Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tips to Clear(er) Skin

I have been on the hunt for the cure for my acne since I was in middle school. And now that I am in my twenties, I am equally interested in finding that perfect anti-aging product to slow the process down as much as possible. The problem is that usually, these products are extreme opposites. Acne treatments dry out your skin, which ages you faster, whereas anti-aging products are extremely moisturizing and can sometimes clog your pores. Whenever I found these serums, I actually hoped they wouldn't work because they were so expensive. But then, when they rapidly started clearing my skin as well as preventing any new blemishes in a matter of days, I was hooked. I justified the price by considering the thousands of dollars I have undoubtedly spent seeking the "miracle" product and failing. At least my money is going towards something that works instead of something I'll never use again. It is also far cheaper than my last resort treatment of acutane that I have been considering.

These serums alone won't be a cure-all for your acne, but combined in a regimen suitable for your skin, they can be extremely powerful. I realized recently that my skin doesn't break out because it's oily, it breaks out because its very sensitive. Not cleaning it makes it break out, over cleaning it makes it break out... It seemed like there was no answer. I tried Lush skincare, thinking all natural would be perfect for my sensitive skin. Although Lush makes great, beautiful products, they were still too harsh FOR ME. If they work for you, stick with them! I love Lush and still use their bath, body, and hair products. I have found that the all natural line specifically designed for sensitive skin at Origins works incredibly for my skin. I now use that line's makeup remover, cream cleanser, and face cream. I use the organics line purifying toner though, which is a little drying, but gets my skin super clean before using the serums. It was a free sample, so I might try a gentler toner after I finish this one.

Also, before jumping into the serums, I want to emphasize the importance of asking for samples before you buy a product. Another option is look for free, travel sized products that come with a full size purchase. Those are great for trying things out without committing to the cost. I have wasted so much money over the years buying products I hoped would work, when I could've saved all that trouble by just asking for samples! Never buy anything you haven't sampled! Plus, its really fun to try different products :) I sampled the moisturizer I used now, and have enough free cream to last me a whole week. I had time to figure out if it would break me out or not (NOT), and see any benefits (LOTS). I also sampled my cleanser (important! sometimes cleansers are the break out culprit, not the moisturizer!). And I also sampled the serums.. and fell in love...they achieve exactly what they claim. I will say a few things about each before I start..

Idealist: This makes your skin feel SO beautiful, I can't even explain it. It works under your moisturizer and makeup to protect and perfect your skin during the day.

Advanced Night Repair: This is the real star. This calms your skin like none other and when you wake up in the morning, you'll hardly recognize yourself. I had the worst breakouts I have had in a long time (thanks to waxing my eyebrows), and within a couple of days, my skin is now free of any new blemishes and my existing ones are healing ridiculously fast.

In the Morning: Idealist

At Night:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palette Giveaway (OPEN)

Even though the Urban Decay Naked Palette isn’t limited edition, that doesn’t mean people aren’t having a hard time getting their hands on one. They are literally flying off the shelves within seconds of being restocked everywhere. Maybe one day soon, the novelty will die down and the waters will settle, and they’ll be easier to find. I signed up on Urban Decay to be notified when they’d be back in stock and the other day I finally got that notification. So I bought one and now it’s up for grabs!

Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette
Urban Decay Naked Palette Zero Pencil
Urban Decay Naked Palette Whiskey Pencil
Urban Decay Naked Palette Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Palette Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Palette Swatches

Win this brand new Urban Decay Naked Palette
Giveaway ends June 20 at 12pm EDT and is open to everyone worldwide. If you are under 18, please have parental/guardian consent to receive items in the mail.


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*Each comment will be held for moderation so please don’t submit your comment more than once.

*Comments will close 12pm noon on 6/20/11 and winner will be chosen randomly. I’ll announce the winner on this post once the winner accepts his/her prize.
Pretty easy huh? Good luck you guys, and thanks for all of you wonderful support. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.


