Jul 31, 2012

July Favorites! (2012)

I feel as if my posts for monthly favorites are slowly becoming less and less interesting because I'm so focused on finishing my makeup that I tend to grab things I know I don't love so I can use them up sooner (but if I find that I have a strong dislike for a product, I do not tend to keep it because I hate clutter). Occasionally I do find something I can truly call a favorite, and I am always happy when I can say that something I have spent my money on truly delivers.

Although the E.L.F. eyelash curler is not the best eyelash curler in the world for my eye shape, it IS the best eyelash curler for $1. It has never ripped out any of my eyelashes or pinched my eyelid. I've noticed that I do experience some difficulty when it comes to curling some of my outer eyelashes because of the shape of the curler, but I have that issue with other eyelash curlers.

A more childish favorite is Lip Smackers! The particular flavors I have loved this month are Cotton Candy and Coca Cola. These aren't the most moisturizing lip products on the market, but they do moisturize my lips enough for summer. They also smell great and taste great, so they're overall just fun. For some reason I don't own Dr. Pepper, a cult favorite.

Although I have heard so many praises on the Wet 'N Wild Color Icon eye shadows, it took me ages to actually go out and buy one. When I finally did, I bought Sweet As Candy, but I ignored it for a while and didn't actually try it until this month. I was spending the night at someone's house and I figured this would go nicely with my outfit for the next day. Before I packed it, I tried the trio and I must say I am amazed with the quality of these eye shadows. They are smooth, pigmented, and they show up on my eyelids without primer (this only happened once because it is now a habit for me to use primer - it makes all the difference). The look really was something I would call "sweet" and feminine. Normally I don't wear shimmery pink eye shadows because I have a fear of looking like I have swollen and infected eyes, but this pink looks nice on my lids and all of the colors complement each other very well. I definitely have my eye on the "Walking on Eggshells" trio and I hope Wet 'N Wild will release more colors soon.

I reviewed the Almay Clear Complexion Makeup on here last month and featured it as a favorite last month as well. Although I don't use this every day, I am officially at the halfway mark. I can only name two other foundations I have finished before: Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse (not the best foundation and definitely not the best shade range) and L'Oreal Bare Naturale foundation (I think it is now True Match Minerals, but to make a long story short, I noticed that I had more breakouts when I used this foundation and I also thought it was very cakey)

When I bought my Too Faced Glamour to Go Palette, I was given a deluxe sample of their Shadow Insurance in "Candlelight" - I only need a small amount for my entire eyelid and I used this nearly every day I wore eye makeup this month (and I think I've had this tube for a long time and I used it several times before this month). The tube isn't even empty - I would say I have at least a week's supply left. I will definitely purchase the full size.

I know lash growth serums are pretty controversial because of the cost (most are very expensive) and some simply do not deliver on any of the promises that are made. I personally think that the Rimmel Lash Accelerator serum is quite a neat product. I had some shorter eyelashes on my right eye (I assume they just came off when I was removing makeup or something... not pleasant). I think this product definitely sped up the growth process of those particular lashes. I won't say my lashes have a significant amount of extra volume or length from this serum, but they do look nicer without mascara. I try to apply this day (on my lashline) and night (as a "clear mascara" of sorts). I don't recommend wearing this under mascara - if you tried, you would probably dislike it. There were also a few nights I forgot to apply it, so that might be why I have not seen dramatic results. I will try to post an update when I finish the tube.

Now, for something that may shock some... I like the Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes mascara. I bought this after discovering what a fail of a product the E.L.F. 3-in-1 mascara was and I am very pleased with how it makes my lashes look. I don't get a dramatic look from this mascara, but I would say it is miles better than the original Great Lash. I like it so much that I may try Great Lash Big and Great Lash with the curved brush. I personally enjoy wetter mascara formulas and this is without a doubt a wet formula. The brush is like a Christmas tree and it really separates my lashes. I only use one or two coats of mascara at any given time, so I am not sure how this would work for people who like to use more than two coats of mascara (which I have always found to be too much anyway).

