Play! By Sephora Unboxing September 2016!

play-by-sephora-september

Hi everyone!  How was your weekend?  I can’t beleive fall is just around the corner! Cra-zy.

I’m kicking off subscription week here on the blog with a look at the September Play! By Sephora box.  In case you don’t know, this is a monthly $10 curated subscription box featuring samples of different brands available at Sephora.  The theme for this month is The Unbasic Basics, with products meant to become the building blocks for your beauty routine.

september-sephora

Kat Von D Tatto Liner in Trooper 

A waterproof liquid liner that glides on to reveal precise, bold strokes of highly pigmented color. The applicator on this liner is thin enough to provide a very fine line bit can also be tilted to provide a thicker line.  This eyeliner doesn’t budge which is always a plus.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector 

You’re supposed to work this product into damp or dry hair and leave it on overnight.  You can rinse it out in the morning or leave it on to get a full week of softness and shine with this long-lasting, weightless solution that keeps hair looking its best. This did make my curly hair softer but other than that, I haven’t seen a dramatic change.  Perhaps the more I use it, the more I’ll see results?

Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in Love Spell 

This pink creamy, moisturizing lipstick is formulated with shea butter and caster oil to nurture lips.  The consistency of this lipstick is very much like a lipgloss and with the weather changing, it’s a great formula to have on hand.  The shade of pink is a gorgeous color that is perfect for daytime or paired with a smokey eye.

love-spell-and-tropper-swatches

Top-Bottom: KVD Tropper and Sephora Love Spell Swatches

Atelier Cologne Sud Magnolia 

This refreshing floral blend balances delicate notes of magnolia with layers of wood and citrus.  At first scent, this smelled okay but then as the day went on, it kind of made me nauseous so unfortunately this one didn’t work for me.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel 

A light-weight, flexible clear gel that sets, defines and keeps brows in place for a polishes look that stays all day. I’ve actually had a sample of this one before and I really like it.  My brows tend to get unruly as they grow in so this is perfect to help tame them a bit.

 

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation 

Light, silky, and oil-free, this moisturizer melts into skin to help soften, brighten and even skin tone.  It contains licorice root to brighten, chamomile to soothe and vitamin C to help encourage collagen production. I do like this moisturizer as it does sink into skin without feeling heavy, however with the weather changing, it doesn’t provide enough hydration on its own.  I decided to pair this with a serum and it worked better.

sephora-september-box

Overall, I’m really happy with this box!

Have you tried any of these products? Which ones are your favorites? 

Stephanie

Advertisements

April Favorites 2016!

April Faves 2016

Hello everyone!  We’re a few days shy of the end of April and I’ve got a great collection of items to share so let’s get started!

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Double Dare

One of the items I picked up at the Sephora sale, I can’t get over this beautiful shade.  If you’re in the market for a great liquid lipstick, pick this one up, if you can find it.

Colour Pop Ultra Satin Lip in Echo Park

If you’re looking for an affordable liquid lipstick, then Colour Pop is your brand.  At $6, this warm peachy nude applies smoothly and surprisingly lasts even though it’s not a matte formula.  It does come off as it never fully dries and I did find this to be on the drying side but lip balm underneath helps.

The Estee Edit by Estee Lauder The Barest Lip Color in So Bare

A collection I initially dismissed, I’m glad I went back to take a closer look.  A lipstick/lip balm hybrid, this feels creamy, hydrating and imparts good pigmentation

Lancome Juicy Shaker in 252 Vanilla Pop

Lancome’s newest take on the original Juicy Tubes, this lip oil is unique.  You shake the bottle to mix the lip oils and pigments to create a nice, albeit sheer, wash of color.  The applicator is a stubby sponge attached to the cap which feels plush and melts the product onto your lips.  This product gets addicting so you have been warned. 😉

Lipstick Swatches

 

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion in C3 

I was a fan of the Laneige BB Cushion Compact so I wanted to give this one a try.  This does give a nice luminous look to skin that doesn’t feel heavy.  I’m not a big fan of the sponge that’s included so I use my beauty blender to apply the product.  Overall, I’m happy with this one.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation #3

I requested a sample of this foundation at the Charlotte Tilbury counter and this one is pretty much perfection.  It’s light-weight and provides enough coverage for me where it doesn’t look cakey and covers up my redness.  I was worried that this would be to glowy for my combination skin but so far it gives a nice sheen without looking like an oily mess.

