Saturday, August 15, 2015

July Favorites

Becca X Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop ($38) is a soft white gold with peachy pink undertones. This is a very pigmented almost creamy powder that looks beautiful on all skin tones. For a beachy glow, I mix Nars Hot Sand Illuminator with my foundation, apply it all over, then add this powder where I want everything to pop. Absolutely love it.

Yves Saint Laurent Vernis À Lèvres Pop Water Glossy Stain Eau de Corail 203 ($36) is a bright peachy pink stain that feels like a gloss it's so moisturizing. It stains your lips nicely and lasts for a couple hours. It fades evenly. The color and formula make it worth the price tag for me.

Hourglass Ambient Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light ($50) is slightly shimmery but it's very subtle. I contour with the Smashbox trio and then dust this all over with a big, fluffy brush. It makes your skin super luminous and blurs imperfections beautifully.

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Mascara ($21) has been my mascara of choice for the past six months. A makeup artist friend recommended it. This stuff volumizes and lengthens lashes while tinting them deep black and it's actually good for your eyelashes.  The Amazonian clay hydrates and strengthens lashes and prevents fallout. Two coats makes it look like I'm wearing falsies. I never have any flaking or smudging on my lower lashes. My only gripe with this is that the big brush pulls out way too much product. I always use a paper towel to wipe the excess off. This is my second tube and I highly recommend it.

AERIN Waterlily Sun Eau de Parfum ($110) is a fresh, floral scent that is perfect for summer, or the end of summer, which I suppose it is now. It smells of bergamot, jasmine sambac and sweet musk. I get lots of compliments on it.

Lancome Shine Lover Vibrant Shine Lipstick in 340 ($25) is a bright pink, glossy moisturizing balm.
I watched Lisa Eldridge use it in a video and was sold. I like this formula and the packaging, but it's not very long lasting. I'm sure you could find a cheaper version that does the same thing. A hot pink Maybelline Baby Lips would do the job.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

My Too Long Korean Skincare Routine AM + PM

Disclaimer: I call this "Korean" because technically, I'm Korean, and there's a bunch of steps.

1. I don't wash my face with anything other than water.

2. Tone with Murad Hydrating Toner ($28). This helps even the Ph in your skin, which is good for my combination skin.

3. Pat 3 drops of Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 ($44) into skin. It's basically a lightweight moisturizing serum.

4. Moisturize and mattify with KORRES Pomegranate Balancing Cream-Gel Moisturizer ($34).

4. Protect with a facial sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. I'm working my way through the Sephora Sun Safety Kit, but a favorite is Kiehl's Superfluid UV Defense SPF 50 + ($38).

5. I've also been using Skinceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 ($30) around my eyes because I squint a lot and you can't be too careful when it comes to sun-care. I like this because it's lightly tinted.

6. If I am going to be outside I apply sunblock all over my body. PSA: sunblock is NOT good after a year. So get in the habit of buying a new one every summer! I've been loving organic Raw Elements
Sunscreen in SPF 30 (around $20).


1. Use an oil cleanser to breakdown sunscreen and makeup. I use a Shu Uemura cleanser, I think it's called fresh and costs around $30. This is an important step because a gel cleanser won't be able to break things like zinc and titanium dioxide down.

2. Cleanse again with either Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser ($36) or Cetaphil. I switch back and forth.

3. If I am lazy and skip the first steps, then I go over over my face with Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Water ($12). I love this. It doesn't leave a weird film or residue. Great for the price!

4. Exfoliate and tone with First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads ($30). I switch it up with Dr. Dennis Gross's Alpha Beta Peels (do yourself a favor and just buy the 30 + 5 free for $88) once a week.

5. Dab Mizon Water Volume EX First Essence ($19) all over with a cotton pad. An essence is basically a hydrating liquid that helps your other skincare products absorb better.
6. Pat Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 ($44) into skin.

7. Pat on one of the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clincial Concentrate Boosters ($58), I usually switch between the Radiance Booster and Purifying Booster, or mix them together.

8. If it's winter or I feel extra dry I will moisturize with a cream around the outside of my face because my skin is combo. I like First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream ($30) or Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream ($38).

9. Dab the orbital area of the eyes with Sephora Collection Total Age Defy Cream for Eyes & Lips ($26). This is another good buy from the Sephora Collection. Very highly rated and great price.

10. Pat 4-5 drops of Sunday Riley Artemis Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil ($75) over the face.

11. I've been using the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26), but it did definitely give me an allergic reaction a couple weeks into using it. I assume it's because the main ingredient is lanolin. If you have sensitive skin at all consider that. I continue to use it because I like the thickness and it was too late to return it but I don't think I'd buy it again.

