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:

arm

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:

ex gloves

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:

jergens

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.

tarte

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.

vaseline

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

st tropez

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!

Review: Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadows

There’s one makeup product I hoard more than the rest.  And by hoard, I mean that I have at least 10 of these awesome little pots of color in my makeup bag at any given time.  Excessive? Probably. Do I care? You know I don’t.

The reason I have so many Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows is because they are flat-out amazing.  They’re inexpensive ($5), come in a huge range of colors, and they’re the perfect base for any eye look.  Color Tattoos provide pigment and a nice, sticky base for powder shadows to cling to and stay in place for hours and hours.

My absolute favorite shade, and the one I reach for almost every day, is Bad to the Bronze:

Bad to the Bronze
Photo Credit: ulta.com

This warm bronze is a great base for daytime and nighttime looks.  Use your finger for more sheer coverage; use a wet brush to pack on the color and shine. Bad to the Bronze pairs beautifully with any eye color so if you don’t have it yet, get yourself to CVS ASAP.

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Photo Credit: ivoryavenue.com

For those of you #blessed with hooded eyes like me, Color Tattoos are a must to keep powder shadows from getting lost in the abyss that is our crease.  This is especially true for brightly colored looks.  I’m a huge fan of the Painted Purple Color Tattoo because it makes my blue eyes look mega, crazy blue:

painted purple
Photo Credit: Maybelline.com.au

Here’s Painted Purple with powder shadow on top, in case you’d also like to channel your inner 90s neon workout Barbie:

Halloween

Other shades I’d highly recommend:

  • Barely Branded: Creamy, champagne color for neutral looks

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Photo Credit: Maybelline.com

  • Pomegranate Punk: Deep, burgundy color that pairs very well with the shadows in the Naked 3 palette

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Photo Credit: amazon.com

  • Audacious Asphalt: Charcoal grey a.k.a. the only smoky eye base you’ll ever need

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Photo credit: amazon.com

Color Tattoos are inexpensive, available at every drugstore and online and one pot will last FOREVER.  Literal years.  They do dry out a bit as they age but I find that using my warm finger (that sounds gross but you know what I mean) to apply the shadow “melts” the formula and gives me smooth, even coverage.

I highly recommend you pick up one or 15 Color Tattoos on your next drugstore run.  Enjoy!

Review: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

Like many makeup junkies, I am on a never-ending quest to find the perfect liquid foundation.  The definition of “perfect” is different for everyone so here’s mine:

  • Medium coverage without looking/feeling overly made up or cakey
  • Helps control my oily skin and keep shine to a minimum
  • Won’t break me out or clog pores
  • Relatively inexpensive (although I’ve been known to temporarily lose my mind and a lot of money if a foundation really works miracles)

fit me

Photo Credit: maybelline.com

Last week I picked up the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation and after using it daily, I have to say, I think my quest is over.  This just may be the perfect foundation – and it’s less than $10 (!!).  Here’s why I’m in love:

  • A little goes a long way. I apply a small amount to my brush (quarter sized amount) and the end result is a lightweight, flawless finish that never feels heavy on my skin.
  • Great coverage. Maybelline isn’t joking when they say that this foundation adjusts to match your skin and evens out tone and color. I use shade 120 in Classic Ivory – it cancels out my red tones and never morphs into that weird orange color as the day goes on like other foundations can do.
  • No need for primer. I’ve learned the hard way that while primer does go a long way in giving me a flawless canvas to apply my foundation, it also can break me out like crazy. Thankfully, Fit Me looks great without a primer and applies smoothly, even over rough patches/blemishes.
  • Oil control. I pray to God and Beyoncé each night that my face will eventually stop producing insane amounts of oil, but so far, no luck.  The matte finish does an impressively good job of keeping shine under control throughout the day.  Although the formula is liquid, Fit Me sets more like a powder foundation. Unless you have Exxon-levels of oil like me, you can definitely get away with wearing Fit Me sans powder.
  • Price. It’s only $6! This isn’t one of those foundations that you ration out every drop because it costs you more than a month’s worth of groceries. This is a foundation you pick up at CVS while you’re bored and feel zero guilt, and that’s the best feeling of all.

Curly Hair Routine & Favorite Products

When it comes to my hair, I live a lie most of the time.  As I’ve mentioned before, I almost bankrupt myself every month maintaining my dyed blonde hair. I also spend a fair amount of time fighting against my natural curls and beating them into submission with blow-drying, flat ironing and curse words.