As for random favorites: I saw the Amazing Spider-man with my boyfriend on his birthday and I thought it was a fantastic film... although the fact that Andrew Garfield is 9 years older than me and playing a high school student just seemed strange. Anyone else notice that Dr. Connors also played Luna Lovegood's father in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1? Another favorite of mine is a bit strange for this time of year, but I have gone through a box of chai tea. My parents love to keep our house slightly... well, freezing, so I tend to drink hot drinks all year round.

That is it for my July favorites. The next time I make a favorites post I will be back at college! It's strange to think that most of my summer is already over. What were your favorites this month?

Jul 30, 2012

My *First* LUSH Haul!

So I realize that I've promised not to buy makeup, skin care, hair care, or body products until September 1, but I had to break my promise once again and this time it was fair if I say so myself. I recently went on a mini-vacation and I do not live close to a LUSH store or counter, so when I happened to come across a LUSH store I had to at least check it out. I went into the store and pretended I didn't want anything (the store didn't even sell Honey I Washed the Kids soap and that is probably the main thing I have been curious about). The next day, I was regretting my decision to pass things up and I gave the LUSH website a lengthy visit. Since there was a LUSH counter at a Macy's we would be going by, I decided to stop in. The people working there were incredibly helpful and friendly and from what I have already tried, I know I will be ordering some more products online in the future since I have an idea of what some of the products smell like (I am very sensitive to smell and I have a difficult time trusting a description of a scent). But, on with the haul!

The most unusual products I came across were the "Toothy Tabs" - I bought them in the Sparkle (vanilla, lemon, and grapefruit) and Ultrablast (lavender, peppermint, and spearmint and I believe it also has wasabi in it) varieties. Toothy Tabs are just solid toothpaste and I think they would be perfect for travel.

I don't normally take baths, but I figured that a bath bomb would be worth a try. I purchased Honey Bee because it smelled nice.

I don't necessarily need a new conditioner, but I saw the bottle of American Cream and thought it would go nicely with the solid shampoo bar I bought since I can't convince myself not to buy a conditioner when I buy a shampoo.

The second strangest item I decided to try was Lovely Jubblies, which is a breast cream. I am only 20 so loss of firmness in my skin is not an issue I have, but I just thought the concept of this cream was interesting. The container of it is tiny, but a little goes a long way. It can be used anywhere, really. It is most commonly used on the breasts, butt, neck, and eye area. I normally have problems with 

As I mentioned before, the item I've always been eager to try from LUSH is the Honey I Washed the Kids soap because I love sweeter fragrances and I heard that this was one of their most popular soaps. I cut off a chunk in my hotel room and it is a nice product.

Another line of products I was intrigued by was the solid shampoo bars. I heard they tend to last anywhere from 50-80 washes and I love that they are so compact. The sales associate suggested that I try Jumping Juniper since my hair is oily at the roots. I also bought a tin for my shampoo so I could prevent it from melting away in the shower.

I will do my best to post some reviews of these items once I have used them for a while and once I am allowing myself to buy beauty products again, I will be trying some more products.

What are your favorite LUSH products?

EDIT: another thing worth mentioning about Lush is that the packaging is gender-neutral, which was one of my biggest gripes about the Bellaboo line. I showed my boyfriend my haul and then some other products by Lush and he said he would have no problem having some of the products stocked in his bathroom (particularly the Toothy Tabs, but I'm sure if he ever wanted to use a new shaving cream or try a new soap, he won't feel like he is low on options - Grass and Dirty are two particular scents marketed toward men, but none of the shower gels I sniffed in-store were overly feminine and were overall gender-neutral. The bar soaps are a bit different. I think Rock Star, Lust, Queen of Hearts, and The Godmother might be too feminine for MOST guys to want to use... but considering how many other soaps there are by Lush, this is far from being a problem). I'd also like to note that a lot of the products are not sulfate free, but I have learned to accept that if I ever wanted to go sulfate-free, my hair would probably have a long transition period and I would probably look like a hot mess for months.

Jul 22, 2012

Beauty at Home, Part 3: Masks

This part has one of my favorite masks and one of my least favorite masks. I am only mentioning the least favorite one because it has worked beautifully for other people, so I feel it's only fair to share it.

