Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top 10 of 2017 | Year in Review

Well, anyone who's bothered to stick around with me for 2017 knows that this definitely wasn't my year for blogging. Guys.... mommin' ain't easy. And it's not really mommin' that's tough, but when I get time to sit down and have an hour to myself, the last thing I want to do after working all day, or cooking dinner, or running errands, is prop open my computer. I want to pick up a book or catch up on a TV show. But believe me when I say my brain is hopping with blog ideas, and I'd like to get back in the swing in 2018, but I know better than to make any firm promises. All I can really say is to follow me on Instagram for beauty stories, photos, quick reviews, life stuff etc. because that's the more feasible, less time-consuming option these days.

Despite my miserable attempt at maintaining this blog, I have been pondering over my 2017 favorites for quite some time now, and thanks to a handy dandy fancy new lightbox from my husband for Christmas (bear with me... I'm still learning the best ways to use it!), I was able to take photos at a weird time in my dark house and get this post out to you!

I'm really excited to share these ten products because they've honestly been game changers for me. Some of these things I've loved longer than this year, but my true devotion was cemented within 2017, and some of these things are new to me completely. I hope you enjoy this post and find some new products to love, too - and please share with me what YOU loved this year in the comments below... starting tomorrow I'm taking recommendations for potential 2018 favorites. 

In no particular order, here are my top 10 of 2017...

  • It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination - Based on a recommendation from one of Thataylaa's videos, I gave this powder foundation a shot and it has rocked my world. I don't use it as my primary foundation, but I use it to set my foundation everywhere but my under eyes and my forehead (it cakes under my eyes and makes my forehead look greasy). It has a very, very subtle radiant glow and it adds a bit of coverage, but most importantly it makes my skin look flawless. Now, this product will set you back a bit, ringing in at $35 for 0.3 oz, but if you use it as I do, you'll get months of use out of it. I have yet to hit pan on my first compact and I've been using it for over five months. This is now a staple in my beauty routine and I don't see that changing any time soon.
  • Pixi Beauty Bronzer in Subtly Suntouched - I've loved this bronzer for quite some time now (you may recall seeing it here in the past) but it's become my number one favorite this past year. I use it almost every single day and it's absolutely perfect for a subtle contour or glow. It provides a delicate radiance without being shimmery or glittery, which gives a healthy-looking glow and makes me appear less "my kid is zapping all my energy" zombie-tired-looking. I think this is a fantastic bronzer, especially if you're as fair-skinned as I am, and an added bonus is that you can easily pick it up at Target.
  • Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara - I haven't talked much about this, but it has shown up in some empties posts this past year. I'll admit, this is not a necessary product, but I adore it and won't be without it. If you're one of those unlucky few whose mascara smudges all over your undereye, you need this product. It doesn't smudge, flake, smear, or wear away. The brush is also really tiny so it's easy to apply. One tube costs $11 and it lasts me at least 3 months, and despite that it's not 100% necessary, I'll still keep buying it because I love it.
  • Reviva Labs Eye Gelee Concentrate - Forever I am looking for a miracle for the fine lines that accentuate my blah undereye area. This is, by no means, a miracle, but it definitely helps keep that delicate area hydrated and more plump. I use this underneath an eye cream and I've seen a noticeable difference.  It's darn cheap, so if you struggle with dry, lined undereyes, it's worth giving this a try.
  • Origins High Potency Night-a-Mins - I'm a habitual "trier". I skip around from one thing to the next in my skincare because I like to try new things and I'm always hunting for the next best thing. This night cream stuck out to me, though, and is something I want to use again and again. It's so luxurious, and it literally melts in to your skin for a burst of hydration and a remedy for uneven texture and dullness. I will definitely work my way through more jars of this stuff in 2018.
  • Nature's Bees lip balm - Those of you that know me, know I love my lip balms and lip sticks, so you know it's serious when I say I would gladly throw out every chapstick I own and only use this for the rest of my life. It is perfection. It has a lightly cooling minty flavor (and smell), it actually hydrates my lips, and I can actually feel it healing my lips when they're chapped or dry. The only place I've ever seen this in stores is at Big Lots, but I did find them online and you better believe a bulk order is happening soon.
  • Dr. Tung's Smart Floss - Is it weird to include a floss in my yearly favorites? Well, I don't care what your answer is, because this stuff is amazing and oral health is part of beauty in my book. This floss gently puffs up as you work your way through, getting any yucky stuff trapped between your teeth or in your gums out. Simply put, it's fantastic. Make your New Year's resolution to floss more, and pick this up on Amazon or a local natural health retailer. 
  • Elizabeth and James Nirvana White - At this point, I've used this fragrance for years. I've even written about it here before. But when I think back on my most-loved fragrances of the year, this one comes to mind. I used it frequently, sometimes alone, sometimes mixed with other Nirvana iterations, and I never once got sick of it. I'm not excellent at describing fragrances, but I'd say this is a preppy, musky, floral scent. It's great for summertime, but I wear it year round because I love it that much. You can find this at Sephora in a variety of sizes (and price points). 
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - I think 2017 was the year for The Ordinary. Word slowly crept around that you could get quality skincare (serums, toners, moisturizers, etc.) for a fraction of what you'd normally pay, and boom - suddenly The Ordinary was on the map. I hopped on the bandwagon, too, ordering a few products without expecting too much. I ended up falling in love with this Niacinamide and Zinc serum. With just one use, it visibly reduced the appearance of blemishes on my skin. I've been using it daily for a couple months now and swear by it. I've got backups in my stash for when this bottle runs out and I'm not afraid to use them! You can order this from the Deciem website, but The Ordinary recently became available online on, too.
  • Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation - I don't recall exactly where I heard about this, but when the Sephora VIB sale rolled around, this was on my list to try. It's a bit pricey, a whopping $40 for a foundation, but holy buckets, you guys... this is one of the best high-end foundations I've tried. It makes my skin look smooth and flawless and it lasts all day long. I kind of can't believe how good my skin looks even at 5 PM when I've been wearing it for a nearly 12 hours. If you're a dry or normal-skinned gal, don't let the "matte" in the name scare you; my skin is normal to combo and it looks just the right amount of dewy when wearing this foundation. Even though it hurts my wallet to say it, I always want to have a bottle of this in my drawer. 