Foundation Swatches

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze and Glow

Another iconic item from Charotte Tilbury, I had to pick up this Film Star Bronze and Glow palette after one of the makeup artists tried it on me.  I will say that the Sculpt shade is lighter than expected but it sculpts cheek bones in a not-so-obvious way.  It blends in pretty nicely too.  The highlighter is also not that obvious looking but adds a subtle ethereal glow.

Becca Mineral Blush in Wild Honey

I love using this blush as it blends effortlessly and looks great applied over bronzer.  It’s not matte and has small shimmer particles but when it’s on me, it looks a bit matte.

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer

A perfect shade for sculpting and contouring, I’m only sad I didn’t try this sooner.  Love that the color is dark enough to define cheekbones but not overpowering.  I use this instead of the CT Sculpt shade when I want more definition.

Blush Swatches

Renee Rouleau Soothing Eye Makeup Remover

I received this when Renee was in town and I have to say that this did not irritate my sensitive eyes. Sometimes certain makeup remover wipes or formulas sting my eyes but this one was very gentle with no burning feeling.  It did well in removing minimal eye makeup but I had to use something more oil based if I had heavier eye makeup.

Skin Script Glycolic Cleanser

I ordered a few samples of these and boy these are very active products.  Containing 17% glycolic acid, I use this about twice a week when I’m experiencing some breakouts.  It’s also doubling as my beauty blender cleanser as it effectively removes all the gunk that accumulates on it.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

I’ve been impressed by this hair mask.  As soon as I apply this, it leaves my color treated hair softer and smoother feeling.

 

Skincare Hair

Govino Go-Anywhere Carafe and Water Glass Set

I know this is missing from the main picture, but I didn’t have it with me at the time.  I received this carafe and water glass set in my March PopSugar Must Have Box and since I’ve kept it with me at work, I’ve been staying way more hydrated than I normally do.  The carafe is 28 oz and I refill it a few times a day.  I also love the fact that it’s easy to store and doesn’t take up too much space as you can place the water glass upside down on top of the carafe.

PSMH 1

 Please let me know your favorites this month and if you’d want a full review of any of these products!

Stephanie

 

R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo and Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner Review!

R + Co Hair

Hello everyone!  I have for you today reviews on two R+Co products that I have been testing out.  I purchased the Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner from the Birchbox store and the Death Valley Dry Shampoo came as a sample in my August Birchbox.  For reference, I have curly, color treated hair and I tried both of these with my natural hair and then also when I straightened it.

R+Co comprises “some of the most forward-thinking, rule-bending hairstylists in the business.”  Their products are free of parabens, sulfates (SLS or SLES), mineral oil, petrolatum and gluten.  They are also vegetarian, cruelty-free, color-safe and most of the retail packaging can be recycled.  Also notable from this brand is their androgynous fragrances and the colorful images that mark the containers they come in.

Let’s get started.

Death Valley Dry Shampoo

Described as “the quickest way to get volume and body into your hair.

Pros

Adds volume to hair

Nice, clean scent

Good product to refresh hair

No white residue left behind

Unique packaging/pictures

Available in travel-size

Cons

Does not absorb oil

Can feel a little bit sticky at times

A bit pricey- $29 for 6.3 oz/$17 for 1.6 oz

Overall: This dry shampoo didn’t absorb any oil and I felt that when it mixed with the oil in my hair, it made it feel a bit sticky and heavy.  It smells very similar to the Dry Bar Detox Dry Shampoo but leans more towards a woodsy scent-I love it!  This is best used on straight hair that isn’t too oily and adds good volume.  I doubt I would purchase this as both the Dry Bar Detox Shampoo and Bumble and bumble Pret-a-Powder work better at absorbing oil and I do prefer the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray for adding volume/texture over this one.

Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner

Described as “the only step you need to weightlessly soften and condition, no matter what kind of hair you’ve got.”

Pros 

Cleans pretty well for a product that doesn’t really foam up

Light, airy mousse-like texture

Doesn’t make hair feel stripped which is great for curly and color-treated hair

The scent is not overpowering

Unique packaging/pictures

Cons

You’ll still need to condition your hair despite the claims

Pricey- $29 for 6 fl oz

You do need to use quite a bit of product

Hard to tell how much product is left

Overall: I’ve tried several shampoos, including DevaCurl, that are designed to clean hair without foaming and while they were nice at first, my hair just looked greasy by the end of the day or over time.  This cleansing conditioner though is one of the best formulations I have tried thus far.  The product looks similar to mousse but a bit creamier and it really removes oil without making your scalp feel dry.  I had to use about 3-4 pumps to cover my head and I did need to use conditioner on the end afterwards but my hair looked soft and significantly less frizzy.  My only problem with this is that you can’t tell how much is left in the can and you do need to use more than is indicated in the instructions.  It is pricey but well-worth the price and I will definitely be repurchasing this.

Have a great day and let me know in the comments below what your favorite or least favorite hair products are!

Stephanie    

 

Summer Must Have: Hair Tips!

 

Salon

Hi readers!  Continuing with my ‘Summer Must Have’ series is a post dedicated to maintaining healthy hair during the summer. I sat down with cosmetologist and personal friend Kathryn DiGioia, who owns DiGioia’s Beauty Studio along with makeup professional and twin sister Katelyn DiGioia, and asked her to share tips on how to keep your tresses and scalp in tip top shape amid your sun, chlorine and salt water filled days.

  • Protect your hair against chlorine and salt water damage by wetting hair with cold water and conditioning before swimming (I’ve been loving Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask)
  • Color depositing shampoos help extend and refresh your hair color (Try Tressa Watercolors shampoo)
  • Use a UV protection spray for your hair when you’re outside (Try products from It’s a 10)
  • If you have thinning hair, make sure you apply SPF to your scalp and/or wear a hat
  • Keep up with routine hair trims every 4-6 weeks
  • Embrace your natural hair texture and use less heat. (Loose braids are a great alternative to give your hair a stylish and heat free finish-spritz Keratin Complex Texture Spray or Chi Silk Infusion before styling)
  • Use gentle shampoos and and nourishing conditioners to help combat frizz (Recommended: Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner)

I hope you enjoyed these tips!  Special thanks to Kathryn for answering my questions and be sure to check out DiGioia’s Beauty Studio for more information on their services and take a glance at their work by following them on Instagram.

See you tomorrow for my weekly skin tip! 

Stephanie 

 

 

 

My Current Products for Curly Hair!

Hair Products

 

Hi readers!  How was your weekend?  Mine was spent celebrating one of my sister’s birthday and shopping for Christmas gifts. 🙂

Today’s post is on hair care, especially those with curls.  Awhile back, my hair was a dry, frizzy mess.  Nothing I used seemed to work anymore and I found that the only way for my hair to look good was to throw it up in a bun.  Don’t get me wrong, a bun style is great but when it becomes your only option, it’s both frustrating and boring.  So, I decided to seek some help and visited my local beauty supply store.  The lady there was super helpful and knowledgeable, and after assessing my hair, she gave me her recommendations on products. Now. I am not an expert on hair nor am I claiming to be one however, I thought I’d share what I’ve been using.

Shampoo

Since curly hair is dry by nature, using a shampoo that is sulfate-free or low suds is the way to go.  Mastey Paris Traite Shampoo Sulfate-Free Moisturizing Creme Hair Cleanser (For Normal to Dry Hair) smells like coconut, cleanses without stripping your hair and protects color treated hair.

Also, since I recently colored my hair red, I use Tressa Watercolors Color Maintenance Shampoo in Fluid Fire.  I use it about once a week as it’s a gentle, tinted shampoo that helps enrich my red hue.

 

Shampoo

Conditioner

For conditioner, I use Macadamia Nut Oil Deep Repair Masque in the shower and Enjoy Leave-In Conditioner when I am combing my hair.

