beauty · style

8 Easy Ways to Look Luxurious

Happy Tuesday, folks! Despite some unseasonably warm weather yesterday, I’m still fully aware that winter is upon us and we’d do well to not let our beauty routines lapse. Sometimes, a little warm weather will make us less diligent when it comes to our cold-weather routines – don’t fall for the trap! After all, we only get one body: we have to take care of ourselves.

Along with caring for our bodies internally (diet, exercise, caring for our mental, spiritual and emotional health), we must care for them externally, too. And after we care for our external selves, we may find that basic care just isn’t enough to put a little pep in our steps. Let’s face it: usually, the basics aren’t enough to make us feel luxurious. It doesn’t matter if your face cream costs hundreds of dollars or if you’re using SPF2000: basic care isn’t always enough to make you “sparkle”.

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However, enhancing your sparkle is easy! Here are 8 simple ways you can look more luxurious on a daily basis. Keep up with these, and you’ll be glistening effortlessly in no time!

  1. Groomed brows – I selected this as the top item because it’s so easy to neglect our brows in favor of other body parts. However, well-groomed brows create a gorgeous frame for your eyes, and can instantly make your whole face look more polished and refined. Groom your brows to instantly see a more luxurious you.
  2. Moisturized skin – Dry skin will never be luxurious. Using a good moisturizer that leaves your skin soft, supple and non-greasy instantly enhances your look. Walking the fine line between glowing and greasy is tough, so you may have to sample a few different formulations to find a good one. It’s worth the effort, so start looking now so that you can be well on your way to a more luxurious appearance.
  3. Freshly manicured/painted nails (on hands and feet) – Polished, cared-for nails and feet make a world of difference when it comes to cultivating a luxurious look. Nails that are even, polish that has no chips, lumps or gashes, and cuticles that are trimmed and moisturized quickly give hands and feet the appearance of luxury. This takes a bit more time than some of the other luxurious enhancements mentioned, but it’s worth the investment.
  4. Clothing made from all natural fibers – This can be challenging, since we live in a world full of polyester, spandex and other unnatural fibers. Natural fibers require more maintenance but look infinitely more luxurious. All within reason, though – everyone must consider their personal budget and level of investment when deciding what kind of fibers to purchase. However, cotton is inexpensive and feels great next to the skin, and more expensive fabrics (like leathers, silks and cashmere) can be purchased at a discount if you are a wise shopper. For a truly luxurious look, keep in mind your personal ethics (leather isn’t for everyone!) while shopping for all natural fibers for your wardrobe.
  5. Red lipstick – Perfectly applied red lipstick can immediately make a face look more luxurious and polished. Red lipstick in the perfect shade for your undertones and complexion is a powerful tool to make any ensemble look more glamorous. Red lipsticks are available at all price points, so this luxe accessory is truly available to anyone!
  6. Whitened teeth – A bright, white smile can do wonders for enhancing your overall appeal. And, whitened teeth are very luxurious looking. Whitening formulas can be as simple as baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide, or as elaborate as a few rounds at the dentist’s office. Whatever it takes, make sure to remove as many surface stains as you can from your teeth, so that you can have your brightest smile.
  7. Large sunglasses – Give a nod to Jackie O, one of the most elegant women ever, by throwing on a large pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are practical – who ?doesn’t want to protect their precious eyesight from the suns’s harmful rays – and mysterious. They shield your eyes in the most stylish way. The right sunglasses add a level of polish to any look. Try on a few pair and see for yourself!
  8. Gloves – An oft-forgotten accessory, gloves are another one that is truly practical and still adds a stylish, luxurious touch. Most people won’t reach for their gloves until the cold months, but lightweight cotton gloves are great for protecting hands from the sun when you’re out and about during the warmer seasons.

Can you think of anything else that makes you look or feel luxurious? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

beauty · luxury

Beauty Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying

It’s been AGES since I did a mud mask on my face. I used to use clay- and mud-based masks regularly for my oily skin, but as my life got busier, I just didn’t have as much time to wait for a mask to dry, then all of the extra time needed to rinse it off was more than I wanted to commit to . . . So I let mud masks go.

This past week, though, I had a little extra time. AND, I had a trial size of Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying in one of the Sephora Play boxes that I ordered. So I decided to give it a whirl. My skin isn’t as oily as it used to be when I was younger, but I figured this would still be a fun treat for my combination complexion.

So shiny, so silver: it looked more like an eyeshadow than a beauty treatment

The product is described as being made with ” with zinc, copper, and white clay”, and it’s supposed to “cleanses and purifies pores, absorbs excess sebum, and reduces the appearance of blemishes without overdrying. Skin is left clean, matte, and soft after each use.” I figured that, with all of those promises, I should give it a try.

