May Favorites 2016!

May Faves

Hi everyone!  I hope everyone had a safe weekend.

It’s the last day of May which means I’ll be sharing my favorite products.  It’s a smaller batch than last month but still great nevertheless. Let’s get to it! 🙂

Nest Grapefruit Candle 

One of my favorite brands for candles, after I finished the Moroccan Amber one, I opted for a more spring-like scent.  Made with fine fragrance oils and the highest grade of wax materials,  notes of Grapefruit, Lily of the Valley, Coriander Blossom, Green Nuances and Soft Woods quickly fill up the room with zest, sparkling scent.

Renee Rouleau AHA Smoothing Serum 17% 

Renee was in town a couple of weeks ago, and she was very kind to let me try out a new lab formulation of the AHA Smoothing Serum 17%.  I really like the original one, but this new one feels a bit more hydrating.  Instead of 17% glycolic acid, it will have a blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid, 1% salicylic, multifruit acids/extracts and niacinamide.  The inclusion of niacinamide is what I feel makes this more hydrating (not heavy) and will help keep skin even-toned.

Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Angelic Nude 

This Tarte lipstick is so creamy and smooth to apply and has a hint of peppermint that’s not too overpowering. It has just enough shine to make lips have a subtle glow and although I have to reapply this more frequently than others, with this formula, I don’t mind.  It’s also the perfect peachy pink shade for me and as a testament, I pretty much already finished this lipstick.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer

Even though I love my Nars Creamy Radiant concealer, I wanted to try out the It Cosmetics as I’ve heard such great things about it.  I can definitely see why people love this one.  The formula is highly-pigmented and provides excellent coverage.  A little goes a long way with this one.  This settled a little bit into some lines but a tiny bit of setting powder helped diffuse it.  Overall, this one is a keeper.

Violet Voss Holy Grail Eye Shadow Palette

With a variety of colors and finishes, this palette is perfect to create natural looking makeup all the way to full smokey glam.  You can read my full review and see swatches here.

Cuccio Somatology Yoga Mat Sani Spray Cleaner 

Cuccio Somatology recently launched a few products to incorporate into your yoga practice and I purchased the Yoga Essentials Kit.  I instantly loved this environmentally friendly yoga mat cleaner as it incorporates scents of eucalyptus and aloe vera and smells amazing.  I use it not only to clean my yoga mat but all of my exercise equipment to ensure it’s clean and free from bacteria.  Plus, the scent is so addictive, you’ll look forward to cleaning your whole house with it.

That’s it for this month. 🙂

What were your favorites? 

Stephanie 

 

PopSugar Must Have Box Unboxing May 2016!

PSMH May

Hi readers! This is the last of the subscription boxes I subscribed to this month so let’s take a look at what was included.  For those who don’t know, PopSugar Must Have Box is a monthly box that includes items that range from fashion, beauty, home, fitness and food, making it a well rounded subscription box.  All items are full size and valued at over $100. This box is$39.95 per month while the new PopSugar mini box is $18.95.

Let’s take a look at this month!

PSMH 1

Spongelle Spongology Body Buffer, $20

Made with organic extracts and sulfate-free ingredients, this body wash infused sponge cleanses, exfoliates and massages skin.  The moment I opened the box, I caught a whiff of this lavender eucalyptus sponge and it smelled so good. I haven’t used this yet but it’ll ensure soft skin so lotions glide on effortlessly.

Kocostar Foot Therapy, $10

Just in time for sandal weather, these foot wraps promise to give you soft soles using natural, paraben-free botanical extracts.  I’ve been curious to try exfoliating foot wraps and I’ll try them out this weekend.

Foot Therapy

Happy Spritz Breathe Deeply, $25

A mist that is infused with peppermint and eucalyptus oils meant to invigorate and soothe.  You can mist it over your face or spritz it on your yoga mat after a workout session.  I personally prefer the latter as I love yoga combined with aromatherapy-it takes yoga to a different level.

