Category Archives: Beauty

june favorites

May and June Favorites 2015

Things have been a bit crazy lately with all the travel for my “real” job, so May slipped through my fingers before I could find the time to write up a favorites post. And considering I’m about to depart on yet another trip (an actual vacation this time) for the next two trips, I won’t have time to do a June favorites before July rolls around. The solution here? A really late May favorites and an early June favorites all rolled in to one. Woop, woop!

Being on the go for the past few months has meant that my makeup routine has been trimmed down. I don’t feel the need to overload my carry-on with excess palettes or break the TSA 3-1-1 rule with multiple liquid foundations.

And when I have been home, I’ve been prepping for vacation with sunless tanner, bright polish  and burn-free skin. And now that I’ve rambled for long enough, let’s get to the main event … my current beauty faves.

june favorites

Smashbox Photo Filter Powder Foundation | Benefit Roller Lash | Michael Kors Gold

Skin Authority Sunless Tanner | IT Cosmetics Brow Power

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Vegas, Baby | Aveeno Sunscreen

What beauty products are you loving lately?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Time to Become a Sun Bum

Warm weather has arrived, and if you’re anything like me, sun, sand, and beaches are in your future! Sun Bum has a whole beauty line geared toward the dog days of summer, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them.

First up- Sun Bum Beach Formula Sea Spray ($14.99 at Ulta)

Sun Bum

What’s not to love about sea spray in a squirt bottle? While protecting hair from the elements, it gives hair extra body, waves, and texture for that “I just spent the day at the beach” look. When it comes to my hair, I am not always fond of a matte-finish, because it can tend to look a bit “witchy” due to the length. This Beach Formula Sea Spray definitely has a matte-finish hold, but I liked how it brought out my highlights and didn’t make my hair look too scraggly.

I sprayed it on towel-dried hair and gave it a good scrunch or two before letting it air dry. The spray itself was lightweight and created the strand separation and definition it claimed it would. I absolutely loved how purposely messy my beach waves looked, and I think they looked even better after sleeping on them.Sun Bum Sun Bum

In addition to the Sea Spray, I scored a few of Sun Bum’s Sunscreen Lip Balms ($3.99) in Mango, Coconut, and my personal fave Key Lime. Not only are they SPF 30, but they also contain aloe and vitamin E- a perfect combination to keep lips protected during sunny days. I have one stashed in each purse!

sun bum

Check out more Sun Bum products at trustthebum.com or head to Ulta.com to experience them for yourself!

Have you tried out Sun Bum products before?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

vitamin c serums

What’s so Super about Vitamin C Serums?

When I hear “Vitamin C” I think of citrus fruits and the inspirational “Graduation” song. Who doesn’t just shed a few tears while listening to this ballad? Oh yea, and I also think about skin care. What kind of beauty blogger would I be if I didn’t?

I feel like everyone and their mothers with fabulous skin is toting the benefits of vitamin C serums, and I was dying to learn more. So naturally, I turned to the lovely Celeste of Skin Authority who never steers me wrong.

Are you getting enough C? Vitamin C is one of the most vital nutrients. The benefits include those you are likely to have heard, including boosting immunity and overall health, but you may not know that C is super for skin. In fact, vitamin C serums should be a basic part of any skin care routine.

Many people take vitamin C orally to boost immunity. That is smart, but less than 1% of the vitamins we ingest actually make their way to our skin. The skin needs C as well, so it is very important to apply it topically.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for and using a vitamin C Serum:

  1. Look for a vitamin C that is paired with an antioxidant blend. Vitamin C boosts the effectiveness of your sunscreen, and when it is combined with a powerful antioxidant mixture, it is very effective in protecting the skin from free radicals. I urge you to apply C daily underneath your sunscreen moisturizer.
  2. Vitamin C Serums should contain a minimum of 20% L-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid is a co-factor in collagen production; without this element, the body cannot create collagen for firmer and stronger skin. The minimum amount of L-ascorbic acid necessary for collagen production is 20%, so don’t buy a vitamin C serum it if contains less than that amount. My favorite: Skin Authority Super-C Serum.
  3. Vitamin C Serums are very active products and should be used within the recommended amount of time. Just like an apple oxidizes over time as it is exposed to air, vitamin C Serums also oxidize. If your serum turns a dark brown color, it is time to throw it out. The shelf life of a vitamin C Serum is typically about four months after opening, but shorter if left exposed to the air and heat for long periods of time. If you keep the container closed and store in the refrigerator, it can last a bit longer.