Aspirin, lemon, and honey mask:

  • 2 uncoated aspirin tablets (you can use more, but it is important to make sure they are uncoated... I typically find that the generic brands have uncoated aspirin)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of honey - to make the mask stick (I don't use a precise measurement, but I think I probably use 1-2 tsp)
  • Squirt of lemon juice (preferably a fresh lemon, but if you have bottled lemon juice it will work as well)

Mix the ingredients together and leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes. Long enough for the ingredients to work together, but not so long that it damages your skin! When you wash the mask off, massage your skin gently so the aspirin can exfoliate your skin. I would say that this mask is probably safest to use once per week and I don't recommend using this if you are under the age of 18 or pregnant because of the aspirin. You could also substitute the aspirin for a teaspoon of baking soda.

Basic honey mask:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey (yeah, that's really the only ingredient I'm officially listing)

Of all the masks I am listing, this is probably my favorite because it is basic and I see the biggest difference in my skin when I use it. Sometimes I add a packet of sugar if I want to exfoliate. I have left this mask on by accident in the past and I haven't had any issues with it irritating my skin, but I would suggest leaving this mask on for about 20 minutes. I've also put cinnamon and nutmeg in the mask but I don't notice a significant difference. I might notice it if I always put cinnamon and nutmeg in the mask, though.

Honey and Yogurt mask:

  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

This is the mask that didn't work for me. I have read so many recipes and reviews and I wanted to love this mask, but I didn't. In fact, it gave me the worst breakout I've had in at least a year (I am currently recovering from that very breakout and this was the only very recent change in my routine). I left this mask on for 20 minutes.

These are the masks I've tried so far, so if I try any more on I will do another post! I hope you've enjoyed the series so far. I have one more post that I definitely have planned for the series. It will probably go up after my vacation.

Beauty at Home, Part 2: Toners

I have tried a few different mixes for toners and I'll have to admit that although my skin likes these toners on occasion (especially if my skin is not responding to my other skin care products), I usually need something stronger because even though my skin has gotten better in the past year, I am still very acne prone and I need some form of salicylic acid in my skin care (my dermatologist always tells me to go with a cleanser at the very least). My skin is fairly oily, so most of the recipes I share are will be for oily/acne-prone skin. They are also very simple and can be adjusted to suit your skin type.

So, that being said, here are some toners I've used that are a nice treat (especially in the summer heat):

Green tea:
Just brew a bag of green tea (plain) and once the bag cools, wipe it on your skin (store it in a plastic container and put it in your refrigerator if you want to speed up the process). If anyone is around when you do this, they will probably look at you as if you are insane, but green tea makes my skin feel soft and refreshed, so I say it's worth it. Green tea should be good for all skin types, too!

Apple cider vinegar:
Mix 1 part of apple cider vinegar (most people have the best luck with Bragg's ACV) to 1 part of water. Some people find the scent of ACV to be offensive, so if you don't like the way vinegar smells, I suggest trying the lemon juice toner first. I personally like the way vinegar smells, so I have never had a problem with this toner. This toner should also help with mild acne.

Lemon juice:
Squeeze the juice from one lemon into a bowl and strain the pulp and seeds out. For every 1 part of lemon juice, make sure you have at least 1 part water or witch hazel. I suggest using sunscreen if you decide you want to use this toner. This toner is great if you have acne and hyperpigmentation.

Feel free to post your own toner recipes below! :)

Jul 21, 2012

Don't Believe the Hype: Covergirl BB Cream

If you visit beauty blogs regularly, then you've probably already heard that Covergirl repackaged their CG Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer and are now calling it both a BB cream and a tinted moisturizer on the new packaging. Some people have even posted side by side photos of the ingredients and they're the same. Now, I understand that most Western brands have released BB creams that hardly have any similarities to traditional Asian BB creams, but at least the other companies have taken the time to actually create a new product for their line, even if it is more of a tinted moisturizer than a true BB cream.

