Friday, March 28, 2014

Physicians Formula Youthful Wear Youth-Boosting Spotless Foundation

Now that is a mouthful!

I'm really into the serum foundations as I have found that they provide great coverage, blur imperfections, do not settle into pores and fine lines and they are great for us with oily complexions!

Physicians Formula is a brand I know well and can trust that most products in their range will be good.  The only product I remember that didn't work for me was their tinted moisturizer that I picked up at Big Lots on the cheap.  It was super full coverage and just the wrong tone for my skin unfortunately.

Physicians Formula Youthful Wear Youth-Boosting Spotless Foundation is a newer drugstore offering currently on the market.  I have found the new Physicians Formula display at Ulta and one of the three CVS stores in my immediate area, albeit the far one...  There is also a concealer to accompany this new serum foundation but I didn't dare pick it up since I already have a drawer full.  It was tempting however as CVS was having a 40% off Physicians Formula sale when I bought this back in January and there were $3 peelies on the packaging.

This week CVS is offering $10 in ECB when you buy 2 PF products.  However, Rite Aid has PF 40% off this week so you might be able to work a nice deal there!

So let's get into the nitty gritty of this newest PF serum foundation incarnation, shall we?

Since it is a serum, it is a thinner formula and has a light feeling on the skin. A dropper and a brush are included to further ease the application.  I love smoothing this on my skin so much that I tend to over-apply it.  After shaking the product thoroughly, I use the dropper to dot it on my forehead, cheeks, chin and a little down my nose and blend in with my finger tips.  The brush accompanying this foundation is a little too small and stiff for my liking.  It would take forever to blend and I don't have that kind of time!

As with the other serum foundations that I have tried, it has a matte but not flat finish after it dries down which it does quickly but you have enough time to work it into the skin.  If you get that perfect color match, it is virtually undetectable on the skin.  That being said, you need to exfoliate and moisturize before using this foundation, as it will stick and accentuate dry patches.  Combination to oily skin will love this, dry skin, not so much unfortunately.

Since I have combination to oily skin, downright oily in the NC summer humidity, I will get shiny and will need to blot and powder a couple of hours after wearing this type of foundation as with all my foundations.  I do not feel the need to set it with powder currently, as it already has a powdery (not super matte) finish to it. 

My only complaint, the color selection.  There are only 3 colors; Light, Medium, and Medium Beige.  Currently, light is too dark for me and probably will be until well into the summer.  This could be a favorite contender if they developed more shades like L'OREAL Magic Nude Liquid Powder which was a favorite for me last summer.

Left:L'OREAL Magic Nude Liquid Powder 316 Nude Beige/Right:PF Youthful Wear Spotless Light

As you can see, L'OREAL offers a better match for my NC 20 (best estimate as I do not own a MAC foundation) skin right now.  Youthful Wear is just a touch thicker in consistency but both are quite runny though pigmented.  Both offer the same medium coverage.  In fact, I wear both.  I use L'OREAL in the center of my face and PF to slightly contour/add dimension to my skin at the top of my forehead and temples and the hollows of my cheeks (to create hollows rather).  It seems to work well but again, the color is not the best match for me. 

I can't wait to try this in the summer when it will hopefully be a good match!  I will of course update you on its ability to last during the summer heat and humidity...

Dear Physicians Formula color developers,

Please come out with a greater shade range for your products. 


Drugstore makeup lovers everywhere.

Have you tried Physicians Formula Youthful Wear Youth-Boosting Spotless Foundation yet?  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Natural Konjac Cleansing Puff

I had seen Konjac sponges popping up frequently late last year so I decided to find one and try it out.  I grabbed a less expensive one on Amazon which can always be hit or miss.  2-3 weeks later a green domed shaped sponge arrived from China sealed in plastic.  And it was damp which I wasn't expecting.


There are many varieties, shapes, sizes, colors of the konjac sponge.  The seller that I buy mine from on amazon for $6.99 claims they are "natural fiber + natural green tea ingredient."   There are also French clay, charcoal, bamboo, turmeric, volcanic scoria... Each touting their own benefit.

Traditionally, these sponges are made from Konjac fibers with is a potato plant that grows readily in Asia.  It's soft texture gently exfoliates and the fibers have a natural alkaline pH so the sponge will balance out the acidity of the facial impurities. 

Our skin is protected from the acid mantle which is comprised of sebum and sweat, killing harmful bacteria.  Healthy skin has a pH of 5.5 which is slightly acidic.  Oily skin, like mine, is too acidic.  The goal of my skincare regiment is to balance out my skin without wiping out my acid mantle.  I used to over cleanse my skin and slather oil free products on it which would just cause more oil production.

The alkaline (basic) nature of the Konjac sponge helps to balance out my skin externally.  Internally this can be done by eating berries, apples and tomatoes.  If you have dry skin, which is alkaline, this sponge may tip you to far into a high pH.  However, a little exfoliation is good for everyone. It feels really nice on the skin and leaves my face extremely soft and makeup application is a breeze afterwards. 

The Konjac sponge should be replaced within 3 months.  You will be able to tell when it's time to pitch it.  I'm on my second and they are extremely durable.  Just be sure to keep it moist.  If you are using it twice a day, that shouldn't be a problem but be sure to rinse your facial cleanser out thoroughly.  I stick with a foaming (or non-foaming) or gel based cleanser as an emollient, cream based cleansers are difficult to rinse out.

Have you tried a Konjac sponge?  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BB & CC Creams!

This is my current "collection" of BB creams.  They all have different purposes and worn on different days.
The first BB Cream I ever tried was Lioele Beyond the Solutions BB Cream.  It was nearly perfect.  Nearly perfect color, coverage, etc...  I would consider picking this one back up and I have but since I already have a drawer full, I have been holding off.  Here is my Original BB Cream post from a two years ago! Link!
Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector for Combination Oily Skin in Light/Medium is more like a foundation to me.  It's a bit thin and runny but covers beautifully and is a perfect, light feeling foundation for the summer as it is a bit darker.  Before Garnier came out with the oily/combo skin version, I had a love/hate relationship with the original.  I wanted to love it, but it would oxidize and slide off my face.  This is much improved and my favorite drugstore "BB cream."
Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm is my favorite all around BB Cream.  Perfect color match, semi-matte finish, good coverage, not too heavy, not too light, and longer wearing for a BB Cream.  I will definitely repurchase this one as it is almost empty.  This is also a darker, summer time BB cream for me.  I purchased this from Birchbox with my points for just a couple of dollars so that was a bonus too!
Pond's Luminous Finish BB+ Cream is a nice drugstore option but not if you are oily skinned and looking for something long lasting.  This is my winter weekend/weekday I'm not going anywhere but don't want to scare anyone when I answer the door...  It's plenty moisturizing for me, too much in the summer and melts off within 2 hours but it's still useful to me especially during this particularly cold and dry winter we have had.  It does offer some coverage, not as much as Garnier however.  I'm not sure if this is one I would repurchase though.

Skin79 Super Beblesh Balm Triple Functions Whitening + Wrinkle Improvement is a true high SPF Korean BB Cream.  It's thick, full coverage, has a crazy high SPF and has the skincare benefits.  Now Dr. Jart Black Label Detox is also a Korean brand with skin benefits, but it seems watered down and the SPF is only 25.  Still my favorite though, don't get me wrong.  Skin79 is super light too and matches me perfectly in the winter.  I mostly use this in the center of my face, triangle under eyes.  It fills in/minimizes pores.  It's a great BB cream if you are fair and has yellow undertones which is good for me.  It covers up my pink cheeks so I can actually see my blush color.  :)

Now on to my Color Corrector or CC Creams!

The first CC Cream that I ever tried was Rachel K CC Cream.  I loved it.  It was the perfect base and moisturizer for me in the summer.  I picked up AVON's Ideal Flawless in Light/Medium mostly for the high SPF.  I've tried it out a few times and really like it under foundation as a moisturizer.  It has a thicker, almost whipped consistency.  It doesn't provide a ton of coverage. The color isn't the best for me however which you will see in just a bit.  I would like to try it out in light.  The high SPF of 50 and light to no scent is a huge plus for me.

Lumene CC Cream in Light was in one of my last New Beauty TestTubes.  I had tried the Lumene BB Cream which didn't work out.  This CC Cream is really nice.  It doesn't provide as much coverage as Rachel K but it come in a close second.  It would be perfect if it had SPF 50 like AVON it would be absolutely perfect.  Lumene CC Cream has an SPF of 20.

One thing you have to pay attention to with BB Cream is the oxidation factor.  They can change significantly.  True BB creams have a gray cast to them and tend to warm up.  The BB Creams that I have stay mostly true to color as they dry down and oxidize.  However, take a look at the CC Creams:

I have the original/oxidized swatches in the middle of AVON and Lumene CC Creams.

From left to right:

Freshly applied AVON Ideal Flawless CC Cream in Light/Medium, Oxidized AVON CC Cream in Light Medium.  Huge difference!  And it was pretty shocking at the end of the day when I looked at my face.  Oopsy!

Continuing along... Oxidized Lumene CC Cream in Light, freshly applied Lumene CC Cream in Light.

I only tested out the Korean BB Creams to see if they oxidized.  It's very slight.

Here is Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox on the left and Skin79 BB Cream on the right:

I have the freshly applied swatch to the right of the oxidized.  Not much of a difference noted.

When I have finished up a couple of these, I of course have a small list of notable BB/CC Creams I would like to try:

1. It Cosmetics CC Cream.  If I was not on a no buy this month, I would have ordered the most recent set on QVC for $65.98.  It has a supersize CC Cream, Plus Paddle Foundation brush, CC Lip Serum and the infamous Tightline Waterproof Mascara and you can buy it on Easy Pay.  :)  If this set came with the Bye Bye Under Eye, I might have caved.  The regular sized CC Cream is $35.

