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Target Mask Haul for Indecisive Skincare Hoarders

target-face-masks

During the summer months, my skin always goes a bit crazy. Between the extra heat and sweat, my skin breaks out and stays an oil slick from June to pretty much October. To combat that, I’ve started using masks to treat and calm my skin.

Since I love trying new things, I love going to Target and buying several travel-size masks instead of one full-sized mask. I get to try out a bunch of new products without breaking my budget, and if I find one I love, I’ll go find the full size later. Plus, they are great to stow away in a carry-on bag or in your luggage while traveling. They take up much less room, and give you an excuse to indulge a little.

Target has really stepped up their face mask game lately, so I went recently to pick up a few new masks to try out!

Burt’s Bees Rejuvenating Eye Masks

I’m dying to try these eye masks soon! They are a bit pricier than the Que Bella eye masks, but hopefully they will be worth it! I’m planning on packing these into a carry-on during my next trip, but if I use them sooner I’ll let you know how they are!

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask

Since my skin is prone to breakouts in the summer, charcoal masks are my best friend! They do a great job of clearing my pores, and the added salicylic acid means it’ll fight off future breakouts too! I can’t wait to give this one a try, and hopefully replace my previous charcoal mask, which was too irritating. This one is also made with 96% natural ingredients, which is important to me now that I’m trying to clean up my beauty products!

Que Bella Professional Moisturizing Gel Eye Masks

I have to admit, these are not a new purchase for me. I’ve been using Que Bella’s eye masks ever since I did a review of their professional range last year. They are so good that I just keep stocking up whenever I go to Target!

They feel so luxurious, stay in place, and leave my eyes feeling soothed and plump afterwards! I also love that each pack comes with 3 pairs, which is a great deal!

Alba Botanica Fast-Fix Sheet Mask in Papaya Anti-Acne

I don’t typically like sheet masks, but I absolutely love Alba Botanica’s products – so let’s say I’m cautiously optimistic. It’s hypoallergenic, which my sensitive skin loves, and I imagine it smells divine, like the rest of their products!

Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask

I actually did a review of this Target mask for a freelance client a few weeks ago, and after writing about it I had to try it! This mask feels more like a gel than a traditional mud mask, and I’m not sure it ever fully “dries.” However, it comes off easily and left my skin feeling clean without the dry pulling feel of a regular mud mask. This is a great mask to wear while meditating – no distractions from the drying/pulling on your skin while you’re trying to focus!

So if you’re like me and obsess about trying new skincare products, save your money and do a Target mask haul of your own! It’s hard not to come home with a dozen each time, but I do my best!

Recent Skincare Favorites

recent skincare favorites

Winter is on its way out, which means swapping out skincare routines. I thought now would be a good time to document my recent skincare favorites before I switch them out for more spring and summer friendly products!

Recent Skincare Favorites

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

I use this toner year-round because it’s non-irritating (thanks to the absence of alcohol) and doubles as an eye makeup remover. It doesn’t hurt the packaging and smell are sublime!

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

This is a cleanser I keep going back to every winter. It’s non-drying and gentle, and has kept my breakouts at bay over the past few months.

DIY Face Elixir Spray

I can’t stop spraying this stuff! If you’re looking for a Caudalie Face Elixir dupe, this is a great substitute. You won’t mind spraying it on your face, pillows, or anywhere really! Click on the link above to learn how to make your own!

Murad – Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

I decided to try this to get rid of hyperpigmentation (thanks, birth control). So far, I haven’t seen a lot of change in my skin tone, but the texture of my skin is much better since I started using it. I guess I’ll have to be diligent and patient with the pigmentation.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre Moisturizer

When I first purchased this, I thought it would be far too thick for my already oily, sensitive skin. Boy, was I wrong! I slather this on every night after my serum, and I wake up every morning with soft, glowing skin. The French know their skincare, that’s for sure!

