December 31, 2014
MY TOP 14 OF 2014

MY TOP 14 OF 2014


I can't believe that today is the last day we will ever spend living life in the year 2014. You know what they say about time passing, "the days go slow, but the years go fast." I don't think there could be any phrase that rings more true while looking back over a year as it passes from the present into the past, and becomes a memory. Don't forget to remind yourself that everything is more clear in hindsight, in fact, it's 20/20, so don't harp on things you could have done differently, but instead think of what you learned and how you can apply it to new beginnings. Here's to a healthy, prosperous, and happy 2015 and don't forget to stop and laugh along the way. 

On the lighter side of things, 2014 has been a really fun year to start blogging. I've had so many great product discoveries and loved many different items throughout the year, but there are some that stand out and have made it through many seasons and situations. Those items, plus some newer ones that I know I will continue to enjoy using, have ended up in this roundup of the top 14 of 2014. 
  1. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask // I've had this little green beauty on my shelf for only a few months, but it has become my go-to for a glow in an instant. I love that it's gentle, all natural, and yet leaves you with a practically brand new skin texture and radiance you didn't quite knew you had in you.
  2. Tom Ford Lip Color in Spanish Pink // There isn't much to say about Tom Ford lipsticks other than the fact that they are super luxe and have quite a superior formula. Super smoothing, nourishing, and flattering, this shade has become my favorite pinky nude. 
  3. By Terry Sheer Expert // This is the 'my skin but better' product of the foundation world. I reserve this for days when I know I need my skin to look perfect without looking like I'm wearing heavy makeup. It settles to a satiny smooth finish and also adds a lovely radiance without any sparkle, and as a bonus, looks amazing in photos thanks to its lack of SPF. No Casper here! 
  4. Eve Lom TLC Radiance Cream // The second I swept this dream cream across my skin I fell in love. It smells of Rose Otto, comforts the skin in a matter of seconds, and sinks in like nothing else. I like how it leaves things more even toned and mattified enough for use under makeup. It's the perfect day time cream and has improved the tone of my skin since I began incorporating it into my daily routine.
  5. Byredo Gypsy Water EDP // I didn't want to cave into the trend, but I did, and I have #noregrets. I don't think that this could have made me happier and that means a lot considering how high my expectations were for this gorgeously packaged little bottle. It smells amazing; fresh, warm, and woodsy and the scent still lingers on my skin at the end of my commute and 16 hour day. It has very quickly taken the top spot as my favorite fragrance, ever. Life is short, buy the damn perfume.
  6. NUDE Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly // I love this cleanser so much, I've spoken about it in its very own post. It goes from a jelly to an oil, then from an oil to a milk, and takes off my makeup amazingly well. It has enough slip to massage in and rinses clean but leaves things super soft and just happy.
  7. Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium // Is there a beauty blogger or fanatic out there who doesn't rave about this product's ability to carve cheekbones into even the roundest of faces? No, and that's because it's simply the best.
  8. Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer in Kissability // When I want my lips to have a bit of color while giving them a plumping effect I always reach for this gloss. There are a few less sticky options out there but this one gives me a tingly bee stung feel with a long lasting finish and I love it. 
  9. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder // A purely beautiful powder that gives radiance from within and has just the right amount of illuminating power. I use this almost every day and wouldn't want to be without its airbrushing capabilities.
  10. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush // At the risk of sounding too redundant, you can read why this made my favorites, here
  11. Clarins Instant Concealer // Thanks to Vivianna for recommending this gem of a concealer. It's definitely a do-it-all and has the most amazing texture, similar to a tinted moisturizer but much more pigmented, it covers anything from bags to bumps and all the in-betweens. 
  12. RMS Living Luminizer // A coconut oil based luminizer with undetectable shimmer particles that adds major bounce and glow anywhere it's dabbed. 
  13. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Golden Bronze // This isn't anything all that revolutionary, but it definitely belongs in my top of 2014 and you know how I love my eyeshadow sticks. I wear this on my lids more days than not because it enhances my eye color, lasts all day, and is super quick to apply. 
  14. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk // 2014 could be dubbed the year of the lipliner, and I think it's Charlotte's wonder pencil that truly started the trend. Yes, even before Kylie did. I love this pencil because it manages to look natural while you go along your merry way overdrawing your lip line for a fuller effect. An amazing product, I can't help but imagine if it were around in Audrey's days she would have loved it too. 
December 29, 2014
AN ODE TO JO MALONE FRAGRANCES