In fact, I am embarrassed for Covergirl. I suppose they didn't think people would notice or that they wouldn't care, but to me this is a big deal because now the company has lost my trust because they knew people would buy into the hype. At least the package says "new look" but some people might not notice. I understand that Covergirl would want to jump on the bandwagon, but they could have actually done the work to create a NEW product like every other company has (as far as I know of, that is).

I hope this post hasn't been too much of a rant. More than anything else, I just feel like spreading the word is important because I want to save my readers the money, especially if they have already tried the CG Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer and didn't like it.

PS- my next few posts will probably involve travel and my "Beauty at Home" series.

PPS- The photo featured below was taken by me. At Walgreens. If you know anything about taking pictures at Walgreens, then you'll know that I had to be very stealthy and as soon as I snapped the picture, I was out of there!

Jul 18, 2012

Beauty at Home, Part 1: Kitchen/household ingredients you can use on your skin and body!

Ever since I've been following the YouTube beauty community (since spring 2008!) I have learned so much about different skin care products. I've also learned about different home treatments and remedies and I've tried quite a few throughout the years. So I figured I would share what I know about ingredients you might have in your cabinet that can also be used on your skin! The best part is that if you already have some of these ingredients and they don't work for your skin, it's not extra money out of your pocket. If they do work for your skin, then you'll be saving money (and space) in the long run! I will also note that I know more about products for sensitive, combination/oily, and acne-prone skin because that is my skin type. There are some ingredients that can be used for most skin types, though.

Extra virgin olive oil: I probably can't even list every possible use for olive oil. To start off, olive oil is very moisturizing and has been used in skin care for centuries. Some people use olive oil as a makeup remover because chemicals in commercial makeup removers could be damaging in the long run. I have read that olive oil can even help with dark circles. If you have dry skin, you could probably also mix it with your nighttime moisturizer for an extra boost of moisture. I have also read that some people with oily and acne prone skin do not have problems using olive oil, but since everybody has different skin, it is all very personal (for example, jojoba oil is supposed to be ideal for acne-prone skin yet it does clog my pores). People also use olive oil in their hair for hair masks.

Honey: Honey is antibacterial and moisturizing. I have used honey for a while on my face and I always feel like my skin glows after I use it. I mix it with different things to change things up, but I always see great results. I recommend using organic, local raw honey because I have heard that using local honey can help with seasonal allergies and raw honey has all the nutrients that grocery store honey lacks. The only disadvantage I have seen is that honey is messy and sticky (and has a tendency to drip when I apply too much), but for me it has been beyond worth it.

Yogurt: Yogurt contains lactic acid and is also found to be antibacterial. It can help with acne, has anti-aging properties, and can even out discoloration. It is not as messy or sticky as honey, so that is an extra bonus. It can also be mixed with honey so the benefits of both can be experienced.

Lemon juice: Lemon juice can lighten hyperpigmentation, clear acne, and function as a chemical exfoliant. It does sting and increase your sensitivity to the sun. Some people use it as a mask on its own and others use it as a toner. However you use it, I suggest diluting it because it will probably sting the first few times you use it. I also suggest using either bottled lemon juice (try something without preservatives because preservatives are one of the bigger reasons I am looking into home remedies) or freshly squeezed lemon juice. I would say that using freshly squeezed lemons would only be inconvenient if you are a college student living in a dorm.

Baking soda: To me, baking soda feels very gentle. It is more abrasive than the Bellaboo scrub I reviewed a while back, but it is far less abrasive than the St. Ives scrub. You can make a paste of this with water, mix it with yogurt or honey, or mix it with your cleanser. This also can be used with your shampoo for a deep cleanse if your hair is feeling oily.

Sugar: Another especially effective exfoliator. I have used plain white refined sugar and brown sugar and both exfoliate nicely. Sugar is more abrasive than baking soda, but not as harsh as aspirin (which will be listed below). For most people, sugar as a scrub will not clog the pores and will balance the skin. Sugar also contains glycolic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid (so don't forget sunscreen). It can be used on face or body. I have mixed it with some of the ingredients I have listed in this post and my favorite cleanser and I have always been happy with the results. I don't recommend using turbinado sugar, though. The particles are too big and I could imagine that the result might be slightly painful. But I do find turbinado sugar to be quite tasty in coffee ;)

Salt: Salt scrubs seem to be more commonly used for the body and the face. The great thing is that there are so many different types of salt you can use that you will probably be able to find a type that works for your skin. I haven't used a salt scrub in a few years, but it's something I will be trying again soon.