Yoga Mat

GaiamFoldable Yoga Mat, $24.98

This blue ultra light-weight yoga mat is compact and foldable which allows you to transport in a tote bag. True to the description, it is easier to carry this around since it folds and although it’s a little bit smaller width size than my normal mat,I’m sold on the fact that it’s portable.

Kick

Bluma Project Capri Bracelets- Set of 2, $44

These bracelets are handcrafted by Guatemalan artisans that have a combination of blue and gold hues.  I think these bracelets are cute, however this is either the second or third time that PopSugar features a jewelry item with tassels and I’m not huge fan of it.  We’ll see how this works.

JimmyBar! Peanut Butter Clutter JimmyBar! Clean Snack Bar, $2.49

Snack on this gluten and dairy free bar for a pre-workout energy boost.  A combination of dates eliminates the need for added sugar and peanut butter makes this a perfect sweet and salty snack. Delicious!

Hint Kick (Special Extra), $1.69

Each of these drinks contain 60mg of caffeine, which is the equivalent of a small cup of coffe.  It’s lightly infused with fruit flavors to provide a refreshing pick me up.  I received the lemon cayenne pepper one and it had a spicy kick to it for sure.  I’m not a huge caffeine drinker but I did like this one and wouldn’t mind purchasing it every once in a while.

Half Hitch Goods $10 Gift Card (Special Extra), $10

Use the credit on this gift card to purchase a quality-crafted gift for you or someone you love. I quickly scanned the website for this one and they have some neat, albeit pricey, things.  If I use it, most likely I’ll purchase a candle.

Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara (Special Extra), $8.99

This mega volumizing mascara formula is said to leave you with intense lashes.  I like some of Revlon’s mascaras so I’m curious to find out how well this works.

 

 

 

Overall, I liked this month as there were a lot of great items included for summer and it’s always handy to have a foldable yoga mat. 🙂

What did you think of this month’s box? 

Stephanie 

 

 

Play! By Sephora Unboxing May 2016!

Sephora Play May

Hi everyone!

I was recently scratched off the waiting list for the monthly Play! By Sephora subscription box and couldn’t resist giving it a try.  This box is $10 a month where you receive 6 deluxe size samples from prestige brands. This is a curated box so you can’t choose what to receive but with so many amazing brands carried at Sephora, you’re bound to receive something you like.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside!

Sephora 1

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi 

The Amuse Bouche Lipstick is a new formulation for Bite Beauty that, “provides saturated lip color with weightless coverage and a citrus flavor made from fresh pressed fruit.”  I really love the citrus scent to this and the shade Kimchi is described as a shocking pink.  You can tone down the shade by blotting down and applying some lip balm.

Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial 

This is an overnight mask that is supposed to moisturize and brighten the skin thanks to the vitamin C found on here.  I had a bad experience with the Korres Greek Yoghurt line so I am a little scared to try this one.  My skin has been a little bit more oily so I may save this for when it’s feeling dry.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine 

Notes of blood orange and geranium are found in this scent that is supposed to bring to mind relaxed mornings, sunrises, and soft sea breezes.  It’s classified as zesty, energizing and playful. I’ve spritzed this a few times but I can’t seem to bring myself to love it.  It’s a bit overpowering and not really my type of scent.

Swatch

Top-Bottom: Bite Beauty Kimchi and Tarte Lip Crayon in Latergram

Here’s a swatch of Kimichi and Latergram. (See below for description of Latergram).

Sephora 2

 

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask 

I was excited to see this mask as it was included in a previous Birchbox and I really loved how soft and manageable this made my hair.  Read my review here.

Tarte Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram 

This is a mauve colored retractable lip pencil that has a matte finish. It’s purpose is to help prime and line lips for a perfectly contoured look.  Personally, I haven’t jumped on the lip contour trend and as of now, I don’t plan to.  However, the staying power on this lip liner is incredible and it’s highly pigmented.