And that's a wrap on my 2017 favorites. I look forward to more beauty fun in 2018 and hope you'll stay with me for the ride! Let me know if you've tried any of these products in the comments below, or if you have any recommendations, share those with me as well!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Empties | #41

I thought I'd just recently done an empties post, but I peeked in my bin to throw something out, and lo and behold it was plum full and it's been a month! Somehow it filled up rather quickly, and it's that time once again. Without further ado... my empties for you, with mini reviews and purchase recommendations for your reading pleasure.

  • Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream (would repurchase) - I used this extra-potent moisturizing cream on my hands at night because it is rather thick and greasy. It always made my hands feel brand new, especially during the cold and dry winter months. See full review here.
  • Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation (would repurchase) - I've talked this to death. It's my holy grail foundation and I've never found anything quite like it. I've always got a bottle or two on back up for when I run out. This is probably my 20th bottle, and it won't be my last. 
  • LaVanila Vanilla Passion Fruit deodorant (would repurchase) - LaVanila is my favorite natural deodorant brand. I enjoyed the scent of this and would certainly get it again. 
  • Korres Hand Cream in Bergamot Pear - This was a nice hand cream. It smelled fruity and moisturized nicely. 
  • Ken Paves Volumizing Shampoo (would purchase) - I really enjoyed this sample. It felt luxurious, and was reminiscent of Aveda shampoo and conditioners that I've used in the past. I'd definitely get this in the future.
  • Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate (would not purchase) - I wasn't a big fan of this face oil. It sat on top of my face and didn't do a lot.
  • Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (would purchase) - This was a nice, basic moisturizer. It felt good on my skin, didn't have much of a smell, and didn't break me out. I believe this is ridiculously expensive, but I'd consider it in the future.
  • Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam (would repurchase) - This is one foamy cleanser. It foams up like crazy but it left my skin feeling clean and refreshed. 
  • Nubian Heritage Abyssinian Oil & Chia Seed Body Cleansing Smoothie (would repurchase) - This was great. It doesn't foam up, it feels more like a light lotion. It smells amazing and it lingers. It's not super hydrating, but I could skip lotion and my skin wouldn't be completely desert-like. I haven't seen these around, but I picked this up at TJ Maxx and I'd definitely pick up more if I saw them again.
  • Suave Smoothing lotion (would not repurchase) - The only good thing about this is the nice, light smell. It wasn't very hydrating and felt like it just sat on top of my skin.
  • Tarte Lights Camera Lashes mascara (would not repurchase) - I know these samples are pretty inconsistent, unfortunately, and this one was awful. It was so dry and flaky I could hardly use it. I used it a couple times and then threw it away.
  • Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (would not repurchase) - I'm one of the few people who is not gaga for the Kat Von D tattoo liners. This is a brush-tip liner that dries to a satin finish. It's not that it's bad, I just think there are better liners for cheaper.
  • Milani Clear Brow Shaping Gel (would repurchase) - I've purchased this brow gel time and time again. This particular gel is clear so it's perfect if you just need to control the brows you have, or want to lock your brow powder in place. 
  • Clinique Bottom Lash mascara (would repurchase) - I'd totally get it if you told me I was crazy for buying a mascara solely for my bottom lashes, but I SWEAR by this stuff. It won't flake all over your face, and the small brush makes it easy to apply without smudging it everywhere. This is a new holy grail product of mine.
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara (would repurchase) - I really enjoyed this mascara. It gave me volume and length and didn't flake all over my face.
  • Hask Charcoal Purifying Shampoo (would repurchase) - I really like Hask shampoos and conditioners. They've sent me a variety of different ones to try, and this Charcoal line is one of my favorites, mostly because it smells heavenly. Full review here.
  • Brandless Mouthwash (would not repurchase) - Brandless is a super cool website where everything is $3 because they aren't making you pay for the brand. I tried a variety of kitchen products and I also grabbed the mouthwash. Unfortunately I wasn't a fan of this in the least. It tasted weird and made my teeth feel chalky.
  • First Aid Beauty Blemish Patrol Pads (would repurchase) - I liked these. They didn't completely keep my skin under control, but they helped shorten the time of my break outs and they felt nice on my skin. 
  • Befine Night Cream (would not repurchase) - I wasn't a fan of this night cream. It smelled nice, kind of like cocoa, but I think it contributed to breakouts on my skin and it wasn't moisturizing enough for my taste.