My husband always gets in bed and waits for me to finish this ridiculous routine, often yelling from the bed, "What are you doing? What is taking so long?" So this list is often abbreviated in some forms. I certainly don't do every step every night. I do what I feel like doing and what I think my skin needs. Sometimes I do all the steps. It all depends on what you want.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

June Favorites

Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Water is awesome. Pictured above is the 6.76 oz. bottle which costs $12. I've been really happy with all the things I've tried from this brand. This is no exception. I dislike cleansing cloths because I don't think they do anything. Now when you're sleepy you just soak a cotton ball with this solution and run it all over your face. It will remove all traces of long-wear foundation, eyeliner, and waterproof mascara. Most other micellar waters cost over $20, so this is great for $12. It's a 2-in-1 product because you don't need eye makeup remover.

Sunday Riley Artemis Hydroactive Cellular Facial Oil ($75) is a complexion balancing and brightening oil. After cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, I take 4-5 drops of this oil and pat it all over my face and neck. This really works well on my combination skin. I put it on at night and when I woke up to go to the bathroom, my face looked visibly brighter and less red. The one thing that sucks is that (I assume) the lemon ironbark or lemon myrtle essential oil is very strong. I don't think it's too bad but it's something to consider if you're sensitive to fragrance. I also like that it's vegan, cruelty free, and made in the USA.

Korres Pomegranate Balancing Cream-Gel Moisturizer ($34) is lightweight and pore-minimizing. In the summer I usually switch to a gel facial moisturizer as a cream is too heavy. This helps balance the skin and provide a matte finish. Salicylic acid gently exfoliates and hyaluronic acid adds moisture. This works nicely underneath makeup and sunscreen in the daytime. I'm satisfied with its ability to moisturize and mattify.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

SallyeAnder No-Bite-Me

The one awful thing about summertime is the bugs. I always get eaten alive by mosquitoes. I recall on my honeymoon to BVI, just laying inside and covering myself in OFF! every ten minutes. I was miserable.

DEET, which is a chemical found in most bug sprays, has been found dangerous to humans. It can cause neurological damage and once it's in the bloodstream can cause seizures and death. But the EPA says that as long as we use it as directed - it's fine. I don't necessarily believe everything I'm told, especially by the government.

I am hoping to get pregnant soon, so I've been thinking more about what I'm putting on and in my body. I read a couple instances where using DEET was implicated in complications in pregnant women. SallyeAnder No-Bite-Me ($14.95) is a DEET-free, natural preventative and after-bite treatment. It's a blend of 16 essential oils including Cedar, Mint, Lemongrass, and Geranium.

Just dot the cream on exposed skin and rub in for four hours of protection. I was introduced to this by a friend and I carry it with me in my purse during the summertime. I love it. It really works. It has a rather pungent scent but I have grown to like it. Safe for kids.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fake a glow with N.V. Perricone No Bronzer Bronzer

As the days get longer and you spend more time outdoors, it's important to remember sun protection. And never, ever go to a tanning bed. This 27 year-old girl was recently in the news for sharing her graphic photos of the results of tanning all the time.

To fake a warm, natural looking tan I love N.V. Perricone No Bronzer Bronzer SPF 30 ($35.) You can add a few drops to your foundation or rub some between your fingertips and pat onto the face. The color it gives is very natural. There is no shimmer, it's quite matte. The lightweight liquid formula is easy to blend, and lives up to its name. It's easy to use and has quite a high rating on Sephora. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Favorite Tools

I have used Anastasia Beverly Hills Tweezers ($28) for a good 8 years. I have tried Tweezerman and was disappointed. Seriously, no other tweezers can grab every teensy tiny hair like these and they will last you years, that's why I'm willing to pay $28. The only reason I had to get new ones was because I lost my old ones.

For my nails I use the Sephora Collection Crystal Nail File ($10). The best thing about this crystal file is that you can wash it and use it for years. I recommend keeping it in its hard case so you don't break it. I have.

I used Shu Uemura's eponymous eyelash curler for many years but wanted to find a cheaper alternative. I tried Shisheido and that one didn't work for me at all. It just didn't fit the shape of my eye correctly in any way. I finally found a winner from Tarte. I have bought two or three now because I love the cute handle designs they come out with. It's $19 and comes with a mini mascara.
I have a terrible habit of picking at my skin. I can't just leave anything alone, which is why I have some scarring. I used to use my fingers to squeeze blackheads around my nose, but this Tweezerman No-Slip Skin Care Tool ($12) works a lot better. I recommend steaming your face first, by draping a towel over your head over a bowl of boiling water, for a few minutes, which helps open up the pores.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Uslu Airlines BIO - a/k/a Best Nail Polish Remover EVER

I am not "green" by any means but I have started thinking more about the things I'm putting on or in my body. I am known to change my nail polish weekly so I figured it would make sense to find a nontoxic alternative to acetone and things like toulene, ethyl acetate and methanol, which are commonly found in non-acetone based removers.

