Monday, October 29, 2012

Target Beauty Bag

I hate to do a posting of something that is no longer available but here goes. Almost a month ago, Target Style offered a chance to sign up for a free beauty bag on their Facebook page, I signed up on 10/2 and received my bag today 10/29 despite the confirmation page saying to allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. The bags were sold out within a 1-2 days and i'm so lucky to have even received one. To everyone that did not, i'm sorry to say that Target has announced that this was their last bag so i'm glad I got to experience this at least once. As far as I know, all of the bags were exactly the same. Everything I received were foil samples but i'm in no way complaining because they were free and there is enough product to actually use, I received:

  • Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer
  • Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Total Care Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Fekkai Technican Color Care Shampoo & 3 Minute Mask 
  • Jergens Daily Moisture Lotion
  • L'Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Shampoo, Conditioner & Masque
  • Beauty Coupon Book containing 13 coupons valued at $17
The coupon book not only contains coupons for the products featured but it contains others like Pantene, Revlon, Aveeno, Nivea and a few more all between $1-$3 off. Overall, I think this is a wonderful value just for the bag alone which is a cute London Soho animal print cosmetic bag (i'm loving that the bag isn't a flat print but actually has texture to it resembling fur) and once you factor in the coupon book and the samples, it's just too good to pass up. I'm sad that this will be the last one but I can only hope that after awhile maybe Target will bring the beauty bags back! I will be posting reviews after I have tried everything.

Much love xo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

JUARA Skincare- A Review

As the winter months are vastly approaching, I've been on the hunt for new and awesome things to add to my skincare regime. You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon Juara skincare. I had honestly never heard of this company before I joined the MakeupTalk forums and started really getting a lot of suggestions and advice.

After hearing some amazing things, I contacted the company and explained my specific skincare needs in hopes that they might offer some suggestions of the best products to try out. I explained that I had dry/combination skin with an oily t-zone and dark spots and acne scars on my face. After settling on the Rose & Willowbark Blemish-Free Mask, Rice Facial Cleanser & Turmeric Antioxidant Mask, I was sent small samples of each to see what I liked before I made a purchase. I've always been a girl who prefers natural, homemade beauty remedies but lately, I've been starting to enjoy a lot of store bought skincare like the Philosophy Miracle Worker line and the DDF Brightening Cleanser (links to both of these reviews will be at the end of this post) I realize that some things can't be made at home.

Juara prides itself on products without animal testing, parabens or sulfates. Everything sounded perfect until I actually received the products, I'm sad to report that these products sent my skin into an uproar! About 10 minutes after using the rice cleanser my face started to itch horribly and sure enough, later that night I had pimples and redness everywhere, my face was also extremely oily. I know it was this cleanser because I hadn't seen a breakout nor oiliness since I started using my DDF Brightening cleanser. I don't know exactly what ingredient caused this but something certainly did not agree with my skin. Before this happened I had actually really liked the cleanser, it was very light, silky and creamy with a nice, soapy floral smell. It was very gentle and left my skin feeling soft, clean and refreshed. Another perk was that it did not make my face feel tight or dried out or flaky up until the breakout. Another con that I have with this is that the sample bottle I received did not have a pump and the bottle could not be squeezed so it is very difficult to pour out and use. The full size includes a pump however and can be purchased here: Rice Cleanser. I'm glad I got to try this product out but because of the reaction this had with my skin, I definitely will not be purchasing the full size.

After the rice cleanser made me breakout, I figured there was no better time to try out the Rose & Willowbark Blemish-Free mask that I was also sent to see if I saw any difference. The mask is lilac colored and grainy. I'm also sad to report that just like the rice cleanser, this mask did not agree with my skin whatsoever. After putting it on, it immediately made my face feel hot and like it was burning. OUCH! In Juara's defense, I don't know if this was because my skin was already irritated from using the rice cleanser or if my skin was going to react to the mask this way regardless. I started by splashing my face with cold water, I did not by any means want to cleanse my face again because it was already so irritated. Next, I applied a thin layer and let it sit on my face for about 10 minutes before washing off in cool water. While my skin did look and feel a little better, it was a lot softer and it got rid of a lot of the redness, it caused a few dry patches around my nose later on and overall did not give the results that I was hoping for.

