Winter Obsession: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

So winter happened. I’ve been quite happily bumbling along these past few months, thoroughly enjoying the mild weather we’ve been having, when suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s cold outside and my lips are super dry and chapped. 

  
Luckily I recently received a tube of Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm. I’m new to the brand and the balm, but I slathered some on over the weekend and I’m already hooked. It provides instant relief to dry, scaly lips and is incredibly long lasting. It contains an SPF of 25, making it ideal for outdoor sports, and its natural mint and shea butter combo is very soothing. And even though it contains mint, I don’t find that it has any taste or scent – rare in a lip balm these days. If you’re looking for a good winter balm, I definitely recommend this one. 

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August 2015 Empties

Happy Labor Day beauties! The end of summer is painfully close, but today is a beautiful day and I intend to spend it soaking up some delicious late summer rays. Before we say hello to fall, let’s celebrate the holiday with a look back at some of the products that helped me through this season:
August 2015 Empties
Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water: I wrote about this new skincare favorite here. I still love it. A perfect summer cleanser.

Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel: This technically belonged to my husband, but I’m pretty sure I used more of this shave gel than he did. With aloe and cocoa butter, it left my skin super soft and allowed for a really close shave.

R & Co Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner: I took this little duo on a road trip to a beach wedding on a hot summer day. It left my hair feeling clean, smelling fresh, and miraculously free of frizz. I was very impressed.

Suave Tropical Coconut Shampoo: I seem to return to this cheapo shampoo every summer. The light coconut scent is just what I’m looking for in the warmer months, and it’s great cleanser.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Body Bar: I wrote about this last month, too. Still a fine choice for a summer soap. In other news, I’ve finally used up my soap stash! Hooray!

Whish Three Whishes Almond Body Butter: This thick body lotion left my skin feeling soft, but I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough for the cooler, dryer months. The almond scent was a bit too strong at first but became much more pleasant as the day wore on. It makes a really nice hand cream.

Benefit Bad Gal Lash: When this mascara was first released, I tried it, loved it, and then promptly swore it off because it burned my eyes in the most painful way. Years later, I received this mini and decided to give it another go. I’m so glad that I did! Benefit must have tweaked their formula; it didn’t bother my eyes at all! It did make my lashes look full and gorgeous, though. Bad Gal Lash for the win!

Dr. Jart Dermaclear Micro Water: Another waterless cleanser, this product claims to remove makeup and impurities while toning and brightening skin. While I don’t think it worked as well as the Caudalie cleanser, it did help remove makeup and keep oil in check.

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil: If you’ve ever used products from this brand, you’ve probably noticed the sugary sweet scent they usually have. I’m happy to report that this hair oil had a very mild, hardly noticeable scent. It also kept frizz at bay and protected my hair from being fried this summer, without any greasiness. A great summer hair product.

Birchbox Best: Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen

Supergoop Everyday SunscreenI’m just going to say it. The name “Supergoop” does nothing for me. In fact, in the past I’ve been so put off by the name that I simply did not want to try the sunscreen. That all changed last weekend. Having been quite literally burned by an ineffective sunscreen earlier this summer, I turned to this little tube in hopes of making it through the holiday weekend without being scorched by the sun. I slathered it on and headed out for a weekend of sunning and swimming.

First things first: it felt good. It absorbed quickly, wasn’t greasy and left my skin feeling nice and smooth. It also had a mild, citrusy scent that I liked a lot. Other than those two initial observations, I didn’t think about this product at all until I realized, after two sunny days spent largely outside, that I didn’t have the faintest hint of a sunburn and my skin looked and felt great. It’s a fantastic sunscreen, and I only wish there was more in my sample – this stuff is expensive!
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
Runner Up: Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo. I’m a real tough customer when it comes to dry shampoos, but I was instantly impressed by this one. I really love the scent, which is feminine and clean, and it’s super easy to use. You simply spray at your roots and then massage it in; within seconds it adds volume and removes oil, leaving clean, weightless hair. My one complaint is that these results only last a couple of hours – you’ll want to bring it with you for touchups!

