite Only :: matte peachy-tan
Spoiled Sexy :: matte mauvey plum-brown
Filthy Rich :: matte burnt orange-brown
Gold Status :: shimmery neutral gold

L to R: Room Service, Famous Flirt, Invite Only, Spoiled Sexy, Filthy Rich, Gold Status

Wearing Filthy Rich on the lid and Invite Only blended in the crease

Wearing Gold Status over Famous Flirt on the lid, Spoiled Sexy blended into and above the crease and a touch of Filthy Rich directly in the crease
My advice when choosing shades for a palette are to make sure you have a good lid shade, a crease blending shade, a definer shade and an inner corner shade. For me, Famous Flirt, Invite Only and Gold Status are the lid shades, Invite Only and Spoiled Sexy are crease blending shades, Filthy Rich is the definer shade, and Room Service and Gold Status can be worn in the inner corner.

I had so much fun creating my own palette. I would definitely recommend these eyeshadows, and the $40 palette gives you the most bang for your buck. Buxom has really impressed me this year, y'all.


9.03.2015

Chiseling Out Those Cheekbones with glo minerals

Although I enjoy contouring, I felt overwhelmed by the six and eight-pan contouring palettes on the market. Truthfully, I think those are better suited for makeup artists than simply another makeup wearer, such as myself. When glo minerals released their four-pan palette earlier this week, I had high hopes this one could be juuuuust right.

glo minerals Contour Kit in Medium to Dark
glo minerals Contour Kit ($36) comes in two shade palettes: Fair to Light and Medium to Dark. I wasn't sure which would be better suited to my light/medium complexion, but I was sent the Medium to Dark palette, and it's perfect. It includes two highlight shades, a matte, pale yellow and a pearly champagne beige, and two matte contour shades, a cool taupe and a warm terracotta brown. The contour shades are both very pigmented but still blendable, while the matte highlight shade is more easy to sheer out (a good thing, in this case) and doesn't look chalky, and the shimmery highlight can tend to appear a bit chunky in the pan and heavy swatch, but rest assured, it blends into the skin seamlessly.

I've always wanted to try a banana powder, so I was ecstatic to see one in this kit. I've been using it to set my under-eye concealer, and its subtle brightening properties make me instantly appear more awake and wide-eyed. The pale yellow keeps it from appearing too stark or artificial. The shimmery highlight is beautiful. Especially since I have a warmer, yellow-undertoned complexion, the beige tones in the highlight really complement my skin tone. 

The cool-toned taupe contour is an ideal contouring shade, in my opinion. Cool tones always look the most natural in the hollows of the cheeks because it mimics the look of a shadow. This one blends in easily, and it's not too light or too dark. The warm brown contour isn't one I like to use for contouring, to be honest. It's far too warm for that purpose, and it's quite dark on me. I prefer using it as a bronzer, but since it's quite deep and very pigmented, I like taking it on a stippling brush to diffuse the color. A little goes a long way with that one.

With the release of the Contour Kits, glo minerals also released their new Contour/Highlight Brush ($29). This is my first brush from the brand, and I was not disappointed. The bristles are soft, and I haven't experienced any shedding. One side of the brush is somewhat flat and tapered, and I like to use it to apply my highlight by gently patting on the color where I want it, then using subtle swiping motions to blend it out. The tip is also great for contouring smaller areas, such as my nose. The brush on the opposite end is rounded and has the perfect density bristles for applying contour powder and general blending. It's not so fluffy that it completely sheers out the pigment, but it's also not so dense that it's unable to blend. The size of the brush is perfect for fitting into the hollows of the cheeks, as well.

glo minerals Contour/Highlight Brush
Wearing the glo minerals Contour Kit in Medium to Dark
Above, I used the matte highlight powder to set my under-eye concealer, the shimmery highlight on the tops of my cheekbones and the matte contour in the hollows of my cheeks. 

This kit is kind of awesome for travelling. Despite being labeled as highlight and contour shades, for me, I find that I also have an under-eye setting/brightening powder and a bronzer in the mix, too. 

To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, if you purchase a Contour Kit, you can receive a Contour/Highlight Brush for free with code CONTOUR15.



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.
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