May Birchbox

Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Hand Cream

I LOVE this handcream. I have recently discovered the need for hand creams and have quite a few now. I have been using my Lavanilla body butter from last month's birchbox, Neutrogena's hand cream, this one, and my free sample of Estee Lauder's Day Wear Plus. This one is a little sticky, so I use this one before bed and the Lavanilla when I wake up. I give my hands an extra infusion of smoothness with this light hand cream. It's rich in nourishing Dead Sea minerals that hydrate and soften my skin for increased all day comfort and safeguard effectively against environmental damage.
Witch Hazel extracts smoothes skin, providing refreshing, revitalizing effect
Allantoin heals dry cracked skin and blemishes

Stila Eyeshadow in Pewter

This was probably my favorite thing in my birchbox this month. It was a FULL SIZED eyeshadow pan from Stila, which are quite large compared to most other eyeshadows from other brands (Mac and MUFE). This color is in Pewter which is the perfect color for a subtil smokey eye or to deepen up your crease. I have a basic matte black eyeshadow that I normally use whenever I want a really intense crease, but it seems to be a little much for everyday wear, whereas this is perfect. Its a perfect addition to my neutrals collection, because I definitely don't have anything like this color. Most greys on the market are either super sparkly, shimmery, or metallic whereas this is the perfect satin finish!

BVLGARI 'Mon Jasmin Noir' Eau de Parfum
At first, I loved this perfume, because it is a really great smelling traditional perfume. But as I wore it, and smelled it later, it honestly just smells like any other nice traditional perfume. It doesn't have, at least to me, that uniqueness that I want to have in my perfume. (My favorite high end perfume is Moschino's Funny). I will be wearing it until the sample runs out though.

Archipelago Pomegranate Soap
Triple milled soap is blended with pomegranate, white tea, cranberry, and chamomile extracts. Rich in natural antioxidants and Phase II Enzyme boosters. 100% vegetable base. I have recently become quite the fan of bar soaps, and this one sounds extremely promising due to all of the natural ingredients. I have yet to try this soap, but my complaint is that it smells of traditional hotel soap, and seems as if it might be drying. We will see though!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Benefit 10

From BenefitCosmetics.com:

Product Description:
Bronze & highlight in one sexy sweep. For a supermodel glow & sleek, sculpted cheekbones, this duo of satiny pink & bronze powders tantalizes your complexion and décolleté...and makes you a perfect 10!

Tips and tricks: Lightly sweep brush over powder so pink highlighting powder appears on half the brush & bronzer on the other half. With pink side up, whisk from the apple of the cheek up to the hairline. Now you've done the sexy sweep!
Product details

* 10g Net Wt / 0.35 oz
* pink & bronze

It goes on lightly and smoothly, and gives me that precise definition on my cheekbones that I've never been able to master by myself. But it's not too drastic - it's perfect. Shimmery on top and warm on the bottom. I use the brush it comes with because it gets both colors on at the same time on the right place. But then to soften the line, I use my fan brush and put a little bit of whatever blush I am using that day and blend the line that forms between the highlight and bronzing shades. The effect is the perfect cheek bones with a pretty flush :)

I tried to take a photo but you couldn't really see the difference, so you'll have to take my word for it.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Changing my skincare...


I was obsessed with Lush skin care, or at least I wanted to be... It's healthy, all natural, and fun to use. But although it did significantly improve my skin, it kind of plateaued and left me with better skin, but not the best skin I could have. It made it seem like the products weren't really doing anything for my skin, like they were simply...nice. Also, I am pretty sure that ultrabland broke me out. After my moisturizer ran out, and I realized that Lush's moisturizers break me out, I went in search of an all natural replacement for my old one. I read a lot about how great organic, unrefined coconut oil was. So I tried it, and it broke me out. Bleh. So I went on a hunt for an all natural moisturizer, and make up remover. The only other brand I found to be all natural was Origins. I found my HOLY GRAIL moisturizer and got a sample kit with a cleanser, mask, and toner. I found through this process that my skin breaks out because it is sensitive, not because it is oily, so I got the moisturizer meant to soothe irritated skin. Not only does it soothe my skin and get rid of any inflammation, but it moisturizes it SO well. Here's my new routine (read on afterwords for two mask ideas):


A Perfect World™

A Perfect World Antioxidant cleanser with White Tea

This perfect foaming-face wash is formulated with nature's rare Silver Tipped White Tea.  In a pre-emptive sweep, dirt-grabbing minerals combined with the gentle, skin-compatible cleansing action of Palm, Coconut and Oat Amino Acid reach deep to help detoxify and free skin of harmful, free radical-releasing impurities before they settle down and cause skin-aging oxidation, deterioration, dehydration and even some forms of irritation.  Skin is perfectly clean, smoothed and refreshed.