Green tea: Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply drinking it can give you plenty of benefits, but it can also be applied as a toner. It is less drying than lemon juice.

Milk of magnesia: This is said to be great for controlling oil. Some people apply it as a mask and others use it daily under makeup. I only recommend this if you have the "original" flavor though.

Aspirin: this one is a bit controversial. Some people have found that using (uncoated) aspirin mixed with either water, aloe vera gel, or honey can help reduce inflammation and redness from acne. The particles also can exfoliate your skin and make it feel smooth and soft. The controversial side is that there could be side effects to using this mask regularly. Anything that comes in contact with your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream, so if you cannot take aspirin (if you are pregnant or under the age of 18, for example) then you should absolutely not use aspirin as a mask. As I (sort of) mentioned above, it is not recommended that anyone under the age of 12 take aspirin, but I have heard anywhere from 12 to 18 so I will stick with 18 for safety purposes.

I have been trying different recipes for my skin and I hope to post recipes as I figure out what works for me with the hope that it will work for someone else. I hope you enjoyed this post! This list is by no means the end all list to more natural home treatments, but I hope this has been helpful!

Jul 15, 2012

That Time I Cheated on the Beauty Purchase Restriction Thing...

Alright, so in my last update on my beauty product restriction, I mention that I had a few slip-ups... I figured I might as well show you what I've purchased! Before I do that, I have to mention that it is pretty difficult for me to not buy anything because as a beauty blogger, I always see new things and want to try them out and write about them, but I have a budget and I honestly have no desire to let my makeup collection get out of control. But as always, I am beginning to digress.

So the BB cream craze has hit the US drugstores hard this summer. L'Oreal released two, Maybelline released one, and Covergirl repackaged their tinted moisturizer and called it a BB cream (yeah, that one made me mad... I'm honestly debating if I ever want to buy another Covergirl product again because of it, which may be an extreme reaction, but it makes me question their overall credibility). 

When I first heard about the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, I was intrigued. I shouldn't have been because aside from the Fit Me line, there is no such thing as a Maybelline foundation that isn't just plain orange on my fair skin (for reference, I would say my skin tone is probably a mix between N1 and W1 in the L'Oreal True Match line - W1 is too pale, W2 is too dark and yellow, and N1 is close to the right tone, but it is too dark). I'll admit that I have seen very mixed reviews on the Maybelline BB cream, but I had to at least swatch it for myself since every blog I have read reported that the drugstore displays had testers for each shade. From what I had seen in blog posts, I had a potential dupe for my Too Faced BB cream. I haven't formally worn this for more than a few hours because I truly am trying to finish what I have, but I am going on a mini-vacation soon and I figured that the weekend I am gone will be the perfect weekend to really test it out.

I am honestly not sure why I even bought the L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB cream... despite all the negative reviews, I still thought the idea was intriguing even though it is not a true BB cream. Back in the day (and by that I mean spring 2008) I tried the Almay Smart Shade makeup and it was a disaster. I have seen some Youtube videos saying that the L'Oreal BB cream has a similar concept, but is better. Color-wise, I tend to have great luck with L'Oreal products. I can almost always find a close match and I generally don't break out. My problem with L'Oreal products is really just lasting power. Just as it is with the Maybelline BB cream, I have not formally tried the L'Oreal BB cream, but I can say that this is a close match.

The other items I have bought that almost count as cheating, but have a reasonable explanation attached to them include:
  • Bed Head Styleshots Epic Volume Shampoo and Conditioner: Ulta had the jumbo sized shampoos on sale, I knew I wanted to try a new shampoo when I went back to college in the fall (even though it will be over a month before I return), and the two products seemed to have promising reviews. I won't be opening these until I'm back at school and when I started this challenge I forgot to account for the money I would be spending on back-to-school personal care items (because to me it doesn't make sense to start off a new year at school with a half-full bottle of shampoo, especially if there's a chance I'll be coming home on a random weekend).
  • Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes: as you may have seen in my June Favorites post, I had luck with one mascara and another mascara I owned was basically a flop. I haven't tried the original Great Lash in a few years and although it makes absolutely no sense to have several mascaras, I think it is fine to have two because I don't always want the same effect for my lashes. The Maybelline Mega Plush mascara gave me a natural look and my ELF 3-in-1 mascara gave me such a natural look that it did nothing. I heard great things about the brush for the Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes so I figured for $4.44 at Target it would be worth a shot (and for now, I would say it was!)
  • Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Cleanser: this is the gel version and it is far less drying than the original or grapefruit versions. I needed something with salicylic acid for a few reasons. The first is that something in the Bellaboo line did not agree with my skin and I had enough clogged pores that my skin looked frightening. The second is that my dermatologist has recommended that I use "any" salicylic acid cleanser I want in addition to the prescriptions I am on. The third is that if I use benzoyl peroxide, it will have an unpleasant reaction to one of my topical acne treatments (my dermatologist has me using Aczone and if benzoyl peroxide is used in conjunction with Aczone my skin could turn orange, which is not a pretty look for me). Honestly, I think I have been using this cleanser for about a month, so it has taken me too long to post about it. I've also gone back to some of the skin care products I was using before I switched to Bellaboo. But as a mini-review I will say that I am very happy with this cleanser and I plan to write a proper review soon.
  • (Edit: later on 7/15): I forgot to mention that I also purchased the ELF Mineral Blemish Kit from Target the other day because I'm nearly out of my spot treatment and I wanted something I could wear day and night.
So there you have it. I think the problem with this challenge is that I set the bar too high. I probably should have gone for one month instead of two and a half. I also probably should have checked my calendar. Despite all the slip-ups I have made, I still plan to keep track of what I've finished and I will also do my best not to buy any beauty products I do not need, but it's pretty challenging when companies keep releasing products that intrigue me. I also think it's good that I posted this because I don't want to make my post in September and tell you I succeeded at the challenge when I didn't. After this challenge is over, I'll probably do it again soon, but I'll change up the rules so I can't get around them so easily ;)

Jul 13, 2012

June Favorites! (2012)

Better late than never, right? I tried filming a video for this but I'm still not comfortable in front of the camera (I tend to drop the words like, yeah, and um quite frequently even though it is something I tend to notice when I am watching videos, but once again I am rambling).

Since I am not buying makeup for a while (even though in my last update I admitted to cheating a little... I bought a mascara and a lipstick in a shade I've never owned before), I have had to shop my collection and in that time I have hardly finished anything, but I have rediscovered some old favorites and even discovered some new ones! I will also be mentioning a product I don't recommend (even though my initial impression of it was good)

  1. Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara: the brush is great, the formula is unique (gel mousse), and it gives my lashes a natural look without just simply tinting them. This particular mascara has gotten mixed reviews, but I see mascara as a personal thing as it is. I love Maybelline mascaras, but some people find their formulas to be too wet.
  2. OPI Spiderman nail polishes: I have four shades from this collection (Into the Night, Just Spotted the Lizard, Number One Nemesis, and Your Web or Mine?) and although I would say all of them are general favorites, Just Spotted the Lizard is a standout color. I'm terrible at describing colors so I hope the pictures below do the color justice. By the way, has anybody else seen The Amazing Spiderman? I saw it on Saturday and I thought it was fantastic! 
  3. Too Faced Naked Eye Palette: I reviewed this palette a few weeks ago and even though I love the Romantic Eye palette I got for my birthday, I found myself using this palette more often.
  4. Almay Clear Complexion Makeup: I also reviewed this recently and despite the poor packaging of the version I have, I think this foundation is great. After I finish this foundation, I'll have quite a few I need to finish before I even think about repurchasing this, but for the time being, I love this stuff.
  5. ELF Color Correcting Face Powder: I wouldn't say this is a holy grail product, but this is the only powder that seems to control my oil when I use certain tinted moisturizers. Overall I am very pleased with this product. Oh, and although it has four color-correcting colors in it, it is 
As a random favorite, I've been loving Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7. I played 1-4 last summer and loved it, but I didn't get 5-7 until the beginning of June. This game is just as entertaining as the first, in my opinion.

