September 30, 2016
PLUMP IT UP

PLUMP IT UP

Plumper lips, just like that? You can imagine my disbelief at the effectiveness, or even, existence of a product that would create such results. But, sometimes even an old dog must learn new tricks - or at least taught to be more open-minded. 

I was shocked at the results when I tried the re-vamped formula of Kaplan MD's Perfect Pout Lip Mask and Lip Balm Duo. Forget Kylie's drying lip kits; try this kit to leave your lips as plump as Kylie's sans injections or the risk of changing your entire face. The anti-aging lip mask comes in the form of a lightweight creamy treatment, that plumps on contact, intensely moisturizes, and smoothes lines. When it's wiped off, you'll look as though you're lips received a little lift - just top with the balm for a smooth, naturally perfected pout!

*pr samples included.

September 28, 2016
CHRISTOPHE ROBIN PURIFYING SHAMPOO

CHRISTOPHE ROBIN PURIFYING SHAMPOO

Can you tell I'm all about the hair lately? I've been lightening up the makeup load and spending the extra time focusing more on skin and haircare, especially going into fall. As you know if you're a regular reader here, I recently lightened my hair a bit during my first ever balayage experience. As a result, I switched up my products in favor of a more hydration and texture-inducing routine.

The Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo. You already know I'm a massive fan of his product range, and use the products on a daily basis. So, when I heard about the Purifying Shampoo, I knew it was going to become a welcome addition to my hair routine. For reference, I have thick, straight hair, with oily roots and dry ends and it tends to that need quite a bit of product to maintain any volume and texture. I've been using the Purifying Shampoo once a week to do the following:

-Soothe the scalp
-Eliminate dandruff 
-Reduce excess oil

The formula uses jujube bark extract to soothe and cherry blossom extract to moisturize. I love how light, bouncy, and perfectly balanced this leaves my hair. After using this, my hair feels softer, my roots feel less oily, and my ends are more moisturized. Another amazing product from Christophe Robin.

Have you tried the Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo yet?

*pr samples included.
September 26, 2016
SUPERBALANCED SKIN

SUPERBALANCED SKIN

As I type this, I realize just how long it's been since I've raved about a new foundation. The truth is, I've been frustrated with even my usual favorites over the past few months because of the heat. I swapped my flawless, covered look for a more natural lightweight look; opting for click-pen concealers and coverage only where necessary. Then, the Clinique Superbalanced Silk Foundation landed on my desk and based on the description, ("controls oil, yet hydrates where needed") I knew I had to give it a go. This could be the one, right?

Spoiler alert: RIGHT. I can't say enough good things about this little glass jar of skin perfecting base. It gives a sheer to medium coverage that feels comfortable on the skin when applied. I also love that it seems to blur imperfections and smooth over unwanted rough texture instantly. It's creamy enough that you only need a dab on each side of the face to really get a naturally beautified look, and it somehow looks even better once it's settled into the skin a bit. Talk about dreamy stuff...

P.S. Now is the perfect time to give this new foundation a go as well. Clinique is offering this adorable sprinkle-covered makeup bag chock full of minis perfect for a getaway with a purchase of $27 or more. Available at Macys


*pr samples included.
September 23, 2016
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: SEOUL APOTHECARY

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: SEOUL APOTHECARY


Watch as I experience Seoul Apothecary's Eye Recovery Kit for the first time. It's a great website if you're interested in trying out some Korean skincare products without being intimidated. Watch the video for more information and please don't forget to subscribe!
September 22, 2016
MY FIRST BALAYAGE EXPERIENCE & PRODUCT CHANGEUP

MY FIRST BALAYAGE EXPERIENCE & PRODUCT CHANGEUP

Last week I visited a new salon that was recommended to me in Westport, CT. It's called PIA Personal Image Artist, and I had heard wonderful things of the owner and head artist Pia. So, not having had my hair colored professionally in years (and I mean YEARS) I trusted myself in her hands and took the balayage plunge. 

I have always loved the look of subtle, face framing, and natural looking highlights that require little maintenance and that's exactly what Pia gave me. I'll admit I have had a few bad experiences with colorists in Connecticut in the past, so I can't tell you how amazing it was to find someone like Pia so close to home. She took her time to hand paint the highlights in different tones to give the look of natural caramel highlights and and listened to my wishes, making them come true. Pia then toned my hair to cut brassiness and create a healthy, natural color that I am thrilled with. She was also a wealth of information and gave me product recommendations and usage techniques that I've been using since my visit. I couldn't be more happy with my experience and highly recommend a visit to her chic and very personal salon if you are nearby - or even if you're not! Visit their website here to make an appointment.

Since my color change, I've also rotated my daily products around quite a bit. As you know, I favor the 'beachy waves' look above all else, so when Pia used the Oribe Apres Beach Wave Spray prior to using a curling iron I knew I'd have to start doing the same. I love the texture and hold it gives to the hair, and she also mentioned that it provides a necessary barrier between the hair and the heat. I've also been using my trusty Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray to keep the texture going and to add a bit of volume between shampoos. When I blow out my hair, I rely on the Aveda Thickening Tonic for extra oomph - because even with thick hair I need the root lift. For hydration and split-end repair I've been using the amazing Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask weekly, the Davines Oi Oil when my hair is still wet, and the Christophe Robin Moisturizing Hair Cream to nourish the ends and add a bit of pieciness. 

Have you tried balayage before? What are your favorite products for colored hair? 

*pr samples included.
September 15, 2016
RENEW YOUR HAIR AT HOME

RENEW YOUR HAIR AT HOME

Recently, I had my first balayage experience. I'll admit prior to that that, I pretty much steered clear of any hair coloring other than the yearly ritual I've taken upon myself of combing bleach through the ends of my hair to lighten them slightly. But, now I've joined the chemically treated hair club, and although I'll say my hair is pretty resilient in general, there is one treatment in paritular that I've been reaching for to keep it as healthy as possible. And aside from my recent hair color change, I often try out different styling products and my affinity for salt sprays leaves quite a bit of residue even after washing. 

Enter the 2-in-1 solution; Rahua Hair Detox and Renewal Treatment Kit. It's a hair and scalp treatment ideal for color treated hair that helps to remove synthetic product buildup and restore the health of hair by infusing it with plant-based nutrients. It's easy to use and while it's working its magic, the scent soothes and acts as an aromatherapy treatment as well. The kit comes with 2 treatments, and is separated out by container so that when it comes time to add the oil into the base you have your own mixing bowl. You then apply the treatment by distributing the product with a comb while massaging the roots, and leave it on for 20-30 minutes to let it work its magic. This is when the mix of oils (a mixture of Rahua-Ungurahua, Sacha Inchi, and Buriti) get to work on detoxifying and nourishing your hair. You then shampoo and condition as normal to remove the product, and you're left with swishy, shiny hair that feels as though a weight has been lifted. It makes it easier to style, and it feels softer than ever - like virgin hair. 

If you have dry, chemically treated hair, or you need to a major clarifying boost - I'd highly recommend trying out this Rahua Hair Detox and Renewal Treatment Kit to hit restart on your damaged strands!

*pr samples included.
September 13, 2016
AN EARLY FALL SCENT FAVORITE

AN EARLY FALL SCENT FAVORITE


You may be aware of my love for Byredo already; Gypsy Water started the obsession, and Flowerhead became my second scent love later on. Two years later, I'd still point to Gypsy Water as my one true scent love. If I had to choose just one, it would have been that. Up until recently, that is, when I became addicted to my 12 ml vial of Bal D'Afrique and knew I had to purchase the full size bottle. I still love Gypsy Water, but Bal D'Afrique is definitely my current scent love. 

Bal D'Afrique is a scent that plays on the fabulousness and sheer excess of Paris during the 1920's; a time when the city was fascinated by African culture. The scent embraces the wearer with sexy, playful, and somewhat masculine notes all at the same time. It's earthy and artistic, yet smooth and sweet and I just can't get over how addictive it is. It's one of those fragrances that seems to become one with the skin over the course of the day, and really becomes unique to the wearer. 

Notes include...

Top Notes: African Marigold, Bergamot, Bucchu, Lemon, Neroli.

Middle Notes: Cyclamen, Jasmine Petals, Violet. 

Base Notes: Black Amber, Moroccan Cedarwood, Musk, Vetiver.

Have you tried Bal D'Afrique yet?

September 09, 2016
MY MOST REPURCHASED BEAUTY PRODUCTS OF ALL TIME

MY MOST REPURCHASED BEAUTY PRODUCTS OF ALL TIME

I'm always trying new products (which you'll no doubt know if you're a regular around here. If not, welcome!) in hopes of starting a new long term relationship. Of course, I have a bevvy of products I use most currently, which usually make their appearance in my monthly YouTube favorites videos. I rotate products quite often, and since I own so many in each category, there is rarely need to repurchase when something gets used up. Every so often, however, I'll find myself making a beeline for my local Sephora, or makeup counter, in search of something very specific. That something would most likely be one of the following products; my all-time most-repurchased makeup items. I've even kept count (as far back as I can remember) of just how many times I've run back for each. Technically, this segment could also be called my desert-island edit; I'd be okay if I only owned these few bits in my cosmetic wardrobe.
  1. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation - Shocking, no? I'm currently on my 5th bottle, and have been repurchasing since this product launched (probably about 5 years ago). It's one of the first non-powder foundations I tried and to this day, it's still one of the best. The watery, whipped formula is light as air, feels refreshing on the skin, and glides over imperfections while still allowing your real skin to show through in all the right places. 
  2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - I've spoken about this 357928 times, but repurchased probably about 6. I have multiple shades on me at all times, simply because these are the best setting powders I've ever come across and the only one that leaves a real-life instagram filter glow on my skin. I've just hit pan on yet another, which is truly a testament to the quality of the stuff inside this chic metallic compact.
  3. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer - Lately, I've been favoring some of my more moisturizing and lightweight concealers for under my eyes. However, when I need to cover a blemish or bag without having to think twice about lasting power - this is what I reach for. I always have one at the ready. The formula strikes the perfect balance between dry and creamy so that it doesn't budge on the skin. This is my 5th tube since I first tried the product.
  4. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper - The best liner for creating a sharp (AF) wing. Winged liner is my go-to look when I want to get a bit done up, and this is the only one that I know won't smudge into my crease or fade at the outer corner. I know the Tom Ford one is also good, but for the rate I go through these pens, TF just isn't an economical solution. In my opinion, this one does the job just as well, if not better, as any of its pricier competitors - and trust me -  I've tried them all. This must be my 11th tube of the stuff - at least!
  5. Anastasia Brow Products - This is a bit vague, but only because I tend to try whatever the brand releases in terms of brow color products because they're all good. In all honesty, I'm not a fan of overly perfect or fake-looking brows as I think they're a bit harsh looking. I use brow products because I have to (fill in the gap where I have a scar) and so I know which ones last all day and look the most natural. I always have the Brow Wiz, Brow Definer, and Dip Brow Pommade on hand. I never know how stubborn that gap will be to fill, and this lineup never fails me. I've lost count over the years, but I must have purchased the Brow Wiz alone at least 10 times.
  6. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush - I tend to go for cream blushes these days, but when I want a powder blush, these are my absolute favorite. I love the shade range because they all tend to look flattering on, but it's the almost creamy glow that they leave on the skin that I love so much. I've used one entire pan and have about 5 shades on hand.
  7. Classic Chanel Red Lipstick - They make quite a few amazing red shades, and right now I'm using their fall release 169 Rouge Tentation. I always buy a new red lipstick from Chanel when I run out, as they tend to be the longest wearing and least drying in formula. Of course, the beautifully embossed Chanel bullet doesn't hurt either, but the actual shades never do me wrong. Talk about a really quick pick me up that brightens the whole face in just one swipe!
  8. By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon - While I only discovered this product two years ago, it's the one eyeshadow crayon I couldn't be without. Whenever I'm in doubt as to what shadow to reach for, it's this one. It's foolproof to apply and does not budge in the slightest once it's set, but the color is the perfect multidimensional brown that is so flattering on everyone. I also love the almost-glossy effect it leaves on the lids thanks to the microfine shimmer pigments that run throughout the formula. This is my 3rd crayon!
  9. Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm - I've been using these since they released - which may be about 8 years ago now. This is the absolute best tinted balm in my opinion. It's creamy, just glossy enough, perfects the lip shape, and gives them a flush sans shimmer or cakey pigment. I've used up countless tubes (this is one of the only lip products I actually finish), and always have one in my handbag. It's an absolute lip essential, especially if you have dry lips but still love a bit of color.

What are your most repurchased beauty products?
September 06, 2016
FOUR PRODUCTS TO TRY

FOUR PRODUCTS TO TRY

Maybe they didn't qualify for their very own reviews, but these products are the ones I noticed I'm reaching for quite often lately. There's something about the weather or the time of the year that has me wanting to wear as little makeup as possible; only doing what's most effective. These are the products that create big impact with minimal effort, almost giving me a bit of the French-girl vibes I've always been after...

Lancôme Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturising Cream-Gel - Because you know how my love for the brand has been growing lately. I've also been dabbling in their skincare because my complexion has been favoring gels and lightweight skincare products as of late, and Lancôme has quite the selection. This Hydra Zen cream in particular makes for a fabulously light, yet intensely hydrating and redness calming treat for skin that's irritated, or just needs balancing. I love how it works equally well for morning or night, so it's a great one if you're looking to streamline your stash. I have a feeling this one is here to stay.

Lancôme Lip Lover Dewy Color Lip Perfector in 332 - This gloss/lipstick hybrid has become a go-to favorite recently for it's hit of face-brightening pink and longevity. It sticks around much longer than your average gloss but gives that full look to the lips that we're all after.

Clinique Lash Power Flutter-To-Full Mascara - I've been using this mascara nonstop since it landed here because of its ability to give you whatever level of lash impact you desire. It has a clever dial-up applicator that allows you to choose just how lashy you want to be at any given time. Twist it to the fullest option for big-time lashes and a seriously smudge-proof formula that washes off in rubber tubes at the end of the day. No raccoon eyes necessary.

Chanel Rouge Allure in 169 Rouge Tentation - A glorious lipstick from Chanel's latest collection, this moisturizing and glossy option is the easy-to-wear brick red shade I've been after. I love how it can be swiped on in a hurry and manages to make my lips look fuller and more perfected. As a bonus, reapplication isn't an issue because it glides on as easily as a tinted balm, but deliver much more impact.

*pr samples included.
September 02, 2016
THE THREE WAYS I GET RID OF HYPERPIGMENTATION

THE THREE WAYS I GET RID OF HYPERPIGMENTATION

After that time of the month comes to an end, I'm often left with some form of battle wound. By that, I mean, pigmentation from a blemish I picked out of sheer frustration and lack of patience for it to go away on its own. There's nothing worse than finally ridding yourself of a blemish and then having to deal with the sometimes months-long process of waiting for the scar to disappear as well. Over time, I've tried many a product to help me do just that, and by way of trial and error am now armed with a bevvy of products that help banish the aftermath in days or weeks instead of months. You'll have to find the products that are best suited to your skin type, but of course, it helps when the products you use also have lightening ingredients (i.e. hydroquinone) or exfoliating properties (i.e. acids in the form of AHA's or BHA's) to lift away layers of skin and reveal fresher, less pigmented skin. Here are the three steps I find most helpful in lightening the hyper pigmentation:

PEELS - Peels help to remove the outermost layer of the skin and aid in quicker cell turnover, leaving you with a fresher and brighter new layer of skin. (If you have deeply scarred tissue for any reason, don't expect peels to remove those; I'm talking about light marks left from a small pimple. Minor blemishes will heal much more quickly with the help of peels.) If you have more sensitive skin, you may want to start out by using a toner with a low level of glycolic acid instead. However, I've built up a tolerance and don't tend to have overly sensitive skin, so I'm all about peels. In fact, I incorporate both when I can, but try not to do this if you know you'll be spending more time out in the sun than usual (hello, beach vacays) because it makes your skin more prone to sun damage. Regardless, after peeling I'd recommend always using SPF (though you should everyday), avoiding intense treatments like retinol, and adding back hydration with fast-absorbing oils. My favorite, of course, are the at-home quick and easy Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads. I love that you can choose your peel level, so there's something for peel addicts and beginners alike. 

CORRECTIVE SERUMS - If you're at all familiar with the vast world of skin care, you'll no doubt know about a few corrective serums available on the market. Here, we're talking about pigment lightening and exfoliating serums. Both of these types of products will help rid you of unwanted pigmentation; the former is designed to lighten existing skin using chemicals that bleach the skin, the latter is designer to slough away dead skin cells and leave you with newer layers of skin that have less damage (similarly to a peel, potentially more gentle). I am more a fan of the latter due to the less harsh methods used, and because these types of serums usually help my skin remain clear and smooth, not just give me immediate results. My current favorites are Sunday Riley Good Genes, a lactic acid treatment that boosts circulation and exfoliates, and Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel, a soothing botanical and hyaluronic acid-based gel that hydrates and brightens the complexion.

MOISTURIZER - Aha! You knew this one was coming. But, that's because keeping your skin hydrated and protected helps to speed up the healing process in general, resulting in a faster disappearance of damaged skin. You can also pick moisturizers that contain brightening ingredients like fruit enzymes or Vitamin C, such as Sunday Riley Tidal Cream, or Murad Essential-C Day Moisture.

Have you tried any of these tips before?

*pr samples included.

September 01, 2016
LANCÔME'S MAKING MAKEUP EASY

LANCÔME'S MAKING MAKEUP EASY

I couldn't help but notice just how much of my makeup bag lately consists of Lancôme makeup (and skincare products - but more on that later). I am blaming the invasion on the brand's latest releases being so user friendly, quick, and effective. Here, I'm rounding up some of my most used products of late, and what I use them for. 

Lancôme Juicy Shaker Pigment Infused Bi-Phased Lip Oil - I'm sure you've heard about this product by now (I dedicated a post to these when they first launched), but I'm not over my love for them just yet. The bouncy applicator applies a sheer and hydrating wash of color in the most comfortable manner ever, and I love how each shade has a unique scent. My current favorite neutral shade is Show Me the Honey, but they all somehow manage to perfect the pout with just a swipe.

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick - If you read my recent travel makeup edit, you'll be familiar with my newfound love for stick foundation. Of course, all formulas are not created equal, and this one happens to be my favorite so far. It gives a soft matte finish that meshes well with the natural oils in my skin, and never looks cakey or dull. I love that this can be applied on the go and even sans brush. Talk about the easiest way to get coverage...ever.

Lancôme Cushion Blush Subtil - If you're familiar with the cushion foundation, then look no further than this product to find your new favorite natural flush. The color is applied easily and gives a sheer wash of color and fresh effect to the cheeks not far off from watercolors.

Lancôme Miracle CC Cushion - This color correcting primer cushion is the first of its kind that I've ever tried. This lightweight lavender color corrector is both brightening and moisturizing and leaves the skin perfectly prepped for flawless and natural makeup application. I love how well it sinks into skin when tapped in with the included sponge applicator, and how easy this product makes it to target specific skin discoloration concerns without adding extra heavy layers of product. 

*pr samples included.