Beauty School

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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

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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.

 

eye skin care

The Eyes Have It: Which Types of Beauty Products Make them Sparkle?

Happy April, beauties. It’s finally starting to feel like Spring here in Boston, which is a welcome change. Our favorite guest blogger, Celeste from Skin Authority, is back to answer another one of your skin care questions. This month, she’s hear to tackle the topic of eye skin care. Enjoy!

The eyes are one of the first things that people notice when they meet you, so let’s give them extra love. I’m often asked if the same moisturizer that is used on the face can be used on the eyes. Sorry, beauties, the answer is no.

Under-eye creams are different than facial creams and moisturizers in many ways. Since the skin around the eyes is significantly thinner and more delicate than facial skin, specific formulas are needed. Also:

  • The skin around the eye area requires a pH level that differs from that which facial creams often provide.
  • Many facial creams contain added fragrances and/or petroleum, which are not safe for use around the eyes.
  • Face products may have different end-results in terms of product benefits.

Effective products for the eyes contain powerful ingredients including arnica, vitamins K & E, and polymers. These ingredients not only aid in eye hydration, but also address puffiness, discoloration, and tightening of the eye area.

A few more tips for sparkling eyes:

  • Ice cubes are great to relieve stayed-up-too-late eyes. Just lightly move the ice cube back and forth under your eyes a few times for a lift.
  • Baggy eyes? Use your fingertips to create a light, circular massage motion under your eyes. Finish by pushing your fingers toward your nose; this helps release extra, unneeded moisture through your tear ducts.

As usual, Celeste is a great source of skin-care knowledge. If you haven’t already, check out her posts on skin care resolutions, skin care basics and face oils for acne-prone skin.  And as always, if you have any questions for Celeste, you can email them to me at kristinbassett@beautyxpose.com and I’ll make sure to have her answer them next month!

What are your favorite eye products?

Photos: Ultra Luxe Skin Care; Disclosure

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.

 

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Last Call (and a Giveaway): Ulta 21 Days of Spring Beauty

Oh hello, you beauty, you. Just a friendly reminder that the Ulta 21 Days of Spring Beauty promotion comes to a close this Saturday. We wish it wasn’t so, but all good things much come to an end.  Take a glance at the rest of the deals this week and then enter our AH-MAZING giveaway at the end of the post.

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This giveaway is now closed. And the best part of this post? I’ve teamed up with Ulta to bring you a whole butt-load of fabulous beauty products in this giveaway. Let’s take a moment to realize what’s up for grabs here – more than $450 worth of goodies are coming to the winner! The prize package includes:

  1. Too Faced Cat Eyes Purrrfection Kit – $36
  2. Benefit Cosmetics The Flawless Four – $24
  3. LORAC Dazzling Dozen 2 Eye Shadow Collection – $39
  4. Stila Shimmer All Night Makeup Set – $38
  5. bareMInerals Bare Tutorials Bronze Smoky Eyes – $29.50
  6. Algenist The Firming & Lifting Collection – $54
  7. IT Cosmetics Hello Lash Extensions Mascara plus No-Tug Gel Eye Liner – $24
  8. Urban Decay The Ultimate Pair – $26
  9. Dermadoctor Kakadu C Face Crème – $65
  10. Dermadoctor Kakadu C Eye Soufflé – $68
  11. BECCA Mineral Blush – $32
  12. BECCA Beach Tint – $25
  13. BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé – $27

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck to all who enter!

What goodies in the giveaway gift package are you most excited for?

Photos: Ulta; Disclosure

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Take Advantage of Ulta’s 21 Days of Spring Beauty

Hi, dolls. Just a quick post today. I wanted to pop in and remind you to take advantage of Ulta’s 21 Days of Spring Beauty, which ends on April 4th.

Today’s deal is a fabulous one – 50% off of Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, which is my current go-to shadow primer. Today, you can also get Strivectin Age-Fighting Discovery Kit for $20 (normally $35).

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And on top of all of the great steals, Ulta is hosting loads on in-store events, which you can read more about here. Now excuse me, please. I need to clean up from lounging around and high-tail it to the new Ulta that opened down the street from me.

What deal from the 21 Days of Spring Beauty if your favorite?

Photos: Ulta; Disclosure

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$350 Beauty Blogazons Spring Giveaway

Hi there, beauties. Do I have something fabulous for you! To celebrate the start of Spring … even though the weather in Boston doesn’t seem to have gotten the message … I’ve teamed up with the other ladies of the Beauty Blogazons to bring you a huge Spring giveaway. $350 huge to be exact. You can enter using the widget below and find all information in the “terms and conditions” tab at the bottom of the widget.

Beauty Blogazons Spring Giveaway

Good luck to all who enter and happy Spring!

What would you use the Visa gift card for if you were to win?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

essential oils for acne prone skin

Have Acne? Don’t Overlook the Healing Properties of Essential Oils

Hi all. You know the drill. Another month, another skin care-related post from the lovely founder and CEO of Skin Authority — Celeste Hilling. Last month we talked about skin care basics, in January we talked about skin care resolutions and this month we’re talking about a questions I’ve received before. Can you use face oils for acne prone skin? I’m a huge fan of face oils, so I’m especially for this month’s post. And with that, I’ll turn things over to the always-fabulous Celeste.

Afraid to use oils because you think they’ll clog your pores and cause breakouts? I’m here to resolve your fears. With high concentrations of vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, essential oils are proven to soothe, restore, and instantly transform skin. The added benefit of using essential oils is the body’s stress-release response to the molecules in the oil, which elicits a sense of wellbeing and calm.

