Monday, December 30, 2013

My Favorite Things 2013

Hope everyone had a wonderful 2013!  It was certainly a great year for the beauty industry.  Some really innovative cosmetics launched in 2013.  Here are some of my some of my favorite hot and healthy new products from this year:
1.  DERMAdoctor DD Cream 15-Benefits-In-1 Dermatologically Defining BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($38 at Sephora)  
DD creams have been getting more and more beauty buzz everyday.  If you were impressed by the multi-tasking abilities of BB and CC creams, you'll love DD creams.  They combine the best of both worlds...the anti-aging qualities of BB creams with the color correction of CC creams.  And of course, they still have the protection, hydration, and coverage of both products.  I think we'll be seeing tons of DD displays at Sephora and Ulta pretty soon, but the first major DD to hit the market is made by DERMAdoctor and launched a few months ago.  It provides good coverage and has mineral-derived SPF (always a plus!). 

2.  Murad Essential-C Sun Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++ ($25 at Sephora)  
The first rule in skincare is sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!  Unlike traditional drugstore sunscreen sticks, the Murad Sun Balm is really light-weight and non-greasy.  It also contains vitamin C, which provides antioxidant protection against the sun and evens skin tone as you're wearing it.  Plus, the vitamin C gives the balm a refreshing citrus smell, rather than the heavy sunscreen smell that you find with a lot of drugstore sunscreen sticks.  For days on the beach, stick to sun products that are lotions with physical sunblocks for optimal protection against the sun.  However, the Murad Sun Balm's convenient size and application makes it great for throwing in your purse...perfect for retouching your sunscreen on a sunny day or applying sunscreen on the go. 

3.  Philosophy Total Matteness Oil-Free Mattefying Pore Eraser ($40 at Sephora)
One way to make skin look firmer and more even is by minimizing pores.  In addition to your toner, the Philosophy Pore Eraser can help!  Natural bamboo extracts help mattify excess oil, and lentil seed extract helps refine pores.  Overall, it's tough to find a good mattifying product that isn't necessarily geared for those with acne, but the Pore Eraser seems to do the trick.  Additionally, this product is unique from other oily-skin treatments because it does not dry out skin and will even leave it soft to the touch.

4.  Ole Henriksen Perfect Truth CC Eye Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($26 at Sephora)
Most CC products available are for your face, but Ole Henriksen makes a CC creme for your eyes too.  Like a typical eye creme, it works to firm, hydrate, brighten, and depuff.  It also contains SPF and pigments to provide coverage around the eye area, making it ideal for day wear.  In fact, every woman should be wearing an eye cream - morning and night - in order to most effectively protect the delicate eye area.  And a little under eye concealer goes a long way, making your entire complexion appear more even, awake, and radiant.  Definitely a daily makeup must!  So, now you can combine applying your eye creme and your under eye concealer into one, easy step.  

5.  Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge ($18 at Sephora) 
It's not only about what cleanser you use to wash your face, but also how you wash your face.  Clarisonic brushes have gotten popular recently, but sometimes they are a little too harsh to use every day.  Instead, try pumping your face wash onto Boscia's new cleansing sponge.  It is super soft and gentle enough to use daily, even around the eye area.  At the same time, it provides very mild exfoliation.  Infused with Japanese konjac root, this sponge will help detoxify, soften, and brighten as it cleanses.  Much more effective than your average drugstore sponge!

    Those are some of my favorite things from 2013.  I'm super excited to see the products to come in 2014.  Happy New Year everyone!

    Monday, December 9, 2013

    Travel Light With These Beauty Products

    Whether you're going to see family or flying off to a relaxing getaway, the holidays can definitely mean traveling for a lot of Americans.  Bringing all of your moisturizers, hair sprays, foundations, etc. can take up a lot of room and add weight to your luggage.  Check out some of these tips for efficiently bringing your essential beauty products with you wherever you go:

    1.  Opt for 2-in-1 products.

    The best way to pack light is to bring products that serve multiple purposes.  For example, the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in Pink Quartz ($42 at department stores) contains adjacent rows of shimmery pinkish and bronze shades.  Swirl your kabuki brush over the entire brick, and sweep it over your face to add a warm, bronzed glow.  Alternatively, you can use the individual colors on the brick as eyeshadow shades.  And don't forget that you can you can use the individual pink shades as a blush and the lighter shades as a highlighter.  This product comes in several different color combinations, but my personal favorite is this lovely and naturally looking Pink Quartz Shimmer Brick. 

    You can't talk about 2-in-1's without mentioning BB, CC, and DD creams.  For your complexion cosmetics, leave your daily moisturizer, tinted moisturizer, primer, and foundation at home, and bring one of these 4-in-1's.  They will provide the hydration, SPF protection, and coverage that you need for the day in one easy step.  Try the travel-size Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm ($18 at Sephora).  Boscia also makes a travel sized BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF PA 27++ ($18 at Sephora), if you prefer an oil-free product.  Both have physical sunblocks as well as other great skin beneficial ingredients.

    2.  Swap your cleanser for cleansing wipes.

    If you're flying, remember that most airlines have a policy regarding transporting liquids.  You are permitted to take a quart-sized Ziploc bag full of clear 3 oz. or less containers.  So, try makeup removing and cleansing wipes rather than a liquid makeup remover and a liquid face cleanser.  They're just as effective, and you don't have to worry about spills in your luggage or getting the product past airline security.  I really like the Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Vitamin C Wipes ($15 at Sephora).  They cleanse while soothing and moisturizing skin.  The vitamin C brightens and firms your complexion and gives the wipes a refreshing citrus smell.  Plus, this product comes in a convenient to-go pack that's perfect for traveling.

    3.  Pick up some smart travel containers.

    You can also try transporting your products in these clear, stackable travel containers ($6 at Amazon).  They are pretty spill-proof, clear, and light-weight, and you can stack as many as you need together.  I've spooned everything from loose powder to serums to toner to tinted moisturizer into these containers.  It's also a great way to keep your products organized! 

    4.  Invest in a travel brush set.

    Makeup brushes are long, bulky, and delicate.  To lighten up your load, bring along a travel brush set like the Sephora Collection Face & Eye Travel Tool Kit ($32 at Sephora).  There are tons of these types of products on the market today.  Sephora as well as companies like Bobbi Brown make variations of these sets, so you can choose the ones with the right combination of brushes for you.  This particular kit contains a mini powder/blush brush, eye shadow blending brush, eye shadow smudge brush, eye shadow crease brush, and an angled brow/liner brush.  The kit also comes with a small, compact case that fits nicely into luggage and protects your brushes from germs and damage.

    5.  Save your samples for a rainy day.

    Many of the large beauty retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and Blue Mercury as well as large department stores give you samples with every purchase that give you 2-3 uses.  You can also ask for samples of your favorite products at these stores.  I like to save mine and stash them away into a reserve that I tap into when I travel.  You get your very own free travel sized products! 

    Wishing everyone safe travels this holiday season!

    Monday, December 2, 2013

    Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

    'Tis the season!  The holidays are here, and many of us are on the look-out for the perfect gifts for our friends and family members.  Cosmetics a huge driver of holiday sales, and most beauty brands have their holiday gift sets ready to go! 

    Here are a few of my favorite healthy holiday items that make for great gifts this season:

    Lush stores are a really fun place.  They have tons of soaps and bath bombs that are sweet smelling, colorful, and fun...making them loveable gifts.  My only complaint about Lush is that many of their products do contain parabens and/or sulfates.  But, their massage bars are free of both and can be really unique and enjoyable gifts.  You simply rub the bar over your skin in the shower as, it works a moisturizer to soften your skin.  Perfect for this dry winter weather!  It's available in different shapes and scents, but the Snow Fairy Sparkle one is definitely the most festive. 

    Every girl should keep one of these kits in her purse.  It is a very small, compact cosmetics case that contains anything you would need in a fashion emergency...Hollywood fashion tape, a deodorant-removing sponge, lint-removing sheets, a sewing kit, a stain wipe, an earring back, an instant button, a hair band, a nail file, a blister pad, and a shoe-shine sponge.  It's one of those items that you would never think of buying, but will appreciate once you do!

