Hair-Care Routine


I have held off on doing a post on my haircare routine for awhile because to be honest, I'm kind of picky when it comes to hair products and I wanted to make sure I was using products I really loved before I talked about them. I want products that give volume, hydrate, and are super easy to use...I rarely blow dry my hair , and try to avoid using heat tools on them on a daily basis. I have an extremely oily scalp (dry shampoo is my best friend) but dry ends, so I wash my hair every other or every third day to keep my ends hydrated.

For shampoo and conditioner, I've been using the Joico K-Pak Reconstruct range and I've really been enjoying them. I alternate these with my John Frieda Volume Shampoo and Conditioner (review here) and it has been working really well for me! The Joico offerings are super hydrating and make my hair feel silky and soft, while being hydrated and frizz free. Best of all, they don't weigh my hair down when I use them every other wash!

I'm always trying a new hair mask, but the one I always fall back on is the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Mask. This mask smells nice and is one of the most hydrating I've come across. I feel like I'm genuinely repairing my hair when I'm using this, instead of just coating it with silicones. It only costs around $6, and sometimes is on sale for buy one get one 50% off at Walmart, which makes it seriously inexpensive!

I've used many different leave-in conditioners before and have never really been swept off my feet by any of them, but I'm keen to try It's a 10, and I've heard its great. But for now, nothing to mention here. One product I do use after I shower is the Organix Light Moroccan Oil. I've used the original Moroccan Oil before, but I actually like this offering better as it is lighter and doesn’t leave my hair greasy or weighed down. It's very hydrating, and helps my ends look soft and smooth even in the worst of weather.

Finally, for smoothing my hair I'm obsessed with the Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Crème. I got this in a Birchbox a few months back, and have been ridiculously loyal to it ever since. In my opinion, it's a hybrid between the Garnier Sleek and Shine and the John Freida Glossing Mist...it smooths the hair and leaves it feeling soft and frizz-free, while making it shiny and glossy at the same time. While I don't see myself running out of this particular product for a long time (I use less than a pea-sized amount for my long hair), when I do I will be repurchasing immediately!

That's it! The products I use on the daily to keep my hair looking nice! What products do you use in your hair?

Budget Self-Tanning


I'm a very pale person. Lightest foundation shade available, glowing white in the sun, practically translucent pale. I remember when I was younger wanting to be tan so badly, but only burning in the sun instead (no matter how much sunscreen I used!). If there was one thing I could tell my younger self, it would be to wear more sunscreen and use Jergen's Natural Glow! ;) I remember being so insecure about my pale skin because the rest of my family are all naturally tan. However, a few years ago I discovered the wonders of self-tanner and have been addicted since. I will admit that I am a very lazy tanner- if it doesn't last at least a week, I'm not particularly interested. I've managed to get myself into a routine that is not only very easy, but also very inexpensive...which is great for a college student like me!

There are two things I've been using for about a year now that have completely changed the way I tan. St. Moriz mousse is my favorite tanning mousse, and I even prefer it over St. Tropez because I feel like it delivers the same results for a much smaller price tag. I buy mine from Amazon for $4, so price-wise it can't be beat. I apply this with a tanning mitt, making it insanely easy and quick. I use the Medium shade in the winter and the Dark shade in the summer. I find that it stays on without patching or fading in weird places for a week. The smell is also barely noticeable, although I generally apply this product before bed anyways, and rinse it off in the morning.

During the week, to keep my skin soft (since the St. Moriz can be a bit drying, as most self-tanning products are), I use the CVS Sunless Glow Self-Tanning Lotion. This is the CVS brand's version of Jergen's Natural Glow, and I like this one even better than the original because it has a much less potent scent than the Jergen's, while still delivering the same results. This one does tend to have a bit of that typical "self-tan" smell, but is easily rinsed off and doesn't linger after a shower like I feel the Jergen's does.

