Monday, March 17, 2014

3 Beauty Products I'm loving and 3 I can't live without


It's safe to say that I'm a beauty product junkie. I love trying new things when they hit the market while also remaining fiercely loyal to the products in my beauty arsenal that are tried and true. Here's a look at my 3 new favorite beauty products for spring. 

Aura Cacia Peppermint Oil
I'm already a believer in the benefits of aromatherapy for the mind, body and soul, so when I saw Aura Cacia on sale at the drug store in my neighborhood I picked up a bottle and decided to find a way to incorporate it into my daily beauty routine. Peppermint oil is characteristically cooling and extremely refreshing, so I keep my bottle in the shower and pour out a few drops as part of my morning ritual. As the oil mixes with the steam of the shower I take a few deep breaths to fully experience it's effects. If I'm having a really hard time waking up in the morning I'll go a step further and put a few drops in my hands and breathe in several times. This helps me find the mental clarity and alertness I need to start my day. If you're not a "morning person" you'll definitely want to give this a try! 

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil
Yes, cleansing my skin with oil sounded incredibly counterproductive when I first heard about it, but as a "try anything" beauty junkie, I was still intrigued. On a recent trip to London I kept hearing the beauty buzz about Dermalogica's Pre Cleanse Oil, which essentially claims to melt away layers of excess oil, sunscreen, make-up and environmental pollutants from the skin first, so that you can use your regular cleanser afterwards and have it actually do it's intended job. That part made sense to me, but the fact that I have oily skin to begin with made this whole oil cleansing method seem a little out of reach. When I got back to the states my friend Natasha sent over a bottle of Julep's new Bare Face Cleansing Oil and told me to give it a try. I kept it in my bathroom for at least a week before finally gathering the courage to open the box and try it out. To my surprise, I loved it and guess what? My normally oily, acne-prone skin is less oily and the blemishes are healing, revealing clear, healthy skin. Wow. Wasn't expecting that one! 


To be fair, I'm not using Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil as originally intended all the time. Sometimes I use it as a pre-cleanser to get rid of make-up, oil, and other build up, before using my normal cleanser for a deeper cleanse. I use white towels at home and would always end up with make-up stains on them after washing and drying my face. I'm happy to say that I don't have that problem any more and it's all because of Julep's Bare Face Cleansing Oil. It really works to get rid of dirt, oil and make-up for truly clean skin. If you're curious about oil cleansing you should definitely try it. I promise, it's not as scary as you think! Check out the Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil video (above) for more info. 

Topshop Lipstick in "The Damned"
During the winter months when I'm at my most pale, I have to rely on a little lipstick to perk up my entire face. I'm a big fan of the entire Topshop lipstick line, but my favorite color is "The Damned" which is a gorgeous raspberry color. The lipsticks have a velvetly finish that can easily be intensified with a swipe of gloss for a night on the town. If you're looking for ways to incorporate more color into your life, adding a little lipstick is an easy place to start. 


LiLash Eyelash Growth Serum
Let me just start off by saying that at one point in time I was a huge fan of eyelash extensions. I loved how pretty they made my eyes look and how they helped streamline my morning beauty routine. I loved waking up every day and knowing that my eyes were already "done", but the truth is that eyelash extensions are time consuming and can be incredibly expensive to keep up. The first application takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours, followed by bi-weekly appointments for fills that can take 30-45 minutes. Most lash bars will tell you that you can go 3 or maybe even 4 weeks in between fills depending on how fast your natural lashes grow, but I've seen women go that long in between appointments and it's not pretty. That's when lashes tend to go a little crazy, clump together and look...well, fake.

The secret to keeping lashes in "just applied" condition for more than two weeks was finally bestowed upon me by the eyelash tech after I had been in the lash routine for a few months. You have to wear goggles in the shower. Yep. That's right. Swim goggles in the shower. This helps keep the lashes from getting weighed down by moisture and for those of you with stick straight lashes (like me!) this will keep your natural lashes from releasing their bond to the false lash. I hated wearing goggles in the shower. They would leave marks around my eyes from being so tight, but they worked so I didn't really mind. A few months later I was on vacation in Florida when one of the lenses on my goggles popped out while I was in the shower. I took it as a sign that my high maintenance beauty routine was getting a little out of hand. I mean come on, I was on vacation somewhere warm and sunny with a really nice pool and I wasn't even taking advantage of it because I was terrified of getting my face wet.

When I got home from my trip I had my eyelash extensions removed and my natural lashes were short, brittle and sad. That's when I decided to give LiLash a try. The product comes in a silver tube and has a brush similar to a liquid eyeliner brush. Every night you just apply a swipe at the lash line and over time your natural lashes grow longer and fuller. It took about 3 months of regular use for me to see noticeable results, but trust me, stick with this product and you'll never go back to the lash bar again. I definitely notice a difference in my lashes when I don't use the product. The best part is that there are no side effects. No redness at the lash line, no eye irritation, nothing but beautiful lashes. I still have friends and colleagues who don't believe me when I tell them that my lashes are real. They are just as long (if not longer) than when I had my extensions and the best part is, no more goggles in the shower. 

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation (My secret weapon for oily skin)
Finding a good foundation can be like trying to find the holy grail. You have to try multiple brands and formulas until you find the best fit for your skin with regard to color, texture and specific skin concerns. Last year I discovered that the foundation I had been using was not gluten-free and could potentially be causing some of my skin sensitivity. So, ater spending excessive amounts of time and money at Sephora, I finally stumbled upon the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation and have been happily using it ever since.
This is hands down the best foundation I've ever used because it's oil-free, humidity-proof, long wearing and water-resistant. It's also free of phthalates, gluten, synthetic dyes, animal products, nanoparticles and fragrances. Coverage is medium to full, but on days when I just need light coverage I mix a few drops of foundation with my moisturizer and that does the trick. This foundation is available in 16 shades so have the girls at Sephora color match you and send you home with samples so that you can wear the foundation around before buying the full bottle.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
When I first started using this product my immediate thought was, where has this been my entire life? This product has really helped get a few of my most stubborn blemishes along my jaw line moving so that the healing process could begin. Formulated with a rice-based powder that activates upon contact with water, Dermalogica's Microfoliant helps balance uneven skin tone to reveal smoother, brighter skin. It's gentle enough to use every day and has colloidal oatmeal to help calm skin. I'm a believer in this product and I think you will be too! Beauty tip: For girls looking for extra cleansing power, use Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant with your Clarisonic brush!



What are the beauty products you can't live without? I would love to hear from you! Please leave questions and comments below. 

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