Brand Crush: Bliss

Brand Crush: Bliss

You may have heard that Bliss – the iconic NYC spa known for its effective products, sassy product names and hefty price tags – recently gave itself a makeover. They kept the quality products, fun names and cute packaging, but ditched the high prices and a whole lot of other stuff; the brand is now paraben, phthalate, SLS, SLES and cruelty-free.

Since it doesn’t get much better than clean, cruelty-free, inexpensive beauty products, I decided I just had to try a few things to see if Bliss was still a beauty contender. I was absolutely delighted by my experience from the start; a buy two, get one free promotion plus a 20% off code (and free shipping!) meant that I got a cleanser, moisturizer and a body butter for $25. And, since Bliss products are now available at Target, I was able to pick up a pack of makeup remover wipes the last time I was there to add to my quickly expanding Bliss collection.

When my package arrived it was adorable. Seriously, receiving a package filled with pink packing hearts is so fun it makes you eager to place another order – we’ll played, Bliss. I’ve been using all of the products regularly and I have to say, I love every single one. Here’s the lowdown on my product picks:

Bliss Fab Foaming 2-in-1 Cleanser. This gentle exfoliating cleanser smells clean, lathers beautifully and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight. It does improve the tone of my skin and reduce blemishes literally overnight, especially when paired with…

Bliss Ex-glow-sion Super Rich Moisturizer. This product claims to give you dewy, radiant skin. Consider that confirmed. It feels so good when you slather it on. It’s rich enough for those cool, dry months without being greasy or too heavy for summer. I’m in love.

Bliss Makeup Melt Oil-free Makeup Remover Wipes. Since I’m a sucker for polka dots and anything that allows me to skip a full face wash when I’m feeling lazy, it was only a matter of time before I picked these up. These simple wipes easily dissolve makeup without drying or irritating my skin. And at $7 for a 30-pack, I don’t imagine my nightstand will ever be without them again.

Bliss Body Butter. I’ve tried the Lemon & Sage (classic) and the Blood Orange & White Pepper varieties. Both have very light, lovely scents and a rich texture that easily melts into skin. I usually save body butters for the winter months but could not resist the blood orange scent and have continued to use it for months. Luckily it absorbs quickly and has proven itself to be a fine summer staple as well.

If you haven’t already placed a Bliss order, I say do it right now (be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get 20% off your first order). Just be prepared to fall in love with every product you try.

Brand Crush: NYX

A couple of months ago, during an out of town shopping trip, I made my first visit to Ulta. The closest one to me is located an hour away, in a city I don’t often visit, and so I had never before had the pleasure of shopping in what I quickly determined was the best of both beauty-shopping worlds: a vast variety of high-end hair, skin and beauty products mixed with drugstore favorites. What more could you want?

NYX packaging almost exactly matches the shade of the product inside, making it easy to select one you'll like.

NYX packaging almost exactly matches the shade of the product inside, making it easy to select one you’ll like.

Winding my way through the store, I filled my basket as I made my way to the NYX display. I’ve read a lot about NYX; its lip butters are beauty blogger favorites, and it seems that every time I pick up a magazine these days another NYX product is being recommended. Since none of the stores in my neck of the woods carry this brand, I decided I’d pick up a few things to try. I fell in love immediately.

The first thing I tested was the Infinite Shadow Stick in Flushed. A shimmery champagne gold, this eye crayon glides on smoothly, is highly pigmented, and has definite staying power. It’s incredibly easy to apply and instantly made my eyes look brighter. I felt “done” without being overly made up. Who wouldn’t love that?

My second NYX product, which was equally enchanting, was the Butter Lip Balm in Parfait, a super fun hot pink. This light balm goes on sheer but can be easily layered for more intense color. It feels nice and the color lasts much longer than any of the other balms in my collection – it’s sort of like the staying power of a lipstick in the body of a lip balm. It’s perfect.

Me, sporting NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Flushed on my eyes and NYX Butter Lip Balm in Parfait on my lips.

Me, sporting NYX Infinite Shadow Stick in Flushed on my eyes and NYX Butter Lip Balm in Parfait on my lips.

Next I tried the Butter Gloss in Crème Brulee. This is a soft nude shade that is ultra feminine – perfect for days when I’m feeling extra ladylike. The Butter Gloss goes on like satin. It’s smooth and creamy and leaves your lips feeling extra moisturized. It’s not sticky, and the moisture lasts and lasts. If you’re a lip gloss fan, you’re sure to fall for this one.

