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!

July 2014 Empties

Another month has come and gone, and other than last week’s Baby Lips slip, I’m chugging right along with my shopping ban. My shower is starting to look rather empty, which is not something I’ve been able to say in a long, long time. Here’s what I used up during the month of July:
Oscar Blandi Balsamo di Jasmine Smoothing Conditioner: If you like the smell of jasmine, which I definitely do, there are few conditioners on earth that smell as amazing as this one. It also leaves hair shiny and soft, and really helps keep frizz at bay. My husband also really liked using it as a shaving cream – it’s apparently very easy on the skin!

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Since I just wrote about these, I won’t go into much detail here. Suffice it to say that they work well and did not last long!

Clarins Water Purify One-Step Cleanser: This is another quick and easy cleanser – just pour some on a cotton pad and swipe it across your face. I’ve returned to this refreshing waterless cleanser again and again over the years. It can be a little drying, so I’d recommend it to those with oily skin, or as a summertime cleanser for those with normal or combination skin.

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner: This is a decent conditioner that smells like vacation. I often use this conditioner as a shaving cream.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB: I’ve written about this BB cream before. It’s my spring/summer favorite. It contains SPF 30, covers blemishes and withstands high heat and humidity. The tint is not quite light enough for my basically translucent skin during the winter months, which is the only reason I don’t use it year-round!

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips: This teeny .1 ounce tube of balm was my surprise favorite this month. This itty bitty tube lasted me months of daily use. Not only that, but a tiny dab on my lips every night kept my lips soft and supple. I’ve found that other thick lip balms can make the skin around my mouth break out, but that hasn’t been a problem at all with this one. A new favorite, for sure!

Cetaphil Cleansing Cloths: Gentle Skincare To Go

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing ClothsI know lots of ladies who count on Cetaphil to keep their sensitive skin looking clean and fresh. It’s a name you often see in top-ten lists of drugstore standbys and lifetime favorites. As a result, though I’ve never been a Cetaphil user, it’s a brand that I trust when it comes to quality skincare.

Several weeks ago while watching some crap television on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I saw a commercial for Cetaphil’s new Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths, and I was instantly intrigued. I love a good cleansing cloth and I think having some sort of quick-and-easy cleanser is an absolute necessity. Let’s face it – we all have days when we are too tired/lazy/busy to wash our faces properly, but I have never been too busy to grab a cleansing cloth and swipe it over my face.

Having recently run out of my old quick cleanser, I picked up a package of the Cetaphil cleansing cloths a few weeks ago. I’ve been using these gentle wipes for almost two weeks now, and so far I give them a solid A. They clean skin without drying and keep oil in check for hours. And after a week of daily use I noticed that my skin was positively glowing. My husband has even started using them, with great results. Bottom line: sensitive skin or not, these new cleansing cloths make effective, gentle skincare quick and easy, anytime, anywhere.

Inside Influenster’s #GoVoxBox

voxbox-blogimageIt’s no secret that I’m a lover of all things beauty-related, but what many of you may not know is that I’m very interested in health and fitness as well. So when I found out that I would be receiving Influenster’s Go VoxBox, filled with beauty, health and fitness products, I was beyond excited. Over the past few weeks I’ve been testing and trying each item; I’ve even discovered some new can’t-live-without-it products. Without further ado, here’s a look at the #GoVoxBox.
Muller Greek Corner Yogurt (#MullerQuaker): I had seen commercials for these delicious-looking yogurts and wondered if they were as good as they looked. However, I’m not a fan of Greek yogurt, so I never actually tried one until I received a coupon for a free one from Influenster. I was absolutely blown away. These yogurts are smooth and creamy and the fruit is so delicious. I often find Greek yogurt to be too sour and thick, but that was not the case with these. I have been buying Muller yogurts every week since trying that first one, and I’ve liked every flavor that I’ve tried. A definite winner!

Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored Almonds (#GetYourGoodGoing): I love almonds, and Blue Diamond is a trusted brand, but I was not a fan of the blueberry flavor. It tasted quite artificial; I prefer my almonds straight up!

The Vitamin Shoppe Next Step Fit N Full Protein Shakes & Jaxx Shaker (#NextStep): I’ve never been much a protein shake kind of girl, so I wasn’t expecting to love these shakes. And while I wouldn’t say that I loved any of them, I did like the chocolate and berry flavors (vanilla was not for me!), and noticed that I was bursting with energy for hours after drinking them. The Jaxx Shaker worked well and didn’t leak, so if you are a protein shake person, I’d recommend it for a way to mix your shakes quickly and take them with you when you go!

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance (#PlayOn): I’ve tried Playtex tampons before, and I’ve always thought they were top-notch, but these were by far the most comfortable tampons I’ve ever used! These are my new go-to.

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock (#GoPROFOOT): This has quickly become part of my regular beauty routine. This soft foot file can be used wet or dry (I prefer wet) to quickly remove rough patches and calluses. I was so impressed with how quick and effective it was that I’ve replaced my old foot scrub with it!

PROFOOT Triad Orthotic (#GoPROFOOT): According to the information that accompanied these shoe inserts, the Triad Orthotic is clinically proven to relieve knee, leg and back pain. Since I’m training to run a 5K, I was excited to try these. I instantly noticed that my knees felt better, specifically when running down steep hills. I also felt that I had more bounce in my stride, and that running uphill felt significantly easier. I’m not sure that these did anything to make my back feel any better, but I think they definitely improved my overall performance.

