Monday, July 25, 2016

Summertime Sandals

Each summer, I take advantage of the opportunity to reinvent my look. It's one of the things I most look forward to doing as soon as the temperatures start to rise. While people typically associate the springtime with fresh starts, I consider summer to be a time of rejuvenation and renewal. Sunshine has that sort of effect on me. It's also when my favorite items of clothingplayful rompers, ripped denim shorts, off-the-shoulder tops and easy, breezy dressesare finally appropriate to bring out of hiding. Lately, I've been searching for the perfect sandal to complement my casual summer looks: something that will add height, but won't be too formal for those scorching, sun-speckled days and lazy, languorous nights. Here are a few of my favorites—number six is under $30!

one - two - three - four - five - six - seven - eight

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Matte Neutral Lip Colors for Summer

If you pull the curtains on my extensive collection of lip colors, you may be perplexed by what you uncover. Sorting through hues that range from mauvey nude to nudey mauve, you may think my sheer glosses and pigmented lip stains all look the same. Indeed, I am a hoarder of neutrals both in my beauty arsenal as well as in my wardrobe, and while I have collected a few deep plums and merlots that I play with on occasion, I still go back to the nudes and neutrals that never fail.

For the last few seasons I have embraced a fully matte makeup look, using true browns and baked bronzes to highlight my medium-toned olive skin. My glossy and satin lip formulas have also taken a back seat to the collection of matte lip colors that I have amassed of late. Timeless yet trendy, I am drawn to their velvety finish and dramatic impact no matter what the hue.

The trick to finding the perfect neutral lip color is to find the closest match to your natural lip color. For me, it's a—you guessed it—classic mauve hue that plays with the dusty rose undertones in my cheeks. After experimenting with a few different formulas, I've narrowed it down to the most flattering and fun shades that will be in rotation all summer.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain - Marvelous Mauve

I can't stop raving about Sephora's Cream Lip Stain formula! After nearly finishing my tube of the "Blackberry Sorbet" hue last fall/winter, I knew I had to spring for another color in the line this season. The Sephora formula has a gorgeous mousse-like consistency that glides on easily and precisely. The color is a light yet rich mauve that requires only one coat to give it a polished look. For $14(!), this is, in my opinion, the best beauty product for lips on the market.

Jouer Lip Créme - Pêche

I can't say this was the most flattering lip color on my olive skin, but I knew I had to try this pastel peach when I saw it in the bottle. The color has a fresh-squeezed, sorbet-like hue that would look amazing on someone with fairer skin and lighter hair. I applied a couple coats to my darker natural lips to achieve an opaque color and filled in the gaps with a pink lip liner. The formula sets pretty quickly, but the pointed applicator ensures precise application, so you're sure to get it right with very few swipes.

Jouer Lip Créme - Orchid

I was pleasantly surprised that the cool tones in this purpley pink color actually worked well with the warmer tones of my complexion. Like the "Pêche" color above, this hue is more playful and probably more appropriate for someone with fairer skin, but it brightened up my skintone and let me play with a color family that I've been nervous to try. I'm going to give purple a chance this season!

Jouer Lip Créme - Pétale de Rose

Ah, the tried and true rosey mauve. When I first applied this color, it took on a brighter pink hue, but as it settled, it developed (or oxidized) into a warm, true mauve with grey and blue undertones. The formula is also very smooth and buildable, but does dry quickly like the other Jouer lip crémes. I am obsessed with this lip color and think it will become a staple in my collection.

Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer - Petal

My first foray into lip color started with experimenting with lip pencils. I have to admit I was influenced by Kylie Jenner's lip color obsession when she rediscovered the MAC "Spice" lip pencil that we 30-somethings first discovered while playing in our older siblings' Kaboodles (guilty) in the '90s. Because it allows you to create a precise line and appears less dense than liquid lipsticks, a lip pencil is a great way to add color without making too dramatic of a statement. Sonia Kashuk's Lip Definer in "Natural" is my go-to (the perfect neutral lip pencil in my opinion), but the "Petal" hue boosts the cooler tones in my lips and adds a bit more of a pink punch.

Colourpop Lippie Stix - Cami

Colourpop lip products have been touted as less expensive and almost identical versions of the Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits and matte lip products. In fact, hundreds of beauty bloggers have tested the claims that Colourpop products are Kylie Jenner Lip Kit dupes. I haven't tried the Lip Kit, but I know that the Lippie Stix are highly pigmented, easy to apply, and come in the most appealing colors. The best part is that they're about $6 for a lip product with that lasts through an entire meal and can be layered with other Colourpop Lippie Stix for a custom color. I'm a huge fan of this neutral mauve pink.

Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color - Mauve

I first saw this stunning lip color on a bridesmaid at a wedding and had to know what it was. Luckily, the makeup artist who had chosen the Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color shade was sitting at my table! I ordered the lip crayon as soon as I woke up the next morning. It comes in a twist and click tube and has the most gorgeous velvety finish when applied.

Other products used for this look:

Elcie Cosmetics - The Glow Enhancer
Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Foundation
Jouer Cosmetics bronzer 
Jouer Cosmetics blush
Lorac Light Source Illuminating Highlighter in Moonlight
Lorac Pro Palette in Cream, Mauve, Sable and Espresso
CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner in Espresso

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Beauty Products for Flawless Skin

True life: I'm obsessed with skincare. I've been so interested in it lately that I've even been considering starting my own line of products to satisfy my ever-expanding set of needs! Crazy, right? Between the sheet masks that I've been collecting like a crazy person and the lengths I go to to protect my skin from harsh environmental factors, it's safe to say it has become a priority to preserve the quality of my complexion, especially throughout the scorching summer months. Here are five products that I haven't been able to live without this season.

Jouer Cosmetics ~ Daily Repair Treatment Oil
Having just turned 30, I have become acutely aware of every line, discoloration and dry patch on my face. I recently woke up to dryness around my eyes and on my forehead and wanted to treat my skin to a majorly hydrating experience. This product worked like a charm. After washing, I applied the oil and kept it on all day. It kept my skin feeling hydrated and looking fresh without appearing too oily. My skin looked so healthy that I didn't even want to apply foundation and kept my skin natural and bare until evening.

As a lover of all sparkly things, I couldn't help but be drawn to this magical, lightweight dry oil. I dig its antibacterial and anti-aging properties, but also that it works to prevent excess oil production. I've started using it on cleansed skin just before applying my foundation, but have found that applying a few drops to my foundation makes it go on more smoothly and adds a subtle sheen. It absorbs quickly and leaves skin looking healthy and smooth. Don't be alarmed by how shimmery the product looks in the bottle. When applied to the skin, it leaves the most subtle glow that radiates all day.

Believe me when I say this product is LIQUID GOLD. I have never been so attached to a skincare product or used so many bottles in my life. It helps that the manfriend used to work for the company that manufactures EMK products. I first tried it when he brought it home for me to try one day. I was instantly hooked and can't imagine leaving home without applying a layer to my skin before moisturizing. It has evened out my skin tone, reduced the fine lines on my forehead and given me a glow that I've never had before. I use it day and night, just after cleansing on dewy skin. It absorbs immediately and allows for moisturizer to soak into the skin more easily. I often skip moisturizer at night and apply this serum and wake up with the most luminous skin.

I've been pretty loyal to my Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, but saw this one on a Target run one night after work and was drawn to its all-natural ingredient list and its promise to remove makeup. At first, I was turned off by the very "green" smell, but became hooked when I realized I only needed a tiny amount of product to remove every speck of makeup from my face (does that ever happen?!). The best part is that it makes my skin feel fresh and firm. It's made with kale, seaweed and blue seakale, as well as mangosteen and coconut water. I'm hooked and now limit my exfoliating cleanser to weekly use.

This product has been the darling of the beauty world lately, so after scouring the web for the best face mist around, I decided to go with the Avène Thermal Water. Though I was searching for something with a more robust ingredient list (something with rosehips or lavender), I went with a product that seemed tried and true. It's a great mist for a mid-day pick-me-up when makeup starts to feel a bit stale on your face. I use it right after cleansing and just before moisturizing to give my skin a bit of extra moisture to better absorb the products I'm about to apply. It's also a great product to refresh dry skin that can feel parched on a long flight.
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