Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Nightly Skincare Routine

For the past couple of years, I have been very into skincare. Since I just got married last year and with wedding season coming up, I thought I would share some tips. It's really essential to have a nightly skincare routine and to stick to it. It's especially hard to follow this on the weekends, but my skin will suffer if I don't. I wanted to share my routine with you and the current products I am using. I was inspired to write this post after HSN brought their "4 Overnight Beauty Products You Should be Using" blog post to my attention. The author, Carly, makes some great points and breaks it down nicely. My routine closely follows Carly’s post; I use a base (serum), moisturizer, and eye cream.

Here is a link to the article.

My Nightly Skincare Routine
First, I remove my makeup. This is extremely important at the end of the day so your pores don’t get clogged and to remove any dirt and oil buildup. I like to start off by using Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. These gently remove makeup, even waterproof eye makeup. Then I follow up with my current favorite cleanser, Exuviance Moisturizing Antibacterial Facial Cleanser, which is gentle enough to use daily. I use my Clarisonic Mia 2 brush (not pictured) as often as I can, I recommend using a cleansing brush every other day to exfoliate.

I follow up with my SkinCeuticals® Blemish + Age Defense serum. I like that this has anti-aging benefits and contains salicylic acid to prevent and treat breakouts. Using a serum can really help improve your skin's surface.

Next, I apply moisturizer. I like to let the serum sink in for a few minutes before doing this. My current top pick for a night time moisturizer is dermalogica®
Active Moist. It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and is lightweight, not greasy like many formulas.

Then, I apply eye cream. The eye area is so delicate, it's essential to have a cream specifically for this. I have sensitive eyes, so  I use the Neocutis LUMIÈRE Bio-Restorative Eye Cream, which is a gentle, creamy formula that sinks into the skin nicely. It’s anti-aging and helps with dark circles among many other benefits.

Lastly, I moisturize my lips. I always choose a lip treatment that will last through the night. Sara Happ® The Lip Slip® One Luxe Lip Gloss and C.O. Bigelow® My Favorite Night Balm are both long lasting lip treatments that are so rich they will last until morning.

What is your nightly skincare routine? What are your favorite products to use at night?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Makeup Tools: Travel Edition (Part 2 of 2)

Here are the makeup brushes I brought on my trip. I always seem to bring different brushes. It always depends on what products I'm bringing and what brushes I currently have in my rotation.
1. Estee Lauder case. I believe this was a gift with purchase bag.

2. MAC Duo Lash Comb/Brow Brush. I use this for the lash comb, I love how compact it is.

3. Lancôme Cheek Brush. I bought this years ago, I believe this has been improved now.

4. MAC 109 Small Contour Brush. I used this for contouring with my Laguna bronzer.

5. Sigma® Tapered Highlighter F35 Brush. I use this for highlighting my cheekbones.

6. Real Techniques® Buffing Brush. I use this for my powder products.

7. Sephora Pro Flawless Light Powder Brush #50. This now has a new look, this is years old. I love using this brush for my finishing powder.

8. Real Techniques® Domed Shadow Brush. This has the right amount of fluffiness to apply color all over the lid or to blend shadow in the crease.

9. MAC 217 Blending Brush. This blend my shadows in the crease perfectly.

10. Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush. The size of the brush makes it easy to put a wash of color all over your lids.

11. MAC 263 Small Angle Brush. This works beautifully with my MAC fluidline gel liner.

12. Shiseido Eyelash Curler. My all-time favorite eyelash curler. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Makeup Products: Travel Edition (Part 1 of 2)

Last week I went on a ski resort trip and I thought I would post about the makeup products I brought. I packed my favorite products that I knew would last throughout long days and hanging out at night, plus a couple new lip colors. I also brought a couple multi-tasking items which are my favorite to travel with. I knew I would have to get ready quickly, so I also kept that in mind when packing. I used my Henri Bendel Brown & White Stripe Large Hanging Weekender Bag and had plenty of room. This is great for travel because it is easy to clean and has two large clear zipper compartments and a smaller zipper compartment with a hook as an option for hanging the bag.

