Recent Beauty Finds

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A couple weeks ago, I went to Nordstrom wanting new makeup, particularly a different tinted moisturizer. I had become pretty unhappy with my previous tinted moisturizer because I felt like it wasn’t the right color and I couldn’t find a color that completely matched my skin tone — one made me look too tan and one made me look too pale. The colors never blended in correctly and I would get a weird “ring” around my mouth.

I also stopped liking the eyeshadow colors I had because they were bronze and golden tones which I decided I didn’t like with my hair color. Weird I know because I’m blonde, but I consider myself more of a blue-blonde than a golden blonde and therefore like cooler tones rather than warmer tones when it comes to my makeup. Being blonde is complicated, okay?

Anyway, mom suggested that I try Laura Mercier because she once wore her tinted moisturizer and really liked it. In my eyes, my mom is a makeup expert because she loves makeup (a gene I did not get) and has tried all different brands and products. Plus, she’s my mom, so she knows what I like. And as always she was spot on! I love all three of the products I bought:

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

I love this tinted moisturizer! It is so light, and matches my skin tone perfectly. There are a vast number of colors options, so there is bound to be one that matches nearly everyone’s skin tone. Now, I know why this particular tinted moisturizer is “award winning” and had such great reviews online. It truly is wonderful and looks like your not even wearing any makeup (which is kind of the point of a concealer/foundation, right?). All of the issues I had been having with blending and a “ring” around my mouth are gone! And since I don’t usually have a ton of blemishes, the lightness of the moisturizer is perfect for me. It covers the uneven tone of my skin without it looking caked on.

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Laura Mercier Caviar Stick (in Rosegold and Moonlight)

I love these eye shadow sticks! I had been using the Clinique eye shadow chubby sticks and loved the ease of use, so I was happy to see that Laura Mercier made some too. These two colors in particular I love for different reasons. Although Rosegold has gold in the name it is a “cooler pink” that almost shows up as nude but with a hint of shimmer. I thought this would be the perfect “everyday” eye shadow for me because it is just enough to make you look finished and polished, but not overdone. I love the Moonlight color for going out and special occasions. It is pewter with almost a hint of purple.

These sticks are super easy to use. I usually rub them over my eyelid and then blend them in with my finger to make sure the coverage is even. I love them so much, I might have to buy some other colors!

I really do love my new Laura Mercier products and have been using them daily ever since I bought them. And no, this is not a sponsored Laura Mercier post, although….just kidding.

Also, I have been wanting to try Birchbox! Do any of you subscribe to it? Do you love it!? And I would love to hear about your favorite beauty buys!

Summer Mani/Pedi Color Combinations

When I get my nails done, I tend to always get the same color combination on my nails and toes — a lighter pink/coral on my nails and a darker pink/coral on my toes. ALWAYS. But lately, I’ve had a little nail color fatigue. Since summer is such a great time to have some fun with your manicure and pedicure, here are the color combinations I have on my radar for my next nail appointment (the blue is for you, Mom!):

Summer Nail CombosWhat are your favorite mani/pedi combinations?

Key Takeaways from Skin Cleanse

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I just finished Skin Cleanse this weekend and LOVED it! Seriously, hands-down one of the best and most interesting books I have read so far this year. There were so many insights I took from reading the book that I will need to keep it handy as I go back and reference them all. Here are some of my key takeaways and things I will be working to implement in my quest to have healthier skin:

