Jul 29, 2013

Sales, Sales, Sales!

Wow, can you guys believe I'm on post #2 for the day? I sure can't.  Turns out I've missed blogging a heck of a lot more than I expected.  This post will be a quick one, though, as I've just come to give you a quick heads up on some wonderful sales!

Abe's Market
AbesMarket.com is celebrating their recent move with a sale of 15% off of everything for the next 3 days by using the code NEWDIGS.  Not only does Abe's offer an impressive selection of natural and organic beauty loot, they also sell different foods, teas, coffees, etc.  There's sure to be something for every shopper.

BeautySage.com is one of my favorite beauty websites.  After registering, you automatically gain access to their killer points system where 100 points equals $10 to use on the website.  For this particular sale, which only lasts for another 23 hours, you can receive 20% off and free shipping on any order by using the code HURRAH.  With brands like RMS and Shea Terra Organics, natural beauty seekers should be ecstatic about this one!

The Skincare Tag

Welcome to my first ever "Tag post".  A tag is basically a set list of questions on a certain topic that other bloggers have been discussing.  I discovered the Skincare Tag at Helen Rambles On, one of my favorite blogs!  Let's get to it, shall we?

The best excuse for a skincare photo I could scrounge up at the moment.

 Describe your skincare routine in 5 words
  • Exfoliate (3-4 times a week), Cleanse, Moisturize (rarely in the summer thanks to my oily skin)

What's your skintype?

  • Oily, Sensitive, Acne-prone, Combo and Dry, depending on the weather.  Lovely, I know.
What's your favourite skincare product?

  • Ever? J&J's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash... is that weird for a beauty blogger?
Top blemish zapper.

Face wipes, yay or nay?

Toner, yay or nay?

  • Yay, absolutely, though I'm still on the hunt for my toner soul mate.
High end makeup or high end skincare?

  • High end makeup!  I've always found high end skincare to be a) too heavily fragranced or b) way overpriced for the ingredients used.
You're in a French pharmacy and you can only pick one item - what is it?

  • Oh gosh... where do I start?  I really want to try about every La Roche Posay product out there.
Tell us your top skincare tip
  • As a girl who often finds herself with a bit of skin hate after a magnifying mirror session, my best advice to you would be to stop looking in magnifying mirrors. Seriously, that's the best I've got.  Who wants to see their every pore and stray eyebrow? It is so unrealistic to view your face at 20x's magnification when no one else EVER sees it up that close.
How do you all like the tag posts?  I enjoy the aspect of answering and discussing the same set of questions.  I like that it helps me gain a better view into the lives and routines of other beauty bloggers.  I also like to compare their own practices to mine!

Makeup Crush Monday: Bourjois and True Match Concealers

Vacation is a funny thing for me.  Unlike at home, where I can usually be found lounging in yoga pants and a tank top, I like to dress up for sightseeing and being out and about with the fam.  I especially like to dress up when I'm in foreign countries...say, China, for instance.

However, despite wearing decent clothes, I find it impossible to wear a face full of makeup outside of my hotel room.  Perhaps it's the extreme 108 degree heat we've toured in (You read that right. My family's travel practices often teeter on the edge of insanity... though I wouldn't have it any other way) or maybe it's because I like to give myself the false sense of accomplishment for allowing my skin to "detox", if that's even possible. But either way, no makeup vacations are my thing.

The concealers posing on my comfy hotel bed.
That being said, having a couple different concealers on hand is an absolute must for me.  If you have finicky skin like I do, then the climate change, water quality and daily use of sunscreen will likely give you a few new spots that need some coverage.  I mean, can't a girl want to look halfway decent in family photos?

If you keep up with the UK beauty blogging circuit (a la Essie Button, Vivianna Does Makeup and What I Heart Today), then you should be quite familiar with Bourjois's Healthy Mix line, known for its gentle formulations and impressive shade options.  But wasn't until arriving in Hong Kong that I was able to pick up a tube of the Healthy Mix concealer, a product I've had on my beauty radar for quite sometime. It's normally something I'd have to order in the States. 