And for a product that I wasn't crazy about... the ELF 3-in-1 Mascara. Initially I raved about this mascara when I did the $20 makeup challenge, but after switching between this mascara and my Maybelline mascara a few times, I realized that this doesn't do as much for my lashes as I want it to. Maybe the formula changed over a couple of weeks as well (because that does happen to mascara), but after a while all it did for my lashes was tint them and that's not what I personally look for in a mascara. I don't regret this much though, since it was only $3 and I can keep this in my travel makeup bag for the next couple of months.

This is off subject, but I really need to invest in a good camera to take pictures because I've been using my iPhone and if I want my blog to be taken seriously, I should probably use serious equipment. I am doing my own research on cameras, but if anyone has input I would greatly appreciate it.

What were your favorites in June?

I had most difficult time getting the Maybelline Mega Plush mascara to sit still on my little table. Awkward angle due to artificial lighting. Eep.

Cool brush, useless product

*cue Hedwig's Theme*

Jul 9, 2012

Update #2: Beauty Purchase Restriction!

On September 1 I will officially be allowed to buy beauty products again (with the exception of products I run out of... and I've technically already cheated... oops!)

I have already finished six items and I am extremely close to finishing a few other items. The things I have finished so far are: L'Oreal EverStrong Shampoo (1) and Conditioner (2), Urban Decay Travel Sized All-Nighter Spray (3), Urban Decay Travel Sized De-Slick Spray (4), Softsoap Nutri Serum Body Wash (5), and CVS Night-Time Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths (6).

Now, some products I'm close to finishing include:

L'Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner: I think I have two or three uses left. I still find the scent to be too strong, but the product itself works pretty well on my hair. I won't repurchase because of the scent.

CHI 44 Iron Guard: I have the travel sized version (I purchased it at Ulta a year ago). I probably have one use left in this. Overall I don't find this product to be particularly special.

Benefit Stay Don't Stray: I've used this nearly every day since my last post and it still seems like I am not incredibly close to finishing it.

E.L.F. Makeup Mist & Set: I actually have half of this left, but I might dump it because it is beginning to smell like dirty socks. Not something I want near my face!

Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum (.5 oz): I got this in a set and it's a nice product. I've used about half of the bottle, but I can't repurchase immediately because I have a ton of other hair serums and leave-in conditioners I need to use up.

Clean & Clear Advantage Popped Pimple Relief Drying Paste: this doesn't really do anything for me so I am glad it is nearly empty.

Once I am finally allowing myself to buy makeup again, I actually don't plan on buying any face products until I am closer to finishing them (foundation, concealer, powder, etc). I have a lot of face products (especially foundations, tinted moisturizers, and BB creams) and I've spent so much money on those that I have really ignored the items that are more fun. Hopefully as I finish some items I can pinpoint a few holy grail items so I don't feel as tempted to go out and buy more than I need and can use. I know my collection is tiny in comparison to that of most beauty bloggers/vloggers and I would like to keep it that way because I would hate to waste money.

Jul 8, 2012

Review: Bellaboo Skin Care Line

It has nearly been two months since I first purchased a product from the Bellaboo skin care line. Since then, I have bought nearly everything (minus two masks) and I have been trying the products and carefully paying attention to the state of my skin. For reference, I am a 20-year-old with sensitive, combination-oily, acne-prone skin and I have tried natural skin care products on several occasions with little to no luck.

Before I begin the review, I'd like to talk about Bellaboo the brand. It was created out of the owner's frustration with the fact that there wasn't effective natural skin care for younger girls. So that being said, the target audience for these products is pre-teens, teenagers, and 20-somethings. The brand is also based in Australia and until recently, it was but a dream for an American to purchase the line without searching online. I am not sure how long the products have been available on drugstore.com, but in the past few months these products have been popping up at Ulta!

I'm sad to say that something in this line just doesn't work with my skin, because at the one month mark I had so many clogged pores that my skin looked like a bumpy mess. I wish I had photos for reference, but I've been slowly switching to different products (despite my ban on purchasing products... my skin needed an intervention).