Origins Maskimizer + Drink Up and Clear Improvement Masks 

I haven’t had an opportunity to try these yet but basically it’s a kit that has a charcoal mask for deep cleansing, a hydrating mask for moisturizing and a primer for the face mask that’s supposed to help it work better.  I’m a little bit skeptical of the primer as it’s only ingredient is a marine algae complex and it may work good for hydrating but not necessarily help the mask work better.

So far, I’m happy with this subscription box! 🙂

What are your thoughts on Play! By Sephora? 

Stephanie 

 

 

 

Skin Tip: Less is More Money Saved!

Why applying excessive amounts of #skincare products isn’t doing you any favors.

Stephie Estie

How many times have we thought, “If this product is working wonders for me, imagine what it can do if I use more.”  When it comes to skin care, less is definitely more. Excessive amounts can cause skin problems and waste money.

A pea-sized amount for potent ingredients like retinol or concentrated serums should suffice and about a quarter-sized amount for cleanser and moisturizer should do.

Have a good weekend,

Stephanie

View original post

May Birchbox Unboxing 2016!

May BB Main

Hi everyone!

May’s Birchbox is in so let’s take a look at what’s inside!

May BB End

Cool Classic Face Sport SPF 50 White Tea 

This was the sample choice I picked this month as I’ve heard great things about Coola.  This sunscreen is described as a sheer and moisturizing with lasting protection and hydration for an active lifestyle. So far, I like this sunscreen. It doesn’t leave a white film which I love, it absorbs quickly and I love the inclusion on white tea for added antioxidant support.  It is a chemical based sunscreen so in case you’re sensitive, this may not be the best choice.

Davines OI All in One Milk 

Described as a, “nourishing leave-in treatment [that] adds volume, shine, detangling, and heat protection,” this hair milk smells amazing.  Hard to describe but it smells clean and fresh. I love using this when I detangle my hair and spritz a little bit on the ends when I straighten my hair.  They also added as a special bonus the shampoo and conditioner from this line, which I also loved.  It leaves my hair feeling so soft and manageable and again, I love the scent. I’m considering purchasing this. 🙂

Clean Blossom 

This fragrance sample has notes of Tunisian neroli, orange blossom, and sensual sandalwood.  I thought I would like this due to the sandalwood scent however this scent is not in my taste.  The scent is way too overpowering and gives me a headache.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm- Pink Blossom 

Tinted lip balms are always great to have as they provide moisture and color in one swipe.  I like the sheer color on this one, however, I don’t feel like this is as moisturizing as I would like.  If I have any dry patches, I find this clings on to the imperfections but a little bit of exfoliation helps with that.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner 

“From the go-to UK eye makeup line, this user-friendly liquid liner goes on velvety smooth.”  I’ve used this about twice and I do like it but in general, I prefer gel liners.  It has good lasting power though I always use a primer underneath as my eyelids get oily. The applicator tip is thin enough to create a sharp line but you can angle it a bit to draw a thicker line.

May BB Swatches

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Bali in Pink Blossom and Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner.

Here are some swatches of the eyeliner and lip balm.

May BB

Overall, I am very pleased with this month’s box. 🙂

What did you get in your box?

Stephanie 

Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter 1 Hour Tan Mousse Review!

Cocoa Brown Tan

Disclaimer: A while back, Cocoa Brown sent me their 1 Hour Tan Mousse to try out in exchange for an honest review. As always, my thoughts and reviews are my own.

Hi readers!

Summer is just around the corner and with the weather warming up, my wardrobe is slowly shifting to dresses and shorts.  As an esthetician, I don’t condone staying out all day, everyday just to tan since the potential to develop skin cancer can increase.  As a result, I have pretty pale legs, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes I do like to add a little bit of color.  I’ve tried several self-tanners over the years but they were either too dark, too orange or they applied streaky.  When a rep for Cocoa Brown offered to send me their product to try out, stating that their tanning product would never turn orange, I decided to give it a try.

Did this product live up to its claims? Let’s find out.

Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter 1 Hour Tan Mousse (Dark)

Description: “Cocoa Brown By Marissa Carter is an international best selling beauty brand that has a tanning range available in Ireland,  the UK, Sweden, Norway, the U.S.A and Australia. The founder and creator Cocoa Tan, Marissa Carter is certified in dermatology and cosmetic chemistry and has based her beauty range around this knowledge. Cocoa Brown has no fake tan stink, develops with just 1 hour, is guaranteed brown, not orange and lasts up to 5 days streak free. Cocoa Brown is made from a vegetable derived DHA, free from parabens and non-comodegenic.”

Pros

No funky smell

Tanning mitt protects your hands from stains

Subtle color

Cost effective

Mousse formula is easy to apply

Dries quickly

Cons 

You have to work fast as soon as you apply it

Majority of product washes off when you shower

Can result in some blotchiness if you don’t work quickly to apply it

Overall: This tanning mousse is one of the best ones I have come across. It’s easy to apply though you do have to work quickly as it starts to set and dry almost immediately. I found that applying it in circular motions prevented it from looking streaky or blotchy. True to its claim, the product didn’t leave my skin orange looking and using the tanning mitt ensured that my hands remained stain free. I did notice that once I took a shower, the majority of the color washed off, even without using a shower gel; however, I don’t really have much of a problem with it because my skin still had a nice and subtle hint of color, almost like a glow and it lasted for days afterward.

Here’s a couple of pictures that capture the progress.

 

CB Mousse

A picture about 2 and 1/2 hours after application.

CB Tan 1

A different view

CB Tan 2

After I washed it off

CB Tan 3

 

If you are interested in Cocoa Brown products-they have several tanning products as well as non tanning ones- they are available in the US in Ricky’s NYC and worldwide online at http://www.feelunique.com.

What are your favorite tanning products?

Stephanie

Violet Voss Holy Grail Palette Swatches and Review!

Violet Voss

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to a special post today on the highly coveted and currently sold out Violet Voss Holy Grail Palette. Since Violet Voss will be taking pre-orders Thursday, May 19th, I decided to bump up the review date to today so that in case you’re interested in purchasing this, you have some time to mull over my review.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Violet Voss Holy Grail

Violet Voss Holy Grail Eye Shadow Palette 

Described as, “Violet Voss Cosmetics is proud to present 20 highly pigmented eye shadows in a variety of must have finishes.  Our PRO eye shadows are made with the highest quality ingredients and formulated to allow for smooth blending.  The perfect go-to for any occasion to create your flawless sexy look.”

Pros

Creamy and smooth application

Great selection of mattes, satins and metallics

You can create a variety of looks

Full sized pans

Cruelty free

Great pigmentation

Cons

Pricey- $52

Limited edition

Case is prone to getting dirty fast (minor issue)

Some shades are fairly similar once applied

Tiny bit of fallout on some shades

Eyeshadows seem a bit fragile

Contains talc (some people are allergic)

Overall: I am very happy with this palette and highly recommend it. Although it is a bit pricey, the formula and shades are so creamy and blend nicely, making a the application process a breeze.  There is a bit of fallout from some of the shades, Toffee and Bat My Eyes come to mind, and you really need to pack on the color for Glamping to appear.  Some of the shades, when applied to the lid, kind of look the same (Toffee, Awesome Sauce and Chill) yet have subtle differences.  You can use these though to seamlessly blend the colors together.  I’m not a major fan of the packaging as it accumulates shadow fallout easily but it’s a minor issue and not a deal breaker for me.  I have noticed that the eyeshadows seem a bit fragile, perhaps due to the creamy consistency.  The plastic protective sheet that is included in the palette seems to scratch the eyeshadows very easily so I need to be careful when removing it.  I’m not sure how well this would hold up when traveling or if it accidentally falls.  Overall, though I think this is a palette worth investing in, especially if you like warm eyeshadows. Fingers crossed that they make this palette permanent.

Here’s some swatches. 🙂

Swatch 1

Crystal- light champagne

Ploof- light shimmery pink

Thanks A Latte- cream

Transition- light brown

Hashtag- orange

Swatch 4

Awesome Sauce- bronze peach

Bestie- buff matte

Toffee- burnt orange gold

Chill- shimmery light gold

How U Doin- dark rose gold

Swatch 2

Bat My Eyes- espresso brown

Cool Beans- metallic taupey brown

R U Kitten Me- medium brown

So Jelly- shimmery duo chrome pink

On Fleek- metallic red brown

Swatch 3

Brownie Points- dark brown

Teddy Bear- plummy dark brown

Glamping-  shimmery burgundy

Cranberry Splash- shimmery cranberry

Wine N Dine- matte red/fuchsia

VV

Will you be picking up a palette? Let me know what you think in the comments below! 

Stephanie 

 

Skin Tip: DIY Foot Soak!

Happy Friday everyone!

Here’s an easy way to revive tired feet with a foot soak.

Soak feet in lukewarm water sprinkled with Epsom salts or regular salt. Add in a drop or two of rosemary essential oil (peppermint and eucalyptus work too) and relax. Pat feet dry and massage in your favorite lotion.

Have a wonderful weekend, 

Stephanie

P.S. Tune in on Monday for a special post on the Violet Voss Holy Grail palette! 🙂 

Blackheads 101!

Hi readers!  Hope your week is going well. 🙂

Nothing crinkles the nose faster than the sight of blackheads taking up residence on your face.  It’s expected during our teenage years when our body is going through changes but sometimes you find that they continue to form on your face well past your puberty stage. So, what are blackheads and more importantly, what can you do to manage them? Let’s take a look.

Blackheads/Whiteheads Defined 

Blackheads and whiteheads fall into a category known as comedones.  A comedone is caused when the follicle (pore) becomes congested with dead skin cells, sebum (oil), and other debris.

Open comedones, or blackheads, are open at the surface and exposed to air. This causes the sebum and debris to oxidize resulting in their dark color.  Closed comedones, or whiteheads, form when the pore is completely blocked and no air enters the plugged follicle.

Blackheads

Causes of Blackheads/Whiteheads 

  • Excessive oil production
  • Build up of dead skin cells
  • Improper cleansing
  • Using products that are not compatible to your skin type

How to Treat Blackheads/Whiteheads 

Thorough Cleansing 

Make sure that when you’re cleansing your face, you also focus on the hairline where blackheads and whiteheads can form.  Also, make sure that your not aggressively stripping your skin with a harsh cleanser as this can cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate for moisture loss.

Regular Exfoliation

Make sure to exfoliate your skin regularly, about 2-3 times per week, to help remove the accumulation of dead skin cells. *Note: Don’t overly scrub skin as this will result in further irritation and you can really damage skin.  Also, if you have inflamed acne, avoid using scrubs and opt for a BHA or enzymes to help with congestion.

Reducing Oil Production

Using a clay based mask about 2-3 times per week,  can help draw out impurities and absorb excess oil. Ingredients such as niacinamide, zinc gluconate, and salicylic acid can help regulate oil production.

Keeping Tabs on Makeup and Skincare Items 

Sometimes certain types of makeup can contribute to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. Isopropyl Myristate can be a comedogenic ingredient for some.  Using the right skincare products for your skin type also helps.  Whereas mature skin would require a thicker moisturizer, skin that is oily should choose something more light-weight such as a gel or lotion.

Seek a Professional 

Scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist or esthetician is another option if you’re looking for a deep cleaning of your pores. They can utilize different techniques and tools to help facilitate the removal of blackheads as well as guide you to products that would work best for you.

Was this information helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Stephanie