Jan 29, 2014

Wednesday Roundup: Benefit Gimme Brow

After reading this article on Refinery29 a couple of days ago, I'm happy to report that it looks like the big brow trend is going to be around for a little while longer. I'm mostly excited about this because my brows are naturally voluminous (some might say bushy), but also, I just dropped $22 on Benefit Gimme Brow and I'm not trying to relegate it to the bottom of my makeup caddy just yet.

Gimme Brow is a funny little product. First of all, it comes in a teensy package, which actually makes it perfect for toting around in your bag for touch ups. But also, its brush is itty bitty, way different from the mascara-esque brow gel brushes many of us are used to. It's really nice change up, though, as the little bristles make it easier to apply to bare spots without over doing it.

You see, when I was younger I hated my eyebrows. Like many people, high school for me was the era of the over plucked and overly self-conscious. Everyone was trying to make their eyebrows do something they weren't meant to do and as a result many of us suffer from sparse hair placement in certain areas.

Gimme Brow and its little brush is my new favorite product to use towards the beginning of my eyebrows, the area suffered the most as a result of my tweezer happy ways. I use the Medium/Deep shade since my eyebrows are pretty dark. It's a great color and very neutral, meaning it doesn't have any weird red or yellow undertones. Benefit only offers one other shade in Gimme Brow and that's Light/Medium, but they're both pretty universal. Unless your brows are absolutely black, one of these two shades should work for you.

As far as lasting power goes, I can't attest to much since I have yet to use Gimme Brow for a long day, but I can tell you that it does give at least 5 hours of solid wear. That's pretty good if you ask me. At $22, Gimme Brow is a little more expensive than your average brow pencil, but I think its performance goes above and beyond your typical brow enhancer. If you're looking to purchase, click here or here.

What do you think about Benefit Gimme Brow? How about the big brow trend in general?

Jan 27, 2014

BITE Beauty Lip Lab

There's some things in life that seem too good to be true. A place where you can go and turn your dream lipstick shade into a reality is one of them. Except it's actually not too good to be true. The BITE Beauty Lip Lab is here, now making lipstick fantasies come to life since May 2013.

Addie's Oxberry on a deceptively blond-looking yours truly.
It all started with an experimental pop up shop a few years ago that BITE popped up (haha) in the Big Apple. Apparently, customizable lipsticks turned out to be such a hit that they decided to make their Lip Lab a permanent part of the Soho landscape. And boy, am I ever glad they did.

Admittedly, I was not lucky enough to visit the Lip Lab myself, but my best friend, who spent the past few months in NYC, made the visit for me. Prior to her visit, I provided her with specific instructions for a lip color that was equal parts berry and oxblood, nothing too shiny and with a hint of mint (is this sounding like a Give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie situation?). If you can't tell from the picture above, she executed the assignment wonderfully. My "Addie's Oxberry" is semi-matte, or technically Luminous Créme, minty and the perfect mixture of colors!

Forever grateful for a bestie that knows what I want in a lipstick.
Now, since I can't describe the actual process to you myself, I will just have to show you with pictures Katie took on her cellphone, more than likely as I was annoyingly texting her my color and flavor requests.

Ah, doesn't the table of colors just make you want to scream? I think BITE has truly stepped up the lipstick game with this one. If you're interested in visiting the Lip Lab, hours and location can be found by clicking here.

So, tell me... have you had the chance to visit the BITE Beauty Lip Lab? What do you think?

Jan 26, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: R.L. Linden & Co. The Bee Charmer

I don't think I say this enough on the blog, but I love honey. I love it in my tea, on my oatmeal and of course, on my face (hopefully I'm not the only one here). So you know that as soon as one of my favorite brands, R.L. Linden & Co., put up an Instagram picture of their latest honey cleanser/ exfoliant/ mask, a.k.a. The Bee Charmer*, I could not wait to get my hands on a sample. Thankfully, I did and I'm happy to report that Robin and Lynn have done it again!
Hello, adorable product description card.
Product description courtesy of R.L. Linden & Co.
At first when I read its ingredient list above, I was thinking The Bee Charmer* would be a little more abrasive than it actually is. The ingredients are as follows: raw honey, ritual chocolate (organic cacao and organic cane sugar), white clay, organic cacao extract, organic cacao nib and shell, poppy sees, essential oils of bourbon vanilla and Bulgarian rose and the flower essences of arnica, buttercup, corn lily and nasturtium. I think it was the "cacao nib and shell" that had me wondering whether or not this product would be okay for daily use, but I'm telling you that it totally is. The cacao nibs are there and they do exfoliate, but ever-so-gently so you're not going to over do it. 

