Current Beauty Favorites

Guess who’s back, back again.  It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted but I’m here now with a (long) list of my current beauty favorites.  I’ve been collecting this random assortment of products for months and using them all religiously, so I promise they are well worth the money.  At least that’s what I tell my boyfriend when he says “You bought MORE stuff?!” Whoops.  Anyway, let’s get to it:

 

 

Face & Skin

Freeman’s Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask

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God do I love me a face mask.  Freeman is an OG in the mask department and the dead sea minerals mask is my new favorite.  I loooove the turquoise blue color of the product, I love the fresh scent and I especially love how my skin feels after washing it off.  This mask dries semi-hard, not as hard as a clay mask, and comes off easily with warm water.  It leaves my skin bright, refreshed and overall feeling better.  And I think that in this political climate, we all need as much anti-stress products as humanly possible.  Pro Tip: This face mask pairs wonderfully with a Pinot Noir and any episode of The Real Housewives.

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

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I don’t know about you, but my seasonal allergies this year were HORRIFIC.  My nose ran constantly and I wanted to claw my eyes out of my skull they itched so badly.  When my allergies are really on one, I get eczema flare ups on my upper and lower eyelids and they turn into a puffy, scaly, red itchy mess.  Is this turning you on?

So to keep myself from scaring small children when I walk through the streets, I picked up this Aveeno eczema cream at CVS.  It has been a life saver.  This lotion is unscented, super light weight and sinks into my pissed off eczema skin quickly.  It feels so soothing and helps relive the itching and puffiness almost immediately.  I put this all around my eyes and it has never bothered my contacts or, most importantly, made my eyelash extensions fall off.  If you also deal with the scourge that is eczema – you need this stuff.

Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Mineral Enriched Renewal Cream

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Okay, I’ll get this out of the way immediately – this shit is expensive.  And it comes in a tiny jar.  BUT – It’s fabulous.  I love a good bougie night cream and this is my current favorite.  I’ve been using it for the past 6 months or so and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.  This cream is packed with vitamins and minerals and goes on with a velvety smooth finish.  I wake up with glowy, refreshed skin even after using a tiny amount (I try to ration it out so that I’m still able to pay my electric bill each month).

Another bonus?  It smells amazing.  To me it smells exactly like the orange Flintstones Push Up ice cream popsicle things from back in the day.  God those were amazing, I probably ate thousands of them as a kid.  But I digress.  If you’re looking for a high quality night cream and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, grab this one.

Hair

Garnier Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist

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I’ve been straightening my naturally wavy hair for years but never really realized how important it is to use a heat protector.  Thankfully, I’ve seen the light and error of my ways. This Garnier mist is inexpensive, protects hair from heat, and brings smoothness and shine with added Moroccan argon oil.  It even keeps my hair straight and smooth on humid summer days and that is a goddamn miracle.  It’s super inexpensive and available everywhere so get you some.

Makeup

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation

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It seems like I’ve been on a never-ending quest to find the perfect foundation for years.  Unsurprisingly, I never found one that truly worked for me and I’ve finally figured out why – I was always trying liquid foundation.  As I’ve mentioned a billion times before, I have incredibly oily skin, and liquid foundation would just kind of…sit on top of my skin and eventually slide off.  How chic!  How sexy!  Not really.

Finally my brain had the brilliant thought of “Hey, maybe try some powder foundation, you clown?” Enter the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation.  This stuff is LEGIT. It helps suck up the oil while still providing enough coverage to even out skin tone.  I was a bit skeptical that a powder could really provide full coverage but it does (beautifully!) and it doesn’t ever look cakey or settle into fine lines and wrinkles.  It’s a bit pricey – as foundations usually are – but one of these little jars last forever.  The powder is easy to spread around and buff into the skin with the kabuki brush that comes with it (pictured above) so a little goes a long way.  I can’t recommend this foundation enough for my fellow oily skinned people!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

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Anyone who is even remotely interested in makeup has heard of the Brow Wiz.  I was a bit late to the brow game – I only started shaping and filling my brows in about 3 years ago.  I know, I’m ashamed too.  I began dipping my toe into the brow world by using powders with tiny brushes and basically hoping for the best.  While that worked out fine, the powder and brush never mimicked the look of actual brow hairs and that’s really the look I wanted.

Finally, I got my hands on the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and my brow life was instantly changed. The Brow Wiz has a very fine-tipped point pencil that is smudge-proof, long wearing and incredibly easy to work with.  Add in the fact that the other end gives you a brush to shape and groom your brows and it is honestly the only brow product you will ever need.  My favorite shades are Soft Brown and Taupe, in case you’re dying to know.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blushed

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Now it’s time for a drugstore favorite! When I’m putting my face on, I tend to spend a lot of time on my base/foundation and eyes and typically lips are my last step.  So I love when I can find a go-to shade that looks good with any eyeshadow color or clothes color, and I can just slap it on and be done.  Blushed is that perfect shade – the ultimate “My lips but better” color.  The formula gives a tiny bit of sheen without being too glossy, and the it never looks dry on the lips. I know that liquid lipsticks are all the rage currently but they look a bit harsh on me so I gravitate toward a semi-glossy finish.  This color is perfect for work, school, anything.  I keep a tube in my purse and in my makeup stash at all times.

L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealer in Fair/Light

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Keeping it in the drugstore family with this awesome concealer.  I’ve tried my fair share of under eye concealers but this has been my favorite for the past year.  The name is accurate – this stuff is super blendable. I like to put a few dots under my eye and just use my finger to tap and blend in the product and it works perfectly every time.  It never looks cakey or heavy and stays all day when I dust a bit of translucent powder on top.  It’s not the greatest for covering dark, red-colored blemishes but it can be layered to help tone them down.  This is another product where a little goes a long way and one of these lil baby tubes will last a long time.

The Balm – Meet Matt(e) Ador Eyeshadow Palette

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Ah yes, my favorite makeup item to buy – eyeshadow palettes! The latest addition to the collection is the Meet Matt(e) Ador palette by The Balm.  I’m a sucker for dusty pink and coral shades, they look fantastic on blue eyes, and I also love the addition of dark colors in this palette to use as liners or for a smokey eye look.  The Balm always delivers high quality and these shadows are no exception – super matte and easy to blend with great color payoff.  Plus, the packaging comes with a giant mirror which is always a plus when traveling or doing your makeup on the fly.  This palette isn’t cheap but I justify that by reaching for it almost every day to put together quick looks for the office.

And that’s it for now!  What products are you loving?  Let me know 🙂

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Review: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

 

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I’m back, it’s a new year and I have a new favorite face mask.  And this product couldn’t have come at a better time.  I won’t bore you with the gory details but I’ve been sick for roughly the last month (but am finally almost better, yay!) and when my body isn’t feeling well, my skin likes to go absolutely insane.  Not fun.

But there are perks to spending hours in bed feeling like garbage. The universe smiled upon me and I fell down the Amazon beauty reviews rabbit hole and discovered the immensely popular Aztec Indian Healing Clay.  With 4.5/5 stars and over 7,000 reviews I knew this stuff had to be good, but now I’m convinced this one pound tub of dirt has actual magical properties.

So what’s so great about this stuff?  Here are the basics, per Amazon:

  • World’s most powerful facial
  • Deep pore cleaning
  • 100% natural calcium bentonite clay
  • Does not contain: additives, fragrances, animal products

 

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                 Photo credit: inhautepursuit.com

They forgot to mention that it’s cheap!  A one pound tub will set you back $9, and when you only need one tablespoon per mask, it’s going to last you a loooong time.

Now let’s get down to business.  Here’s how to make the mask:

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        Photo credit: labmuffin.com

You’ll need the clay, a non-metal bowl and spoon and apple cider vinegar.  All of the Amazon faithful suggested Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar so that’s what I’ve got.  It smells a bit like rotting apples but hey, it works.

A couple tips before you mix your mask:

  1. Put your hair up or out of your face because, duh.
  2. Eat or drink something if you want because once this baby is on your face, you can’t eat/talk/drink/smile for a good 20-30 minutes. That’s how intensely this mask dries and pulls the junk out of your face.

Once that’s out of the way it’s time to get started. Mix clay with equal part of raw apple cider vinegar (I use 1 tablespoon of each) in a non-metal bowl. Stir the mixture into a smooth paste.  Apply all over the face.  You should look something like this:

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    Photo credit: uk.pintrest.com

Now the fun part begins.  As this mask dries, you will feel your face pulsate like crazy.  This is good.  Don’t be scared.

The mask will become very tight while it dries and hardens.  If you have oily skin like me, keep the mask on for 30 minutes.  Normal and more sensitive skin can get away with 10-20 minutes.

Pro Tip: While your mask dries, take advantage of your green face and channel your inner Jim Carrey.  I suggest dancing around to this song:

Once enough time has gone by and your mask is dry, soak a washcloth in warm water and lay it over your face for a minute or two to begin loosening everything up.  You don’t want to try to start washing it off right away or the chips of mud will clog your drain and no one wants that.

Apply a nice, heavy moisturizer post-facial.  I usually do my masks at night in the bathtub with a glass of wine I drink through a straw and follow up with the Olay Classic Night Cream.
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Photo credit: amazon.com

You’ll notice that your face is very red after the mask is off but this is normal and will go away in 30-ish minutes.  You’ll probably also notice that your face is beyond smooth and soft, and that’s just one of the benefits.  The others include:

  • Smaller pores and cleaned-out blackheads
  • Reduction in excess oil production
  • Elimination of acne. Honestly, I have not had a spot since using this mask 2-3x per week for the past month and a half.  And that, my friends, is a goddamn miracle.
  • Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin tone is more even, rough patches are smoothed
  • Glowing skin like the light of a thousand suns

In short, this tub of clay is the real deal.  It’s definitely worth the money and I’m excited to try other uses for it – hair masks, foot soaks, you name it.  If you’re a fan of face masks or just want to give your skin a detox to start 2016 off right, I very highly recommend picking up some Aztec Healing Clay.

Self-Tanning Routine and Favorite Products

As I type this post, I see that my lovely little corner of the world is expecting 4-7 inches of snow this weekend. Combine that with the fact that the sun now goes down at 4:30pm and I’m in dire need of a dose of summer.  Enter one of my most treasured beauty rituals: Self-Tanning.

A golden tan can give you a healthy glow and, let’s be real, the whole “If you can’t tone it, tan it!” sentiment is very true.  A good tan helps you look and feel better. Thankfully, self-tanning products have come a LONG way in the past few years, and when these products are combined with a solid pre and post application routine, you can be tan and glowing every day of the year – all without being exposed to damaging UV rays.

Here is my self-tanning routine and favorite products for face and body:

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Here’s my tan, disembodied arm

Pre-Tan Application

I typically do my self-tanning routine at night so when I wake up in the morning my tan has darkened and I’m good to go.

The number one key to a streak-free, long-lasting, even tan is to exfoliate pre-application.  You can shell out money for fancy body scrubs that smell like angel kisses and will take off your top layer of skin, or you can do what I do and buy cheap exfoliating shower gloves at the drugstore:

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Hop in the shower, squeeze some body wash on these bad boys and scrub your whole body down – especially focus on knees, elbows and ankles as self-tanning products tend to really stick to those areas and can make them develop darker than the rest of your tan.

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Don’t forget to also exfoliate your face!  My favorite product that I’ve talked about before are the Skin Obsession Microdermabrasion Crystals mixed with whatever cleanser I have in the shower.

Tan Application

Now that you’ve exfoliated the top layer of your skin off (gross but yay!) and you’re out of the shower, it’s time to dry off completely and apply the tan.  I know that your skin is all dry and itchy feeling and you want to dip your entire body in lotion but WAIT, we’ll get there.

If you’re using a mouse or a spray, grab some old/dark-colored towels to lay down on the floor to prevent any stains.  And if you live alone like me or have the house to yourself for an hour, I highly suggest applying your tan in another, cooler temperature room – your bathroom is a humid, hot place after you’ve showered and that environment can double the time it takes your tan to dry.  So if you have the option, spread out some towels in the living room and let’s get down to business:

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I’ve tried quite a few self-tanning products, from very expensive to drugstore, and I can’t recommend this Jergen’s mousse enough.  It’s inexpensive ($10), has a pleasant smell, and gives me natural-looking color that lasts a good 3-5 days.

  • Use gloves and/or a mitt to keep your hands from getting horrifically stained. Apply a few pumps to your mitt, smooth it all over one body part at a time and keep working.  I start at my feet and work upwards but it’s your world, start wherever you want.

gloves and mitt

  • Once you’ve applied the tan all over your body, you may want to use a product specifically made for self-tanning the face. I’ve found in the past that the body tanners do give me great color on my face but they break me out horribly, and tan pimples suck just as much as pale ones.

    Instead, I mix a bit of Olay daily moisturizer with a small amount of Tarte’s Maracuja Face and Body Self Tanner and apply all over my face.  Done.

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Post-Tan Application

The hard part is over!  Now just chill out for a few minutes (Naked! Scandalous!) to let your tan dry.  Once you feel sufficiently dry (10-20 minutes), it’s time to add moisture back into the skin.  I cover myself top to bottom in my favorite lotion of all time – Vaseline Cocoa Radiant.

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Applying lotion every day will help keep your skin soft and extend the longevity of your tan.  If you want to give your tan an extra boost when it starts to fade several days later, I highly recommend the St. Tropez One Night Only Instant Body Glow Lotion

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This lotion is pricey but it’s great for giving your tan some extra color, or you if you don’t feel like going through the whole self-tan process described above, apply this for a tan that washes off in your next shower.

And that’s it! Happy Bronzing!

Skin Care 101: My Routine and Favorite Products

I have a confession.  Up until a couple years ago, I had no skin care routine whatsoever. Zero. Maybe I’d splash some water on my face in the morning and use whatever soap in the shower to do a mediocre job of washing off my makeup in the evening, but that was it.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my skin was dull with an uneven tone, fine lines were starting to form and, due to my naturally oily skin (thanks, Mom!), I had my share of acne.  Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot since then and now I actually get compliments on my skin, which still throws me off from time to time.  Take my advice and don’t wait 28 years to start caring for your face!

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This is my face. And maybe a filter.

There are three basic steps to skin care: Cleansing, Exfoliating and Moisturizing.  Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Here is my current skin care routine and favorite products:

  1. Makeup Removal 

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I’m an evening shower person so we’ll start the routine with makeup removal. Removing all of your makeup before cleansing is a crucial step on the road to great skin. Before getting in the shower, I take off my makeup with a Neutrogena makeup remover wipe. The CVS brand of these wipes is great, too (and cheaper).  If I have some heavy-duty eye makeup on, I’ll soak a cotton ball with Neutrogena eye makeup remover and gently rub everything off.

  1. Cleansing and Exfoliating 

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I keep a rotation of several cleansers in the shower but usually mix together my all-time favorites of Cetaphil and the Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub for Oily Skin.  Cetaphil is super mild and helps remove any remaining bits of makeup the wipe might have missed while the Garnier scrub removes dead skin and is gentle enough to use every day.  Plus, the charcoal in the scrub helps control acne and oily skin because, science.

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Once or twice a week I’ll mix together a pump of Cetaphil with a small amount of my secret weapon: Skin Obsession Microdermabrasion Crystals.  These crystals are incredibly finely milled and a minute or two of rubbing this mixture all over your face will leave your skin baby soft and radiant.   Exfoliating is KEY in keeping skin soft, generating new skin cells and evening out skin tone. A smooth, even canvas gives you a fantastic base for applying makeup.  Exfoliating is also a necessity for keeping “mature” a.k.a over 30 skin, like mine, all glowy and youthful.

  1. Toning & Anti-Aging

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Toner seems to be one of those things that people are on the fence about when it comes to skin care.  Do I think it’s a huge factor? No. Do I think it helps in my fight against oily skin? Yep. Once my skin is all cleansed, exfoliated and I’m out of the shower, I’ll soak a cotton ball in toner and wipe it all over my face.  Done.

Next it’s time for anti-aging. I’ve been using the Avene Retrinal 0.1 Cream ever since my dermatologist recommended it two years ago when I asked her what would help slow time from marching across my face.  The price is a little steep but you only need to use a pea-sized amount each night, so a tube will last months.  I apply this all over my face and neck. It has never made me break out, it doesn’t give that lovely sting that other retinol products can have and I think it’s done wonders for evening out my skin tone and plumping everything up a bit.  I highly recommend it.

While letting the Retrinal sink in and do its thing, I’ll apply a dot of Epiduo to any pimple that might be starting to show up and this stops it in its tracks.  I’m fairly certain that Epiduo is prescription only so ask your dermatologist for a sample.  It’s strong, effective stuff and can be very drying, so use a tiny dot only on the spot itself or you’ll risk the skin around it becoming dry and flaky.

  1. Moisturizing 

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Anti-aging and acne prevention products can dry out the skin, so it’s time to put that moisture back in.  I like to use a combination of the classic Olay Night Cream with a few drops of Tarte Maracuja Oil mixed in. Yes, I have oily skin and yes, I put an oil on my face and I genuinely believe it’s one of the most important steps in my routine.  Maracuja oil has many benefits and is loaded with Vitamin C to give you a brighter, firmer complexion.  This oil is not cheap but when you only use 2-3 drops a day, it’s going to last.  I can’t say enough good things about it (although it smells a bit like french fry grease, but…who doesn’t love fries?).  For daytime moisture, I use the Olay Complete Moisturizer with SPF 15 after cleansing and before applying makeup.

Last, but certainly not least, I pat Olay Eye Lifting Serum underneath and around my eyes.

And that’s it!  This might sound like a ton of products and a lot of steps, but once I got into the habit, I got it down to a science and it only takes me 5-7 minutes, tops.

  1. Optional Step: Face Masks 

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I don’t lead a particularly taxing life, but I still live by the “Treat Yo Self” motto.  Part of that treating is face masks.  I loooove them.  And you should, too, because they’re inexpensive, helpful for a range of skin issues and you’ll feel like a queen (or king, no judgement) waiting to be fed grapes while you lay around with your mask on.

Once or twice a week I’ll use one of the following masks, depending on what my skin’s doing or needing.  Bonus: All Freeman masks are inexpensive and sold at every drugstore:

  • Freeman Oatmeal & Avocado Clay Mask gets all the gunk out of your pores, leaving your skin extra clean and smooth. I like to use this mask at the end of the weekend since I’ve typically been wearing a lot of makeup and acting a fool for the past few days, so I need that deep clean.
  • Freeman Peel-Off Cucumber Mask is an old school, peel-off cucumber mask. Truthfully I just love this one for the Patrick Bateman-esque style of peeling the mask off once it’s all dry, but it does have actual skin smoothing and impurity-removing benefits.
  • Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask is a must for my fellow oily skin people because it contains our friend charcoal. This isn’t a mask exactly, but more a yummy-smelling paste.  Spread it all over your face, let it sit for a couple minutes, rub it all around your face for a minute or two, wash it off and voila! Glowing, smooth skin is yours.

My number one skin care tip? Be consistent. A solid routine and great products won’t help much if you’re only using them sporadically.  Carve out a couple minutes in your day to take care of your skin and I promise, your face will thank you for it.