But every now and then I say screw it and let the curls fly free.  As any curly girl knows, it takes some product and practice to get your curls to behave and look their best.  Here’s my tried and true curly hair routine and favorite products:

carrie

Photo Credit: fashionista.com
  • Curl Activating Shampoo and Conditioner

Do curl activating shampoos and conditioners really help your curls be the best they can be? I think so.  Is it all a placebo effect and I’m just lighting my money on fire?  Maybe.  Either way, I use the L’Oreal EverCurl Hydracharge Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner  because I think it gives my curls a little more oomph and makes them soft and shiny.

shampoo

Photo Credit: drugstore.com
  • Thou Shalt Not Use A Towel

Towels might seem all warm and cuddly and non-threatening but rub one on your freshly washed curls and you’re in for trouble and a LOT of frizz.  Instead, use an old, soft cotton T-shirt to blot your hair (don’t rub, don’t you dare rub) and squeeze out the excess water.  The key to frizz-free curls is to touch them as little as possible.

blue

Photo Credit: target.com
  • Define Those Curls

Now we’re getting somewhere.  While my hair is still fairly wet, I scrunch the curls with Paul Mitchell’s Round Trip Curl Definer.  This stuff is great because it’s not a gel but more of a serum that helps separate and define your curls without weighing them down and making them stiff.  Gel + wet curls = crunchy late 80’s Jessie Spano hair and we don’t want that.  What we’re going for is more “Penny Lane in Almost Famous” curls.

PL

Photo Credit: teachmix.com

  • Don’t Touch

This is one of the most important steps: Do nothing.  Walk away.  Do not touch your curls.  Let them air dry for a bit while you put your makeup on or do whatever else your heart desires.

  • Mousse and Style

We’ve reached the home stretch!  Once your hair is almost completely dry, scrunch/carefully comb through a golf ball-sized amount of mousse through your curls.  My go-to is the Aussie Mousse + Leave-In Conditioner because it smells AMAZING and the leave-in conditioner leaves my hair super soft.

mousse

Photo Credit: makeupalley.com

  • Finishing Touches

If you’ve got the time, I highly suggest using a curling iron roughly the size of your curls to define the top layer.  I like to randomly pick small pieces and alternate the direction of the iron so that it looks more natural.  My curls aren’t tightly wound so I stick with an inch or 1.5 inch iron.

iron

Photo Credit: ulta.com

And that’s it! Enjoy your curls 🙂

curls

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!

me
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.

5 Sweat-Proof Summer Makeup Tips

Now that we’ve almost reached August, it’s fitting that the weather is face-meltingly hot and humid.  There are few things more frustrating than putting your face on and having it all run off like a (very colorful) waterfall within two minutes of stepping out the door.

Luckily for you, I have some sweat-proof summer makeup tips:

  1. Makeup setting spray

I’m one of those people who is #blessed to have incredibly oily skin year round, and the day I discovered the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray , my life changed for the better.  This spray is a bit pricey but it lasts a long time and really helps lock your makeup in place.  A couple sprays before you start applying your makeup, a couple sprays when your makeup is finished and boom. Done. Your makeup is staying put.

  1. BB Cream

When it’s hot as hell, the last thing you want to do is slather a layer of liquid foundation on your mug.  Enter the BB cream.  A good BB cream is lightweight, gives you decent coverage and usually contains the all-important SPF needed in the summer.  My favorite is the Rimmel Matte BB Cream.  Anything with “matte” in the title will help keep shine at bay.

  1. Bronzer

You probably have a bit of a tan already, so why not go all out and use bronzer on All The Things?  I’m not a fan of heavy eye makeup when I know I’m going to be out in the heat, so I’ll sweep some bronzer through the crease of my eye to give a little color and shimmer without much product, then throw some on my cheeks and along my hairline.  A great (and cheap!) drugstore bronzer is the Physician’s Formula Bronze Booster.

  1. Balm stain

Lips can be tricky in the summer.  Gloss is so sticky, lipstick can melt (or smear all over your face while you’re inhaling a hot dog) and a stain is far too drying.  Thankfully the good people at Revlon created the Balm Stain.  This may be my all-time favorite drugstore product.  You get the color payoff and longevity of a stain with the moisture of a balm, plus this line comes in a huge range of colors.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

  1. Waterproof mascara

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Sweating and regular mascara don’t mix well. Or maybe you’re like me and want your lashes to look fabulous even when you’re swimming.  Either way, you need a waterproof mascara in the summer.  My current favorite is the CoverGirl Super Sizer.  The skinny brush is great for really lengthening and separating each lash (and it’s great for the lower lashes, too).

There you have it!  I hope these tips help, and if all else fails, just camp out in the air conditioning until October.