As far as a routine goes, on Sundays I like to take a shower, shave and exfoliate using a body scrub. Then I take a light moisturizer (I like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream) and use it on the spots self-tanner tends to cling- ankles, knuckles, wrists, knees and elbows. After letting it dry for a few minutes, I use the St. Moriz mousse on the mitt and apply one or two coats (depending on how tan I want to be), before going to bed. In the morning, I rinse off the color guard and moisturize with a heavy-duty body butter (right now I'm loving the Victoria's Secret Deep Berry Body Butter, but it changes all the time) and going about my day. For the nights that I don't apply the St. Moriz mousse, I apply the CVS Sunless Glow lotion, go to bed, and wash it off in the morning. This way, I can use more inexpensive tanning products that have the self-tanner smell, without having to actually smell like self-tan in public! ;) The St. Moriz mousse can be used on its own, but I like to use it in combination with the CVS lotion to not only bump up my color, but also to help keep my dry skin moisturized. It also helps keep areas that are heavily washed (like my hands) tan, without making my wrists 8 shades darker than the rest of my body.

Do you have any self-tanning products that you love?

Pamper Night


There are few things I love more than a good old pamper night. It usually happens on Sunday nights, and it's the time at the end of the week to relax and get ready for the week to come. Lately with the hot summer weather, I haven't been feeling much like a bath or candles, but I have still been loving a triple facemask session.

This usually begins with a clarifying mask of some kind, as I like to really clean my skin before proceeding with any other products. The one I've been reaching for lately is the Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra-Cleansing Mud mask. It smells of citrus and goes on an orange color, and I find this really cleans out my skin without leaving it feeling tight or dry.

Next comes a treatment mask, and since the July heat has been causing my skin to act up, I'm using one of my all time favorite blemish-fighting masks, The Body Shop's Tea Tree Mask. This smells strongly of tea tree oil and goes on a bright green, you leave it on for 10-15 minutes and it fights blemishes. I find that after using this mask, my skin has instantly calmed down a little, and the next morning my breakouts are noticeably smaller. This is a mask that is always in my arsenal!

Finally, I like to impart a bit of hydration to my skin. I've been recently testing out a few sheet masks, and one that has really impressed me is the Lanocreme Manuka Honey Face Mask. While I may look like a person out of a horror movie whilst I'm wearing the mask, it leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrating, and giving my skin a bit of a boost of glow as well.

These three masks have been the key to my recent relaxation...what do you do when you relax and have a pamper night?

DIY Beauty: Daily Exfoliating Scrub

I'm back for another dose of DIY beauty...can you tell I've been really loving getting creative in the kitchen lately? Today I've got an exfoliating scrub that has been helping my ingrown hair problem when shaving (tmi?) This lactic acid in the milk calms the skin and gently chemically exfoliates while the two types of sugars manually exfoliate...and to top it all off, the honey kills bacteria and moisturizes. You'll need:

1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup raw honey (I get mine from Whole Foods or my local farmers market)
1/2 white sugar
1/4 cup raw sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, and then apply in a circular motion to clean, damp skin (I do this in the shower). I like to exfoliate until the sugar has mostly dissolved, then rinse off and moisturize with your favorite body moisturizer (I love to moisturize with coconut oil after this treatment, and it leaves my legs hydrated and gives them a lovely sheen).

This is my favorite way to exfoliate my body… and I like that it's more natural than store-bought exfoliants. Let me know if you try this recipe!

Browned Butter Dark Chocolate Cookie Bars


I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. During my pinning time, I pin many many delicious-looking desserts...But when it comes down to making them? I get lazy. Give me a complicated dinner recipe and I'm there...but if it's a baking recipe and it takes me more than 10 minutes to throw together, it's not going to happen. I found this recipe from Buns In My Oven and immediately went to the store to get the ingredients. Seriously. So today I'm deviating from my usual beauty content to give you a simple recipe for when you have a cookie craving but are feeling lazy. They aren't healthy, but they are worth it. Promise.

You'll need:
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 ounces chocolate, chopped (the recipe calls for dark chocolate, but I actually prefer to mix dark and milk chocolate chips so I don't have to chop them ;)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add the butter to a small saucepan set over medium heat and cook until it melts. Whisk the butter constantly. It will foam and bubble. Continue whisking until the butter has turned a golden brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat, let cool 5 minutes, and add to a large mixing bowl.
Beat the butter and sugars together until well combined. Stir in the egg and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Mine looked a little like this:



Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment or foil. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes exactly for bars with a gooey, underdone center. Bake a few minutes longer for firmer, more set bars.Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting, longer if you don't want your bars to fall apart.
Now again, this recipe isn't mine...it's taken almost completely from bunsinmyoven.com (besides my commentary/pictures) and seriously, do yourself a favor and check out that blog...SO MANY GOOD THINGS. Okay, I'm going to step away from the computer now and go eat cookie bars...Happy Monday!


Loreal True Match Vs. True Match Lumi



Do I need to say how much I love Loreal True Match again? I feel like I talk about it all the time, but it is 100% my favorite drugstore foundation. When I was shopping for it though, I came across the True Match Lumi and wondered what the difference was, so I decided to test them out. Here is my comparison/overall review of both foundations!

As far as coverage goes, I would say the original True Match has the Lumi beat. Lumi is very firmly medium coverage (if I try to build it up more it just gets cake-y and weird), while the original True Match is medium/full, depending on application type and how much you build it up. I like to apply both of these using my Real Techniques Stippling Brush.

The finish is the main difference between these two. The original True Match has a satin-matte finish that isn't a completely flat matte, but still definitely not super-dewy. The Lumi formulation is dewy, and in my opinion doesn't work as well on oily skin as I find it slips and slides more, even with powder. 

Packaging-wise, Lumi definitely wins. It has a pump, and just overall looks more luxe than the True Match (although this is the US packaging, in the UK the Original comes in similar packaging to the Lumi). 

Where staying power is concerned, they are both fairly similar. While the Original True Match lasts slightly longer, they both still outlast a long day while still looking nice. For dry skin though, I would suggest the Lumi formulation as I find the Original True Match can settle into dry patches more easily than the Lumi.

Overall, I think there is a place for both of these formulas in my collection. While I find the Original True Match works great for everyday, the True Match Lumi is good for days when my skin is looking a little dull or dry. 

Have you tried either of these foundations?

Favorite ELF Products


If you've been around my blog before, you know I'm kind of obsessed with ELF products. There is just something wonderful about a great product for an even better price- and today I'm rounding up my favorite products just for you.

First, the Makeup Mist and Set. I don’t necessarily notice and added longevity to my makeup when I use this product, but it does a great job of fixing my face those times I over-powder. I also use this whenever I want a more dewy finish to my skin, and it does a great job of disguising the dry patches on my skin.

Next, we have a variety of blush and bronzer formulations, because I really thing ELF brings it when it comes to face products. While I'm not a huge fan of their foundations, they do a pretty good Studio Concealer that didn't quite make the cut for this post but still  is a great budget buy. The Studio Blushes are very creamy and blendable and a few of them are matte, which I always think are great when my skin is breaking out...because who wants a glittery blemish?

 The Essential  Blushes are great for $1, and I love these for traveling because while the color payoff isn't quite as great as the other formulations, the color range is great for pale skin (like mine) and if they shatter, you're only out $1.
The Baked Blushes are great for a blush/highlight combo, and these suit many different skin types.

 I'm not huge into cream and liquid blushes, but I make an exception for the ELF HD Blush. These are mega pigmented, dry to a satiney-matte finish which is really flattering, and stay on all day! Finally, the ultimate multi-tasker is the Contouring Blush and Bronzer duo, which I'm seriously addicted to. Some have said this is a dupe for the NARS Laguna/Orgasm duo, but since I don't have those products I can't confirm or deny anything. What I can confirm is that these two colors are perfect for my skin and are great everyday colors. And with the sleek packaging, these are also great for travel!

Moving on from the million blush products, I also think ELF does some really great brushes. The Essential Eye Brushes are great and are the brushes that I use everyday. I have many more expensive eye brushes, but I always find myself going back to these as they are great quality and wash really well. I've had mine for over 2 years and I've yet to have to replace them or have any bristles coming out...seriously great for $1!

 I also use the ELF Powder Brush daily. The flat top is great for liquid or powder foundation (although I find myself reaching for my Real Technique brushes over this brush for those purposes), and I especially love it for setting powder. I find this does a great job of depositing just enough product to my face without disturbing my other makeup, and again this brush washes well and is really soft!

While the ELF ye shadows are nice, there just aren’t enough shades that I'm in love with to mention here. One eye product that ELF does wonderfully is the 3-in-1 Mascara, which is as close of a drugstore dupe to Benefit They're Real I've ever found. It has the same ball on the end of the wand, which makes it great at getting each lash really coated. This never clumps for me no matter how much I build it, and also doesn't flake or smudge which is amazing, especially for $3! This is a mascara that is always in my stash and is definitely one of my favorite drugstore mascaras of all time!

Finally, the ELF Essential Lip Gloss Sticks. These are a nice glossy balm that have just enough pigment to be easy to use and fuss-free. You won't get amazing color payoff from these, which I like as I'm a big fan of a neutral lip. These are definitely one of my favorite drugstore lip crayons, and are super affordable as well!

Well, that's it for me! What are your favorite ELF products?

Mid-Summer Must-Haves

 

Now that we're in the middle of summer, I thought I would share the products that have been a necessity for me this summer. In the beginning of the summer, I buy all sorts of products I think I need but never actually use...so here are the things I have actually been using on a daily basis!

Pixi Tinted Lip Balm- I got this in my June Birchbox and have been obsessed ever since. I have the shade Coral Crush, and this balm is seriously creamy, pigmented, and hydrating...everything I need! I spend lots of time at the pool, and this balm is perfect for when my lips are dry, and makes a great transition from days at the pool to night out at dinner. The perfect balm for all occasion...I'm tempted to buy all the other colors!

Loreal Sublime Sun Sunscreen- by far the best facial suncreen I've ever used. This has a very thin consistency and feels very velvety on the skin, but doesn't cause breakouts or an oily face. Even though it's SPF 30, it is completely weightless... as long as Loreal keep making this product, I will keep buying it!

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner- Eyeko make some of the best eyeliner pens out there, and this one is in the shade Olive has been great this summer. Softer than black, more interesting than brown, and perfect for bringing out the green in my otherwise boring eyes. This liner also stays put all day long, and doesn't smudge...even when the rest of my makeup seems to want to migrate down my face.

Philosophy Hope In A Jar A-Z Cream- I'm normally not big on the BB trend, but this product is one of the best bases I've ever used-period. Light coverage and so lightweight, this blurs imperfections without making my skin oily- and also serves to hydrate my always-dry skin (thank you, retin-a). This has been my go-to summer foundation, and I'm definitely going to have to repurchase this when it soon runs out.

Covergirl Flamed Out Shadow Stick- I've been loving these eye crayons this summer because they are one of the few eye shadow stick formulations that stay put even in the hottest, most humid weather. Some stick eye shadows are super creamy, which is great...until they are so creamy they seem to smudge or disappear when worn in the humid weather. The CoverGirl stick is great because it goes on easily, but stays put all day...and can easily be thrown in a pool bag to transition your look from day to night.

These are the things that I've been loving in this super-hot weather...what are your mid-summer must-haves?

Loreal Sublime Sun Liquid Silk Lotion


I've always had terrible luck with facial sunscreen. Either it's too thick, doesn't give my skin enough protection, feels heavy, or most often, it makes me break out. However, I've found the one sunscreen that solves all of those problems- Loreal Sublime Sun Liquid Silk Lotion. 

While I have the old packaging, this product is seriously amazing. Lightweight and thin, this stuff is seriously silky feeling- very similar to the Loreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder foundation in consistency and application. This gives me protection all day and I can't feel it on my skin at all. It doesn't make me oily or look greasy and hasn't broken me out once...which is major for me as I find that almost all face sunscreens either clog my pores or make me look like a greaseball. If you're looking for a lightweight, inexpensive, seriously good facial sunscreen...look no further!

DIY Beauty: Faux-Rested Eye Mask

I'm back with another DIY beauty recipe! It seems you guys are really enjoying these posts, so thank you for all the lovely feedback! Today's recipe is for those days when your eyes just aren't looking great. Maybe you had a few too many, maybe you just didn't get enough sleep...I think we've all been there. This recipe relies on parsley, which is rich in vitamin k...this helps reduce the flow of blood to the under eye area, which diminishes the appearance of blood vessels and dark circles. When combined with cucumber, this eye mask will plump the under eye area and improve the appearance of those dark circles. You'll need:
1 tablespoon plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley (using dried parsley won’t give the same effect)
1 cucumber slice
Put the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend until a smooth mixture (with a paste-like consistency) forms. Apply this to the under eye area and also on the brow bone, avoiding your eyelid (be careful not to get this into your eyes! I apply this mixture with a clean lip brush to get good control over where it is placed). Let it sit or 20 minutes and then remove and rinse. And voila! A more hydrated, plumped, even toned under eye area! 

FOTD: Everyday Look

Today I'm doing my first Face of The Day... I'm a bit nervous because I am not a makeup pro! I have no formal training, and while I can talk about beauty products all day, there are many makeup application tips I have yet to master! This is the makeup I wear on a daily basis...


Base: Loreal True Match Foundation, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer, Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Roll-On, Bare Minerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener, ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzer in St. Lucia

Eyes: Too Faced Shadow Envy in Candlelight, Bare Minerals Eyecolor in Blissful Pearl, Covergirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in 350 Melted Caramel Flame, ELF 3-in-1 Mascara

Lips: BareMinerals Lip Gloss in Fruit Cocktail

Not Your Mother's Girl Powder: Volumizing Hair Powder



I've talked before on my blog about how I have really flat hair. It’s long, thick, and just loves to lay super close to my scalp. I've recently discovered a great product that has really been helping! I've reviewed the John Frieda Volume Mousse I use (here), but I will be completely honest and say that sometimes I'm far too lazy to blow dry my hair. The Not Your Mother's Girl Powder is a volumizing powder that retails for around $5. I've been hearing a lot about hair powders recently, and wanted to give this one a shot.
What I love about this powder is that it is used on dry hair, meaning I can shower at night, let my hair dry naturally, and still get volume come morning. I take a little of this powder, which has a slightly sticky texture, and massage it into my roots and get instant volume. It is probably the easiest way I have ever tried to get volume. However, if you're a girl who likes her hair to feel squeaky clean, this isn't the product for you. This makes my roots slightly sticky and feel more thick- which is great for volume, and I certainly don't mind my hair feeling a little "dirty", but if you do I would stick to different volumizing products. Overall, I've really been loving this product and with it's small price tag, it is definitely work a try! 

Petunia Skincare Vitamin C Serum and Derma Roller


I'd like to start this post by telling you up front that Petunia Skincare contacted me and asked if I would like to try some of their products, so I was sent these products for free. However, this is my honest opinion on these products. I think it is important for you as the reader to be able to trust my opinion, and I want you to know from the start that these are my honest opinions, and I am not being paid to say favorable things about these products. That being said, I have really enjoyed using these products and wanted to share them with you.

Petunia Skincare is a company that creates FDA approved products that are made right here in the United States (something that initially drew me to the company). Their Vitamin C Serum is made with 100% natural ingredients and is produced in small batches to guarantee freshness and potency.  This product is aimed at people with dry or dull skin, wrinkles and fine lines, loss of elasticity, and sun spots, dark spots and age spots. I am always looking for products to perk up my skin and make it look brighter, and also to help fade my hyperpigmentation. Another thing I really liked about Petunia Skincare is that they sent an informational e-booklet along with this product that helped explain the ingredients and how to use the product, so I felt like I had a clear understanding of exactly what I was putting on my skin.

Overall, I really liked this product! The first few times I used it, I used too much and it made my skin dry (which they mentioned in the booklet), but that was definitely user error. Once I began using a pea-sized amount as they recommended, I began loving the results I saw! I've been using this product for over a month now, and I can say that since I have used it my skin has been brighter, my hyperpigmentation has faded quite a bit (although I am also using a retinol, so the products have been working together), and my skin is overall in better condition. This is a product that my skin misses when I don’t use it- I forgot to use it a few nights ago and I woke up thinking my skin looked more dull than usual… So this product makes a noticeable difference for me! It also didn't make me break out, which my extremely sensitive skin is prone to do- which gives it good marks in my book. I will definitely be repurchasing this when I run out.

The other product I tried is the Derma Roller, which is a 1.0MM roller that you use on your skin before the serum to help  the serum absorb well. The first two weeks I used this product, I only used the Derma Roller on half of my face to see if it made a difference in the effectiveness of this product- and not only did the product absorb more quickly on the side I used the roller on, I also noticed less hyperpigmentation on the side I used this on-which makes me think the Derma Roller definitely makes the product more effective! I also noticed that using this, my moisturized absorbed much more quickly, and I felt like the products I was using were really penetrating my skin. I will admit to being totally nervous before using this product, as it looks like a bit of a medieval torture device...but it is really gentle and didn't irritate my skin at all! One thing to remember with this device is to not press into the skin when you're using it- or else you run the risk of irritating your skin. I run it lightly across my face and I find that the device does the work for me- no need to press down at all!

Petunia Skincare is sold on Amazon here. I hope you enjoyed my review, and let me know if you have any questions! Petunia Skincare tweeted that they were also coming out with a Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Serum and an Eye Serum, which I will hopefully be ordering for myself soon...I really have loved trying these products, and look forward to seeing where this brand goes.