At the risk of sounding like a 26-year-old narcissistic jerk, I get asked a lot what I do for my skin, so here’s the answer.
Up until about a year ago (when I noticed I was getting forehead wrinkles, and my dear grandmother suggested I "use something"), I didn’t do anything all that special – just some soap and water – for real. But more recently I’ve been conscious of my “aging” skin, and I’ve made an effort to keep it looking smooth and feeling soft.
I’m also compelled to write about this skincare routine because I’ve actually seen great results, I’m mostly head-over-heels in love with each of the products I use, and they’re all relatively inexpensive.
In the morning I like to cleanse my skin with Clean & Clear Morning Burst Skin Brightening Facial Cleanser. Apparently this stuff has vitamin C and ginseng, that helps “wake up” your skin. Now, I would think that’s just a load of crap, but I admit that I do feel more energized after using it. Maybe it’s the act of splashing water on my face, or maybe it’s the citrus scent, but it does help me (and I guess my skin) feel more awake. My skin also feels very clean and soft after using Morning Burst…which is the main goal, I suppose.
In terms of makeup, it’s no secret that I’m an addict. However, I’ve never been big into foundation, especially not the liquid variety. But recently I’ve been completely obsessed with BB creams. I use them every day (right now I’m using Smashbox’s version, but I’ve also tried Garnier, L’Oreal, and Boscia). They’re essentially tinted moisturizers that make your skin look glowing and fantastic. Initially I was worried that these might cause breakouts, because I have somewhat oily skin, but that has not been the case so far!
Before bed I remove my makeup with the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. I’ve tried many brands and formulations of these kinds of wipes, and these are my favorites by far. They remove every last bit of stubborn water-proof eye make up, and they’re gentle on sensitive skin, which is also an anti-aging plus! These towelettes do leave a slightly oily residue (“residue” sounds gross, but that’s what it is!) behind, but that doesn’t bother me – it just feels “conditioning,” if anything.
This next step involves my absolute favorite skincare product right now. If I could marry it, I totally would. It’s the Lush Tea Tree Water Toner. First I spray some of this magic potion onto a cotton round and sweep it all over my face (except for my eye area, of course) to remove any dirt, oil, or make up that the Neutrogena towelettes may have missed. Then, I spray it directly onto my face, maybe 4 squirts. It feels so refreshing, and it’s gentle, unlike any other toner I’ve ever used. Apparently tea tree water has natural antibacterial properties, so I’m crediting this bad boy with my lack of breakouts or blemishes recently.
Next comes moisturizer. I’ve been using this thick, but not greasy, Sensitive Night Cream from Burt’s Bees. This is my #2 fave product right now. It just plain works, and doesn’t leave me feeling slick or oily, just soft, smooth, and luxurious.
The final piece of the puzzle is eye cream. This is the one area where I’m still looking for a product to fall in love with. I like my current one just fine, but it doesn’t knock my socks off. I use Basq Cucumber Tea Eye Gel. This stuff really helps with puffiness, and the cooling sensation is divine, but I’m not so sure about the anti-wrinkle properties of this one…I’m open to suggestions on a kick-butt eye cream, so let me know if you have one!
So, there it is! Hopefully I remain (relatively) wrinkle-free for the next 26 years! Stay tuned…
is another of the ever so popular beauty product subscription services, in the vein of Birchbox
. Every month they send travel-size (or full-size) luxury beauty products in a super cute box with tips and access to the latest trends. The service has been hugely successful in Australia, Germany, and the UK and only became available to US beauty addicts this month. I first heard about GlossyBox
on YouTube, I’ve been stalking the company on social media, and I am so pumped that it’s finally available in the good old US of A.
Though not available to the “general public” quite yet, some lucky ladies were able to get this first box for free. Fortunately, I’m one of those ladies! GlossyBox
costs ten pounds in England, but I haven’t heard anything about the US version’s price.
I’m super excited to try these products because they’re mostly full-size, from high-end brands. It’s only been about an hour since I’ve had them, I couldn’t wait, and I already have the nail polish on…I’m also going to use the eye gel and shampoo tonight. Patience is a virtue?