The Bee Charmer in action.
As for the base of the product, the rich honey/chocolate/essential oil mixture smells good enough to eat,  like a big hunk of fancy chocolate in the best way. It's really kind of luxurious. However, the best part about this product isn't the smell or the exfoliant factor. It's the fact that this morning when I woke up (after using the mask last night), my skin felt incredibly soft. And now, I may be addicted. 

All that's left to do at this point is just anxiously wait until a full size of The Bee Charmer* is available for purchase. If you're feeling particularly impatient, though, The Bee Charmer* is available for purchase with R.L. Linden & Co.'s Travel Set. It includes a waxed canvas cosmetic bag and bunch of other goodies from R.L. Linden & Co.  It would actually make a great gift for someone!

So, what do you think about this new product? Are you a fan of all things honey-based as well?

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

Jan 25, 2014

New Beginnings

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make! Over the next month or so, what was formerly known as Simply Skin Deep will be undergoing some changes.  I know this is a bit sudden, but after a few weeks of debating, I have decided to change the name of my beloved Simply Skin Deep to Vanity Talk! Everything will remain the same, but I think this will definitely be a positive change for my little piece of the internet. However, I am going to have to ask you to be patient with me in the upcoming months as it will be a little while before I am able to get the new design and name up and running. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!

Jan 24, 2014

Quick Thoughts: EOS Lip Balm in Lemon Drop

I was slow to jump on the EOS Lip Balm train, but I'm so happy I finally did. The unique ball-shaped packaging is adorable and super easy to find when blindly digging around in your school bag. I chose the Lemon Drop flavor because it contains SPF 15 and it also tastes exactly like a lemon square. Yum!

Have you tried the EOS lip balms? What do you think?

Jan 23, 2014

Try This: Oatmeal as an Exfoliant

One of my most often committed skincare crimes is over-exfoliation.  Perhaps I'm addicted to the smooth feeling that occurs immediately afterwards or maybe it's because I'm just a product junkie and exfoliants are always one of my favorite purchases. I'm thinking it's mostly the latter, but at any rate, over-exfoliation in the winter just doesn't fly.

See, the thing is that in the winter my skin (and yours too) needs that extra layer of skin to keep the cold, dry air from destroying it.  In the summer, I can get away with exfoliating four to five times a week, but during the winter, I can only exfoliate a max of two times before I send my skin in to a tizzy. Also, instead of using harsher exfoliants like my Clarisonic, I tend to switch it up to something a little gentler, like oatmeal.

*Photo via acnease.com
Oatmeal? What? You heard that right.  Oatmeal is one of my favorite winter exfoliants for a multitude of reasons.  First of all, it contains polysaccharides that, when moistened, create a slight film that protects skin from the elements. Secondly, oatmeal is cheap and readily available making it perfect for those of us who are still in school.

*Photo via wikipedia.org

All you need to do to activate the oatmeal goodness is place a little oatmeal in the palm of your hand and moisten it with water. Next, mix it around with your fingers until it has formed a paste. After this, simply apply it to your face and scrub gently.  Or, you can even combine your oatmeal with honey or your facial oil of choice and leave it on as a mask. It's anybody's game and that's why I love it!

When it comes to exfoliating in the winter, how do you do it? Have you tried oatmeal?

Jan 22, 2014

Wednesday Roundup: So, It's Pretty Cold Out...

If I've learned two things so far this winter, they are: 1) don't start out the coldest part of the year with a trip to Mexico... it's all down hill from there and 2) invest in a humidifier and some moisturizing oils and creams as soon as the thermostat drops below 50℉. Right now, humidifying my air and slapping on the aforementioned lotions are the only things that are keeping my skin from just shriveling right up. It's a sad reality, but hey, it means more beauty products for me, so I can get with it. (Also, a quick tip for increased effectiveness: Google photos of Coachella Fashion babes while slathering yourselves in lotions and potions to remind yourselves of warmer, happier times.)

Those pants and that hair! *Photo via refinery29.com
When I say "invest in a humidifier," please take that lightly. My humidifier (okay, technically Vicks Vaporizer) was purchased for about $15 at Kroger, so I would hardly consider that an investment.  However, there are options out there that cost upwards of $200. So, invest big bucks if you must, but just know there are affordable, effective versions available.  For the most part, they all add moisture to your air the same way and help to keep both your skin and sinuses happy.

My Precious via target.com
And although no one likes to be greasy, I've begun to embrace greasy hand lotions and body oils for the sake of my sanity this winter.  At the moment, my Alaffia Handcrafted Shea Butter is saving my hands from becoming their typical dry, cracked selves. However, if you go out and purchase this shea butter, please get the Lavender Mint version.  The unscented version I purchased has such a funky smell, and not in a sexy, herb-y way.

*Photo via vitacost.com
When it comes to winter body care, I use grapeseed oil both before and after I've showered.  This method ensures that the hot water from the shower doesn't parch my skin.  Plus, once the greasiness has subsided, body oils seem to leave my skin softer than any body lotion. Grapeseed oil is only one of the many affordable oil options out there, but if you can splurge, check out Lina Hanson's Global Body Serum.  I've discussed it on here before and it is still an absolute favorite of mine.

*Photo via iherb.com
On my face, things are a little trickier.  My sensitive, combo skin needs a lot of moisture, but unfortunately I've yet to find a heavy moisturizer that doesn't cause breakouts.  So, for this reason, I stick with a hyaluronic acid serum called HyaGlo around the eye area and on really dry patches, then I follow with Cerave's Moisturizing Lotion.  For the most part, I only use lotion around my eye area, but if my face is feeling particularly dry, I will go ahead and apply the Cerave lotion all over my face and neck. It's not ideal, but it at least hasn't caused me to breakout yet.

*Photo via luckyvitamin.com
This is a light version of my winter skincare routine, but I figured if you're suffering from this cold like I am, then you would appreciate all the tips you can get.

Now, when it comes to winter skincare, what is your preferred plan of attack?

Jan 15, 2014

Lucas' Papaw Ointment

I have beauty obsessions a-plenty, but one of my favorite things to do is research cult fave products from all over the world. And, of course, no cult product list could possibly be complete without the mention of Lucas' Papaw Ointment. According to their website, Lucas' Papaw Ointment has "antibacterial and antimicrobial properties," meaning it can be used on everything from sunburns to bug bites to speed along the healing process. My favorite application, however, is as a lip balm.  (Apparently) Aussies pretty much swear by the stuff, and I'm starting to get the hype.

Using and abusing the computer lab on my first day back.
The base of Lucas' ointment is actually just petrolatum, but other ingredients like beeswax and papaya combine to make it a little more substantial. Let me tell you, I've worn the stuff on plane rides and during cold walks to class and since, I have yet to experience the typical lip flakies you would normally associate with the winter season. That's a miracle in and of itself.

Some of the reviews I've read mention a funny smell, but I think it smells just a tad fruity, nothing major or unpleasant. But regardless of the smell, this stuff is great. It's now available for purchase here in the States as well, which it hasn't always been.  You can get yourself a tube here.

Have you tried Lucas' Papaw Ointment? Loved or hated it?

Jan 13, 2014

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect

I don't put a lot of thought into my hair.  In fact, if you just spent the past week in Mexico with me, you would be surprised to know that I even care about what my hair looks like at all.  I shampooed it in the sink a few times and tossed it into a bun every morning before heading to the beach where it slowly, but surely, devolved into a salty, sandy mess everyday.  And though this routine gets an A+ for easiness, after a week of that (sans conditioning except for maybe twice, I might add) my hair is in serious need of some TLC.

But, honestly, who cares about hair in this kind of weather?
Thankfully, prior to leaving for Mexico, my mom bought me the most incredible detangler/hair protector from Birchbox per my Christmas list.  It's called Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect and it is incredible.  The smell is wonderful (a must for me when it comes to hair products), but it doesn't linger for too terribly long so as to mix poorly with your perfume of choice. And, it just works. I spritz a little of this on damp hair from root to tip, comb it through and then blow dry.  It really does make a difference in the texture of your hair, especially if you're prone to frizz like me.

*Photo via birchbox.com
Normally, I live by the Almighty Top Knot, but I will gladly wear my hair down more if it keeps looking the way it does after I use Super Comb Prep & Protect. Also, did I mention it's filled with organic ingredients and that it's completely vegan AND paraben-free? Yeah, and you thought it couldn't get any better.

To purchase your Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect, go here or here. It's $32, which is a little pricey, but that can be completely justified by buying a cheaper shampoo. Yay, beauty math!