  • Pur-lisse Gentle Soy Milk Cleanser (would repurchase) - This cleanser is very gentle, and I'd definitely recommend it if you have sensitive skin. I really liked it and would definitely consider buying a full-size bottle.
  • Acure Facial Toner (would repurchase) - I like the packaging of this toner. The top is a spray nozzle, but it looks like it's more of a lotion bottle. This toner is gentle and the ingredients are great.
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - Surprise, surprise. I always have a tube of these in my empties. I love these for applying toner, removing eye makeup, cleaning brushes, taking off my nail polish, etc.
  • Organyc Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - I ordered these off of Vitacost just to try out an organic cotton round, and I liked them. They're not as great of a price as the Swisspers, but I'd consider ordering them now and then. 
  • Elizabeth & James Nirvana White perfume (would repurchase) - I adore this perfume. It smells wonderful and reminds me of really great memories. I've already purchased a full size bottle to replace this. Full review here
  • Hillary Duff With Love perfume (would repurchase) - I liked this much more than I thought I would. It's warm with notes of amber, but also has a strong "tropical" note. It's not coconut-y but, just has this added note that lightens the amber, woodsy-ness. I liked it! 
  • Clinique Moisture Surge moisturizer (would repurchase) - If you have really dry skin, this isn't going to be for you. It's a good base for us normal skin type folks. I used this during the day because I prefer a heavier night cream to do the dirty moisturizing work.
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer (would repurchase) - This was a good day time moisturizer. It has added SPF so you can protect your skin from UV rays. It's lightly fragranced and a little oily, but it was fine. Nothing to write home about.
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser (would not repurchase) - I wasn't a big fan of this cleanser. It didn't feel like it did much.
  • Caudalie Eye Lifting Balm (would not purchase) - This didn't do much for my undereyes. I'm very particular with my eye creams because I need extra oomph with the fine lines I have, and this didn't do it for me. It's quite pricey, too, so I wouldn't shell out for this. If it worked a miracle, I'd spend the money.
  • L'Occitane Shea Hand Cream (would not repurchase) - The smell of this is a bit "old-lady" like and it doesn't soothe the cracks in my knuckles that the Minnesota winter burdens me with. It's also quite greasy. It's not worth the money.
  • Nivea A Kiss of Recovery lip balm (would repurchase) - Maybe it's weird, but I adore medicated lip balms. They feel minty and that makes me think it's working, even if it's just a psychological thing. This really did treat my dry lips and get rid of dead skin.
  • Chapstick Green Tea Mint lip balm (would not repurchase) - I did not care for this. It felt like it was making my lips more chapped than they were and I wasn't crazy about the scent.
  • Smashbox Photo Finish primer (would repurchase) - I honestly can't tell if this contributes to break outs a little but I like the way it makes my skin look (smooth and poreless), so I used this up and I'd consider purchasing it.
  • Spongeables Pedi-Scrub Foot Buffer (would repurchase) - Every summer, I love having one of these in my shower. I go for a lot of walks and my wearing sandals 24/7 means I want my feet to be clean and exfoliated. These work great and last me all summer long.
  • Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads (would repurchase) - I snagged these at the Dollar Tree, and I actually really liked using them. The pads are really durable cotton or wool and one pad gets all 10 of my nails polish-free. 
  • Crest Be Inspired toothpaste in Vanilla Mint Spark (would not repurchase) - Typically, I'm all about anything vanilla mint flavored. This was a miss, though. It didn't make my mouth feel clean and I learned that perhaps vanilla mint is not a good toothpaste flavor.
  • Listerine Mint Floss (would not repurchase) - This used to be my holy grail floss. It's braided so it's thicker and gets more gunk out of my gums. But I found a new love and this has taken the back seat with no repurchasing in the foreseeable future. 
  • B&BW Cheers Mulled Wine candle (would not repurchase) - This is a candle from a couple years ago. It's very fruity and it made my whole house smell nice. It's not my favorite scent to have burning, and I'm done buying candles that aren't soy so I wouldn't get this again.
  • B&BW Cranberry Pumpkin candle (would repurchase) - So, I still wouldn't buy B&BW candles in the future, but if you love them you need to pick this scent up. It's scrumptious and smells like the holidays. I adored it.
  • DW Candles Honey Pumpkin candle (would not repurchase) - This was fine, very sweet, but nothing to go crazy over. It's also not soy, unfortunately.
  • Trader Joe's Vanilla Pumpkin candle (would repurchase) - I LOVE that Trader Joe's is releasing soy candles around the holidays. I think the packaging is adorable, and this scent was nice (quite sweet), too. 
  • Yankee Candle Lake Sunset candle (would repurchase) - Another non-soy candle, but it smelled amazing. Something about the smell really made me think of being at a cabin in the summer time. Such a good, nostalgic smell. 

