cleanser

April 2014 Favorites

Spring is finally here and I’ve loved updating my current makeup and skincare routine for the new season. I also picked up some  items at IMATS New York and as birthday gifts during April, so there have been a lot of new goodies to try out this month.

For lips I’m loving the NYX Butter Gloss in “Angel Food Cake,” a warm mauvey red that gives my nature lip color the perfect boost of color and shine. I’m not a huge lipgloss fan, but this formula is extremely easy to wear and fades nicely throughout the day, rather than the gross patchy/crusty look that can get left behind when some glosses wear away. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to give the Butter Glosses a try, but now I definitely plan to add more shades to my collection.

NYX Butter Gloss in "Angel Food Cake"

NYX Butter Gloss in “Angel Food Cake”

 

On my cheeks it’s been all about a natural flush, which I’ve achieved most days using either Stila’s Convertible Color in “Gerbera” or Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in “Exposed”. Gerbera is a lovely cream product meant for cheeks or lips (I have to say it’s not my favorite on the lips, but it’s beautiful as a blush), that imparts a natural coral pop when blended into the apples of my cheeks. Exposed is a rosy mauve/brown that I use as a bit of blush and contour in one and leaves me looking like I’ve spent an afternoon outside rather than indoors at a computer!

Stila Convertible Color in "Gerbera"

Stila Convertible Color in “Gerbera”

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in "Exposed"

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in “Exposed”

Tarte "Exposed", Stila "Gerbera", NYX "Angel Food Cake"

Tarte “Exposed”, Stila “Gerbera”, NYX “Angel Food Cake”

 

The brush that earns top honors this month is Sigma’s F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush. It’s perfect for precise application of cream or powder products and is just so damn soft, I can’t get over it. I’m a big fan of all of the Sigma brushes I’ve tried so far, but this one is definitely my favorite of the moment.

Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush

Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush

 

When I first tried Benefit’s They’re Real mascara last year I found the formula too wet and clumpy for my taste and barely used the tube I had received as a sample from Sephora. After receiving another sample I decided to give it a second try since it seems to be such a crowd pleaser, and boy am I glad, because this time around I’m in love. Maybe my tastes have changed or my first tube was a little off, but this month I’ve been loving They’re Real for lashes that are separated, lengthened, and thickened all at once. This has been my go-to mascara nearly every day in April, and I see a full size purchase in my future once this cute sample runs out.

Benefit They're Real mascara

Benefit They’re Real mascara

 

Last but not least, my skincare favorite this month has been Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Cleanser, which I picked up during my visit to Dermalogica Academy (check it a post about my visit here). This gentle cleanser has a combination cream/gel formula and works wonders on my dry, sensitive skin. Sadly I used up my travel sized bottle yesterday, so I’ll be saving my pennies to purchase a full size soon!

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

 

There you have my most-loved products for the month of April. Has spring finally hit where you live, and have you switched up any of your makeup, skincare, or frangrances to welcome the new season? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re loving!

-LMC ♥

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Weekend Wrap-up #4

Three cheers for me that I am finally back home with my beloved kitty, boyfriend, and comfy bed! My business trip went well, but I am so happy to be back to normal life this week. That also means access to my entire makeup stash, rather than just the bits in my travel bag, so expect more regular posts coming your way.

As I just got back on Friday night I spent most of the weekend relaxing and unpacking. We found ourselves in a bit of a mood on Saturday where we wanted to “spring clean” (fall clean?), rearrange furniture, and take care of lots of odds and ends that we’d been putting off for ages around the apartment. The result is still slightly chaotic, but we’re on the way to having everything sorted and in its proper place soon. New additions include a breakfast bar with stools and a chalkboard wall!

After we wrapped up everything on Sunday I headed over to  my local Sephora for a Skincare Basics course. I’ve attended one other class at Sephora in the past, an Intro To Smokey Eyes that was fun and informative, but nothing to really write home about. I expected the Skincare Basics course to be similarly, well, basic, but I thought it would at least be a good opportunity to learn about and try some new products.

Shortly after arriving and checking in with a sales associate I learned I was in for a big treat– everyone else in my class had canceled and I was going to have a 1-on-1 consultation and treatment with the skincare specialist teaching the class! Lauren, the skincare specialist who worked with me, was so sweet and helpful, and did a great job making me feel relaxed even though we were in the middle of a crowded store.

