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.

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Let’s Flirt: Doll 10 HydraGel Cream Blush

Doll 10 HydraGel Cream Blush in FlirtI’m a big fan of blush. Done right, it can really finish a look, adding some pretty polish to your beauty routine. Done wrong, though, it can leave you looking a streaky, clownish mess. It doesn’t matter how natural the color looks in the compact, or, for that matter, how crazy and unnatural it may appear. With blush, it all comes down to texture. That’s why Doll 10 HydraGel Cream Blush is my latest obsession. Its name is very fitting – it has the sheer finish of a gel but the smooth, easy-to-apply texture of a cream, making it super easy to apply and blend. Flirt, a neutral peachy pink shade, leaves a healthy, natural glow, so my cheekbones are accentuated but I don’t look made up. It’s perfect for embracing a little end-of-summer color.

Summer Skincare: Lip Balm Edition

Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Flavor Lip Balm (top) and Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm (bottom) will keep your lips soft and sunburn-free, all summer long.

Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Flavor Lip Balm (top) and Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm (bottom) will keep your lips soft and sunburn-free.

For those of us that live in seasonal climates, our skincare needs can vary greatly from season to season. Case in point: my blotchy, flaky, can’t-get-enough-moisture winter complexion tends to get clear and smooth in the warmer months, with nothing more than a waterless cleanser and my favorite BB Cream to keep it in check. Of course, summer also requires the addition of some serious sun protection. And while (I hope) it goes without saying that time in the sun requires a slathering of sunscreen (like this one), I’m guilty of frequently forgetting to take care of a particularly sensitive area: my lips.

Perhaps it’s because my mouth never feels naked; I don’t leave the house without first swiping on a lip color of some sort, and I have several glosses and balms stashed away for on-the-go touch ups. And because I switch up my lip products whenever the mood strikes, I don’t necessarily think to introduce a summer-friendly version when beach season hits. It’s easy for me to go the whole summer without remembering that my poor mouth needs some extra TLC, too.

But not this year! I’ve found not one but two fabulous balms that are packed with sun protection. The first, Hawaiian Tropic Tropical Flavor Lip Balm, features an SPF of 45 and a delicious coconut-y scent that smells like an exotic vacation. It has a silky smooth texture, a subtle sweet flavor, and leaves lips looking and feeling soft and healthy. This is definitely my beach bag pick.

The second lip-saver, Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm, features an SPF of 30 and a slightly thicker texture that helps it stay put much longer than the Hawaiian Tropic version. This one has no scent or flavor; it’s a very unobtrusive lip balm. It doesn’t look like much on its own, but its texture makes it an ideal base for lipsticks and this no-frills balm is the perfect thing to swipe on before an outdoor sweat session.

How do you keep your pout pretty and protected in the sun?

June 2015 Empties

Can you believe we’re halfway through the year? I hope you are all busy living up these glorious summer days. Last month I used up a truly pitiful number of products – just three! – but they were all great and are definitely worth adding to your summer routine. Let’s check them out:

   

  

Bath & Body Works Apple Blossom & Lavender Shea Butter Milled Soap: Not only is this the freshest, best-smelling soap I’ve encountered in ages, this bar left my skin both clean and moisturized. Last I checked Bath & Body Works was no longer offering this scent or this soap, but I would suggest that you look for it in stores during any of their epic sales – they often feature discontinued items. 

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque: I have to admit, I was underwhelmed the first time I tried this hair masque. My frugal self only used a small amount of the conditioning treatment, and I didn’t really see any reason to keep using it. The next time around I slathered a whole handful through my locks, and wouldn’t you know, I was rewarded with smooth, shiny hair. It takes a bit more product than I’d expect, but this masque is the real deal. 

Nivea A Kiss Of Moisture Essential Lip Care: I turned to this untinted, unscented balm a couple months back after another lip product caused breakouts and dry spots. This super smooth clear balm was soothing, plumped up my pout and didn’t do any damage, which seemed miraculous at the time. This balm is perfect day or night, and makes a great base for lipstick. I definitely recommend it as a basic balm. 

Inside Influenster’s #BellaVoxBox

voxbox-blogimageI’ve been very lucky over the past year and have been invited to participate in several product trials through Influenster. Most of these have been one-product trials, which are great, but I was over-the-moon excited to learn that I’d been selected to receive the Bella VoxBox, which contained an assortment of beauty products and treats to help me have a beautiful spring and summer. Here’s what was in it:
Bella VoxBox
EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush (#EcoToolsPerk): This brush was designed with specific cuts to help distribute the perfect amount of powder and control oily shine all day. I’m already a big fan of EcoTools, so I was not surprised to discover that it did just that! The brush truly grabs and distributes powder perfectly evenly, and my face stayed matte all day. Loved this.

