July Birchbox Unboxing!

Birchbox July

Hi everyone!  Hope your weekend was great.  🙂  Today’s post will be a quick run through of  July’s Birchbox with my first impressions so let’s get to it!

Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub

This milky white scrub utilizes bamboo, tiny  jojoba beads and apple enzymes to exfoliate.  Compared to the Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, this feels more gentle and hydrating.  According to the instructions, this can be used as a mask and left on for 1-3 minutes.  So far I like it.  Haven’t noticed any dramatic effects but it leaves skin smoother. *Note: this has cinnamon, clove and ginger extract so it may be a bit stimulating for sensitive skin.  Always conduct a patch test.

Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray 

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ll know I really love this spray and I was excited this was featured in July’s box.  It’s a smaller sample than the purse size option but is enough to give you a feel for the product.  I love using this product when I use a curling wand to curl my hair as it sets the style, adds texture without a sticky or stiff feel and smells ah-mazing.

Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 

Love that a sunscreen was included in this box as it’s essential for skin health.  Like the name implies, this feels like a serum which is so light-weight and absorbs quickly into the skin.  It’s a chemical based sunscreen which you can read about here. Definitely an easy sunscreen to work with underneath makeup as it doesn’t pill.  Best part?  Toss it in your bag to carry with you on the go or if it irritates your skin, try using it as hand sunscreen protection when you’re driving. Yes, our hands and body need protection too!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Bella 

I call this lipstick my ‘sitting pretty’ lipstick.  You know how you have those high heels that are so beautiful to look at but killer to wear so you use them only when you’re not going to be walking much? Well, the same concept applies to this lipstick.  It is a gorgeous, bright pink color that provides intense (and I mean intense) color in one stroke.  It does stain lips but it tends to move and transfers so if you’re planning on going out to eat while using this or are wearing white, I’d skip this or a least, use caution. Removing it with an oil based makeup remover works best.

theBalm cosmetics Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush 

I was surprised by how tiny this  sample is-a little bigger than my thumb.  You’re still able to pick up enough product with your brush but it takes a bit more effort.  The consistency is creamy and blends nicely but I think this is more bronzer than blush.  You can use this as blush-I love using bronzer as blush- but compared to the Too Faced Pink Leopard Blushing Bronzer, which has a lot more pink undertones, this one is a dusty rose shade that leans more towards tan.  Makes a great pick for summer.

JB Swatches

L-R: Bronzer/Blush and Bella

That’s it for today!

What did you think of this month’s Birchbox? 

Stephanie 

Skin Tip: Dry Brushing for Cellulite!

With swimsuit and short season here, reduce the appearance of cellulite with dry brushing.  A form of exfoliation, dry brushing helps remove toxins and allows lymph fluid to move into the lymph nodes, thus eliminating waste.

How to use: gently brush legs with long, upward strokes.

Have a great weekend everyone and be on the lookout for a bonus post featuring July’s Birchbox unboxing and first impressions on Monday!

Stephanie

Summer Must Have: Lip Colors!

SMH Lips

Hello readers and welcome to my second installment of my ‘Summer Must Have’ series in which I share products I think are perfect for summer.  Today, it’s all about my favorite lippies!  From neutral to bright, drugstore to high-end, you’re bound to find something you’ll like.

Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino

Love this magenta hued lipstick as it’s richly pigmented and creamy formula applies smoothly. The color will eventually wear off after a few hours especially after drinking or eating but it’ll leave behind a stain.

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella 

Part of the Sephora Beauty Insider birthday gift, this crimson red lip pencil soon became one of my favorites.  The pencil tip allows for a smoother and precise application and the matte formula is comfortable to wear.

NYX High Voltage Lipstick in Rags to Riches

Highly pigmented color and budget friendly, this lipstick is a beautiful pink shade that has a creamy application. Not the longest-wearing shade but it does last a solid 4 hours.