1. Diorskin Forever Compact Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Makeup SPF 25 in 020 Light Beige. This is my go-to powder, it provides great coverage and a beautiful finish. It always lasts all day on me and required only one touch up before going out at night.

2. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade #4. I love the buildable coverage of this foundation and it never looks cakey. Since it is very fluid and easy to apply, I was able to apply it quickly over moisturizer and sunscreen.

3. Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer in #519. I wanted a bright lip color to use during the day and night that was comfortable. This was perfect, and it fit nicely in my Marc by Marc Jacobs Percy bag so I could touch up throughout the day.

4. Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss in Pretty. This is a great little multi-tasker. It’s a pretty coral, strawberry pink with very fine glitter that’s also moisturizing.

5. MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy. I am obsessed with this shimmery chocolate pencil. I love using it for a smoldering eye look at night. I also wore this alone with mascara for the car ride home.

6. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black. My first favorite liquid eye pen liner. This really is an intense black and I love using this for my top lash line. I love that you can do as fine or thick of a line as you want.

7. Chanel Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil in Blond Clair. One side has a pencil and the other side has a spool brush. This pencil is soft but not too soft and blends nicely. I love that the spool brush is attached.

8. Revlon® Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen. I always bring two liquid eye liners, just in case I lose one or it runs out. Eyeliner is my must have makeup item. I absolutely love this pen, I get the precise line I want for my top lash line. I have repurchased this and I believe it has been reformulated though.

9. NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo in Deep Throat/Laguna. I wish this was permanent, it was so great to travel with my go-to blush and bronzer in one sleek compact!

10. MAC Eyeshadow Quad. Top Left: Era, Top Right: Wedge, Bottom Left: Patina, Bottom Right: Espresso. Some of my favorite MAC eyeshadows, all are very long lasting finishes.

11. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle. It’s a beautiful champagne highlight with shimmer. This is great to use day or night.

12. Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige. The best concealer I’ve ever used for blemishes or dark spots. I used it as a touch up later in the day.

13. MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. I used this as a base for my eye makeup, this made all of the items I used, last until I took my makeup off at night. The consistency of this is very easy to apply.

14. MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack. This gel liner doesn’t budge and I like to use it on my bottom and top lash lines.

15. Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Pale Barley No. 22. This is one of my go-to colors for a quick wash of color and it is beautiful when worn alone or with other eyeshadows. It’s so buttery!

16. Maybelline® Volum' Express® One-by-One™ Mascara in Blackest Black. You can build this up nicely and still have clump-free lashes.

17. bareMinerals® Stroke of Light™ Eye Brightener in Luminous 2. I wasn’t feeling well for a couple nights on the trip, so I was really glad I had this for circles.

18. MAC Brow Set in Clear. This sets my brows really well and does not leave a hard finish like some.

Please check back tomorrow to see the makeup brushes and tools I brought!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer #519

I have been trying to find a bright, punchy pigmented lip gloss. I've been surprised that this is not easy to find. I tried the Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer Crystal Shine Gloss in #519 ($30 for .22 oz). Shade #519 is a warm pinky coral color that's like watermelon and it has no glitter. This is not only a beautiful watermelon color, it is incredibly comfortable to wear. It feels like a gel and glides on easily. It's not at all sticky, which is very rare to find in a lip gloss! I am normally not good about reapplying lip gloss, but I am constantly applying this now. The gloss comes in a larger sized tube with a long doe foot applicator. Giorgio Armani packaging is always nice and feels luxurious. This is a really gorgeous color and is perfect for spring. My local mall sadly does not carry Giorgio Armani products, so I either have to travel a little farther or go online to purchase. Every Giorgio Armani product I have tried I love, so I wish my local mall did carry this brand.
Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer is available at Giorgio Armani, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue,  and Bloomingdale's.
Have you tried Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

I received the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette as a Christmas gift and I have absolutely been loving it. I have admired it forever and am so excited to finally own it. For $52, you get 12 shadows in nice-sized pans. This palette really is worth all the hype. It has a beautiful array of colors; light neutrals, taupe, gray, and black. I get excited every time I open it. I am especially enjoying the taupe shades. The colors and finishes of these eyeshadows really make your eyes sparkle and you can create gorgeous smoky eyes. The shades are very pigmented and flattering. You can achieve so many day or night looks with this palette. The matte black works great as an eyeliner and shadow. The double-sided crease and shadow brush, that comes with this, also works pretty well and is easy to use with the shadows. I have experienced only a minimum amount of fallout.