Here’s the lowdown on what was in the April GlossyBox
, along with retail prices and sizes.BASQ Cucumber Eye Gel
“Give your eyes a fresh start with Basq’s soothing and smoothing Cucumber Tea Eye Gel.” ($24 / 0.5 oz)OPI Kiss Me on my Tulips
“A smooch-worthy shade of hot pink.” ($8.50 / 0.5 oz)C.O. BIGELOW Lavender & Peppermint Shampoo
“Cleanse and invigorate your locks with this cult classic.” ($12 / 5.2 oz)CARGO EyeBronzer
“Create the sunny glow of summer year round with CARGO’s easy to apply EyeBronzer.” ($22 / .035 oz)ERNO LASZLO Hollywood Collection
“This Hollywood Collection of Creams commemorates 85 years of Erno Laszlo with formulas inspired by his iconic devotees: Ava, Katherine, Marilyn, Grace, and Greta. ($125 / 5 x 0.5 oz)KRYOLAN High Gloss Brilliant Lip Shine (Toffee)
“This lip gloss is filled with pearl pigments that supply your lips with extraordinary radiance. *Exclusive to GlossyBox before Kryolan’s US launch.” ($18.10 / 0.135 oz)
Despite its gritty name, Urban Decay has quickly become one of the most talked about and sought-after makeup brands. In an effort to expand the horizons of the color cosmetics industry, UD premiered a line of edgy lipsticks and nail polishes in 1996. Although they offer a full line of makeup now, Urban Decay has especially succeeded in developing a cult following with their line of eye makeup products.
Known for their non-traditional colors and intensely pigmented eye shadows, Urban Decay has gained immense popularity with their palettes. Here are my fave rave UD products:24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
I just started using this after receiving it in my April MyGlam
Bag. This thing glides like no other. SUPER smooth. It lasts for hours and hours, too. However it is prone to smudging, but only if you do something like rub your eye, or lay face-down on a chiropractor’s table (which I do). Overall, I give this an A- grade. I’m definitely considering trying another, more “fun” color in the future.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion
The Naked Palette
After hearing tons of hubbub about this palette, I just had to have it. The $50 price tag is a little steep, but it’s totally worth it. This is the one palette I would recommend to absolutely everyone, and I’m sure it will take me years to finish using all the shadows. They’re all wearable and neutral, as the name implies. My favorite shades are Virgin (a matte white-pink-peach color), Half Baked (the best shimmery gold color ever!), and Creep (a super dark, glittery navy). I haven’t tried the Naked II palette yet, but I’m considering adding it to my collection, pending an enticing sale…
Eye Shadow Primer Potion
I used to think primer of any sort was unnecessary and just another step adding time and cost to a full makeup routine. But then I tried this product when it came along with the Naked Palette. I was instantly hooked, and now I’ll never go back. This stuff really works. It makes the shadow glide on smoothly and really stay put. It makes your lids look the way they’re supposed to – not greasy, creasy, or smudgy. Sometimes I’ll regress back to just using concealer on my eyelids, but I can always tell the difference. Recently I purchased the full size version of the potion, in Eden, versus the colorless version I’d tried previously. I’m totally hooked to the tinted formula; it creates a beautiful, even surface, while brightening up the eye as well.
Eye Shadow Primer Potion in Eden
Urban Decay has a great website
where you can get all this neat-o stuff. Free shipping on orders over $50. Who doesn’t like free shipping?! Free samples with every purchase. Who doesn’t like free samples?! I like them both. A lot.
Another cool thing about UD’s website is that they’ve suggest dupes
for some of their discontinued eye shadows. This is especially exciting for those UD addicts who’ve been with the brand for years. Any makeup maven knows how tragic it is when one of your staples is retired, so finding a suitable stand-in is awesome. The trade offs aren’t exact, but it’s pretty neat that Urban Decay is providing this for their die hard fans.
Future Fave Alert: After hearing it was on sale for more than 50% off (thanks for the tip, Emily Eddington – emilynoel83 on YouTube
), I decided to purchase the Book of Shadows IV
, which I will review once I’ve used it a few times.
Keep rocking, Urban Decay.
And what a fabulous Friday it is! Friday the 13th, to be precise, but there are no tricks or superstition here. Welcome to the first of my weekly Fun Fashion Friday installments. Check back on Fridays for more good times and F alliteration!
Every once in awhile, I’m told that I look like, or remind people of, a character from Mad Men. Sometimes, it’s not any specific character, other times it’s Joan. I’m okay with that, and I take it as a compliment. Joan is one of my style icons, really. A curvy Marilyn Redux. I’m overjoyed that 60’s hair/makeup/fashion is hot right now and embrace the “everything old is new again” mantra with open arms. Though I don’t smoke or have a full wet bar in my office, I’ve been rocking the retro style for some time now. Here’s how:
Not my best look, but you get the idea.