Freeman Facial Apple Cider Vinegar 4-In-1 Foaming Clay

I found this at my local Ulta last fall, and loved it because of the smell, mostly. However, after using it as both a mask and exfoliating scrub, I am now on my third tube! It’s a great multi-use product that smells great, and leaves my skin feeling smooth without being too irritated. I loved using it this winter because it’s not as harsh as my other exfoliants, and as a mask it’s not too drying.

Beauty DIY: Face Elixir Spray

Beauty DIY Face Elixir Spray

Living on a budget often means giving up your favorite luxury products. One I miss terribly is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir. It doesn’t do much for my skin, per se, but I love the relaxing, clean smell. At almost $50 per bottle, it’s an expense I can’t justify to myself.

Recently, I researched to see if I could make a face elixir spray comes close to the original. After looking at ingredients in the original elixir, I went to Whole Foods in search of the ingredients.

I am new to using essential oils, so I started with the main scents (rosemary, lavender, rose, & peppermint). I could go back and add the pricier oils later, but that defeats the purpose of a budget-friendly DIY. I spent around $30 on the ingredients, which will yield enough face elixir to last years.

After playing around with the recipe, I found a ratio of essential oils to come close to the original elixir’s scent. The rosemary scent is key – as soon as I took a whiff of it in Whole Foods, I knew that was likely the main ingredient in the Caudalie version. You can play around with the ratio based on what you like – just go easy on the peppermint. It can be irritating to your skin and eyes if spraying directly on your face.

For all you drugstore beauty lovers like me, check out this recipe for a luxury-grade face elixir that won’t break your budget!

Beauty DIY: Face Elixir Spray

Ingredients:

Small glass spray bottle

Spring or distilled water

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

Essential Oils*: Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, & Grapeseed

Directions:

  1. Fill your glass bottle 2/3 of the way with water. Add the rose toner until it almost reaches the top.
  2. Add your essential oils: 10 drops each of grapeseed, rosemary, and lavender; 5 drops of peppermint (You can always play around with this ratio – perhaps start with 5 each and go from there!)
  3. Place the cap onto the bottle, give it a good shake, and spray!

This oil isn’t just good for the face – I use it as a room spray, aromatherapy spray, and fabric freshener. Just go light on fabrics, since there is oil in it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and let me know if you give it a try!

*Caudalie’s spray also includes essential oils like myrrh, wild/bitter orange, neroli, rose and others. They’re super expensive, and I’m not sure they add much to their spray anyway. I got around using rose essential oil by having it in the toner. If you use a regular witch hazel toner, add some rose oil.

4 Pretty Nail Colors for Fall

4 Pretty Nail Colors Fall

While I am painfully aware that trends exist, I don’t always follow them. So when it came time to choose some new nail colors for fall, I ignored what I read in magazines and went with colors I knew I’d actually wear. For example, I keep seeing pastel blue everywhere? It’s not a color I associate with fall, and one I probably wouldn’t wear anyway. To me, fall is about adding a little brown or gray to shades I already wear – nothing too far off my normal routine.

Since I am trying out some new colors for fall, I thought I’d go with the Sonia Kashuk line at Target. They’re only $4.79 per bottle, and they come in some on-trend shades for fall. Here are the 4 pretty nail colors for fall, whether you’re a trend-setter, trend-follower, or neither! Click on the names below if you want to buy them for yourself!

Mauving On Up:

I’m not a light pink polish kind of gal, but this one seems perfect for fall. It’s mauve with a grayish tone to it, which I think will look perfect with all the grays I wear in fall and winter.

Rich Girl:

I wear orange polish frequently, but the orange polishes in my collection are bright and cheery. This is a straight-up pumpkin shade that’s perfect for fall. It looks less pink in real life, and will be a great shade to add a bit of pop to my fall wardrobe. I would love to wear this on my toes instead of my usual red or pink.

Forbidden Fruit:

This is a deep magenta that I think will be a color I wear year-round! I looked for something similar for years, but most shades were too purple or red. This is a great in-between that would look great on toes too!