All in all, it seems like Juara skincare is a big no no for my skin even though I really really wanted to love this brand. It's not that the products are necessarily bad, they just did not in any way agree with my skin. So if your skin is like mine, dry/combination, oily t-zone, or acne prone. I would probably stick clear of the rice cleanser and the rose & willowbark mask. As for the second mask that I was sent, which was the turmeric antioxidant mask, I think i'm just going to put it away in my stash for a later date for now. Not only is my skin way too irritated at this point but I am admittedly a bit hesitant. I won't throw it out but I will definitely be cautious about using it in the future.

In conclusion, you definitely win and lose some when it comes to skincare. I'm glad that I tried these products but I will definitely not be purchasing either and hopefully tomorrow I can go back to my trusty DDF and all will be well. I think Juara is a good company and I think that they offer a lot of really good products but in my opinion I believe they are going to be something that you either love or you hate and I definitely suggest inquiring about the samples before you make a purchase just in case.

As with any new product, if you experience any irritation then immediately discontinue use. 

You can find these products and many more at Juara Skincare

Much love xo

UPDATE: This morning I woke up and my skin was a lot better from yesterday. Most of the pimples and redness are now gone so maybe the rose & willowbark did help with that. I however, still would not purchase but i'm happy to see that it did at least produce some results. :) 

What's YOUR Holy Grail Beauty Product?

Hello lovelies! I know that I haven't been blogging a long time but you'd be amazed by how many of my favorite products have been replaced! From skincare to eyeliners, it seems that almost everything has changed from my first "holy grail" post and even my "40 Beauty Questions" post. It's almost exhausting searching for the gems of the beauty world but I definitely have fun rising to the challenge. It takes a lot of epic fails to find that one product but at the end, it's worth it. Here are my new and improved (with a few old loves) holy grail products:

1. Ulta Precision Liquid Eyeliner (Carbon Black): 
I've gone from gel to to liquid now and I can't see myself moving again. I have shaky hands and because of this eyeliners short length, I can easily hold it and make clean, bold lines.

2. Philosophy Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Serum & Moisturizer:
I LOVE both of these products. They are lightweight and leave no dreaded oily residue.

3. Organix Extra-Strength Moroccan-Argan Oil: 
This hair oil is absolutely perfect for my extremely dry hair. It softens my hair and gives it a nice glossy, healthy sheen. I use a quarter size amount on both damp and dry hair daily.

4/5. NYX Pore Filler & Shine Killer: 
These two are amazing. The pore filler is tinted and so I actually use it as a foundation. A little goes a long way with both of these and I use these two separately as well as combined for special occasions. The pore filler has a light, airy, fluffy texture and has a nude skin tone tint to it. The shine killer is a clear silicone gel similar to Smashbox Photofinish and Palladio's Foundation Primer. I've used both of those in the past and I can without a doubt say that in my opinion the NYX crushes both of them.

6. Too Faced Shadow Insurance: 
My absolutely favorite eyeshadow primer. It holds my shadows on all day and they don't even think about budging even with my oily lids.

7. Earth Therapeutics Complexion Brush:
I use this daily to cleanse and gently exfoliate my face and it works like a dream.

8. DDF Brightening Cleanser:
A new found holy grail thanks to Birchbox! I received this in my October Goop box and I couldn't be any happier. My dark spots and acne scarring have already started to fade and my skin is brighter, glowing and more healthy looking.

9. ELF Eyebrow Kit (Medium):
A forever holy grail for me. In the past i've tried everything from pencil to shadow to mascara and I could never get the natural eyebrow look until I started using this.

10/11. Paladio Herbal Tinted Lip Balm (Rosey) & Essence of Beauty Lip Butter: 
I love both of these and depending on what look i'm going for, I use one or the other. Since the Palladio is tinted I use it both alone and sometimes over my Scarlet Ibis lipstick for a stunning color. I use the Essence Lip Butter mainly at bed time or after I take off my makeup. Both of these balms are extremely moisturizing and keep my lips soft for hours.

