Thursday, February 25, 2016

Skin Care Routine

I am not big into resolutions of any kind, but, the one thing I really wanted to achieve for 2016 was a skin care routine that truly showed results.  I feel with regular use of some new products I've added to my routine, I have achieved that youthful glow I craved!  Lately my skin has been looking very lack luster and extremely dry and it seems as though my fine lines and wrinkles have been magnified.  I usually have very oily skin so I have never dealt with dryness and loss of moisture to my skin but this year is a completely different story. 

I recently sang the praises of Pestle and Mortar's Hyaluronic Acid Serum.  At the time I wrote the article, I was only about 10 days into using the serum.  Believe me when I tell you I really noticed quite the difference in those ten days. I knew it had to be the serum.  I also started using two products from Dr. Brandt's skin care line.  I started regularly using Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion exfoliant as well as his latest product, 3DFiller Mask.  Finally, I added a new moisturizer to the mix, Belif’sCreamy Deep Moist Moisturizer.

As we age, our skin does lose collagen and elastin which creates a loss of volume.  I am deathly afraid of injecting myself with Botox or any fillers of the kind but I knew I needed drastic results to combat what I was seeing in the mirror.  I wash my face every morning and before I go to bed and continue to use my Clarisonic Mia2 brush with my Philosophy Purity face wash.  Once my face is clean, I pat dry and quickly apply Pestle and Mortar’s hyaluronic serum.  I just use two drops.  Really, that is all you need!  My skin quickly drinks that up.  Finally, I move on to Dr. Brandt’s 3D Filler Mask.

The mask comes with a brush and special instructions on correct application.  Using the brush, you are instructed to apply the mask starting from your chin working your way up your cheek drawing an inverted triangle.  I also pat a little extra of the mask into any fine lines that I may have and then I let the mask dry before I begin my makeup application.  I’m not sure if this specific application is part of the secret but I’ve used it as such and it really works.  My skin does look more plump and my makeup goes on flawlessly.  Even though it’s a mask, it’s designed to be left on and not washed off.  To be honest, I don’t use this everyday.  I will use it on days that I am wearing makeup, though, and that’s about four days a week.  But even without everyday use, I have definitely seen improvement in my skin.

On days that I am not wearing makeup I won’t use Dr. Brandt’s 3D Filler Mask.  I will skip that step and slather on Belif’s moisturizer instead, which I also use as my night time moisturizer.  This cream feels so thin but it’s definitely not a “thin moisturizer.”  My face certainly feels moisturized as soon as I slather this on.  Two pumps is all I use and it is more than enough.  I feel if you apply more, which I did by mistake when I first got this product, you look extremely greasy.

I use Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion exfoliant two times a week.  When I use this, I do not use the Clarisonic again at night.  I use the exfoliant at the end of my day right before I apply any serums or moisturizers.  I have been using this for about a month and a half and the results are amazing. The directions state to massage this into the skin anywhere from one to two minutes.  I massage this into my skin in circular motions for two minutes and have never had any sensitivity.  I was skeptical about trying this. I really did not believe that a product squeezed from a tube can mimic the results of an in office microdermabrasion…but it does! The texture of my skin is so much smoother and I definitely have a youthful glow.  The aluminum oxide crystals are so small they do a great job of polishing and removing dead skin cells.  This product has been such a wonderful surprise.

All these products can be found at Sephora along with the company’s own website.  Pestal and Mortar is currently not available on Sephora but you can find it at the company’s website and shipping to the United States is pretty good.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pestle & Mortar Hyaluronic Serum

Recently, a friend of mine forwarded to me an article she read in the New York Times about Pestle & Mortar's Hyaluronic Serum.  I read the article and immediately felt that I had to order this amazing product.  I swear, that's how promising this article made the product out to be. So, I logged on to their website and ordered their serum.  And, let me tell you, I got lucky because if you attempt to order it now, you'll notice there is currently a wait list as the item is sold out.

Pestle & Mortar is a small Irish family owned company that is also relatively new.  The company was founded in 2014, when its owner wanted a skin care solution that actually delivered results.  With that, Pestle & Mortar was born.  You can read their story here.

I've had oily skin all my life but recently my skin has been experiencing some major issues with dryness. I've never dealt with this so I had no idea how bad it could get. Literally, peeling off patches of dry skin. I've never really used serums consistently in the past.  If I bought one and used it, great. If I ran out and hadn't repurchased in a while, I was OK with that as well.

I've been using Pestle & Mortar's serum since it arrived in the mail ten days ago.  While by no means is this long enough to see the full benefits of the serum, I can honestly say that I have noticed some difference in the texture of my skin -- especially around my dry patches which are no longer there!

Hyaluronic acid seems to have gained great popularity recently although I am sure it has enjoyed popularity in the past.  This product is extremely light weight and is paraben and fragrance free.  In fact, there are very few ingredients that make up this serum, which is ALWAYS what you should look for in skin care products.  The less ingredients the better.

I apply 2-3 drops (Really! that is all you need) on my face and my skin immediately drinks it up.  After washing my face and patting it dry, I immediately apply the serum first, allow that to soak into my skin, and then follow up with a moisturizer.  I follow this routine both during the daytime and night time.  The serum does leave my skin with a very soft and velvety texture.  In the few days that I have been using this serum, I have definitely noticed some plumpness return to my skin and I no longer have that tight and itchy feel when I wake up in the morning.  I am left with very luminous and super hydrated skin.  I am definitely looking forward to see what other positive changes my skin will undergo with this product.

As for the price tag of the item, $69 may seem a lot for one ounce of product, however, I feel that since you don't use so much of it, it should last you for a long time.  But, when it comes to your skin, I feel that, for me, price isn't that much of an issue.  If a product does what it claims to do, then it's ok.  And so far, this product does do what it claims...and that's only after using it for ten days! Ultimately, the choice is yours if you want to spend the money on this product.  It's definitely not on the affordable side but it's one of the few products I've used that I have been extremely pleased with.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Full Skirts!!!

This blog is dedicated to all things I find beautiful and blissful, and, yes, for me that includes full skirts! There's nothing more beautiful than the look of a full skirt; it is so effortlessly striking yet classic and modern all at once.

Full skirts are quite the versatile piece to own in your wardrobe. You can wear them from day to night, work to play, intimate gathering or event to even a formal celebration.

I have been obsessed with full midi skirts ever since I can remember and for a while they were extremely hard to come by in any store by any designer at any price point. Now, any where you look, you can find a full skirt.  I've seen them everywhere from affordable retailers such as H&M and Forever21 to more moderately priced brands such as WhiteHouseBlackMarket and Banana Republic to even more expensive brands such as Tibi.  These skirts are everywhere.

If you want to wear a full skirt during the day, pair it with a tucked in fitted tee with or without a cardigan.  This gives it such a feminine look, but, you can also add a denim jacket or even a leather moto jacket to give the low some edge. You can even wear it with a tucked in button down shirt and layer a pullover sweater over it.  Tuck both the sweater and shirt and then belt it. Keep the collar of the button down over your sweater as well. This is a very appropriate look for work or even a morning/day time event.

You can always pair these types of skirts with cropped tops as well.  Just make sure that a crop is appropriate for the event you're attending.  Depending on your work environment, for example, maybe a crop isn't the best option.

As for shoes, I've seen this type of skirt paired with anything from a kitten heel to a stiletto and even a sneaker! Ultimately, style is your own personal thing so whatever your choice will be fabulous. I stand five feet tall so for me, it's always a stiletto, but, again, style is personal to each individual.

Some retailers that are definitely worth checking out are H&M,  Forever21,  WhiteHouseBlackMarket,  Banana Republic,  Express (Currently Express is also running a promotion through Monday, January 18, for $20 off every $80 that you spend.  The promo code for online is 1032 to be entered at checkout.), Zara (they are also running a major sale so you can score some amazing deals!!), ASOS, TopShop, and Tibi.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tarte Cosmetics Tartelette Amazonian Clay Palette

Although I have had the Tartelette palette by Tarte Cosmetics for well over six months, I am definitely more than a little late to the game in reviewing it. This palette includes twelve all matte eyeshadows and currently retails for $45.  It's also important to note this product is gluten free.  In fact, Tarte's products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl, sulfate, and gluten. (There is currently a 15% discount offered on many items on Tarte's website, including this palette, which runs from December 26, 2015 and ends on December 31, 2015.  Use code TARTE2015 at checkout for the discount. They also offer free shipping on orders over $25 so it's worth checking out.)

The palette contains twelve matte eyeshadows in a range of varying neutrals. Some of the eyeshadows have a warm tone while others are cool toned.  While the overall concept of the palette is a great one, I wasn't entirely impressed with the payoff and blendability of some of the colors.  Although I was able to blend the colors into my crease so that I wouldn't have any harsh lines, I did have to work at blending the shadows. I have other colors that don't require as much work.  However, that hasn't deterred me from using this palette. I do find myself reaching frequently for this palette when I want to create a soft and neutral look but I have also used it for a more dramatic look as well as a classic smokey eye.  This palette is very versatile and although it does not include any shimmer colors, I really don't mind that.  I prefer matte shadows anyway.  Recently, Tarte released a new twelve shadow palette called "Tarte In Bloom" and that includes some shimmer sides as well as matte colors.  I am not sure if I will be picking that one up, though.  I do like the shades included in this palette. I love the transition colors as well as all the highlight colors. While some of the darker colors do have fallout, I wouldn't call that a negative of this palette. Many shadows from various cosmetics brands, especially darker shadows, have fallout.  Just make sure you do your face makeup (foundation, concealer, etc.) after you've finished your eye makeup OR if your do your face makeup first, make sure you bake under your eyes while doing your eye makeup so that if there is any fall out you can just dust it off after you're done. 

Free Spirit - light yellow beige
Force of Nature - warm medium brown
Dreamer - dark brown
Multi Tasker - dark brown with a red undertone
Caregiver - light pink with a cool undertone (have used as highlight, crease transition, & all over lid)
Natural Beauty - light pink taupe
Best Friend - medium dark purple
Bombshell - dark black purple (there's black added to this shadow to give it a darker color)
Supermom - very light beige (love this as a highlight)
Wanderer - light medium brown
Power Player - warm taupe brown
Fashionista - very pigmented black but I've had fallout during application. Excellent to darken your crease, smoke out lower lash line, or all over the lid for a classic smokey eye.

Have you tried this palette? What are your thoughts??

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Five Minute Makeup

As someone who loves makeup, I want to look my absolute best at any given time of day.  While it’s definitely a lot easier to “put on your face” when time is available, the luxury of extra time usually doesn’t exist in the mornings.  Below is a simple 5-minute makeup routine that can easily be done in the mornings.

 Step 1:  Always start by applying an oil-free sheer tinted moisturizer or a lightweight foundation evenly to your entire face.  You can use a foundation brush or a sponge to ensure the moisturizer is applied evenly, or you can use your hands to apply the moisturizer as well.  If you’re not a fan of using tinted moisturizers, you can always combine a small amount of your favorite moisturizer with a small amount of your favorite lightweight foundation and combine the two either in the palm of your (clean) hand and then onto your face.  Ultra-Lite oil-free Moisturizing Dew with SPF 15 by DDF (Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula) is wonderful.  Aveeno also makes some great moisturizing face lotions that won’t break the bank!  MAC recently released their new Studio Watertight foundation.  It comes in a dropper bottle and offers medium coverage. I love this for daily use. (30 seconds)   If you have oily skin, you can apply a primer first.  It allows your make up to last longer. If you don’t have oily skin, or just aren’t fond of primers, you can skip this step altogether.

 Step 2:  This is the time to cover up any blemishes or dark undereye circles with concealer.  A good cream concealer can last all day if applied correctly. Remember, less is more.  The more concealer you apply to a “trouble spot” the greater it actually appears.  Some amazing and fabulous products to try are MAC’s Pro Longer ConcealerMAC’s Select Cover Up, Tarte Amazonian Clay Creaseless Concealer, and Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. While these are a bit on the pricey side, they are amazing products that do not budge and offer wonderful coverage.  A good and affordable alternative would be Maybelline Fit Me Concealer as well as their Instant Age Rewind Concealer.  A little goes quite the distance and effortlessly conceals dark undereye circles as well as blemishes and light scars. You can apply this using a concealer brush, a Beauty Blender sponge, or your ring finger. Your ring finger gives the least amount of pressure when applying makeup to your face and the warmth from your skin really aids in blending the concealer out beautifully. (45 seconds)

 Step 3:  Apply a medium color shadow to your eyelids with a good quality eyeshadow brush.  If you really don’t like wearing shadow during the day, you can skip this step.  However, at this point you should also consider applying a small amount of highlighter to the inner corner of your eyes.  It really helps brighten your eyes and your entire face.  (45 seconds)

 Step 4:  Using a pencil liner, line your top lids only.  You do not need to make the line heavy. Just follow the line of your lid. Or if you really don't like lining your eyes, you may want to consider simply tightening your upper lash line only or skipping this part all together. (15-30 seconds)

Step 5:  Set your makeup with a little bit of powder using a good quality powder brush.  Whether you use loose powder or powder from a compact, always apply it with a good quality powder brush.  Make sure to tap the brush to remove any excess powder you may have picked up. (15 seconds)

 Step 6:  Apply a hint of blush to the apples of your cheeks.  Tap off any excess blush before you begin to apply.  Smile in a mirror to find the apples of your cheeks and using light strokes, apply from the cheeks outwards to your temples.  (15 seconds)

 Step 7:  Apply a little bit of bronzer to your jaw, cheekbones, forehead, chin, and nose.  Be careful not to overdo it with the bronzer.  It is meant to accent certain features and not to be applied all over your face.  Tap the brush to remove any excess powder.  Laguna by NARS has to be one of the best bronzers available, in my opinion, but use whatever you have and remember to use it sparingly. (20 seconds)

 Step 8:  Coat your upper lashes only with black or brown waterproof mascara.  The color is your preference.  Brown is more natural while black amps your look up a bit.  A tried and true classic is Great Lash by Maybelline.  Need a little volume?  Use Maybelline’s Volum’ Express “The Falsies”.  It adds a ton of volume and it doesn’t cake.  Another tried and true favorite of mine is L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara.  Whatever is your favorite mascara will do just fine. (15 seconds)

 Step 9:  Finish with a coat of your favorite clear or nude lip gloss.  Wet’n’Wild  makes some incredible colors and none of them retail for more than $2-$3.  NYX  Cosmetics also offers some amazing glosses with excellent pigmentation and none retail for over $5. The color pay off and pigmentation are comparable to some major high end brands.  Gloss shouldn’t be something you spend your money on because you’re constantly reapplying it.  There are so many amazing drug store alternatives available. (15 seconds)

Hope this helped with your morning routine.  Sometimes 5 minutes is all you really need.  I’d love to hear if this was helpful to you!