And while you’re at it, check out the rest of Celeste’s skin care advice from this year: skin care resolutions, the skin care basics, face oils for acne-prone skin, skin care for eyes, differences between men’s and women’s skin care.

Do you incorporate vitamin C serums into your skin care routine?

About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.

june empties

June Empties 2015

This is titled “June Empties,” but I took these photos in May … so do with that what you will. Just like in my last empties post, most of these are hair and skin care products. Apparently I haven’t been smothering my face in enough makeup this year. Woopsies.

Anywho, let’s take a gander of the products I’ve used up since March and discuss whether or not I’ll be repurchasing.

june empties

Dove Daily Moisture Conditioner – Dove has been my favorite drugstore shampoo/conditioner for a while now. It leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny smooth. It never weighs down my tresses while still keeping them soft and luxurious. Repurchase? Already did.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash – Aveeno is my go-to brand for body lotion. It seriously rocks my world, and now so does their body wash. It’s super affordable and leaves you feeling oh-so-touchable. Repurchase? Already did.

Meg 21 Moisturizing Toner – I loved that this toner contained Witch Hazel. Something about the smell and the way it feels on my skin is just lovely. Plus, I could feel this toner fighting any spots that would creep up on my skin. I didn’t repurchase yet cause I had another toner to use up, and that makes me sad.  Repurchase? When I run out of my other toner.

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil – This stuff is my jam. I have been using it since March of 2014. It’s ultra moisturizing and I just love the scent. It’s perfect to apply before bed but also light enough on your skin for morning too. Moral of the story – I use it ALL. THE. TIME.  Repurchase? Already did.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – I mean, what could I say about this that hasn’t already been said? It’s my staple concealer – perfect for any and all events/makeup needs and doesn’t cake in my under-eye lines.  Repurchase? Already did.

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water – This cleansing water is an amazing dupe for Bioderma. I use it every night before washing my face, and it is a boss at removing all my makeup. Yes, even eye makeup. It goes with me everywhere … even to the airport bathroom when I obsessively remove makeup before my flights.  Repurchase? Already did.

What goodies have you used up lately?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclaimer

beauty haul

Recent Beauty Haul: Ulta, Sephora and Nordstrom

As you know, I’ve been traveling a lot for my “real” job lately. I was in Montreal and Chicago most recently, and I’m in Santa Clara as I write this. And somehow, I always seem to find the nearest beauty counter with what little downtime I have on these trips. It’s like the Sephoras and Ultas of the world just call to me. Or I just have an obsession. However you want to look at it.

But why I always seem to end up in beauty stores is neither here nor there. What’s really important is the goodies I scoop up while I’m there. I’ve trying to restrain my shopping habits lately as I save for a two-week European vacation this Summer, but sometimes I slip. Woopsies. The only way I convince myself my spending isn’t insane is by only buying things I “need” … like the beauties below.

beauty haul

Belif toner | Sephora lip pencil | Dior foundation | Biosilk serum | Smashbox primer Kérastase Oleo Curl | Stila eyeliner | Smashbox lip pencil in “Figgy” | Nars concealer

What beauty goodies have you picked up lately?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

april 2015 favorites

April Favorites: 2015

April has come and gone. It was a fabulous month; maybe the best so far in 2015. Seeing as it was my birthday month, that might be a slightly biased statement. Oh well.

