The Long Overdue Benefit Advent Calendar Finale

Happy New Year lovely readers! I hope you are having a beautiful start to the new year. I woke up this morning feeling very optimistic about the year to come, pondering what my beauty resolution should be this year (more on that later) and realizing that my final Benefit Advent Calendar post is long overdue. As such, my first order of beauty blog business this year is to finally tell you all what treasures I received on the final three days before Christmas!
Benefit Bad Gal Lash, Cha Cha Tint and Fake Up
Day 22 held a tube of Bad Gal Lash mascara. I’ve mentioned this mascara before on the blog. I used it in college, and it was quite literally the prettiest my lashes ever looked. However, something about the formula stung and burned my sensitive eyes, so I had to give it up. I haven’t given this mini a try yet, but I’ve decided I am going to give Bad Gal another go, just in case the formula has changed. I’ll let you know how that goes in the near future.

Behind door 23 was a mini of Cha Cha Tint, which might be the only Benefit complexion enhancer that I didn’t already have! Like the others it gives a nice subtle wash of color. This one is a soft peachy shade that I think would be great for spring.

Christmas Eve revealed a mini of Fake Up, a moisturizing under eye concealer that I recently wrote about here. Since my tube is almost gone, I was delighted to add this one to my stash!

So, 2014 is officially behind us, which means the shopping ban is officially over! I’ll be posting this month about my experience with the ban and what I learned from it. In the mean time, I want to know what your beauty resolutions are! I still haven’t decided what to do this year, and I might just steal your idea. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

Thanks for a great year, readers!

A Year of Good Hair Days: Beauty Resolutions Part I

The results are in. The people have spoken. Love of Gloss fans are concerned with two major beauty issues this year:

Bad skin and bad hair.

Fear not, fellow beauty enthusiasts! I am here to help. I’ve been spritzing, slathering, scrubbing and sampling all sorts of things to ensure we all stick to our beauty resolutions and make 2013 better (looking) than all years that have come before it. While the majority of you said you wanted to improve your complexions this year, many readers also voted for a year of good hair days, and since taking better care of my hair is my 2013 beauty resolution, my first post will be about hair. (If your skin is in serious need of some TLC, don’t panic – Beauty Resolutions Part II will be posted later this weekend!)

So, down to business: I want to take better care of my hair. And not just by getting regular trims (which we all should) or taking a break from heat styling once in a while (again, not a bad idea). Like many women, it’s not that I have bad hair. On the contrary, my hair has the capacity to look quite lovely, to be my crowning glory, so to speak. Just the other day I received several compliments on its beauty: “So shiny!” “So soft!” “Your hair looks so pretty like that!” Yes, I’m perfectly capable of having soft, shiny, pretty hair. I know just how to style it. But more often than not I simply cannot be bothered to put in the necessary effort to achieve the coveted “what beautiful hair you have” effect. Which brings me to the first step in my year of good hair days plan:

Banish the Bun: I’m looking at you, top-knot/ballerina bun. For too long this has been my go-to solution for bad hair days, lazy hair days, running-late-so-no-time-to-straighten days… basically, unless I happen to roll out of bed with perfectly straight yet voluminous hair, or jump up an hour early with a burning desire to style my long, thick mane, my hair is pulled back in a simple, smooth, not-too-tight bun. Or at least that’s how I used to handle things. This year, things are different. But why, you ask? I know lots of girls (and beauty bloggers!) who swear by the high bun. It’s so simple! It can be so sophisticated! It also causes your hair to thin; consistently pulling your hair taut puts stress on the hair follicles and causes breakage. I didn’t worry too much about this – after all, I have an obnoxious amount of hair – until I noticed recently that the hair around my face and the front of my part actually looked thin. So, for the health of my hair and the sake of my vanity, I have sworn off the bun. This step in and of itself has forced me to put a little more effort into my hair. I’m taking the time to style and wear it down more often, and on days when I’m looking for a quick fix, I’ve swapped the bun for a sleek side-swept low ponytail. It takes the strain off my roots and is a far more flattering look for me. I should have made this change years ago!

Get a Little Dirty: Or at least, don’t get too clean. We’ve all heard it before; washing your hair too often strips your scalp – and your strands – of natural oils that help keep your hair soft, shiny and healthy. But most of us get a case of the icks when we think about skipping the shampoo. Nobody wants to have stringy, greasy locks. Here’s the good news: after you get into the habit of not washing it every day, your hair will actually adapt and stop getting so slick. In fact, over-washing your hair is a contributing factor in why your hair produces all that oil – it’s trying to replace some of the good oil you’ve been washing away. I’ve read that hair models barely ever wash their hair between jobs, which is why their hair looks so phenomenal in ads. Happily, I’ve found that even just switching from daily cleansing to shampooing every other day is enough to make a difference in moisture and shine.

Use dry shampoo to freshen locks between washings.

Use dry shampoo to freshen locks between washings.

Even better news? If you feel like you need to freshen up a bit between shampoos, dry shampoo can take care of excess oil, boost volume and leave behind a clean, fresh scent. Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo is hands down the best I’ve ever used; it’s inexpensive, smells good, works on all hair types and works in a matter of seconds. It’s a life saver. Try it.

