Friday, May 31, 2013

night time skincare routine

I talked about my morning skincare routine, now it is time to chat about my night time routine. I mentioned before that I use the same toner and moisturizer for morning and night. I have thought about using different ones but I think for my skin's needs it is unnecessary. I don't need to apply a heavy duty moisturizer at night since my skin isn't dehydrated. I like the toner I am using so much that I don't want to switch it up. So what does change from morning to night?


First step in my routine is to take off the makeup I've been wearing for the day. I use Bioderma soaked on a cotton round for my eyes since I wear a lot of mascara and kohl liner. Once that is mostly removed, I pump some Boscia MakeUp BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil in my palms and massage it all over my face to remove my face makeup. I also find this softens and adds extra hydration to my skin which is a great bonus. Oil cleansers are something I really believe in. I talked a bit about them more in detail in THIS post.

Yes I am a double cleanser. After I rinse off my oil cleanser, I cleanse once more with a more thorough yet gentle cleanser. I have been using Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed. I think this cleanser is really great. I would definitely repurchase. It is clarifying but not so much that it strips my skin. I love the scent too, it smells very clean like fresh cotton. Most of the time I use just my hands for the cleansing but around 2 times a week I'll pair it with my Clarasonic Mia.

On to treatment. I usually like to apply some sort of serum at night since I think most serums leave a weird residue on the skin after a few hours. My choice of T-Zone Pore Refining Gel as my treatment is more so a gel rather than a serum. I haven't noticed much of a difference with this product but I will wait until I finish it entirely to fully rate it. I will mention that when I wake up in the morning after applying this the night before, my skin is hideously oily. This makes me a bit scared to try this during the day!

Night time is also the time I have designated as the time to try out and use up little skincare samples I have. Currently I am using up the Giorgio Armani Regenessence Eye Serum. Not much to say about it to be honest.

At night I like to use menthol or medicated lip products. It is probably all in my head but the tingly sensation makes it feel more intensive and saturating. Blistex Lip Medex is my favorite for this. Another HG product.

My night time routine is a bit more intensive since I concentration more on exfoliating and clarifying. What do you use in your night time routine?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

01 the book challenge

I have always been a reader, even as a child (remember Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl?) As I have gotten older, the internet has wooed me into fading away that reading self in me. I miss reading actual books, you know? While I still do read books now and again, I haven't read nearly as much as I used to and as I'd like to. So I am challenging myself to read all of the novels in TIME's 100 top novels list. This challenge is inspired by Jessica over at the Belle Lumiere. Her blog is awesome, if you haven't heard of her check her out. She gives to the point reviews, sets inspiring goals for herself, and her 'thoughts of the week' posts are something I look forward to.

bookchallengept1 So how will this challenge work? I'll pick ten books at a time (my first picks for this round are pictured above) and update you of my progress and my brief thoughts on each book. I looked over the list and have read a handful of the books already but I will reread them again. I also will probably throw in a few books that aren't on the list that I have been curious about. Feel free to join me on this challenge if you want! Or even recommend some of your favorite reads since I love getting insight. Challenge on!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

morning skincare routine

Back in the day, I used to be someone who had a skincare routine that consisted of a cleanser, lotion, and some Vaseline for my lips to call it good. My have the times changed! Now I have added toners, treatments, multiple cleansers and an array of masks to the mix. Skincare is something that I have found to be very fun and addicting so this is a welcome change. Still, with all the added items I'd like to think my routine isn't TOO elaborate. My morning and night time skincare routine doesn't differ by much, I just swap out my cleanser, treatment and lip care, but I will still do separate posts for each one for you all to peep what I use. First up, my morning routine:


When I wake up I usually have a nice layer of oil and residue sitting atop my skin due to my nighttime treatments and overworking pores so I like to gently wash it away with a non-foaming milky type cleanser. Currently I am using Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk which I am thoroughly enjoying. This is probably the first gentle cleanser that doesn't just CLEAN, it also has the added benefit of keeping my skin clear. The smell could use improvements since it has a very funky medicinal/herbal scent to it, but it doesn't linger.

After cleansing I like to tone. I am still using up my LUSH Tea Tree Toner. It is on its last leg and will probably be gone in a few weeks. Not bad since I have been consistently using it twice a day for 8 months. I would definitely repurchase this. It is refreshing and it makes my skin feel less congested.

Surprise, surprise, my HG La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo is the morning time treatment of choice. I'm sure you all are sick of me talking about this by now!

This should come as no shock either since CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion has been an HG of mine since high school. CeraVe makes a few different types of moisturizers but I have only ever tried their standard moisturizing lotion and the cream that comes in a tub. The cream is definitely too heavy/greasy for me so I wouldn't recommend it for the face. I have yet to try the other offerings but I have heard great things about them. Also I noticed last time I was in the store that the packaging has been changed (see picture above). I compared the ingredients and the formula doesn't seem to be different though (thank GOODNESS!)

