Beauty Favorites of 2017

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Happy New Year’s Eve! I thought I’d end 2017 with a post all about my absolute favorite products of the year. This year I probably bought and tried fewer products than I have in several years, but what I did find was really, really amazing! And I also used the heck out of products I already loved. This past year I really focused on having less, but what I do have is my absolute favorite stuff. And I can honestly say that I enjoyed my beauty routine more because I felt less overwhelmed by everything I had to pick from. I plan on continuing that focus in 2018- to only have my absolute favorite things around in my life!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask– I purchased this in the summer to see if it would help with my constant dry lips. Boy, it was one of my best purchases this year! This stuff is amazing and I don’t think I will EVER be without it. I like that you can use it any time of the day, and even though it is $20, it will last forever. I use it daily, I’m only about a third of the way through it.

Sara Happ Ballet Slip Luxe Gloss– I’ve always preferred lip gloss over wearing lip stick and this gloss immediately won top spot of favorite gloss. EVER. It’s thick and long wearing and ACTUALLY HYDRATES MY LIPS. I also got the Sara Happ scrub, mask, and lip slip balm in a kit for Christmas (you can buy them individually too), and let’s just say you can’t go wrong with any of her products. I’m addicted!!!

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel– When I went on vacation to Hawaii in June, my skin freaked out. I think I had an allergic reaction to something, and it caused HUNDREDS of tiny bumps all over my face. It was awful. Six weeks later, I was still dealing with the issue when I went to Sephora and was given a sample of these pads to try. To my elated surprise, my skin was clear the next day! My skincare gal, Tina, at Sephora told me I needed to be chemically exfoliating to help with the reaction and she was soooo right. I’ve continued to use these a couple times a week and they’ve helped keep my skin clear and I’ve noticed my pores are smaller too. My skin is SUPER sensitive and they don’t irritate my skin or make it peel. These are pricey, but worth it in my book!

Kenra Dry Texture Spray – My love affair with this product has been going on for years, and probably won’t end any time soon. First, it smells amazing! I use it daily, whether in my roots to add volume or to my curls to add messy texture. I don’t even know how many bottles I’ve been through.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Primer– I don’t have the world’s greatest lashes, so I love the idea of a primer to add volume and length. This is the only one I’ve used all year, even though I’ve tried a million different mascaras with it. I love the formula and you can’t beat the price.

Invisibobble– I’ve wanted to try these for ages, but thought it was silly to spend $8 on three hair ties. I finally broke down, and let me tell ya, IT’S WORTH EVERY PENNY! These hair ties all so much texture and dimension to my messy buns versus a regular hair tie. And I’ve used and used and used mine and they’ve help up great.

Make Up For Ever Hydrating Primer– I love to use this primer right before I put on my foundation. I like to mix it with other primers, especially illuminating ones. This primer adds the perfect amount of hydration and sinks in quickly without being heavy and greasy.  And I recommend checking out all their primers, they have one for all kinds of skin types and issues!

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer– I use an eyeshadow primer every day to help my eye shadow stick and last all day and I’ve loved this one all year. I like that it’s anti-aging, so I’m getting double benefits!  (I just got the mini one and it lasted me over six months.)

Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Shadow Stick in Grey Pearl– I keep my makeup pretty simple most days because I don’t have much time in the morning, and this eyeshadow stick was a life saver! I swipe it all over my eyelid and blend it out with my finger and I’m done! I looked put together with VERY minimal effort.

Bare Minerals Hydrating Mineral Veil– This is hands down my favorite and most used powder this year. It is lightweight and gives my skin a natural finish, which is exactly what I want! (I do still love and recommend the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Power.)

Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Heather Pink– I picked this up last spring because I loved the color and haven’t stopped using it since! It’s by far my favorite blush. It gives a natural, healthy glow and wears well throughout the day.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Nude Bronze Light– I also picked this up last spring when they released this color (the original colors were to orange for me), and like with the blush, haven’t stopped using it. It gives the most natural bronze glow to my pasty face. Hourglass powders rarely disappoint in my book and this one is definitely a keeper!

BeautyBlender– I saved the best for last! I used a Beauty Blender every single day that I wear makeup! I use the original one to blend in my foundation and then use it with my loose powder to set my makeup. I also use the blush one to blend in my under eye concealer. I’ve tried dupes, and they have never worked as well as the BeautyBlender. It’s hands down my favorite beauty tool of 2017 and of life!