Sonia Kashuk Velvet Matte Lip Crayon in Raspberry Nude

A vibrant berry shade, this lip crayon is very similar to the Nars Matte Velvet Pencil for a fraction of the price:  easy to apply and the matte formula ensures lasting color.

Swatch 1

L-R: Palomino, Cruella, Rags to Riches, Raspberry Nude

 

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Moody 

This dark berry/plum color can be worn sheer or layered for more intensified color .  It comes in a retractable pencil like form which means you never have to worry about sharpening it and can spend those precious seconds having fun.

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Nude 

Packaged in a squeeze tube, the soft angled tip allows for easy application and the neutral color is a forgiving shade that can be applied on the go.

Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Punch Drunk

If you want to venture out of your comfort zone and are looking for a lovely orange hue, look no further. Rich, creamy and glossy color, all encapsulated in one pencil.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis A Levres Glossy Stain in Corail Aquatique

The most luxurious of the bunch, this gorgeous coral pink gloss is speckled with subtle gold shimmer and leaves behind a lovely stain.  The unique applicator has a wider base that deposits color on your lips while the pointed edge makes it easy to get a precise application.

Swatch 2

L-R: Moody, Melted Nude, Punch Drunk, Corail Aquatique

That does it for today!

What are your favorite lip products for summer? 

Stephanie 

P.S. In case you missed my first post in the series, click here.

 

Summer Must Have: Skincare!

Summer Skincare

Happy Tuesday readers!  Hopefully everyone had a relaxing and fun weekend and to all U.S. readers, a safe fourth of July. 🙂

With summer here, I thought it would be a good idea to create a ‘Summer Must Have’ series in which I  feature products I love and think would be great for summer.  From skincare to hair tips and beauty essentials, it will be a well-rounded guide.

First up is skincare.  Sun protection is key anytime of the year and while I’ll share my picks for sunscreens, find out what products are great when you have too much fun in the sun.

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47

If your skin is on the drier side, this sunscreen just may be what you’re looking for.  It’s hydrating yet light and is a physical sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, making it a nice alternative to those whose skin don’t react well to chemical sunscreens. Argan and jojoba oils help keep skin hydrated while green tea and vitamin E provide antioxidant support. *Note: If you’re acne prone or sensitive to any kind of fragrance (synthetic or natural), this may not be the best option.

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen 

Acne prone and oily skin types may love this sunscreen.  Though it smells like a traditional sunscreen it does not have that thick, greasy texture.  As the name implies, it feels like lotion (just a tad bit thicker) absorbs quickly and leaves the skin with a mattifying feel.

Renee Rouleau Bio Calm Repair Masque 

This light, chamomile tea scented gel mask soothes skin and reduces sensitivity and inflammation with oat kernel extract bisabolol and chamomilla recutita flower oil.  A versatile mask that can be used after sun exposure or skin treatments including chemical peels and lasers. Also perfect for rosacea flare ups that tend to be exacerbated by the summer heat.  Just apply a thin layer to clean skin, leave on for about 10 minutes and rinse off.  My favorite tip: store in the fridge for an extra cooling effect.

Dermalogica After Sun Repair

Another great product to use if you’re sunburned, this gel greatly reduces redness and calms skin irritation caused by UV exposure or waxing.  This product is left on and is formulated with lavender, cucumber, chamomile, yucca and algae extract to restore moisture loss and aid skin recovery.  Can be used on the face and body (avoid eye area) alone or underneath a basic moisturizer and can be reapplied as needed.

What are your favorite summer skincare items?

Stephanie

 

 

June Favorites!

June Faves!

Hello readers!  It’s July which means my monthly post on products I loved in June.  I have been trying a lot of products and not all of them made it on here but no worries, they will be making appearances in the next coming posts.  Now, on to the task at hand.