2.  Dior Hydra Life BB Eye Crème. Next Sephora VIB Sale! Chic Week is coming up soon!  April right?  :)

Just 2 or do you have any suggestions for me to try?  :)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 11 Results/Weekly Favorites

I'm going to change things up this week and instead of talking about the boring details of every single product I used during the week, I will just highlight my favorite products that I used.  Additionally, if there was a product that was a total fail, I will bring that up as well!  What do you think?
This is what I started out Week 11 with:


And this is what I ended the week with:

My favorites this week:

Revlon Colorstay Whipped in 150 Buff and 200 Sand Beige
Lumene Time Freeze CC Cream
Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector Combination to Oily Skin Light/Medium
marimekko for AVON all-over face palettes in poppy bouquet and poppy bloom
Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian clay finishing powder
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment
Maybelline Eye Studio in 400 Olive Martini

Still loving the Revlon Colorstay Whipped and Lumene CC Cream.  I wore them together and separately.  I wore Garnier BB cream for Combination to Oily skin by itself over the weekend as it has great coverage.  Still one of my favorite BB creams, though it is really more like a foundation.

I'm on week #3 of  Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid.  I'm not seeing amazing results and started having a small breakout of my congested chin.  I added some La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment and the combination of BHA and LHA effectively dehydrated my skin combined with the sharp 20 degree drop in temp over the past 3 days.  But things are clearing up, which was the goal!

I've had these beautiful marimekko for AVON all over face palettes in poppy bloom for blush and poppy bouquet for highlighter for 4 years now and I think this is the second time I've actually used them.  I'm not sure why but they are beautiful and wonderfully pigmented. 

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian clay finishing powder is my absolute favorite for setting my under eye concealer right now.  It's perfection. 

One of my all time favorite eyeshadow palettes is Maybelline Eye Studio in 400 Olive Martini.  I had to grab this off of eBay last year as my area doesn't seem to get Limited Edition collections.  (* I did eventually find another CVS further out from where I live and it tends to be fully stocked with rare limited edition displays that the other 2 closer CVS' never seem to have.)  At first I thought this palette was too glittery, but when you get through the top layer, the highlight is a beautiful satin and the rest are shimmers.  I'm obsessed with green.

On the fence:

Also for eyes I used Flower Beauty Shadow in Smoke and Mirrors.  I have a difficult time with this palette.  The eyeshadows themselves are pigmented, soft and pretty in the pan.  On the eye after blending the base color is just muddy.  I can't think of any other descriptive word.  Too be honest, I'm not the best at applying matte shadows.  Of course this is probably user error, but I find shimmery/satin shades easier to work with, more forgiving, quicker to apply and look better on my eye shape.

I also layered the shadows over Flower Beauty Color Play Crème Shadow in Orchid-ing Around which is also beautiful in the jar but on the lid the color is a sheer wash.  And the base color is very dark gray/black and it blends out muddy as well.  I still am tempted to pick up more though when I walk in the cosmetic aisle at Walmart.  They seem very luxe and the packaging is really nice.  I've used this palette a few times.  I want to like it...

So there you have it!

What were your favorites this week or so far this month?


Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 12: Weekly Skincare/Makeup Box

The last full week of March...  Where does the time go?

I had a tough time choosing products this week!  My skin is acting funny and I don't know what it needs.  I wore 70 SPF on Saturday while we were at my husband's work function and I still burned slightly.  My eyelids a bit puffy and sensitive.  Not happy! 

The sunscreen was leftover from last year so off to CVS I will go to buy a fresh supply.  Neutrogena is Buy $30, get $10 in ECB this week.  I have a couple $3/2 coupons for Neutrogena products and $13 in ECB.  Though technically on a "no-buy," sunscreen is an exception!

Foundation:  I'm going to give Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse in 100 Ivory.  I did already put this on earlier today and I washed it off immediately.  My skin is super parched and the temp did a little drop-a-roo into the 30's and 40's.  I'm going to see if I can do a little mixing and make it work.

BB Cream:  My Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox is like the black hole of BB cream.  I don't know where it is coming from.  The bottle feels so empty. 

Primer:  Guerlain L'Or Radiance Concentrate with Pure Gold Makeup Base and Rimmel Stay Matte Primer.

Moisturizer: Jergens Natural Glow a couple times this week for some color, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrate for my dehydration, as well as my trusty Indie Lee The Moisturizing oil in Lavender at night.

SPF: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50.

Eye Cream:  Puffiness ensues so Clinique all about eyes serum is essential this week.  I also grabbed baseq Cucumber Tea Soothing Eye gel and my new favorite Nuance by Salma Hayek Smoothing Anti-Aging Eye Cream.

Serum and/or treatment:  Sea Buckthorn seed oil for some lingering blemishes and Paula's Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (#GotitFree Bzz Agent Campaign).  Also Urban Decay b6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion spray which I use just after toning, before moisturizing.

Cleanser: Neutrogena Facial Bar currently on a dish at the bathroom sink!

Mask: Trader Joe's Organic Raw Honey and Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Sleeping Facial. Bringing the moisture baby!

Exfoliant: glo therapeutics Refresh Facial Polish with Jojoba Beads, Borage Oil, Acai Oil.

Makeup: The gorgeous Sonia Kashuk Moroccan Dunse Eye Palette that I got on clearance last year.  Yay!  Which I haven't touched of course...  Since these 4 shades look very shiny/metallic, I included a couple of mattes; WnW single eyeshadow in 251A Brulee and L'OREAL Wear Infinite in 826 Antique Brown which is more of a satin.  I also included my smaller travel size Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder.

So that's my line up for week #12!

What are you trying out this week?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Suds up Sunday!

Time to wash those brushes! 

Currently I am using Aveeno Baby Shampoo to clean my brushes.  I try to wash my used brushes at least once a week so these are the brushes I gravitated towards this past week!  I will spread them out so they will dry quicker after I post this...  :) 

I also use the Master's Brush Cleanser which I find at Michael's.  I always buy it with a 40% off coupon too!

Washing brushes and even a makeup blending sponge is a breeze with this little canister.  You just wet the brush or sponge, swirl a few times and rinse.   I run the soap container under water rinse out the dirty water.

I find that it is much quicker than pouring Aveeno baby soap into my hand, swirling the brush under water, adding more soap for dirtier brushes, rinsing with more water... 

But I alternate every other week to ensure maximum cleanliness and to prevent any possible build up of soap product in the brushes. 

I clean my Real Techniques makeup sponge every other day or so with a Neutrogena Facial Bar as well.  I try to make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned several times a week to prevent a build up of bacteria.  I probably should replace this sponge.  I have been using it for about 4 months now.  It cleans up nice and has held up really well.
What do you use to clean your brushes?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Foundations...

One thing I find one part fun, 20 parts agonizing is foundation.  I want a foundation to cover, look skin-like and natural, add some healthy glow, not shine, not oxidize or settle in pores and last without going greasy.  I will forgive the foundation of all these faults only if it is a true color match.  It's a tall order and I've never found that true color match that perfectly blends, matching face, neck and chest.  Partly because my face is pink/peach, my neck is white/yellow, and my chest is the darkest part of my body year round.  So...  I've tried many and I've come close.  My combo/oily skin complicates the matter...  But I've learned to "Keep Calm, Just Blot" several times a day.

These are the keepers, or the ones that I have in my drawer currently.  I will explain.

From left to right in order of being most used...

Bourjois Healthy Mix in 52 Vanilla, CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 in 825 Buff Beige, L'OREAL Magic Nude Liquid Powder in 316 Nude Beige, Revlon Colorstay Whipped in 150 Buff, 200, Sand Beige, 240 Natural Beige, Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup in 20 Nude (Bzz Agent Campaign), Physicians Formula Youthful Wear Spotless in Light, and Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in 100 Ivory.

Here are some swatches in the same order left to right.  I think I am a NC 20-25 in MAC, the inside of my arm is probably NC 15 right now (yellow undertones).

Currently, my favorite and best color match is the CoverGirl Outlast in 825 Buff Beige.  The last time I wore Revlon Colorstay Whipped in 200 Sand Beige matched really well as well.  Revlon Sand Beige is similar in color to Bourjois Healthy Mix in 52 Vanilla.  All 3 of these I can wear right now and are good choices for me.  They last, look natural, cover nicely.  Revlon ColorStay Whipped takes some extra finesse to apply so I don't reach for it as often.

I'm nearing the end of Bourjois and I would feel comfortable repurchasing. I know that the packaging has changed and possibly the formula?  I'm also determined to finish it!  It has a natural finish, not too matte, not too shiny.  CoverGirl Outlast in Buff Beige is just a slightly better color match, wears better throughout the day and looks more natural, lighter coverage.  It keeps my skin oils in check too which is a huge bonus. Also a natural finish, just a touch more matte than Bourjois, but still on the natural semi-matte side.

L'OREAL Magic Nude Liquid Powder in Nude Beige is slightly warmer (more pink) and matches me better in the summer months.  I could wear this right now but would have to take it down the neck to blend it.  I love this foundation for touch ups.  If I don't have time to wash my face and start over, I can slap this foundation on quickly and it blends out to a nice powder finish.  Awesome for the humid summers down here in NC.   And I prefer this in the summer over Bourjois as it is much lighter and more comfortable to wear.

The Revlon Colorstay Whipped tower...  I first purchased this foundation from Ulta, full price when it first came out in 220 Nude.  I loved it.  But the color was just too pink.  I sat there with 220 Nude and 150 Buff for like 20 minutes trying to decide which one to purchase.  I used to wear Buff in the regular Colorstay line.  But ultimately, I went with 220 Nude mostly because I usually fall in the "Beige" or "Nude" color now that I live in the South and a little darker than my white Northern days.

Well 220 Nude was too pink.  I went back for 240 Natural Beige.  Also a bit pink/dark but workable.  Then I purchased 150 Buff to mix with 240 Natural Beige and got along with the 2 for a little while.  And finally, 200 Sand Beige came into my life during for free during a CVS haul.  I don't remember 200 Sand Beige as a choice during that first encounter at Ulta but I found it last summer at CVS.  It matches the best out of all the colors and I use 150 Buff in certain areas of my face to brighten.

Colorstay is a bit heavier in the coverage department so I usually save it for special occasions and events like Marine Corps Balls and weddings namely.  :)

These last 3 are relatively new and I'm unsure about them at the moment.  As you can see from the swatches again below, Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear in 40 Nude and Physicians Formula Youthful Wear Spotless in Light are stand out dark on my arm (far right).  These 2 will hopefully be perfect in the summer for me.  I have Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in 100 Ivory pictured last because I have only tried it 1-2 times on a very dry skin week.  I just rescued it from the Rite Aid return bag just before taking the photo above.  I will give it another shot.  It's thicker than Revlon Colorstay whipped and much drier.  It is a true matte finish.

I have a lot of foundations to get through before I will pick up another that is for sure.

However, lately I have been wanting to pick up a higher end foundation. As soon as I finish Bourjois and another of course... :)

Here's my list!

1. Urban Decay Naked (Tried a sample and loved it!)
2. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (Color Matched and loved it!)
3. Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Super-Charged
4. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder (Tried the Immaculate TM and loved it!)
5. Make Up Forever Mat Velvet +

So I will be good, use up my drugstore foundations and pounce on the next Sephora VIB sale.  :)

Next up I will be sharing my BB and CC Cream "Collection."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Week 10 Results!

The products that I started out with:

The products that I ended out the week with:

Foundation:  I love the finish on the Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup.  It's very smoothing, flawless looking but very natural.  The coverage is nice too.  It is a very thick foundation but does not feel heavy on the skin.  The formula is better suited for a pump as it is a bit difficult to shake out of the bottle.  A q-tip is definitely a necessity when dispensing this product.  The color is just a bit too dark right now.  I picked it out when I started the Bzz Agent Campaign because I need to find a color with some yellow in it.  But I'm positive that this will be perfect in the summer.  As far as long wearing, right now while I have my normal skin going on, this does last.  Time will tell in the summer humidity!

I also mixed Revlon PhotoReady SkinLights with Bourjois Healthy mix a couple of days this week. Loved the combo!  Because my eyes looked just a smidge more tired than usual, Skin79 BB cream under the eyes was a necessity this week.  It just brightens everything up for me. 

Moisturizer:  I tried to get my glow on this week with Jergens Natural Glow Face in Fair to Medium.  I use this mostly on my neck to even the color difference between my face and chest.  I also used Beaute Holistique Equitance on my face and chest.  I think that this is doing a good job evening out my complexion.  I used the Sonoma Naturals Rose Hip Seed Oil Serum at night.  I also used some Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate.  I have been savoring this one.  It's light, smells lux and I want a full size as soon as I use up everything else!

Primer:  When I remembered, I slapped on some Rimmel Stay Matte Primer but I don't think I used it very often.  This step will be more important when the humidity kicks in.  I made a conscience effort to use Guerlain L'Or.  One day.

Eye Cream: I'm really liking Nuance by Salma Hayek Smoothing Anti-Aging Eye Cream.  It absorbs nicely and feels great. 

Makeup:  I can't tell if I like Revlon PhotoReady Bronzed and Chic.  NYC Smooth Skin in Sunny is effortless for me.  I can't really see the Bronzed and Chic on the cheeks. I wonder if I have to scrape off the top layer and really dig into it.  Hmm... Wet n Wild Walking the Red Carpet is not the best WnW palette I have tried.  I mostly used the left side and used the right side definer as a crease color and sometimes a liner.  It was a bit chalky.  Not the same formula as the usual WnW palettes unfortunately.  I thought it needed a Maybelline Color Tattoo for layering so I grabbed Nude Pink.  It did help somewhat.

I ordered some samples of Sobe Botanicals Mineral Foundation a while ago and finally got around to trying out.  I grabbed Fairly Light in warm and neutral and Light in Warm.  Fairly Light in Warm is really nice.  This might be my go to summer powder... Still loving Tarte Smooth Operator under the eyes to set my concealer which I had to use a ton of this week.  Tarte EmphasEYES Inner rim brightener was needed this week as well.  It's almost too bright but it helps significantly.

Okay, finally caught up.  My husband was giving me the side eye with all the pink Glossyboxes over flowing with products on my dresser.  Neatly lined up of course.  ;)  I can finally put everything away and pull products for week 12!    As you can see with my recent sample post here, I really don't have much left (for me).  The next few weeks I will be concentrating on using up some full-size products that have been neglected. 

Wow this week is going by extremely fast!  How did your week go?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Week 9 Results!

What I started with:

What I ended the week with:

Foundation:  Still just loving Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 in 825 Buff Beige.  I think it is just the perfect color for me.  Just the tiniest bit pink, I mean tiny. 
BB/CC/DD Cream:  I really liked the Kiehl's BB Cream.  It has an SPF 50 and smells like it does but overall the coverage and color is nice.  I think it will be just a touch too moisturizing for me in the summer though. Maybe they will come out with a CC cream next.  I just love Kiehl's. 
Lumene Time Freeze CC is a really nice product.  I can wear it on it's own, it has a semi-matte finish.  The only fault, I need the SPF a little higher than 20 if I am going to wear this in the sun.  The Derma Doctor DD cream was way too dark for me.
Moisturizer: I started out with a bare face and spritz a little Urban Decay b6 Vitamin Infused Complexion spray.  Then I followed up with Origins Plantscription.  This is very moisturizing which was needed this past week.  Just the tiniest amount is needed for my skin.  I mostly just used the Lumene CC Cream as my moisturizer.
Primer:  Again my Lumene CC Cream was an all-in-one but I also used Clarins Instant Smooth in my t-zone. 

Mask: Julep Mask Noir.  I can't get past how messy this stuff is.  It is thick, very black and just doesn't want to rinse off your hands after applying it.  I have seen people use a brush when applying masks but the product is super thick, I don't know how I would be able to wash off the brush.  I do like that it mostly peels off in one sheet.
Hair:  I feel like I have this thinning of my hair going on in my crown.  I'm pretty sure my hair has always been like that because a very long time ago someone mentioned it but every once in a while it bothers me so I will pick up some Nioxin products when I see them at Marshall's.  I use the scalp renew infrequently at best.  I have never seen any noticeable results.  Most likely because I don't really have a thinning problem, just think I do.  But I figure I'm taking care of my scalp and my hair is really healthy.  I just got a hair cut and that helps too!  4 inches gone! 
I've really gotten into using a heat protectant this past year.  I usually just let my hair air dry but when I do blow it dry or curl it, I will spray some on.  I think when I first tried them years ago they would feel filmy.  The "modern" heat protectants feel so light they are virtually undetectable.  This one by TONI&GUY is like that.  Good Stuff. I have a full size of Tresemme in the red bottle that I have been working on forever and tons of prep sprays from Bumble&Bumble which I always pick up when they have free shipping. 
I have been using this L'OREAL OleoTherapy Hair Expertise since December.  I picked it up from Ulta.  I thought it was on sale and I had a coupon.  Turns out the shelf was mismarked or the sign sale hadn't been taken off.  I have forgotten how much it was but way more than I would have paid.  Ulta is always like that for me though.  My bill is always way higher than my mental calculations of what it should be!  That being said, whatever I paid, well worth it.  This product is lovely and my hair looks really nice.  Sure it's the hair cut, but before the hair cut, I had all kinds of dry, split ends, it was a stringy mess.  This hair oil helped to conceal all of that.  Lovely product and I've barely made a dent using it every day for almost 4 months.
Exfoliant: Glo-Therapeutics Refresh Facial Polish has a nice fresh citrus mint scent that is perfect to wake up to in the morning.  I really like it.  It has a small but dense grit so it's gentle but effective.  This is officially in my top 3.
Makeup: The AVON and mark. palettes were really nice.  I picked them up from an Outlet catalog months ago and this is my first time using them.  I wore them on their own and layered over Maybelline Color Tattoos in 25 Bad to the Bronze and 55 Inked in Pink.

The mark. drama case opens up in 2 directions revealing liners and eyeshadows.  All the shadows are decently pigmented and I came up with some really nice eye looks this week.  I didn't use the blue or orange in the mark. but I used all the shadows in the AVON Q922 muse quad.
In addition to the Balm trio I used Physicians Formula Happy Booster in Translucent as a highlight.  I can't use this all over because it is quite sparkly.  I forgot how dark Bahama Mama was but it blends out really well when used with a light hand and worked out perfectly.
So that was my Week 9 products! 
One of these weeks I will give you all a tour of my bathroom so you can see where I store everything currently!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Samples, Samples, Samples!

I love sample sizes.  I frequently get bored using the same product for more than a couple of weeks.  Unless of course I see major results.   So since I have not discovered an earth shattering, wrinkle/complexion miracle worker so far, I will continue to try out new things.  But my skin also gets bored.  I see my skin respond to a new product for 2-3 weeks tops, then it sort of plateaus, gets dull or congested, telling me to switch it up.  So I oblige, albeit willingly...  

As a willful participant, I have dabbled in the monthly sample boxes, bags and tubes out there.  I have tried Birchbox, Ipsy, TestTube, Julep Maven, Target Beauty Box and GlossyBox.  I think there was one other one but I can't think of it at the moment. Beauty Army!  I was one of the first, watching the time clock count down for it to launch!  I love the element of surprise and it's just fun to receive a box full of goodies every month.

Target was great because it used to be free!  Now I believe it is $5.  Still worth it to try out and they include coupons which is a nice touch.  Birchbox is probably my favorite as it is affordable at $9.95 a month and I have discovered some favorites.  They also offer free shipping on full size versions of the monthly samples and you can earn Birchbox points to use towards the on-line shop. Some months are hit or miss though.  And foil packets really are not my preference.  For me, I can't fall in love with a product after one use.  I need to use it for a week to 2 weeks to really see if a product is going to work out for me. 

I was one of the 300 Beauty Bloggers chosen to receive GlossyBox for free when they first launched in the States.  I was subscribed for a few months at $21 a pop!  Yowsers.  The first couple of boxes were awesome and then I realized quickly that the UK GlossyBoxes contained the products I really wanted to try.  Though I did receive some nice products, affordability was a major factor in my cancellation.

