Lotsa New Stuff & Mini Reviews: Sephora, Birchbox, Influenster, Ulta & Target

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I had recently gone on a bit of a shopping rampage in Target, Sephora, Birchbox, Ulta and then came my Influenster box in the mail. Here’s small mini-reviews on the products I’ve been testing out for a few weeks!

1. Benefit The Porefessional: Everyone knows this product and I am also loving it for filling in the pores on my cheeks. I tap it in before any foundation. I’ve tried applying it over foundation like the packaging says you can during those instances I forget to do it first but I don’t like the result as much or how my foundation seems to have moved. I’ll just try to remember to apply it first.

2. OCC Nail Polish in Vapid: I saw this color everywhere after IMATS this year and fell in love. The color is amazing and unique, the formula creamy and opaque. Love it!!!

3. Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde: I feel like everyone & their mother have been getting this new product. I love it because it’s waterproof and easy to apply for a more dramatic OR every day brow, provided you use a lighter touch. I will definitely be using this during vacation and pool days.

4. Boscia Oil-Free Nightly Hydration Moisturizer: I love that this is lightweight for the summer and it also has antibacterial properties, great for humid and hot temperatures as well as my congested, oily skin. I’m almost at a HG status with this little tube of wonder.

5. Caldrea Essentials Collection lotion in Apple Mint: I got this body lotion as a sample in my May Birchbox and fell in love. Serious love. The light lotion is perfect for summer and it leaves a unique smoothness to the skin that made me hunt it down. I found mine at Target which also carried wonderful scents like this Apple Mint, one that I never would have purchased otherwise. I love unique smelling things and this is perfect.

6. Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Fig: I got this on recommendation of Makeup By TiffanyD. Let me say that everything people say about Bite Beauty formulation…. is true. It’s smooth, pigmented, and doesn’t feel heavy on the lips. I love how moisturized my lips feel when I wear it and if not for the price, I’d already have more in my possession.

 

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Next up is the stuff Influenster graciously provided me with to try out (Again, no, I’m not paid to post this nor do they know I am posting this. I did explain the whole program in another post you can read here). I received my Surf’s Up VoxBox and as the name suggests, it includes lots of summer products which is great as I’m preparing to go away.

1. Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Aqua: I normally do not like this brand of polish as it’s chipped more than too easily in my experience but I’m always willing to give it another shot. Oh, and it’s like $2. I have heard the Sinful Shine version is actually really great and lasts better, but it’s hard to find near me. This duo-chromey blue color reminds me of a mermaid 🙂

2. First Aid Shot Therapy: This is marketed as a hangover cure in liquid form. It has a painkiller and replenishing vitamins and minerals your body is lacking the morning after. I’m honestly really skeptical this product will last very long on the market as it’s kind of strange. If your stomach is already upset, why would you want to drink a liquid pain reliever? However… as much as I don’t like feeling gross, this product will be rather interesting to test out regardless of how gimmicky it comes off.

3. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion: I already have and love this stuff. It’s aloe + lotion so it’s not going to leave you utterly sticky like pure aloe tends to (hate that feeling). It’s only miiiildy sticky and I can deal with that. I do love that I now have a travel size for my trip since I’m sure it will come in handy.

4. Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sulfate Free Texturizing shampoo + conditioner: I actually never tried anything by this brand but I hear a lot about it. I’m going to try this out on my vacation since I’ll already be in the beach vibe and they’re the perfect size. If I like these, I may branch out in the line and try some more. If there’s anyone reading this who has a favorite product by them, please let me know!

 

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Finally, here’s some stuff I got at Target, Birchbox & Ulta. I wish I could move into Target’s dressing rooms. Anyway.

1. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge: I somehow “lost” both my Beauty Blenders a while ago and can’t find it in me to spend another $20 on one when I’m sure I’ll find them. In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on the dupe sponges which have all gotten terrible reviews… except this one. I tried it a few times and I do love the finish it gives. My makeup looked flawless and lasted forever each time I used it. While it may not be *as soft* as the BB, I’m ok with that. It’s $6 and honestly, you can’t beat that. (P.S. I linked the best BB deal I found and was considering buying… 2 for $23 on Amazon!)

2. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen: I got a sample of this product in my Birchbox but in the illuminating/regular variety. It was really nice but just didn’t seem to be a match made in heaven with the dewey finish plus my oily skin. In between my pale and tan self, I’ve been mixing this with the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream in Fair for a perfect match. It has light to medium coverage and I could certainly build it up in the areas I need.

3. Tangle Teezer brush: I heard so so so much about this goofy little brush for months. I have super long hair and have used a pick to comb it out for just about as long as I can remember. Let’s just say… I immediately felt like I should tell everyone I know about this thing. My first experience with it was taking my hair down from a knotty little bun it had been in all day and the Tangle Teezer breezed through the hair, making it super soft without as much as a tug. I was amazed. It’s a little more noticeably tugging on your hair when it’s wet, but still just as good. I am in love.

4. IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination in Fair: I heard Grav3yardGirl/Bunny talking about this product and since I already love so many of their items, I figured I needed to try this. It’s simply a pressed powder foundation with medium to full coverage.  It was a little cakey a few hours after the very first application using a powder brush. I don’t know if it is user error or the brush I used… or even using a primer would help, but I’m not giving up yet. I have an upcoming review of a bunch of IT Cosmetics products so while I’m not in love with this illuminating version right now, I do like it and have to continue to play with it. It may be excellent to use to set a light coverage foundation for an extra boost where you need it.

 

Phew. If you’re still reading this, I owe you a drink. Thank you 🙂

– SF

Note: Beauty Organizer Drawers in photographs purchased from HomeDecorators.com 

Brand OCD: Philosophy

Before I get started, here’s a little pic from our recent weekend trip 🙂

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Ever since high school, I’ve been on the endless hunt for the perfect skincare routine to make my easily annoyed skin happy. I recently decided to try more of the Philosophy brand because so many people give their stuff raving reviews.

I’ve used Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple face wash. While I think it’s a nice gentle facial cleanser, I don’t think it’s anything spectacular. It does get eye makeup off rather easily, but none of that really wows me when I still use a eye makeup remover prior to washing anyway. My sister does love it and I’m sure it’s perfect for more drier skin types than my oil spill of a face.

I recently tried their Hope in a Jar Night cream. I have seen tons of hype around the product for years and didn’t think it was suited for my oily skin. I then got tired of all my night skincare moisturizer and decided to see if this product is worth it. In short, it is! The cream is thick and super-hydrating. It doesn’t break me out or make me oilier though I do use this at night, of course. I do feel like my skin is smoother to the touch and will be buying a full-size in the very near future.

When trying a new face or skin product, I usually combine it with my current product and use the new one in a small area to “test” it out before going full-face. I would totally rather break out/get irritated in a small portion (jawline) rather than all over my face. Does anyone else do this?!

I also love their Miracle Worker Retanoid Eye Repair Cream. It’s silicon-y and moisturizing and seemed to help with fine lines around my eyes. I am currently using something else, but will probably eventually re-buy this eye cream.

I have gotten a sample of the Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Energizing Moisturizer w/ SPF 30 (not the oil-free version) but haven’t tried it yet. It says to have caffeine to help detoxify and decongest the skin which is perfect for me to try on our upcoming Bermuda trip. If anyone has used this stuff, please let me know your thoughts on it & what kind of skin type you have! 🙂

 

BONUS PICTURES! I have been painting my nails all sortsa colors lately. Check em out below 🙂

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Essie in Mint Candy Apple

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Sally Hansen Xtreme in Pacific Blue & Sally Hansen Nail Stickers in Check It Out for the accent nail

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Essie DJ Play That Song and Color Club Nail Art Pen in Black (From May Birchbox, a sweet little kit is here) & Butter London glitter in West End Wonderland

My OOTD

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Chambray Shirt: Express (last season)

Tank: Target “Long and Lean” Tanks [*BONUS! They’re on sale for $5.40 right now]

Jeans: Express Extreme Stretch Leggings (not available anymore! wah!)

Shoes: Toms in Camo

*Please ignore my lovely garbage can. I can’t take a picture without that damned thing sneaking in! I need a better full-length mirror 😛

I’m hesitant to say it but… my skin looks awesome!!!

I’m getting really great results from the skin care items I’ve been using for the past few months. I posted about the products I was trying a few weeks back and wanted to give a happy update. My skin is greatly improving every day and I can honestly say I think it’s due to these items. Together or separate, I’m not sure what the biggest helpful addition is/was, but I’m super excited about it. You can read the post where I detail the products I’m using here.

Oh and here’s me today without any makeup and only my Shiseido moisturizer… o_O

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Sure, I took that picture with my iPhone so it’s not the greatest of qualities but I just want to point out how much smoother and clearer my skin recently has become. Which I never thought I’d get to say until I was like, 70.

I’ve been battling these bumps on my face for about 2 years now along with the occasional regular breakout. I have had a remarkably lesser amount of that in the past 2 months. One or two very minor blemishes pop up but they quickly go away.

[For sanity’s sake, I’ve just linked all these products for those reading at the bottom of the post.]

Here’s some newer products I’ve added into the overall routine (and also pictured is an oldie but goodie as in HG status):

1. Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Toner: I use this after I get out of the shower/after washing my face completely with my Clarisonic and MB Glycolic cleanser, before I put on moisturizer. I feel that this toner balances my skin and gets rid of any surviving makeup (which is quite the feat there, Mr. Makeup). I also found out this comes in *huge* pre-moistened towelettes which is super convenient for those who travel a lot.