AN ODE TO JO MALONE FRAGRANCES


I'm not sure if you've noticed, but if you follow me on Instagram, you may well know I am having a bit of a fragrance moment. I have had a long relationship with fragrance; throughout my teenage years I would take my babysitting and birthday money to the counter and scout out the newest and most colorful (obnoxious) release. Vera Wang Princess, Marc Jacobs Daisy, and Juicy Couture were a few of my high school favorites, but my tastes have since swayed in the opposite direction toward more unique and bespoke scents.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when I caught a whiff of a delicious mixture while walking by a Jo Malone counter at Nordstrom. I immediately stopped to have a look (and smell!) and while I had heard about the brand so many times before, I had never really taken the time to sniff out a scent to take home with me. Of course, after exploring what the line had to offer I was in heaven, had caught the Jo "bug" for lack of a better term, and had fallen in love with not one, but multiple scents. The first that captured my attention was the French Lime Blossom Cologne, which smells zesty, sweet, and fresh all without being too overpowering, exactly as if you had walked by the fragrance's namesake flower. Within the first few weeks of wearing it my new scent, I had received so many compliments that I knew I'd have to purchase the other bottle that I had my eye on. The wildly popular Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne, which is perfect for this time of the year, smells warm, earthy, and inviting, while managing to settle into a scent reminiscent of a breath of fresh air from the sea. It's a soft, "skin" fragrance, that for once, doesn't use the notes of vanilla or benzoin to obtain that characteristic.

These two scents (and many of the others) smell amazing and I think the idea that these fragrances can all be mixed and matched to create even more unique combinations speaks volumes of their quality. They aren't overpowering, but more so simple in the way that they allow a few notes to take center stage instead of the average 30 plus. It's safe to say I'm having a bit of a fragrance crush. I'd love to hear what your favorites are from the brand. 
December 27, 2014
A SERUM MOMENT

A SERUM MOMENT


After a week filled with indulgent eating, excessive drinking, and late nights we could all use a bit of skin rehab. While masks are always a great way to fix a bad skin scenario quickly, slapping on a serum is the best way to get skin on the fast track to a smoother, plumper, more even toned state. They create long term results, which seem to become more noticeable after a longer period of use. In my stash I have a few serums that I rely on to fix a multitude of skin concerns, from dull to dry, and heres a look at my favorites.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair // This serum is a classic and for good reason. It brightens, tightens, and helps to regenerate skin cells which results in a more even toned and smooth canvas. Prolonged use of this product rears even better results, so if you were to choose just one this may be your guy. 

Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum // An all natural plumping wonder, this product has a thicker almost lotion-like texture. When my skin is feeling lackluster, dry, and just "meh" I will smooth this on day and night and within about 48 hours the difference is noticeable. I love the herbal, aromatherapy-like scent that calms the senses as much as it calms the skin. 

Kiehl's Over-Night Biological Peel // If you need to wake up with a brighter complexion this primer-textured serum does just the trick. I love how it acts as an overnight mask, speeding up the cell renewal process through gentle exfoliation. I use this for about a week at a time and the results are lasting; put it on before you sleep and your skin will thank you come morning. 

REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate // This is the best option for oilier, acne prone skin. It is one of the gentlest I have found but it helps to keep pores unclogged and the skin smooth and bright. REN can do no wrong in my book and I have yet to use a product of theirs that I don't like. 
December 23, 2014
LA ROCHE POSAY SOLUTION MICELLAIRE PHYSIOLOGIQUE

LA ROCHE POSAY SOLUTION MICELLAIRE PHYSIOLOGIQUE


A few weeks ago, I spoke about giving a nod to some of those oft forgotten products that we use everyday and don't change up too often. Now, as a product junkie, for me those items are few and far between, but one product that I never questioned the powers of was my Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover. That was, until red itchy eyes became a nightly occurrence and I had no product left to blame but my trusty blue bottle of that I had praised for its ability to take off every trace of makeup with one sweep of a cotton pad. The watering eyes became so unbearable that I finally resorted to reaching to the way back of my stocks, where I stumbled upon a lone bottle of the La Roche Posay Solution Micellaire Physiologique.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this water-like substance, as from the one time I had used it after its purchase I didn't remember it harboring any sort of super powers. I poured some onto my cotton pad and swept it over my eye and to my own surprise...there it was. All my mascara and that hefty dose of black liner sat right there on the round, and no longer on my eye. 

The solution has the feeling of a completely ineffective product because of its close resemblance to plain old water, but man, is this stuff good. It works swiftly and powerfully, but most importantly, gently. Finally, a makeup remover that doesn't have to be removed itself and that leaves my skin actually feeling good, sans grease. I imagine that this is probably pretty similar to the critically acclaimed Bioderma Crealine, which I've never had the pleasure of owning simply because of my not-so-close proximity to Paris or a pharmacy that sells the stuff. I feels like water, which I consider to be a blessing when it comes to a product that's being slathered all over my eyelids, and it's safe to say that that blue bottle has been terminated from its position for good. 
December 21, 2014
THE ULTIMATE LAST MINUTE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

THE ULTIMATE LAST MINUTE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE


Are you still struggling with gift ideas for those last few people remaining on your list? I have the same issue too but I always like to go by one simple rule when it comes to gift giving; if it's something I would like receiving myself, then it's something I feel great about giving to someone else. Here are a few ideas I have that definitely fit the bill and that I think would make a special someone super happy.

Jo Malone Cologne // These fragrances are so unique and can be mixed to create a unique and bespoke scent mixture. I don't think I've sniffed one I haven't liked before, but the Wood Sage and Sea Salt is perfect and so cozy for this time of the year. My other favorite is the French Lime Blossom, which always invites so many compliments when I wear it, making it a winner in my book. 

Diptyque Home Fragrance // I've included their staple candle, Baies, as well as their Parfum D'Interieur in Figuier which are two fragrances that everyone seems to love including myself. For something a bit more unique, there is the Trente Quatre Boulevard Saint Germain Candle which comes in a beautiful handmade ceramic jar embossed with their flagship store number and it smells divine.

Eve Lom The Luxury Collection // This set contains the ultimate products for pampering the skin, including a full size of their Cleanser, TLC Radiance Cream, and Rescue Mask. This is a great value set at $125 for all three products and is the perfect way to sample the best offerings of this cult skincare brand. I can't think of any woman who wouldn't be ecstatic to receive such a set, and we all know plenty of hardworking ladies who deserve a bit of "me time".

The Rifle Paper Company // I bet you could pick up anything from this beautifully illustrated stationary line and make someone happy. I like the journals, calendars, and prints the best for gifting. 

Tiffany & Co. Personalized Passport Cover // Perfect for the girl on the go, but who doesn't love something luxurious with their name imprinted into the leather? I got this as a gift myself, so can say that I was more than happy to receive such a thoughtful and beautiful present. I always keep my passport in here and bring it with me wherever I travel. 

By Terry Baume De Rose // I've spoken of this a few times before, and while I wish I didn't love it so much, I find it super effective and luxurious to use. This is something that would be especially nice to receive because we don't always want to spend this kind of money on ourselves. 