Now, the specific products I have from this line are: All That Clean Skin Facial Wash ($12.99), Buff Skin Facial Exfoliator ($12.99), Gorgeous Skin Moisturise Dew ($12.99), E Z Blitz Serum ($12.99), and the Sweet Sin Chocolate Mask ($9.99). All of the products have similar packaging. I think pre-teens would really find the packaging cute but I didn't care for it (but I am 20, so this line isn't technically targeted right at my age range). Every product comes in a tube, including the cleanser, which has a liquidy-gel consistency. If it was a bit thicker, it would be fine in that tube, but since it isn't very thick, it's very easy to dispense too much product into your hand.

I like that the products are 99.5% natural. None of the items have chemical-based fragrances (they do have an herbal scent to them from the ingredients and essential oils). I also appreciate the fact that there are no artificial dyes in the products because quite frankly, if somebody bought a skin care product because they thought it was "pretty" then I would be concerned.

As I mentioned above, the All That Clean Skin Facial Wash is a clear cleanser with a gel consistency. It is a bit more watery than most gel cleansers, but it is significantly thicker than most of the more "natural" cleansers I have used (Burt's Bees acne line, Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash, etc). For the most part, when I used this cleanser it did make my skin feel clean, but after a while I felt as if it wasn't cleaning as well as it could be, even on days I didn't wear any makeup. If the cleanser got anywhere near my nose then it somehow always ended up in my nostrils and it burned a little. Even though the cleanser is sulfate free, it still foamed up pretty nicely, but the lather didn't last very long when I used my Clarisonic with the cleanser, which is the opposite of what happens to me with other cleansers. Even though the tube of this cleanser is probably a bit pricey for somebody just starting out with skin care products, I only used a pea sized amount when I washed my face (when my skin started to "resist" the cleanser I tried using more and it didn't change the results).

The only product I really disliked from the beginning was the Buff Skin Facial Exfoliator. Even though I have sensitive skin, I appreciate a scrub that feels like it is giving me a deep clean. I always look for something that is less abrasive than St. Ives, but more abrasive than a cleanser that might happen to have beads in it for kicks. To me, the exfoliator felt like a lotion with some texture that doesn't actually do much. I've actually been using it on my legs when I shower so I can use it up. It does smell nice, but I think people who prefer very gentle scrubs might get more enjoyment out of this product than I did. This scrub is intended to be used twice a week.

I actually really liked the Gorgeous Skin Moisturise Dew. The consistency felt like a mix between a lotion and a gel and my skin never felt greasy when I used it, but I could tell that my skin was very hydrated. I still don't know if this is what clogged my pores or not, so I haven't been using it on my face for the past several days, but once I make sure whether or not this works for my skin, I would probably repurchase this.

The E Z Blitz Serum can be used alone or mixed in with moisturizer. The purpose of this product is to calm breakouts. I've noticed that it helps with my smaller pimples, but I tend to have problems with deep pimples that take ages to go away. For the person with the occasional pimple, this will be fantastic because it comes in such a big tube (2 fluid ounces, most spot treatments are 0.5 fluid ounces). Unfortunately, this does not wear well under foundation and if I wear it all over my face I find that my skin gets oilier than it normally would. I can tolerate that at night, but during the daytime I would rather not endure an oil spill on my face.

The Sweet Sin Chocolate Mask is fun, for lack of a better way of describing it. It is a clay mask that actually smells like chocolate. While the mask dries, it makes my face tingle without it being uncomfortable. I don't really see a difference in my skin after I use it, though, so I probably won't buy this mask again after I finish it... especially since there are so many homemade mask recipes I can (and want to) try before I actually buy a mask again.

Overall, I would say that although most of these products did not achieve "holy grail" status in my skin care routine, I applaud the creator because these are all well-formulated products... some of them just did not work with my rebellious skin. In fact, the cleanser I've had to turn to is not natural (but it seems to be helping). I think the biggest disappointment is that this line seems to work perfectly for everybody else from the reviews I have read, but for me it was hit and miss.