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!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

First Aid Beauty Must-Haves

The first product I tried from this brand was the Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask ($22).

It's a nice 10 minute mask for the winter to repair dry skin. This doesn't have the same immediate results as say a clay mask but skin does feels nicer afterwards. I'm not entirely sure why. It's nice but it's not a must-have.

face candy grade: B
A week into using the Facial Radiance Pads ($14 for 28 pads, $30 for 60 pads), my husband asked me if I was doing something different to my face. I told him about the pads and he said that they were working.

Now that I've just turned 30, I'm getting serious about exfoliation. These contain a small enough amount of lactic and glycolic acids to make them safe and effective for daily use.  My skin can be a bit fussy so I love that all FAB products are safe for the most sensitive skin. I love these things and cannot live without them now.

faee candy grade: A+

I bought the Ultra Repair Cream ($12 for 2 oz, $28 for 6 oz) with the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy ($12) in a set from Sephora for $18, but that's no longer available. I like the 2 oz better than the 6 oz, that's in a tub, just for sanitary purposes of being able to squeeze it out as opposed to dipping your dirty finger in the tub.

The emollient cream uses collodial oatmeal, shea butter, soothing eucalyptus oil and ceramides to hydrate deep down. It can be used for anyone with dry skin from winter weather and a variety of other skin conditions.

This is a thick cream is no joke. I worried it would be too heavy or greasy and clog my pores but it hasn't. The eucalyptus oil provides a fresh feel and smell when you apply the cream.

One of the best things about the Ultra Repair Lip Therapy ($12) is that it's petroleum free, moisturizing and pepperminty.

face candy grade: A

Next up is the Facial Radiance Overnight Mask ($38). It's a leave-on gel mask that you apply after your serums and moisturizers to lock all the magic in. Overnight products are the best, aren't they? While you sleep, the actives are absorbed and when you wake up, the skin is hydrated and refreshed, revealing a brighter, even-toned and smoother complexion. It's seriously, magic. You just look generally better the next morning.

face candy grade: A+

Friday, December 26, 2014

Becca and Smashbox Contouring Options

If I had to pinpoint a time when contouring became popular, I would have to say it was with the rise of the Kardashians.

I personally never feel comfortable with that amount of makeup on so my approach to contouring is a lot more subtle. Some people will use bronzer to contour but bronzer is for adding warmth. It lacks the gray tones that imitate natural shadows.

It is generally suggested that you create a 3 shape, using a contour color- starting at the center of your forehead, moving to the middle of your ear and along the contour of your cheek, go back to the ear and continue along the jaw line. I also go on both sides of my nose to add more dimension to my flat nose.

Then highlight along the cheekbones, center of the forehead and down the center of the nose, cupids bow and chin.

My favorite two products are:

Becca Lowlight/Highlight Perfecting Palette ($42) - a natural shadowing cream and a luminizer cream. The contour color is the perfect mix of brown and gray to be very natural. Both formulas are somewhat sheer so you'd really have to cake it on to mess it up. The luminizer reminds me of RMS Living Luminizer but more golden.

Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit ($45) - a trio of powders: a bronzer, a contour, and a highlighter. There's a handy little sticker on the mirror that instructs you on how to use each color. It also comes with a small angled brush. I really like the bronzer and contour but I'm not crazy about the highlighter.

It would be really difficult for me to choose between the two. But if pressed I guess it would be the Becca because the highlighter and contour are both amazing.

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