Laduree Brioche Candle // A candle that smells as delicious as its namesake bakery is something you couldn't go wrong with. Have you ever seen such a pretty jar either? I can't wait to reuse this once I've burned through the divinely scented wax...a little piece of Paris is always welcome.
December 20, 2014
THAT LIT FROM WITHIN GLOW

THAT LIT FROM WITHIN GLOW


Lackluster winter skin can be a real pain in the you know what, especially when it's the time of the year when your skin can handle more layers of makeup than usual. The layering technique doesn't quite work though when your skin looks a little dull from, say, a lack of Vitamin D and dry winter days. It's hard work being a girl wouldn't you say? I have been relying on my stash of subtle yet reliable glow giving products lately to combat these issues and have been loving the results. Not too much shimmer, just products that create a smooth canvas and bright skin. 

I start off my daily face with a light sweep of the Le Blanc De Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base. I can't quite crack the code with this product; it's a milky, pure white fluid that is similar in texture to a foundation, that somehow induces a serious glow into the skin without a single speck of shimmer in sight. I like that it lacks that silicone feel that some primers tend to have that can often clash with other makeup and have the opposite effect that it's supposed to. It almost acts as a luminous magnet for the rest of your makeup, resulting in supreme staying power which is something we all want. 

Normal concealers haven't been cutting it lately due to the drier than usual conditions of my skin, so the moisture-rich formula of the Clarins Instant Concealer has literally saved me. It never settles into fine lines and can cover just about anything without looking cakey or fake. The Givenchy Mister Light in Mister Milk has been working like a charm for a non-sparkly illuminator. I use this along the bridge of my nose for a slimming effect as well as the high points of my cheeks and I'm loving how it adds radiance and light. I like to top it all off with a light diffusing finishing powder, can you guess which one I'm into currently? Yes, it's still the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (I have and use three different shades regularly) and that's because it's just the best of its kind when it comes to giving a little bit of extra staying power and making things all around glowy. It's become a staple in my makeup routine and I can't imagine I'll ever be without it - I mean, it's a filter in a compact. 

What products do you use to add radiance to your skin and ensure you never look dull? 
December 17, 2014
NEW CANDLE LOVE: CIRE TRUDON

NEW CANDLE LOVE: CIRE TRUDON


A little something extra luxe right in time for last minute Christmas gift buying. That's exactly what this Cire Trudon Calabre candle would be perfect for, aside from making a beautiful addition to any personal collection. Maybe one as a gift, one for ourselves - isn't that the best rule to abide by? 

I'm sure if you're regulars around these parts you know by now that I am a serious candle lover. Not only do they infuse our homes and lives with beautiful scents, they make for perfect tabletop decoration, and no doubt create a certain ambience when lit. Olfactory experiences are the ones that we tend to remember most inherently, so many times we associate memories with certain smells before anything else. I love lighting candles that remind me of certain places (exactly why I chose the scent Calabre) or time periods, similar to how I love perfumes associated with certain scents that recall specific experiences.

Oh, and not to mention...these are basically the mother of all candles. The Cire Trudon label is synonymous with luxury and quality and the brand were even the official candle makers to French royalty of the 17th century. I'll take one of each, pretty please. 
December 16, 2014
NO BUDGE RED LIPS

NO BUDGE RED LIPS


I'm not sure about you, but I can't resist a good red lip around the holidays. It might seem completely cliché, but it really is the quickest way to spruce up a regular look and get things party ready. Though, my dilemma remains the same no matter the lip product I choose to paint my pucker red; through all that eating and drinking things don't tend to last. Nothing looks worse than a smeared or patchy red lip, am I right? 

I'm coming through in the clutch for you all again, and through vigorous testing  have discovered a few lippies that won't budge no matter the length of those holiday parties you have to endure. I'm sure just by glancing at the photo above that you can tell there is a common theme found among these products. They are all liquid lipsticks that dry with a no-budge matte finish. The one I've been using the longest is the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in the shade Tesoro, a complexion brightening orange-based red that I love. Similar in shade, but a bit more powerful in terms of length of wear, is the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Riviera, which is said to be a favorite of Miranda Kerr for it's almost neon finish. You know how it goes, if Miranda's doing it, so is everyone else. This one has to be a one swipe and done deal, as it dries so fast and lasts so long that once applied you won't be able to layer as easily. 