An essential oil is a concentrated liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are simply known as the “oil of” the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. They are extremely concentrated; for example, it takes 16 pounds of peppermint leaves to yield one ounce of essential oil.

Pure essential oils can penetrate your skin because they are minuscule in molecular size. They are also very different than common carrier oils or fragrance oils that are found in most beauty products. If you see the word “fragrance”, “fragrance oil” or “perfume” on anything, you can assume the oils are synthetic; not natural.

There are numerous essential oils, each with specific benefits. A few of my favorites:

  • Avocado Seed Oil soothes, protects, and moisturizes skin with its high concentration of vitamins, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.
  • Bergamot Oil is a natural antibiotic and disinfectant. The antibacterial action makes the oil great for those with acne, as it helps to kill bacteria on the skin before it can react to create blackheads and pimples. Bergamot has the added benefit of helping control excess oil production, thus, it attacks acne from two sides.
  • Cardamom Oil is rich in Vitamin C and manganese. It works as a potent antioxidant and detoxifies our whole body. The antiseptic property of cardamom oil is very helpful in treating a variety of skin infections and maintaining the health of hair.

Choosing a skin care formula that combines just the right combination of oils is the ideal way to ensure you will achieve the maximum benefits of the ingredients. My favorite is Skin Authority Oil Nutrient for Face, Hair & Nails.

Essential oils can be incorporated into any part of your skin care routine, but are particularly luxurious when included in masks and moisturizers. While wearing a mask, take long, slow, deep breaths to allow the oils to enter your body and calm your mind. When using a moisturizer with essential oils, massage in the product using slow, firm, upward circular motions for nourished skin and a clear mind.

I have to admit, I sighed a huge sigh of relief when Celeste answered my question. I’ve been recommended everyone and their mother incorporate face oils into their skin care routine, so I’m thrilled to know I wasn’t completely misguiding them. And with that, I’m off to apply some face oil and let my skin soak up the moisture and vitamin goodness.

Photos: Health Foundations Birth Center; Dislcosure

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.

drugstore makeup starter kit

Makeup Starter Kit: Drugstore Edition

Shocking statement: I own WAY more makeup than I could ever need. Between the stuff I purchase on my own and the stuff brands send me to test out, I could stock a beauty store.  But on a day-to-day basis, I only use a small fraction of my stash, and they tend to be more of the basics.

While I was packing for a recent trip, I realized the basics I packed were more-or-less a makeup starter kit. What does said starter kit look like? A nice base (BB cream, tinted moisturizer, foundation, etc), a concealer, brow gel/pencil, shadow primer, neutral eyeshadow palette, eye liner, mascara, blush and bronzer. And if you’re feeling a little saucy, a nice your-lips-but-better lippie.

So as I was packing, I figured I’d share with you my makeup starter kit – both a drugstore and designer version. As I’m sure you can tell by the title, this is the drugstore version. Two disclaimers before we hop in. One, you’ll notice that a shadow primer is missing from the mix. That’s because I have only ever found designer primers that work for my oily lids. I’ve heard amazing things about Milani’s primer, but I haven’t found it in stock at any of my drugstores … like ever. I guess I should take it as a good sign if it’s always sold out.

Two, in addition to the primer, you’ll also notice that I didn’t include any tools (i.e. brushes, makeup sponges, etc.). That’s because most of my tools are Sephora brand and thus not drugstore and because I figured I’d cover the tools in another post.

And with that, let’s get to the good stuff.

drugstore makeup starter kit

drugstore makeup starter kit

Foundation | Blush (in Luminoso) | Bronzer | Shadow Palette | Concealer | Brow Gel | Liner | Mascara

If all you have are these products on hand, you’ll be able to make a beautiful look. And like I said earlier, lippies aren’t a MUST to looking polished, but you can’t go wrong with swiping on a YLBB product. You can check out five of my favorites (drugstore included) here.  Keep an eye out in the coming week for the designer version of the makeup starter kit and let me know what you think below.

What are your go-to drugstore makeup basics?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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Beauty Blog Coalition Weekend Roundup: February 15, 2015

Hi beauties! I hope you had a fabulous Valentine’s Day yesterday. To keep the love flowing, check out what the ladies of the Beauty Blog Coalition have been up to lately. Happy reading!

I hope you enjoyed the Beauty Blog Coalition’s most recent posts.

Did you read anything lovely this weekend? Sharing is caring!

Photo: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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My 5-Minute Valentine’s Day Makeup

If you’re like me, you love Valentine’s Day but your celebrations are pretty low key. My boyfriend and  I never do anything too elaborate. He’ll send flowers to my office then we’ll eat dinner together at home. Fighting the crowds for a table at an over-priced restaurant just isn’t our cup of tea.

Low-key celebrations call for easy outfits and quick makeup routines. This year I’ll be visiting my grandparents in DC and going to afternoon tea for the day of love, so I’ll be opting for a 5-minute Valentine’s Day makeup routine. I filmed a quick tutorial on this look, which you can watch below or on our YouTube channel. I hope you enjoy!

Moisturizing mist | Powder | Eyebrow gel | Concealer | Mascara | Blush | Bronzer | Lipgloss 

If you enjoyed this video and feel so inclined, pop over on to YouTube and give it a thumbs-up. It would be greatly appreciated!

What makeup look will you be wearing this Valentine’s Day?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure