Posts Tagged ‘Beauty products’

Ready for the blush Mystery Beauty Box?

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

After 19 seasons, Beautyfix is officially closing up shop. While I’m also officially sad to see Beautyfix go (I have separation issues—especially with beauty products), I’m really excited about DermStore’s new and improved beauty discovery program, the blush Mystery Beauty Box available at blush.com. If you love the brands featured in Beautyfix, I assure you that you’ll love this beauty box just as much (if not more). Here’s what’s great about this box:

  • Each month, you get over $100 worth of mostly full-size and some travel-size skin care, makeup and hair care products—curated by a new beauty expert each month
  • As in any DermStore, blush or HairEnvy order, you get a free gift, free samples and free shipping on every order
  • You have a choice to try one box for just $34.95, or you can sign up for monthly subscription and save $10 a month

If you think about it, it really comes out cheaper than Beautyfix. And if you’re a beauty junkie just like all of us here, you’ll love the thrill of not knowing what beauty products you’re going to try each month. It really is the best way to discover and experience new beauty brands and products. In fact for July, I was so happy to see that the box actually has 6 full-sized products—that’s way, way better than any beauty box out there!

I’m sure I’ll miss Beautyfix. (I mean, if it weren’t for Beautyfix, I wouldn’t have discovered some of my favorite brands like Eminence, Nick Chavez and jane iredale—brands that you don’t normally see in your local, brick-and-mortar beauty store, or being advertised on TV.) But with the blush Mystery Beauty Box arriving at my doorstep anytime soon, I’m sure I’ll get my addiction to beauty products equally satiated.

The Perfect Post-Holiday Nail Lacquer

Friday, July 5th, 2013

These days, prepping your nails for the 4th of July is more of an ordeal than prepping them for your own wedding – thanks to Pinterest posts, glitter stars and the oh-so-trendy firework nail wraps. However, the brutal pain I endured from scrubbing off my festive red, white and blue sparkles left me wanting a simple, summer shade to kick off the post-holiday weekend! SpaRitual has a gorgeous lacquer called I Am The Light which is just what I was looking for… and luckily I found it in this season of BeautyFix!

The bottle looked like a soft baby pink shade with a hint of blue undertones, but when it dried on my nails (in no time at all, might I add) the shade actually deepened to more of a lilac and lavender hue. It painted smooth in each controlled sweep as the patented Plum Cap™ has a non-slip grip to allow for the best mani/pedi possible. One coat wasn’t too transparent; however, I used two since I like my lacquer to be a little more obvious. I almost forgot to finish with a clear top coat due to the polish’s own shine and luster!

I always find myself doing some homework on a brand after deciding how much I really like one of its products, in hopes of falling in love with its mantra and more products from its collection. To my surprise, I learned that SpaRitual is actually a vegan-based brand with nail lacquer bottles made from Italian-crafted and recycled glass. Healthy and green? My attention had been caught! Free of synthetic dyes, parabens, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor and DBP, (and probably other nasty ingredients I can’t pronounce) the entire SpaRitual line is the epitome of a top-grade beauty brand.

I’m sure I’ll be adding some more SpaRitual items to my cart sometime soon! Did you add SpaRitual’s Nail Lacquer to your summer BeautyFix bag?!

Give Your Limp Hair a Little Oomph!

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Please tell me you’re not using your heat styling tools in this scorching weather. Please tell me you’re doing the world a huge favor by not adding to the heat! If you still are, consider this post an intervention. Please step away from those tools and listen to me very carefully: summer sun + metal plates = toasted strands!

The good news is that nobody cares if your hair is a little bit on the unpolished side when it’s 100 degrees out. That doesn’t mean, however, that “unpolished” can’t be chic. Here, I give you 3 no-heat hairstyles for summer. (Actually, I sport these styles all year round because I’m too lazy to use styling a tool.) These are all so easy to do, they don’t take more than 2 minutes, and you only need your pair of hands, some hair ties and Nick Chavez Horsetail Root Lift Spray. While it’s great to work with your natural hair texture, none of these hairstyles will look great on limp and flat hair, which is why a volumizing spray is necessary. I like this one in particular because unlike other sprays, this one isn’t sticky, smells great and adds a glossy sheen. Now that we got that out of the way, here are 3 ways to add oomph to your summer hair.

1. Tousled Waves

Beachy waves are just as much of a summer staple as SPF. But if you don’t have natural waves, create them! Here’s how: At night, braid your hair while your hair is still damp. Spray Nick Chavez on your roots before unraveling your hair in the morning for that bombshell finish.

2. Messy Pony

Ponytails are making a huge comeback. Not that they were ever out of style, but recently we’ve been seeing a lot of them on and off the red carpet. For a summer-perfect pony, flip your towel-dried hair forward and mist it with volumizing spray from roots to ends. Once it’s dry, scoop your hair up in a high pony. (For that beautiful mess, don’t bother using a comb or a hairbrush.) Run your fingers through your crown and loosen big clumps of hair to add volume and texture.

3.  Undone Bun

Or, instead of a high pony, tie your hair up in a loose low bun. Pull your bun slightly away from your head until a few face-framing strands fall naturally on the side.

 

There you have it! 3 ways to make hairstyling easy and fuss-free this summer!

 

 

Keeping Fresh and Fabulous in the Summer Sun

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Have I told you enough about how much I love summer? No? Well I do! Vacations, pools, the heat, everything is just sunshine and rainbows.  With temps this weekend reaching up to 118 degrees in the Southwest (OMG), I’m trying and succeeding at beating the heat. I don’t mean just staying cool, what I mean is at every summer soiree; I’ll have a bright lip and lashes on to match my golden glow. There are tricks to keeping your skin fabulous and your makeup fresh and I’m generous enough to share it with you.

First thing’s first: Sunscreen duh! Instead of using just any old drugstore sunscreen, the only ones that touch my face need to not only block those rays, but actually do something for my skin. Enter La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Ultra Fluid Sunscreen. Check it, it’s like a primer, moisturizer and sunscreen all in 1. I slather this on as a base, dust my face with a little Jane Iredale powder (with spf in it of course) and my skin is primed and protected. Everyone should do this, you’ll look fabulous and it feels like you’re wearing nothing!

Hats are key. Hear me out. The last thing you want is your face to be in direct sunlight. A big, fun floppy hat is trendy and takes care of any shade issues. It’s like you have your own personal Fonzworth Bentley on your head. One important thing about your hat is to keep it simple and don’t go into anywhere with misters or water if your hat has possible bleeding color. I’m not kidding, I’ve seen it happen. My girlfriend looked amazing with a multi-colored floppy hat, before she went into the pool. A few splash-a-thon’s later, the color was literally dripping onto her skin. MAJOR FAIL. Don’t do it.

The coup de grace: Vichy’s Thermal Spring Water. It’ll get that summer heat in a choke hold before ever reaching your skin. This product is magical and of course, it’s in this season’s kit. Now that you have it, stock up on it and take it with you EVERYWHERE. It’s a 100% pure mineral-rich water that helps improve your skin’s overall look and feel. It’s so refreshing and perfect for summer I can’t even deal. The fine mist is soothing and really regenerates my complexion whenever I need a pick me up. If there’s one product for summer, it’s this one. I personally try to keep it cold and spritz it on whenever I can throughout the day.

I only speak the truth people. Enjoy your summer!

EMANI Cosmetics Made My Catalina Trip Amazing

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

It’s almost summer which means it’s time to plan mini getaways, warm trips, and long vacations! Personally, I spent my weekend on the gorgeous island of Catalina; Avalon to be exact. Of course, I did my homework ahead of time to determine what I needed to bring per weather restrictions, the verdict you ask? Sunny in the mid-70’s! Sounded like perfect sun bathing weather, however I remembered that Catalina weather is always iffy. A beautiful sunshine-filled afternoon can have a wind chill leaving me freezing cold!

I decided to bring my new eco-friendly EMANI cosmetics with me, not only because the colors are brilliantly tropical (and healthy – 100% vegan!), but also because they have breathable products which are designed to perform in all kinds of elements; extreme heat, humidity or cold temperatures. They seemed like a perfect fit for my Catalina getaway!

EMANI is a rare breed: 100% vegan, 100% gluten free, 100% American made, cruelty free, PETA certified and award winning, paraben/talc/mineral oil/etc. etc. FREE! These stats made me think the company must create great green products, however I questioned if they would provide good enough coverage or rich enough shades. They actually wear very light but provide deep coverage just like our favorite, expensive, luxury brands. I was shocked.

A few of my favorite products I used this weekend were the Crushed Blush in Cancun Heat, the Flawless Matte Foundation in Nude Beige, and the Mosaic Eye Shadow in Feeling Mischievous. I was really glad I brought my EMANI round-up because Saturday was gorgeous and hot (mid-80’s), but Sunday was sunny and freezing (the wind made it feel like low 60’s!). Regardless, my makeup looked flawless throughout. Aside from the high-performing pigmented shadows like the gorgeous Crushed Mineral Color Dust in Bamboo, the best item I brought was the Vegan Travel Brush Set. This set should actually be incorporated into my daily beauty regimen, not just for travel. Unbelievably soft, the brushes allow for an even and easy application for all kinds of product. They even have a top secret way of affixing each individual bristle to the wand to ensure they never leave stray hairs on your face!

Thanks EMANI for making my Catalina trip full of luminous color, coverage, and all around excitement!

7 Makeup Must-Haves for ‘Faux’ Naturel

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Doesn’t Angelina Jolie look absolutely glowing at the World War Z world premiere in London? That’s considering she had just undergone a preventive double mastectomy to lessen her risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

But it’s not just her breasts—or her lack thereof—that inspired me to blog about her today. It’s her makeup choice, which looks virtually non-existent from where I am. I really like it when celebs dare to go fresh-faced for a change. It’s always interesting to see the real face that’s buried under those heavy layers of foundation. But more importantly, it reveals those distinct qualities, those seemingly imperfect attributes that really make a face standout.

Going au naturel is probably the easiest look to master and requires the least amount of time to do—IF you have Angelina’s naturally flawless complexion, perfectly arched eyebrows, prominent cheek bones and pillowy pout. If you don’t have at least 3 of the qualifying requirements—most mere mortals like us do not—don’t fret, as that’s what makeup is for. Here are 7 makeup products you need to complete an au naturel look.

1. BB Cream – You can never go wrong with a BB cream. It conceals minor imperfections while providing your skin with some skin care and sunscreen benefits.

2. Tinted Moisturizer/Sunscreen – If, after everything we’ve written about BB creams in this blog, you’re still a “non-BBliever” (sorry, I couldn’t resist), you can always reach for a tinted moisturizer or tinted sunscreen. These products will give you the same lightweight coverage, just less skin care perks. My absolute favorite and the one I use every day is CoTZ Face SPF 40. I can do away with makeup, but not if I don’t have this on!

3. An Eyebrow Filler – Trust me, a well-defined set of eyebrows makes a world of difference! It frames your eyes and really draws attention to their shape and color—this is especially crucial if you’re deciding to do away with eye shadows and liners. For a more natural finish, try SmartBrow.

4. Concealer – Not all of us are blessed with a blemish-free complexion, but to keep your look believable, try not to conceal every square inch of your face. Apply concealer only where you need them: under the eyes, sides of nose and blemish marks.

5. Cream Blush – Here’s why I prefer cream blushes over powder: It gives my cheeks a sheer wash of color that never looks like makeup. Apply it on the apples of your cheeks and continue to blend until you don’t know where the blush ends and your skin starts. If you haven’t tried a good cream blush yet, Face Stockholm has a lot of color options.

6. Lip Stain – The best thing about lip stains is their unbeatable staying power. You can go the whole day without retouching. To make it believable, choose a shade that mimics your natural lip color.

7. Highlighter – Natural skin is never matte, so don’t shun a little bit of shine. Apply highlighter on strategic “high points” of your face—forehead, cheekbones, down the center of your nose, brow bone and Cupid ’s bow—to make your skin look naturally glowing.

And there you have it—everything you need to fake that au naturel look we’re all dying to sport this summer!

Summer Essentials – 3 Products You Never Knew You Needed

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

By Jenna

Memorial Day weekend has already come and gone which doesn’t just remind us not to squander time but to also start enjoying the summer. Like right now. In the next few months we will be going on vacations and flocking to bodies of water. With the upcoming excursions and lazy, leisurely days we need to be sure that we’re protected from the rays of the sun and for anything that life throws at us whilst indulging. We all know the basics to bring to any summer soiree: SPF, lip balm, waterproof mascara and body oil, however the bare bones pack job may not cover us for more than a day. Wherever I go, I want to not only look my best but feel my best around the clock and I have a feeling you’ll want to pick up a few of my secrets too.

Being on vacation or at a party should be glamorous right? If there’s one thing to turn to it’s a face palette. My favorite face go-to is the Instant Face kit from Claudio Riaz. 4 amazing products in 1 – BOOM. Pool party, BBQ, boat trip, beach day, no problem. You have everything in this gorgeous kit to apply or touch up. Guess what? It’s refillable! After using up what you love, stage a makeup mutiny and switch with ANY of the rest of Claudio’s line so you can build your own perfect palette over time. No hot mess face over here thank you.

No matter your weight, everyone gets a little critical about themself while in a swimsuit. Relax girls, you can get a leg up on the competition. I have quite a few weekend trips planned where bikinis are a must but I don’t want to worry about any puckering going on with my legs or behind if you get my drift.  My secret to a better look from behind is Bliss’ FatGirlSlim. I don’t want anyone actually knowing exactly what I’m doing, so I put some of the lotion in a travel container and label it just ‘lotion’. Genius, I know. While I’m hydrating, I’m reinforcing and if applied every day it’s smooth sailing.

With a trip already booked to an eco-friendly boutique hotel in a 3rd world country, I’m really careful to pack only what I need. To help conserve and conscious of my carbon footprint, I’m packing up LA Fresh’s Oil-Free Face Cleanser Wipes. These 100% biodegradable wipes can be used on your face or body for a quick refresh at any time of the day. With ingredients like aloe, chamomile, vitamin E, cucumber and papaya, they remove makeup while soothing and cleansing your skin. I cannot stress enough about how amazing these wipes are for anywhere. I have a pack in my gym bag, beach bag, and suitcase and they come in handy every single day.

Have any summer beauty essentials that you can’t live without? Share!

Revitalizing My Mane with Moses

Friday, May 10th, 2013

There aren’t many skin care products I can try without causing some sort of flare up on my sensitive skin, so I have to rely on testing all sorts of new hair care products to get my beauty fix! (Pun intended!) I used to highlight my hair every other month or so, until one day when my stylist went on maternity leave and I was referred to someone new in the interim. To put it nicely, this salon newbie gave me a terrible, brassy, hair highlight disaster which forced me to give up on bleach all together. I stupidly stormed to the drugstore, purchased a box of black hair dye, and quickly turned my brown mane with brassy streaks into a blackish purple mop of darkness.

Even though my family hated the dark, drastic color – my hair has never felt as soft and strong as it did when it was black since I wasn’t constantly terrorizing it with harsh bleach! The black color lasted forever, but unfortunately I got sick of it after a few short seasons. Take it from me: there is no easy way to remove permanent black dye except to let it grow out naturally.

I started highlighting my hair again after a year or so to add some dimension and depth to my hair styles. Currently, my hair is in a good state of color that I am happy with – natural brown on top with an ombre style lightening up the bottom. The bad part about this ‘do is the constant detrimental process I keep putting my ends through again with the added bleach! The ends are the most damaged part of my hair already, and now I’m afraid I’m just willingly adding to the issue.

I am happy to report that my issue of damaged ends has subsided thanks to Moses’ line of salon quality hair care! I started using the BeautyFix samples of Moses Smoothing Elixir Shampoo and Hair Mask to try and get the shine and healthy feeling I once had with my black locks back to my new ombre. The shampoo surprised me when I read that Argan oil was one of the main ingredients because it didn’t weigh my hair down like normal products infused with oil. It really locked in the moisture my hair had been deprived of for so long!

Next step was the Moses Hair Mask. I was a little wary to try the mask because I anticipated it to leave my hair heavy and greasy like other ones I have used. Even though I have a lot of long hair, each strand is very thin which doesn’t allow the product to completely absorb. Usually I am left with a waxy feeling following a hair mask; however this product actually did the complete opposite! It relieved my hair of any added weight, maintained a very sheen look, and brought softness to my ends that have been missing for all my days of treacherous bleaching.

I am definitely going to add Moses’ Smoothing Elixir Conditioner into my new routine, as I am sure my already positive results with the shampoo and mask will just keep skyrocketing! Thanks, Moses!

How to Deal with Aging Hands

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Research shows that most people can accurately guess the age of a woman just by looking at her hands. That statement wouldn’t be true for me, because if someone were to guess my age based on my dry and wrinkled hands, I bet that person would say I’m over 60 years old!

Blame that on years of neglecting my hands. Of washing my hands profusely with bar soaps and slathering them with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Of scrubbing the bathroom floor without wearing any gloves. And of using my fingernails to tinker with just about everything. For years I was convinced I did all my skin care regimen right, cleansing, exfoliating, and slathering moisturizer and sunscreen on my face religiously and accordingly—until I saw how miserably my hands have aged. It was only then that I realized that I should’ve extended the same care and attention I gave the skin on my face to the skin on my hands.

But it’s not just me. In fact, even renowned celebrities like Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie are suffering from the same veiny, crimpled and crepey skin on hands! “The hands are one of the first places where we see the signs of aging, and also the area most people neglect when it comes to skin care,” says dermatologist Rhoda Narins, MD, professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York.

Aside from constant sun and chemical exposure, loss of moisture is one of the most common causes of premature aging on hands. Of course there are several procedures now that can reverse this, like the “hand lift,” Fraxel laser and fillers—but not everyone has enough disposable income to afford those. Thankfully, there are several skin creams and oil-based moisturizers that promise the same effect. Trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them. And while some of them have eased the discomfort associated with dry and flaky skin, I’ve never encountered anything that immediately transformed the look of my aging hands—until I’ve tried AmLactin Ultra Triple Action Alpha Hydroxy Acid Hydrating Body Cream.

I was really amazed at how fast my skin responded to this cream. In just 30 seconds, the lines and wrinkles on my hands softened, and my skin looked brighter, plumper and smoother. It turns out that easing dry skin isn’t all about supplying your skin with enough moisture. In order for that moisture to effectively penetrate your skin, you have to remove the dulling debris that clog your pores. That’s why this cream contains alpha hydroxy acid, to exfoliate your skin first before drenching it with rich humectants and creamy emollients.

Now this cream is nowhere near luxurious. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t come in fancy packaging, and it doesn’t smell like a botanical garden. But it sure does the job well, and for me that’s all that matters. If you want your hands to look younger, I assure you this is the best cream there is.

 

A Breath of Fresh Air for Skin

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Oxygen has a very complicated love-hate relationship with our skin. You’ve probably heard about how antioxidants (a.k.a anti-oxidation) protect our skin from oxygen molecules in the air that causes wear and tear, disintegration and premature death of cells, causing premature skin aging. But on the other hand, every living cell in our body needs that very same oxygen in order to produce proteins and form new and healthy cells. So how do we give our skin the oxygen it needs without inviting damaging free radicals with it? Read on.

Oxygen facials have gotten so much media attention lately, not only because of the supposed benefits of oxygen for skin, but also because Madonna, Kate Middleton and Nicole Kidman are allegedly avid supporters of this. The theory goes like this: If oxygenating your body improves the health and appearance of your skin (the reason your skin assumes a more glowing complexion right after a rigorous workout), then applying it directly onto your skin through mists, masks, gels or facial creams would work even better. Sounds exciting? Maybe. However, several dermatologists don’t subscribe to the idea that the oxygen in the air has the same advantage as the oxygen being carried by our blood.

While the effectiveness of oxygen facial is still debatable, the idea of giving your skin the opportunity to breathe makes a lot of sense. I don’t mean this in a literal way (last I heard, skin doesn’t help us breathe in any way), but if you’ve ever slept with makeup on and wake up the next morning with a huge zit sitting on top of your nose, you’ll understand what I mean. So how do we achieve this? How do we ensure our skin can take in the good stuff and exhale the toxic ones? Simple: by removing makeup and product buildup at the end of the day, and only using products that won’t clog the natural mechanism of your pores, like Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer.

Oxygenating Moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, both ingredients are natural humectants (they naturally occur in the human skin) and known for their ability to absorb moisture from air and bind it to the skin. It lubricates the skin, reducing the look of dehydration lines and wrinkles. And because it’s easily absorbed by your skin, it won’t clog your pores, too. What’s more, this moisturizer contains antioxidant-rich grape seed extract and vitamin E, so that should shush your concerns about oxygen-induced free radicals. I don’t have sensitive skin (thank goodness!), but for those of you who do, it helps that this has aloe, an instant skin-soother and redness-reliever.

Overall, I really like this moisturizer, which makes sense because I’m also a fan of Oxygenetix’s foundation. I generally don’t like the feel of foundation on my face, but because this foundation is super light and doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything at all, I use it when I absolutely have to wear one. But don’t just take my word for it. Try these products and see for yourself why everyone in our office is obsessed with them!