July 2015 Empties

July was filled with lots of fresh-smelling summer beauty products. I used up a lot of drugstore staples and found a couple of new favorites. Here’s what I finished last month:
July 2015 Empties
Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender: Thanks to Influenster, I received this little tube in a VoxBox. I already wrote about it here, but to recap: it smells magnificent and adds nice, lightweight volume, but I can’t say that it extended my style any.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Beauty Bar with Cucumber and Green Tea Scent: Believe it or not, I am still using up bars of soap that were in my stash when I started my beauty ban back in January 2014. This is one of them. It’s a decent cleanser, featuring the classic Dove hydrating lotion, and the cucumber/green tea scent feels fresh on a hot summer day.

Colgate MaxClean SmartFoam Toothpaste: I really like the way this toothpaste foams up and leaves my mouth feeling extra clean. It claims to be a whitening toothpaste, but I wish it was more effective in that regard. Although, to be fair, I do drink a lot of coffee.

Suave Naturals Juicy Green Apple Shampoo: I can’t say enough good things about this shampoo, which cost me 97 cents. It smells amazingly good – a lot like old school Herbal Essences shampoo – and it left my hair and scalp clean and moisturized. I will definitely buy this again. A summer favorite for sure.

Rite Aid Renewal Aloe Vera Body Lotion: I purchased this after I got way too much sun early in the summer. As far as aloe is concerned, I don’t think it has much, because it didn’t do much to soothe my burned skin. As a daily body lotion, however, it’s a great summer pick. It’s lightly moisturizing, non-greasy, and has a mild, clean scent.

Dove Go Fresh Cool Essentials Cucumber & Green Tea Scent Anti-Perspirant Deodorant: Apparently I was drawn to cucumber and green tea last month! Again, it has a fresh, clean scent that really works this time of year. However, I wasn’t wowed by it as an anti-perspirant. I didn’t feel like it really lasted all day, particularly on warmer or more active days. I don’t know that I’d repurchase this.

Supergoop Everyday Face & Body Lotion and Everyday Sunscreen: I received the tube of SPF 50 sunscreen in a Birchbox and fell in love with it, which prompted me to dig out the packet of SPF 30 lotion for a subsequent beach day. They are both fabulous. This sunscreen is very effective and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy on the skin. It lasts through hours of sweating and swimming, and didn’t make me break out. It’s pricey, but totally worth it.

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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?

Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water: Summer Skincare in a Bottle

Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing WaterI’ve always liked the idea of waterless cleansers. In theory, they require very little effort and make your skin clean and flawless with the swipe of a cotton pad; in practice, they are often either ineffective or far too harsh. Yet my inner lazy girl keeps me going back again and again, trying to find the holy grail of cleansing waters: one that removes makeup, cleans effectively, and isn’t overly drying.

Enter Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water. I read about it in this article about how French girls do beauty, and I was intrigued. And after a few weeks of daily use, I have to say I’m hooked. Now that summer is finally here – and my skin no longer resembles the Sahara – I don’t have to worry so much about slathering on heavy moisturizers. This means that before bed I can soak a cotton pad or two (I usually use two – one to remove makeup and one to cleanse) with this cleansing water, swipe it all over my face and neck, and then hit the pillow. No extra steps. My skin never feels tight after cleansing, and in the morning I wake up with smooth, clear skin. Not oily, not dry. Just clean. I love it.

No wonder French-girl beauty seems so effortless.

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.

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?

Organic Lip Gloss: A Natural Winner

Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Fig

Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss in Fig

I’d like to live in a world where every all-natural, organic beauty product is a cosmetic homerun; a world where less natural ingredients simply don’t work as well and the very presence of recycled packaging indicates a higher-quality concoction. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Don’t get me wrong, if I discover an earth-friendly product that rocks my world I immediately add it to my beauty repertoire. But more often than not, “natural” products leave me longing for something a little, well, prettier.

That’s why I was very pleasantly surprised by the pre-launch tube of Juice Beauty Reflecting Gloss that came in my May Ipsy bag. Initially, Juice Beauty’s tagline, “The Organic Solution,” made me a bit weary of the product. I assumed the gloss would have an odd texture or unpleasant aroma. I was sure it would have virtually no staying power and that after one trial I’d probably throw it away or let it sink to the bottom of my makeup bag. Boy was I wrong. Not only did I not throw it away, I’ve become completely enthralled by it. It’s by far my favorite new cosmetic item of the season. I use it every morning, take it with me to work, and swipe some on anytime I head out at night, whether I’m meeting friends for dinner or running to the store for a late-night Sour Patch fix (I have a bit of a problem).

What makes this gloss so great – other than the whole good-for-you, good-for-the-planet thing – is how amazing it feels. It has the smoothest, silkiest texture. I really have never used a gloss that feels this smooth. It doesn’t have even the slightest bit of stickiness to it, meaning your hair won’t get caught it in and gunked up by it, as is the case with so many other glosses. And amazingly, considering the lack of stickiness, it has great staying power! In my experience, the lighter a lip gloss feels, the quicker it usually fades away. Not so with this gloss. One swipe lasts through sipping, talking, even kissing! And it passes the fiance kiss-test: the lack of sticky texture or weird scent means he doesn’t run off in search of a napkin the second I smooch him with this stuff on!

Speaking of scent, this has a very mild, sweet scent, almost like a citrusy cinnamon bun. It certainly isn’t overpowering and I don’t really notice it other than when I first remove the wand from the tube. I received the gloss in Fig, a rosy bronze shade that gives a pretty wash of color with a tiny hint of shimmer. It’s definitely my go-to summer gloss. When the days turn hot and humid I certainly don’t want to worry about some heavy lip product melting down my face. This gloss is so light and pretty, the only thing I’ll be worrying about is where to buy more of it.

Summer Loves

Summer is officially upon us, and with the gorgeous weather comes oily skin, frizzy hair, and often a less than fresh feeling. Happily, I’ve found a few wonder-products that help beat the heat and keep me feeling fresh and clean. Here, my top summer beauty picks:

Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes – These 99.1% natural pre-moistened towelettes slick away oil, smudged makeup, and everyday grime without leaving skin feeling too dry or too greasy. They have a pleasant and super-refreshing scent, and can be used all over the body for a quick all-over cleanse. I use them at night when I’m feeling too lazy to properly wash my face, and during the day when I’m feeling particularly icky.

Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder – This translucent finishing powder is AMAZING. A light dusting keeps skin matte for several hours, and somehow manages to hide imperfections and perfect skin tone without any tint. I purchased the mini-size at Sephora.com to give it a try, and it contains plenty of product to get me through the summer. I’ll definitely be buying this one again.

Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Penetrating Oil – This little bottle of drugstore hair oil contains Moroccan argan oil – the hair oil of the moment – and is a perfect summer hair helper. It features a summery tropical scent, makes hair shiny, fights frizz and keeps grease at bay for several days. Plus, it helps condition hair. It’s an ideal product for beauties who don’t wash their hair every day.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue – This is my new favorite scent. It has a long-lasting, authentic orange scent, and makes me feel happy and clean when I wear it. What’s more perfect for summer than that?