Can you believe it took me 27 years to finally test out Make Up Forever HD Foundation? And I call myself a beauty blogger ….. *disappointed head shake.* While I normally reach for light coverage foundations and BB creams, I’ve been L-O-V-I-N-G this more heavy-duty number. I can’t put it down. And with that, let’s move onto the rest of my April favorites.

april 2015 favorites

Foundation | Rollerball Trio | Agave Lip Mask |  Foundation Brush | Floral Pants

And while we’re at it, let’s talk a walk down memory lane and look at my January, February and March favorites as well.

What were your favorites this month?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

The Skin Care Battle of the Sexes

Hello there, ladies. If you’re like me, you steal your man’s shirts for sleeping and his sweatshirts when it’s cold. And apparently, according to the gorgeous Celeste from Skin Authority, it might be time to start stealing his skin care products too.

Does your husband or boyfriend steal your cleansers and moisturizers? My female skin care clients tell me this happens quite a bit in their homes. Well, guess what ladies? The guys are onto something!

Men’s and women’s skin care products differ only slightly. It is often thought that all men have thick, oily skin. That can be true, but I’ve also seen plenty of men who have sensitive skin. And, with women, their skin type can be all over the board based on hormones, age, sun exposure, etc.

Women who have dense, oily, thick skin might benefit from the slight difference in a lower pH that can often be found in men’s products. Men with more sensitive skin can benefit from products that have a slightly higher pH and/or more soothing ingredients. As I’ve written previously, treatment products should have a pH below four. The human skin ranges from 4.5-5.5 pH; a product should be below the pH level of the skin for maximum penetration.

Another shopping tip, many gender-specific products are simply marketed to either men or women in terms of packaging and fragrance, but offer no real difference. Most importantly, your skin care regimen comes down to: 1. the concerns you are looking to address and 2. what works best for your individual needs and lifestyle.

A product that works for my husband and me is Skin Authority’s Age-Defying Shave Serum. We love that the Serum incorporates ingredients to raise the hair away from the skin for an ultra-close shave without irritation.

Now excuse me while I go sneak some of my boyfriend’s skin care products before he notices. And while you’re at it, check out Celeste’s skin care tips from January, February, March and April. Enjoy!

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclaimer

About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.

 

Spring Beauty Must-Have: Priyana MD DNA Repair

Spring is well underway, and what better time than now to prepare your skin for the upcoming warm weather? Priyana MD has recently launched a new product called Damage Control C + DNA Repair, and I was more than excited to give it a go.

PriyayaMD

Damage Control C + DNA Repair is a daily moisturizer that helps improve aging, sun-damaged skin by offering hydration and skin lightening benefits. This sounded perfect for me, as I have begun to notice lots of freckles (aka sun spots- gasp!) during the summer months. I’m also not crazy about the fine lines and wrinkles that appear around my eyes when I smile.

For the past month, I’ve paired the moisturizer with Priyana MD’s HylaSilk HA + NIA + Peptides Hydrating Serum and their VersaLift Eye Restore + Lifting Cream applying in the mornings and evenings. Although I’m not sure I’ve noticed a decrease in my sun spots, I have absolutely seen a difference in how hydrated my skin looks. The skin around my eyes feels firmer, and as they claim, lifted. And I didn’t realize how much my dark circles improved until I took a few shots of my eyes. Check out my makeup free face below.

PriyanaMDface

PriyanaMDeyes

I love the glow these products give my skin. The pictures above show what my skin looks like after applying all three following my shower. I am not usually a #makeupfree selfie kind of girl, but I was excited to share these with you to show how radiant my skin has become.

Although Priyana MD’s Damage Control C + DNA moisturizer may not be budget friendly for all (at $75), I have barely put a dent in it…and it works! I’d rather spend a little more on something that is long lasting and effective, to be honest. You can bet that this has become my new spring routine, and will continue to be essential through the summer months. What a great way to start the new season!

What is your Spring beauty must-have?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

My Spring Skin Care Regimen: Introducing Karelèn Products

I like to think of myself as a bit of a lotion connoisseur, so when I heard about the new brand, Karelèn, and their line of body butters, hand and body lotions, and dry oils, it was like I’d died and gone to heaven. Actually, my first thought was, “What is a dry oil and why haven’t I tried one yet?!”