12. Aroma workshop Shea Butter Body Cream: 
Best body butter I've found. This product is super thick but non greasy and keeps my skin nourished.

Let me know what your holy grail beauty products are below! If you have any questions or would like me to do a separate review on any of these products, check out my contact page!

Much love xo

Revlon Kissable Lip Balm Stains- A Review

Smitten LEFT. Romantic RIGHT
Hello lovelies :) I'm bringing you a review today of the Revlon Kissables. I purchased a couple of them about two weeks ago. Overall, I think they are a nice product but I don't feel that they are any more unique than other pigmented lip balms. They are advertised as a stain, a more moisturizing version of the Just Bitten lip stains but I don't feel that they really leave anything to brag about. Because of the glossy, moisturizing texture, it's almost impossible for this product to actually sink into the lips and leave anything noticeable behind, I also experienced quite a bit of feathering with these, I find myself wiping around my lips every few minutes and that's a big no no with me. I want a lip product that requires little to no maintenance, no one wants to worry about product being all over their face and teeth!

Romantic LEFT. Smitten RIGHT
I have two shades, the first being "Romantic", which is a very pretty, bright red. I also have "Smitten" which is a bright, cool toned hot pink. They are both very glossy, sheer, and wear about 2-3 hours. The biggest con I have with these lip balms is their smell, I don't find the mint/menthol to be very appealing and upon opening them I actually turned up my nose because the smell is so strong. It's not necessarily bad but it is definitely something that I personally do not like. I've never been a fan of scented lip products because I find that they are often very hit or miss and usually smell extremely artificial. Another con is the amount of product that you receive (2.7g/0.095oz) which is a normal amount but because the product is so sheer, you have to really pack it on to get the true color and that results in extremely quick product wear down.

Smitten BOTTOM. Romantic TOP
Overall, these are nice balms, I really like the texture and the way they feel on my lips and I love the colors but, I don't experience any real staining effect with these even after applying multiple layers so because of that, I definitely wouldn't go out of my way to get them, especially if they were not on sale. I like Revlon lip products but it seems to me that they take the same things and repackage them as slightly different. In terms of similar products, I would choose the lip butters over these because they don't have the mint smell and they seem to last longer on the lips. I'm glad that I tried them but I definitely do not see myself repurchasing these once I use them up, they just aren't unique enough for me to specifically pick them over any other pigmented balm, my favorites being the Paladio tinted balms and Revlon's lip butters.

Much love xo

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DDF Brightening Cleanser- A review

Sweet holy cannoli !! I have now found my favorite new face cleanser. I received this in my October Birchbox and I officially couldn't be any happier.

I was initially very excited to try this because I have acne scarring and dark spots on the sides of my face but upon looking at a few reviews online I became a little hesitant. It seems the product is one of those things that you either despise or you can't live without it (i'm happy to say that i'm the latter) The product itself is a clear liquid with an almost gel type consistency and has a light, pleasant smell. I can't seem to pick up the licorice smell that the product claims to have. A little goes a long way with this, I use about a nickel to quarter size amount and it lathers just enough. This bottle is definitely going to last a long time.

Ingredients list
I truly love this cleanser for multiple reasons, even after the first use my skin was significantly brighter and more fresh and awake looking, because of this I especially love to use this in the morning. After about a week of using this product daily, my acne scarring definitely looks better and has started to fade just a bit. I AM THRILLED! Another pro to this cleanser is that for me, it controls the oil on my T-zone, as i've stated before I have combination skin but a severely oily T-zone which I absolutely hate because I love a matte face. After washing my face with this product it keeps my face matte throughout the entire day, I can even go so far as to say that I haven't seen any oil on my T-zone since using this cleanser. I have also seen less pimples/spots and a more even skintone since using this.

This product contains both salicylic and glycolic acid (AHA) which can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun so use with caution and protect your skin! As with anything, if you notice any irritation then immediately discontinue use.

I wasn't sure if this cleanser could be used all over the body so I did a bit of research and it can! The DDF website states: "Excellent for face and body as part of an overall hypigmentation program" For this I am especially grateful because like any other plus size girl, I experience chub rub, so this will be a great way to keep those areas from turning dark.

