August 2016 Favorites!

August Favorites 2016

Happy first day of September everyone!  It’s time again for my monthly favorites and you’ll notice that most items here are skincare.  Well, my skin has been acting up lately and I had to pretty much stop wearing all products until I could try to figure out what the culprit was.  I’m thinking I have a slight sensitivity to something in my kickboxing class.  These products have been instrumental in keeping my face calm so let’s get to it.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20 

Described as, “flawlessly undetectable like it belongs on your skin, this innovative formula features medium, buildable coverage and a modern matte, natural finish that feels uniquely airy and silky on skin.”  On a whim, I decided to pick up this foundation and I absolutely love it. It silky texture melts right into your skin and enhances it in the most natural way.  You’ll forget you’re wearing makeup.  I haven’t really heard much about this foundation but I highly recommend giving this a go.

PCA Skin CliniCalm 1% 

This product contains 1% hydrocortisone to soothe and provide temporary relief of itching and irritation, both of which I’ve been experiencing lately. While the formula is safe to be used for 7 consecutive days, I find I only need to use it for 2 days before my symptoms start to clear up.

PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45

Not pictured above, I received a few sample packets of this and I have to say I am impressed.  This is a universally tinted, water resistant physical sunscreen (Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) that can be used alone or layered under makeup. Since it’s a purely physical sunscreen (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), this has been perfect for my sensitive skin.  The coverage is very sheer, so a tiny bit of redness still peeks through but overall, it’s a great product and I’ll be picking this up at the trade show this month.

Skin Script Green Tea Citrus Cleanser 

Most of my cleansers were off limits for a bit and this one was really the only one that didn’t feel irritating.  With a blend of antioxidant rich green tea, grape seed extract to counter skin irritations to offset redness and inflammation, and wild cherry bark extract to help soothe skin, this gentle foaming cleans without stripping skin dry.

Caudalie Resveratrol Eye Lifting Balm

Featured in this month’s Play! By Sephora box, this eye cream absorbs quickly into skin and provides a nice brightening effect. Read review here.

Dermalogica After Sun Repair

One of my most cherished items from Dermalogica, this is my holy grail skin saver.  I keep it in the fridge and when my skin feels like it’s burning, I apply a generous amount of this to my face and the coolness instantly calms my skin.  This product is left on and is formulated with lavender, cucumber, chamomile, yucca and algae extract to restore moisture loss and aid skin recovery.

Stephie Estie Skincare

Another huge favorite this month has to be of course my new business doing skincare.  I opened up the first weekend of August and I’m so blessed and thankful to God for this opportunity. It’s a work in progress and pretty stressful but so far a lot of people have been so supportive and I couldn’t ask for more at the moment. 🙂

Facial Room

Note: For the most part, my skin is slowly returning to normal.  I notice that once I stop the kickboxing class for a few days, my skin feels better. I’ve participated in other fitness activities where I sweat just as much, but I don’t get a reaction.  I’m assuming my skin is either sensitive to the cleaning solutions they use or perhaps the gloves/punching bags.  Of course I don’t want to give up the class because I really enjoy it so I’ve found that right after completing my session, I immediately remove my wraps, wash my hands and arms thoroughly with soap and water and then rinse my face with cold water. This process has helped tremendously in reducing irritation/sensitivity.  

What are your favorites for August?  And, have you experienced any skin reactions when exercising? Share your thoughts below! 

Stephanie 

 

 

 

July Favorites 2016!

July Favorites

Happy Tuesday and second day of August!  How was your weekend?  If you follow me on Instagram, you got a sneak peek of a new exciting opportunity that’s happening in my life.  I’m setting up shop inside a studio and will be offering skin treatments twice a week very soon!  I am so excited and nervous at the same time.  Those who know me know that it has been a very bumpy road for me in the esthetics arena but here I am and I am so thankful that God has provided this opportunity for me. 🙂

Here’s a picture of the room I’ll be renting.

Facial Room

In other news, July has come and gone which brings us to my monthly favorites post.  Ready to see what I’ve loved this month? Keep reading!

Sol de Janeiro Brazillian Bum Bum Cream 

I’ve seen this item floating around on Instagram and has been recommended by a few beauty blogger friends so I picked one up while I was at Sephora. A blend of guaraná, nourishing cupuaçu butter and coconut oil helps your body look and feel its smoothest and tightest. I love the coconut smell of this and how it provides skin with intense hydration.  The texture of my legs looks a bit smoother so who knows what will happen with continued use.

Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne 

I received this last month for my birthday and I absolutely love it.  It’s woodsy without being overpowering and perfect for any season if you ask me.

Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamom Cologne 

Along with the Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne, I got a sample of the Mimosa and Cardamom one and it smells so delicate and nice.  Based on the suggestion that you can layer the fragrances, I blended it with the Wood Sage and Sea Salt and guys, it’s such a great combination.  With scents of mimosa, cardamom, tonka bean, sandalwood, heliotrope, Damask rose, it softly mellows out the woodsy aspect of the other cologne if you want a more subtle and sweet version of the Wood Sage and Sea Salt.  I highly recommend it.

Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer 

Featured in my July Play! by Sephora bag, this liquid bronzer is very easy to use and looks natural on my skin tone.

Marcelle Xtension Plus Curl Mascara 

A sample that came with my July Birchbox, this mascara does not leave my eyelashes clumpy and does a nice job of providing a fan-like effect.

MAC Powder Blush in Melba

Another item from my birthday haul, I’ve been using this blush almost every single day because it just looks so natural and blends in effortlessly.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Shine Sculpting Shine Lipstick in Fairest 

The last item on here from my birthday haul, this lipstick is sort of like a MLBB shade that’s just a tad darker. I love using it alone or layered over my ColourPop Echo Park liquid lipstick to create a customized shade that has a little bit more shine and hydration. The magnetic cap is a neat feature.

9Round Kickbox Fitness 

At the beginning of this month, I joined 9Round Kickbox Fitness and though I leave looking like a super sweat drenched mess, it’s also a lot of fun.  With all that goes on in my life at times, it feels so good to just punch out your frustration. There are no class times which is nice because you can pop in anytime you have 30 minutes to work out and be done or do some extra rounds.  Plus the owner, Dan, is very helpful and has modifications available in case you need it, which I do at times.

July Favorites End

That’s it for this month!  What are your favorites and do you have any advice/suggestions for starting your own business? Let me know in the comments below! 

Stephanie 

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 

February Favorites 2016!

February Favorites

Happy first day of March everyone!  Another month has zoomed by and of course, as one month ends, my monthly favorites are bound to ensue. Let’s get to it! 🙂

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream

One of my all time favorite hand-creams, this grape-seed oil cream that is rich in antioxidants and smells like oranges.  It moisturizes and absorbs quickly into the skin which is great when you’re in a hurry and don’t want to transfer the lotion onto surfaces.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Bourbon

I’ve used this glimmering dark brown eyeliner practically everyday this month and it gives definition to your eyes without it looking to harsh.  Perfect for work and it lasts all day on me.

Bobbi Brown Blush in Pretty Coral

Sorting through my blush stash, I rediscovered this gem which is a great everyday shade that gives the ‘pretty in pink’ phrase a run for its money. Used this look as part of my Valentine’s Day makeup look.

(Malin + Goetz) Grapefruit Face Cleanser 

I received this sample in my November Birchbox and I just got around to trying it.  This cleanser really surprised me to be honest.  It feels refreshing but gentle and that has a subtle citrus scent.  Left my skin clean without feeling stripped.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps 

After buying a gift at Kiehl’s, I was given samples of this body cream and I loved it so much that I went out to purchase a bottle. It’s a very creamy and rich and while it absorbs nicely into the skin, I do find that it is a bit greasy.  I prefer to use this at night after I take a shower to deeply moisturize my skin and the scent is neutral so it’s not overpowering at all. The only two issues are a) it’s pricey and b) it’s sometimes difficult to get the product out.

Tell me, what were your favorites this month? 

Stephanie

KIKO Milano Rebel Bouncy Blush Review!

Kiko Rebel Bouncy

Hi readers! I have a review today on this blush I picked up awhile back so if you’re interested, keep reading. 🙂

KIKO Milano Rebel Bouncy Blush in Velvety Peach

Described as a “blush with a new sensory aspect and a satin matte finish.”