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When first applied, it’s a dark grey hue

I applied a thin layer after washing and drying my face. The consistency of the mask was smooth overall but there were a few lumps (I’m not sure if it was just my sample or if that’s how it usually looks). The smell isn’t too strong, but definitely noticeable. I let it dry for about 15 minutes.  I then rinsed off the mask: it came off easily and quickly. In fact, this is the only mask I’ve ever used that rinsed totally clean without needing a washcloth to assist in removing the product in stubborn areas.

When dry, it’s chalky white (left to right: partially dry and fully dry)

My skin felt very clean and more matte but not stripped. My skin felt very soft but balanced. I skipped my hydrogen peroxide toner and followed the remaining steps of my skin routine.

This mask retails for $20 and I would definitely purchase it and use it again. It’s difficult to find a mask that rinses clean and doesn’t strip all of the moisture out of my skin. I also liked the smell: I couldn’t pinpoint it, but it had a very clean essence that is familiar and (fortunately) not cloying. This one gets a thumbs up from me!

beauty

Beauty Review: L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother

Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Triple Power Intensive  Overnight Mask (actually, I’m still a fan, I just need to restock for the upcoming cold months). One time, when I purchased a jar of it, I got a free sample of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother. The product – a combination of a primer and “finisher” – claims to minimize skin imperfections and leave the face smooth and velvety.

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With those claims, you know I had to try it.

So I’ve been using this for over a year, but I hadn’t done a review until now. Let me tell you that I still reach for this, after all this time, because it WORKS. Now, I’m not going to claim that it will fill every line, wrinkle or pore to perfection, but it does a great job of “smoothing” the face a bit. I’ve worn it as a finisher (with no makeup on top of it) and as a primer (as a base for my foundation), and I’ve been impressed in both instances. Particularly, I like how my foundation lasts all day when I apply it as a primer.

My face after applying this primer: a soft finish but not shine-proof

Now, here’s a warning: I didn’t find that this product kept my face matte all day when used as a primer. In fact, I am invariably blotting throughout the day when I wear it under my foundation. For full disclosure, I generally don’t wear a powder over my foundation. But, since this is supposed to be a primer that leaves your skin matte, I thought that would translated into a non-shiny face after a couple of hours. I guess my skin’s oils are just too strong. On the other hand, when I wear it as a finisher, I don’t look especially shiny.

This primer is $25 on Ulta’s website. A little product goes a long way, so it may be a good value for you. However, if you’re an oily girl, you ma want to try a product that delivers more on its mattifying promises, since this one falls short. Would I use it again? Sure, but only if I got it on sale.

Enjoy your Saturday, friends! I’ll chat with you all tomorrow.

beauty

Skin Care Updates

Hi everyone! I’ve been eager to do this update because it’s been a few months since I started my Glass Skin routine and I wanted to let you all know about a few changes I’ve made that have made my skin even better than before.

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So I ran out of toner and I was at a loss for what I should use on my face. Picking up Caudalie would have required a 30 minute drive and I couldn’t have even gotten to Sephora until the next day, anyway. So I used the only thing I had available: hydrogen peroxide. I used it in the evening and the following morning and I was so impressed with the look and feel of my skin that I decided to keep it in the rotation until further notice.

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CVS Hydrogen Peroxide

After doing some research, I learned that hydrogen peroxide is great for skin, especially if you’re acne prone, like me. So I’ve been using it and my skin has been loving it! It’s very inexpensive – around $1USD per bottle – and can easily be purchased at any drugstore. It’s been a great addition to my routine!

I also made a few other small modifications:

  • I don’t use an oil-based makeup remover: I use makeup remover towelettes on most days. I sometimes use coconut oil to remove stubborn eye makeup but I don’t apply it all over my face unless I have on a TON of makeup (which is rare).
  • I only use my Dr. Gross exfoliating pads a few times a week. I find that I’ve been able to stay glowing and even-toned without using them daily. The moment I notice any dullness or unevenness in my complexion, I’ll go back to using them every day.
  • Instead of the “Buffet” serum by The Ordinary, I’ve been using the Argireline solution. It’s thinner and seems to absorb really easily into my skin. I’ve been liking the results so far.

Other than those changes, my skin routine is pretty much the same! I can get everything done in less than 15 minutes at night, and my skin has been looking wonderful! I’m still trying to figure out the best way to reduce the appearance of my pores, but since my skin is oily, large pores are generally part of the deal. I’d rather have oily skin than dry skin, so if I have to just suffer through visible pores, then so be it.

That’s all for today! Talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

beauty

Review: SCINIC First Treatment Essence

Hey friends! This is a long overdue review, of a product that I’ve used since March (remember that Glass Skin Challenge?)

As you recall, one of the steps of the Korean skincare regimen includes “essence”. This mystery product that isn’t a fixture in most American skincare routines but it’s a must have for a proper Korean-inspired regimen.

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“Essence” is a nutrient-rich solution used after toning the skin but before applying heavier products like ampoules (serums). It prepares the skin for the following steps by hydrating and balancing the skin.