Teasing. Lots of teasing. And hairspray. Avoid any hairstyle that could be naturally-occurring. Feel free to take some help in the height, length, and volume department. I’ve been known to sport some, ahem, “enhancements”
from time to time. Makeup
Think liquid eyeliner, tons of mascara (or better yet, falsies!), and red lips! I’m currently loving Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet. It’s a perfect wearable red without being too harsh. Plus, it’s super moisturizing, which is an added bonus.Nails
Round, pointy nails are pretty very hot right now (or hot enough for me to think they’re hot). Betty Draper would never be caught dead with short, square nails. Long and pink! I’m not talking “I have my own show on TLC” long, but just long enough to enhance the femininity of your fingers. If you’re like me and can’t grow long nails, give some glue-ons a shot. Jewels
Pearls! Or, better yet, diamonds. And enamel. And yellow gold. That’s all.Clothes
Figure-flattering dresses. Small prints, and/or bold colors. Accessories
Scarves, low heels, long jackets… Panty hose - women of my generation seem to have forgotten about these little dandies, but unless it’s 85 degrees outside, I consider them a necessity. Librarian/hipster/dork glasses. Must have thick, black, plastic frames. I got mine at my eye doctor’s office, but I had to ask to have regular prescription lenses put in sunglasses frames. They were about $30, and they definitely up my overall cool quotient a few points.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the first episode of Fun Fashion Friday!
Tune in next week for more!
Because I’m utterly addicted to watching beauty “gurus” on YouTube
, I found out about BB cream awhile ago, as it was the hot item that everyone seemed to be raving about. BB cream, also known as blemish balm (which doesn’t entirely make sense to me), is touted as this miracle product, good for covering flaws, sun protection, moisturizing, solving world hunger, blah, blah, blah…It’s been around in Asian for ages, and high-end versions have been available in the US for some time now. But being the frugal skeptic that I am, I decided to hold out for the affordable version. When I heard Garnier BB Cream was out in the US, I started stalking drugstores and finally found it at Walgreen’s
I’ve been using the Garnier BB Cream in place of foundation or tinted moisturizer for a few weeks now, and I love it. It works well for me as an alternative because I find foundation to be too heavy much of the time, and tinted moisturizers tend to make my skin super shiny and gross, which leads to breakouts and general icky-ness. I do tend to have an oily t-zone, so I’ve been using a bit of powder to set the BB cream if needed. I’m loving the fresh, natural, flawlessness BB cream gives my skin. Partnered with Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Hot Tamale
, it creates a great glowy effect perfect for spring and summer. The scent is also really nice, in my opinion. However, in a recent conversation on the subject, I was told that the Garnier cream smelled bad. But, I was speaking with a rep from Smashbox, who has its own BB cream
(for about 3 times the price), so maybe she was biased. ;)
I have been raving about this product to everyone lately, and the proof is in the pudding; the past few days I haven’t even felt the need for any concealer! The moral of the story is, this is my official stamp of approval. The cream comes in two shades, and I use the light/medium, which provides a perfect match for my skin tone. Garnier’s “Miracle Skin Perfector” is available at drugstores nationwide or online
for around $10 to $13. Check out Garnier's Facebook Page
- they're running a sweepstakes for a year's supply!
*I was not compensated in any way for this post; I just really like the stuff. :)
In addition to Birchbox's
monthly subscription service, which sends members deluxe beauty samples for $10 a month, they sometimes send extra products to certain pre-qualified participants. This month, I received an extra box with five fairly large samples from Vichy
, "the #1 selling skincare brand in European pharmacies." I was pleased to learn that I was selected to get this bonus, especially because I was a little disappointed with the quality of my February Birchbox samples. Thanks for the extras, Birchbox and Vichy!
Vichy products are paraben-free (here's why that matters
), allergy tested, and relatively inexpensive. The fullsize products are available for purchase on Vichy's website
. They're also offering a special for Birchbox customers: 4 free travel size samples, vichy cosmetics bag, and free shipping on orders $35 or more. Just enter this code: BIRCHBOX.
Here's a brief summary of the products I got (pictured from left to right) and my first impressions of each:
CelluDestock (Intensive Treatment for the Appearance of Cellulite) - $39.50 - : This is the only product I haven't tried yet. And, to be honest, I'm skeptical of anything that claims to affect cellulite in any way at all. Seems a little like hocus pocus to me, but we'll see. Stay tuned for more on this one.