My second favorite would be TestTube.  It's pricey but the tube is packed with travel size and full size items.  They are shipped 6 times a year at $29.95.  So technically it's $60 more a year than say Birchbox but the full size products are a draw.  I will probably go back to TestTube after I use up all my samples at some point but not every 2 months, maybe just a couple times a year.  The next time they send me a 30% off coupon, I will probably cave.

I was one of the first to try out Ipsy when it was Glam Bag subscribing in its second month.  They had a few issues in those beginning days.  Currently, the unboxing videos show some incredible makeup products but I think the color choices are geared towards a younger-than-me crowd...  I am still intrigued to try this service out again.  Quite affordable at $9.95 a box.  They pack full size products in a nice makeup bag that is included every month as well.

I was also one of the first subscribers of Julep and have kept an active subscription the entire time.  They started off a little rocky as with any other new business but things have smoothed out.  What I like about this sample service is that you can skip a month.  I also frequently gift out my monthly Maven box for friends and family for their birthday and holidays.  So I have never cancelled this subscription.  Julep started off just nail polish and manicure items but now they have added skincare and makeup items.  I love their cleansing oil and dual ended Kajal liner.  There are a variety of boxes to choose from each month as well.  Julep is $19.95 a month. 

So since we are almost nearing the end of the first quarter of the year, I thought I would update you all on my sample progress.  I wish that I took a picture of what I started out with...  But I have a photo of where I am at right now and I am happy with the progress.

I keep my samples in a clear plastic tray that I picked up from Target that fits perfectly in my IKEA 5-drawer Alex which I store in my bathroom.  My samples used to be in the last 2 drawers but I'm happy to report that this is all I have left!

To be honest, I have separated out my hair care samples.  That's another post... 

But this should be everything at least, in the skincare/makeup department (possibly minus 1 or 2 that could be scattered about.)

In the middle of I have 2 travel size Urban Decay All-Nighter Sprays and 3 of my all time favorite mascara, Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara which I have never owned a full size of...  Though L'OREAL Lash Out Butterfly Mascara is a super close contender for taking over the #1 spot.

You have seen this Arbonne eye sample before.  One packet lasts about 2 weeks was it?  7 more to go!  I picked these up from Ebay.  Fun fact.  I used to be an Arbonne rep.  Correction, at a party I signed up and paid the fee to be one but never sold or purchased Arbonne during that entire year.  Dummy.

I save the LaRoche-Posay Effaclar treatment and cleanser for bad skin days, weeks...  I will definitely need to use these when the weather warms up.

I have a couple of these oils in my Week 11 Skincare/Makeup box.  I've been holding on to these 2 Le Metier de Beaute forever!  Why?!  Hopefully they are still good and I didn't waste them!

Primers, treatments, and BB, CC, creams and a foundation...  Not bad!  I've included a couple of these in Week 11.  I've tried the Lumene BB cream before.  I actually bought the full size and returned it to Walgreens a couple days later 2 years ago.  It was too pink and melted off a couple of hours later during the summer.  So I already know how that one turns out!

These 2 conditioners are currently in my shower awaiting for me to use them!

I've tried most of these primers and BB creams.  The Lorac CC Cream in Medium, Too Faced BB cream, and Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact (CC cream right?) are all too dark at the moment.

Sorry for the blurry...  I use Boost-it and the Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel pretty frequently.  I'm not going to sugar coat it but the emu oil smells and there are some solid portions in the oil, a bit like coconut oil really, not the smell, just the half melted consistency.  It's not something that I reach for but I can use it up on my cuticles I'm sure!

My weekly skincare/makeup box has prompted me to use up and try new and old things in my collections and I am much more organized.  I feel like this is a very manageable amount of samples for me now.  I'm less overwhelmed when I open up the old Alex drawers.

What does your sample stash look like?  More or less than mine?  :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 9+10 Empties!

Yahoo!  Lots of empties the past 2 weeks!

I will start with the obvious non-emptied foundation bottles to the left.  L'OREAL True Match Lumi in W1-2 is just too light/pink for me.  I'm going to send this to my sister.  L'OREAL True Match in W-3 is too pink as well.  I'm wondering if the W means pink and the C means yellow?  Can someone help me out on that?  If that's the case, no wonder I can't find a match!  I also have tried N1-2 in LUMI and that was too pink as well.  Let me know!  The Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation in SP30 is too light for me as well.  I'm thinking I need SP50 for the summer.  It has a SPF of 42 which is perfect for me.  This might be too yellow for my sister but I will send it along anyway.

Just the Basics Shave Cream, which I didn't know was a cream but thought it was a gel when I bought it at CVS didn't not work for me.  I let my 3 year old play with it in the bath!  My legs are pretty sensitive and this gave me instant razor burn.  I didn't even finish shaving my leg.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap in Lavender.  It's the ultimate multi-tasker.  Will repurchase in both this flavor and all others.  I'm going to start using it as a natural cleanser as well for the house. 

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask is pretty good and it's at the commissary so I can pick it up with my groceries.  I will repurchase.