And that's it! Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, November 24, 2017

We Smell Candles | Holiday gift idea!

I know, this is a beauty blog. But if you've read Glazed Over, you know I review the occasional candle, too. For some odd reason, many beauty bloggers do. Maybe it's because we enjoy yummy-scented perfumes, and also like our homes to smell nice, too? I don't know, and I don't care, and today I'm really excited to share a candle brand that's new to me with you.

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from We Smell Candles and was pleasantly surprised that their company is based about 40 minutes from my hometown! It's not often I work with local brands (simply because there aren't many local beauty brands in my neck of the woods) so I jumped at the opportunity. The fact they're local isn't the only reason I said yes to trying out their products... their candles and melts are soy-based, something I'm switching to exclusively (once I use up my massive backstock) because it burns cleaner and longer, and they have SO many amazing scents to choose from on their website. It was hard to narrow it down to just a couple choices! 

Patti from We Smell Candles was nice enough to send me their Christmas Tree candle and a "Quit Your Whining" wax melt to test out, and upon first whiff I couldn't wait to get these burning in my home. 

As expected, this candle is absolutely lovely. The packaging is high quality, poured perfectly in to a mason jar. I personally love the look of mason jar candles, this being no exception. Christmas Tree is described as the perfect Christmas scent, not artificial pine nastiness. I'd say that's spot on. Once you start burning this, you can expect your whole house to smell like the holidays. 

The We Smell Candles mason jar candles are in a 16 oz. mason jar. Compared to a normal 3-wick Bath & Body Works candle, you actually get 1.5 oz more wax. B&BW 3-wicks are just 14.5 oz and are usually more than $9.95. Plus, these are high quality soy candles, so they'll burn cleaner and last longer than any candle you buy from B&BW. I'd recommend We Smell Candles over B&BW any day. 

Quit Your Whining is a super sweet red cabernet scent perfect for any time of year. Pop these melts in to a warmer and your house will smell amazing for hours. I love that these are also soy-based. 

Check out the extensive list of scent options to choose from here if neither of these are up your alley.

Overall, I can't recommend We Smell Candles enough. I'm so thrilled I was turned on to this brand and I'll definitely be purchasing from them in the future when I use up the backstock of candles that I already have! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipsticks | Matte Metallics

Metallic is all the rage in the makeup world lately. Whether it be eyeshadow, eyeliner, highlighter or lipstick, it seems like there's a metallic product of some sort in every makeup line. 

In that vein, new to the drugstore lipstick scene is the Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Metallics line. There are 10 shades that are not for the faint of heart - if you're looking to add a dash of bold metallic color to your makeup routine, look no further.

Influenster graciously sent me two shades to try - Smoked Silver and Molten Bronze. Both shades are exactly what you'd expect (see images below). They're comfortable on the lips, but they're not the most natural every day colors. If your every day style is business casual, like mine, chances are you'll feel a little odd sporting these at work. And to be honest, these aren't colors I'd wear outside of work either.

There are some more wearable, every day shades in the line, such as Copper Rose and Hot Lava, which online resembles MAC's Viva Glam Rihanna lipstick that I'm obsessed with and was limited edition. If you have a darker skin tone than me, Molten Bronze may look absolutely stunning on you! Pale girls, I hate to say it, but this probably isn't for you.

Molten Bronze
Smoked Silver

The lipsticks are very pigmented, easy to build up the intensity, and they have a subtle metallic finish. I'd imagine some of the everyday shades would actually be really gorgeous and comfortable to wear on the lips, as I did like the feel of them. They're not as drying as some matte lipsticks tend to be.

Look for this line at your local drugstore or at Ulta for around $7.49 each. 

What are your thoughts on the metallic trend? Is it hot or not? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, November 6, 2017

PLAY! by Sephora | September + October 2017 boxes

When I do these box reviews monthly, it always starts to feel like they're always being posted and are clogging up my blog feed. I'm trying something new (as you may have noticed) and condensing the months in to just one post. If you'd prefer to see them monthly, just let me know - but otherwise we're going to forge ahead like so.

