Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tips for Flawless, Glowing Skin!

As I was getting ready for work this morning, trying to decide if I wanted to wear makeup or not (I know, beauty guru stepping out of her house without being full glam?! *GASP!*) when I realized that my skin has come a long way in the last year. I was dry, flaky, itchy, red, irritated, textured... it was so bad.  But now when I look in the mirror, I see a reflection of skin I am happy to be in.

A student actually asked me the other day what highlighter I was wearing, to which I replied, "moisturizer!" For anyone who suffers from dry skin such as myself knows this is an especially wonderful compliment. "Glowing" was never a word I would use to describe my skin a year ago but now it is. 

So how did I engineer this transformation? Simply: great skincare and high-quality makeup.

Here are a few of my "How to Get Glowing Skin" Tips & Tricks (with product suggestions):

1. Gently Cleanse Skin! - Do not use soap or anything that is strips the skin of its natural oil (even if you are oily!) ... Here are some honorable mentions:
Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil
Pixi by Petra + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse
Tatcha Camellia Pure Cleansing Oil

2. Exfoliate! EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! - Use chemical exfoliants that will work to buff off the top layer of dead skin and leaves behind AHAs or BHAs that help hydrate and brighten the skin.  DO NOT use overly abrasive physical exfoliants, especially if you have sensitive skin like me!
Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic
Dr. Dennis Gross Original Strength Peel Pads

3. Use Vitamin- C! This is the secret ingredient to GLOW! Not only does it help protect skin from sun-damage by enhancing the sunscreen you should be using each day, but it also helps reverse sun-damage by correcting hyper-pigmentation and softening fine lines and wrinkles.
Senegence Seneserum-C (you can order this through my FB group)
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

4. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize! I cannot stress this enough! Oily or not, this is key to your skins health.  Because I am so dry, I emulsify an oil into my moisturizer daily, twice a day!
DAYTIME Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb + Josie Maran Argan Oil
NIGHTTIME - Belif The True Cream Moisture Bomb + FRESH Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

Tinted Moisturizers are also a great option for any skin type, especially to mask or reduce some visible redness from dry, itchy, inflamed, or acne-prone skin, some of my favorites are:
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer
Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm
Senegence Tinted Moisturizer (you can order this through my FB group)

5. Lastly, FAKE IT TIL YA MAKE IT! What do I mean by that? You can create glow where there is none (until your skin becomes healthy and more balanced) by mixing cream highlighters into your moisturizer or foundation.
Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter
CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops
Senegence MakeSense Pearlizer (you can order this through my FB group)

** These are my holy grail products to create radiant, healthy skin! I hope some of these products help you get the glow of your dreams! XOXO ** 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Spotlight: My GO-TO Eyeshadow Palettes

My best friend came to me about a week ago to ask if I had a blog post on eyeshadows and it dawned on me that I have never mentioned my favorite shadows, except for the time I lost my DAMN MIND over the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow palette (you can read that review HERE)... until now!

So here I am to drop some knowledge on y'all today: I present to you MY GO-TO EYESHADOW PALETTES for all budgets!

I mean clearly, I love the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow palette, as stated previously, so consider that an obvious suggestion. It's affordable, high-quality, and GORGEOUS. I also mentioned in my holy grail post that the Mario x ABH palette is my all-time favorite palette but considering it isn't available anymore, I don't want to spend too much time speaking about it. Instead, I want to spend today highlighting some palettes you may or may not have heard much about but that are completely worth the money, whether its $10 or $50.

e.l.f. Mad about Matte Palette ($10) - inexpensive but great quality matte shadows for an affordable price, this palette comes in two versions: one is cool-toned and one is warm-toned.  Even if you got both, $20 for 20 shadows is a STEAL!  This is perfect for traveling because it's durable and/or for people wanting to dabble in the realm of eyeshadow without spending a fortune!

Some other affordable options: ColourPop Shadow Palettes - These are $16 for 12 shadows.  And although there's currently only 3 options in the larger, 12-pan size but they're all beautiful and affordable.  Excellent palettes to start building your collection!

Buxom Dolly's Wild Side Eyeshadow Palette ($40) - While this is pretty expensive considering it only includes 6 shadows (J. Hill x Morphe palette is $38 for 35 shadows... just for reference), this palette holds a special place in my heart: it is one of the first palettes I ever bought myself and I got it in Chicago with my best friends during our girls weekend, when the makeup addiction really exploded. The colors are perfect for everyday, blend beautifully, and you can dress it up or down with the beautiful shimmers and bolder, dark purple.

TooFaced Original Chocolate Bar Palette ($49)- it smells (and tastes - don't ask me how I know, just trust me on this one) like vanilla-y cocoa powder and it blends like a dream.  You can create warm or cool looks with it; natural daytime or smoky evening, too! This palette stays in the makeup bag I keep in my school tote.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

WTF Wednesday: $50 Body Lotion?!

