September 2015 Empties

I can’t believe we’re already more than a week into October! You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit behind with reviewing last month’s empties – between a road trip to visit some good friends in their new home, several nights out to celebrate various happy occasions with friends, and a jam-packed work schedule, I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks! Luckily, the long hours and short weekends have not kept me from testing and finishing up a whole bunch of things. Let’s take a look at September’s empties:
September 2015 empties
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths: These gentle daily cleansing cloths are formulated to remove makeup and oil without over-drying or irritating sensitive skin. They combine the natural toning properties of witch hazel with soothing aloe, a blend the package says gives the cloths their “signature botanical scent.” Here is what I have to say about these face wipes: they are very effective at removing makeup and oil, and when I used them they kept my skin quite clear and even. However, I found that signature scent to be almost stomach-turning. The scent was so strong and so unpleasant that it took me months to finish up this pack of 25 cleansing cloths. I would not recommend them to anyone who is the least bit sensitive to strong smells.

Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips: As with Boscia’s classic black mask (and pretty much every other Boscia product I’ve tested), I was very excited to give this pore strip a try. As a person whose past experiences with drugstore pore strips have been quite painful and ineffective, I was cautiously optimistic that this one would work for me. Happily, it did! I decided to test this strip one afternoon after noticing that my pores looked unusually large and grimy. Not only did this strip remove the grime and make my pores instantly less prominent, I was actually able to peel the strip from my face without crying or taking any skin with it. This is definitely the Cadillac of pore strips.

Malin + Goetz Geranium Body Wash: I’ve sampled a couple of Malin + Goetz products over the years, and I’ve really liked all of them. This body wash was no different. Though I don’t typically love floral scents, this one was mild and left a pleasant fragrance on my skin that lasted through most of the day. It also made my skin insanely soft, even without lotion. I think this would make a great gift.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB: I’ve written about this so many times, there’s not much left to say! I finally used up my summer BB cream, and not a moment too soon; my tan has definitely abandoned me, making this beauty balm just a touch too dark for my complexion. Other than that, it’s an all-around great BB cream that provides moisture and nice light coverage for a super reasonable price.

Colgate MaxFresh with Whitening Flouride Toothpaste: A pretty basic toothpaste. I can’t say I noticed a difference in whiteness, but it did a great job of keeping my mouth feeling fresh.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple: This facial cleanser is an old favorite for good reason – it’s gentle, effective, and even smells pure and simple. I often turn to it when another product has caused irritation or the changing seasons has turned my skin into a red blotchy mess. It’s always a safe bet.

Benefit They’re Real! Remover: This waterproof eye makeup remover has a unique creamy gel formula that is designed to prevent pulling or tugging of the delicate skin around the eyes. I have to confess, I was completely caught off guard by the odd texture. It was goopy and unpleasant, and I got a ton of it in my eyes. This makeup remover is formulated to be safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, and I’ll admit that my highly sensitive eyes did not sting or burn after using it. Still, it felt gross. And with all the wonderfully effective eye makeup removers out there (like this one from MAKE), I don’t see a reason to use one that feels this bad.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo: I wrote about this a little while back after receiving it in a Birchbox. It’s a nice, fresh-smelling dry shampoo that’s great for giving second day hair a little oomph. That oomph doesn’t last very long, but it’s really clean and natural looking while it lasts. A great product to throw in your purse for on-the-go touchups.

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Fresh Faced

I don’t know any girl who wouldn’t love to wake up each morning and go about her day with glowing skin, perfect hair and a kick-ass outfit. I certainly would. And luckily for me, although my perfect hair days are few and far between and my outfits are usually just a little bit off, I’ve got pretty great skin. Sure, good genes play a part in the equation, but I also credit my skincare routine and a few key beauty products. And so, in the spirit of the season, I’d like to share some of my favorite products and best practices, so you, too, can enjoy the gift of great skin!

First and foremost, it’s important to stick to a regular skincare routine. Daily cleansing and moisturizing is a must, and weekly treatments such as face masks or chemical peels will only improve your complexion. I personally start each day by splashing my face with warm water, patting it dry, and following up with a tinted moisturizer with SPF. My favorite happens to be ultra-affordable: CoverGirl CG Smoothers Tinted Moisture. I have combination skin that’s on the dry side, and this SPF 15 formula leaves my skin soft and flake-free without ever looking oily. Plus, the light tint smooths minor blemishes and evens skintone – it’s my number one tip for faking flawless skin.

Another pretty-skin secret? Complexion enhancers and cheek stains. It’s a rare day that I don’t apply one. I love Benefit’s various versions. My favorites are High Beam, a light pink highlighter, and Posie Tint, a poppy pink stain that creates the prettiest, healthiest, most natural looking glow. It’s my go-to product when I’m looking for a bit of a flush.

Once I’ve smoothed on my tinted moisturizer and a complexion enhancer, I usually finish my face with a dusting of powder. I’m still obsessed with Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder. A bit on my nose and chin and my pores vanish and any extra shine is kept at bay.

Those are the products I use on a daily basis to keep my complexion looking fresh, but the easiest way to look like you have healthy, glowing skin is to actually have it! I only use plain water to wash up in the morning, but at night I lather up with my favorite face wash, Philosophy Purity Made Simple. This one-step cleanser is mild and effective; I gently massage it into my skin for at least 60 full seconds before rinsing off with warm water. Then I follow up with a thicker nighttime moisturizer. I vary my evening moisturizer based on season, but right now I’m using Philosophy Miracle Worker. This ultrasmooth anti-aging formula has a satiny texture that my skin drinks right up. After a few days of using it I noticed my skin felt softer and a persistent blemish on my chin was fading fast; after weeks of use, it’s my new favorite skincare product.

These products may work for you or you may have your own favorites, but no matter what you use, the most important thing is to be consistent. Take the time to take care of your skin, and it will pay off. Before you know it, you may wake with a gorgeous, glowing complexion. A perfect hair day can’t be far behind.

Simplicity

If you’re anything like me, you’re a little bit lazy. Not super lazy, but the kind of lazy that comes from being busy and tired, and from not having enough days off from work. Sometimes, at the end of the day, instead of making the full, nutritious meal I’d planned for dinner I throw a frozen pizza in the oven and call it good. And sometimes, even though I know it’s bad for me, I go to bed without washing off my makeup.

I know it’s not worth it. I mean, the consequences are not pretty. Clogged pores. Red, burning, sensitive eyes as a result of mascara rubbed into them. But when I’m tired, and worn out, and just want to fall into bed, taking the time to cleanse, tone and moisturize just seems like too much work.

Enter my favorite new skin care product, Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths. The geniuses at Philosophy have taken their fantastic Purity Made Simple  facewash and turned it into a clean-smelling, face-freshening wipe that leaves skin soft. I find that many one-step cleansing cloths dry out the skin, but Purity Made Simple does not. In one simple step I can wipe off my makeup and be done with it.

So now I get to be lazy and have great skin. Which is a plan I can commit to.