For the Boys: Sexy Soap

MOONSHINE SoapLast December while trying to find manly stocking stuffers for my husband, I happened upon an article that recommended EastWest Bottlers MOONSHINE Soap. It seemed so cool and masculine and was said to have a woodsy, whiskey-inspired scent. So I ordered some. And when I opened the box I felt like I was getting slapped in the face by the overwhelming scent of patchouli. I’ve never been a fan of that particular aroma, but this all natural bar soap is made with a blend of natural oils to nourish skin, Dead Sea salt to exfoliate and comes in super cool packaging! Plus, Christmas was coming; I wrapped it up and waited for my husband to make the call after he opened it.

I can’t tell if he actually liked the way it smelled when he first opened it or if he was just trying to humor me, but he put it in the shower and gave it a try. The first time he used it, I noticed instantly. Not because I could smell patchouli; I couldn’t. What I could smell was the sexiest, most intoxicatingly manly scent my nose has ever had the pleasure of smelling. I’m serious! It’s like Spanish Fly for my nostrils. Better still, the soap truly is nourishing, leaving his skin clean and smooth. Also, did I mention that it smells amazing?

November 2014 Empties

Happy December my friends! November is now behind us and you know what that means, don’t you? I’m officially in the final month of my beauty shopping ban. Hooray! Making the countdown to the end even more exciting is the surprise early Christmas gift that my family presented after our Thanksgiving feast: the Benefit Cosmetics Advent Calendar! Stay tuned for extra special posts about the goodies inside over the next few weeks. Merry Christmas to me!

November was a fairly uneventful month in terms of empties, with several old favorites in the mix. Let’s take a look:
November 2014 Empties
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Okay, I know I’ve written about these several times, but I have to praise them again. As the weather turned wintery here over the past few weeks, my skin has gone a little crazy. That is, until I started using these wipes as my nightly cleanser, followed by my favorite winter moisturizer (Philosophy Miracle Worker). My skin is looking great these days!

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes: Back in the day these were a favorite face wipe of mine. Now, not so much. I don’t know if it has to do with my age or the season or what, but these made me break out horribly this time around. They didn’t do my husband’s skin any favors, either. Sadly, I will not be purchasing these again.

Melaleuca Sun Valley White Amber Jasmine Body Crème: I found this cream a bit too heavy for all-over use – it clogged the pores on my arms – but it’s a great hand cream and it smells amazing. It reminds me of a slightly more mysterious version of Victoria’s Secret’s Strawberries & Champagne scent.

Korres Guava Body Butter: This body butter can be a little bit oily, but in the super dry winter months it can’t be beat in terms of deeply moisturizing skin, especially hands and elbows.

Osmia Organics Best Lip Balm: My new favorite lip balm. You can read more about it here.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula: A longtime skincare favorite, and one of my top picks for #skincaresunday. You can read more here.

Inside Influenster’s #Vaseline VoxBox

voxbox-blogimageI recently received Influenster’s #Vaseline VoxBox, which contained a full-sized bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Fragrance Free Lotion, a dry skin diagnostic tool, and a challenge: use this lotion for five days and watch your dry skin become normal, healthy skin.
Influenster Vaseline VoxBox
Now, my skin naturally tends to be a bit on the dry side, and the recent wintery weather in my area has not done me any favors. My regular skincare routine keeps my skin from turning into a desert of flakes, but I was already starting to notice some rough patches and that kind of tight, itchy feeling that accompanies cold, dry weather. I was beginning to develop a case of what I call dinosaur elbow, where the skin on that particular body part becomes so parched that it actually starts to resemble scales. Not a good look. So when I learned about this five day challenge, I was eager to give it a shot, even though I was admittedly a little skeptical.
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair
First things first: the dry skin diagnostic tool. This cool little gadget comes with two extra-sticky slips that you use before and after the five-day challenge in order to measure the dryness – and progress – of your skin. It also comes with a “Skin Dryness Level” scale to determine how dry your skin truly is. I decided to test an area on the back of my forearm each time for consistency. My initial result? Little lines and flakes indicated that my skin was “dry” – better than “very dry” but not the desired “normal.”

For the next five days, I slathered on the smooth, completely scentless lotion before bed each night. Advanced Repair Lotion contains micro-droplets of Vaseline jelly – the bottle explains that the droplets absorb deep into skin to moisturize and heal from within. I was surprised and delighted to find that these little droplets truly did absorb, and quite quickly – the lotion wasn’t greasy in the slightest and left my skin super smooth. In fact, the very first night I used it my husband asked if I was using a new lotion – he couldn’t believe how soft my skin felt. A major win. And so far there’s no sign of clogged pores or irritation as a result of the Vaseline droplets – even better!

The pre-test strip, above, shows flaky dry skin; the post-test strip, below, is virtually flake free.

The pre-test strip, above, shows flaky dry skin; the post-test strip, below, is virtually flake free.


At the end of five days, my skin didn’t feel at all tight or itchy. My dinosaur elbows were a distant memory. And when I used the second sticky strip to test my skin dryness level, it was virtually flake-free – my skin had gone from dry to normal in five days!

I’m very pleased with the results from the five-day test, and I really like everything about the Advanced Repair lotion. It is officially going to be my daily body lotion this winter. Have you tried it yet?

August 2014 Empties

It occurred to me the other night that I’m nearly done with eight months of this yearlong shopping ban. Eight months! I have to say, there have been some very tempting moments recently. Every time a new Allure Beauty Box comes out I feel a strong need to purchase it, and some of the new fall nail colors are just beautiful! But, I’ve come this far; what’s four months more? Now, a look at what I cleared from the bathroom shelves this month:
August 2014 Empties
Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment: The Fresh Sugar balms are all amazing, and this is probably my favorite. It has a nice soft rosy tint that instantly adds polish to any look. It’s also very moisturizing and gentle on sensitive skin.

Number 4 Lumiere d’hiver Clarifying Shampoo: By design, this shampoo doesn’t lather up very much, which I dislike in a shampoo. It did clean and clarify my hair and scalp, and left very clean and shiny hair in its wake. However, I found my hair got a bit greasy within a few hours of using it. It also has sort of an earthy, spicy scent that I didn’t love.

Colgate Cavity Protection Flouride Toothpaste: Plain ol’ Colgate. What can I say? It’s a quality toothpaste that always leaves my mouth feeling clean.

Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser: I was impressed with this fresh-smelling cleanser right away. Though it’s formatted for normal to oily skin, I didn’t find it to be drying, and it left my skin soft and clear, whether or not I used it with my Clarisonic brush.

Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse: If you’re into whitening your teeth – and really, who isn’t? – I find that using a whitening rinse really helps improve the effectiveness of your overall plan. I really like this rinse – it works well and has a great flavor, leaving you with nice fresh breath and no burning mouthwash sensation!

Boscia Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Balm: I buy this again and again. I don’t know how I would get by without it, especially on hot summer days and whenever I don’t get enough sleep. It feels amazing and de-puffs quickly. Get it!

L’Oreal EverCreme Deep Nourishing Masque: I’m so glad I tried this sample! Such a winner. This deep conditioning masque left my hair so soft I couldn’t stop playing with it. It also has a rich, cocoa-buttery scent that I adore. I will definitely be repurchasing this!

Jergens Daily Moisture Dry Skin Moisturizer: I’ve been trying to use up this jumbo bottle of lotion for the entire year! Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid moisturizer that I would highly recommend. It doesn’t have much of a scent, absorbs quickly and doesn’t clog pores. It’s lightweight enough to use in the summer but moisturizing enough to use in the winter. An overall winner; I’ll just get a smaller bottle next time!