If you've been here awhile, then you know my biggest skin complaint is chronic dryness. I have an exceptionally hard time finding lotion that really works for me: I don't want it to be overly greasy like a slip and slide or so thick I start sweating because my skin can't breathe, but I don't want it to be so lightweight or thin that I feel crusty/dry in an hour.  I have tried so many body lotions and creams from drugstore to high-end but I dislike a majority of them (ie. Bath & Body Works body lotion... that crap has a special place in hell, in my opinion. Sure, they smell great, but they don't work at actually moisturizing your skin).
So naturally when one of my favorite YouTube influencers, Tati Westbrook, repeatedly mentions a body cream she loves, I am intrigued.  Her recommendation? The Sol De Janeiro Brazillian Bum Bum Cream, which I considered purchasing many, many times but I have a hard time swallowing the insane price tag.... it's $45 for 8oz.  That is SO EXPENSIVE.

However, when my very best friend came to me and also said Sol De Janeiro's Brazillian Bum Bum Cream is the best body cream on Earth and smells like unicorns, rainbows, and angels, I knew it was officially time to bite the bullet. So I did... and I have been using it for about 2 weeks now...

Verdict? I hate to say it guys but aside from the intoxicating smell, this stuff is AMAZING! Despite being painfully expensive, it truly works wonder, especially for my dry skin. I am so in love. I intend to buy the body spray as well because I have never smelled something more delicious.  It's warm, sweet (but not sugary), with hint of coconut.  It's ultra-hydrating but not too thick and never greasy.  It is perfect.


Review Day Tuesday: EMPTIES!

I feel like I can already hear your thoughts... "Didn't she just do TWO empties posts?" Yes, yes I did (both of which you can read HERE and HERE). I imagine the follow up sounds something like, "How are you ready to write a third?!"  Well, friends, as previously mentioned... I buy copious amounts of makeup.  Yes, I have a problem. If they offered therapy, I might even consider it.  But my uncontrollable, monetary hemorrhaging is your bank accounts' constipation (HAHA).

This will be a combination of skincare, hair products, and makeup from drugstore to high end.

Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer - featured in my original holy grail blog post, this is my favorite beauty hack of ALL TIMES! If you're not wearing primer, your lashes don't look their best. TRUST ME! You'll never look back.
L'Oreal Coconut EverCurl Hydracharge Conditioner - let me preface this with: I know my hair isn't curly; my hair has a natural wave to it.  However, this conditioner completely enhances the appearance of my waves.  It's the best they've ever looked! Definitely would repurchase, especially if you have curly hair.
MayFair Body Souffle Sea Lily & Jasmine - The smell is fantastic - light, airy, clean. But the product? Gross. I absolutely hate it. It leaves white streaks all over my body, even after spending minutes rubbing it in. And it does not work to deeply hydrate the skin. It sits on top making you greasy and dry at the same time.
Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash - Okay, when you see the price... just let me explain.  I did not actually pay $50 for a face wash.  It was given to me in my laser hair removal sign-up bonus beauty bag. I actually really like it but I would never pay $50 for it.  There are several similar gentle exfoliating face washes available at Sephora that would suffice.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% - I originally spoke about this in an affordable skincare post (you can read it HERE) and liked it, but had only been using it for about a month. Now that I have used the bottle in its entirety, I am pleased to tell you I absolutely love this! I have already repurchased it.  It is a staple in my nighttime regimen.  It keeps my face clear, even during my period (hormonal cystic chin acne is such a bitch) and reduces the appearance of my forehead wrinkles that I so despise.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% - This, too, was included in my affordable skincare post and I still love it!  It is similar to that of Sunday Riley Good Genes but only A TENTH of the price. Also a staple in my nighttime routine and I have already repurchased this as well.

I hope this review helps you find something you're looking for! XOXO

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday Spotlight: Best Single Eyeshadow

My best friend came to me today to ask if I had a blog post on eyeshadows and it dawned on me that I have never mentioned my favorite shadows, except for the time I lost my DAMN MIND over the Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow palette (you can read that review HERE)... until now!

So here I am to drop some knowledge on y'all today: I present to you the best SINGLE SHADOWS on the market, from affordable to "are you freakin nuts?"

ColourPop Eyeshadows - These are only $5 a pop (see what I did there?) and for the most part, they're pigmented, creamy, work well, and blend flawlessly!
Honorable Mentions: "Take It Slow" a metallic champagne color, "Side Tracked" matte terra-cotta with gold flecks, and "Top Notch" matte warm brown.

Makeup Geek:  Their eyeshadows range from $6 - $10 a piece, depending on the finish of the shade, and are probably the best single shadows on Earth. They are consistently beautiful, whether they're matte or glittery, they're always easy to blend and work wonderfully.
Honorable Mentions: "Peach Smoothie" a matte peachy nude, "Cocoa Bear" a matte, warm, medium brown, and "Grandstand" an insanely metallic dark champagne-brown.

Make Up For Ever: At about $20 a shadow, they better be good, right?! But never fret, they perform every bit as GORGEOUS as you could possibly imagine and the pans are twice the size of a typical single shadow. The metallics are something OUT OF THIS WORLD and the range of colors they offer is nearly mind-blowing.  They are definitely worth every penny, if you can spare it or want to splurge.
Honorable Mentions: M600 - matte pinky-brown, M636 - cappuccino-colored, matte medium brown, and I524 - an iridescent pinky-beige

Next Sunday, I will be covering the top 3 best eyeshadow palettes so stay tuned! XOXO