dry skin

October Favorites

Welcome back to another Monday! Instead of doing a Weekend Wrap-Up today I wanted to get in an October Favorites post before we get too far into November (and I head out of town tomorrow). You can tell that the cold has definitely hit NYC, as the majority of these products are dedicated to achieving vampy fall makeup looks or keeping my skin smooth and hydrated. Here are my must have products for the month of October–

october favorites

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (Crush) – The original drugstore chubby lip crayon, you really can’t beat the Revlon Balm Stains. They’ve come out with Lacquer and Matte versions recently (see the shades I picked up here), but I have to say the original Balm Stains are still #1 in my heart. This particular shade creates the perfect wine colored lip for fall, plus it stays put for hours and leaves behind a beautiful stain when it begins to wear away. My boyfriend even commented that he loves all the fall lip colors I’ve been wearing lately… the truth is it’s pretty much just been this one!

L’Occitane Lavender Hand Cream – I picked this up earlier in the month after my Sephora Skincare Basics course (actually more of a spa day– check out my post here). It’s a rich cream that I’ve been applying nightly before bed, and so far my hands have stayed soft and moisturized despite the chilly air. I’ve also sampled the Rose scent, which was great, but I’m really loving the Lavender best– it definitely has some soothing aromatherapy properties that help to totally relax me!

Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush – This brush comes as a part of the Real Techniques Your Eyes Enhanced Starter Set, and as far as I know cannot be purchased on its own. That’s really a shame, since I’d love about 10 of them in my collection. At the risk of inciting a beauty community war, I’d say that this fluffy blending brush does the job of a MAC 217– only better. An essential tool for packing color on the lid or blending out the crease, if I had to live with just one eyeshadow brush forever more, this would be it.

Milani Easybrow (Natural Taupe) – Let’s start by saying, my eyebrows are kind of crazy. I lust after the thick arches that Lily Collins is famous for, but instead I’m left with brows that are somehow both thick (the hairs themselves) and sparse (they’re few and far between). I’ve been on a quest for the perfect product to give them a little extra oomph, and would appreciate not draining my bank account in the process (Benefit and Anastasia, I’m looking at you). While the Miliani Easybrow pencil isn’t perfect (the tip is a little too wide for my taste and the packaging breaks easily), the color and texture of the product are the best I’ve come across. A cool taupe that seems to unite my naturally dark brows with my bleached blonde hair, the pencil has a slightly waxy consistency that holds my hairs in place and fills in gaps without being too noticeable. I wouldn’t give this one holy grail status, but I have reached for it most days this month, so I thought it deserved a mention.

Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask – It seems that charcoal based detoxifying masks have been quite the rage lately, so I was excited to see Freeman’s came out with their version that allowed me to jump on the bandwagon at a drugstore price. The mask features activated charcoal to absorb oil and impurities and black sugar to exfoliate dead skin cells. This mask is fairly gentle and leaves my skin feeling smooth and clear after each use. It can be a little messy to apply and remove so I like to put on my bathrobe, apply the mask and relax on the couch for 5-10 minutes, and then jump in the shower to rinse it away.

The Body Shop Moringa Beautifying Oil – This all-purpose oil (they recommend it for face, body, and hair) has become a staple in my quest to keep winter dry skin at bay. It contains a blend of moringa seed, kukui, sweet almond, and marula oils, and I must admit I was first draw to it hoping it would contain the same skin benefits as the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. A few times a week I like to massage a couple of drops of this oil on to my face before bed and I wake up the next morning looking radiant.

I’d love to hear about any new discoveries or old favorites that you’ve been reaching for on the daily. Leave a comment and tell me about it!

-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.



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 ♥