Advertisements

Blog Archives

My top 5 beauty products.

I’m obsessed with beauty products!

I don’t know if you know this about me but I LOVE beauty products – skin care, makeup (!), self-tanners, cellulite creams, hair treatments… you name it, I probably have 4 bottles of it in my cabinet. It’s a bad addiction, but it’s a fun one.

I’ve been trying to find a way to share more of my favorite products (or even the things that are NOT my favorite) without it being a giant sales-pitch (I am not sponsored by anyone). The thing is, I’m always trying new things. Even if I like a product, I’m still open to trying other brands just to see what’s out there.

But, when I started writing about all of the cosmetic primers I’ve tried, a reader wanted to know about other products I’ve tried. It’s taken me awhile, but this is my START. I’m very critical – so right now I’ve got five products that I love and have even bought multiple times… as in, I’m sold, I’m not trying other brands. Done. So here they are!

  1. Impress Manicure – When I agreed to get my Invisalign, I knew it would be an extra monthly expense for a little bit (I’m paying for it myself). To help, I vowed to give up professional  manicures. Instead, I started buying press-on nails to keep my nails looking nice without the cost. After trying several brands, the Impress Manicure continues to WIN – big time. These nails are a natural, short length and they require no glue. One set lasts about 10 days, and it costs around $5-$8! I’ve found them at Walgreens, and the grocery store, but you can also get them online. I swear by these!
  2. Essence Forbidden Volume False Lash Mascara Top Coat – This is a top coat you can add on top of any mascara and it has the little fibers that extend each lash. This stuff makes for a pop! I add it to all of my mascaras and I love it – plus, it’s $4. I got mine at Ulta, but I’m sure you can find it other places where Essence makeup is sold.
  3. Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment – I love finding bargains and cheaper solutions when necessary, but I also have come to realize that sometimes, it’s just worth it to shell out the cash for seriously AWESOME products. So far, all of the Glamglow products I’ve tried have blown my mind and I’ve even gotten comments on how fresh my skin looks – given my sleep regimen, this is a miracle! The Thirstymud treatment is a like a thick moisturizer, it smells like coconut, and you basically put it on before bed and wakeup to smooth skin. After trying a sample of it in my Birchbox, I bought the entire kit: the face wash, a blackhead mask, and the full size jar of Thirstymud. Complete GAME CHANGER.
  4. Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Body Wash & Foam Bath – I hadn’t been inside a Bath & Body works in at least 6 years when I randomly wandered into the one at the outlet mall a few months ago. They were having a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale, plus an additional 25% off, so I caved and bought three bottles of this stuff (in three different scents: Happiness, Stress Relief, & Sleep) and all of them smell so good. But what I love most about them is how much they foam up! I use them as bubble bath and on my loofah during a shower. It’s fantastic and now I’m always watching for the next big sale to restock.
  5. Sei Bella 3-in-1 Eyebrow Pencil by Melaleuca – Melaleuca products are made of only the good stuff, which means no parabens, no chemicals, no carcinogens… all of my household cleaners are from Melaleuca and I try their beauty products all the time. So far, my favorite product is their eyebrow pencil – it has a brush, a pencil, and a blender all in the same place! It goes on so easy, it self-sharpens, and it’s affordable at $15 (for members).

And there you have it! What products are you swearing by lately? As I get more “favorites”, I’ll report back!

Advertisements

A sheet-mask comparison.

If I looked this good, I wouldn't need a mask.

If I looked this good, I wouldn’t need a mask.

One thing, among many, that has super sucked is my skin past the age of 25. Then, I chalked it up to my years working in the service industry, surrounded by smoke and guzzling way too much alcohol.

My skin at that point, was so bad, that after trying everything – from basic cleansers and treatments to the complete ProActive skincare line, I started getting professional facials once a week. My face was covered in zits, and not only was it embarrassing, it was very painful.

But, the facials were working (although they were also very painful and expensive) and over time, I was able to go once a month, and my skin was clearing up. Despite having gone through it all, I try to keep my skin routine simple – I am not someone who wants to spend 30 minutes at the sink before bed. I’m tired – which is probably why my skin looks haggard.

Currently, my skincare routine goes a little something like this: at night, I remove my makeup using a makeup remover towel. It requires no chemicals, and is so soft – it’s quite nice. Then, I use my Clarisonic brush along with the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleanser.

Usually, every other night, I do a face mask of some sort, but other than that, that’s it! I’m currently debating using a night cream, so if you use one you love, please tell me!

In the morning, I skip the cleanser and use Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover to get any mascara that’s creeped up from the night before, and then I use Formula 10.0.6 Acne Astringent all over my face, followed by Liz Earle Tonic Spritzer.

Finally, I use REN Firming Beauty Shot followed by Melaleuca’s Affinia Moisturizer, Marcelle Anti-Aging eye gel, and Bare Minerals Primer, before applying all my makeup.

So, pretty simple. I leave it up to my collection of face masks to take care of any “specialty” skin issues. A few months ago, I was reading all these articles about how Korean skincare regimens were all the rage, but these suckers were like 12-steps! Hells no!

If you doubt me, go to Ulta and find the entire AISLE dedicated to all the Korean stuff (at the very least, it’s got cute packaging). I did try a bubbly foam cleanser in one of my monthly Birchboxes, and it was very luxurious.

And they’ve also introduced us to the sheet face mask. Here we were, just slathering green clay onto our faces like slobs, when everyone in the eastern hemisphere was simply slipping on a sheet mask while sipping tea.