Pros

Budget friendly

Sturdy packaging and comes with a mirror

Excellent color payoff/pigmentation

Looks natural

Cons

Hard to apply at times

Not long-lasting

Overall: As soon as I swatched this shade in store, I knew I had to buy it.  The color is such a gorgeous peach shade that has great pigmentation. It’s similar to the Colour Pop ones in that it has the same mousse-like consistency and is best applied with my fingertips to achieve a natural look.  The two issues I have with this one is that a) the color does fade considerably after a few hours, especially when my skin is oily and b) sometimes it’s a bit hard to apply and blend out. Initially, the texture did feel bouncy when you applied it but now consistency has hardened a bit, which is what makes it difficult to apply sometimes in my opinion.  However, once you blend it out it looks natural which is always a plus in my book.  Definitely worth checking out. 🙂

Velvety Peach Swatch

A swatch of this lovely blush.

Rebel Bouncy

I hope you found this review helpful.

Have you tried any of their blushes?  What was your experience with them? 

Stephanie 

Best of Beauty 2105 Part II: Skincare and Hair Products!

Best of Beauty H

Welcome back to part II of my Best of Beauty 2015 segment where I’ll be covering skincare and hair products I’ve enjoyed throughout the year.  Let’s get to it. 🙂

Skincare

Cleanser

Monarch Beauty Herbal Milky Cleanser

Love using this creamy cleanser when my skin is dry and it also doubles as a makeup remover.

Renee Rouleau Purifying Face Wash

This unscented cleanser deep cleans skin without leaving skin stripped of moisture and will last you a long time.

Toner

Monarch Beauty Transforming Toner

A soothing mist integrating green tea and chamomile that helps calm skin and restore skin’s pH levels.

Rhonda Allison Cucumber Spritz

A light toner that is perfect to take on the go to refresh and hydrate skin.

Facial Moisturizer

Skin Script Cacteen Balancing Moisturizer 

This medium-weight moisturizer contains prickly pear cactus to help heal and is rich on olive oil fatty acids that help retain moisture in the skin.

HydroPeptide Power Lift Advanced Ultra-Rich Moisturizer 

When my skin needs a little bit of extra moisture, this one is perfect to use as the thicker consistency glides on skin without making me breakout.

Eye Cream

SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair 

The fast absorbing and light texture makes this easy to work with plus the blend of peptides, retinol and vitamin C and E help firm, brighten and smooth the eye area.

Renee Rouleau Total Eye Repair 

Another fast-absorbing eye cream that contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and works very well under makeup and concealer.

Exfoliator

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment 

One of my favorite go-to exfoliators, this contains several acids and enzymes to exfoliate skin while cinnamon helps blood circulation.

Sunscreen 

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50

This product streamlines my morning skincare routine as it’s a moisturizer and sunscreen in 1.

Mask

Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque

Perfect for spot treating, this has kaolin and bentonite clays to this soak up extra oil and salicylic acid to treat breakouts.

Body Moisturizers

Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter

An unscented moisturizer that absorbs quickly and allows you to customize it with your favorite essential oil.

Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot

Another great moisturizer that helps lock in moisture and the ylang ylang cocoa butter scent is soothing.

Hair 

Shampoo

Acure Organics Repairing Shampoo Moroccan Argan Stem Oil + Argan Oil

I received a sample of this in a Target Beauty Box and I really liked how it cleans hair without taking away too much moisture-crucial for curly hair!

Tessa Water Colors Shampoo in Molten Bronze 

Love using this color depositing shampoo about every week or so to help refresh my hair color.

Conditioner

Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask

This hair mask helps smooth out the frizz factor from my curly hair and makes detangling easy.

Dry Shampoo

Bumble and bumble Pret a Powder

This travel sized option quickly blends into the hair, absorbing any excess oil.

Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Fairly unscented, this also helps absorb extra oil in hair without leaving behind a white residue.

Shine Spray

Dry Bar Sparkling Soda Shine Mist

Adding shine to hair is very easy with this portable spray and it leaves hair smelling amazing.

Heat Protectant

Treseme Keratin Smooth Flat Iron Smoothing Spray

The best affordable heat protectant spray that makes straightening my hair easier and leaves it smooth and shiny.

Are any of these your favorites too?  Let me know in the comments below!

Stephanie 

 

 

Best of Beauty 2015 Part I: Makeup!

Best of Beauty

Hello readers and Happy New Year!  Hopefully this year has been off to a great start for you. 🙂

I’m rounding up my standout makeup products for 2015, so let’s get started.