The palette comes with a Lip Junkie lip gloss in 'Naked' which Urban Decay describes as a 'pinky neutral'. It's a nice nude lip gloss with a refreshing mint feel and scent that is pretty sticky.

I wish there were a couple more mattes in this palette (it only contains three), but that's what happens with pre-made palettes. Overall, this palette has a beautiful assortment of good quality eyeshadows. The hard case is great for travel and I love the mirror inside.

You can purchase the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette at Sephora and Ulta.

Have you tried the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette or any of the Naked palettes? Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tinted Moisturizer: Achieve the Beautiful, Natural Glow

I had never tried tinted moisturizer until just recently. I, of course, had to try out Laura Mercier's. Not only does she have four different versions but hers are always raved about. I chose the oil-free version because I have oily, sensitive skin. I've been wanting light coverage for a more natural look and this tinted moisturizer is beautiful.

The tinted moisturizer feels similar to a light foundation in terms of texture, just a little more wet. It has a thin consistency and is very easy to blend. This works as a light moisturizer, I can definitely skip my normal moisturizer and I'm fine using this, but I still prefer to put it on before. During the summer I think it will be fine to use by itself, during the winter it does not seem to moisturize enough. It has a sheer coverage, but is slightly buildable. It definitely gives you the "your skin but better" look. I finish off with my Diorskin Forever compact, a foundation powder, and I find this provides the perfect amount of coverage for a light makeup look. I love that it gives you a natural glow. As for wear time, on a warmer day it lasted for about 9 hours before it started to shift.

I was surprised to find these seem to run a little on the darker side in terms of shades. The color 'Nude' was too tan for me and I ended up getting the shade 'Porcelain.' For reference, I use the shade 'Cream Ivory' in the Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation. I recommend you try them out in person to find the shade that fits you best.

Laura Mercier Oil-Free SPF 20 ($43 for 1.7 oz.) is available at Laura MercierSephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and other department stores.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hair Oil Treatment

Moroccanoil® Treatment is a hair treatment with argan oil. This oil is very nourishing, it has helped me through some serious hair damage I had a couple years ago. If you color your hair or get highlights, I recommend you find a way to incorporate this amazing product into your hair routine. Using oil and moisturizing products are really important to prevent breakage or damage to your hair. Moroccanoil® Treatment is alcohol free, which is hard to find with hair products. This can be mixed in your conditioner or hair mask, when your hair is wet to style, or when your hair is dry to finish it off. Every day, I like to mix this with my hair styling cream. If I don't use it, I notice a huge difference in my hair. It adds a beautiful shine to your hair, but you have to be careful because just one pump of this goes a long way. It also smells amazing. Once you start using this, you won't be able to go without it. The small .85 oz. glass bottle has a screw top and is great for traveling. The larger 3.4 oz. glass bottle comes with a screw top lid and pump.

Moroccanoil® Treatment Light is for lighter hair and the original Moroccanoil® Treatment is for darker hair. It retails for $14.80 for .85 fl. oz. and $43 for 3.4 fl. oz. at select salons and online at Moroccanoil® and Nordstrom.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

MAC Fluidline Gel Eyeliner in "Blacktrack"