2. L’Oreal Skin Perfecting Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Water Solution:  Ok. This stuff isn’t available in the US, so let me just say that straight away. I heard great things about Bioderma and that this L’Oreal one was a dupe so I bought it online on eBay. And wow… it’s quite amazing. It’s like a makeup remover and toner mixed into one. It feels like water, has no scent, and it is hypoallergenic, also a great plus for my breakout-prone skin. I tried it and immediately fell in love. It leaves no oily residue and removes everything with a cotton pad. I recently tweeted L’Oreal to bring this to the US since it’s so much cheaper ($6-8, US converted price for 200ml) than the Bioderma ($30ish for 250ml). Hopefully they hear my sobs all the way from my makeup chair.

3. Palmers Coco Butter Swivel Stick: I’ve used this stuff since middle school. People used to ask me if I was putting a glue stick on my lips. Boys thought I was weird. I just knew I had the softest lips in town. I think it’s needless to say I still use this every day and have multiples laying around the house. It’s soft, buttery, smells incredible, and covers your lips in 1 swipe. It also stays on your lips for a long period of of time and actually sinks into your lips, unlike an EOS ball lip balm. I’ll use this forever, I’m sure. Did I mention it’s under $3?

Oh, and did you notice the bottom of the one pictured, where my dog Stu decided to try it out as a bone? I never knew he was into soft lips.

4. Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer Enriched: Yes I’ve posted about this stuff before but here I go again!

I’ve been using this goo for about 4 months now, ran out, and have even repurchased it. I use it alone as my nighttime moisturizer. It’s thick, absorbs quickly, doesn’t make me oilier (thank god), has a nice scent (if you’re sensitive you may think it’s overpowering but I love it), doesn’t have any sulfate ingredients, and it doesn’t clog my pores — hallelujah! I have nothing bad to say about it except that it’s $45 for 1.7 oz… however one lasted me for over 3 months with using it every single night without fail.

5. Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment: I posted in my February Skincare Update about how I was using this new product here when I got this as a sample and gave it a try as I really love all other Boscia products I’ve bought — I try to go for more natural products, both in what I eat and what I put on my body, as much as possible (provided the body/makeup product works, haha).

I use this eye cream at night after I put on my face moisturizer. It has a slight silicony feel without being overly slippery (hate that). It sinks nicely into my eye area and seems to hydrate it well. I don’t have much dryness in my eye area though so I can’t comment on how well it would work for people with extremely dry skin. I think it seems to have lessened any fine lines a bit and I would definitely purchase it in the future. I have another eye cream to try out first but I – officially, certainly – like this one a lot. 🙂

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I’ve put all these items in a collection on my Luvocracy site so that anyone can find/buy them straight away aka no googling: Current Skincare Products Luvocracy Collection

Stay tuned as I will be posting about a face ‘peel’ I just tried and am seemingly falling in love with. As in, take-the-peel-out-for-dinner-and-buy-it-pink-roses love. I won’t be buying it red roses quite yet; I don’t want to jump the gun, ya know?

Thanks for taking the time to read & to hang out with me.

– SFB

Bad Beauty Habits!

We all have them. Sometimes I don’t admit them to myself either. So let’s get real for a hot minute.

There are a bunch of beauty ‘habits’ we shouldn’t nevar evar do; here are my top 5.

1. Touching thy face.

This means putting your hand on your chin or cheek, picking and prodding at blemishes, etc. I am guilty, 100%. I can’t not touch my face. My hands gravitate there when I’m not even looking. Sometimes I think it’s a learned habit and sometimes I think it’s almost like a nervous tick. It’s so annoying to me too, since I know I shouldn’t do it since hands are the most bacteria-laden things on your entire body!! I have to remind myself daily (hourly?), NO TOUCHY. It’s like I’m scolding the child inside of me. It helps if my nails are painted since I don’t want to mess them up or if I had just put on hand lotion. Those are my little tricks that sometimes work. It’s the most hated thing about myself but hey, it’s a work in progress.

2. Flossing.

I hate to floss. It’s annoyingly tedious and I feel like it rarely does anything that I can “see.” That’s usually the problem with me; if I don’t visually see a difference, I don’t think it’s doing anything regardless of knowing better and years of dental hygiene being drilled into my skull. It’s one of those things I’m working on as well which is also going hand-in-hand with finishing my dental routine with mouthwash. This blog post is already sounding like I am a scuzzy scuzzball. I promise I’m super clean and healthy 😛

3. Peeling Off Nail Polish.

I paint my nails all the time and I love it. I have more nail polish than I can count and am always adding to the collection. My fallback is nervously or absent mindedly peeling off my nail polish. My policy is, once I start don’t stop until it’s all off (although this is not a good policy, haha). This is mostly due to my absolute hatred of massively chipped nails. I can stand a few chips as that’s normal wear, but having half your nail polish missing reminds me of those gross people who smell of old cigarette smoke and daddy issues. However, peeling the polish off really ruins the top layer of your nails and could possibly damage your nail bed! If you do this too, have you ever noticed how dry your nails sometimes look after you peeled off the color? I’m trying to not be as lazy and just grab my nail polish remover but everyone knows how much more fun it is and easier it is to peel it off, especially for glitter nail polish! I have yet to try those “Peel Off” base coats as I hear they don’t make your polish last as long but may give it a shot soon if I hear of a good brand to try.

4. Daily Hair Washing.

I have an oily scalp, oily face, oily everything. How could I possibly go a day without washing my hair? It’s long, fine, and oily. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Well… I recently did it. About 3 months ago, I started washing my hair every other day and I’m still alive and sane. I know, I know – I can barely believe it myself. I do color my hair and that does take some of the natural oils out and my hair tends to be less oily after I’ve just had it done, so I have that working in my favor. However, I began washing my hair twice in the shower and then conditioning (or deep conditioning). I rarely dry my hair or for more than 3 minutes if I absolutely have to. On second day hair, I use the HG-status Batiste dry shampoo which is my sole savior during those off days. I remember watching Casey Holmes’ video (video here) on how she ‘weaned’ her hair off everyday washing (she has similar skin to myself) and it’s working for her that she’s at the point of washing every 3 days or more, I believe, which is amazing as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point, but she motivated me to try it and I think my hair is similarly adapting. It’s a rough process but so much better for your hair to wash as least as possible so it’s certainly my bad habit to try and break.

5. Body Moisturizing.

I used to be so good at this, I swear. For years. Now, all of a sudden I never fully moisturize my body after a shower anymore during the cold winter months. I simply can’t bare to be cold for a second longer than necessary and I put as much clothes on as possible as soon as possible, leaving no time to moisturize my skin. Do I even have to say that it’s the worst time to “forget” to moisturize? Winter dries out your skin worse than ever and I literally have the deserts of Nevada spread across my body. I have a space heater in my room now so it’s helping me stay warm enough to slap some body butter on, for now. Spring is not too far away so at least I have warmer weather to help me break this habit!

– SF

Skincare Goo

Finding stuff that works for your skin is a serious pain but I love all the items I’m currently using on my (very) oily skin:

DAY FACE WASH: Philosophy Purity Facial Cleanser – Takes off my makeup so easily. It’s creamy and doesn’t irritate my skin.

DAY MOISTURIZER: Clinique Dramatically Different Gel Moisturizer – This stuff absorbs so quickly and I use it under my makeup without making my oily skin extra greasy. It’s the most perfect day moisturizer I’ve ever found for my type of skin.

NIGHT EYE CREAM: Philosophy Miracle Worker Retanoid Eye Repair Cream  – I’ve used this for about a month or so. While it’s not meant for dark circles, this stuff feels amazing (silicone-y) and seems to smooth out and moisturize pretty well.

NIGHT FACE WASH: Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – This is my holy grail face wash. I have acne-prone skin and this stuff cleans out pores and kills any bacteria left on my face. I can’t say enough good things about this cleanser.

NIGHT MOISTURIZER: Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer – I’ve used this for about a week. It has a strong fragrance, but I like it. It feels nice, absorbs quickly, and isn’t too heavy. I would probably be able to use this as a day moisturizer too since it feels so light. I really love the results so far.

EXFOLIATOR: Clarisonic Mia 2 – Love. That is all.

Clarisonic Deep Cleansing Brush Head – I recently just got a new brush head because I felt like my particular skin needed deeper cleansing. It is working well so far.

TONER: Michael Todd True Organics Organic Lemon AHA + DMAE Toner – I love the smell of this product. It’s organic (so I automatically give it more points) but it also works well removing any leftover traces of makeup.

MASK: Boscia Bright White Mask  – I love a good mask you can actually peel off! This does brighten my skin. It’s supposed to fade spots but I think I need to use it a bit longer to really judge those results.

MASK: GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment – I love this stuff and I’m sure not many people disagree. This mask tightens and literally transforms your skin in one use.

MASK: Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Masque – I’ve had this stuff for about a month. I used it as a regular mask once and thought, “Meh.” I read somewhere that a woman used it by accident as a night moisturizer and loved it. I tried it this way and it’s definitely making a difference if I have any redness or irritation. I wake up with calmer, hydrated skin. Note, I use it in combination with my regular night moisturizer as needed.

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