Brush is by Earth Therapeutics ($2.99)
How I use this product: personally I have always washed my face with cold water (the world lets out a collective GASP!) I know that a lot of people are strictly against using cold water as well as water that is too warm but I have found that this works for me and I have experienced no ill side effects as of yet. My routine is very simple, I start by wetting my complexion brush and squeezing a small amount of cleanser directly onto it, I splash a bit of water onto my face and then clean and exfoliate for 3-5 minutes before rinsing off. The brush is gentle enough to use daily. Depending on your skintype, this cleanser can be drying so be sure to use a moisturizer afterwards.

In short, I honestly can't thank birchbox enough for sending me this. I've always been curious about lightening creams/cleansers because of my acne scarring but was too afraid to try anything but i'm glad that I have now! I encourage anyone with similar skin troubles to atleast give this a try! The full size retails for $38.00.

Much love xo

Friday, October 12, 2012

Philosophy Miracle Worker

With the arrival of the cold weather, my skincare routine is one of the first things that I change along with my clothing and makeup. My skin is naturally on the drier side and the frigid weather only makes it worse. This year, for the first time I tried out Philosophy's Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Kit (trial size) which retails for $40 and includes the moisturizer, serum and a two week supply of retinoid pads. I must say that I am in love! My favorites are the moisturizer and the serum. I like the retinoid pads but I doubt that I will repurchase. Not because they aren't good but more so because I don't think I need them. The kit sizes are as follows: the serum is 7.5ml/0.25 oz, the moisturizer is 14g/0.5 oz and 15 retinol pads.

I have dry/combination skin and I am always hesitant to try new moisturizers because they always seem to be too heavy for my liking or they leave behind an oily residue which I absolutely hate. I was looking for a great moisturizer, preferably with vitamins and/or antioxidants that sunk into my skin and did not leave anything behind. Thankfully, I have now without a doubt found my new true love! My skin happily drank up all of the products up and they left my skin feeling soft, smooth and looking radiant. I have a few tiny smile lines and I could definitely already see the difference after just a few uses. This is definitely a holy grail product and now a permanent staple in my routine.  

The retinol pads arrive dry with the solution in a separate bottle to mix once purchased. I will admit that I was at first a bit confused on whether I was supposed to pour the entire bottle onto the pads or put a small amount of solution onto a pad once I was ready to use it. After some quick research, you are to pour the entire contents of the bottle onto the pads. The pads are to be used first, after you cleanse your face you take a pad and wipe it all over your face and the back of your hands. I do like these pads because they don't leave an oily residue but I don't think I will repurchase.

The serum is to be used next. I really LOVE this product. My skin drank it up immediately and like all three of these products, did not leave a residue. The serum is clear.

The moisturizer is used last, this is my absolute favorite of the trio. It's very light and kept my skin soft and hydrated. I used a pea size amount with both this and the serum, a little goes a long way!

Much love xo

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Birchbox (Goop Edition)

Hello lovelies! This month Birchbox partnered up with Goop and offered a special collaboration box. I opted in for the goop box and to be quite honest, I like the box I received but i'm still pretty on the fence about it. There is nothing wrong with the products per say outside of the fact that 3 out of my 5 samples are just about too small to even use properly. I would have really loved to receive the Essie polish or the BeautyBlender I've been dying to try but, you win some and you lose some. The items I received are:

1. DDF Brightening Cleanser, i'm really excited to try this because I have some dark spots and acne scarring on the sides of my face. I really hope this works because if it does I will definitely be buying the larger size. The sample is a very good size at 4.5 fl oz (133ml). The full size retails for $38 USD

2. Orofluido Hair oil 0.17oz. I already use argan and olive oil on my hair so I really have no use for this but I will definitely try it. Who knows, I could really love it! The sample is good for a few uses but not many. The oil itself has a very odd, sweet scent that i'm not in love with. Full size is $29.99

3. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum 0.06 oz. The sample is entirely too small to get enough uses out of. Like the hair oil above, this product does not have a very pleasant scent. Full size is $79

4. Perfekt Beauty Lip Perfection Gel in color "Melrose" The sample is a RIDICULOUS 0.002 fl oz (0.05ml) I have personally gotten this very same sample for FREE. It honestly angers me that this would be considered one of my "deluxe" beauty samples. It's things like this that seriously make me reconsider my subscription.