She began by removing my makeup, and then set me in front of the Dr. Dennis Gross Steamer to open up my pores. After that she did a quick cleanse using Shisedo Cleansing Foam and we moved on to a mask treatment, the beauty blogger favorite Glam Glow Youthmud Tinglexfoliant treatment! Coming in at a hefty $70 for a 1.7 oz tub, this was a mask that I’d heard raves about, but assumed I’d never have the opportunity to try. While I’m not sure if I can justify purchasing it myself, I loved the tingly feeling of the mask and the soothing bits of french sea clay and green tea leaf. While I had the mask on Lauren also applied a Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strip to my nose, which was like your average nose strip on steroids. At this point I looked seriously crazy sitting in the middle of the store with mud all over my face and a huge black strip on my nose– some girls even saw me through a window and came inside to ask me what I was doing!

As both treatments sat for about 10 minutes Lauren gave me a hand massage with a fabulous rose scented L’Occitane hand cream that I couldn’t help but purchase in the lavender scent after we finished– it was amazing! Then she removed my mask and pore strip and finished with a facial massage using a mix of Shisedo Ibuki Refining Moisturizer and a few drops of Marula Facial Oil. I had never thought about mixing a few drops of facial oil into my moisturizer before, so this was a great tip to pick up. At this point my face felt and looked more smooth and radiant than I’ve honestly ever seen it. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a professional facial, and if they yield results like this I can see why some people are so addicted! Overall I learned quite a bit about what skincare products would best suit my skin type, and came out feeling relaxed and refreshed to start the new week. Huge thanks to Lauren and Sephora Meatpacking for the fun evening!

Have you tried any classes at your local Sephora store? I’m signed up for another class (this time on Colorful Eye Makeup) in a few weeks, and I’m excited to report back on what I learn and what fun products I get to test out. Until next time, I hope you had a great weekend and that your week is off to a lovely start!

-LMC ♥

Skincare Staples: Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleaning Balm

A few months ago I began a quest to update my skincare regime. As I’ve moved past the blemish-prone years of my teens and early twenties I thought it was time to find some products more suited to my current skin type and needs (fairly dry, sensitive, with occasional hormonal breakouts). I also decided it was high time to resist buying products based on the latest fads, or just because they smelled like pink grapefruit or came with a rubberized face squeegee.  Over the next few weeks I’d like to share some of the Skincare Staples I’ve uncovered in this quest to upgrade and streamline my skincare routine.

The first place I went to educate myself on skincare basics was Caroline Hirons, a facialist and skincare expert who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is on her website http://www.carolinehirons.com. The first piece of advice I took from Caroline was the magic power of cleansing balms, something I’d never heard of, let alone tried. Made popular through brands like Liz Earle and Emma Hardie, cleansing balms have a thick consistency reminiscent of a lip balm that you rub onto your dry face and then remove with a warm, damp washcloth.

While there are a number of cleansing balms on the market they’re mostly produced by luxury brands, and I wasn’t keen on spending upwards of $30-$100 on a type of product I’d never tried before. Then I stumbled upon Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm while perusing Target during a trip home a few months ago. Around $8 for 2.1 oz jar (including a muslin cloth) seemed much more reasonable, so I promptly scooped it up to give it a shot.

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I’ve incorporated Boots Botanics Organic Cleansing Balm into my evening skincare routine, spreading a generous amount onto my face (after removing makeup with a wipe) and massaging it into my skin. This may be a bit of an overshare, but after working it in for a few minutes I can literally see and feel the clogged pores on my nose and cheeks becoming, well, unclogged. Once I’ve properly massaged the product in for a bit (it won’t absorb, rather you’ll be left looking like you rubbed a stick of butter on your face) I dampen a muslin cloth or wash cloth with warm water and wipe the product off my face. This helps to break down and remove any access make that may have been left behind and leaves my skin feeling clean and purged without that awful tight feeling that some cleansers leave behind.

While I’m always hesitant to tout a skincare item as a miracle worker, I can definitely say this has improved the texture of my skin and left it much more hydrated in the months I’ve been using it. Even better, a little goes a long way, as you can see I’m only one quarter through the tub after a few months of daily use. I’m toying with the idea of upgrading to a high-end cleansing balm when this one runs out– currently I have my eye the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. We’ll see though, the experience I’ve had with the Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm has been great, and with its availability at Target and low price point, I may decide that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’ll be back with more Skincare Staples I’ve been loving in the coming weeks. In the meantime, what’s your favorite item in your current skincare regime? Even though I’m currently using some great products, I always love new recommendations!

-LMC ♥