  1. Smart food and lifestyle choices lead to healthier skin.
  2. “Sensitivities to different foods are at the root of bad skin because they trigger low-level immune responses and, therefore, inflammation” (pg. 49).
  3. Keep a food journal for a minimum of three days and a maximum of a week. Record every single thing you eat and any symptoms you experience (i.e. breakouts, low energy, headaches, insomnia, etc). Look for patterns and red flags that correlate with your symptoms. I will definitely be doing this in the near future!
  4. “No one eats enough vegetables. Period” (pg. 61). And I thought I did…
  5. Greens (green leafy vegetables) have a high quantity of antioxidants and also act as antihistamines and antimicrobials in your body. “They’re like steroids for your immune system” (pg. 76).
  6. There are a handful of nutrients/vitamins that can only be absorbed into our bodies by fat, so eat your vegetables with a little olive oil or grass-fed butter to be sure you are getting all the nutrients/vitamins out of them. Good to know!
  7. Papaya “fights aging, heals sunburn, removes dead skin cells, soothes irritation, fights breakouts, and brightens the skin” (pg. 83). It is the best fruit to eat for your skin. I will be adding papaya to my diet ASAP!
  8. Eat sardines! They are extremely high in omega-3s, vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium.
  9. Drink more water!
  10. She didn’t really recommend taking supplements, but two that she did recommend that I want to implement are probiotics (good bacteria for a healthy gut) and vitamin D (we are all at least a little vitamin D deficient). I just bought this probiotic at Whole Foods this weekend.
  11. Packaged, processed foods are worse than I thought. They contain “dead” ingredients (as opposed to “fresh”) that you should not be eating (processed sugar, processed fat, processed protein, processed dairy, synthetic flavor, fake coloring, sodium, and preservatives). Every time you consume processed food, you work against all of the good, nutrient-rich food that is helping your body. Limit your packaged food intake as much as possible.
  12. Do you read the labels of your beauty products? I don’t, and I honestly hadn’t given it much thought to read them. But after reading the chapter on all the chemicals in beauty products and the lax rules that govern the beauty industry, I think I need to pay more attention.
  13. Start a product journal that lists every product you are using from shampoo to hand soap to moisturizer to eye liner. Everything counts. And like the food journal, this will help you to understand what products are giving you problems and give you a better perspective on the number of products you are actually using (probably more than you realized).
  14. You can wash your face with only water. She teaches you how, and I was amazed.
  15. There are a number of recipes for natural skin products listed in the book, and I want to try a lot of them, particularly: the “Squeaky-Clean Foaming Face Wash, the “Breakout-Busting Soda Paste,” the “Light Moisturizing Face and Body Oil, and the “Detox Mask” (it has chickpeas in it! WHAT?!).

Throughout the book, she emphasizes how unique and personal our skin is — “we shouldn’t box ourselves into other people’s definitions of healthy living” (pg. 215). And “the only way to create your own individualized picture of wellness is to commit to finding the ideal version of your personal everyday health” (pg. 216). If we want healthy skin (which inevitably also means a healthy body), we must take responsibility for our health and figure out what works and doesn’t work for us.

I really loved this book because of how practical and applicable all of the information was. I learned a lot about my skin and will be implementing a lot of things she talked about. If nothing else, I am more aware of how my diet, lifestyle and products affect my skin. This book is a must-read for everyone!

Recent Beauty Finds

I’m not one to buy (and therefore try) a lot of different beauty products. In fact, I hardly ever switch up my beauty routine — I’ve used the same eyeliner, bronzer and mascara since high school, and I’ve used the same shampoo and conditioner since college.

But recently I decided to try a couple new products that peaked my interest (mostly because of all the skin issues I’ve been having). It was kind of fun to try new products, especially ones that I had been hearing so much about (coconut oil). This might be a new series of mine! With that said, here are my recent beauty finds:

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Lancome Eyebrow Pencil (in Blonde)

This is probably the boldest of the my new beauty buys! But after my recent experience with threading and tinting, I decided to start using an eyebrow pencil to give my brows a little more color and shape. AND I LOVE IT! I don’t know why it took me so long to try this, but I’m so glad I finally did. I chose a Lancome pencil because my mom uses this same one (brand and color). And it’s always a good idea to listen to your mom! It can be a little tricky with blondes to keep the color natural-looking, especially when I have such light eyebrows to begin with, but I think this one looks really natural. I would definitely recommend it!

Coconut Oil 

Part one of my skin issues: I have cystic skin, so I sometimes get red bumps on my body that kind of look like a mosquito bite (but they don’t itch). I did some research to see what would help reduce the bumps and decided to try using coconut oil after reading so many good things about it. After using the oil, I found that it did in fact help my skin, but it got pretty messy considering you are rubbing oil all over yourself. Even with the messiness though, I think coconut oil is something I will continue to use because I found that it really did help reduce the bumps. It also was nice to use after exfoliating (see below).

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Frank Body Scrub (Original)

As I’ve mentioned a few times now, I was having major skin issues the past couple months (on top of my already cystic skin) — mostly with eczema-related issues. In my research, I found that coffee scrub could help with eczema and other skin conditions, and this particular scrub got great reviews. The Frank Body Scrub is made with all natural ingredients — coffee grinds, almond oil, brown sugar and sea salt. Although using this scrub is basically like rubbing coffee grinds all over yourself, which can be a little messy, it really did help! The scrub smells amazing and makes your skin feel silky smooth. Though I don’t think it’s a cure-all for eczema, I do think it helped the redness and bumpiness of my skin. And it is a natural solution — something I was pretty adamant about finding!

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Aveda Blue Malva Conditioner

As I mentioned earlier, I have used the same shampoo and conditioner for years. Well, up until recently when Redken updated all of their formulas, including the blonde shampoo and conditioner I had been using for years! I started using their new formula, but discovered after months of using the conditioner that it was causing small, red bumps around my hairline (aka I’m allergic to it!). So when I was at the hair salon a couple weeks ago, I asked my stylist what conditioner he recommended to replace it, and he gave me this one. The purple tint keeps my hair color intact (fights against brassiness) while moisturizing it to feel silky smooth. And the best part is the red bumps around my hairline are gone! #WINNING.