The next is a newer discovery, the Kat Von D Everlasting Lipstick in Bachelorette which has tattoo-like staying power just as the name (and woman behind the brand) would suggest. I like that this shade is a bit more magenta based, it instantly makes smiles whiter which is always a plus in my book. How could I write you an edit of liquid lipsticks without mentioning the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in shade 01? This cheap and cheerful option has earned quite the reputation amongst bloggers over the past year, and for good reason. It's a universally flattering true red shade, like MAC's famed Ruby Woo, which makes it an absolute staple in my lip drawer. 

Which is your favorite? Will you be donning a red lip for any upcoming holiday parties? 
December 14, 2014
MY BEDSIDE BEAUTY EDIT

MY BEDSIDE BEAUTY EDIT


It's Sunday, and it's also the day after Santacon. You get the idea. It's days like these that I appreciate my bed the most and I thought I'd give a little nod to some items that keep me relaxed, soothed, and moisturized while I'm doing absolutely nothing in it. 

There are a few items that are musts when it comes to kickin' back and the first that gets me in the mood to relax is a luxurious candle. Right now I'm burning yet another Diptyque candle in the scent Mousses, an earthy green moss-inspired fragrance - although my favorite for the colder months is still Feu De Bois. While I have that burning on the bedside table, I love to spray my pillow with some of the This Works Deep Sleep Plus Pillow Spray for an amazingly zen lavender scented pillow and roll some of the This Works: Breathe In oil on my pulse points and do exactly what the product name suggests. 

I then take things a step further and give myself a mini pamper with some of my favorite moisturizing products. To remedy my dry winter hands I love the L'Occitane Roses et Reines Hand & Nail Cream because it sinks in quickly without leaving a sticky or greasy residue while smelling just like the real thing. I'm sure by now you know I have an affinity for anything rose scented or infused, so naturally this bedside edit had to include my all time favorite lip balm, the By Terry Baume de Rose. Yes, this is a much more luxe option than your average lip balm but consider it more of a lip treatment that will transform the condition of your lips especially when worn overnight. I really can't get enough of the stuff.

What are your bedside beauty essentials?
December 10, 2014
MY TOP TEN CURRENT BEAUTY ESSENTIALS

MY TOP TEN CURRENT BEAUTY ESSENTIALS


This is a busy time of the year, especially for all of us ladies with our never ending to-do lists; gift shopping, baking, party planning, and of course work! I have been relying lately on some fail-proof beauty essentials that have helped my parched skin from appearing that way and make me look as if I've had much more "me time" than I actually have. Right now these are the products I would not want to be without and hopefully this will inspire you to edit your necessities for this season as well. 
  1. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentré // Yes, this French pharmacy favorite is making yet another appearance. Maybe it's the final time you will see it pop up in someone's favorites before finally grabbing a tube of your own. This isn't the fanciest cream out there but when it comes to tackling dry winter skin and keeping it hydrated and plump, there is no denying this is probably the best no fuss option. It also smells amazing and works beautifully under makeup.
  2. By Terry Baume de Rose // This is one of those products I wish I didn't love so much, simply because it's embarrassingly expensive for a lip balm. Well, it is hyped for a reason and this rich rose scented balm keeps the dry skin from overtaking my lips, it even seems to peel any existing dry patches right off upon application. This is a great night time treatment as well, apply before bed and you'll wake up to moist soft lips.
  3. Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille // A delicious twist on a classic scent. This oriental vanilla fragrance with notes of tonka bean, guaiac wood, musk, bitter almond, sandalwood, benzoin, and coconut milk has the perfect warm aroma for this time of the year. 
  4. Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Bramble // A super pigmented and long lasting matte lip color in a deep shade of black currant. I've been reaching for this for a nighttime lip lately and loving the intensity of the color.
  5. Mario Badescu Facial Spray // A soothing and refreshing spray that contains rosewater, aloe, and herbs that works beautifully when sprayed directly on a clean face before applying moisturizer. I have found that this extra step helps my moisturizer to sink in faster and it also seems to help maximize plumpness in the skin. There are many similar options out there but considering how quickly my skin drinks in the stuff, this one is perfect at just $7 for a 4 oz. bottle.
  6. Clarins Instant Concealer // A rich fluid concealer that smoothes over flaws beautifully and never settles into fine lines. You only need the smallest amount to cover just about anything from bags to blemishes and the formula is more moisture-rich than most which is perfect for this time of the year. 
  7. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure // I have raved about these blushes before here, but this shade has been a recent favorite for its ability to go with any look you might want to create. It's also great because it does both the highlight and blush steps in just one subtle sweep. 
  8. Dior Star Fluid Foundation // This has been on my face a lot recently as it's a bouncy satin texture that stays dewy all day without being greasy. The level of coverage is similar to that of the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, except I find that this is great right now for my drier than usual skin. 
  9. Nars The Multiple in Luxor // A pearlescent cream to powder highlighter that looks great on the cheekbones, cupids bow, and as an inner corner highlight. I like the 'glistening pearl' shade of this, as it's a bit more snow queen-esque than any of the other highlighters in my stash. 
  10. Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Mirage // A one swipe wonder shadow in a beautiful shimmering bronzed brown shade. This is still one of my favorite shadow formulas to date, no tools required other than your pointer finger and the staying power is fantastic, no creasing here.
December 09, 2014
HOW TO GET (& KEEP) SOFT GLOWING SKIN

