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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.

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!

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!

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!

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!)

Fall Nail Polish Update

Fall Nail Polish Update

In addition to needing a wardrobe update, my nail polish collection needed a bit of a fall refresher. I’ve been a fan of Revlon’s nail polishes lately, and they are great at keeping things on trend each season!

They’re the brand I go to when I want to find a dupe for OPI, Essie, or other pricier polishes – or when I want to try out a new trend without spending a lot. The formulas are great, they dry quickly, and come in dozens of amazing colors!

Fall Nail Polish UpdateFrom left to right: Vixen, Sultry, Sophisticated, Elegant

I picked up Vixen mainly because my maroon OPI polish was almost gone and had started drying out. This color is almost an exact match, and looks amazing on my toes!

Sultry was a shade I chose because I kept seeing this sparkly, deep blue in every September fashion magazine this year – and I wanted to give it a try without paying a lot, in case I don’t like it. I had a similar version of this from Ulta years ago and hated it (it read more purple than blue), so I can’t wait to see if this one is better!

Sophisticated has been my favorite so far – it’s the perfect light grey, with just a hint of lavender. If you like Essie’s neutral grey polishes, this one is a great substitute! I just need a sweater to match….

Finally, Elegant looks like the perfect neutral for fall, and I think will look great both with what little tan I have left, and once I start getting a bit paler (which is happening very soon). I haven’t tried it yet, but I probably will once I get over wearing the grey polish so much!

So, if you’re looking for the latest nail trends for fall, definitely check out Revlon’s nail polish collections – they’re only $4-5 each, and come in so many colors, it’ll be hard to choose just a few!

Summer Makeup Staples

Summer Makeup Staples

When I was younger, the thought of wearing makeup in the summer months seemed insane to me. Summers were for swimming (or working) at the pool, softball games, and going to the movies with friends.

I still try to avoid wearing makeup every day in the summer, mostly because it just sweats off anyway. However, when I do make the effort, I stick with simple, light makeup that only takes me 5 minutes tops!

Summer 2015 Makeup

Clinique Stay-Matte Oil Free Makeup in 05-Fair

Back in January, I went to my local Sephora to try out their foundation matching service, and came home with this. After trying it out at home, I realized that it was way too dark for my winter skin! I blame the terrible lighting in my Sephora for making it look better in the store, but held onto it because, well, it wasn’t cheap! Now that I have a bit more of a tan, it matches well, and it’s a nice, light, easily buildable foundation for summer.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Iced Mocha

When it comes to eye makeup in summer, I’m very, very lazy. This is the perfect, coppery gold shade to make my blue eyes stand out – and it’s simple to apply! Just draw it on, and blend with your fingers. It’s a great way to look put together without having to deal with eyeliner in the morning!

Benefit’s BeneBalm

This isn’t a summer-specific product. I’m not a big lipstick person, so this is perfect for when I’m in a hurry and need a little color boost!

Covergirl Clump Crusher Water Resistant Mascara By Lashblast in Black Brown

Waterproof mascara is a must in the summer, especially if you plan to get sweaty or jump into a pool/lake/ocean. It holds up all day, and adds just enough color to help define my eyes. It’s great with or without eyeliner, and it lives up to its name – no clumps!

NYX Dark Circle Concealer in 02 Light

As I said above, I suffer from dark eye circles during allergy season, so I rarely leave the house without at least some concealer. To conceal them, it’s important to find a concealer that is on the opposite side of the color wheel from whatever color your under-eye circles are (use yellow concealer if they’re purple, orange concealer if they’re blue, green concealer if they’re red, etc.).

Since my bags are mostly blue, I went with this orange-based concealer. It’s a heavy coverage formula, so you won’t need a lot, and it blends really well. Since it’s more moisturizing than my regular concealer, it’s perfect for baggy, swollen eyes.

Tweezerman ProCurl Eyelash Curler in Rose Gold

This is another product that isn’t summer-only, but I use it every day. Curling your lashes is a great trick to look more awake whether you have time for mascara or not! This one is comfortable, effective, and looks great on my bathroom counter!

What are your summer makeup staples? Or do you avoid it like I used to when I was younger and much, much more tan?

Spa Night

Spa Night

“Spa Night” is something I wish that I did more often…and I doubt I’m alone! There is something nice about lounging around on a Sunday night after a long, hot shower, with a mask drying away on my face, and painting my nails while watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey (though lately it has been True Detective). Here are some of my go-to products for a nice, relaxing evening of treating myself!

Lush “Ro’s Argan” Body Conditioner

I love anything rose scented, and I’m a huge fan of argan oil, so this is a perfect spa night essential for me. You put it on all over your body while in the shower, then rinse it off – just like you would conditioner for your hair! It leaves my skin lightly moisturized and smelling sweet. I bought it last fall, and though it’s expensive, I still have a lot left – and I used it a LOT this past winter!

Que Bella’s Pore Minimizing Mud Mask

A mud mask is a requirement for my spa nights, and at $2 each, these are a great way to switch up my mask routine. These masks are the perfect amount for one person, and are gentle enough for sensitive skin!

Que Bella’s Purifying Mud Mask

This mask I’ve used before, and if my local Target ever gets them back in stock, I want to buy the larger tube version! This mask is a great dupe for many other tea tree oil-based masks out there (which I find can be really expensive), and it’s perfect whenever I’m dealing with a breakout. It leaves my face feeling tingly and super clean.

OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red

Okay, so the nail lacquer I photographed isn’t the one I linked to above – I get that. However, Sephora no longer sells OPI, so I found a decent substitute for the old “And A Cherry on Top” that I still have lying around. It’s a great, classic red shade that’s perfect for fingers and toes. When in doubt, just go with red everywhere!