I have tons of other much loved beauty products, but these are my favorite of the year. What have been your favorite beauty products of the past year? I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year and a beautiful 2018!!!

-L

Also, would anyone like to see a post on my favorite non-beauty items of the year? Let me know!

Play! by Sephora Subscription Box

Hey! Today I wanted to give you guys my thoughts on the Play! by Sephora monthly subscription box. In the past, I’ve tried monthly subscription bags or boxes from Ipsy, Birchbox, and Julep. I did enjoy the boxes, but after a few months, I felt like I was collecting products I was not going to use. I’d maybe have one item per box that I really liked, so after about four to six months, I’d cancel my subscription with the reasoning that if I skipped out on a subscription for a while, then that money would add up and I could go do a little makeup haul and get items that I really wanted.

About a year ago, I heard that Sephora was testing out a subscription box, and I immediately put myself on the wait list. After months and months of impatiently waiting, I got my first box in May. Each box contains four or five deluxe samples and a perfume sample. It’s $10 a month plus tax and shipping is free. Each month’s box has a theme to it and the items are packaged in a cute little bag that you can reuse. When you sign up for your subscription, you fill out a quick survey about your skin, hair, etc, and Sephora recently began sending out two different boxes depending on what you filled out.

I’m not going to recap every box that I’ve received, but I think that my June and September boxes have been my favorite so far. If I get something that doesn’t suit me or know I won’t use, I usually pass it on to someone that will use it. I know that these boxes are just for fun to get to try new things, but I am 100% honest so you can determine if this is something you’d be interested in.

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Pros:

  • It’s $10 a month! Skip Starbucks or Chick Fil A run a couple times, and you’ve got your box paid for.
  • It’s like you send yourself a present every month! I would be fibbing if I said that the day my box reaches my doorstep isn’t one of my favorite days of the month. (I’m pretty easy to please.)
  • Everything in a tiny size is just stinking cute. I’m a total sucker for a tiny bronzer or eye cream.
  • Every product can be found at Sephora, so you don’t have to search the internet and stores to find a product if you want to purchase the full size.
  • Inside the box is a leaflet that explains how to use each product, and there is a card that you can take into Sephora and get 50 extra *Beauty Insider points if you make a purchase. (And you get 10 points just for purchasing the box!)
  • Quite a few of the samples are generously sized and will last quite a while.
  • Travel a lot? This is a great way to get smaller products to travel with.
  • I love it when I get products that I already love and use. This month I got a Kat Von D Tattoo eyeliner in Trooper and an Anastasia of Beverly Hills clear brow gel. I use them all the time, so I was so excited to stock up!
  • Your box is slightly tailored to your profile you fill out when you sign up. You may get items that are more specific to your skin type. You can go back and edit your profile settings if you need to.
  • They sometimes will include products that are brand new and just launching.
  • You will never have to buy mascara again. I haven’t received mascara every month, but I love getting mascara samples. They always seem to perform better than the full sized tubes, and since mascara is something you throw out frequently, it’s nice to have a stash of mascara.
  • I like how there is usually a variety of products in each box. Along with makeup items, they also usually include skin care and hair products. One month I even got a blotting sponge from Beauty Blender.

Cons:

  • You will probably be on the wait list for a few months. Be prepared.
  • I haven’t cared for the perfume samples at all. Yes, I’m picky and sensitive to scents, so that doesn’t help. I usually end up tossing them.
  • I got a liquid bronzer two months in a row. Yes, they were from different brands, but I was disappointed, especially since the alternate box one month had an awesome powder bronzer in it that I really would have liked to try. #firstworldproblems
  • Since they are trying hard to build a box that will work for people of all skin tones, skin types, and hair types, the colors of items won’t always work. I was so excited to get a Bite Beauty lipstick in my first box, except that it was a bright pink. Epic fail for this pale faced gal. Also one of the liquid bronzers I got was super orange on me. I know this is part of the experience and part of being fair skinned with cool undertones.
  • This really isn’t a con, but I put in here more as a suggestion. I think that Sephora has done a pretty good job of getting a variety of really good brands in the boxes, but it would be fun to get something from a luxury brand in the box (YSL, Dior, etc). Since those brands a pretty expensive, it would be awesome to have a little treat in the box every now and then!