While I’ve tried several sheet masks over the last year, I am still trying to figure out the hype, so I asked for “various face masks” for Christmas, and I got exactly what I asked for. So, here’s four different sheet masks I’ve used in the last month, and what I thought.

Lanocreme Manuka Honey Intensely Nourishing & Revitalising Formula

Description: Lanocrème Manuka Honey Face Mask is a rich formulation infused with a unique combination of New Zealand ingredients including UMF Manuka Honey to intensely nourish and moisturise dry skin. The activity of the UMF Honey, recognised for its remarkable nourishing and revitalising properties helps soothe and moisturise the skin whilst Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid promotes firmness. Enriched with UMF Manuka Honey, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera and Argan Oil. Each pack contains 5 individual face masks in their own sachet.

This is the second honey-based mask I’ve done in the last few months, and I just love them. This one really left my skin feeling great. You only have to leave it on for 10 minutes, but you do have to rinse your face afterward, which I’m not a huge fan of.

The other bonus is that unlike most sheet masks, its pretty well-priced – a box of 5 sells for $16 on Amazon (get it here).

Hyaluronic Acid Face Mask (Animated Penguin) by Creme Shop

Description: Animate your skin with The Crème Shop Shop’s Animal Masks! Keep your skin smooth and dewy like a penguin’s perfectly polished coat. Infused with hyaluronic acid, this ultra-moisturizing face mask quenches your skin’s thrist or an effortless, radiant glow.

  • Infused with hyaluronic acid
  • Unparalleled hydration
  • Made in Korea

So, this one is a penguin face, which is cute! It’s a little pricier at $4 a pop (here), but would be fun if you were having a pampering party. This one requires a little more face time (ha, ha) – 15 minutes, but you don’t have to rinse or dry once its done.

I normally don’t mind keeping a mask on for awhile, sometimes hours, but the sheet masks are chilly, and I find I can’t do much while they’re on (you know, like drink wine). Could just be a personal problem.

IPKN Dia Goat Milk Black Mask

Description: Fresh New Zealand goat milk and real diamond powder in premium charcoal mask supplies highly effective nutrition with whitening and baby skin-like complexion.

This one was my favorite out of the bunch. It was soothing, and really made my skin feel nourished. My only complaint? Why is the mask black? Goat’s milk is white. Is it the charcoal? I hope it was black for a good reason, because it was just sort of creepy-looking.

But other than that, this was a quality mask. The sheet itself was very thick, which felt more substantial, and didn’t feel like it was going to tear. Plus, you leave it on for up to 20 minutes, and then you simply peel it off and “pat the essence into your skin”. You can get a pack of 10 for $25 here.

Look Beauty Pretty Animalz Panda

Description: This Panda Character Print Sheet Mask provides intensive hydration while Lavender helps to calm skin with its aromatic and skin soothing properties.

Aside from looking like a little panda, I’ll give this mask props for smelling wonderfully of lavender. I used it before bed just a few nights ago and felt nice and relaxed. This is another one that stays on a little longer – up to 20 minutes – and you can just leave any remaining mask on the skin.

So, there you have it! The honey and the goat’s milk were my favorite, but I think I’ll keep trying others just to see what’s out there. If you haven’t tried one yet, definitely take a look.

There are all sorts of brands that make them, but I’d recommend looking at each mask’s ingredients before purchasing – no parabens should be in the mask. I also found a pretty informative article on sheet masks if you’re interested.

Happy at-home spa-ing!

Dirty 30: Mile-long beauty regimen.

Takes forever to get ready...

Takes forever to get ready…

I don’t want to call it “high-maintenance”, because A. I hate that term, and B. It’s not about material things or money, it’s just about the fact that my beauty regimen is endless.

In my early twenties, I can easily say that I pretty much looked the same with or without makeup. Now, I have always loved wearing makeup – I love putting it on, and I love experimenting with new things, different looks.

But now? The makeup isn’t really an option. My skin is tired. Part of this is because I spent way too much time in the tanning bed as a teenager, and probably because I’ve never gotten enough water. And well, now, I’m just getting old.

It’s not just about the makeup – my skincare routine is no longer just “take off makeup” or slapping a simple pump of orange Neutrogena on my face. It involves makeup removers, brushes to wash, specialty soaps, moisturizers and tightening creams, and of course, face masks almost daily.

There’s also the other areas of my body – my skin all over that probably can’t get enough moisturizer, and hair-inhibiting gels, and creams that fight cellulite. I use body scrubs in hopes of softening my skin, and shaving my legs? It doesn’t leave them as silky smooth as it once did. Bronzers and sunless tanners help with the tiny sunspots on my shins.

Hair? My hair is probably one of my least concerns, but that’s because I make a standing appointment for a cut, color, and deep condition. I do use color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and once a week I do an in-shower protein treatment. But for the most part, my hair has not been affected by my age (if there’s gray under the brown/red, I’ve got no clue and I’m okay with that!).

Nails. I feel like the at-home mani-pedi just isn’t cutting it. I’m not to the point where I regularly get manicures or pedicures (I’m a little too cheap for that), but no matter how long I spend soaking my feet or how carefully I file my nails, it just never looks that great.

According to Allure magazine, our skin cells start to dull around age 30, which is why we’ve got to do more to get that “glow” back. Le sigh.

I know it’s something I’m forced to accept; and some of it is kind of nice (I’ll take a nice facial or a mani-pedi any day). But it’s just one of those things… I’d love to know what some of your favorite products are, or how your beauty and skincare regimen has changed over the years.