I have never put too much stock in cleansing balms. The thought of cleansing with the balm and then having to cleanse again with my normal cleanser just didn’t seem a great use of my time. Then I started using Beautycounter’s Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm. This is by no means a plug for this product, but if you are interested in trying I can send you a sample. There are others that I have tried as well and I will share a list below.
Let me start by saying that this is still an extra step that may seem unnecessary, and it totally is. That said, I am absolutely loving this step. It is nice to take the extra few minutes to massage the cleansing balm into my face and removes my makeup like a dream. As a mom, I find that I have less time to myself to take care of my skin and my sanity. This extra step in my skincare gives me a few minutes to myself to slow down and breathe and enjoy the few minutes of self care that I can take.
So, self care aside, what does it actually do for my face? Well, as I mentioned above, it is amazing at removing makeup. Even the waterproof or long lasting varieties. While it is doing that, it is also hydrating the skin and helping create a barrier to keep the moisture in. Once the product is rubbed around all you do is rinse off. You can stop here for a bit more hydration or continue on with another face cleanser. I tend to go that route on most days just to make sure that I have removed all impurities from my skin. You can also use as a hydrating mask overnight on already clean skin.
Here are the products that I have tried and what I love about them:
Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm ($79 for 2.5oz) I absolutely love the texture of this product. It is silky, but I don’t find it too greasy. The smell is also dreamy. Very earthy and creates a bit of a spa experience. To by honest, I keep using it for the smell! Though a bit pricey, it lasts a really long time. You only need the smallest amount for each use.
Farmacy Beauty Green Clean ($36 for 3.4oz) I love the formula and ingredients of this product and the price tag doesn’t hurt either. This formula is a cleansing balm and cleanser in one so there is no need for a second cleansing step.
I would love to know if you have every tried a cleansing balm. If so, what are you thoughts? If not, why?
I know, I know, I know…it has been too long since my last post. Once again life has gotten in the way. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get all of the items on my list checked off. This blog just keeps getting pushed to the bottom. So, here I am making a go of it…again.
Since being pregnant (and having my beautiful baby girl) my body has needed a bit of extra TLC. I haven’t really been crazy about any of the commercial body scrubs that I have tried and the few that I have made weren’t super great either…until now. I adapted the Vanilla Latte Body Scrub from The Compassionate Girls Guide to DIY Beauty and I think that I have found gold. Here are the ingredients and directions:
1/2 cup almond oil
1 cup ground coffee freshly ground
1.5 cups Sugar in the Raw
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a glass jar.
I like my scrubs extremely scrubby so if you want it a little less harsh you can sub in a finer grain sugar (the original recipe called for vegan granulated sugar) or less of the raw sugar and more of the coffee. The original also called for vanilla powder. I didn’t have any of that at home and I don’t think that it is really necessary. I suppose that essential oils may add a nice note to this product. A little of this goes a long way and it smells amazing. The almond oil (or you can use coconut oil) leaves my skin feeling soft and silky. For just a few dollars you can have a body scrub that rivals even the most expensive options.
Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen – $98.00 I have tried tons of moisturizers and overnight creams and this has to be one of the best. Yes, it is pricey but it is really worth the money. A very tiny bit goes a long way. What I enjoy most about this moisturizer is the texture. It feels thick when you scoop it out of the tub, but applies so nicely and doesn’t leave a greasy feel on the skin. Their ingredients seem to be pretty clean and they do not test on animals.
BeautyCounter Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream – $56.00 I do absolutely love the Algenist moisturizer, but was looking for a cheaper alternative. While $56 is still on the pricey side, this sleeping cream ticks all of the boxes. It is a thick cream that soaks into skin beautifully. The smell of this cream is so nice. I have been enjoying using it and this 50mL jar will last me quite a while. If you are unfamiliar with the BeautyCounter brand they are a company that is committed to safer products by not using ingreditents such asformaldehydes, parabens, phthalates, toluene, triclosan, etc. (and they do not test on animals).
Hourglass Caution Extreme mascara – $29.00 Dare I say holy grail product! For a while now I have been on a glow-y skin kick. With this glow-y skin comes a bit more oil. Even though I use an amazing setting powder (see below), my under eye area is a bit more oily. This has caused my usual favorite mascaras to transfer to my under eye are throughout the day. I could use a waterproof mascara to combat this, but have tried to stay away since it really isn’t that great for my lashes. This product has helped immensely. No transfer! I have been blessed with long lashes already, but this makes them so much longer and thicker. It doesn’t clump at all or flake off throughout the day. I find it really easy to layer a few coats on without it looking gunky.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Finishing Powder – diffused light – $48.00 As mentioned above, I am loving glowing skin these days. I was finding that my usual setting powder was leaving my face looking dry and cake-y (pregnancy has also added to this dryness in my skin). It was time to make a change. This powder is finely milled and gives a lovely glow to my skin while setting my foundation.
Colourpop Eyeshadow Palette – Going Coconuts – $12.00 While this isn’t the most mind blowing palette on the market it gets the job done. It has a beautiful array of neutral tones which I find flattering and easy to use. I would say that this is a lovely palette for beginners or for those looking for a cheap, easy palette to add to their collection. I love Colourpop shadows. They are always soft, pigmented, and easy to blend. I find myself grabbing for this palette on a daily basis especially when I want a quick and easy look.
Here’s the thing. I had a great brow gel, but in my move to go cruelty-free this brow gel is no longer an option. So, I was on the hunt for a great brow gel from a cruelty-free company. I am sure that you can tell by the title that my hunt has not been going well. The two brow gels that I have tried are E.L.F.’s Beautifully Bare Sheer Tint Brow Gel in Medium and CoverGirl’s Easy Breezy Volumizing Brow Gel in Medium.
To be fair, I did not do my homework on these products and they were both spontaneous buys while I was at Target or the grocery store. Let’s start with the E.L.F. product. To start with a positive–I really like the color of this product. It perfectly matches my eyebrow color. Unfortunately, that is where the positives end for me. The product is quite wet and doesn’t seem to set or hold my unruly brows. I wish it was a slightly drier product. The product wand is what I disliked most. It is super long and flexible. I found it really difficult to use and the bristles are very short. Basically, this product just didn’t perform the way that I had hoped.
CoverGirl’s Easy Breezy Volumizing Brow Gel has a more traditional wand that I like. It is small, compact and stiff–the type that I need to get through my unruly brows. Although the color is light, it doesn’t show up much on my brows which is perfect. My brows are very prominent and i don’t need any extra color in them so this color worked for me. The only thing that I don’t care for is the formulation which was way too waxy. It made my thick brows feel stiff and gross. This formulation might be better suited to someone who doesn’t have the excessive amount of eyebrow hair like mine.
For now, I am working through these two products—you know the old adage: waste not, want not. Ultimately, it is back to the drawing board. If anyone has any cruelty-free brow products that they can recommend I would love to hear them!
Has a matte liquid lip seen the last of its days? Or is it still a popular choice? If you look at the popular products that have come out in the last few months, it’s all matte liquid lips. But to my surprise lip gloss seems to be on the rise.
Gloss has never been one of my favorite lip products. I find it sticky, tacky, patchy–all the things you don’t want a lip product to be. I am sure that at least a few of you have worn gloss on a breezy day and ended up with your hair stuck to your lips. Not a good look.
I have gone a bit more dew-y with my skin for the summer months and didn’t feel that my matte lip products were the right fit for a dewier look. So, after seeing a few reviews of the CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss I decided to give them a go. I purchased the colors 630: Give me Guava and 680: Sweet Strawberry. The copy from the CoverGirl website describes this gloss as “dripping with shine, ripe with color. Get lustrous, vibrant shine and rich true-to-tube color without all of that stickiness. Our conditioning formula moisturizes, leaving your lips feeling soft and silky and weightless.“
Both glosses are lovely. They feel very hydrating and moisturizing with no tacky feel. They go on very sheer, but the color can be built up with out feeling too sticky. They aren’t super long lasting, which, let’s be honest, no gloss is. I really like them and find myself reaching for them when I need a bit of color or shine. I find that I like them on their own, but have also used them as a topper to other lipsticks. The Give me Guava has beautiful gold/pink sparkle to it which catches the light in a gorgeous way. For a drug store, cruelty-free lip gloss (that is under $10) I would highly recommend picking up at least one shade to try!
I know there is a lot of controversy out there regarding Wet n Wild…is it, or isn’t it, cruelty-free. Well, I bought this foundation to test out prior to all of the hoopla and I couldn’t just through it away. You know the old adage: waste not, want not.
I have been using the Photofocus foundation for over a month now. I can honestly say that it is not my favorite. I have tried it with and without a primer, with a makeup sponge, and with a brush. It is a very watery formula, which I am not super crazy about. It has light coverage, but is build-able to about a medium coverage without looking cakey. This would be a great foundation for beginners or someone with flawless skin.
For me, this just doesn’t work for a whole slew of reasons. One: the applicator. It comes with a plastic spatula to dispense the product. I find this to be messy, unhygienic, and all around ineffective. I would have much rather had a pump dispenser…especially since the formulation is so running. Which leads me to two: the running formulation. It felt like putting tinted water on my face. I like something with a more cream texture. Lastly: the longevity. I personally didn’t feel like this lasted on my face for the entire day. It would separate on my nose and leave it looking patchy. To be fair, I have the habit of touching my face…leaning my chin in my hand…so the foundation didn’t stay on my face. I even tried using a setting powder to see if this would help the separating, but it didn’t.
All-in-all, it isn’t a terrible foundation especially for the price (around $7). It comes in 20 shades, but leans heavily to the fair to medium skin tones. Like I said above, it would be great for beginners, people with flawless skin, or people who don’t want to spend a fortune on foundation. For me, it just didn’t give me the look and feel that I want.
As I sit here staring at my handsome little beagle, I can’t help to think of all of those animals that are being tested on to make the personal care products that are used by millions daily. In case you didn’t know…beagles are one of the most commonly used animals in animal testing. Why you ask? Because they are a perfect size, not too big-not too small, and they trust humans implicitly. How awful is that. Taking advantage of the loyalty and love of an animal in order to test chemicals on them. It just makes me so sad to know that animals aren’t being treated well.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect…I currently use products that are known to test on animals. I am trying to eliminate all of those companies from the products I use, but it is a quite the process. It is amazingly awful how many brands are not cruelty-free. Take band-aids for instance. Why on earth do you need to test band-aids on animals?! I have decided to make a conscious effort to determine if products are cruelty-free before I buy them or to find other retailers that focus on cruelty-free products. If you are interested on starting the journey to cruelty-free there are a few great blogs that have lists of cruelty-free brands. My two favorite cruelty-free blogs are: Phyrra and My Beauty Bunny. They both have extensive lists of cruelty-free brands and give their honest opinions about the products that they try out.
There are so many brands that are cruelty-free, both high-end and drugstore, that it is silly to not make an honest effort to be cruelty-free. Thumbs up to Cover Girl for making the switch to cruelty-free. Here are some of my favorite brands: – The Honest Company – Kat Von D – Wet and Wild – NYX (but they are owned by a company that is not) – Tarte – Urban Decay (owned by a company that is not) – Colourpop – Cover Girl (owned by a company that his not) – Eco-Guard makes cruelty-free bandages, but I haven’t tried them yet.
This past weekend I thought I would give DIY mascara a go…with very messy and lackluster results.
My concoction started with 10 activated charcoal capsules, a few tablespoons of sweet almond oil, a few drops of vitamin E oil, two drops of lavender essential oil, and a pinch of rhassoul clay. The lavender oil is supposed promote health hair growth which I find very important since I am constantly using my mascaras and eyelash curler.
After making a complete mess in my makeup room trying to open and dump the contents of the charcoal capsules into a bowl I ended up with a mascara that looked very promising. Unfortunately the look of the mascara was completely deceiving. For someone who loves a big, full lash this mascara definitely does not deliver. Even after 3 coats (letting each coat dry before reapplying…which takes FOREVER) my lashes had almost no color, no volume, and no length. To be honest I didn’t have high hopes for this DIY project to begin with since I couldn’t believe that these simple ingredients could perform like my trusty store-bought versions. But the disappointment was real. The only great outcome from this mascara is that my lashes are super soft.
I am trying to brainstorm ways to make this formula better: maybe more charcoal or clay so that it is drier and sticks better to the lashes, maybe different types of oil…either way, it is back to the drawing board.
For a makeup lover, such as myself, makeup remover is a must-have essential part of my evening…and let’s face it, sometimes my morning…routine. I have never been in love with one particular makeup remover and usually found myself cycling through whatever was on sale when I needed to stock up. I just never found that any of them removed my makeup without tons of rubbing and reapplying.
Sunny’s easy DIY makeup remover is just two ingredients: Aloe Vera Gel and Jojoba Oil. Her recipe calls for 1 cup Aloe Vera Gel and 1/2 cup of Jojoba oil. I have tweaked it some to make it a bit thicker. I typically use 1 1/4 cups aloe vera gel and 1/4 jojoba oil…since I am not too crazy about oily residues as mentioned above. I store the remover in glass jars and keep one in the bathroom, one in my makeup room, and one in my gym bag. To apply, I dip a cotton ball, or q-tip depending on the purpose of the removal, and swipe over my face and eyes. I do find that a few go-rounds takes the bulk of the makeup off. No rubbing, no fuss. I like it because it is super gentle and I know, and can pronounce, all of the ingredients that are in the remover.
Sunscreen. It’s important…not only for my over 35 year old skin, but for all skin types. I won’t lie to you–I used to be a tanning queen back when Jersey Shore and GTL were a thing. A) Don’t judge 😉 B) Bonus points if you know what GTL is.
Since I have gotten older I have started to put more stock into using sunscreen daily. Even in the winter months when the sun has all but disappeared. For the last year or so my go-to product has been the Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ for face ($24). This is a really lovely facial sunscreen. It soaks in to my skin quickly and I have had no issues applying makeup on top of it. This sunscreen ticks most of my boxes: hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and paraben-free. It is also non-comedogenic, soap-free, oil-free, soy-free, and gluten free. It has a light watery texture that mixes well with any moisturizer that I use on my face.
During the summer months when my skin is glowing (aka a sweaty mess), and the thought of wearing a medium coverage foundation is horrifying, I like to wear a tinted sunscreen. Two birds, one very, very light coverage sunscreen. A few years ago, I received a free sample of the CoTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 ($24). I liked it so much that I have purchased it since then. It has an interesting texture that melts into my skin and leaves a slight natural tint. It is free of oils, fragrances, preservatives, parabens, PABA, Gluten, and Phthalates. This sunscreen is also sweat and water-proof which, as most of you know, is key during the hot, humid summer months.