I'm still thoroughly enjoying my Play! by Sephora box more than other beauty boxes I've tried in the past. Mostly because the brands are prestige and I happen to get a lot of items that I wanted to try before receiving the sample. If you're unfamiliar with this subscription, it costs $10 per month and you receive samples from brands that are sold at Sephora.

Here's a look at the September and October boxes.

  • DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask - Despite the fact that "curl" is in the brand name, this deep conditioner is for all hair types. It's meant to add extra hydration and nourishment beyond what a regular conditioner would.
  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner - This is a cult favorite liquid eyeliner pen. It has a precise felt tip and all reviews I've ever heard confirm that it truly is waterproof. I've never tried this before, believe it or not, so I'm really looking forward to giving this a go.
  • Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia perfume - Another cult product, but this is the feminine version of the much beloved men's cologne. It's summery and ocean fresh with notes of mint, peony, brown sugar, jasmine and lemon. 
  • Benefit Gimme Brow - If you read my blog, especially my empties posts, you'll know I love this stuff dearly. If you don't have unruly brows, this will add extra tint and fullness without a lot of effort. It takes no time at all, and works like a charm. Plus it lasts all day.
  • Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Color in Happy - This warm fuchsia lipstick claims to be moisturizing and highly pigmented. It's a matte formula but won't dry out your lips thanks to the added mango butter for hydration.
  • Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb - If you're a skincare junkie like I am, chances are you've heard of this korean moisturizer. It's a bit of a fad product right now. It's meant to be deeply hydrating, and it's especially good for those with normal or dry skin. 

  • Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation - This foundation is very lightweight and natural, with a light coverage finish. When my skin looks great, I enjoy using this. If I have a zit or two, it doesn't give me enough coverage. Happy to have a small size to pack for travel. 
  • Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight - If you're looking for an extra glowiness to your skin, look no further. You can drop these in to your moisturizer or foundation or apply with a light hand directly on to cheek bones. 
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Powder - Set your look with this translucent powder. It's sheer with a touch of color, and will keep all your makeup from slipping and sliding and creasing.
  • Chanel Gabrielle Chanel - This perfume has the hint of Chanel that we all love, but with a fresher, more spring-like touch. It has notes of jasmine, orange blossom, tuberose and ylang-ylang. Smells nice, but smells more like something I'd wear in the summer than in the colder months. 
  • Makeup Forever Ultra HD Skin Booster - I did not realize Makeup Forever had skincare products until this showed up in my box. This is a face serum that aims to hydrate and reduce the appearance of fine lines. This is meant to be used as the last step in your skincare routine before applying your primer. 
  • BECCA First Light Filter Face Primer - This primer is infused with a subtle glow to add radiance and perfection to the skin. It works to improve dryness, dullness and uneven skin tone. The cool violet color works to brighten skin and even out imperfections.

Do you subscribe to Play! by Sephora? Are you loving it as much as I am? Let me know!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Empties | #40

It's been about two months since my last empties post, and it's time that this post is written. My bag is full, and my brain is too - humming with my thoughts on all these used up products. Below you'll find mini reviews and purchase recommendations on everything I've finished over the last two months. Let's get to it...

  • Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer (would repurchase) - I really like this concealer for underneath my eyes. It covers my dark circles and is one of the best drugstore options I've found that creases minimally. It seems that it's been reformulated (anyone know??) and the consistency is a bit different with the latest tube I've bought, but I still like it.
  • Essence Liquid Eyeliner (would repurchase) - This is a dirt cheap liquid eyeliner (I'm talking under $5) and I love it. It has a felt tip making it very easy to apply, and it wears all day long. You can also get this in a waterproof version which I like equally.
  • Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth foundation (would not repurchase) - I don't know why I am sometimes overcome with the desire to purchase "dewy" foundations. I know my skin, and while it's not particularly oily, it works best with satin to matte foundations that sit and settle on to the skin. This would separate during the day, break apart, and settle in to my fine lines. I didn't finish this whole bottle up, I eventually just tossed it in the empties bin.
  • Covergirl Full Lash Bloom mascara (would repurchase) - This is the second tube of this that I've used up. It really does make my lashes look fuller, while giving me length. It's cheap at the drugstore and something I'm sure I will use again. I like it so much, in fact, that it made 2016's yearly favorites.
  • Essence Make Me Brow (would repurchase) - If you're too cheap to shell out for Benefit's Gimme Brow, like I oftentimes am, this Essence knock off is a great alternative. It's not quite as pigmented, but it does the job of giving my brows a pop of color. This drugstore option is a fraction of the price of most tinted brow gels from Sephora.
  • Mitchell and Peach The Radiance Face Oil (would not repurchase) - I enjoyed using this - it smelled really nice and felt luxurious, but it never seemed to actually sink in to my skin. Even after hours, it was just pooled up on top of my face instead of diving deep and hydrating my skin. I love the branding and packaging and the scent and feel, but it didn't perform unfortunately.
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish (would repurchase) - I love getting little samples of the facial exfoliator. Many might find this too abrasive, but with gentle hands, I think this is the perfect way to get baby smooth skin. It feels like you're rubbing gentle sandpaper over your face, removing the dead skin and junk that needs to be buffed away. Some day I'll shell out for a full size of this. 
  • L'Occitane Gentle Toner (would not repurchase) - I am not a fan of L'Occitane's toners. They're more like perfumed waters, and don't seem to be providing my skin with any benefits. 
  • Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover (would repurchase) - The Target Up & Up brand of eye makeup remover holds a candle to any higher end brands. It works great, it's dirt cheap, and it'll last you! Oftentimes you can find double packs of these bottles for a better deal than just one. Keep your eyes peeled!
  • Estee Lauder Take It Away Makeup Remover (would not repurchase) - I was not a fan of this. It's highly HIGHLY fragranced which bothered me, and it didn't seem as effective as a cleansing oil or makeup wipe. Happy to have tested a sample of this before shelling out on a full size and hating it.
  • Dior The One Facial Serum (would not purchase) - I enjoyed using this delicately-Dior-scented facial serum, but can't say I noticed it doing anything. Truth be told, a small sample like this isn't the best way to know if it would perform over time, but I'm too cheap to find out with a bigger size.
  • Organic Surge Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser (would repurchase) - This was a nice, gentle cleanser that I opted to use in the morning. A hot cloth cleanser, if you've never used one, is applied on dry skin, and then removed with a hot wet wash cloth. I just rinsed it off, personally, but it worked the same nonetheless and was an effective gentle cleanser. Brightening? Hard to say, but it did leave my skin clean without stripping it.
  • Ginger People Ginger Face Cleanser (would not repurchase) - This was a very basic, very bland cleanser. It cleansed my face just fine, but I felt like it could've done more. It has no skin nourishing ingredients, anti-agers or anything of the sort. If that's what you're looking for, you'll probably like this! I prefer something a bit more beneficial and nourishing for my skin.
  • Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser (would repurchase) - This was a lovely, simple face cleanser. It has gentle beads that help exfoliate the skin, but they're very very gentle and won't be abrasive in the least. My skin felt clean and refreshed after using this and I'll definitely get it again!
  • Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel oil controlling towelettes (would repurchase) - I've had these for ages and finally pulled them out to use as a toner after washing my face. I liked them - I like using witch hazel as a toner because it helps clear up blemishes naturally.
  • Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins (would repurchase) - I thoroughly enjoyed this night cream. It felt luxurious, slowly melting in to my skin. It didn't break me out, it hydrated without being too much. Overall, just really nice.
  • Ladykin Affinitic Snail Cream (would repurchase) - This moisturizer is light but still packs a punch with hydration. My husband also liked using it. It sits easily under makeup, and is perfect if you've got normal to combination skin like I do. If you have dry skin, you may need something more than this. See full review here.
  • Origins Ginger Burst Body Wash (would repurchase) - I love love love the ginger burst scent from Origins. It's such a juicy sweet scent that I adore at any time of year. This body wash lathers nicely and leaves me feeling fresh and clean.
  • L'Occitane Verbena Shower Gel (would repurchase) - This shower gel smells lightly of lime. It's a refreshing scent, great for summer. I enjoyed using this sample.
  • Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot body wash (would repurchase) - Molton Brown shower gels are highly fragranced, so much so that you'll still smell it lingering on your skin when you're out of the shower. I liked this fresh, clean citrus-y scent. It foamed up nicely as well. 
  • Origins Gloomaway Grapefruit body souffle (would repurchase) - I don't like Gloomaway nearly as much as the Ginger Burst scent, but it was nice and fresh nonetheless. This is lightly hydrating, good for summer when you don't want your skin to be sticky and oily from your body lotion - not intense enough to combat winter dryness.
  • Hask Charcoal Purifying Conditioner (would repurchase) - Hask is a super affordable drugstore haircare brand, and the quality isn't lacking despite the cheap price! I love the smell of this Charcoal line (sort of citrusy and perfumey) and it made my hair feel so soft. See full review here.
  • Batiste Floral dry shampoo (would repurchase) - Batiste is my favorite dry shampoo. It's affordable, and it soaks up oil in my hair, extending the time between hair washes. There are many different scents to choose from, and this floral version was pleasant!
  • Progranix Quench Leave-In Moisture (would repurchase) - This wasn't my favorite, but it wasn't bad. It didn't do anything spectacular for my hair, but it did help me comb out tangles with a little more ease. See full review here.
  • Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Conditioner (would repurchase) - I loved this conditioner! It smells so nice and it made my hair silky smooth and soft. Bumble & Bumble isn't cheap by any means, but I'd consider shelling out for this in the future.
  • Swisspers Cotton Rounds (would repurchase) - I get these cotton rounds in bulk from Costco and use them nearly every day for one thing or another - makeup removal, nail polish removal, toner application, etc. They're great and are economical when bought in bulk. 
  • Q-Tips Precision Tips (would repurchase) - I know it seems trivial, but pointed q-tips are everything when it comes to removing makeup mishaps or anything that requires even a teensy bit of precision. I've bought these repeatedly and I'll continue to do so. 
  • Carmex lip balm (would repurchase) - I love Carmex for a bed time lip product. It's cooling, and it exfoliates the dead skin off, so in the morning I have smooth lips that are lipstick-ready. (Can you tell my one-year-old teethed all over this?! ha!)
  • Folle de joie perfume (would repurchase) - I adored this perfume sample, and if I ever see it for a good deal, I will buy a full size bottle. It's characterized by notes of citrus, rose and woody musk. It's fresh and sexy all in one.
  • Lancome La vie est belle perfume (would not purchase) - I like this scent, but it's very reminiscent of Flowerbomb to me, which I already own a full size of. It's pretty much a copycat scent -- my husband always asks if I'm wearing Flowerbomb whenever I'd wear this. It's warm and musky with hints of floral.

  • Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (would not purchase) - I am the ONE person on the planet who doesn't like the smell of this lotion, it seems. It reminds me a lot of some summery Bath & Bodyworks scent (Waikiki maybe?). It's ridiculously fragranced, so much so that I can smell it even after washing my hands - you definitely don't need to (and shouldn't) wear a perfume with this. I wanted to like this, but it made me nauseous, which isn't a typical response I have to things, so yeah... I'll never ever buy this. 
  • Jafra Night Moisture (would not purchase) - Honestly, I don't remember much about this so that tells you how much of an impression it made on me... I know Jafra is one of those pyramid scheme businesses, which means I won't ever buy anything from the line. 
  • Radius Ginger Citrus Coconut Oil Toothpaste (would not purchase) - I had high hopes for this, but it has a weird plastic-y taste and it doesn't foam up at all. It's like rubbing plastic-flavored spit around in your mouth, so you can imagine how fresh your mouth tastes after using this... yuck.
  • Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste (would not repurchase) - I'm bummed because I really do like this toothpaste. It's one of my favorite natural toothpastes, but I didn't realize until I started using it that it has SLS in it. I prefer my toothpaste to be SLS free because that stuff gives me canker sores which I am prone to. Unfortunately, this will be my last tube. 
  • Sensodyne toothpaste (would not repurchase) - I used this while my husband used up the Auromere because it doesn't have SLS. It's nothing special, and honestly doesn't leave my mouth feeling that clean, so I probably wouldn't buy a full size tube.
  • Dr. Tung's Smart Floss (would repurchase) - This is my absolute favorite floss. It's the perfect thickness to get crud out of your teeth and it's more natural than your typical drugstore options. I used to purchase this on Vitacost but it appears they don't carry it anymore, so you can find it on Amazon if you're interested.
  • Dr. Jacob's Sweet Tea Tree Castile Soap (would repurchase) - I loved this stuff. This scent is amazing and I thought it made a great kitchen hand soap. I found this at TJ Maxx but I've also seen it on Vitacost. I'll definitely get this again in the future.
  • Jason Total Protection Coconut Mouth Rinse (would not repurchase) - This was just ok. It didn't leave my mouth feeling overly fresh, and I really didn't notice it doing much of anything. I typically love Jason products, but this one just didn't impress me.
  • rareESSENCE Passion Oil Diffuser (would repurchase) - These rareESSENCE diffusers are lovely. They're made with 100% pure essential oils, so you don't have to worry about breathing in disgusting chemical scents. This smelled great like patchouli, tangerine and cinnamon leaf,  and it lasted a long time. I'll definitely get more of these in the future.
  • Yankee Candle Campfire Treat candle (would repurchase) - I love nearly all campfire marshmallow candle scents, this being no exception. It's sweet and smoky and made my house feel cozy. I adore this and I'm sure I'll get it again sometime.

And that's a wrap! Have you used any of these products? If so, let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Maui Moisture | Thicken & Restore line

If you've hit the hair care aisle at the drug store lately, you may have noticed a new line. Chances are these unconventionally cool, square bottles stuck out to you. I wouldn't even be surprised if they ended up in your cart and on their way home with you.... but let's back up...

Not too long ago, a nice little PR package showed up at my door, stuffed with the Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore line, and I let out a squeal of glee. I'll be honest, I have so much hair stuff (most of which is sent to me) that I haven't needed to walk the aisles of Target or Walgreens to restock in ages. But if I did, I can guarantee you that I would've been sucked in to buying this stuff by the packaging alone. (Yes, I work in marketing. Yes, I still fall for good packaging). 