HOW TO GET (& KEEP) SOFT GLOWING SKIN


 ...during these cold, dry winter months. As I write this post, it's pouring icy buckets out there and I'm afraid that the months of naturally moisturized and glowing limbs are a thing of the past (summer). With the holidays coming up faster than ever it seems impossible that come those festive parties anyone will be brave enough to don the dress that they had bought for said occasion...because their legs are as dry and white as the Sahara desert. There's no need to let these conditions stop you though, ladies. With the help of a task force of skin-sloughing, bronzing, and moisture-inducing products you're body will look just as spectacular as it would coming off the beach in Tulum; you'll want to hit the slow-mo button on your entrance in that dress in no time. 

THE DEAD SKIN BANISHER // Sounds gross, feels amazing. Try one of & Other Stories Body Scrubs and you won't turn back. They offer a range of addicting scents that are neatly packaged in utilitarian-labeled tubs and look like a delicious edible concoction. What I love about these is how they foam up a bit when mixed with water so that you won't experience that rough dragging feeling that some scrubs have, these ones have enough slip to cover limbs in one scoop. My favorite scents are Fig Fiction and Punk Bouquet

THE TAN GIVER // My favorite range, and the only I trust to not give me orange limbs like an Oompa Loompa is the St. Tropez tanning range. If you know you have somewhere to go ahead of time I suggest using the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturizer every day leading up to the event so that by the time you need to slip into that dress you'll have "naturally" bronzed limbs. If you got invited last minute to a party and don't know how you're going to pull off anything that has you showing skin, immediately reach for the St. Tropez Instant Glow Body Lotion. Like the name would suggest, this adds an instant glow and a hit of moisture, plus it includes tiny light-reflecting shimmer particles that add a festive flair. Oh, and it's wash off, win!

THE MOISTURE INDUCERS // You're either dry, or you're desperately flakey and have already reached lizard status. Well, I have two solutions (or both, if you're really desperate) for you. I love Kiehl's Creme de Corps for everyday prevention of dry skin because I haven't found anything that soothes my skin so well, and the more often you use it the less problems you will have long term. I also love how the fragrance is barely there and won't interfere with your actual perfume...a clashing mish mash of scents will be overwhelming and have you smelling like you'd just been sampling the fragrance department of Macy's. If you, like many of us, neglected your skin one too many times and haven't spent the time moisturizing - there is still hope. It comes courtesy of a spray on dry oil and my personal favorite (a cult classic) is the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, which is an amazing multi-tasking product. Spritz on hair, body, or pretty much anywhere you're dry and this non-oily oil will give your skin an instantly moisturized and sheeny appearance. Problem solved.
December 07, 2014
TWO STAR PRODUCTS FROM NUDE SKINCARE

TWO STAR PRODUCTS FROM NUDE SKINCARE


I'm not sure if you guys have noticed or not, but lately I've been on a bit of a skincare kick. Over the past year or so I've been getting more and more into the stuff; learning about the ingredients, what to watch out for, and most importantly what works for my skin. I find that I have a skin type that is relatable to many different categories because, while I can be quite oily in some areas, I can also be tight or dry in others. I also have quite tough skin in the sense where it's not easily irritated, but that can all change if there is one ingredient in a product that my skin does not like, and then havoc will be wreaked. I know it seems strange, but one of the best skincare tips I could give from experience is to really take the time to get to know your skin by introducing different ingredients gradually and seeing how it reacts to certain things - learn to read your skin and give it what it wants

That being said, lately I have found that my skin is jiving really well with natural ingredients and non-harsh treatments and I am totally okay with that. While there are already a few brands involved in my routine that boast being paraben and chemical free, there is also a brand I'm loving that I have just recently been introduced to. I have been testing these Nude Skincare products for about a month now and have been really getting on with them. I can see that Nude is one of those natural brands who doesn't sacrifice on quality products that bring real results which is what you need to look out for in gentler products. The two products in question are the Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly and the Miracle Mask Exfoliating Mask

The cleansing jelly has completed wowed me from the first use and I haven't put it down since. It comes out as a thick gel-like texture and when massaged onto the skin it transforms into an oil with great slip, wiping out every bit of makeup in its path. It turns into a milk when mixed with water so it rinses perfectly clean and leaves skin in the most balanced state, like, ever. I am already addicted to this product and don't see myself going back to my old cleansing favorite which is shocking considering it has been a year long relationship. The mask, which I mentioned in a previous post in detail, is also a stunner. If you couldn't tell by my rave review, this five minute mask does serious wonders in such a short period of time through the inclusion of AHA's, hibiscus extract, and rice particles for added exfoliation. I have been loving this as a quick morning time treatment which I'm warmly welcoming, as I usually don't have time for one of those during the week. I am one happy camper...and clearly, so is my skin. Pun intended.
December 04, 2014
UNSUNG HEROS: STAPLE PRODUCTS

UNSUNG HEROS: STAPLE PRODUCTS


We beauty lovers are always rambling away about the latest must haves and skincare additions to our already product heavy routines and the lip color shade of the week. But what about the products that we use every single day without question? We repurchase them without second though, in fact, we're armed with enough backups to lather up an entire army. We would literally be frazzled messes without them, yet we never talk about how much we adore them or why. Well, here is my ode to those unsung heros...may I never be forced to go a day without you

Cotton buds and pads are something that are constantly called to the frontlines in my routine. They help me correct eyeliner mistakes and are the perfect vehicle for applying cream to any blemish that may rear its ugly head without transferring the bacteria elsewhere. Not to mention, they help remove all that makeup at the end of the day with the help of my favorite staple eye makeup remover - Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. This duo-phase potion takes off every trace of remaining makeup after I've cleansed and since its introduction into my routine, I haven't looked for anything else. It's low cost and the hardest working makeup remover I have found. These are some items that couldn't be replaced in my book, nobody does their job better than them - they really are some of the cheapest and best tricks of the trade. 