Lipstick 

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick

Housed in gorgeous, vintage rose-gold packaging this lipstick will change the way you view matte lipsticks.

Kiko Milano Cosmetics Smart Lipstick 

Priced under $10, you’ll be able to stock up on a few without breaking the bank and they wear incredibly well.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick

With a magnetic cap to keep the lining of your purse safe, these lipsticks have all you can ask for: creamy application and highly pigmented color.

Lipgloss

e.l.f. Cosmetics EX-tra Lipgloss

At $2, you’ll get smooth application and impressive pigmentation with these glosses.

NYX Butter Gloss

Another great and affordable line , these glosses come in a beautiful range of non-sticky colors and smell so sweet.

Dior Addict Lip Maximizer 

Higher on the price point but definitely worth it, this tingly pale pink lipgloss leaves lips with a smooth and fuller pout that isn’t sticky.

Foundation 

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick 

With the portable, sleek packaging, this foundation stick is perfect to carry on the go and allows for buildable coverage while letting your skin shine through.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Foundation 

Giving high end foundations a run for their money, this drugstore gem offers full and light-weight coverage with a satin finish.

Highlight 

The Beauty Crop Lighting Crew Highlighting Cream 

One of my Birchbox samples, this highlighting cream smells amazing and provides a nice glow for the face or body.

Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow

I received a sample of this product and it provides a lovely lit from within sheen that doesn’t scream heavy shimmer or glitter.

Mascara

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling and Lifting Mascara

A great mascara that lengthens and curls my lashes with no irritation.

Eyeliner

MAC Fluidline 

One of my favorite gel liners, this is easy to apply and control with lasting power.

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

A staple in my beauty arsenal, once you apply this, it will not budge and it will last you a long time.

Bronzer

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour

My first cream contour product, this is easy to carry with you, blends easily and gives a natural but defined finish.

Concealer

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer 

The wand in this concealer allows for precise application and the shade Vanilla provides great coverage without it feeling heavy.

TreSiQue Correct and Cover Concealer Crayon

Another Birchbox sample, I like to use this when I need a tad more coverage and blends out nicely.

Brows 

Too Faced Brow Envy Kit 

This kit almost has everything you basically need for grooming and touching up your eyebrows including tweezers, setting wax and customizable brow powders.

Blush

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush

A smooth blush that gives a beautiful glow and comes in a great range of colors for any skin tone.   

Burberry Beauty Light Glow Natural Blush

My holy grail blush, this feels and blend like butter and the shade Earthy Glow can be used as a blush or slight contour.

Colourpop Super Shock Cheek

These wallet friendly blushes have a unique mousse-like texture that is nicely pigmented and comes in a variety of shades and finishes.

Eyeshadows 

Tarte Cosmetics Beauty and the Box Eyeshadow in Apple of My Eye

Included in a PopSugar Must Have Box, these shadows are can be worn any season as it includes gold, bronze and brown shades.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick 

Eyeshadows in a stick form that take a little bit of blending but provide long wearing color that doesn’t easily crease.

That’s it for today.  Stay tuned Thursday for my picks on skincare and hair products.

What were your favorites in 2015?

Stephanie 

 

My Top 3 ‘No Foundation’ Foundations!

Hi everyone!

I’m constantly asked on a regular basis what foundations are the best at not looking like you’re wearing foundation. Having tested multiple brands and formulations over the years, here are my top picks that give me a ‘my skin but better” look.

*Note: A good skincare routine is paramount to achieving the best results but that will be for another post.

makeup face and body

Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup 

The first Make Up For Ever foundation that I tried and immediately fell in love with.  This one has a very watery consistency (thank goodness they have since incorporated a pump) and you don’t need much to cover your face.  It feels very light-weight and isn’t too glowy or matte and can be used to cover up body imperfections.  True story: My grandmother loved how this looked on me that she had me go buy her one and she has been an avid user ever since.

Unfortunately, I think this had an ingredient my skin might have not agreed with because over time my nose would start to itch so I stopped using it. Despite this, I highly recommend it.

no fondation

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum 

I picked this up when Sephora had their Fall VIB sale last year and after using up a sample.  As the name implies, this has a serum-like consistency and gives a nice satin finish.  I prefer to apply this using my  fingers to pat and roll it in the skin but you can also use a brush and achieve results.  Super light-weight as I forget sometimes I have it on and hold up nicely throughout the day. My only complaint is that the shade range is very limited.