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème (#RelaxWithAquaSpa): Another favorite from the box, this hydrating but non-greasy body lotion has a heavenly lavender and chamomile scent and leaves skin silky smooth; I’ve taken to slathering it on my feet and legs after I use my Pedi-Rock! This also makes an excellent pre-bedtime lotion – the soothing scent will lull you to sleep and you’ll wake up feeling soft and refreshed!

May 2014 Empties

Happy Memorial Day beauties! As May draws to a close I’m happy to report that I’m still successfully sticking to my shopping ban! I’ll admit, I’ve felt a little temptation, and I’m really missing my Birchbox subscription, but I’ve tried some great products, and I’m committed to continuing through the end of the year. Here’s what I used up this month:
Softsoap Body Butter Strawberry Smoother: This thick and creamy body wash uses strawberry seeds to exfoliate and jojoba butter to moisturize all in one go. It did soften my skin considerably, allowing me to skip my normal post-shower lotion, but acne-prone girls beware – I found little blemishes occasionally popped up on my arms and legs while using this product.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: Sad to see this one go! This whole line of lip balms, from this original version to the many tinted ones, is fantastic. A must have for smooth lips in one swipe.

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara: This is hands down one of the best mascaras on the market today. It really does amp up lashes to a surprising degree. Use this if you want thicker, longer, darker, fuller lashes. You can even get away with skipping your eyelash curler if you’ve got this on!

Clinique High Impact Mascara: This is a perfect day-to-day mascara. It looks natural, with a touch of polish. It also won’t clump, flake, or hurt sensitive eyes.

Naked Princess Naked Shine in Barely Coco: I used up this tiny sample in a matter of days. If you’re looking for a new workday lip gloss, this is it. It’s light and smooth, and Barely Coco is a lovely pinky brown shade that looks natural but better. I will absolutely be buying this when my ban is up!

Covergirl CGSmoothers BB Cream: This is not the first time this has showed up in my empties list. Again, this is my favorite wintertime daily moisturizer, as it is a perfect match for my fair complexion and evens out imperfections in a flash.

Crest 3D White Flouride Anticavity Toothpaste in Radiant Mint: I’m always trying different whitening toothpastes, and I always seem to come back to this one. It has a nice flavor, it brightens my smile and it leaves my mouth feeling fresh.

Degree Motionsense in Shower Clean: Lately I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find a decent antiperspirant. This one is a wonderful exception. I am obsessed with the fresh scent, it keeps me clean and fresh all day, and it doesn’t rub off or stain my clothes. This one is definitely a winner.

Problem Skin SOS: Boscia Willow Bark Spot Treatment

Lately my skin has been rather blemishy, and, to my horror, my trusted Osmia Organics Spot Treatment has up and vanished! So the other day, while freaking out about some fresh spots that had popped up on my chin, I reached for a tube of Boscia Clear Complexion Willow Bark Spot Treatment. It’s not quite as fast-acting as the Osmia Organics oil, but after a few bedtime applications I found that most blemishes had faded away. And at $15 for a convenient travel-size pen, I don’t think I can afford not to keep one on hand!

Summer 2013 Beauty Essentials

I was lucky enough to have a long holiday weekend to celebrate Independence Day, and I could not have asked for more perfect weather. Filled with sun-filled days at the lake, evenings out with family and friends, and plenty of lazing/reading/napping, my mini-vacation marked my unofficial kickoff to the summer season.

I like to keep my summertime beauty routine fairly light and fresh – there’s nothing worse than a face full of makeup melting down your chin – but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look polished. Here are three key products that took me from the beach to the bar – and probably will all season.

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Lotion SPF 30: My fiance and I tested three different sunscreens over the weekend, and this was the winner, no contest. It’s sweat-proof, waterproof and pleasantly moisturizing, without being greasy. While the other sport block we tested faded after just a couple of hours, resulting in slightly singed shoulders, this one stayed put through two dips in the lake and lasted all day. This is my number one summer must-have product this year – no sunburns allowed!

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB: I’ve blogged about this BB cream before, but it’s back in my summer lineup, and with good reason. Not only does it pack an SPF of 30 (see above – no sunburns!), it also takes the place of my morning moisturizer and concealer, all while providing more coverage than my standard tinted moisturizer. It’s ultra lightweight, and on super hot days it’s pretty much the only makeup I apply. Other than lip color, of course. Which brings me to:

Fresh Sugar Coral Tinted Lip Treatment: Unless you live under a rock you probably know or have heard about how amazing Fresh Sugar lip balms are. Silky smooth and oh-so-good for your lips, these balms have a cult following for a reason. I’ve long been a fan of the original and rose versions of the Sugar balms, but this summer I’m reaching for Coral – it’s a wonderfully smooth, highly pigmented red-orange lip tint, and it looks great with my now slightly less corpse-like summer complexion. For dinner with friends on a sweltering Friday night I swept my hair back in a messy ponytail, smoothed my skin with the above-mentioned BB cream, swiped on the tiniest bit of waterproof liner (upper outer lashes only) and mascara, and finished the look with this cheery pop of color. The result? I felt totally glamorous with almost no makeup on, and even in the humid heat it didn’t budge. And did I mention that the Sugar balm comes with SPF 15?

Those are my beauty must-haves this season – what are yours?