Gray Matter:

I have been wearing OPI’s “Metro Chic” for years, which is the perfect muddy gray-purple shade. It’s since been discontinued, but I do love the look of grey nails in fall. It’s a great alternative to black polish (which I wear a lot in winter), and this one has a slightly bluish tone.

So there you have it! Head on over to Target to check out this collection, and I hope you find a shade or two that are perfect for your fall nails!

Fall Beauty Updates

fall beauty updates

(Sorry for the crap quality photo. Sometimes things just don’t go your way!)

Fall is finally here!

I’m looking forward to updating my beauty routine to reflect the new season. Summer is easy, with little makeup and simple updos. Once the weather cools, I get excited about the new beauty trends I can try out. It must stem from my years as a teacher. Instead of stocking up on new school supplies, I’m focusing on new lip colors and some old favorites I still love.

Fall Beauty Update

L’Oreal Preference Hair Dye in Medium Chestnut Brown (5CB)

For many reasons I should probably write about in another post, I chose to stop dying my hair around Christmas last year. It turns out that while I don’t really have any grey hair yet to cover (yay genetics!), my natural hair color is boring the shit out of me. So I’m excited to mix it up for fall with a deeper, warmer hue.

Not Your Mother’s “Love for Hue” Shampoo & Conditioner

Since I haven’t dyed my hair in almost a year, I want to make sure what I do sticks. I used other products from them in the past and they were all great, so I look forward to using these too!

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation (Classic Ivory 120)

I have been using the “Dewy + Smooth” version of this all summer and loved it. For fall, I wanted to switch it up and go with the matte version, which is just as great. My skin gets stupid oily in the winter, so this should help.

NYX Butter Gloss in Red Wine Truffle

Okay, this was a total impulse buy. I don’t own a dark red lipgloss, and this shade is perfect for fall. The best part of the butter gloss is that you can really customize the look. I usually wear a little of it more like a stain, but it also looks amazing piled on too!

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black Brown

This is my all-time favorite mascara. Nothing new – just bought a new one after I got pink eye and had to throw mine out.

NYX Slim Eye Pencils in Charcoal and Light Brown

I have these in black and dark brown, but I like going a bit lighter on the eyes if I’m going darker on the lips. These are a great because I don’t have to be super precise when applying them, and on lazy fall days that’s just perfect.

Earth Therapeutic’s Triple Butter Intensive Foot Balm

I’ll gladly admit that my feet get absolutely wrecked in the fall/winter months. Changing out sandals for boots leaves them pretty dry and gross. So this year, I’m hoping to keep on top of it with a nightly ritual of foot balm and cozy socks. This one smells and feels amazing, and not at all greasy.

What are you planning to stock up on this fall? I’m still looking for a good hand lotion, so if you have any good suggestions, let me know in the comments!

Summer Beauty Cleanout

Summer is coming to a close, and our September magazines are already telling us what to buy for fall. As seasons change, it’s always a good idea to do a summer beauty cleanout. This is a great time to go through our beauty arsenal, noting what we’d love to keep, what needs to go, and what to stock up on for the future.

My beauty stash isn’t nearly as large as others, but I still need to take stock to make sure the products I have are safe, loved, and useful. It also keeps me from buying things I don’t need, which is a huge bonus!

Here are 5 tips I use to do my own summer beauty cleanout each year. Whether you have a small stash like me, or a giant one, this should be easy to do in an afternoon!

Summer Beauty Cleanout

summer beauty cleanout

1: Get it all out

I find that when cleaning, it’s best to just get it all in one place to start. This helps you see what you have and take note of how you feel about it. Do you feel okay with how much you have? Overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? If you are overwhelmed with how much you have, it’s a good sign that it’s time to pare down.

Before you begin, grab a notepad and pen to take notes of what to buy/replace when you’re done. I never remember what I tossed out, so I always do this!

My beauty products were stored in my bathroom, office and bedroom. Once I got it all out and looked at it, I realized I shouldn’t have it divided among 3 rooms. There isn’t that much, and I don’t know why it was spread out all over the apartment.