Uslu Airlines BIO ($24) is water-based and uses gnomeic abraders (apparently invisible mini crystals) to peel or exfoliate rather than dissolve aggressively. First of all, this smells pretty good. No complaints. It's fruity. The heavy glass bottle comes with two rolls of cotton rounds. It only takes one round for both hands. Overall I love it. I highly recommend it to everyone.

You wet a cotton pad and then coat each nail. Go slow and wait for 30 seconds. Using the same cotton pad you just rub each nail and rinse with water. Other things you may want to know are: it's safe for pregnant women, dissolves polish without stripping your nails, it's not flammable, it's based on components from renewable raw materials and is biodegradable.

I purchased it from

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Oil Balm

Dr. Jart's Ceramidin Oil Balm ($35) is a multitasking oil that contains condensed ceramide and nine vegetable oils to provide hydration. It comes with a tiny little plastic scooper to remove the product. This solid balm immediately transforms to oil when you rub it in. It's so cool. It moisturizes without any greasy feel. I like to use it everywhere on my body after a bath and on my cuticles.

I love that this does not contain any petroleum products and is fragrance-free and cruelty-free unlike Aquaphor (mostly petroleum) and Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Cream (mostly petroleum and stinks.)
I highly recommend it. Dry skin drinks it up. Available at Sephora.

face candy grade: A+

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White

I love perfume. It's nice to smell good. I recently finished up bottles of Marc Jacobs original Gardenia and Daisy. There is only a whisper of Miss Dior left in the bottle.  I received sample vials of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's brand, Elizabeth and James, scents, Nirvana Black and White, with a Sephora order.

Nirvana Black is described as a "sensual violet, sandalwood, and vanilla."
Nirvana White is described as a "delicate peony, muguet, and musk."

I like the White more than the Black. I go for more fresh and bright florals, I can't stand anything too "old lady." I bought the Rollerball for $22. I keep it in my purse for when I'm rushing out of the house and forget. My next purchase will be the 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray ($55) and I want to try the Pure Purfume Oil ($35) because I adore oils. I want to bathe myself in oils.
My husband kissed me the other day and told me I smelled good. "Really? It's a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen perfume!" I replied. It was probably not what he wanted to hear.
Well, I guess they know what smells good," he said.

face candy grade: A+

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Concentrate Boosters & Alpha Beta Peels

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Concentrate Boosters ($58) - A trio of professional strength concentrates for balanced skin. Includes a Radiance Booster, Hydration Booster and Purifying Booster.

Skin changes daily and with this trio you can customize your routine to suit your needs.
-Radiance Booster - Transforms dull skin into a younger-looking, glowing, luminous complexion.
-Hydration Booster - Infuses and seals deep moisture for firmer, softer, smoother-looking skin.
-Purifying Booster - Controls excess oil as it works to clear and tighten pores for increased clarity.

You can either mix the concentrates with serums, moisturizers or even your makeup. Or you can apply them directly to the face. You can't go wrong with these, you're bound to find one that you like. My favorite is the Radiance Booster, which uses pyruvic, tartaric, and linoleic acids to reveal brighter skin.

face candy grade: A

Dr. Gross is also known for his Alpha Beta Peels. Now, you can buy 5 for $16, which is $3.20 each. I only suggest that you buy 5 if you've never tried it before. At Sephora if you buy 30, you get 5 free for $88, making them $2.50 each, clearly the best value.  It's a two-step treatment that deliver visible anti-aging results without any recovery time.

The system combines alpha beta hydroxy acids with retinol, ubiquinone and resveratrol. It's the #1 best-selling at-home facial peel. It claims to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, fight blemishes and help with dark spots and redness.

I was worried that these would irritate my skin but they are recommended for sensitive skin. You simply apply Step 1 in circular motions over your face and neck until the pad feels dry. Wait two minutes. Apply Step 2. Don't rinse. I like doing one of these once a week and using the First-Aid Beauty pads the rest of the days. These pads are awesome. I highly recommend if you're new to the peel game.

All the products are vegan and cruelty free.

face candy grade: A+

Exfoliation is important. If you're not exfoliating, you're missing out! Physical exfoliation is good, I like to do it once or twice a week in the shower, but chemical exfoliation is the best. The alpha hydroxy acids are small enough to penetrate the top layer of skin to promote cellular turnover and remove skin cells. When dead skin accumulates it can cause zits and clogged pores, and make the skin appear duller. At the very least, chemical exfoliation is going to reduce your scars, hyperpigmentation and acne; provide better absorption of your skincare products; and make your face glow! So go for it!

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