Another HG, Nuxe Reve de Miel. It magically softens the delicate skin of my lips and smells like lemons. I like how it is a soft cream texture that doesn't add any shine to the lips. It is great at prepping the lips for lipsticks/glosses. I think even men would like this.

And that's it! I think I have a good balance of products; there isn't so little that I am not boosting my skin's health yet there isn't too much to overwhelm it. What do you use in your morning skincare routine?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

reaching for old favorites

Sometimes as a beauty obsessed junkie I push aside older tried and true products for the likes of newer and more exciting ones. But there comes a time after the novelty wears off where I rummage through my drawer and get a flicker of what used to be. That is what my makeup routine has been like lately; using products that have been good to me in the past which has earned them the prestige title of being a favorite for life.


For my base I have been using up my samples of Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. The staying power is unbelievable, even withstanding the summer heat and the sweating/oiliness that goes along with it. It is very full coverage so I remedy this by mixing it with Becca Moonstone and my CeraVe moisturizer to make a more realistic skin-like finish. I actually prefer the look and feel of the Double Wear Light version since it isn't as heavy and still retains the superb lasting power. For my cheeks I have been using MAC Warm Soul Mineralized blush. This is definitely one of my top five favorite blushes I have ever tried. Huge statement from me since I am such a blush fiend and have a hard time picking favorites. It gives such subtle warmth to the face and is effortlessly natural. I have seen this shade on practically all complexions across the board and it looks stunning every time. You can see it on me HERE and see comparison swatches of it HERE.

My lips have been loving Revlon Life's A Peach Super Lustrous Gloss, a shade which has unfortunately been discontinued. Natty found a great alternative in L'Oreal Strawberry Smoothie Color Juice Gloss if you wanted to try out the color. I will definitely be sad to see this color used up. It adds just the right amount of youthful peachiness without looking orange or frosty. It doesn't hurt that I have always been a fan of Revlon's Super Lustrous Gloss formula due to it being thin and comfortable without losing pigmentation. As for lashes, I have started up using Prestige My Blackest Lashes again. I believe this mascara will be in my makeup routine for life, or at least until they stop making it. Inky black lashes with sick volume in only one coat. I'm telling you, this mascara and L'Oreal Voluminous have me spoiled with their one-coat-is-sufficient formulas. Who has time for two coaters?

What are some of your old favorites that you rely on and plan to keep in your makeup routine for life?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

the summer switch up

Although it isn't officially summer, it sure has felt otherwise with all the sunny clear skies and grilling smells in the air. This time of the year calls for me to switch up my color palette (and even texture palette) to fit in with the vibrant thing that is SUMMER.


I was using Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation but I have switched it out in favor of Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation which has much better lasting power and has a more realistic skin-like finish. Pulling this out has reminded me how much I love this foundation. If only it weren't so damn expensive! In the beginnings of summer before it gets too sweaty out, I tend to pull out creamier products. Although I have oily skin, I find powder feels too much and cream feels freer and thinner on the skin. I have been swirling my Sephora Platinum 55 Brush into my Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base for bronzer. I think this brush and product were meant to be used together since every other brush I have tried with it doesn't give me nearly the same great results.

Cheek wise I have been obsessed with my Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges (old packaging) in Cabo Coral and Calypso Coral. I haven't stopped wearing them for the past few weeks and I don't think I'll be switching it up any time soon. If I had to pick one, Cabo would definitely win. It is peachier and seems to meld into my skin tone more naturally. An honorable mention goes out to NARS Turks and Caicos Multiple Tint which is always a favorite of mine during the summer. It has a very thin gel texture and although the tube is bright, when swatched it is very subtle. It works best on bare or tacky skin (no powder!) so it is favorite of mine for beach days. Unfortunately all of these items besides Calypso Coral were limited edition, the best things always are! D: Blogsales or careful MakeupAlley swapping are your best bet since these are pretty hard to find anywhere else.


For lips, you guys know I have been obsessed with orange-reds lately. I have been slicking on L'Oreal Shine Caresse in Coral Tattoo pretty often. The texture is so light and easy to apply. I still highly recommend this line. You can see Coral Tattoo on me HERE. I also pulled out MAC Vegas Volt which is a orangey coral that has a slight pastel quality to it that keeps it from being too bright and loud.


And finally nails. What nail polish addict can leave out their summer favorite nail colors? Neons are definitely an obsession of mine during summer. My favorites are China Glaze Shocking Pink for my mani and China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy for my pedi. I love the shades so much that once they chip, I remove and reapply! That is very rare for me since I own so much polish and like to give all shades some love. I will say that the wear time for these particular China Glaze shades is quite abysmal. A couple days and I get substantial chipping and wear. Just shows how much I love the shades since I put up with it!

What is your summer switch up? What are your summer time essentials?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

review: becca shimmering skin perfector in moonstone


I think by now every beauty blogger alive has heard of the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors. It currently comes in four shades varying from white pearl to golden bronze. I was always interested in picking up a shade but I couldn't quite decide which shade to choose. Should I have gone for the angelic Pearl or the amber Opal? Luckily for me, Becca came out with a shade that was in-between the two and the better match for my yellow toned skin: Moonstone. I had the chance to swatch all of the shades in person while visiting New York last September and Moonstone had a resounding effect so in the bag it went.


The texture is quite beautiful; light and non-greasy. You don't need much product to give the desire effect which should come as a relief since it costs $41 USD. I doubt anyone would get through the entire bottle quickly. I love how the product can be used alone atop the highest points of the face or it can be used as a mixing medium. I have found it works beautifully when mixed with the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer and, perhaps best, with Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24hr Foundation. Both of these products were too matte and full coverage for my taste. Paired with Moonstone things got a bit more, if not downright, bearable.


I have a soft spot for highlighters that impart a golden sheen. If you are the same, you will love Moonstone. It is quite subtle, my swatches are heavy for the purpose of being able to capture its beauty on film. It is probably the most natural highlighter I own besides MAC Lightscapade. If you prefer subtle but noticeable highlighters, I definitely recommend you check it out. It is available at Sephora, Dermstore, and the official Becca website, just to name a few sources.

I apologize for not showing this product in action on my actual face. I find that it is not captured with justice in photographs. It is something that gives that, to use an over-used phrased, 'lit from within' look. I urge you to check it out in person and to mix it into your base yourself to experience its wonderful properties.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Trilaureth-4 Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Hamamelis Virginiana Witch (Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil/Huile minerale, Glucose, Fructose, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Alcohol Denat, Dextrin, Sucrose, Urea, Propylparaben, BHT, Hexyl Nicotinate, Glutamic Acide, Aspartic Acid, Alanine, Aloe Barbadensis Extract (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract), Butylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance). May contain/peut contenir [+/-]: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77499), Tin Oxide, Mica

What do you think of the Becca Skin Perfectors? Do you own any of the shades?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

revlon strawberry suede matte lipstick

Lately I have been on a bold lipstick kick. More specifically, poppy reds since I still haven't been able to imagine myself pulling off bright magenta or fuchsia any time soon. I'm diving into one realm at a time here! To help myself diffuse out into other color families, I decided to pick up reds with hints of colors I'm too afraid to try full out. For instance, rich pinks are not something I am comfortable with yet. I see colors like NARS Schiap and think they are beautiful, but not something I would ever wear. So I decided a strawberry red would be just what I needed to help me get over my pink fear.


I first heard about Revlon Strawberry Suede from Essie back in the day. I remember her saying it was one of her favorite lipsticks and it looked so striking against her porcelain skin. I next saw Viola over at Killer Colours post a picture of her wearing it and that further piqued my interest. I also heard about the shade from Lisa Eldridge (aka makeup God). She mentioned it was a favorite of hers and sadly announced Revlon had discontinued it. The raving reviews and the rarity officially made it desirable number one to me. I was not willing to pay eBay prices ($20 and up) so one day I randomly searched on Amazon for the shade with no expectations and it surprisingly came up, for only around $6.


So what do I think of the shade? Beautiful no doubt. However I must say I am still more of a fan of orange-reds. It still is a very pleasing shade and I can see why lipstick lovers would go crazy over it. I am quite a big fan of the Revlon matte lipstick line, they are very comfortable with decent longevity and very rich pigmentation. It also is nice that it is so affordable and readily available. It is a shame that this shade is discontinued. Lisa mentioned the shade Pink Pout replaced this one and I think that was a mistake on Revlon's part. Pink Pout wouldn't suit nearly as many people as this shade would since it is very cool toned.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: MAC Vegas Volt, Revlon Strawberry Suede, NARS Heat Wave, Revlon Really Red

I have seen some bloggers try to find a dupe for this shade. It has proven to be very difficult. From what I have read and seen of comparisons, I don't think there is any good dupe for it. It is unsurprisingly unique in my line-up since I don't own too many bold lipstick shades. Perhaps if MAC Vegas Volt and NARS Heat Wave had a hybrid baby, it might come close.

I would share the seller I bought it from but they no longer have the shade on sale any more. If you are desperate, you could turn to eBay but I would suggest to do a quick search on Amazon first to see if anything comes up. If you are a lipstick lover, you will definitely enjoy the shade!