    Not to be totally unoriginal, but I really do love the L'Occitane hand creams.  As with every holiday season, you will see gift sets of them available everywhere.  Everyone can use some hand cream.  The L'Occitane ones are infused with shea butter to lock in moisture.  I like them because they absorb nicely and have a light, floral scent.  This set is a classic beauty gift that women of all ages can enjoy.

    Origins makes some of my favorite skincare products.  This holiday season, they're offering a festive ginger scented trio that includes a Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream, Incredible Spreadable Smoothing Ginger Body Scrub, and Ginger Float Cream.  You will definitely feel calm and refreshed as these products work to soften and nourish your skin.

    5.  DIY Spa Kit
    What's cuter and more creative than making your spa kit?  Gifts that encourage people to pamper themselves are the best kinds of gifts.  Here are some ideas for this DIY kit:

    Bellaboo Sweet Sin Chocolate Face Mask ($10 at Ulta) 

    This delicious mask is the perfect mask for relaxation time.  By cleansing and hydrating, the chocolate will leave your face smooth to the touch.  And don't forget that it will help provide antioxidant protection and nourishment to keep your complexion looking youthful and healthy.
    Earth Therapeutics Recover-E Cucumber Eye Pads ($7 at Ulta) 

    While you have your mask on your face, put these pads over your eyes.  The cucumber, green tea, aloe, chamomile, and vitamin E will help soothe the eye area.  Your eyes will appear fresh and awake.  These pads are also useful for those mornings when you wake up with puffy or red eyes.
    Earth Therapeutics Aloe Socks ($8 at Ulta)
    And don't forget to throw in some comfy socks to top off the experience.  These socks are not only super soft, but are also infused with natural aloe to moisturize your feet as you wear them.

    In general, people can be picky about their skincare products, so stay away from kits with serums, eye creams, etc.  For gifts for those you don't know as well or those who don't use cosmetics, opt for general personal care products (like the ones mentioned above) that all women can use.     

    ...but for those makeup wearers, try these fun and fashionable products:

    This stackable wand contains tinted lip balms in five core shades (beiges, pinks, reds).  To change shades, you simply remove the shade at the top, move it to the bottom, and push it up.  A super cute stocking stuffer!  

    This travel brush set contains a flat powder brush, concealer brush, shadow brush, and angled liner brush...everything you need for a touch-up on a night out or to apply your makeup on vacation.  Plus, the brushes are a pretty sparkly pink color and come in a stylish, sparkly case that fits conveniently in your purse.

    Bobbi Brown always makes gorgeous palettes around the holiday season.  As the name implies, this palette has colors that everyday women can wear every day.  It has neutral taupe, white, and black eye shadow shades and neutral pink lip shades.  All of these shades come in a small compact so you can throw it in your purse for touch-ups during the day.

    The Tarte pencil liners are pretty efficacious.  They have a nice creamy formula that allows you to move and blend the color really easily.  After a few seconds, it dries so that it stays in place all day long.  This particular set comes with beautiful onyx, purple garnet, azurite green, new taupe, and rose gold shades.  And don't forget that it comes with their signature Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement mascara that uses a precise brush to sweep color onto lashes and boost volume.

    10.  DIY Nail Set
    Bring the nail salon to your girlfriends!  They make for fun and original gifts.  Putting a kit together yourself can allow you to incorporate all of your favorite products and shades that you know your friends will love.  

    Sephora Collection Instant Nail Polish Remover ($10 at Sephora)
    My cousin got this for me last Christmas, and I absolutely love it.  Inside of the bottle is a foam ring filled with remover.  You stick your finger in the middle of the ring as the solution dissolves your nail polish instantly.  No cotton ball necessary and no work for you!

    Sephora Collection Set of 5 Color Hit Nail Set ($12 at Sephora)
    This collection from Sephora is a set of mini nail polishes.  Sometimes, it's hard to say which shades different people will like, but this kit contains neutral shades like reds, pinks, and beiges, which everyone can use at some point.   

    Sephora Collection Colorful Nail File ($3 at Sephora)
    To top it off, add a fun nail file to shape your nails before you paint them.
    This holiday season, if you're looking for gift ideas, check the beauty aisle.  After all, you can't go wrong with products that make you look and feel great.  Even if your friends and family members aren't beauty fanatics, there are some great products in stores right now that they will really enjoy.

    Happy Holidays everyone :)