I tried SCINIC First Treatment Essence because I didn’t know what to expect from this step of my routine and I wanted to try it as affordably as possible. According to the Amazon listing, the product contains “80% fermented yeast concentrate”, which both alarmed and intrigued me.

I gave SCINIC a try during the Glass Skin challenge. Even though I haven’t been able to isolate the efficacy of this product (after all, I used it along with several other new products), I am comfortable saying that I really like it! I enjoyed it so much that I purchased more after I ran out.

The thing about essence is that it really makes the skin feel refreshed and hydrated after using it. I noticed that my skin retained moisture well while using essence but the extra moisture didn’t result in breakouts or clogged pores/congested skin. My skin has been really vibrant with this product in my routine. I’m glad I tried it!

beauty

Beauty Review: Bea Luz Exfoliating Booties

Hey friends! Sandal season will be here before you know it! To get summer-worthy feet, I knew I needed to intensify my moisture and exfoliation regimen. To really amp up the foot-softening process, I grabbed some exfoliating booties from Amazon.

You all know that I have an exfoliating routine that I’ve used successfully during the cold months. That routine really helped keep dry, rough skin to a minimum. But even the best maintenance can sometimes need a little “amping up”.

These exfoliating booties are similar to the Baby Feet products. These work by soaking your feet in a mild acid for 60 – 90 minutes. After soaking your feet, you remove the booties and rinse the solution off, moisturize and go about your day. In 2-4 days, you’ll see the beginnings of skin exfoliation.

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Foot (and polish!) goals

The product has a softly floral fragrance and feels cool on the feet. I put my feet into the booties then put a close-fitting sock over it, so that I could walk around while doing the treatment. While it felt weird, I was pleased that I could still move about as I let these exfoliants do the heavy lifting.

I will spare you my foot photos, but please know that I had lots of dead skin peeling off of my feet. It didn’t peel in the large sheets that I’ve seen others proudly post online, but the results were noticeable. I soaked my feet twice in the week after applying the treatment, and I used my Korean bath mitt to help slough off the dead skin. In less than two weeks, my feet were softer, smoother, and pretty much sandal ready! Needless to say, I was very pleased with the results.

I’ll be using this one more time at the beginning of May, just to make sure that my tootsies are flawless before Memorial Day. I’m excited to see how transformed my feet will be after this next treatment. The price is reasonable at $12.99 for two pairs of exfoliating bootles. I’m already ordering my next pair, so I can refresh the skin during the warm weather.

beauty · luxury

Glass Skin Challenge – Final Results

In a previous post, I talked about the Glass Skin Challenge that I planned to do in the month of March. I also mentioned small tweaks that I made in my routine during the month. I did this routine for a month and recorded my pre-experiment and post-experiment skin. Here are the photos of my results for the Glass Skin Challenge!

Before the routine:

After the routine:

I loved the results and, though my camera can’t quite capture the difference, just know that my skin has clearly improved. I’ve even been complimented on my skin, which let’s me know that the products are working. As a quick recap, my skin type is combination, sensitive and acne-prone. So I wanted to see if this routine a) made my skin too dry or too oily, b) aggravated my skin and caused additional sensitive issues, c) made my acne flare up, and, most importantly, d) made my skin look its best. I’ll list the pros and cons of the routine below:.

Pros:

  • It doesn’t take as long as you would think. It took me about 5 minutes longer to do this routine than my old routine.
  • You don’t have to literally do 10 steps twice a day. The most that I did during any singular skin care session was 8 steps.
  • It didn’t make me break out. All that product on my skin, and not once did I have a clogged pore or pimple.
  • It helped fade dark marks. The combination of consistent exfoliation and regular sunscreen usage seemed to make a big difference in fading the scars.

Cons:

  • You go through a LOT of products. You do have 10+ of them that you’re using, after all. The essence, which I used twice a day, seemed to really go pretty fast.
  • It can get pricey. My exfoliant (the Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross) was $88 for a 30-day supply, and, depending on where you get your essence (I used SCINIC), it may cost you $20-30 for a bottle that won’t last for much more than a month. My Caudalie toner wasn’t cheap, either, though I LOVED it and will definitely purchase again.
  • The exfoliant I used gave me the “Hollywood star”, super-shiny skin look. You know how some actors and actresses have waxy looking skin that has been botoxed and chemically peeled to the max? Yeah, I was starting to get that look. I’m glad that my skin has a bit more density to it: the look only lingered at night, after exfoliating. My daytime routine didn’t have me looking like a sculpture.

After doing the Glass Skin routine, I realized that some of the imperfections I tried to correct were actually small flesh moles that couldn’t be removed via an at-home skin care regimen. Also, I learned that overall brightness and clarity in a complexion can really make you look more alert and healthy.

While I can’t promise that I’ll adhere strictly to the regimen in the future, I am comfortable saying that I will stick pretty closely to the 10-step program and see if I can further perfect my complexion.