KarelenCremeDryOils

KarelenCurlyTwirls

Receiving my goodies in the mail was much like opening my presents on Christmas morning. There was a lot of oohing and aahing. The body butters, lotions, and dry oils come in 13 fragrances, each with their own unique healing nutrients such as Vitamin E to neutralize free radicals, avocado rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and olive oil to promote cell growth.

I am a sucker for good packaging, and I loved the little pump on my Vivacious Vitamin E Hand & Body Crème. Not only did it make my skin feel silky smooth, it had a light and fresh fragrance that is perfect on these warmer sunny days.

…And can we talk about the dry oils? I love the idea of oils, but usually they are pretty messy and can leave stains on sheets and clothing. The two oils I’ve been using (Luscious Coconut and Olive All Over) go on like an oil, but rub in matte. They also smell divine- I have a small obsession with anything coconut! I was a little skeptical when the bottle said it was fast-drying, easily absorbed, and non-greasy, but the description was spot on. My only wish for these bottles is that they had spray nozzles to create a mist, rather than droplets of oil. Kind of like the old Australian Gold tanning oil sprays I used to use when I was a clueless sun worshipping high schooler.

Below you can see how matte the oil is after I rubbed it into my hand. No sun glare here!

KarelenDryOilHand

Karelèn also has a whole line of hair products called Curly Twirls. Although the weather has not become quite humid enough yet for me to wear my hair wavy, I have sprayed their Frizz Blitz Spritz with Argan Oil on my frizzies to smooth them down. I can’t wait to use the Curly Twirls Custard when it gets a little warmer. Both of these smell fantastic! On the left my frizzies are out in full force, and on the right they have been tamed by the Frizz Blitz Spritz. Nice and smooth and definitely not greasy looking!

KarelenFrizzBefore

KarelenFrizzAfter

The amazing thing about Karelèn products are that they are made in the U.S.A and are crafted with the earth’s finest essential oils. They contain no glycols, parabens, mineral oils, or petrolatum, and best of all are cruelty free. And for $8 each, they are a steal. If you want to check out their whole line, head over to their website at http://karelen.com.

Have you tried Dry Oils yet? Tell us in the comments below!

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Schwarzkopf’s New Dry Shampoo Leaves Hair Voluminous and Clean

Hey beauties! I’m pretty sure I am one of the last girls on the planet to jump on the dry shampoo bandwagon. I know our very own Kristin Bassett has her go-to product, and many of my friends swear by it. So when I had the opportunity to test out Schwarzkopf Styliste Ultime Biotin+ Volume & Texture Luxe Fresh Dry Shampoo, I was thrilled!

Schwarzkopf Dry Shampoo

I have to admit, it is a rare day that I don’t shampoo my hair. Sometimes I’ll get into weekend mode and go a little longer without my shower, but I cannot stand the feel of unwashed hair. Maybe because I have A LOT of it. It took everything in my power to leave my hair dirty for this experiment.

The Schwarzkopf products are specifically designed to leave your hair feeling weightless while adding volume and giving roots a boost. The great thing about the dry shampoo is it can be used on clean hair to add a little texture and volume. Score!

A few things I noticed after spraying my roots from about 8 inches away:

  • The air felt cold and refreshing
  • It had a whitish color (like powder) that needed to be rubbed in
  • The scent was fantastic!

My only suggestion while using this dry shampoo would be not to spray it directly on your part, as it does tend to begin as a powdery tint. Also, it does need to be worked in pretty well to assure it has even coverage. Although it left my hair looking more matte than shiny, it did give it volume and felt MUCH cleaner. See for yourself:

schwarzkopf dry shampoo

schwarzkopf dry shampoo

Schwarkopf has a whole styliste ULTÎME Biotin+ Volume & Texture Collection, and for the price ($6.97 each), you can’t go wrong.

Are you ready to jump on the dry shampoo bandwagon?!

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure