Product Reviews

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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

PriyayaMD-e1430063142566

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

KarelenCremeDryOils

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

SchwarzkopfDryShampoo

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

march favorites

March Favorites 2015

Since today is the last day of March (get the picture already, Mother Nature) I figured it would be a good time to pay homage to my month’s favorites. Aside from the brow wiz, these are all new goodies.

I’ve had this look on repeat all month. Apply tinted moisturizer, sweep on shadow, define my brows and a few other odds and ends (read: mascara, blush, etc.) then wash off at the end of the night. I’m not bored yet and I don’t see a huge shake up in my daily routine just yet. Who knows, maybe my March favorites will roll over into April.

march favorites

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water | Neutrogena Long Wear Eye Shadow

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue | Anastasia Brow Wiz

What beauty products are on your March favorites list?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

March Empties

March Empties 2015

I have actually never done an empties post before, so I figured it was about time. It works out nicely because I recently used up the last of a bunch of different beauty items. You’ll notice that this is mostly hair and skin care products because I run through them much quicker than makeup and perfume.

I’ll give you a quick run down of my thoughts on each product and whether I plan to repurchase or not. And with that, let’s get into my March empties.

March Empties

March Empties

March Empties

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser – This is not only an amazing drugstore concealer, but an amazing concealer despite the price. I would gladly pay twice or three times the price for this concealer. It covers dark circles fully and seamlessly. You can’t even tell you’re wearing makeup. It’s one of my two go-to concealers, and I make sure to always have one in my makeup stash. Repurchase? Already did

L’Oreal Butterfly Mascara – This is bay far my new favorite mascara. I like it more than most of my designer mascaras right now and would gladly pay department store prices for this amazing drugstore find. It lengthens and defines my lashes and scores me loads of compliments whenever I wear it. Repurchase? Already did

Skin Authority Resurfacing Accelerator – I don’t go to sleep without using this amazing gel. I was beyond devastated when my boyfriend said he had used the last pump because I hadn’t planned in advance and had to go a few days without before my new bottle arrived. It turns over my skin cells, keeping my face bright and smooth. Repurchase? Already did

Rituals Hammam Hot Scrub – This is the most amazing store-bought scrub I’ve ever used. The only scrub that comes close to rivaling it is my homemade sugar scrub. It was a lifesaver this Winter when the harsh weather took a tool on my poor skin. Repurchase? Eventually once I use up my other scrubs.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap – This is the only face cleanser I use, and I have been for years now. It does the job without being too harsh on my skin … all while being super affordable. I don’t feel the need to even try out other cleansers for the time being. Repurchase? Already did

Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo – This dry shampoo is MY JAM. I use it almost every day, regardless of if I just washed my hair or if I haven’t washed it in days. I refuse to use anything else because this works so well for me and is less than $10. Repurchase? Already did

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo –  I am neutral on this shampoo. It does a fine enough job, but I’m not dying to replace it. I’m weirdly un-loyal to any specific shampoo and conditioners, so I’ll just check out which brand is on sale next time I go to CVS. Repurchase? Maybe

Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner – Same reaction as to the Hello Hydration Shampoo. Repurchase? Maybe

I don’t think I’ll run through products quickly enough to do a monthly empties post, but I’ll save all my bottles and do another one when I’ve got a decent amount of products to talk about.

What beauty products have you used up recently?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Sephora Haul Cover

CVS and Sephora Haul: Makeup and Skin Care

At the beginning of the year I was all “Oh I won’t buy as many new beauty products this year.” I thought I was going to be so sly and passing by the CVS beauty aisle and Sephora like I didn’t give two flying ducks. I WAS WRONG.

Over the past few weeks I’ve acquired an eyeliner here, an mascara there. By the time I stopped and looked around, I had a nice little CVS and Sephora haul on my hands. The brow pencil was an empties replacement, but the rest are all new goodies that I can’t wait to test out.

sephora haul

Peter Thomas Roth Trio | Neutrogena Palette | Sephora Cleansing Water

Becca Perfecting Palette | Bite Agave Lip Mask | Physicians Formula Mascara

Rimmel Eyeliners | Anastasia Brow Wiz

I haven’t really had a chance to try these out yet because, like a good blogger, I waited to take pictures. Because pics or it didn’t happen. Now excuse me while I go play with my new lovelies.

What makeup goodies have you snagged recently?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Darphin Hydraskin collection

Darphin Hydraskin Collection: Hydrate Your Winter Skin

Is it Spring yet? I think everyone will agree these past winter months have been brutal on the skin. I have been applying moisturizer like crazy, only to have my hands and lips crack anyway.

I was more than excited to put Darphin’s Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum to the test. Darphin’s Hydraskin collection is designed specifically to help hydrate skin- hence the name.  It is ideal for all skin types and is formulated to quench dry, tight skin. It sounded like the perfect pick-me-up for my parched winter skin.

The serum comes in a small, blue frosted glass bottle. Usually I don’t get excited about the appearance of my beauty products, but it was too pretty to throw in a drawer. It is currently displayed on my glass vanity.

Exhibit A:

Darphin-Hydraskin-Collection

I have to admit, I was expecting the serum to be thick and oily. It actually feels a bit more like the consistency of water, but it only takes a tiny amount to cover the whole face. It also has a very light and fresh fragrance- all bonus points in my book.

After applying the Hydraskin Serum in the morning for a little over a month, my skin feels properly hydrated and quenched- no dry skin here! To be honest, I don’t know that I would put this into my permanent beauty product rotation year round, as it is a bit out of my price range (at $76). But it is definitely the perfect serum for winter months, and with the small amount needed, I could see it lasting several months before running out.

I was not disappointed with how Darphin’s Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum left my skin feeling, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for to rejuvenate their dry winter skin. Happy hydrating!

What is your favorite hydrating serum?

Photo: Amy Genduso/beautyXposé; Disclosure

 About the Author – Amy Genduso

amy genduso

Amy spends every waking moment around children, and she stands by the fact that a classic, polished look can still be achieved! Don’t let that fool you, she’s anything but basic. Ulta is her own slice of heaven, and she has a small hoarding problem with OPI and Lorac products.

february favorites 2015

February Favorites: 2015

Hi there, beauties. March is here, which means a couple of things. For one, Spring is just a couple short weeks away. Second, it’s time for February favorites. Like last month, I don’t have a huge amount of favorites, but I’m going with a zen less-is-more approach to life lately. Ok, that’s a complete lie … I just got back from Sephora with more than I intended to purchase … but I have just been dabbling in a bit of this and a bit of that rather than obsessing over specific products. And with that, let’s gander my monthly favorites and check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

february favorites 2015

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo – This is not a new favorite. In fact, the first time that I wrote about this amazing product was August 2013.  I use it more-or-less on a daily basis. On first-day, second-day and third-day hair. It adds volume and texture to my style in addition to having three other uses. And the fact that it’s only $6 at my local CVS is just the icing on the cake. Just assume that this dry shampoo is a monthly favorite moving forward unless I say otherwise.

L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara – This is a new find rather than a recently re-discovered product. I had heard so many great things about this mascara online, but never got around to purchasing a tube of my own until last month. The first couple of tries were a huge flop and I thought that the hype was all smoke and mirrors. Then, as if by magic, the mascara did wonders for my lashes. They are lengthened, defined and almost look like falsies. Whenever I wear this, I get loads of compliments on my lashes, which is always the true test.

Lumene CC Cream - This isn’t a new product. Like the dry shampoo, I’m bringing it back from the back of my drawers. This Lumene CC cream makes my skin look naturally flawless and dewy. It’s the perfect everyday base for whatever look I am going after. I’m reaching the bottom of my bottle and it’s about time I replenish my stock.

Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss – I discovered this glass last month. You might remember it from my 5-minute Valentine’s Day Makeup video.  It has a great color payoff and is relatively long lasting, all without being tacky or expensive. It’s one of my new favorite gloss brands.

Kate Spade New York ‘Gramercy Grand’ Bracelet Watch –  This was a Christmas present from my parents. I had it on my personal Pinterest “wish list” board and they generously nabbed it for me.  I squealed when I unwrapped it and put it on my wrist and I haven’t taken it off since. You will have seen it all of my fashion posts here, here and here.

This giveaway is now closed – Oh and another February favorite? Giving back to my readers! This month, I’m running a giveaway for a $50 Sephora gift card so you can treat yourself to some new goodies. Who knows, maybe they’ll be your March favorites. You can enter in the widget below. Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d love to hear what you would purchase with the gift card if you were to win. 

What were some of your favorite goodies in February?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Soniclear by Michael Todd

Soniclear by Michael Todd

There is nothing I love more than the feeling of a freshly cleansed face after a long day. When you’ve sweated through all of your makeup (sexy, I know) and you feel like a giant oil spill, it’s so refreshing to remove all of your makeup and wash away the day.

And while cleanser on its own is all well and good, cleaning your face just feels so much more luxurious when using a skin-cleansing brush. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve heard me share my thoughts on my Clarisonic and my Skin Authority. Well, I have another wonderful brush for you today, lovelies. The Soniclear by Michael Todd.

Soniclear by Michael Todd

Soniclear by Michael Todd Soniclear by Michael Todd

The key difference between the Soniclear and my other brushes is the antimicrobial brush. A cleaner brush means a cleaner face, which is a plus when you’re … you know … trying to  clean your face. Think about it, you don’t want to be simply pushing bacteria around on your face, so it’s a plus to not have to replace your brush head every couple of months like with other systems. Since I’m not a scientist, I’ll let the Soniclear team explain their antimicrobial system in more detail in the below video.

In addition to the antimicrobrial system, I’m also impressed with the battery power. I’ve been using my brush almost daily over the past month and change and I haven’t needed to recharge it at all. That excites me more than you could ever imagine because I’m the laziest person ever and charging my beauty tools is sometimes just too much work sometimes.

There is nothing I dislike the brush, but there are a few things I’ve noticed that I can’t decide how I feel about yet. First – the brush is larger than my other two, which isn’t necessarily bad,  but it makes me feel like I have midget hands. Second – I can’t decide if I’m imagining it or not, but I think the brushes are a bit stiffer than my other brush heads. Third – the Soniclear comes with a body brush head, which I used once but then never used again. It wasn’t bad, I was just too lazy to run the brush over my entire body.

The Soniclear by Michael Todd runs about the same price as most other cleansing brush systems – $149. It’s not completely inexpesive, but the blow is softened by knowing you won’t have to buy new brush heads every couple of months. If you’re in the market for a skin-cleansing brush, make sure the Sonicelar by Michael Todd is on your list. And if you do get it, let mw know in the comments section below!

Do you use a skin-cleansing system?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure