Jun 27, 2013

Weighing In: The Beautyblender

After the whole cancerous-makeup-sponge-from-TJ-Maxx debacle, I vowed to one day purchase a real Beautyblender, despite it's hefty $20 price tag (you're a freaking sponge, Beautyblender, not a night cream).  I am happy to say (my wallet, not so much) that the purchase has been made and it is so worth every penny of my hard earned cash.

To be honest, I can't tell you for sure what is responsible for this beauty tool's magic, but once dampened, the Beautyblender doubles in size and turns into an incredible makeup applying machine.  I suppose you could use the Beautyblender dry, but I like how a wet sponge thins out my Colorstay foundation and creates a sheer, but still long-lasting, base.

Besties Forever
Many people could argue that any old makeup sponge is just as good as the Beautyblender, but I disagree.  Something about the shape, material and texture of the Beautyblender differs from that of any dupes I have found.  The only negative thing about this sponge in particular is that it's not cheap enough to toss when it gets dirty.  Beautyblender sells a special, expensive soap for cleaning the sponge, but baby soap or antibacterial hand soap will work just as well.  I'd recommend cleaning your Beautyblender at least once a week.

So, sure, the Beautyblender may seem like an extravagant purchase.  I agree that $20 is a lot to shell out for a makeup sponge, but if you only need to repurchase every few months, then I think it's well worth it.  I purchased mine at Sephora, but you can find the Beautyblender at a slew of other beauty retailers.  Go out and get one.  You won't be disappointed!

Have you tried the Beautyblender yet?  What's your favorite makeup application tool? 

Jun 23, 2013

Weekend Ramblings: Facial Waters

It wasn't too long ago that I was writing a post about how disappointed I was with Evian's Brumisateur, so this post is as unexpected for me as it is for you.  After coming to the realization that plain mineral water may not be worth Evian's hefty price tag, I was really happy to find a couple of water sprays that have proven to be pretty beneficial for my complexion.

*Photo Via Ulta.com
Caramance Chamomile Facial and Body Water:  I bought this on a whim at Ulta shortly after purchasing the Evian spray.  This water contains both chamomile and aloe extract for calming and moisturizing effects.  I love using this right out of the shower, pre-moisturizer, though it acts as a light moisturizer itself.  Also, it's good to have around after a jog on a hot day (in other news, I've started jogging *cue gasps all around*).

*Photo Via BeautySage.com

Shea Terra Organics Eau De Rose Du Maroc Hydrating Facial Spritz:  In my quest for free shipping from BeautySage.com, I went on a search for an item that, in addition to my $15 C.O. Bigelow Musk Oil, would tip me over the $30 free shipping minimum.  That's when I came across this Shea Terra Organics spray.  I love that the only ingredient in this spray is pure Rosa Damascena water, a.k.a Moroccan rose water.  I often spray this on my face after cleansing and before bed to relax. 

Out of these two sprays, I definitely prefer the rose water.  I could be crazy, but I think it's actually improving the tone of my skin.  Also, I love the smell of roses.  It is definitely the pricier of the two at $16 for 4 ounces, but I don't mind spending a little more for such a luxurious spritzer.  I think that while it is nice to try an actual pre-manufactured product, I may try making my own facial waters here soon, maybe with some cucumber and aloe.  If I do that DIY I'll keep you posted.

What's your opinion on facial waters and facial sprays?  Have you ever made your own?  Do you prefer to purchase them at the store? 

Jun 17, 2013

Makeup Crush Monday: My Tagalongs®

Today's Makeup Crush isn't actually makeup, per se, but it is a makeup/skincare container and, therefore, it qualifies in my eyes.  Meet My Tagalongs® Interlocking Travel Jars, God's gift to on-the-go product junkies like myself.  I am the girl who always has a full bottle of cleanser and moisturizer at every sleepover, road trip, yoga class, etc.  Call me obnoxious, just don't call me unprepared.  However, regardless of how great being prepared truly is, toting around 12 oz. of product in an overnight bag at all times is just a little much.

Not to sound like an infomercial, but My Tagalongs® Interlocking Travel Jars really do make traveling with a multiple skincare items a breeze.  I keep foundation, moisturizer, a cleansing exfoliant and a clay mask in my jars, but the possibilities are endless.  I bought my set at TJ Maxx for $4, but you can buy them online here for the same price.  I will most definitely be purchasing more of these in the near future.  The plan is to keep one in my purse, my car and my overnight bag.  I mean, hauling around full-size products is just so old fashioned nowadays, right?       