Too Faced

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm

While I know this isn’t a foundation, I do think tinted moisturizers, BB creams and CC creams are some of the best products to use for achieving a natural look.  They tend to cover up redness and even out skin tone and work best if you don’t have major imperfections. Since it has the texture of a moisturizer it’s really impossible for it to give a cakey appearance.  My favorite way to apply these is with a sponge and stippling it into the skin.  Favorites include Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm, Laura Mercier and Marcelle BB Cream.

What are your favorite foundations to use for a natural look?

Stephanie

 

Summer Must Have: On the Go Beauty!

Travel Beauty!

Hi everyone!  How was your weekend? I had a great and relaxing weekend filled with yoga, massage, Pressed Juicery and Urth Caffe goodness. 🙂

I’m back today with products that are compact and simple to use.  Travel and purse friendly, see what products are great to get when you’re on the go!

Hair and Body

Bumble and bumble Pret-a-Powder 

 Toss this in your purse to refresh your hair on the go.  The powder quickly blends into the hair, absorbing any excess oil and is perfect if you have bangs that start to stick to your forehead after a few hours.

Davines SU Hair and Body Wash 

Streamline your shower routine by using this gender neutral scented item that cleanses skin and hair but won’t leave it feeling stripped.

Spongelle 

Included in June’s PopSugar Must Have, you can save time and space with this soap infused body buffer.  Just wet the sponge and enjoy a rich lather that will leaves your skin (and bathroom) lightly scented.

Face

Dermalogica Precleanse Wipes

One of the best makeup remover wipes I have tired, these oil saturated towelettes break up makeup and sunscreen quickly without any harsh tugging or pulling.

Makeup 

Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

Easy to apply, this lip balm requires no mirror, protects lips for the sun and is on trend with this season’s berry lip!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (my shade: Light 2 Vanilla)  

The doe foot brush and formula conceals imperfections with a few dabs underneath your eyes.

*Note: If you’re concealing blemishes, dab some first onto a clean finger and then apply to affected area to prevent cross contamination.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil (my shade: Iced Mocha

Eyeshadow sticks are virtually the foolproof way to apply eyeshadow.  Glide some over the eyelid for day and take it up a notch at night by applying it to the lower lash line along with black eyeliner.

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour

Featured in my June Favorites, this product sculpts your face with ease, no brush required.

What are your favorite travel friendly items? 

Stephanie 

 

 

Summer Must Have: Blushes!

Bright Blush

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope your weekend went well. 🙂

My ‘Summer Must Have’ series continues with a current obsession: blush!

Let’s dive right in.

Bobbi Brown Blush in Pretty Coral 31

Although I’m not sure why the word coral appears in the name of this blush-even the MUA was confused- this is such a nice pink color that goes perfectly over bronzer.  Looks very natural on the skin and can be used as an everyday/work blush.

Burberry  Beauty Light Glow Earthy Blush No. 07

A versatile product that can be used as a blush or contour shade.  This taupe shade has an incredible smooth and  buttery consistency and  although there is no shimmer, it has a subtle ‘glowy’ look and is one of the products I reach for when I want the ‘no blush’ blush look.

Cargo Cosmetics Swimmables Water Resistant  Blush in Los Cabos

A generous sample that I received in my May Birchbox, this is what coral looks like to me. I can’t attest to the water resistant claim but I can say it is long-lasting and nicely pigmented. Blending is easy, I think this would look great on multiple skin tones and if this shade doesn’t scream summer, I don’t know what will.

YSL Creme de Blush No. 4 Audacious Orange 

Despite the bright orange color, once blended in, this leaves behind a nice flushed look. Only very little is needed because it’s highly pigmented, it’s easy to work with and holds up in the summer heat. You can’t beat that.

*Note: As I write this, I just noticed that this isn’t readily available anymore but if you can find, I highly recommend it.  A great and inexpensive alternative is the Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek blushes and my favorite shade is Trickery.  You can read my review here.

B Swatches

Bottom to Top: Pretty Coral, Earthy Blush, Los Cabos, Audacious Orange

What are your favorite blushes?

Stephanie