Pureté Thermale (3-in-1 One Step Cleanser) - $19.50 - : Basically this is an all-purpose cleanser. I apply it with a cotton pad and rinse with warm water. It smells great and does a great job of removing makeup and oil. It feels very gentle and leaves my skin feeling VERY soft. I would definitely consider purchasing the full-size tube.
Pureté Thermale (Soothing Eye MakeUp Remover For Sensitive Eyes) - $16.50 - : This is the Vichy product I am most impressed with so far. I have a hard time finding great eye makeup removers that don't irritate my eyes, aren't oily, and still work well. This one fits the bill. It does a great job of taking off water-proof eyeliner, mascara, and even false eyelashes, and it doesn't hurt my eyes or sensative eye-area skin. It does take a liberal amount of product to get the best results, but then again, I wear a liberal amount of eye makeup. ;) I will most likely be purchasing this in the future.
Aqualia Thermal (Cream Fortifying & Soothing 24Hr Hydrating Care) - $29.95 - & LiftActiv with Rhamnose 5% Night - $49.00 - : I decided to combine the reviews for these two creams because I had pretty much the same thing to say about each. One is a daily moisturizer and the other is a night cream. Both went on smoothly and left my skin feeling very soft. I haven't used either long enough to notice real results, but I was pleased with the first impressions left by both products. However, given the cost of the creams and the abundance of similar products currently on my vanity, I probably will hold off on buying these for now.
is a new subscription service, offering members the opportunity to choose 6 deluxe beauty samples per month, for $12 all-inclusive. Similar in concept to Birchbox
, Beauty Army's choose-your-own-samples feature is what makes it unique.
Based on the results of the beauty profile quiz, you are provided with a bunch of sample choices, and are allowed to choose 6 per month. The full-size products are also available for purchase on the Beauty Army website. This is my first month, and here are the samples I chose (they came in a super cute black box with pink camo lining), and my first impressions of each product: SunFX Summer's Secret
- Basically a moisturizer with build-a-tan properties, similar to Jergens Natural Glow
products. Works well so far (only smells a bit "tanner-ish"), but the full-size product retails for nearly $30
, so I would just stick with the drug store version. StriVectin SD Concentrate
- This product is supposed to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles. I have been using this daily for a few weeks and haven't noticed a difference, but it does seem like a good moisturizer, and it smells nice too. HOWEVER, the full size product retails for $135,
so it's safe to say I won't be purchasing this one either. But, that's what makes subscription-based services like BeautyArmy great - you get to try high end products without making an investment.JOICO K-Pak RevitaLuxe
- A great, color-protecting conditioner. Enough said. Smells fab (REALLY FAB, like a tasty men's cologne), works well. Retails for $18 on Amazon
. Out of stock on Beauty Army's website. I would definitely buy this product again.Shea Terra Organics Black Soap Facial Cleanser
- This is very gentle and makes my skin super smooth. But, so do a lot of other cleansers. I am obsessed with Purity Made Simple
, by Philosophy, right now, but when I get tired of that, I'd consider buying the full-size Shea Terra cleanser for $18
.Indie Lee The Body Wash
- The only thing I like about this is the smell - citrusy and refreshing. The product really disappointed me otherwise. I had to reapply 2 times to my loofa to clean my whole body; it didn't lather well at all. I will not be purchasing this product ($22
).LaRocca Skincare 24K Exfoliating Cleanser
- This sample came in a cute little pot with a gold top, which made it feel extra luxurious. However, it sort of hurt my skin, which surprised me because my face is generally not very sensitive at all. I will be trying it again, but I doubt I will be convinced to buy the $45
Some people will probably like getting to choose their own samples each month. Also, the cost is fairly reasonable. Finally, the samples are all quite high-end, which is a plus. Cons:
I would say that, overall, I prefer Birchbox and MyGlam to Beauty Army, for a few reasons. First and foremost, my main beauty passion is makeup, and I was not given any makeup options at all with Beauty Army. Also, I like the surprise that comes with Birchbox and MyGlam each month...not knowing what's in the box, and getting to try things I might not otherwise. It's like having a mini-birthday each month! With Beauty Army, what you see is what you get - literally. Final Thoughts:
Beauty Army is a great idea for someone like me to is always looking for the next big thing in beauty, and the cost is low enough to make it seem like you're getting away with something. :)