Every single morning, I wake up and brush my teeth with my Colgate Optic White Toothpaste. It is something I do as if I've been trained to do so. Technically though, we all have - thanks mom and dad! It keeps my teeth whiter than others have in the past without too much of a burning sensation and that's all I could ask for in a toothpaste really. I then hop into the shower and no matter what other products I am switching between in there, I always use my Mistral Soap. It's a beautiful soap line made according to a Provencal tradition dating back hundreds of years and is paraben and chemical free. This stuff is seriously moisturizing and the scents they offer linger post wash and are actually heavenly. The two I always have on backup are Blackberry and Almond Milk, but I also love their Rose Lychee and Balinese Vanilla - I swear you'll be addicted after just one whiff as well. Of course, the first thing I do when I get out of the shower is swipe on my Dove Clinical Protection Deodorant to keep myself dry and smelling fresh all day. In a perfect world, I would find a healthier aluminum-free alternative to this product as it's something I use everyday but I have yet to come across anything that works as well as this. I'm open to any suggestions, though, so do share one along with any other everyday staple products you wouldn't be caught dead without. 
December 01, 2014
MASKS FOR AN INSTANT (AND LASTING) GLOW

MASKS FOR AN INSTANT (AND LASTING) GLOW


I love makeup to the point where I can't get enough of the stuff...obviously. But to me, the most important aspect of the beauty world lies in the realm of skincare because no matter your efforts, your artist qualities won't be well represented on a bumpy canvas. Tending to the skin's every need is important and one of my favorite ways to keep it in tip top shape is by using masks a few times a week. I have masks for every skin woe you can imagine but the ones I use that cause the biggest difference in the health of my skin are in the form of exfoliating masks and peels. They might seem a bit intimidating at first, but once you've gotten into them you won't want to ever be without them again. They are the key to keeping pores unclogged, surfaces smoothed, and the overall tone even and glowing. Here are just a few that I love and if you're not already acquainted, allow me to introduce you...

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask // This little bottle is filled with a creamy orange substance reminiscent of marmalade and has reached cult status for very good reason. It's all natural and after just one use you get noticeably brighter smoother skin. Used weekly this product will help to keep skin clear and over time will help reduce clogged pores by helping to remove dead skin cells via the inclusion of glycolic and lactic acids. A bonus is that the bottle is so well designed and doesn't allow for any air to enter keeping your product in tip top shape until the very last drop.

GLAMGLOW Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment // Another well known favorite, this mask is basically the do it all treatment of the bunch. It comes in the form of a gritty mud and dries down to a tingling and exfoliating clay. You can feel it working its magic, sucking gunk from your pores and sweeping away any dry skin - without drying things out. This is a powerful little pot and I recommend using it before an important event...or just whenever your skin is begging for a boost. This stuff will give you just that and instantly

Nude Skincare Miracle Mask // My newest addition to my radiance-inducing stocks and I can already tell it's going to be a long-term relationship. If you are pressed for time this is the one for you, no questions asked. It takes all of five minutes to let all the natural ingredients get to work and rear actual instant results. I love that it includes little particles of rice to help slough off dead skin cells in conjunction with the AHA's and hibiscus extract that do the un-manual part of the exfoliating. This stuff smells good enough to spread on toast and packs a ton of punch for a five minute treatment. I think I will be adding this to my midweek morning routine while I make myself a cup o' joe.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask // All of Tata's products make you feel like you're relaxing on one luxe spa - even when you're just standing in front of the mirror in your bathroom. The texture of this is similar to a jelly and when applied the skin feels quite soothed compared to other exfoliating masks. My only minor complaint with this is that the pot is slightly small for the price, however, you only need a tiny bit each time so it will still last. Other than that this is a pot of natural BHA wonders that invigorates, exfoliates, and relaxes skin all at the same time. Brilliant. 

Elemis Enzyme Papaya Peel // The cream of the crop, quite literally. This is a great pick for the drier skinned girls who still want (and need!) to add an exfoliating product to the routine. It is in the form of a cream and instead of drying down like most this stuff is quite literally absorbed right into the skin, similar to a hydrating mask, but still results in gently exfoliated and radiant skin. This is a great product to start with if you are sensitive or if your skin isn't quite used to chemical exfoliants yet.

P.S. - I wanted to share another little piece of info with you guys as well. I have spotted GLAMGLOW masks, which are usually quite expensive, in multiple TJMAXX stores. I would suggest having a look as they are selling at nearly half price there, making it all the more okay to treat yourself. Happy shopping...