My lifestyle extra was a 3 variety pack of Mighty Leaf teas. I'm excited to try these because tea is my favorite drink. The teas are very fragrant and they smell wonderful, the tea bags themselves are well made little cloth bags versus the usual paper tea bag material.

Overall, this was a good box. The cleanser alone is worth the box price so everything else is just a bonus to me. Although i'm a little cheesed over the ironically named Perfekt sample, it will nonetheless be put to use.  I'm especially looking forward to using the teas and the DDF cleanser and will be trying these out immediately. My only gripe this month is that even though the box is supposed to be a Goop collaboration box containing products special Goop picks, I have the feeling that these items are really just leftover Birchbox stock because every last one of these items have been featured in past months, it's a little too coincidental for my liking.

You can use my referral code to sign up for your birchbox here:

Happy birchboxing lovelies! Much love xoxo

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Marilyn Monroe M.A.C Collection "Scarlet Ibis"

Like many others, I absolutely adore Marilyn. So of course, once M.A.C announced this collection I HAD to have a few items from it. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to purchasing until this Saturday 10/6 and because of that almost everything was sold out. But, just by sheer luck I was able to get the exact lipstick that I had wanted, which, at the end of the day is all that matters right?

Let me present Scarlet Ibis from the Marilyn collection (it is actually a re-promote from a collection earlier this year) I absolutely ADORE this shade. It is a beautiful reddened orange. The color itself is entirely opaque and can be worn full on or sheered out for an absolutely gorgeous tint. The color is matte, and because of that leaves a stain on the lips which lasted on me even after eating, drinking and taking a little nap (no joke here) I've come to find that less is more with this shade and seems to last incredibly long when used sparingly. The only downside for me is that I only purchased one so I almost don't want to use it!

What I love about this collection overall is that to me, it truly speaks Marilyn. Everything in the collection is actually like what she wore in real life. All of the colors are very subtle, very neutral and natural with just the right amount of glam.

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring" - Marilyn Monroe

Update: The absolute PERFECT lip liner for this is NYX Slim lip pencil in the color "Pumpkin"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fixing Broken Makeup

Mac Blot Powder in Medium Dark
Makeup wearers unite! We all have that sad, sad day where one of our powder compacts just completely shatters and you're left wondering, "how do I move on with my life?". Kidding of course but seriously we all hate when this happens. If you're like me, way back when I had absolutely no knowledge of what to do in this situation. Do you throw the product out? Maybe give it a tearful goodbye or do you try and put it into another container? While both of those are options that you can do, I suggest trying out this ultra simple trick before you let your broken compact go.

Start by taking a baby wipe or an alcohol towelette and cleaning your compact, wiping away all of the debris. Next, take a clean spoon or a makeup spatula and break up the chunks, it should look something like this

After your makeup looks like the picture to the left, get out your clear rubbing alcohol (I used 50%) and add a couple drops directly to the makeup. Depending on what size your compact is it could take more or less. I used about half a teaspoon, maybe a little less. There should be no excess liquid. Now, take a spoon and smooth out your makeup as if you were putting icing on a cake.

Finally, get a round object (a coin, glass, can) and sanitize it. Take a clean piece of tissue and lay it directly on your makeup, followed by your choice of object (I used a one dollar coin) and now we just press! Apply firm but not overbearing pressure for a few seconds at a time until your compact is smooth and flat. Remove the tissue, close the compact and allow to dry for at least a day, I let mine dry for 3 just to be completely safe. Now your beloved compact is as good as new! Sadly, on mine the coin I used wasn't large enough to create a completely smooth surface but it's usable!

TIP: If you are worried about the alcohol staying inside the product, don't be! The alcohol will evaporate, which is why I suggest leaving it alone for a couple of days. The higher the alcohol concentrate, the faster it will dry. The odor will also dissipate and leave nothing behind.

I hope this helps some of you lovelies out there, I know it definitely helped me. Much love xoxo