 

So overall, I think that I would definitely recommend trying out the Sephora box. Below is a link to sign up for the wait list. Do you have a subscription box that you love?

 

-L

Here’s the link if you’re interested in signing up (aka getting on the wait list):

http://www.sephora.com/play

*Sephora has a customer rewards program called Beauty Insider. You get points for every dollar you spend and you can use those points to get deluxe samples to try. They update the samples every month. And you get a free gift your birthday month just for being signed up! (And the birthday gifts are usually pretty good!)

Note:  This post was not sponsored by Sephora or anyone else.  I just really like makeup, especially mini sized products.

Favorite Hair Products

I LOVE hair products! In college my friends would always ask me how I got my hair to style and stay all day/night. And I’d always tell them the key is product! I’ve tried many different products over the years, and I think I’ve finally found a handful of products that I love and work for my hair. I’ve used these products for several years and they work for me whether I’m straightening my hair, curling it, or putting it in a messy bun.
Moroccan Oil

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I’ve used Moroccan oil for probably close to five years. It’s a bit pricey, but a bottle does last me a while. When I get out of the shower, I work one pump in my hair, starting at the ends and working whatever is left on my hands towards the root while avoiding the scalp, and then let it set in my hair while I put my makeup on. It adds moisture and shine to my hair without making it oily or heavy. Sometimes I also add a VERY small amount onto my ends on days that I dry shampoo and recurl my hair to add extra hydration and smoothness. (They also make a “Light” version if you have thin or fine hair.) It smells so good, which is a general theme with all of my favorite hair products!
It’s a 10 Plus Keratin

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I like to alternate this product with the Moroccan oil, just depending on what my hair needs. I spray it into my hair right after the shower and let it soak in while I apply my makeup. This product is a little more lightweight than the Moroccan oil and it has keratin and a heat protectant.
Kenra Blow Dry Spray

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I can’t tell you how many bottles of this I’ve used the past few years! I spray it all over my hair before I blow dry my hair (avoiding the scalp). It is a heat protectant and helps my hair dry faster, which is handy when you have a head of thick hair like I do.
Kenra Dry Texture Spray

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I discovered dry texture sprays a couple years ago and they have become a daily staple in my hair styling routine. This one is hands down my favorite.  Texture sprays help add volume and texture to your hair. I like a loose, messy curl, and dry texture spray helps the curls look separated and undone. I also spray it in the roots of my hair before I tease it and it helps hold the volume of the tease. On messy bun days, I spray a little of this into the ends and it helps make my bun look messier and adds volume. Of all the texture sprays I’ve used, this one is my favorite. It isn’t heavy or gritty and it smells AMAZING. I will always have a backup can of this around!
Kenra 25 Hairspray

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I bought a travel sized bottle of this to have on my wedding day in case I needed it, and then to throw in my bag to take with me on my honeymoon. After that, I was hooked. These days, I go ahead and buy the 16 ounce can because I know I’ll use every last spray of this bad boy! This hairspray provides the perfect amount of hold without being sticky, crunchy, or heavy. I use this almost daily, it still brings me back to my wedding day every time!
Amika Dry Shampoo

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I didn’t discover dry shampoo until about three years ago, and I’m kicking myself for not knowing about it during my college years or my first months of motherhood. Washing your hair daily isn’t healthy for your hair, plus you don’t always have time. I usually try to wash my hair every other day. The Amika dry shampoo does a perfect job of absorbing any excess oil and making my hair feel clean. Other dry shampoos add a little “grit” to help with volume, and I’m not a huge fan because to me it makes my hair feel even dirtier. I also like the Batiste dry shampoos; they come in a variety of scents and you can find them at the drugstore. Though, I don’t recommend trying the one for red hair, unless your red hair is the same shade as Ronald McDonald’s!!!
Wet Brush & Teasing Comb

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Hair is very delicate when it is wet, so you don’t want to be too aggressive when you’re trying to detangle it after you wash it. I’ve been using a Wet Brush for a couple years and love that it brushes out my hair and detangles it without pulling on it.
Every gal needs a teasing comb! I use this brush almost daily to tease my hair a little to add volume. I think it is easier to use than a comb and doesn’t matt up my hair so much that I can’t brush through it at the end of the day. I found this little gem at Sally Beauty Supply for less than $5!!

And those are my top hair products!! What are your favorites?

-L