Jun 13, 2013

Quick Thoughts: Beauty Websites of the Moment

         As a diehard Sephora junkie, I must commend Sephora on having one of the best makeup selections around, both online and in stores.  However, sometimes I'm in the mood for a little something different and when that happens, these are the websites I go to:

I discovered this website when I read an Into The Gloss Article on Liv Tyler.  She apparently orders her C.O. Bigelow Musk Oil from there.  I've actually never tried musk oil.  In fact, even the word "musk" seems a little offputting to me, but for $15 you know I've already ordered myself a bottle.  If Liv likes it, the best I can do is give it a try.

This website is just gorgeous.  I can't exactly remember how I came across it, but they have the most unique (and cult) brands.  It's like Cult Beauty for the U.S.

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Addison who believed a C.O. Bigelow cleanser from Bath and Body Works was the most luxurious thing money could buy.  Don't even get me started on their Mentha Lip Shine!  I swear every girl owned like three or four.  Although I don't see much in the way of skincare from them in BBW anymore and they no longer have an independent store in the mall, it turns out that C.O. Bigelow is alive and well.  Plus, they sell a ton of other interesting brands online!

These websites are the bomb, but tighten those purse strings before visiting them.  If you're like me, you will want to buy everything!

Jun 12, 2013

Getting Down with OCM + Etsy Finds: Pure Attitude

         It's taken years of cleansing with harsh surfactants and sulfates, but it looks like the beauty world has finally found its way back to the oil cleansing ways of our ancestors.  "Oil cleansing" sounds so luxurious.  I like to imagine that it's how Cleopatra removed all of her eyeliner or how Marilyn Monroe took off her makeup before dousing herself in Chanel No. 5.  It's like some cleansing fantasy.  But unfortunately, in addition to sounding luxurious, to breakout-prone ladies like me, it sounds a little intimidating.
            Ever since my first trip to the derm around age 12 (far too young, if you ask me), my cleansing and moisturizing routines have been chock-full of oil-free products.  That was the norm for most people at the time, I think.  Trying to convince me, or any other skin-conscious teenager for that matter, to cleanse with oil would have been a lost cause.  We were too busy giving ourselves chemical burns with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. However, I've finally made the leap from teenager to adulthood and my skin has really calmed down.  With this change in my skin, I've also found that what used to work for my skin is now drying it out like no other.  Even though I typically use the super mild Johnson & Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash as a cleanser/makeup remover, I still need to moisturize both morning and night.  Anya's Herbals cleanser that I talked about here is amazing, but when used alone, it's not really a match for my Revlon Colorstay foundation.  I figured if I wanted to combine makeup removal, cleansing and moisturizing into one easy step, trying the OCM, a.k.a. Oil Cleansing Method, was the only logical thing to do.
               Before we get too far into this discussion, I need to say that this post is not about telling you that OCM is a miracle worker that will cure any and all skin ailments.  I am still in the trial and error stages of using it myself.  I am just here to tell you about the method I've been using as well as a great company that makes cleansing oils without essential oils.  Essential oils may be great in small doses, but I've found that they too strong for everyday use, especially in a skincare routine.
               Where to start... in my Etsy browsing days, I came across Pure Attitude, a Colorado-based skincare company that boasts products with only natural, skin-friendly ingredients.  Colorado seems to be the hub of all things cool and natural, does it not?  Anyways, before you know it I had purchased a bottle of Pure Attitude's Face Cleansing Camellia Oil in the Oily Skin Formula and Denise, the sweetest and most informative shop owner, was giving me the full rundown on oils.  I was blown away by how much I still had to learn.  I mean with words like linolenic and oleic being thrown around, I was feeling like a total oil cleansing noob.  Apparently, oils high in oleic acid can exacerbate acne, but oils with higher linolenic and linoleic acid content help maintain the skin barrier, making them better for acne prone skin.  That's a pretty short description of our discussion, but I think you get the idea.  
               Since receiving my oil a week ago, I've been using it every other day to ease my skin into the new routine.  At first, the oil's texture totally threw me off.  Pure Attitude's Oil Cleanser contains no unnatural ingredients, meaning no Polysorbate-20 to act as an emulsifier.  You will probably spend a little more time rinsing this off than you would a typical store bought cleanser, but on the bright side, you're not dealing with any questionable chemicals.  I simply apply the oil, massage for 30 seconds and finally, remove it with a warm washcloth.  I am still using soap cleanser in the a.m., so I can't testify to it as being the best and my one and only, but I can tell you that it works wonders for removing makeup and that my skin feels extremely soft and clean after rinsing.
              I've heard mixed reviews on the Oil Cleansing Method, ranging from "Wow, this has totally changed my skin for the better" to  "Please stay FAR away from OCM", but I wanted to give it a try for myself before developing an opinion.  I have been pleased so far, so I will continue on for a little longer.  I have nothing to lose, but plenty to gain.  If you are looking to try oil cleansing, check out Pure Attitude's website or their shop on Etsy.  She has plenty of oil options for multiple skin types, so you're sure to find something you like.

Have you tried cleansing with oil?  Do you love it? Hate it?  

Jun 10, 2013

Makeup Crush Monday: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

        If there are two items of makeup I live and die for, they are blush and mascara.  Sure, foundation is important, but have you ever seen someone wearing only foundation without mascara OR blush? It's like they just dipped their face in beige paint and decided,"Hey!  Ghostly is a great look for me!"  That's not really a highly desired look in my book, so that's why this girl's gotta keep the rouge rotation going strong.
*Photo via Sephora.com

        I'm always in search of a blush with a description that fits somewhere between au natural and made-up.  Until recently, I'd never found a blush that so perfectly fits that bill.  Enter Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed.  This nude-pink is sure to compliment any complexion.  It's perfect for the "no-makeup" look everyone's after during the summer months.  Also, Exposed actually does last a good 12 hours like its name promises.  This one is a definite winner, folks!  Buy yours here or here.

Jun 6, 2013

Quick Thoughts: A Little Bit About Labels

          With as much money as I spend in Sephora, most people would be surprised to find out that I'm a pretty frugal lady.  Apart from the typical splurge every once in awhile, I definitely prefer TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack over most high price retailers.  I've actually extended my love of TJ Maxx's clothes into their beauty department.  I don't like to buy the actual products from them, but their beauty tool section rivals that of most beauty supply stores, and at a fraction of the cost.

The warning is there, but a little hard to read
        I'm telling you all of this because the other day I purchased a knockoff Beautyblender, the Revive Beauty Pro Makeup Blending Applicator to be exact, there for $5.  Usually they're $20 at Sephora and I have a hard time shelling out that kinda cash for a sponge.  Hello, Addison...red flag!  I was super pumped to try it.  It seemed so similar to the real deal. But as soon as I had brought it home and washed it I noticed a small warning on the bottom of the box: "WARNING: This product and/or its packaging contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm".  So basically, my face makeup will look flawless all for the small price of having gremlin children in the future.  No thank you!

Not so innocent looking now, huh?           
            I understad that this chemical ingredient was probably isolated and injected into lab rats, yielding terrifying results and that the use of a facial sponge containing small quantities of it will probably not harm me, but that's not a theory I care to test.  I'm also a little disappointed in TJ Maxx for even having this on their shelves.  I suppose I should be thankful for a product that is so blatantly labeled, but I just can't get behind it.  Such a good waste of $5, too...  Long story short, read every inch of product packaging before you buy.

Jun 1, 2013

Etsy Finds: Anya's Herbals

             My skin has been freakishly clear for the past two weeks, but like an idiot, I've stopped drinking coffee and started using a new cleanser all in that 14 day period so I can't tell you what's responsible for this sudden clarity.  All I want to know is can I start drinking coffee again, because it's this fab new cleanser working its magic, or do I need to quit coffee forever? What to do, what to do...  I'm hoping the new cleanser is responsible for my clear skin because I've been faithfully drinking green tea every morning for the past two weeks, and let me tell ya, I am so over it.  Plus, a study was recently done that suggests green tea leaves absorb an abnormally high amount of lead from the soil. Yay!  Lead poisoning!

                 However, you probably are less interested in lead poisoning and more interested in the cleanser I previously mentioned.  It's called the Raw Honey and Turmeric Cleanser and it was created by a woman named Anya Messina of Anya's Herbals on Etsy.  Not only is Anya super kind and helpful, she truly knows her stuff.  The package in which I received my cleanser contained a printout of her company's philosophy and information on her "8 Botanicals Blend", which is described as a "proprietary blend of 8 locally grown and gently extracted healing agents, this remarkable formula is at the heart of all our products".  These ingredients are: bearberry, cinquefoil, common mallow, cranberry, ground ivy, lavender, soapwort, usnea lichen and wild rose.  Each of these ingredients has something special to offer, such as blemish healing or moisturizing properties.  This cleanser also contains raw honey that is gathered locally, which makes it better than most other cleansers, in my opinion.  Plus, I am sort of addicted the smell and the way it gently cleanses without stripping my skin.  Anya hit the nail on the head with this one. 
            In addition to receiving this cleanser, I also got a sample of Blossom soap* from Anya's Herbals.  This soap not only has a gorgeous floral scent, but it also has a beautiful, marbled look to it.  It cleanses beautifully, and like the cleanser, leaves your skin feeling clean, not stripped.  I am just completely thrilled with every I received in this Etsy order.  If you are looking for a natural cleanser, soap, body lotion, mask or other skincare item, I highly recommend checking out Anya's Herbals. You won't be disappointed!

 The * denotes a product which I was sent free of cost.  Reviews will remain objective, regardless of how the product came to me.