Conditioner

Styling Products 

After detangling my hair and applying a leave-in condtioner, I use ColorProof TruCurl Curl Perfecting Creme.  This really helps define my curls.  Also, sometimes I use a very small amount of Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Mousse.  I know many have told me that this mousse isn’t ideal, but this is the only one that works for me so far.

Normally, I just use the above mentioned products and let air dry.  Every now and then though, I use a curling wand to create looser curls.  For this, I am really loving Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray.  I purchased the travel sized version as Oribe’s products can be pricey, but I must say this product is well worth it.

Styling Products

Here is an older picture of my finished look.  You can find other pictures of me and my hair on other posts/Instagram.

Curl Look

 

Taking care of curly hair requires a little extra effort but when you use the right products and understand its needs, it’s well worth it. 🙂

What hair products work for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Tuesday,

Stephanie 

Beauty And The Oils

Oils have been around since…well, forever but recently the beauty industry has seen their resurgence.  It almost seems like there is a new ‘beauty’ oil discovered every week, each superseding the one before.  From kitchen pantry and health food stores to the beauty aisle, the following oils are lauded as the ultimate ingredient for your face, body, hair and/or nails.

Argan-Oils

Argan  (Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil)

Pressed from nuts found in argan trees-exclusive only in Morroco- argan oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids including linoleic acid, omega-6, which helps in maintaining the lipid barrier in skin and natural tocopherols (vitamin E).  It nourishes, regenerates and protects the skin.

In hair, it adds moisture to dry hair, calms frizzy ends and can help with a dry scalp.

coconut_oil

Coconut (Cocos Nucifera  (Coconut) Oil)

A staple in tropical regions of the world, coconut oil moisturizes, strengthens connective tissues, provides antibacterial properties through lauric acid, nourishes and heals.  I think it’s important to note that although coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties and some people claim it’s a great treatment for acne, use caution.  Those who suffer from acne may find it feels too heavy, clogging pores and potentially leading to more breakouts.

In regards to hair, coconut oil can penetrate better than other oils and therefore is commonly used as a deep conditioner (or found in conditioning products).

grapeseed

Grapeseed (Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil)

Extracted from the seeds of grapes, this is rich in linoleic acid and acts as an emollient and antioxidant (high in vitamin E).  Linoleic acid is an unsaturated EFA that is found in skin lipids like ceramides and cholesterol which protects the skin barrier function, prevents the drying of  skin and soothes.  It’s ideal for massage oil since it glides well on skin.

jojoba oil

Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil)

From the  jojoba plant and known for resembling sebum (oil found on your face), jojoba oil moisturizes, reconditions the skin and provides barrier potection. Interestingly, jojoba oil is thought to balance oil production which could be great news for people with oily skin.  The tocopherol content provides excellent antioxidant activity. *Note: Sometimes only small amounts are needed to reap the benefits so tread lightly if you apply the oil straight to your face.  It might be best for those with oily skin to look for skincare products formulated with this ingredient instead.

OLIVEOIL

Olive (Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil)

Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which help repair and renew skin from oxidative stress, soothes inflammation, smoothes the skin and helps maintain skin elasticity.

In hair, olive oil doubles both as a deep conditioner and dandruff controller, and when rubbed on nails, it helps cuticles stay plump and hydrated while producing a natural shine.

sunflower

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil)

Produced from sunflower seeds, sunflower oil replenishes and restores the skin with nourishing fatty and amino acids.  Amino acids supply nutrients to nourish the skin, which in turn strengthens connective tissue and keeps the skin smooth.  Sunflower oil also increases moisture retention (great for dry skin!) and provides natural barrier protection.

 

sweet almond

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil)

This oil contains high levels of oleic acid and unsaturated triglycerides provide moisture to skin that is easily absorbed into the skin. Oleic acid, found naturally in vegetable and animal oils, is high in unsaturated omega-9 fatty acids, providing emolliency and a soothing factor to skin.

In hair, it adds shine and purportedly controls hair fall.

 

Bottom Line: Although the benefits of these oils are superb, it may not work the same for everyone.  You may find that some oils dry out your hair instead of  smoothing them or they work wonders for your body but can wreck havoc on your face.  ‘Natural’ can be great but isn’t exempt from producing adverse reactions so use with caution.

Have you tried any of these oils?  What was your experience like?