I'm happy to say Bourjois Healthy Mix did not disappoint.  Not only does this concealer cover everything, it also doesn't cling to dry patches and its texture is truly something to rave about.  My single complaint is the little flecks of glitter it contains, but that should only be worrisome if you plan on using this concealer in large quantities, like all over your face.  It was 108 in Hong Kong Dollars at Sasa, which translates to about $14 USD.  Though you can't simply pick it up at Sephora or Ulta, you may be able to find a reasonably priced tube here.

This concealer is a bit of a tossup for me.  While I love the crayon format, the thicker texture makes this crayon concealer a poor match for healing blemishes.  It does have a tendency to cling to dry patches, but on the plus side, it is extremely pigmented.  Old acne scars and red spots are no match for this concealer. Luckily for my USA readers, this one can be purchased at Ulta, which is where I purchased mine for about $9.

So, everyone... do you prefer a makeup-less vacay or do you do a full face every day?

Jul 28, 2013

Where in the world is Simply Skin Deep Beauty?

The Great Wall, one of my favorite sites!
Hey, everyone!  No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth, but I might as well have.  Apparently Blogger is not allowed in the majority of China, but thankfully it is allowed in Hong Kong, which is where I will be for the next few days!

The Great Wall

I've purchased a number of interesting Asian (and French and Australian) beauty products that I can't wait to write about.  However, my parents are keeping us busy with sightseeing and what not, so the posts will have to wait for another day or two!  I hope everyone is having a lovely week so far! Oh, and beauty teaser...

Jul 18, 2013

A Weird Beauty Trick to Try in An Airport

Surprise, everyone!  I'm going to China today!  I feel like such a bad blogger for not announcing my trip ahead of time, but that's just how I do things. While most people dread the whole airport experience, I am a full on travel lover. Usually, I enjoy the journey as much as I enjoy the destination (of course with the odd exception of rushed dashes through airport security and missed flights). I don't mind layovers because that gives me some time to skim through beauty articles that I wouldn't have time to read at home. Also, I am a shameless beauty experimenter and I always find weird ways to entertain myself.  Today, I made a green tea mist.  Here's how:

What You Need
1. 2-3 Free green teabags from the airport lounge or the nearest coffee shop
2. A small cup of hot water
3. A spray bottle (less than 3 oz. so the TSA doesn't get angry)

What to Do
1. Allow the teabags to steep in your cup of hot water for a few minutes.  You want the green tea to be extremely strong for the maximum refreshing effect.

2.  Once your tea has finished steeping, remove the teabags and allow it to cool for a minimum of 7 minutes.
3.  Pour the warm tea into your spray bottle and mist it all over your tired, puffy flight face!

Seriously, I haven't gone to bed yet and its almost 9 a.m. I'm practically in full on zombie mode, but thankfully my 5 a.m. Starbucks from earlier this morning hasn't worn off yet. Also, occasional spritzes of green tea mist are helping to keep me conscious.  

I actually use green tea mist at home already as an antioxidant serum alternative. I've found that it both refreshes my skin and decreases redness almost immediately.  If you're doing this for short-term entertainment in an airport, anything goes, but if you plan on incorporating green tea mist into your daily routine as a form of antioxidants there is something you should know: brand and quality matter! Here's a scary article about the dangers lurking in certain brands of green tea.  I currently use Gyokuro Imperial Green Tea from Teavana, which I believe is the safe one they mention in the Yahoo! article, but once I use it up I will be doing further research. I am not trying to freak you out by any means, I just want to make sure my readers are well informed!

So, how do you entertain yourself while traveling? 

Jul 17, 2013

Etsy Finds: Winsome & Green

Does anyone besides me have those days when you are so sick of the vicious cycle that many brands impose on your skin that you just want to give up skincare completely?  I've cleansed the heck out my face in the past with cleansers from Clean & Clear, Clinique, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Olay, etc.  Basically, you name it, I've tried it.  However, all this cleansing never yields great results.  Sure, my face may feel smooth and squeaky clean for a few minutes, but this squeaky clean feeling is followed by a couple hours of tight skin that's had the moisture sucked right out of it. Then, when my skin is overly dry, it likes to overcompensate by producing more oil, which often causes breakouts.  These breakouts inevitably cause more harsh cleansing.  Are you beginning to see a pattern?  