One thing that I really like about NYX packaging is that it almost exactly matches the shade of the product inside, which makes it easier to select one you’ll like. And they are so easy to use, they make the whole idea of effortless beauty seem a bit more attainable. Not to mention the fact that NYX products are very reasonably priced (the lip products mentioned here ring in at less than $5 a piece; the eye crayon is less than $10!). So, to recap, NYX makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, the products do what you want them to do, and you’ll look gorgeous without spending a fortune. NYX, where have you been all my life?

What NYX products are you crushing on?

Brand Crush: Boscia

A long-time player in the beauty product game, I’m not easily swept off my feet. If I’m going to declare my devotion to a brand, I’ve got to know it has my back. Below, three solid reasons why I’ve fallen for Boscia, and why you will too.
1. Boscia is trustworthy. I have sampled many Boscia products, and none of them have done me wrong. They do what they say they will, and always leave me looking – and feeling – better.

2. Boscia is gentle. My skin can be very sensitive, but I can always rely on Boscia products to smooth my skin without harming it. The Clear Complexion Willow Bark Spot Treatment erases blemishes without irritation. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I find myself reaching for my Balancing Facial Tonic, a gentle toning mist that is delightfully refreshing on a hot, oily day. And after a recent product-testing snafu left my face parched and blistered, it was Boscia’s Recharging Night Moisture that soothed my skin and restored balance, all without the slightest itch or burn.

3. Boscia is a problem solver. Have a face full of clogged pores? Pull them out with the Luminizing Black Mask, which is basically a less painful and more effective version of the pore strip, for your entire face. Eyes puffy from too much sodium or too little sleep? Swipe on some Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Balm, which will have you feeling alert and much less swollen in no time. (FYI, this balm has the greatest cooling effect – keep one with you for instant relief on a sweltering summer day.) And if, like me, your chin starts shining like the north star each day by noon, do yourself a favor and keep a pack of Blotting Linens in your purse. Problem solved.

What’s your favorite Boscia product?

Brand Crush: Maybelline

The secrets to pouty lips and perfect skin.

The secrets to pouty lips and perfect skin.

I’ve loved this brand for so long that I was actually surprised to look back and find that I hadn’t already confessed my undying loyalty. As far as drugstore brands go, I’ve never found a prettier or more dependable one. This brand always seems to give me just what I want and need. My experience with Maybelline is probably more of a long-term relationship than a crush, but I’m definitely crushing on a few new products that have quickly become trusted favorites.

Regular For the Love of Gloss readers already know how I feel about Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream; it won my extensive BB cream sampling showdown. And if you are unfamiliar with Baby Lips, do yourself a favor and go buy a handful at your local drugstore. I still can’t get enough.

Which is why I was delighted when Maybelline launched the “Dr Rescue” line of medicated Baby Lips. Its soothing menthol tingle feels great on dry or chapped lips, and it allows you to add some subtle shine and a hint of color to your lips without drawing attention to dry skin with a bunch of heavy pigment. I have “Pink Me Up,” a lovely medium pink.

My favorite new development? Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation. It comes in an easy-to-apply stick, and features an anti-shine core that keeps skin matte throughout the day. Not only that, it actually comes in a shade that matches my fair skin! I find that a few swipes on my nose, chin and any other shiny bits keeps my skin flawless all day long. A word of advice: I do find that this foundation can be a little drying, so I’d recommend using a slightly heavier moisturizer with it.

Some new treasures from Maybelline.

Some new treasures from Maybelline.

If all that lip-smoothing, face-perfecting goodness isn’t reason enough for you to commit, I highly recommend that you try Maybelline’s Clean Express! Makeup Remover Facial Towelettes. They eradicate all traces of makeup from my face, do not irritate my sensitive skin or eyes at all, and leave my skin feeling lovely and refreshed.

What Maybelline products are you crushing on?

Brand Crush: Jouer

Nothing does wonders for a girl’s looks like a new romance. That telltale glowing complexion, those twinkling eyes, and the perpetually pouty lips that come from frequent kissing. Ah yes, new love is a great beautifier.

My latest love is no exception. I’ve recently fallen for Jouer, a cosmetic line whose products make me luminous. Everything about the products, from their soft, clean packaging to their ultra-smooth texture, is just delightful.

I’ve tried a variety of Jouer lipglosses. I’m obsessed with the Lip Enhancer, both tinted and untinted. The Lip Enhancer is formulated to decrease lip lines and it miraculously plumps lips without the burning sensation that so many other lip plumpers are known for. The untinted variety transforms lips into a full, soft pink pout, while the tinted has the smoothest texture and is, in my opinion, the best kissing gloss there is. Like the untinted formula, it plumps the lips, and it has a silky smooth feel that begs for a makeout session. If my boyfriend were to vote, I’m sure he’d pick this one, too – it’s no coincidence that this has become my new favorite gloss.

In addition to great glosses, Jouer has great pencils. I’m particularly fond of the Eye Clarifier, a beige eye pencil that glides on sans friction and immediately brightens tired eyes. I never leave home without swiping some on – it’s my new go-to eye pencil. Plus, it even comes with a matching beige sharpener.

How could I not love that?

Brand Crush: Make Up For Ever

There’s nothing more thrilling than a new crush. It was always starts the same way. You know you kinda like the soon-to-be object of your affection for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years before it blossoms into full-blown adoration. Then before you know it you’re smiling more, there’s more pep in your step, a twinkle in your eye, and you’re simply glowing.

This is exactly how my latest crush developed. I always liked Glossy Full Couleur Extreme Shine Lip Gloss, and I’ve known for years that the trick to the smokiest, sultriest eyes is Diamond Shadow. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I absolutely love Make Up For Ever.

As you’ll recall, I recently discovered the brand’s HD High Definition Powder, a mattefying powder that lasts all day, miraculously hides blemishes and evens skin-tone. I instantly fell for the powder, so when Sephora offered me a Make Up For Ever gift with purchase (an adorable make up bag filled with mini versions of some of the brand’s best products), I jumped at the opportunity.

The first treat I tried was Lab Shine Star Collection Lip Gloss. The shimmery nude gloss glides on smoothly, smells great, and looks ever better. As far as glosses go, it’s one of the most elegant ones I’ve tried. I wear it whenever I have a big meeting at work or just want to feel especially put-together. When my little tube runs out, I’ll undoubtedly be buying a big one.

A few days later, tired of my usual daily mascara, I reached into my goody bag and pulled out a tiny tube of Smoky Lash Extra Black Mascara. I’m always weary of new mascaras because, let’s face it, the vast majority of them aren’t great. They either smudge, flake, smear or sting, and none of those are great things. But Make Up For Ever had been so dependable so far, I thought I could trust it. And I’m so glad I did! This triple-threat boasts the ability to volumize, lengthen and curl lashes, and it does not disappoint. The first day I wore it, I couldn’t stop staring at my eyes in the mirror. Suddenly they were fringed with long, thick, dark lashes and looked incredibly blue. I was smitten.

I haven’t tried all that Make Up For Ever has to offer, but I can’t wait to. No matter where this new relationship takes me, I’m sure I’ll love it.

Brand Crush: Murad

I’ve done it again, folks; I’ve become infatuated with a collection of beauty products. Specifically, my heart has been skipping beats for a brand that makes my skin soft, blemish-free, and glowy. I’ve gone head-over-heels for Murad.

It all started a month or two ago when I tried a sample of Murad’s Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask that came in a Sephora package.  It’s no-nonsense pink and white packaging was appealing. I got the impression that the mask meant business. Intrigued, I did a little online research to see what other beauty enthusiasts thought of the product. Turns out, lots of ladies love it! Craving the energized, youthful glow that others were enjoying, I slathered the fruity slime on my face and let it dry. It had a pleasant tingly feeling on my face, which made me feel like it was working. After about 10 minutes I rinsed it off, and instantly noticed softer skin. The next morning I thought my skin looked a little less dull. Happily, one little packet of the mask contains enough for 3 or 4 applications, so I was able to reapply it every few days. After about two weeks of regular use, my skin was free of some stubborn blemishes and felt incredibly smooth. I promptly bought a full-sized box of the product.

But one great new product isn’t enough to create a full-blown brand crush. The deal was really sealed a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to give some other new samples a try. Murad recently launched a new line called Clean Scene, a fun bunch of skin care products that feature fun, bubbly packaging and alliterative names like Craving for Clean (a smooth face wash) and Begging for Balance (a light moisturizer). I was intrigued by the moisturizer because, having combination skin, I’m always on the lookout for something that can both soften my skin and keep oil in check. Since I had samples of both, I decided to try the face wash too.

I pretty much instantly fell for Craving for Clean. It smells DELICIOUS. Both products feature yumberry, which is apparently great for skin and smells like candy. After cleansing, I slathered on the moisturizer. I found I had to put a little extra on my really dry areas, but other than that, it made my skin super soft and not shiny at all. Success! Not only do these products work fantastically, they actually make me WANT to wash my face each night before bed. Two weeks later, I’ve bought full-sized bottles of both products and have been getting compliments on my complexion. Even without makeup on.

So, there you have it. In the course of a few weeks I have tossed old favorites aside and replaced them with Murad’s incredible skin care line.

I guess you could say we’re getting pretty serious.