Yardley London Soap Bath Bar in English Lavender

I’m a bar soap kinda gal, but you’ll never see that yellow bar of Dial in my bathroom (unless my husband is sharing with me, then I guess you might find it in there). I’ve been using this bar soap for years, and have no plans to change anytime soon! It has the perfect amount of lavender scent that isn’t too strong, but lingers a bit after the shower.

Now, I’m off to dream of the next night I’ll have free to buff and shine my way to bliss!

Summer Nail Polish

Summer Nail PolishOne thing I get excited for in the summer months is getting to branch out with nail color. Most of the year, I stick with plain neutrals or classic reds – but not in the summer! I think this happens because I wear brighter colors in the summer, and it’s the only time of year where my toes are on display, which means more valuable real estate to paint!

I chose the four that I find myself wearing most during the summer, and all of them work just as well on fingers as they do toes. I’ve also branched out in brands lately, too, since you can find some great colors without paying top dollar for them. I’ve been known to grab a $12 OPI nail lacquer and walk around the store trying to find a cheaper version!

Oh, and you can wear any combination of these four on your fingers or toes, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of the whole “do they match” argument. Yes, they all “match.” Wear one on your fingers, and another on your toes – you can’t really go wrong.

Here are my favorites for summer!

Summer Nail Polish

Revlon Nail Enamel in Enchanting

I bought this one recently while on the hunt for a good lavender shade. This shade doesn’t go on evenly, so it definitely takes 2-3 solid coats to fully cover. However, it is a great bluish purple with just a tiny hint of sparkle, which looks great with a tan!

OPI Nail Lacquer in My Chihuahua Bites!

It was really hard to get a good photo of this one, so pretend it’s a bit more watermelon pink than bright orange! I’ve been a die hard OPI fan for years, and this shade is a great deviation from my usual reds and oranges when I’m looking to switch things up for summer.

Essie Nail Color in Turquoise & Caicos

While I’ve never been a huge fan of Essie polishes, I took a chance on this one last summer because everyone online was raving about it. It’s a great shade for toes, especially if you have darker skin or a good tan. My main problem with Essie polishes is that they go on uneven, but this one didn’t at all, so I’ve kept it in the rotation.

Maybelline Color Show in Sapphire Siren

I raved about the Color Show collection on my old blog, and I still am! I love these polishes because they’re usually in the $2-$4 price range, and they dry very quickly – which is perfect when you’d rather spend your evenings with friends than waiting on your nails to dry! In the summer, I like going with navy as an alternative to the black and grey polishes I wear the rest of the year. It’s dark, but not too gothic for summer.

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition 1

We’re in the middle of an insane heat wave here in Washington. This means I spend many afternoons at the beach, soaking up the sun – then straight home to hide in the cooler temps of our half-underground apartment. No A/C here – thankfully we don’t need it with the apartment being partially underground!

I thought now that we’re eyeballs deep in 90+ degree temperatures, it would be a great time to share with you some of my skincare must-haves for hot and steamy weather!

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition 2

 L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare Suncare Silky Sheer Lotion in SPF 30

I have oily, breakout-prone skin in the summer, so I always switch out my face sunscreen to something that dries matte and lasts forever. While this one isn’t technically for your face, it is gentle enough for sensitive skin, dries to a light finish, and does the job well. In fact, my face is still a shade or two lighter than the rest of me – it works that well! You can use this on the rest of your body as well, but since it comes in such a small bottle (and isn’t cheap compared to other sunscreens), I think it’s perfect for the face and neck.

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition 3

 Olay Foaming Face Wash – Combo/Oily

While I’m usually a Cetaphil junkie the rest of the year, I usually have to break out something a bit stronger in the summer. This stuff is great for removing makeup, sunscreen, and sweat without being too harsh. It also doesn’t have the “tingle” that many other cleansers have, so it’s perfect when you get a little too much sun too. It also smells nice, but what cleanser doesn’t anymore?

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition 4

Secret Outlast Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant in Completely Clean scent

This is a fairly new product that Secret brought out. I’ve always used their clinical antiperspirant, but it does get expensive to keep shelling out $10 for a tiny stick. This stuff costs less than half as much (I got mine for $4), contains twice as much product, and after using it for a couple months now, it works just as well! If you’re like me, and you got hooked on the super strong antiperspirants, try this one out! It contains the same ingredients (just a tiny amount less of the “active ingredient”), and is a much better value than the clinical version!

(*Tip: If you’re “well-endowed” in the chest department like me, slide this stuff under your boobs before heading out. It helps prevent against heat rashes and the dreaded boob sweat lines!)

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition 5

 

Up & Up (Target generic brand) Sport Sunscreen Lotion in SPF 30

Unlike sunscreen for my face, I have no problem going cheap on sunscreen for the rest of my body. After years of working as a lifeguard, I found cheaper sunscreen worked just as well as the brand name stuff. I ended up with the Target one because that’s where I happened to be when I remembered I needed some – nothing more complicated than that! This stuff works really well, smells nice, and stays put. I always recommend going with a “sport” sunscreen because they don’t shift around as much when you sweat.

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition 6

 Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Okay, so this is the only thing I use on a regular basis that isn’t a “drugstore” purchase, and frankly, it doesn’t really do anything. Keep it in the fridge, and spritz it on after a long, hot, sweaty day. Trust me – even the best of us need a bit of refreshing once in awhile, and don’t always have time to shower. This stuff will help in a pinch, and isn’t as strong or offensive as perfumes can be in hotter temperatures!

There you go – some easy summer skincare swaps that are easy on the budget too!

What skincare products are you loving this summer? I’m always on the hunt for new ideas!