MAC Fluidline gel eyeliner in “Blacktrack” ($16 for .1 oz.) is an eyeliner I have been using for years. Once you apply this eyeliner, it will not budge. I have oily lids and have never had an issue with this liner. This is one of the best eyeliners for a classic or fun smoky eye, and it will last all day. MAC does not describe this as waterproof, but I’ve worn this on hot days in Hawaii and cried at the movies with this on and it still does not budge. “Blacktrack” is a rich black. It’s creamy and smooth, but does not have too much slip, which I like because it sets quickly and you don’t have to worry about it smudging. I love to use my MAC 266 brush or Bobbi Brown Ultrafine Eye Liner brush for a precise line that you can make as thin or thick as you want. The price point is also good considering how much product you get. I have never gone through a whole pot of this, it will normally dry out within a year, and at that point I will repurchase. You can also “Back to MAC” this product. For more information on the Back to MAC program, please visit my post here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

(MALIN + GOETZ) Lip Moisturizer

(MALIN + GOETZ) is a skincare company that uses natural ingredients that are gentle enough for those with sensitive skin to use. (MALIN + GOETZ) Lip Moisturizer ($12 for .35 oz.) is a moisturizing lip treatment with a gel formula. This lip product is formulated with fatty acids for hydration. It has a nice texture that you instantly feel sink into your lips and it leaves a nice glossy sheen. I really like this gel formula, it's clear and completely unlike other gel lip products I have used before. This lip moisturizer is fragrance free and very gentle. It is not goopy or sticky, so it sits comfortably on the lips.

(MALIN + GOETZ) Lip Moisturizer is very hydrating and relieving for chapped lips. It has a screw top and does not have a slanted tip. I apply this directly to my lips and rub it in with my finger or use my finger to apply. It has cute, simple packaging. The lip moisturizer is also available in a mojito flavor, which I have not tried.

I e-mailed the company asking if the lip moisturizers are gluten free, and they said they are gluten free.

(MALIN + GOETZ) Lip Moisturizers (Original and Mojito) are available at Bloomingdale's, (MALIN + GOETZ),, and Barneys.
Have you tried (MALIN + GOETZ) products?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Illuminating Eye Brightener

bareMinerals® 'Stroke of Light™' Eye Brightener ($22 for 0.18 fl. oz.) is a very creamy, illuminating, and effective concealer for the under eye area. It comes in a thin, long plastic tube (thinner but a little longer than your average mascara) and has a doe foot applicator. I have it in the color ‘Luminous 2’ and it comes in a total of four shades (Luminous 1, 2, 3, 4). Luminous 2 is a light yellow beige. I use this for my under eye area and have personally used this for other areas of the face to lighten dark spots or highlight features. I have also tried this product on my mom and it works beautifully on her as well. It has a comfortable feel that’s not too light but not too heavy and blends like a dream. The way it blends makes it easy to put it on half way through the day if you need a little freshening up.  If you don’t have a lot of experience using concealer for your under eye area, I highly recommend this because the formula is very easy to work with. Overall, this is a great product with many uses. It does not cake or settle into fine lines.
Have you tried bareMinerals® 'Stroke of Light™' Eye Brightener?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Heavy Duty Hand Cream

I have a little bit of eczema and I am constantly lathering lotions and creams on. Neutrogena® Norwegian Formula® Hand Cream is a very interesting formula that I’ve been using at night. It comes in a small 2 oz. tube with a twist top. I purchased the fragrance free version and I am very happy with it. It’s a thick cream that comes out semi-opaque and when you start rubbing it in, then it turns white. Once completely rubbed in, it goes back to clear. This is more like a mask for your hands, which soaks into the skin nicely. I have noticed my hands are in much better condition after using this cream; it has significantly helped with the peeling and redness I had before. A little bit of this goes a very long way. Even though it is very thick, it’s gentle. The tube says it is dermatologist recommended and that you can also use this on your body and face, which I have not tried yet.
Neutrogena® Norwegian Formula® Hand Cream ($4.49 for 2 oz.) is available at grocery stores and drugstores. You can get it online here. Have you tried this hand cream?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Creamy Concealer with Amazing Coverage

Every year, I always look forward to InStyle Magazine's 'Best Beauty Buys', which they feature in their magazine every spring. This is how I have come across some of my now all-time favorite beauty products. Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer is one of these products.