It wasn't until I discovered cleansing grains and cleansing oils during this past year that I found cleansing can actually be a pleasant experience. My first cleansing grain purchase from Aucocisco Naturals was a huge success, but soon I decided I wanted something less exfoliating for daily use.  Enter Winsome & Green's Cleansing Grains.

A soothing blending of white kaolin clay, oatmeal, lavender, calendula, yarrow and aloe vera, these cleansing grains are a daily face cleansing routine that I can live with.  In the morning, I simply add a bit of water or green tea to them and smooth them all over my face, leaving them to act as a cleansing mask as I go about the rest of my morning routine.  Sometimes I will even use them as a spot treatment at night by creating the same mixture I use to cleanse my face, but in smaller amounts. 

Before Adding Water
After Adding Water

I am currently trying to turn my skincare routine into an all-natural affair, but it is definitely a long trial and error process.  I am happy to say that I have found at least one natural daily cleanser that my skin can agree with!  Fair warning, though, do not expect these cleansing grains, or any other cleansing grains for that matter, to remove makeup.  If you would like to minimize the steps in your evening routine, simply mix them with your makeup removing cleanser instead of water.  This will cut down on time, but you will still receive some of the benefits of the grains.

In addition to making some incredible cleansing grains, Christa from Winsome & Green also creates some amazing bath salts.  I was sent a free sample of her Red Alaea Detox Bath Salts* and holy moly, it was love at first smell.  I can't totally speak on their detoxing properties as I haven't been really doing much that requires my body to detox these days, but I sure felt amazingly glowy after a hot bath with these guys.  Also, I was sent a sample of her Bug & Itch Nix*, which is this awesome oil infused with a multitude of herbs that sucks the itch right out of any bug bite.  I'm not much on the smell, as it is a bit citronella-ish, but honestly I'd use it anyway because it gets the job done (and naturally at that)!

So, it's clear that I love love love Winsome & Green's cleansing grains.  Do you have any odd methods or products for facial cleansing?  I'd love to know!

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

Introducing "Etsy Finds"

As many of you could have guessed, I am a huge Etsy Bath and Beauty fanatic. I have found some incredible brands on Etsy and each shop owner I have spoken to has been extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. I just love the personal aspect of chatting with someone from whom I've just ordered a product. Since I find myself ordering more and more products from Etsy, I've decided to start labeling all Etsy purchases with "Etsy Finds". It's kind of a new "blog series", if you will.

Additionally, I am going to label these "Etsy Finds" as such so that those of you who prefer my mainstream brand posts (i.e. Josie Maran, Garnier Fructis, Living Proof, etc.) will be able to find those more easily. It's going to keep everything a bit more organized!  

I will be heading out on vacation here soon (tomorrow actually), but I have a couple more posts planned before then. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and that your weekends are equally fabulous. Talk to you soon!

Jul 15, 2013

Makeup Crush Monday: Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

"Holy mother sweet baby Jesus. Get one of these if you're feeling so inclined...Best gel blush I may have ever tried." Those are the exact words I texted my best friend after using Josie Maran's Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée for the first time. There was a picture included in the message in case you're wondering why I didn't reference the product by name.

The cheek "gelée" is a great, multi-tasking product that is Josie Maran's solution to summer makeup issues caused by heat, sweat and oil. It claims to last for up to 14 hours, and while my day does not last that long, I can attest to the fact that it holds up for a good eight hours.  Also a plus, it's 50% coconut water gel composition ensures that this product won't adhere to any dry patches or blemishes.
Barely there, but so pretty!
My shade of choice is Getaway Red because 1) I usually don't go for red and 2) it provides a flawless wash of color that doesn't overwhelm my face (I usually use it on my lips simultaneously).  However, if Getaway Red doesn't do it for you, you can go for Poppy Paradise, Honeymoon Honey, Pink Escape, Coral Oasis or Berry Bliss.  There is definitely a shade for everyone.

At $22 a pop at Sephora, this product is a steal in my opinion.  I would have paid $40 for one of these (Shhhh... don't tell Josie that!).

Have you tried the cheek gelées?  I think Josie Maran hit the nail on the head with this one!

Jul 11, 2013

Etsy Finds: Root + Roam

It's not often that I come across a scent I don't recognize.  Not because I am some kind of perfume connoisseur, but because I think the people around me gravitate towards certain fragrances. And by certain fragrances, I mean ones that can be purchased at Sephora or at the counters in Macy's and Dillard's.  Don't get me wrong.  You can find some pretty great perfumes in the aforementioned stores, but if you're looking for a unique "signature scent", you'd be better suited to look somewhere else.

The first smell that comes to mind when I hear "signature scent" is Giorgio Beverly Hills' Red, a perfume that my grandmother wore all throughout my childhood.  No one else around me ever wore it and so its memory belongs solely to her, something that I think is just so cool.

The cute little bag the samples came in.  Presentation is everything.
In the search for my own signature scent, I stumbled upon Root + Roam, an artisanal perfumery that specializes in carefully constructed scent profiles which are eventually made into small batch perfumes. Their welcome states, "For the rooted dreamer and for those who roam but are not lost…".  This statement alone let me know that if I was on the market for something unique, I could find it there.  

Instead of just going for a whole bottle of product like I am known to do, I decided on the sample approach.  I chose three samples from the Atelier collection: Prophet, Wander and Roam. Prophet is described as "confident and clean notes of citrus – bergamot, lemon and herby tangerine – nestled  on a base of spiked tea, vetiver and incense", Wander is described as "a fruity, floral twist of bergamot and blood orange with a lingering hint night blooming jasmine over a base of smooth sandalwood and earthy green notes of vetiver", and finally, Roam is described as "crisp jasmine and star anise enveloped in a soothing blend of bergamot and peppery tea anchored in a slightly musky sandalwood, pine and vetiver base".

Ordering perfume online is really a tricky task. I am totally clueless when it comes to scent descriptions and perfume ingredients, but I got pretty lucky with this one. My favorites of the three are Wander and Prophet. They both differ completely, Prophet being a sensual smell whereas Wander is fruity and bright.  Also, their staying power is incredible, which is one main reason I prefer perfume oils to regular perfumes. As for Roam, it is a gorgeous scent no doubt, just not for me.

I tread lightly by saying a perfume is "not for me" simply because I don't want anyone else to assume they shouldn't give it a try. Seriously, perfume is so individual that reviewing it in an unbiased manner is nearly impossible. As for Root + Roam, however, I can say without a doubt that you should check out their store.  The perfumes in this post are only a fraction of what they have to offer.

What is your signature scent? Or are you still searching for it?

Jul 5, 2013

Weekend Ramblings: Facial Yoga, Anyone?

This summer has been my "summer of fitness", if you will.  Aside from gorging myself on fried chicken and my Aunt Bette's amazing pound cake on the Fourth of July, I've managed to stick to a steady diet full of fruits and veggies and workout at least three times a week.  Sometimes these weekly workouts include yoga, one of my favorite types of exercise.  Yoga is about relaxation, meditation and appreciation of everything that your body can do.  It's a wonderful way to get your skinny on, if you ask me.

*Photo Via alyssasaluta.blogspot.com/

Being the fan of yoga that I am, I was happy to come across a video on facial yoga on IntoTheGloss.com today.  Normally, I'd be a little skeptical about the claims that facial yoga helps you age more gracefully, clears your sinuses, etc., but the woman in the video, Ranjana Khan,  is 57 years old and doesn't look a day over 40.  Even if facial yoga doesn't work for me in the long term, there's no harm in doing a few facial stretches every now and then, even if they do look a little silly. I'm definitely going to add facial yoga into my weekly routine now.  

That's your little tidbit of beauty for the weekend.  Do you have any quirky anti-aging tips you'd like to share?

Jul 3, 2013

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream™

My skin, having the unfortunate sunscreen phobia that it does, has caused me to arrive a little late to the whole BB/CC cream/creme party.  I've wanted to give many of the fancy balms a try, but unfortunately, if an SPF over 15 is in the product description, I could basically bet my life on it breaking me out.  It's really the worst.  But when I saw Almay's new Smart Shade CC Cream, I decided to give it a go.  After all, they're the only brand with a foundation that contains sunscreen over SPF 6 that I've ever been able to use.  Shout out to TLC Truly Lasting Color Makeup (even though the formula has recently changed and I am clinging to my last bottle of original formula like it's the last bottle of water on a desert island... Also, I'm still bitter about the formula change- just in case the Almay higher ups are listening)! 

The first impression I got of the Almay Smart Shade CC Cream was not a good one.  When first applied it looks pretty greasy.  However, after about 30 minutes, it dries down to a more tolerable matte-ish finish.  The coverage is sheer to moderate, perfect for minimal makeup summer days.  The lasting power on me, sans primer or finishing powder, is about three or four hours, which is definitely impressive on my oily skin in the summer.  Also, you've gotta love the SPF 35 on this bad boy... "Wait, did you say SPF 35?," said my skin, starting to freak out.

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream™freshly applied

Before you know it, this CC cream and its SPF had also broken me out.  I was so upset, too, because after using it for two days, I thought I had found a sunscreen match for my finnicky skin.  Unfortunately, that is not so.  Also, as much as I would like to, I cannot vouch for its complexion correcting properties since I did not get the chance to use it long enough.

I was pretty bummed out by this product as I now have to add it to my long list of sunscreen disappointments.  Even after all this, though, I still recommend trying it for yourself before forming an opinion based on my post.  Please remember, my skin is verrrrry sensitive.  At $10 a bottle, it's not a bad investment.  Ulta is currently having a promotion online where Almay Smart Shade CC Cream is buy one, get one 50% off.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Have you gotten in the BB/CC craze?  Have you tried the Almay CC Cream?  Love it? Hate it?

Jul 2, 2013

Living Proof Prime Style Extender™

Anybody that knows me is probably just as shocked as I am that I've managed to keep a steady workout routine going throughout my extremely busy summer.  I don't like exerting unnecessary energy, I don't like sweat and I most certainly do not enjoy the gorgeous shade of tomato red my face turns after a good workout.  Combine these three things and you get whatever is the exact opposite of a fitness enthusiast, and I used to be able to pass on the working out, too!  But unfortunately, as I've gotten older, my kick butt metabolism has slowly, but surely, started to decline.  This means two things:  1) No more pop tarts for dinner and 2) working out is now a must.  Now what does this all have to do with a beauty blog, Addison?  Patience, people.

Let me introduce you to my new workout buddy, Living Proof Prime Style Extender™.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I just don't often get into hair products.  Every now and again I'll discover a great shampoo and conditioner combo, but for the most part I am a wash-rinse-repeat-blowdry-only kinda girl.  Oils make my hair feel greasy, mousse makes it feel too crispy and hairspray just makes it feel dirty.  Perhaps what I love so much about Living Proof Prime Style Extender™ is that it doesn't fall into any of the aforementioned categories.  It's a gel that dries in a soft, non-sticky finish.  Like its name indicates, it is like a makeup primer, but for your hair.

Think gel-to-powder foundation texture.
Coming from a girl whose hair starts getting greasy after about 5 hours at work, Living Proof Prime Style Extender™is a miracle worker.  If I use a nickel sized dollop of this in the morning after showering, my hair will still look clean after a workout in the evening.  I cannot vouch for its style-holding powers, as I haven't actually styled my hair in weeks, but it really does keep hair from getting greasy or looking limp.  I purchased my tube for $20 at Sephora and I would buy another tube tomorrow for backup if I had the extra money laying around.  This is a good one, everybody.  Definitely in the running for one of my favorite hair  products of all time.