Switch it Up: Don’t you hate when you suddenly find, after weeks, months, maybe even years of using your trusted favorite shampoo and conditioner, that your hair no longer looks like it used to? Some believe that your hair gets used to the products and stops responding to them. While personal experience tells me their might be some truth to that, I think the more likely cause is the fact that our bodies are constantly changing. As we age, we have different beauty concerns, and thus need different things from our products. It makes sense, then, that from time to time we need to throw out our old faithfuls and find our new secret weapons. My advice? Start using up the myriad shampoo samples you’ve got lying around. If your bathroom looks anything like mine (and if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance it does), you have baskets filled with enough foil packets and travel-sized bottles of hair products to shampoo and style yourself for months, if not the full year. Start trying them until you find one that catches your attention. Then go buy it, even if it’s pricier than your previous go-to. I mean, you probably just saved yourself a couple of months worth of shampoo costs. Plus, if you find a product that noticeably improves the way your hair looks and/or feels, it’s worth the extra money.

Believe in Miracles: I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Aussie 3-Minute Miracle really does miraculous things to your hair. If you have dry, course hair, you might want to use it daily. If you have fine hair, try it once a week. If you have normal hair, twice a week, especially in the winter, helps keep hair silky and snarl-free, keeps fly-a-ways at bay, and prevents split ends.

This wonder duo has taken my hair from dull and lifeless to lush and shiny in a matter of days.

This wonder duo has taken my hair from dull and lifeless to lush and shiny in a matter of days.

Combined with my new favorite hair cream, this drug-store savior has made an enormous difference in the look and feel of my hair. Which brings me to the final step in my plan:

Pick Your Potion: Personally, Bumble and Bumble Straight Blow Dry is the product for me. As I mentioned above, conditioning with 3-Minute Miracle and following up with this styling cream has produced amazing results. My hair smells great, feels unbelievably soft, and has such incredible shine. It has gone from disappointingly dull to soft and lush in a matter of days. I strongly believe in the importance of using hair serums/oils/creams. Everybody can improve their locks by using the proper product. For me, Blow Dry is the way to go. My sister swears by Argan Oil. Some people won’t leave home without Frizz-Ease. Whatever your hair concern, there’s a product out there for you. Remember that basket of samples I mentioned earlier? I’m sure there are a few hair potions in there as well.

Thanks to my wonder duo of hair products and a commitment to wearing my hair down more often, my hair has become much more silky and shiny in 2013.

Thanks to my wonder duo of hair products and a commitment to wearing my hair down more often, my hair has become much more silky and shiny in 2013.

Once you find the one for you, you’ll know it. Your hair will bounce. It’ll shine. It will blow gloriously in your wake as you walk down the street. You, too, will have a year of good hair days.

Happy 2013!

What’s Your 2013 Beauty Resolution?

Happy New Year lovelies! I hope you all had fun-filled holidays and that your new year is off to a beautiful start. If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling motivated and excited to take on 2013 with a renewed lust for life and a drive for perfection. Yes, every January I find myself pledging to do and be better in just about every aspect of life, and this year is no different. And when I sit down to make my yearly resolutions, I inevitably include some beauty resolutions. I mean, what kind of beauty blogger would I be if I didn’t appreciate the importance of improving the tone and texture of my skin alongside the balance of my savings account?

Before I share my 2013 beauty resolutions with you, I want to know what beauty concerns YOU are hoping to address this year. Take a moment to participate in this poll (a For the Love of Gloss first!) and tell me what you’re resolving. Next week, in addition to telling you about my resolutions and how I plan to keep them, I’ll share tips on achieving your most popular beauty resolution goals. Let’s have a gorgeous new year – together!

Resolutions

It’s that time of year, when countless magazines, websites and television shows remind us that we are not perfect and encourage us to resolve to do better. Like the rest of America, I’m planning on finally getting that gym membership and eating more fruits and veggies. But the resolutions I’m most excited about are those that involve looking fantastically beautiful and perfectly put together.

Time for beauty resolutions.

I thought of many, but I think my main focus will be on two areas: great skin and pretty hands.

I’ve been blessed with some pretty good skin. Occasional volcanic pimple aside, I don’t really break out and I have small pores. I do get rather dry in the winter but that has always been curable with moisturizer. So I can get by on little effort and still have okay looking skin, but I can also try a little more and have fantastic skin. So my number one beauty resolution this year is to cleanse and moisturize every day.

It seems simple, but just making sure you wash your makeup off at night can make a huge difference in tone and brightness of your skin. Not to mention it’s a lot easier to avoid bumps and blemishes if your pores aren’t clogged with yesterday’s foundation.

In honor of this resolution, I surfed my way over to the Clarins website (www.clarins.com) and completed the beauty prescription survey. It only took a few moments, and matched me with a slew of covetable products. I ordered the Water Purify One-Step Cleanser as my new year’s treat. I can’t wait to see how it works.

My second resolution is to achieve beautiful hands. This will be a harder task, because I’m a nail biter, have really dry hands, and currently have about 47 hangnails.

To stop biting my nails I have enlisted my boyfriend’s help. (He scolds me loudly when he catches me doing it; I now know how our dog feels when he sternly tells her to stop her incessant barking.) Where scolding falls short, I’m hoping a good manicure will pick up the slack, so I also plan to keep my nails trimmed and painted with a clear nail strengthening top coat. My current favorite comes from Essie.

I’m still on the lookout for the perfect hand lotion, so please feel free to let me know if any of you have found the miracle cure for dry hands.

I figure concentration on a nice complexion and repairing my damaged hands will be enough to keep me busy for a while. Now if I could only find time for the gym…