I have seen this concealer featured in their magazine often, but it took me a long time to buy it because of the price tag ($70 for 0.17 oz.). I finally decided to get it a year and a half ago because I really needed something to cover blemishes and discoloration, and my current concealer wasn't doing the job. I wish I had tried this concealer sooner! This has become a staple in my every day beauty routine and although I would warn people about the price tag when I recommend it, I would recommend it to everyone.

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer is creamy and very pigmented. When you find the right color for your skin it matches up perfectly. This concealer comes in four colors (Ivory, Beige, Ocher, and Honey). I am the color ‘beige’ for blemishes and discoloration, but ‘ivory’ would probably be best on me for under eye concealing. The pigment and the way this product blends into skin is truly amazing. It provides great coverage and it does not cake. This is the best concealer I have ever tried. A tube can last about a year, depending on how heavily you use it. This concealer is in sleek dark blue packaging, so it's nice and compact too.
Clé de Peau Beauté concealer is available at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and other department stores.
Regarding ingredients, please see my Disclosure page regarding beauty products I review.

Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Ocher
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer Ocher and Beige Swatches

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Intense Black Kohl Liner

Black pencil eye liner has never worked well on me. It always smudges so I can't wear it often or for a long period of time. I learned to use gel eye liner back in middle school and this was my go to liner of choice through high school. I have experimented with pencil eye liners again in recent years, but still had not found an amazing black that wouldn't smudge unless I wanted it to.

Enter Topshop Waterproof Kohl Pencil Liner in Ebony ($10 for 0.04 oz.). I read Kristen Stewart loves this pencil, and since she's always rocking a smoky eye, I knew it must be good. This soft, creamy, intense black pencil lasts all day on me without smudging, even without primer. I am really impressed with the wear time of this pencil. Normally gel or liquid liner has this long of a wear time on me throughout the day. Since it’s so creamy I find I have to sharpen this almost every time I use it. This pencil would be even better if it was longer because I don’t see it lasting that long and it would be nice if you could sharpen it to more of a point. Topshop only has this pencil in Ebony (black) or Gunpowder (gunmetal). I’m hoping they will eventually have this pencil in brown!

Have you tried Topshop Waterproof Kohl Pencil Liner? What’s your favorite waterproof eyeliner?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

MAC Viva Glam Rihanna Lipglass: Review and Swatch

This winter MAC launched Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick and Lipglass, two beautiful blue-based red limited edtion products. MAC Viva Glam Rihanna Tinted Lipglass ($15 for .17 oz.) is a gorgeous raspberry red lip gloss with a hot pink tint and glitter. The glitter really makes the color pop. This can be worn alone or you can pair it with the MAC Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick, over any red lipstick. It really adds a gorgeous look to any red lipstick. The lip gloss comes in a pretty red tube with Rihanna's signature on it. MAC’s Lipglass formula is slightly sticky, wearable for a couple hours, and has a high gloss finish.  
MAC Viva Glam collections not only feature gorgeous colors but all proceeds go to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Beauty and a good cause all in one!

Have you tried the MAC Rihanna Viva Glam Lipglass or Lipstick? What are your thoughts on it?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Silky, Hydrating Face Lotion

I recently had to find a new face cream because my favorite one was reformulated and started breaking me out. I have sensitive, oily skin which makes it hard to find products I like and any changes to my current products will normally cause breakouts. I have tried a lot of different face creams and lotions and many are too greasy and greasy does not always mean moisturizing.

I decided to try Dermalogica Active Moist ($56 for 3.4 oz.) and since the first time I used it I have absolutely loved it. This oil free lotion feels light when you apply it, yet a little goes a long way. It is very hydrating, with most face lotions or creams I will still get spots of dry skin during the colder months, but not with this. This lotion absorbs into the skin very well and leaves a nice finish. I have also noticed it makes my skin silky.

Dermalogica Active Moist comes in a tube with a screw top. I really like the packaging, the tube makes it easy to travel with or throw in your purse, and you can control the amount you get.