DOVE Fruit (#DOVEwithRealFruit): The ladies in my office and I always tend to have stash of Dove dark chocolate squares on hand, so we were excited to try this new treat from our favorite chocolate brand. I received a bag of whole blueberries (cranberries and cherries are also available) dipped in dark chocolate. They were even more delicious that I had imagined! My officemates concurred. I also threw some into my usual trail mix of nuts and raisins – amazingly good.

Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender (#NYMdjvd): This lightweight hair primer is said to block humidity and repel dirt and oil to extend the life of your hair style, while also conditioning to control frizz and boost shine. While I didn’t notice that my hair style lasted any longer than normal, I did love the way my hair looked on the first day of use, which was shiny and bouncy with some weightless volume. Also, this might be the best-smelling hair product I own – I can’t get enough of the apple-berry scent.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss (#rimmelbykate): Created by Kate Moss, this jet black mascara features a “broken-heart” shaped brush that looks odd but does a stellar job of reaching all of your lashes, creating a dark, dramatic look. A couple of my friends asked if I was using a new mascara because my lashes looked so good. It also didn’t bother my sensitive eyes at all, a huge plus. My only complaint is that this mascara was really smudgy; I wouldn’t recommend wearing it for long days at the office or on an especially hot, humid day.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss (#rimmel): Another Kate Moss creation, I received this in shade 12, which looks like an intimidating reddish orange in the tube but in reality is an incredibly wearable creamy red that felt good and looked even better. This might be my favorite product from the box!

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (#AirbrushPerfectLegs): As tights season is finally behind us, I was excited to give this leg makeup a try. It’s supposed to hide imperfections and not rub off on clothes. In my experience, it didn’t hide anything and looked completely unnatural. It was the only dud in this collection of fun summer products.

I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Birchbox Best: Benefit Lollibalm

Benefit LollibalmBenefit’s Lollibalm has been at the very top of my must-try list for quite some time, so I was absolutely delighted to find a mini tube of this hydrating balm in my May Birchbox. I was even more delighted when I put it on; its smooth, creamy texture feels heavenly, and the sheer pink-purple shade is incredibly pretty and flattering. The balm is long lasting and moisturizing. Another plus: the cap stays put, so I can just throw it in my bag without worrying about lip balm smears getting all over everything in my purse (a lip balm pet peeve of mine). In short, Lollibalm did not disappoint and was definitely my top pick from this month’s box.

Runner Up: I’m rather surprised to report that my second favorite product in the May Birchbox was Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray.Parlor by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray My past experiences with texturizing sprays like this one have always been wildly disappointing; my dreams of easy, pretty, surfer-girl waves have always been dashed by the reality of limp, crunchy hair that looks like it hasn’t been washed. I was so sure that this product wouldn’t work that I almost didn’t even try it. Then last week, running late one morning, I decided that I’d save myself a few minutes of hair drying time and give this spray I try. I combed out my hair, spritzed it all over with the salt spray, then used my fingers to scrunch it up and ran out the door.

Much to my surprise, by the time I arrived at work 30 minutes later, my hair had fallen into spiraled, beachy waves. While I think I look best with straighter hair, I was definitely impressed with this product. My one complaint, which is my complaint with all hair products that come in a spray, is that it’s difficult to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair. One side of my head had much more defined waves than the other, and I have no idea if that side had more or less product. Other than that, I’d say this salt spray is a definite winner in the battle of beachy hair products.

Get Naked: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage ConcealerIt’s finally starting to warm up around here – a few days have even felt downright summery – and that means it’s time to transition into my summertime skincare and makeup routine. In addition to swapping out my extra mild cleanser and heavy winter moisturizers for some more lightweight options (more on these coming soon!), I’ve started to seek out a lighter, breezier makeup routine.

As the weather gets nicer my skin tends to be less dry and more even-toned, which means I don’t need a whole lot of makeup to look and feel pulled together. A nice BB cream with SPF and a long lasting concealer to cover any random spots are really all I need. Enter Urban Decay Naked Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer, AKA my new favorite concealer. I have always preferred concealer that comes in a tube (rather than a stick), and since this one actually came in a light enough shade to match my skin tone, I had to have it. It has a creamy texture that goes on lightly, which means I can blend it easily and it doesn’t have the dry, flaky finish that so many concealers do. Also, it really is a perfect match for my complexion; if I do nothing else, I can pat this concealer onto any blemishes or red spots and my complexion looks even and natural. Plus, it provides coverage all day without getting greasy or dry.

It also camouflages dark under eye circles, but a word of caution: use the absolute least amount of product possible here. I’ve found it creases after a bit if I’ve used too much!

If you’re in the market for a good all-purpose concealer, I highly recommend this one.