My goal for this project became simple – try to get everything in one room!

summer beauty cleanout

2: Check expiration dates

The first thing you should do to start your summer beauty cleanout is to grab everything with an expiration date and check that it’s still good. It’s also good to go through your medicine cabinet and travel kits too. Anything that’s past it’s prime, toss it – no excuses – and jot down anything that needs replaced!

For anything without an expiration date, you can check out this handy guide for how long to keep common beauty and makeup products.

summer beauty cleanout

3: Be brutal with makeup

Many women I know agree that makeup is tough to pare down. We keep things well beyond their shelf life, buy duplicates of products over and over, and keep things we don’t like. Being ruthless with your makeup stash will ensure your products are safe, effective, and will actually get used.

My biggest issue with makeup is that I buy duplicates. Do I need two bronzers that are basically the same? No – especially since I know the Sephora one is at least 4 years old. I also got rid of all the nubs of eyeliner I was holding on to. I bought new ones months ago, but never replaced them because the nubs still had product in them. It felt wasteful to just throw them out – until I noticed I kept stabbing my eyes every time I tried to use them.

Once I pared down my makeup, I took notes on what needed replaced, and some ideas of things to freshen up my makeup routine for fall.

summer beauty cleanout

4: Toss / Keep (and what to do with each)

Once you’ve gone through everything, now you have to deal with the “toss” pile. Do you throw it all out? Give some of it away? Sell it? Here are some simple rules for how to get rid of things:

  • Throw away anything that’s past its expiration date – no exceptions!
  • Throw away any used makeup that didn’t make the cut. I know it’s tempting to give it away to friends or family, but it’s too risky – especially if the product is old and/or used.
  • If you have any makeup that was never (and I mean never ever) used, and it’s still relatively new, see if you have a friend you can give it to. If not, toss it.
  • Don’t sell makeup online. I know some people do that, but it just seems…shady to me.
  • For those almost-empty bottles of lotion, shampoo, soap, etc.: Decant them into travel-sized bottles and toss into your travel kit! Why spend money on a travel-sized bottle of shampoo when you have 2 ounces of it sitting in a bottle in the back of your bathroom sink?

After doing my summer beauty cleanout, I was also left with a small box of “things to use later.” It’s a great place to keep things that I haven’t used in a while, but should work on finishing before buying new stuff. Keep it under the sink so you don’t forget about it!

summer beauty cleanout

5: Stock up on essentials

The last thing to do is easy – go shopping! Take your notes of what to replace or stock up on, and head on out! Fall is a great time to stock up on essentials like cotton pads, cotton swabs, sunscreen (lots of end-of-summer sales!), and other basics. With everyone heading back to school, or moving off to college, stores are having crazy sales right now. I hit up my local Target and grabbed a few things I knew I’d need soon, and a few things just for fun!

I met my goal of getting all my beauty products in one room, and feel more confident that nothing left will go to waste. I’m also looking forward to stocking up on some new fall makeup soon too, whenever it’s not 90 degrees out anymore!

Spring Ready Hands & Nails

spring ready hands & nails

I don’t know about you, but winter is absolute hell on my hands. The dry air and constant hand-washing (no cold/flu germs here!) leave my hands and nails in bad shape come springtime. I also have the most sensitive skin on my hands – I suffer from contact dermatitis, which means I’ll get rashes/blisters from almost anything (soaps, moisture, my wedding ring, etc).

Once spring comes around, and my skin finally clears up, I make sure to treat myself to some new skincare for my hands and nails. Here is what I’ve been loving this past winter, and continuing to use well into spring!

Spring Ready Hands & Nails:

Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Lotion

I’m a huge fan of Vaseline’s hand lotions, which I use before bed to make sure my hands are baby soft in the morning. I also like that they’re pretty inexpensive, so I don’t feel bad slathering my hands in tons of it each night!

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Before bedtime, I also add some of the Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream to my cuticles and any other parts that are extra dry (like my knuckles) to soothe the dry, cracked skin and keep my nails healthy. I’ve had the same tin for, like, two years and it’s still going strong!

Que Bella Moisturizing Hand Mask

As an extra treat, I’ll occasionally use masks like the Que Bella Moisturizing Hand Mask before painting my nails a nice, happy color. Que Bella makes these amazing glove masks that you just put on and chill out – and you can find them for only a couple bucks at Target!

OPI Nail Lacquer in My Chihuahua Bites

I’ve been hooked on OPI’s nail polishes for years because they don’t contain formaldehyde – an ingredient that commonly irritates people with sensitive skin. It’s the perfect cheerful color to throw on any time of year!

My regimen is something I try to keep up with year-round, and while it doesn’t totally fix my issues with irritation, it has kept me from breaking out in blisters like I did in the past. If you suffer from sensitive skin like me, these products are all definitely worth checking out!

My Perfume Collection

my perfume collection

Perfume is one of those things I didn’t get into when I was young. My perfume collection wasn’t much of a collection, nor was it usually perfume in the traditional sense. I always had some form of it around, though, whether it was a lavender perfume I bought in Paris when I was 17, or the vast collection of Victoria’s Secret body sprays and lotions everyone hoarded while I was in college (I was a Sweet Pea addict). I rarely wore them, and they usually went bad long before I could use them up. I didn’t get into “real” perfumes until I was well into my 20s.

As you can probably tell, most of my perfume collection falls into the floral category. I’ve never liked musky perfumes (they remind me of my grandmothers), and I absolutely hate anything that smells like food (no vanilla ever). I’d like to branch out more someday, but for now, this is what I wear on a regular basis:

J’adore by Christian Dior

As you can probably tell by the half-empty bottle, I wear this one a lot. It’s my go-to scent for winter, and I love that it’s not too heavy. Weirdly enough, I didn’t like it originally. My husband spray-attacked me (and my coat) with it in a Sephora years ago, and after “wearing” it around the store for a while, I ended up going home with a bottle. Then I went to get my coat dry cleaned…

Clean Outdoor Shower Fresh

This is the scent I pick up mostly during the summer months. It reminds me of a green tea body spray I had in high school, and it’s a great, clean scent for warmer months. I’m not a huge fan of their other scents, but this one is perfect! It also weirdly pairs well with the smell of suntan lotion – a must given I wear it religiously at the beach!

Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One

This has to be the most “grown-up” scent I own – it’s very strong and heady. I bought it to wear at my wedding, and it’s the perfect “special occasion” scent. I don’t wear it very often, and hope that I can keep it for years to come.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White

This is a scent I pretty much wear every day, all year round. I tried this as a rollerball scent to take on trips, and bought a full-size bottle almost immediately. It’s a pretty, flowery scent that really does smell different on everyone. I’ve complemented women on their perfume, often to find out it’s this one – and it smells totally different on them! It’s the kind of perfume that starts out flowery, but has a bit of a musk scent after you wear it for a while. I consider this my gateway into musk scents – and so far, so good!

There you go! I hope to keep adding to my perfume collection over the years, but for now these do well to get me from season to season!

Beauty Review: Que Bella Professional

Beauty Review: Que Bella Professional

If you’ve been following my blog (or any of my old ones), you know I’m a sucker for great drugstore beauty products. I’ve always believed that great skincare doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and many companies have created amazing and affordable skincare.

Que Bella‘s face masks have been part of my skincare routine since they first arrived in Target stores in 2011 – and that might be the longest I’ve stuck with any one brand. Their Purifying Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Mud Mask is am amazing drugstore “dupe” for The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Face Mask – and I would argue that Que Bella’s is better.

Recently, Que Bella released a new Professional line of masks in Target stores and online that gives us more options than ever to get the skin we’ve always dreamed of. You have no idea how excited I am – well, maybe you do because by the time they came out, they were almost completely sold out!

Thankfully, the lovely people at Que Bella were kind enough to send me their Professional line to try for myself. I was so excited I may have squealed a little when the package arrived…

Beauty Review: Que Bella Professional

Pros:

  • They smell absolutely amazing. Seriously, no weird medicinal or harsh scents here – every single one of them smells great! My husband’s favorite was the Revitalizing Overnight Face Mask – he said it reminded him of a nice perfume or something (I don’t remember exactly how he put it…I was half asleep).
  • The quality of the masks is comparable (sometimes better) than more expensive masks. The Repairing Charcoal Mud Mask, for example, is a great dupe for the Origins charcoal mask, and costs a lot less per ounce. I can confidently say they easily rival any high-end masks!
  • All of the pouches (except the sheet masks) contain enough product for two or more masks. This makes them an even better bargain – or the perfect excuse to share with a friend (or curious husband). The Moisturizing Gel Eye Masks come in sets of 3 pairs, so you can definitely share, or keep them for later!
  • The sheet masques live up to the hype! They fit perfectly and contained enough product to stick to my face. I’ve had a lot of trouble with sheet masks falling apart or drying out, but these were perfect!
  • They make the perfect gift! Between the pretty packaging and the price, I think giving a lucky friend or family member a set of these would be a great idea for birthdays, Mother’s Day, or any occasion, really!

Cons:

  • The only problem I had was some irritation on my sensitive skin. I’d highly recommend doing a small patch test before using if you have sensitive skin, or a particularly bad breakout (which was my issue). Even with sensitive skin, I only had a reaction to one mask – the rest were fine.
  • They are difficult to find in stores – but I guess that’s a good “con” to have, right? I’d suggest buying them online, especially if you live in a big city like me – and buy in bulk!

Other Notes:

Well there you go – another great drugstore beauty product to keep your skin glowing and your bank account happy!

Make sure to follow Que Bella Beauty
on Instagram at @quebellabeauty and
on Twitter at @quebellabeauty
for updates on new products and promotions!

 

(*Note: I was sent these products as part of a promotional campaign by Que Bella Beauty to review for my lovely readers. All opinions are entirely my own. Seriously, go buy these masks – they’re amazing!)

Winter 2015 Nails

Winter 2015 Nails

Winter nails often reflect the holiday season, and my collection is no different. This time of year, I like branching out from my usual maroon, oranges, and neutrals to include colors I don’t wear any other time of the year. Here is what you’ll find me wearing on my nails this winter!

“And a Cherry on Top” from Sephora by OPI

While this color has been discontinued, I find it’s a pretty good dupe for OPI’s “Big Apple Red,” which I linked to above instead. It’s the best plain red I’ve ever had, and I love using it to brighten up an all black outfit. It also looks great with a gold top coat!

“High Roller” from Ulta

This is a great gold polish when you’re looking to glam it up for the holidays or New Year’s Eve! I like doing a few coats of this, and adding “Golden State” on top for extra sparkle! You can do this on all your nails, or just your ring finger for a subtle sparkle!

“Black Satin” from Rimmel

I’m not a huge fan of black polish, usually because it’s too thin or stains my nails. Rimmel’s black polish, however, only takes two coats (three if you’re doing really thin coats) and doesn’t leave my nails stained as long as I use a basecoat. I love adding “Golden State” on top for extra sparkle, especially if you like the graduated glitter effect.

“Golden State” from Ulta

I’ve had this polish for a few years, and it’s my go-to glitter topcoat. It’s plain gold glitter, which I love compared to some of the iridescent and mixed color versions that are out there. This is another discontinued polish, and I have to admit it’s probably time to replace it with something new (it leaked when I moved last year). Ulta has a similar version, but I think I’d replace it with Essie’s “As Gold As It Gets,” which looks like an exact match. The link above is for the Essie polish, if you’re looking for a new gold polish too!

“Sheer Petal” from Revlon

I recently bought this one as a drugstore dupe for OPI’s “Bubble Bath,” and it’s the perfect neutral for my super pale winter skin. I can see myself wearing this one year-round! I’ve also added gold glitter on top of this, and it’s a much more subtle, work-appropriate choice if you want some sparkle with your everyday looks!