Favorites of 2010

December 29, 2010

1. Hot pink lips: Bold, effortless, chic. This was the lip look I rocked the most this year, with a natural eye, of course. Faves of the year included Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Mr. Lover, Benefit Posie Tint Stain (3-5 layers for intensity) layered with Smashbox O-Gloss Original (always turns my lips bright hot pink), and MAC Lipstick in Girl About Town.

2. Lashes: It’s rare for me to wear faux lashes even though I love them so (my eyes freak out if I wear them too often) and when I have a full fringe, I always feel super glam. My faves are still Ardell because the quality surpasses the price (around $4). The #120 demi are my absolute faves and I also like #113 and #122. My lash glue of choice is always Duo waterproof clear lash glue unless…I can get my hands on the Makeup Forever lash glue that comes with their lashes. I hoard this whenever I buy Makeup Forever lashes because it is absolutely the best I’ve tried.

3. The love of my life (well, purse-wise at least) is my Lux De Ville Lucky Me bag in black and leopard. I love it because it’s roomy and super cute. It isn’t, however, great for rainy weather, so I’m currently using their Starlite Kisslock bag in red sparkle, which doesn’t hold as much but makes me happy because it reminds me of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, just in purse form instead of shoes.

4. Headbands! Love! It takes  a drab hairstyle to fab on mornings when I’d rather sleep than make an effort with my hair. I just brush, slick into a pony, pop on a headband and I look like I tried.

5. Josie Maran GOGO instant volume mascara: I always admit that mascara is not my thing, so when I do end up loving one, it’s the real deal. The brush is almost a triangular shape and it gives my lash a flirty flutter without clumps. Thanks, Josie. P.S. I also kind of love everything from this line, so maybe I’m biased? It really is a super fab line that I highly recommend.

6. Zirh Shave Gel: See a few posts back. Amazing!

7 & 8: Perricone Super: I’m sooo loving the Lush Lips and Hyper Hydrator, both with coconut water. Coconut water is great for the skin (I would like to say that I drink it regularly, but I only drink it a few times a month) and the smell is light. The lip treatment is ultra hydrating, silky, and is indeed very lush. The moisturizer is light and helps keep my oily skin in check. The line is also a bit more wallet friendly than Perricone’s core line, which I also love and can’t always afford.

9. Perricone Advanced Firming Eye Activator: Anti-aging! Brightening! Tightening! I love this eye cream bunches and always buy it when it’s within my budget. I’ve been a devotee of this product since 2006.

10 And as always….Bliss Best of Skintentions moisturizer is still tops in my skincare regime. I love the way it makes my skin look and feel. If I need an instant pick-me-up, this does it. I also love the built-in SPF (with the Japanese skincare rating of PA++).

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September Faves

October 5, 2010

 

1. Tarte EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner, $18, in eight colors, sephora.com: I haven’t been wearing eyeliner almost all summer, with the exception of a few days. I like the way liner looks on my eyes, I just really dislike taking it off at the end of the day.  Tarte liner lasted all day and was actually easy to remove! It felt a little cool when I was applying it and that weirded me out a bit because my lids felt wet but it subsided after a few minutes. I would love to buy other colors (I have black) and might add them to my holiday wish list. I even thought the ultra-slim stick was easier to handle and use for creating a cat-eye. 

2. Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol III, $54, sephora.com: Since I’ve missed out on previous book of shadows palettes, I figured I’d give this new one a whirl. I think it’s a good value for the assortment of shadow colors, two liners, and a primer. Oh, and the cute little diorama that lights up. Super cute! My only beef with Urban is the glitter shadows. I know the glitter is supposed to “lightly float under the eye creating a halo effect,” (those words were from a UD artist) but it makes me feel like a glitter bomb exploded on my face. Luckily this palette only comes with a few glitter pans and the rest have a light shimmer. It’s not yet on urbandecay.com and most Sephora stores should have them in-stock already or will be getting them soon. If you don’t see them out on display, ask. Mine came from the stock room. =) 

3. Ojon Volumizing Two-Minute Hair Mask, $34 6.5 oz, ojon.com: I love what Ojon’s products do for my hair and at the same time, I can’t handle the scent and had to stop using the brand a while back. Luckily a fellow beauty-junkie that knows my qualms gave me a new jar of the Volumizing mask and said, “I know you aren’t loving the rest of the line but try this. I promise the scent won’t make you gag.” Um…where has this mask been all of my life? The scent is more of a jasmine and “green” scent and not the traditional coffee/chocolate/woodsy/”natural” scent of the rest of the line. It makes my hair feel bouncy, hydrated, soft, and makes it smell so good. The texture is also feather-light and feels whipped to perfection and I always look forward to using it. 

4. Lancome Definicils Precious Cells Mascara, $29, lancome.com, sephora.com: I like natural looking mascara and this delivers the results I want with an added bonus of lash conditioners. I like the unique brush; One side has a traditional wand, the other has longer bristles. I did a more dramatic last by building up mascara layers for work one day and one my clients thought I had on individual faux lashes. It also promises lash doubling properties and less lash fall-out when removing mascara. 

5. GHD Blue Serenity Styler (MK IV), $230, sephora.com, ghd.com: Ohhhh, GHD, how I love thee. I already own a GHD MK IV and I’ve been worried that my most favorite beauty tool in the world (yes, in the world) is slowly dying. It’s starting to not perform as it once did. It’s still functional, of course. It’s just taking slightly longer to heat up and the little beeper no longer beeps at me when it’s ready. I’d been eyeing the sleek, pretty limited-editions for a while. The Blue Serenity color lured me in. I love the bonus quilted case even the hard black case it comes with. I’ve tried many brands of styling irons in the past and I’ll be sticking with GHD, possibly forever. 

6. Peace, Love & Juicy Couture, $18-$87, nordstrom.com and sephora.com: The newest offering from Juicy Couture is supposed to be inspired by the “free-spirited, sixties-style vibe of Malibu.” It reminds me of something familiar but can’t quite figure out what. It is actually quite nice. It’s lighter than the other fragrances in the Juicy range and a bit more girly. Out of the featured notes, the magnolia, honeysuckle, and patchouli flower come out more with my skin chemistry than the others. Interesting, since I’m not into magnolia or patchouli. If you happen to be in Nordies or Sephora, give this one a wiff. I like the rollerball size. It’s small enough that I’ll use it all up before I grow tired of it and the price is right. 

7. Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Foundation, $50, lauramercier.com: In the past, cream foundations and I have not been friends. They felt heavy on my oily skin and they even looked heavy. I was given a small sample of this to try and I pretty much love it. It’s designed to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, a feature that I can’t really vouch for since I have neither. It doesn’t feel heavy at all, only perhaps a tiny bit tacky when first applied. I didn’t set it with powder one morning when I was in a rush to get out the door and it lasted the same amount of time on my skin as when I do set it. I was a bit more dewy than usual but no biggie. A little goes a long way and if cost is a concern, I’m certain the jar would last a very long time as I’ve been using my little 5 g sample for three weeks and I’m just now running out. I’m debating if I love it enough to buy a jar of my very own because I’m between colors. Warm Ivory is a little light and the next color up, Sunny Beige, is too dark.

Acupuncture for Anti-Aging?

August 12, 2010

 

I ❤ Diane Lane. I have liked most of her movies and I think she is adorable. I’m also kind of jealous that at 45, she has a glow that I don’t have at 28. She can, however, afford beauty treatments that I can’t. I usually DIY it, whereas she can shell out for treatments like acupuncture facials. According to the RealSelf blog, she gets regular acupuncture facials (also known as acupuncture “facelifts”) to help soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles. This treatment may also help under eye bags, firm facial contours, and aid in relief from other health issues, such as insomnia. Most acupuncture facials include the use of herbs, creams, and occasionally even light therapy for a more luxurious treatment.

Personally, I’ve considered acupuncture for my migraines but can not handle needles, no matter how small. Perhaps someday if I conquer my fear of needles, I will try it out. If it doesn’t help with my migraines maybe I will see beauty benefits?

Day 1: Peel day. I was ready for a run-of-the-mill facial when my esthetician friend says, “How would you feel about doing a light chemical peel?” Um, yes please! I felt a slight tingling during and after, which wasn’t really a big deal. My skin felt soft, was a little pink, and was super shiny (it’s always shiny, anyway). When I got home I noticed some of my congested pores were already starting decongest themselves, especially around and on my nose.

Day 2: My skin is clear, smooth, and glowy. When I did a shortened version of PM skin care routine, I noticed a little peeling/flaking action but it wasn’t too bad. I’ve been instructed to stay away from my beloved AHA’s, BHA’s, any other exfoliant, and any harsh anti-aging/anti-acne treatments. I cleansed, spritzed on a hydrating mist, and applied a hydrating PM moisturizer. I did cheat and spot treat a blemish that found its way to the surface of my skin.

Day 3: Note to self: Do not use Shiseido Sunscreen after a peel. It was way too thick and showed every little area of peeling skin. Other than that, my skin felt and looked good. I started to see some congestion coming up and my skin will most likely be showing signs of an acne flare up very soon.

Day 4: More peeling. It’s still not bad or noticable, mostly exfoliates off when I cleanse with my Clarisonic Brush (only 1x a day instead of the usual 2x). I have not been wearing any makeup. More congestion from my pores is starting to surface.

Day 5: First day wearing makeup. My skin looked great without makeup today but it was back to work and that meant makeup time. A tiny blemish decided to make an appearance but it’s not a big deal and not noticeable.

Day 6: Again, my skin looks great. Glowy, gorgeous, mostly clear except for the visitor that popped up yesterday.

Day 7: Blemish gone. Skin looks radiant. I want another peel!

The month after: My skin still looks beautiful, though a bit of hormonal acne has surfaced near my jaw, which is to be expected, thanks to Auntie Flo. I still want another pro peel and under the advice of a trusted skin care guru, I am now using the OTC  Ole Henriksen Micro/Mini Peel. I have received the Ok to use it and have tried it twice. LOVE! Easy to use and gentle, except that I’m not fond of the first step, which is a seemingly abrasive scrub.

I might try microdermabrasion next. We’ll see.

By the way, I think you all should know that I love 24 and will be very sad when it’s over.

 I love anti-aging products because I hope to do just that: anti-age and keep the skin I have now for as long as possible. Here’s to hoping that having a great skin care routine in my 20’s pays off when I’m 60. There are so many products on the market that promise to lift, banish fine lines and wrinkles, reduce pore size, firm, restore elasticity; there are even creams that promise to lift your bust and booty. Famed plastic surgeon Robert Rey from Dr. 90210 even has his own line of skin and body care.   

So do these “miracle” elixirs really work? Some can help a bit and can be great alternatives to plastic surgery. While you won’t see the same results as you would from surgical procedures, they can help soften the appearance of aging, though the only thing that will give you the effects of a facelift is an actual facelift.

When it comes to the various brands available, there isn’t one that’s “best” because each and every line has its own unique variables and you should take into account your skin type, your needs, any allergies to specific ingredients, your budget, and the amount of time you have in your daily routine. Skin care products, whether for acne, aging, or general upkeep require time and consistency; you need to use products as directed to see optimal results. 

Some scientifically proven active ingredients to look for when choosing anti-aging skin care include: 

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): Exfoliates the skin’s surface and can improve texture. Common types to look for include lactic, glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, and  tartaric. 
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA): Exfoliates and, unlike AHA’s, can penetrate pores due to their oil solubility, giving you deeper benefits. BHA’s can help with rough skin texture, wrinkles, acne and minor sun damage. Salicylic acid is BHA. Also look for willow bark as it’s a naturally derived form of Salicylic.
  • Coenzyme Q10: Helps to reduce free radical damage.
  • Retinol (vitamin A): Smoothes wrinkles, skin texture, and helps to create healthier skin cells. Presceription strength retinol products include Retin-A and Renova. OTC formulations are available in both high-end brands and drugstore brands.
  • Neuropeptides: Aids in anti-inflammation relief and helps to boost collagen and elastin.
  • Vitamin C/L-ascorbic acid: antioxidant properties, helps reduce  discoloration.
  • Amino Acid: Helps with plumping lines, discoloration.
  • There are several more out there so I recommend if you’re curious, do some homework based on ingredient, your budget, and skin type.

IMPORTANT info about active ingredient listed above: 

Please note that when using the above products, you MUST religiously use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least 15 or higher (my old derm insisted that everyone must use at least a 30). This is because these active ingredients can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. I know you’re probably saying, “But I’m never in the sun and I don’t burn so I don’t need it!” Oh yes you do, indeed. While you can see what’s happening on the surface of your skin, the deeper layers can hide what you don’t see and often times these active ingredients can magnify the sun’s effects up to 50%. What does this mean? Basically that you’re wasting money on product because the “good” you are doing is being undone and can surface in more wrinkles, age spots, sun spots, and other surface imperfections later on. UV rays are still present on cloudy and rainy days and can still effect the skin, so use your SPF every day.

Skin Care Expiration

August 31, 2009

suggestion

 

Have you ever been using your favorite skin care or body product and think, “So when does this expire, anyway?”

Some products do have expiration dates, though those are few and far between. Many brands have an expiration suggestion printed on the back of the bottle, jar, ot tube. It looks like a jar with the lid open and has a number printed inside. This number indicates the number of months after opening the product that it should be good for. Conditions such as contamination (IE dipping unwashed hands into a jar) or forgetting to put the lid back on the product can shorten that amount of time.

In the above photo, one of my products is optimal to use until six months of opening, while another is good for 24 months. The amount of time will vary from product to product depending on factors such as ingredients (essential oils, plant or fruit extracts, parabins aka preservatives, and etc.).

if you are using a skin care product as directed, it should not last longer then the expiration suggestion. Some products (body items, for example) may last longer then the suggested amount of time. In these cases, it’s best to monitor the texture, color, and scent for any changes which can indicate it has spoiled.

Don’t remember when you first opened a product? I always try to mark the bottom or somewhere inconspicuous with the month and year, just so I don’t forget. This is also a good idea if your product doesn’t suggest any time frame of expiration so you will know how long it’s been around.

bliss

I’ve been using Bliss Best of Skintentions SPF 15 moisturizer as my day hydrator for the past few weeks and I’ve been loving it. It’s not heavy, has antioxidants, and features subtle pretty skin illuminators. I also love the Japanese SPF PA++ rating. Bliss Best of Skintentions SPF 15 moisturizer has all of these, plus minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. Finally, a skin care product that gives me everything I want and more! While it is a fantastic formula, the scent is not my favorite. It’s a fresh floral that seems to disappear when I apply my makeup over it. When I go bare faced, the scent lingers for an hour or so. If you are not particularly sensitive to fragrance you probably won’t even notice.

Bliss is carried at Sephora, The W Hotel, select Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks, and other department stores and boutiques. Check out the Bliss website to find a retailer near you.

ao

For the past two weeks, I’ve been using Josie Maran Argan Oil under my PM moisturizer (currently Korres Thyme Honey Moisturizer). Love, love, love! I want to bathe in it but alas, I only have a small sample vial of the product. You can also use Argan Oil as a hair treatment, on your body, and it’s also recommended for dry cuticles and eczema.

My oily skin is prone to occasional breakouts, especially when I’m PMSing. Since I started using it, my skin looks clear, radiant, and feels a tad less oily. It’s certainly not a miracle product but I do admittedly adore it, so far. The texture is neither thin nor thick, it is quickly absorbed, and doesn’t have a heavy scent. I’d describe it as slightly earthy in a good way. While I like this brand, I am also researching other brands that sell the same product for perhaps a bit less. I might break down and buy a bottle if I don’t find a suitable alternative. Buyer beware: make sure you check ingredients of what you are buying as some companies add fillers to keep the price down.

caudmask

 

I’ve been using this mask for nearly a month and I have to say, it’s pure perfection! Oh Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Revealing Mask how I love thee. My skin can be fairly sensitive and it hasn’t caused any irritation, it leaves my skin exfoliated and glowing, and it helps to reduce the appearance of my large pores. I love the brush because it makes for a truly indulgent treatment minus the indulgent price at $42. Psssssst: at the NYC Caudalie Spa the 50 minute Vinoperfect treatment is $185.

tbtbsc

The brand behind my most favorite concealer in the world has created TimeBalm foundation. Hooray! Packed with all of the great stuff that’s in the concealer, this “solid” foundation has vitamins A, C, and E to nourish the skin, it also has ingredients that help with eye-area aging. Basically, this is TheBalm concealer in larger packaging. A little goes a long way and it’s great for all skin types. For $28, you get triple the amount in the concealer pot, so this is a fantastic buy for your money.

It’s dreamy texture can go from light, medium, to full coverage with the more you layer on. It doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, and it actually seemed to help keep my oily skin in check, for at least an hour more then usual. I can see how the formula, like the concealer, is recommended for all skin types. It glides on smoothly enough for dry skins, and feels lighter then air for those on the combo or oily side.

The downside: it’s only offered in four shades. Hopefully, like the original concealer, more shades will be introduced as its popularity increases.