Julep Mask Noir was okay.  It's super messy and difficult to wash off your hands after application.  It also stains white face cloths.  Who would have thunk?  I might have another application but I'm going to skip it.  I do like the peel off aspect of it.  My face was soft after using it.  I didn't see any other results though.

Suave Smoothing Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter & Shea.  This has a great, fresh scent.  I would consider picking this one up.

Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter.  My last one!  I need to get down to Wilmington and replenish the supply!

Amlactin Moisturizing Body Lotion.  This lotion stings, not just after shaving either.  After every time.  Yikes!  Alpha-Hydroxy acids hurt y'all.  But they are good exfoliators.  Maybe this lotion will be better for me in the summer.  Ouch.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye. This lasted forever.  I even thought it was empty and was still able to use it for a few more weeks.  It's finally empty.  I will repurchase the cream version, Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex.  I saw pretty good results after using 2 samples of the previous.  When I went to purchase the full size, the sales associate steered me towards the serum.

Organix Hydrating Macademia Oil Shampoo & Conditioner.  I picked these up, well on clearance of course, but because I loved the hair mask.  These were very drying.  I added avocado oil to both of them and they were tolerable.  Avocado oil makes every shampoo and conditioner better.  I won't repurchase.

Epielle Facial Essence Mask Collagen with Vitamin E.  I bought several of these during one of Big Lots 20% off sales.  They are 60 cents a piece.  They are nice and cheap.  Alcohol is the 6th ingredient.  Not super happy about that.

100% pure coconut nourishing body cream.  Initially it smells a little funny, earthy, raw but later in the day it smelled really nice. I liked that I could smell it throughout the day too.  Really nice ingredients too.  I might need to pick this up.

Caldrea Aromotherapeutic Body Lotion in Coconut Fig Leaf.  If I could smell like this for all the days of my life.  I would buy buckets of this stuff.  I saw that Caldrea is on Vitacost but not the lotion.  $22 for 8 fl. oz.  If I win the lottery...

Kiehls' Fig Leaf and Sage is another scent that I love.  I tried the body cleanser it was luxurious. $24 for 8.4 fl.oz.

Derma Doctor DD cream was too dark so I couldn't really test it out since I'm in the public eye a lot!

Kiehl's BB Cream is really nice!  It has an SPF 50 and smells of sunscreen but the coverage is nice.  I would pick this one up if I didn't have any other BB creams in rotation.

There are a few other oils and serums but since they were 1-2 use foil packets, I can't really formulate an opinion of them after such short time use.

Oh I was thinking that they Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control was actually green like the package, but it isn't.  I was thinking it was a color correcting thing.  Oh well.  But I still would like to have a full size of this around for days when I need a blemish treatment. 

I actually finished a perfume sample!  Victoria's Secret Bombshell.  I will be purchasing a full size.  I liked this one a lot.  One day I will share my perfume sample "collection."

Week 11: Weekly Skincare/Makeup Box

Week 11!!! 
And Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

This is what I have picked out for this week's weekly skincare/makeup box.  I couldn't decide on an eye palette so we will see what I come up with at the end of the week!

Foundation: Decided to use Revlon ColorStay Whipped which I haven't used in forever.  I love this foundation.  I have it in 3 shades.  150 Buff and 200 Sand Beige work the best for me.  This foundation is very skin-like but can build up fast if you don't sheer it out.  I prefer the beauty blender with this foundation, well with mostly every foundation and BB cream for that matter!

CC Cream:  I have been saving this Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream sample for a while now because I think I'm going to love this CC cream and will want to buy it.  But since I already have 2 other CC creams in rotation, I need to wait!

SPF:  I have about 2 drops of Clarins SPF 40.  Need to finish this off.  It literally (I love using this word!) has rained every day for the last week it seems.  Actually, I think it was sunny on Saturday.  I save this for the days I know I will be outside in the sun.  It's currently rainy and 37 degrees.  Brr!!!

Primers:  Lancôme La Base Pro, Algenist with Alguronic Acid, Smashbox Photo Finish and L'OREAL Magic Lumi for mixing with ColorStay.

Treatments:  I have L'OREAL Youth Code Texture Perfector Serum Concentrate, Kiehl's Cleary Collective Dark Spot Treatment, Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (Bzz Agent Campaign), Hydroatone Instant Effect 90 Second Anti-Wrinkle Results.  Also Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster which I have a couple drops left.  I dropped this liquid gold in my sink last week, losing most of it.  Bummer.

Eyes: Benefit Stay Don't Stray for eyeshadow/concealer primer, Shea Terra Argan & Green Coffee Around-Eye Beauty Serum for night and Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye gel for day.  I'm trying a new Lash Conditioner and Primer by AVON and I also included LashEm which I always forget to use.  :)  I think this will be the last week for Buxom.  It's really drying out.  Still like it for my bottom lashes though!

Moisturizer:  Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil, Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil Squalane Oil and Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil.

Makeup:  Ahh!!!  I didn't pick anything out yet.  We will see what I come up with!  I'm thinking a little something from Flower by Drew Barrymore is in order this week to bring out the sun...  :)

Hope you have a great week!