Maui Moisture isn't actually a completely new brand. This line was created by the makers of OGX, formerly Organix. You may recall I've reviewed a few of their products in the past. I happen to like a lot of OGX products, and this new line is maybe my favorite yet.  There are six different collections in the Maui Moisture family: Curl Quench, Heal & Hydrate, Nourish & Moisture, Smooth & Repair, Strength & Anti-Breakage, and what I was sent... the Thicken & Restore line.

The Thicken & Restore line is made up of three parts. The first two things are a shampoo and conditioner. The scent is "Bamboo fibers".... whatever that means... I have never smelled a bamboo fiber, but if it smells like this shampoo and conditioner, it smells simply amazing. The scent is soooo good; it's juicy and fruity and I can smell it lingering in my hair.

While these bottles say this line is for weak and brittle hair, I have neither. I do like to treat my hair to extra moisture and nourishment, though, and I found my hair was really soft and manageable after using this. If your hair is overprocessed or heat styled, or if you just need an added boost to kick your hair in to shape, give these a shot. 

The final item in the line is the Blow Out Mist. Spritz this on to damp hair and give your blow dryer a whirl. This will help boost your roots and give your strands volume. Given that I have about 6 hairs on my head, I'm all for added volume and it seems like it takes a miracle to make that happen. While this spray wasn't a godsend, I was pleasantly surprised by the extra boost this gave my hair. 

Overall, I'd recommend this line. It smells simply divine, it made my hair feel soft and manageable, and the styling spray actually gave my roots a lift. If you're interested in Maui Moisture, you can purchase it at Target, Walmart, and Ulta for starters. See a full list of retailers here. The shampoo & conditioner cost around $8.99 each, and the styling spray is the same price. Totally affordable and I'd definitely recommend trying out the line for yourself.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fenty Beauty | Worth the hype?

Fenty Beauty ... it's ALL the hype lately. Rihanna's new makeup line has made a big splash in the beauty world, and it seems like everyone is talking about it. It appears PR packages were sent out to influencers in the beauty world, but fear not - I spent my own money on a couple key items from the line, so you can bet (as you always can, sponsored or not), that my opinions are entirely my own and I'm being 100% honest about these products.

Much of the hype around Fenty Beauty surrounds the foundation, and it is completely warranted. The foundation line has an unprecedented 40 shades to choose from.... yes, you read that right, 40 SHADES. How amazing is that? The beauty industry has been majorly lacking for way too long, offering a variety of beige and dark beige foundation shades, but nothing for those of us on either end of the spectrum... whitest white to darkest dark. I really, sincerely hope that the buzz around Fenty forces other cosmetics brands to up their diversity game.

I'm not sure what possessed me, but when I went to place my order, I meant to only pick up the foundation... but lo and behold, I ended up throwing a highlighter in my cart, too. There are four different highlighter duos, and I nabbed the Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal duo. The shades are buttery and soft, and great for pale girls. These duos are $34, which is pretty steep actually, but justifiable for me because highlighters last ages.

It was really tough to capture the beauty of this highlighter on camera, but you can see the left shade is not quite as creamy. It's a perfect highlight with a subtle glittery shimmer. The right shade is very buttery and could even be used as an eyeshadow. Both of these are pretty intense nude-colored highlights - you can glow like a disco ball if you don't use a light hand. After my initial swatching, I considered returning them, but after a couple uses I changed my mind and I really do like how they look on my skin. I think they look much better on than swatched on my arm.

I'm most excited about the foundation. The hype is SO REAL about this foundation, and it's more than just the 40 shades. You get 1.08 oz in a bottle, which is a little more than the standard 1 oz you get with most all foundations. It is a tad pricey, ringing in at $34, but I'm going to spoil the rest of my review for you and tell you it's completely worth it. 

This foundation is a DREAM. For reference, I have normal to combo skin that's acne-prone. I also have fine lines, on my forehead, underneath my eyes, and extending from my nose to my lips.

I purchased shade 110, the second lightest shade, and it's a perfect match for my very fair skin. A pump and a half covers my whole face using my preferred method -  a damp beautyblender. You can build the coverage, but I'd say you get medium to full coverage with one layer of foundation. As you can see above, it covers up my blemishes but not entirely.
It does have a slight fragrance, which I find pleasant, but something to consider if you're really sensitive to fragrance in your makeup. The finish is a satin matte, which is really quite nice. It's not quite as chalky and flat as say, L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Foundation, it's just skin-like and light with the same amount of coverage. The wear time is fantastic - it looks great after an 8 hour day of work, and like some black magic, it doesn't sink in to my fine lines the way so many other foundations do. I'm so in love - this is one of the best foundations I've tried recently.

I will say, if you have dry skin, this will cling to patchy areas, and I could see this being a bit too matte of a foundation for you. 

Overall - I think the hype really is worth it for the Fenty Beauty line. These two products are just a couple of the things available for purchase at Sephora. There are also brushes, lip gloss, cream color sticks and more. Look through the line here.
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