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!

Two lip products you need for winter!

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Me rocking the Sara Happ lip gloss in The Ballet Slip!

I’ve struggled with dry, peeling lips for forever.  I’ve tried so many different lip balms (both expensive and inexpensive) and none of them really worked for me.  Then one day this summer, I was looking at the Sephora website and came across this sleeping lip mask from Laneige.  I thought it was a good deal for as much product that I got for $20, so I ordered it and anxiously waited for the UPS man to bring it to my door.  It has a subtle bubblegum/candy scent and is nice and thick and feels good when I apply it.  I started applying every night at bedtime and even a couple times during the day, and within a couple weeks, I noticed a huge difference in my lips!  My lips were soft and hydrated when I woke up!

Then a few weeks later, I ordered this lip gloss from Sara Happ.  I’d been wanting to try her products for a while, so I thought I’d start with a lip gloss.  The first time I wore it, I wasn’t 100% sure about it because it was pretty thick and hard to work with.  After a few days, it got easier to work with and I started to notice how long wearing it is, but most importantly, it left my lips feeling super hydrated! Sara Happy does have different colors to choose from, and I also like her Lip Slip gloss.  This girl knows her stuff when it comes to lips!

I can honestly say that I’ve used these two products pretty much daily since I got them, and they’ve changed my lips!  I know I will never be without these products!  (and I may have put a Sara Happ gift set on my Christmas list!)

If you try these, let me know how you like them!

-L

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.

DIY Lip Scrub!

Hey everyone! Today I’m going to share my recipe for my lip scrub. If you’re planning on wearing a bold or matte lip (or any lipstick), you always want to make sure you exfoliate your lips right before. This is also great to use when your lips are dry during the winter months. I feel like most lip scrubs are a bit expensive for what they do, so I whipped up my own recipe and it works great. And the best part? You already have everything to make it in your kitchen. Let’s get started!

First, I put one teaspoon of brown sugar in a small bowl. Regular granulated sugar works fine too, I just like the brown sugar.

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Next, add half a teaspoon of olive oil and mix. It will probably look like it needs more oil, but wait, we will fix that! You can use any oil you like, coconut oil would also work great; I just always have olive oil on hand.

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Last, add half a teaspoon of honey and mix well. You should have a nice thick mixture. Honey has anti-aging properties and is moisturizing, so it’s perfect for using in a lip scrub.

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Now you’re ready to scrub away! Just scoop some onto your finger and rub it over your lips in a circular motion for 20 to 30 seconds, rinse off, and apply your favorite lip balm. I like to use what is left over to scrub my hands too. You could probably cover the container and store it for a few days, but my germaphobe self worries about bacterial growth, so I usually just mix this up when I need it.

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If you try it, let me know what you think!

Happy scrubbing!

-L

Evening Skincare Routine

Hey everyone!  Today we are talking more skincare.  I like my evening skincare routine to be super simple and fast. I’m usually tired and want to cleanse my face as quickly as possible and hit the hay. I can usually brush my teeth and complete my skincare routine in about five minutes!

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First, I like to use a product that is specifically designed to breakup my makeup. I usually switch this up and like to try new things. I’ve been using the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water lately and really like it. I just soak a couple cotton rounds with it and use one to remove my eye makeup and the other to remove the rest of my makeup. It’s super gentle and doesn’t burn my eyes and it does a great job at getting my makeup off. This product is great because you don’t even have to rinse it off if you don’t want to, just moisturize and you’re done!

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After I’ve removed my makeup, I still like to make sure my face is clean of any extra makeup, dirt, and oil. I love the First Aid Beauty Red Clay cleanser. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repurchased this in the past few years. It deep cleans my skin without making it feel stripped or tight. I really think this product has helped immensely in keeping any breakouts away and shrinking my pores.

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Sometimes if my face is really dry or irritated if I’ve been out in the wind, I like to apply a face oil before my moisturizer. I love the Josie Maran Argan Oil and the Fresh Seaberry Oil. I just pat a couple drops of one into my skin to help give it an extra boost of hydration. You can also use these on your hair and any dry patches on your body.  I usually buy the small travel sized bottles if they’re available because they tend to last me a while!

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For my bedtime moisturizer I’ve been loving the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream. This is a newer addition to my routine, but after using the Fresh Rose Face Mask, I knew I had to try this. I gently press it into my skin and it makes my skin so soft and smells like actual roses!

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I really like to apply a hydrating eye cream at night, and I’ve been using the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye cream for a while. I like that it is nice and moisturizing, but isn’t heavy or greasy.

After that, I finish up with some lip balm and hand cream and I’m off to bed!
-L

Morning Skincare Routine

Let’s talk about one of my favorite topics: Skincare! I’ve found a skincare routine that I really like and works for me. I used to have pretty oily skin, but during my last pregnancy, it shifted to more normal, with occasional dry patches. My skin is also very sensitive and will quickly react to something it does not like, so when I find products that work, I generally stick with them and don’t change much up. I love my morning skincare routine. It’s fast, it’s easy, and gets my face ready for my favorite part of my morning routine… makeup!

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Cleanser – The products I use to cleanse my face vary by what my skin needs (or which cleanser I find first!). If I was super naughty and slept with my makeup on, I like the Philosophy Purity Facial Cleansing Gel. It does a great job of breaking up all the makeup and deep cleaning my skin without making it feel stripped. If I need a little exfoliating and/or have some breakouts, I like to apply the GlamGlow Supercleanse to my face, let it set a couple minutes, then use my Clarisonic.

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Serum – I LOVE the Mega-Bright Skin Tone Correcting Serum by Origins. It isn’t greasy, soaks into my skin super quickly, and smells like oranges! Somedays, I just use this as my moisturizer. It does help any red spots fade quickly after a breakout. I’ve used this product for a couple years and it will always be a staple in my skincare routine.

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Moisturizer – Depending on the time of year, I either use the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion or Cream. Lately I’ve been reaching for the lotion since it’s warming up outside.  I love Fresh skincare and it loves my skin. These products leave my skin feeling so soft and hydrated without being greasy.

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Eye cream – I’ve been using the First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy Eye Cream for a couple years. I love how the pink tint to it helps brighten my under eye area and the metal applicator tip is always cold and helps perk up my skin the morning.

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Sunscreen – This is a newer step in my skincare routine. I know, I know, I should wear sunscreen every single day. Frankly, I hate the way most sunscreens smell and are greasy on my skin, so I depended on my foundation to take care of an SPF requirements. I recently purchased the Every Sun Day sunscreen from Dr. Jart and my first impressions are great. It does have the sunscreen smell that I’m not a huge fan of, but it absorbs into my skin quickly, and it is supposed to be color correcting and great for sensitive skin. So far I really like it, and it hasn’t made me break out. I think this will be a winner!

And that is it for my morning skincare! It may seem like a lot, but taking time to take care of your skin will help your makeup apply easily and look flawless! What skincare products are you loving?

-L