beauty

Winterproof Your Skin

Friends, if you start on a routine TODAY, you will be buttery-soft by Christmas – I promise!

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If you start taking care of your skin, you’ll be softer than these munchkins (courtesy of Daily Monitor)

With the air steadily getting colder and drier, I’ve been getting back into my winter skin routine, which involves shielding myself from the elements, heavier moisture and more intense exfoliation. It’s funny – the skin on my face is combination/oily, so I tend to stick with water-based, oil free facial moisturizers. But the skin below my chin is so dry: I could rub down in vegetable oil and it would be just fine LOL!

This time of year, I’m focused on exfoliation and hydration because these are a surefire way to get soft skin. The trick to exfoliation is to *carefully* double up, using both mechanical (body scrubs, body brushes and exfoliating mitts) and chemical (acids that remove dull, dry skin) products. I use a body scrub once a day, and a mild chemical exfoliant twice a day. I like both Shea Moisture’s body scrubs as well as St. Ives. I find that Shea Moisture’s products have finer, grainier scrubs that really buff away dull skin, but St. Ives is less expensive and not as grainy.


In place of the scrubs, I occasionally use my Korean bath mitts (I’ve written about them previously). But if I use the mitts, I  avoid using the scrubs for at least 3 days afterward. The mitts do a great job of getting rid of dry skin.

As far as chemical exfoliants go, I rely heavily on AmLactin. The lotion is gentle enough for daily use but extremely effective. I use it twice a day on all of the skin below my chin, and it has every inch of me feeling soft and supple. This one is a two-for-one: it exfoliates and moisturizes simultaneously.

I pay careful attention to my skin when using exfoliants. If I feel a bit sensitive (that sometimes occurs with the skin on my chest and upper arms), I’ll either skip my scrub or my AmLactin. I also apply an additional layer of AmLactin to my feet right before bed, because the skin on my feet isn’t as sensitive as the rest of my body. I recommend that you pay careful attention to how your skin reacts and adjust accordingly.

Those are the products I use for soft skin all winter long! Do you have any product recommendations? Please let me know in the comments below!

beauty

Review: Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel

Hey friends! I’m in the midst of a very  busy – but fun – week, so I wanted to make a quick post about a product that I absolutely adore.

I started using Dr. Gross products last year, when I got serious about improving and perfecting my skin. The salesperson at my local Sephora directed me to the brand’s Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel for sensitive skin, since I was experiencing a bout of sensitivity and I was unsure how my skin would react to the product.

The price of the product – $88 for a 30 day supply – was not for the faint of heart, but desperate times call for desperate measures and believe me, I was DESPERATE. I held out hope that the product would improve my skin’s texture and clarity.

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The description of the product on Sephora’s website is as follows:

A daily peel in pre-soaked pads that contains three gentle acids, anti-agers, and soothing botanicals to exfoliate and nourish sensitive skin and combat the three most common signs of aging.

Lactic acid, mandelic acid, and willow bark extract all work together to exfoliate the skin, refine the texture and clear the pores gently. The product is easy to use: each peel consists of two wipes, conveniently attached in a connected dual-pouch configuration. You gently wipe your face with Wipe 1, until the wipe feels dry to the touch. Then you wait for two minutes, and follow up with wiping your face with Wipe 2. Wipe 1 is the exfoliating chemicals, and Wipe 2 neutralizes the chemicals (so you don’t accidentally burn your skin).

But the question is, how well did it work?

Well, Dr. Gross didn’t disappoint. After 30 days, my skin look transformed! In fact, my skin was looking better after one week, and continued use just made it look even better. By the time I got through the box, I was running to Sephora to get another one! I noticed that some of my scars were starting to fade, and my pores looked smaller. I looked like I may have even gotten a professional chemical peel!

I wish I had taken photos: the difference was noticeable. The results were so good, I plan to purchase another box and start up on another round of exfoliation: I’d like to ring in the new year with my skin looking extra flawless!

I have an upcoming post, describing how I’m winterproofing my skin. I have some other product recommendations that I think you all will enjoy. I’ll talk to you all soon!

beauty

Review: Yours True Lovely Waist Beads

Full disclosure: I’m fascinated with anything that connects me to my feminine energy. I’m so into it, I regularly cross the lines of “woo-woo”. Yes, I get a bit geeky about it.

Crystals, aromatherapy, belly dancing, multi-step beauty routines – you name it. All of it is done for the sake of fortifying my feminine energy, because I find that this world tends to deplete that energy constantly.

As part of my continual journey into the wide world of femininity, I researched waist beads. A common accessory in many African countries, waist beads are worn under the clothes to help shape the body, help women stay in touch with their femininity, and even to seduce lovers (I found all of this info here).

Uhm, I want body shaping, contact with my femininity and the magical powers of seduction. So I bought some beads.

I ordered from Yours TrueLovely on Instagram. The owner of this handcrafted jewelry company is Alexis. I didn’t find her store randomly; I actually met Alexis a little less than 30 years ago – our moms used to work together and were pregnant with us at the same time LOL! Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) she began offering waist beads right around the time that I started researching them. So I placed my order and waited patiently.

She produces such high quality pieces, and the beads were ready in no time. Here are some photos of the finished product:

 

My waist bead is pale pink and gold. I ordered it a little larger than my natural waist size, because I misread the measuring tape (it’s been a while since I measured myself). When I order my next waist chain, I’ll make sure it’s smaller, so I can wear it under my clothes and it will have a snug fit on my natural waist. Here’s a closeup of the jewelry:

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If you want to tap into your feminine essence, I highly recommend that you contact Alexis for your own customized waist beads. You’ll love it!

beauty

Review: Life of a Bombshell Brush Set

Happy Tuesday, beloveds! I’ve got another beauty review for you all.

I bought these rose gold makeup brushes back when I did my big beauty haul in August. These came from Life of a Bombshell, the company responsible for my Bronze Bombshell palette (I’ll be reviewing that soon!). My order arrived quickly and I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the products I received.

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I selected these brushes because I love anything in rose gold. The set has ten brushes and, while I didn’t get a guide naming the function for each brush, I’m comfortable outlining the brush types based on my own experiences with certain brush shapes and sizes. Here’s what I *think* these brushes are for (from left to right):

  • Large powder brush
  • Concealer brush
  • Blending brush
  • Angled liner brush
  • Contour brush
  • Eyeliner brush
  • Crease brush
  • Highlighter brush
  • Flat eyeshadow brush
  • Blush brush

Closeup of the blush brush

 

But, being “pretty” doesn’t matter if the brushes don’t perform well. The real test is how well the brushes work when using them to apply makeup.

So, how did these brushes work?

I was VERY impressed with how well these brushes worked! These picked up product and applied with ease. The brushes are soft and the bristles are tightly packed, allowing for an even application. The bristles didn’t shed during product application and they didn’t absorb too much of my liquid products (a bit of a problem when using sponges and other absorbent tools).

These brushes also cleaned easily. I used baby shampoo and hand soap for cleansing. Even when the brushes were brown, black and pink from my foundation, eyeshadow and blush, I easily got the bristles back to white and pink again.

The set was $19, and I feel it was well worth the price! I plan to get another set as backup brushes. If you’re so inclined, check them out!

 

beauty

Review: The Ordinary’s Argireline Solution

Happy Friday, beloveds! We made it through another week!

As part of my ongoing review of the products I’ve purchased from The Ordinary, I will be sharing my experience with the company’s Argireline Solution. Much like the squalane oil, I’d never heard of argireline until I started shopping with The Ordinary.

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Argireline is a trademarked solution that works on facial lines, reducing the depth and improving the overall appearance of wrinkled skin. According to The Ordinary’s website,

[…] Argireline improves the appearance of facial areas prone to developing dynamic folds, including around the eyes and in the forehead area. “

With those kinds of promises, I was eager to give it a try. I don’t have any deep wrinkling but, as with any skin issues, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. That being said, I bought a bottle and tried it out.

The directions for use are as follows:

Apply a few drops on the forehead and around the eyes twice daily before heavier treatments.

I applied the solution under my eyes, on my forehead, and my nose-to-mouth lines. I made the mistake of applying the solution liberally: it was runny like water. It’s definitely a “solution”: it doesn’t have the consistency of a serum. The product is clear, odorless, non-greasy and lightweight. It absorbed into my skin easily and wasn’t sticky.

I used it for a few days and saw a difference within a week. My forehead – which I’m known for frowning up – was noticeably smoother. I didn’t see much difference in my eyes and nose-to-mouth lines,  other than just general softness and feeling more moisturized.

I used up the entire bottle, and I intend to purchase again! I wish I’d taken before-and-after photos, so that you all can see the difference. But you don’t have to take my word for it: try it for yourself! It’s only $7.90 per bottle. I think it is well worth the investment!

art · beauty

Time for Costumes . . .

Yay! It’s Saturday! I’ve been waiting for this day all week!

Halloween is upon us, so you can expect a lot of people to be out and about as they gather some last minute items.

In the spirit of the season, I’m posting links to incredible Halloween makeup tutorials. Even if you don’t celebrate, you’re bound to find something fun that you can incorporate into your everyday look. Enjoy!

 

 

 

beauty

Review: The Ordinary’s Squalane Oil

Earlier this year, I started using The Ordinary’s skincare products, along with my main skincare line (Mary Kay Timewise collection). I had listened to Wayne Goss’s review of The Ordinary’s primers, and decided to give them a try. After liking how well the primers worked, I started experimenting with the Argiriline solution, the Alpha Arbutin, and the Niacinamide (reviews on those products can be found here, here and here). Today’s review is on the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane Oil.

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If you have never heard of squalane, join the club. I had no idea what it was, and I only purchased out of curiosity. After receiving the product, I looked up squalane and found out that it is an olive oil derivative. The Ordinary’s website mentions that the product is for “surface hydration”, which I take it means that the product locks in moisture.

Even though I have oily skin, I enjoy using a very lightweight oil during the wintertime, after doing my evening skincare routine. A little oil on top of all of my products seems to keep my skin from looking too weather-beaten. And, since the air is drier in the winter, a noncomedogenic oil acts as a great buffer against indoor heating (especially since I don’t normally use a humidifier). I also thought that testing oils now, before the chilly season arrives, would be particularly proactive of me. All in all, I figured squalane oil could be a good option, since “surface hydration” is what I desire, and testing the oil now seemed like a sound idea.

The directions for use are as follows:

“Apply a few drops daily or as needed to entire face ideally after water-based treatments.

So, the evening after I received the oil, I gave it a try. The product comes in a dark bottle (I assume that it’s light-sensitive) with an eyedropper to dispense the product. I got a dropper full of product and placed it in my palm. I noted the very thin, lightweight consistency and I was excited: I hate heavy oils on my face. However, the oil was so lightweight that my hands (which were squeaky clean and ever so slightly damp) soaked it right up! I had to get another dropper full in order for any of the product to make it to my face. But at this point, I’m still excited because the oil doesn’t feel greasy (another one of my oil “peeves”).

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I applied the squalane oil after cleansing, exfoliating, and using two of my serums. That was a BIG mistake: the squalane made my serums clump on my face. I wasn’t expecting the oil to make my serums pill, so I stopped massaging it into my face and opted to pat it on. When patting, I noticed that the product didn’t seem to adhere to the surface of my skin at all. It did, however, make my eyebrows look very lustrous.

The next day, I tried squalane oil in the morning (when I use only one serum). The pilling occurred again. As a result, I decided that squalane may not be the oil for me. My serums aren’t oil-based, but they aren’t watery enough to prevent the squalane oil from making them clump. I can just as easily find another lightweight oil that doesn’t interfere with the absorption of my serums and solutions.

So here are my squalane oil takeaways:

– The oil is odorless and colorless and, as previously mentioned, very lightweight.

–  The product absorbs easily into product-free skin.

– The product can be applied over other products, but patting is the best application method (massaging will make the previously applied products clump on the skin’s surface)

– The oil is not greasy.

I am still using the oil, but I keep it at my desk and apply it to my hands only. It is great as a hand moisturizer because it’s not greasy (no oil stains on the papers I handle!), odorless (no offending my officemates with strong fragrances) and the eyedropper dispenser makes it easy to apply the oil precisely where you need it (for me, usually the skin between my fingers). If you have dry skin on your face, this would be a great final step for locking in the moisture before applying a heavier moisturizing product.

The Ordinary’s Squalane Oil retails for $7.90, so I think it’s a great price for a good product. If you want to learn more about squalane oil, check out this article. Try it and let me know what you think!

 

(all photos from The Ordinary’s website)