skincare

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 ♥

Birchbox- April 2014

This month’s Birchbox theme is “Rainy Days,” bringing us a box full of beauty samples perfect for testing when you’re stuck indoors during April showers. This April hasn’t been too rainy in NYC, but I’m still game for testing new samples, whatever the weather, so let’s get started.

aprilbirchbox7

 

 

Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection in “Breakfast at…” – I got a sneak peak at the Gala’s Gem’s Collection at a Birchbox event a few months back (click here to read all about it), so I already knew I was a fan of these polishes before “Breakfast at…” came in this month’s box. The range features four gorgeous pastel shades perfect for spring. Unfortunately I already own the entire collection, but I will definitely put this duplicate to good use by gifting it to a friend.

Color Club Gala's Gems Collection in "Breakfast at..."

Color Club Gala’s Gems Collection in “Breakfast at…”

 

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo & Reconstructing Masque – This is the one product I haven’t tested out yet from this month’s box. To be honest I’m a little wary about using a clarifying shampoo on my colored hair, so I may stick it on my boyfriend’s shelf in the shower for him to try. The Reconstructing Masque sounds nice, but the sample is so tiny (imagine a ketchup packet) I’m skeptical of whether it will be able to cover my entire head. If I give either a try and they work miracles, I’ll definitely report back.

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Clarifying Shampoo

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Reconstructing Masque

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Reconstructing Masque

 

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in “Jamun (Deep Purple)” – This soft wax pencil promises to give long wearing color while not irritating the eyes, and I can say it definitely delivers on both. A beautiful purpely brown color that’s hard to pick up in photographs, this is a great softer alternative to lining the eyes with classic black liner. I’m not sure where you can buy Sumita products, but with a full size of this liner retailing for just over $10 I would certainly be interested in trying more from the range.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in "Jamun (Deep Purple)"

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in “Jamun (Deep Purple)”

 

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum – I was a little disappointed to find another sunscreen in my box after receiving a Coola sunscreen last month that wasn’t my cup of tea. This Supergoop sunscreen serum is much better though, going on even, not irritating my sensitive skin, and wearing well under makeup all day. I’m happy with the moisturizer/sunscreen I’m currently using, but this is certainly a good alternative and will make a great addition to my travel makeup bag.

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum

 

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt – Last but not least, this month’s lifestyle extra was a delicious granola bar from KIND Snacks. Full of whole grains and the perfect balance of salty and sweet flavor, I’ve already gone out and purchased a box of these– they’re delicious!

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt

KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt

 

Overall I’m very happy with my April Birchbox and appreciated its mix of makeup, skincare, haircare, and nail products, since it seems like for the past few months my boxes have contained a ton of skincare products. Did you get any of the same samples in your box this month? Leave a comment telling me what you’re loving!

-LMC ♥

 

Visit to Dermalogica Academy

dermalogica2

Dermalogica Academy in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is best described as the lovechild that would result if your favorite spa mated with an Apple store. The minimal glass and chrome decor is an echo of Dermalogica’s line of skincare products– cleanly packaged and free from any fluff, it’s just straightforward and full of the finest ingredients. I had long been curious to try Dermalogica’s brand of products, and when a friend recently came into town for a visit I figured it was the perfect occasion to book facials at the Academy and see what their products were all about.

Dermalogica Academy trains Professional Skin Therapists, covering coursework that sounds straight out of a Pre-Med program. Topics include Bacteriology, Chemistry, and Superfluous Hair (okay, maybe the MD’s don’t take that one).  Our visit to Dermalogica Academy included a 60-minute customized skin treatment carried out by one of the Skin Therapists in training (and closely supervised by their instructors), which featured an individualized routine of cleansing, exfoliation, masks, toners, and extractions. Every procedure begins with a face mapping skin analysis covering all 14 zones of the face (yeah, I had no idea the face was so complicated either), noting whether each zone contains breakouts, dehydration, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, sensitivity, and a host of other skincare concerns.

After the face mapping the fun really began. First any makeup was removed and our face, ears, and neck (all 14 zones, remember?) were cleansed and lightly exfoliated. Since my friend and I have different skin types we were treated to entirely customized treatments from this point forward. She received a hydrating and firming mask that was vaguely reminiscent of the facial prosthetics from Mrs. Doubtfire. (Kudos to her for not suffocating!) I was treated to an extensive round of pore extraction followed by a mask of colloidal oatmeal plus a round of small electric pulses (read: shocks)  intended to kill bacteria and diminish breakouts. As you can tell, this isn’t your typical tranquil day at the spa– a trip to Dermalogica Academy definitely puts the “medi” in medi-spa, feeling more like a visit (albeit a relaxing one) to a high-end dermatologists office.

Overall we left our treatments feeling refreshed, with a good sense of what our skin needed to be its healthiest and look its best. (My list includes more moisture, less fragrance, and a break from my beloved Clarisonic every now and then.) Finally we stopped by the Skin Bar to discuss some Dermalogica products that would be suited to our needs. I went home with the UltraCalming Cleanser and Daily Microfoliant, and samples of the Clean Start Emergency Spot Fix, Precleanse oil, Pure Light SPF 30 day cream, and Pure Night night cream. I’m still working through the samples and forming my opinions, so look for reviews soon to come. So far I can say that I am absolutely loving the UltraCalming cleanser and just may purchase a full size once my travel sized bottle runs out.

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I loved my experience at Dermalogica Academy and have been incorporating many of the tips and techniques recommended by my Skin Therapist into my daily routine. I’m excited to visit again and keep testing out their products as well. Have you tried anything from the Dermalogica line? Leave a comment if you have any recommendations that I should try next. And if you’re ever in New York City and your skin needs a little pick me up, head over to Dermalogica Academy- stat!

-LMC ♥