Moral of the story: I have sensitive skin. But with these new finds, I have been able to get my skin feeling smooth and normal(ish) again. I’m also looking forward to seeing what this book has to say!

 

New Chapter, New Hair

These past few weeks my hair has been driving me CRAZY! I felt like it wasn’t hanging right and was starting to look stringy. So I scheduled a hair appointment, and set out to look for some hair inspiration. Here were some of my favorite haircuts I found:

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On Saturday, I went into my hair appointment with these photos ready to go. I explained to my hairdresser what I was looking for and also asked him for his recommendation knowing that I wanted my hair to look thicker and more cohesive.

And he did an amazing job! I LOVE it!! He cut just the right amount off to give me a little bit of a new look, just like the photos I brought in, but nothing too crazy. I’m so happy with how it turned out! A new chapter calls for a new haircut! Bring it on!

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Eyebrows: Threading, Tinting and Shaping

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look at those brows!

At the blogging event I went to last week they had a “beauty bar” put on by Pouf Dallas with a braiding station, a makeup station and a threading station. I was absolutely down to get a braid (see photo below!), but when it came to threading I was more interested in observing it done on someone else. I just didn’t know much about it and was concerned with having anyone trying to reshape my misshapen brows. But the woman who was threading was insistent that I give it a try, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in the chair.

Now I have known for a while that my eyebrows were not “up to par.” They are naturally very light (complementing my hair color) and not as full as they should be. And although I haven’t gotten my eyebrows waxed since middle school, I tend to get a little carried away with the tweezers. It is no surprise then that my eyebrows were in bad shape — misshapen and a little too thin, both of which the threading woman noted to me.

She explained the benefits of threading and talked to me about possibly getting my eyebrows tinted in order to make them a little darker. I hadn’t really thought too much about either of those services before, but once I saw the threading and coloring (she used a powder to fill in my eyebrows and make them a little darker), I was sold. It really did help to frame my face a little better and finished off my makeup well.

The actual threading felt a little weird on my skin and sounded even weirder as it was happening. It doesn’t hurt or leave red marks behind nearly as bad as waxing does, so it was a good alternative for both of those things.

After my experience, I will probably get my eyebrows threaded every once in a while. I obviously shouldn’t be waiting years (and I mean years!) like I had before to have a professional help shape my eyebrows, but since my hair is so light, it is definitely not something I need to be doing monthly. Also, I will continue to think about tinting my eyebrows. In the meantime though, I will be buying some sort of powder to fill them in. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made!

Have you had your eyebrows threaded? Do you tint your eyebrows? Any favorite eyebrow powder that you use? I’m open for suggestions!

And in case you were wondering, here are some helpful articles I found on the differences between threading and waxing:

Your Perfect Guide to Eyebrows (Teen Vogue)

Wax, Thread or Tweeze? (Lauren Conrad)

Eyebrow Threading vs. Waxing (Examiner)

my "braid bar" waterfall braid - I loved it!
my “braid bar” waterfall braid – I loved it!

Hello Spring: Nail Polish

HELLO SPRING!! I realize it’s still February, but it sure feels like spring around here in Dallas. I feel like I am always anxiously awaiting the next season, and usually my nail color is the the first to jump on board. In the late summer, I’m ready for dark gray and burgundy nails, and at the end of winter, I want them pastel and bright. I guess you always want what you can’t have, right? But I digress…

When I got my nails done last week, I was dreaming of sunny, 70º days and the Florida vacation I am currently on. I decided to go with coral tones on my nails and toes, which is a typical color choice for me, especially in the spring/summer months. But while I was picking out the perfect coral colors, I was drawn to several other “spring-y” hues that I will need to try for my next manicure. Here are some of my favorite nail polishes for spring this year:

Essie Just Stitched
Essie Just Stitched
Essie Meet Me at Sunset
Essie Meet Me at Sunset
OPI Cement the Deal
OPI Cement the Deal
Essie Lovie Dovie
Essie Lovie Dovie
Essie Nothing Else Metals
Essie Nothing Else Metals
Chanel Péche Nacrée
Chanel Péche Nacrée
OPI That's Hula-rious!
OPI That’s Hula-rious!
Chanel Sweet Lilac
Chanel Sweet Lilac
OPI Tutti Frutti Tonga
OPI Tutti Frutti Tonga
OPI My Pointe Exactly
OPI My Pointe Exactly
OPI Kiss on the Chic
OPI Kiss on the Chic