Purifying Tonic
Purifying Tonic

95% Certified Organic

Gently controls surface shine and excess oil without over drying, helps keep pores clean and clear, brightens, tones, calms and soothes skin. Great for all skin types.
There are just certain things in nature that cannot be improved upon by man. And Organic Willow Bark is without doubt one of them. This legendary beauty ingredient is the precursor of many modern treatments. And in addition to its soothing nature, it's the source of salicylic acid, a known pore purifier. And we love the way clarifying Organic Vinegar flakes off dead cells. It's bye-bye dullness, excess oil, impurities and surface shine. Pores feel tighter and clean clear through.Origins Organic Lavender Alcohol blend helps protect the purity of this product.

Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief

Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Face Cream

This remarkable hydrating cream instantly calms skin. Visibly reduces redness and sensitivity. Narcissus Lily Bulbs optimizes skin's defenses to help prevent potential future damage.  Great for sensitive and reactive skin.

As Needed:

 Brighter by Nature™

Brighter By Nature High-potency brightening peel with fruit acids

These clinically-proven, skin brightening peel pads rival the instant smoothness and radiance restoring benefits of a professional 30% glycolic peel without the redness. Plus they help restore clarity and improve evenness of skin tone.

Clear Improvement® 
 (I love this as a spot treatment!)

Clear Improvement Active charcoal mask to clear pores

When environmental toxins, dirt and debris get under your skin, its waste-filtering system gets jammed, pores get clogged, skin looks cloudy. Nature's complexion clean-up crew gets to the bottom of skins overcast condition and clears the way for it to act its best. Activated Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers, White China Clay absorbs environmental toxins, Lecithin dissolves impurities. Without all that "stuff" down there, skin "breathes a sigh of relief."

Samples I am trying:
Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief

Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum

Irritation silently simmering within skin’s surface may be aging your skin faster than the candles on your birthday cake. Now it’s within your control. This patent-pending, clinically-proven serum features Dr. Weil’s famed mega-mushroom blend now fortified with Chaga and Pleurotus Mushrooms and Sea Buckthorn. So it helps defend against silent skin-agers as never before. Calms. Soothes. Makes skin more resilient. The result: visible aging is slowed. Now that’s a relief.

And what did I do with the coconut oil that I can't use as a moisturizer? A hair mask! Put it all over your hair and wrap it up in a towel for an hour or even over night. Wash out with shampoo and skip the conditioner, and you are left with awesomely soft, manageable hair that grows faster!


Andddd what did I do with the Lush Angels on Bare Skin cleanser that I replaced with the origins one? I make a nice thick paste of it and use it as a face mask to deep cleanse and moisturize!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Five Minute Face

I was rushing out the door this morning and needed to do my makeup super quick, and realized I have a go-to regimen whenever I don't have 15 minutes to do my usual face of makeup. Here's what I do in 5 easy steps!

1. Concealer: Most days I use three concealers: under eye circle corrector, powder concealer to set the corrector, and blemish concealer. But on days whenever I am pressed for time, I use my powder concealer for everything.

2. Powder Foundation: Normally, I use both a liquid foundation and a mineral powder foundation as a setting powder. To shorten this two step process into one, I use my powder foundation with my new favorite brush, Sonia Kashuk's Flat Top Multi-Purpose Brush, which magically leaves a medium to full coverage without looking the least bit cakey. (I am actually starting to prefer powder foundation with this brush to my usual liquid, then powder technique).

3. Blush: For face color, usually I contour my cheeks with a bronzer and then apply blush. If you have to cut product, cut the bronzer. Never cut the blush! It really wakes your face up and leaves you looking healthy. Use a blush that isn't terribly pigmented so you don't have to be super careful applying and waste precious moments blending when you could just sweep it across your cheeks without much of a second glance.

4. Eyeshadow: Eyes are where I spend the most time doing my makeup, and rightfully so. On any given day I'll probably be wearing eye primer, cream eyeshadow, and three colors of pressed eye shadow. Most people suggest a cream eyeshadow for when you are in a rush, since it will act as both a primer and a color, but that just doesn't work for me. I am one of those people who need a crease color or else I look washed out. To use one color from my lashes to my crease takes that perfect color. Frankly, shimmery colors leave me too shiny fror my own good, light colors leave me washed out, and dark colors leave me looking like I'm trying (and failing) to create a smokey eye. I need a nice matte taupe color, which I have yet to find in a creme shade. Also, creams need to be blended out pretty well, and I find it faster to sweep a pressed shadow across my lids and crease with my fingers to be much faster and easier. But, using a pressed shadow does mean using a primer, but that takes all of 5 seconds.

4 1/2. Eye liner: This is an optional step. A lot of people look fine skipping the eyeliner on occasion, but my particular eye shape needs a little boosting, so I don't skip the liner. However, instead of using my usual super black gel liner with a brush, I just use a dark brown pencil liner. Pencil liners are faster, and since the brown color isn't too much of a contrast from the shadow I'm wearing, I don't have to be as precise.

5. Mascara: The last and most important step is mascara. Typically I'll curl them and add 3-4 coats, but simply curling them with one coat is perfectly satisfactory. Just don't skip curling, or you'll find yourself wanting extra, time consuming coats.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

April Favorites:

I know that its already quite a few days into May, but I thought I'd still share my favorite products from April. This month, I have really been focusing on skin care over trying out new makeup, so you'll definitely see more skin care products!

First.. All things Lush.

Lush Dream Cream

Incredibly soothing body lotion for troubled skin. Dream Cream is Lush's best-selling product because it makes sore skin feel good again. Chamomile and lavender calm irritations, reduce redness and banish blotches. We also use oat milk, too, which has traditionally been used on troubled skin for centuries. It contains everything nature makes for soothing your skin.
 Why I love it: It truly smells unscented with a hint of calming oatmeal. It moisturizes like no other moisturizer. It absorbs without leaving you greasy. It simple, all natural, and it works

Lush Lip Scrub

It's made with refreshing peppermint oil, which will make your lips feel soothed and tingly, and sweet vanilla extract to lock in moisture and protect your lips.
Why I love it: My lips never really get chapped because I put lip butter and balm on constantly, but they are never perfectly smooth on their own. This scrub definitely does the job AND it's edible! I am so guilty of using this and then licking it all off!

Lush Buffy Body Butter

Why I love it: This is basically shea and cocoa butter filled with ground almonds and rice. You rub it on wherever you want to exfoliate in the shower, and you're leave smooth and soft. I don't even have to put a lotion on after. I get little bumps after shaving really easily and this completely does away with it! My only issue is I wish that it didn't melt so fast :(

Lush Jungle Conditioner

 Jungle feels different on your hair from liquid conditioner; until you wash it off, you hardly notice it's there. It smoothes and detangles, leaving a fruitily scented coat of shininess.
Why I love it: I have been using solid shampoo and conditioner for a couple of weeks now and I don't think I will ever go back. The shampoo I use is Karma Kumba and I love it, but its this little guy that I am obsessed with. It's all natural and doesn't have those yucky silicones that are bad for your hair. It smells DELICIOUS. It is so fun to use. And it leaves my hair super smooth and shiny without making it greasy. 

Elf Lip Gloss
Why I love it: Where else can you find a quality lip gloss for under $5, let only 5 lipglosses for under $5!? I love how these feel on, they are super smooth and really stick to your lips, without being sticky (if that makes sense). They really stay on instead of most glosses that seem to fall right off. I love all five of my shades (the coral one is AWESOME), but the one I find myself wearing the most is the one on the far right, "Candle Light". It's the perfect peachy shade.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel

A potent alpha and beta hydroxy acid complex with certified organic apple, lemon, grape, raw cane sugar and willow bark delivers spa-grade exfoliation. This full strength facial peel will reveal a natural, brighter complexion while firming the skin and eliminating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Why I love it: Its organic. It smells delicious. It clears my skin like crazy. The only thing that makes me sad is how expensive Alpha Beta peels are. This one is cheaper, and better for you, than most though. When I run out of my sample that I got from birchbox, I will definitely be considering a full sized purchase.

Juice Beauty Stem Cell Repair Moisturizer

A proprietary blend of fruit stem cells deeply penetrates the skin to repair DNA damage and encourage new cell growth to aggressively firm and eliminate wrinkles. Antioxidant-rich fruit juices, fat-soluble Vitamin C and plant oils hydrate and improve elasticity for lasting, advanced age defy results.
Why I love it: I got a one time use sample of this in my birchbox and it is simply incredible. It paired with the peel made my skin literally completely clear up over night. Its a thick moisturizer, but really absorbs into your skin. It's organic and smells like lemonade. I just wish it wasn't three times the price of my current moisturizer.

Body Shop Lip Butter

With added Community Trade beeswax from Zambia and the antioxidant vitamin E to care for and pamper lips.
 Why  l love it: I use this every night in my skin care regimen before bed. Its super thick and creamy and feels awesome. It's perfect to use after using the lip scrub because some other balms stick on freshly exfoliated lips, but this just smooths on and calms it down.

What are your favorite products this month?