 AmorePacific Natural Protector SPF 30

First off is a sunscreen from the Sephora Sun Safety Kit.  There are quite a few more I need to go through but this pink-tinged sunscreen feels light-weight and silky, absorbs quickly and leaves behind a very subtle glow.  There is a very strong, flowery scent but that dissipates within a few minutes of application and this works well with my foundations and moisturizers, meaning it doesn’t pill (clump up).

 

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser 

A product featured in my May Birchbox, this product was something I was both excited and hesitant to try.  I loved the fact it was a skincare item but I’m not usually fond of products containing sugar designed for use on the face as I find them abrasive.  This however was a very unique experience and is different than other sugar based exfoliators I have tried.  I gathered a little bit of the product, mixed it with water and applied it in circular motions.  Immediately, the product began to foam up and the majority of the sugar seemed to melt into the skin while still leaving a few granules to exfoliate. My face felt softer albeit a bit dry but that was resolved as soon as I applied moisturizer.   The Suki skincare website states they use, ” larger, soft sugar crystals (sanding sugar),” which could be why this felt gentler though I did research sanding sugar and I couldn’t find anything on it in its use in skincare besides what’s provided on the website.  Not sure I would recommend this for sensitive skin but normal to oily skin could benefit from it.

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow 

I received this in my June Birchbox and wasn’t too excited at first but I ended up using it quite a bit.  I was worried the color would be too dark but it gave me a hint of color without looking orange.  According to the description, this is “gluten-free, perfume-free, and oil-free.”  The formula is light and perfect for everyday use.  I feel this would work well if you don’t have problematic skin but if you’re looking for full coverage, skip this as it functions more like a tinted moisturizer.  Unlike some BB creams this one does not contain SPF but even if it did, I still recommend layering your normal sunscreen underneath.

Marcelle NP

Marcelle Golde Glow BB Cream + Clinique Nude Pop Blush

Clinique Nude Pop Cheek Pop Blush

If you’re in the market for a, ‘I’m not wearing any blush’, blush, this shade is a great one to try, especially if you’re fair skinned.  Although it’s a powder formula, it blends effortlessly into the skin and provides either a sheer wash of color or can be built up for more pigment. Perfect for day and/or night, and complements both a smoky or natural look.  There’s also a great variety of shades so if this one is too light for you, you’re bound to find another that better suits your skin tone or style.

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour 

After reading countless articles on contouring sticks, I gave this one a try and am glad I did.  The color appears dark and downright scary at first but after it’s been blended out, you end up with definition that isn’t over-the-top.  Fairly simple to use, you just draw lines wherever you want to contour and then either blend it in with a sponge, your fingers or a brush.  I find that a damp sponge or synthetic brush do the best job at blending though.  This doesn’t take up too much space in your makeup arsenal either, making it easier and perfect for traveling.

June Cheeks

L-R: Clinique Nude Pop + Clinique Chubby Stick Contour

Here’s a picture of me wearing the contour shade on the hollows of my cheekbones.

Contour

e.l.f Moisturizing Lipstick in Pink Minx

Oh e.l.f.  You’re incredibly low prices make me both eager yet skeptical to try products but luckily there’s more to love with this lipstick than the $3 price tag.  The color pay-off is absolutely gorgeous where one swipe garners a creamy opaque coverage and as the name implies, it is moisturizing.  I do find that this sort of clings to dry patches so make sure lips are exfoliated.  The packaging is simple and secure and although it’s not the best, I won’t complain.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Noble

The lovely Katie from Plus Beauty sent me the Kat Von D Lip Vixon Duo as a birthday gift (thank you Katie!) and I loved the Studded Kiss Lipstick.  Described as a, “matte petal pink nude,” this is a great nude color that feels so creamy when applied.  I do have to top it off with gloss so that the color doesn’t wash me out and exfoliated lips are a must again but I just love the texture.

June Lips

L-R: KVD Studded Kiss in Noble + e.l.f. Moisturizing Lipstick in Pink Minx

 

 

 

What were your favorite products this past month? 

Stephanie